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The Telegraph
The Telegraph
24 Feb 2024
Zoe Strimpel


It’s chilling how quickly the October 7 massacre is being forgotten

The sight of anti-Israel propaganda, especially stickers and posters about “Israeli apartheid” and various spins on this slander, is utterly commonplace – and has only become more so since October 7. Whenever I can, I peel this nasty stuff off station walls, benches, lampposts and the like.

At the end of last week, I plucked a big round one off a bike rack outside a university in London. It consisted of a giant blue Star of David crossed out with a red bar reading: “Boycott Israeli genocide”. It also featured a red rim around the circle that said: “Boycott Child Killers… Boycott Terror…Boycott Liars… Boycott Thieves”. It was a lot of anti-Semitic tropes to pack into one sticker.

The Jew-menacing tenor of such material has become considerably more pronounced in the past month or so, as Israel’s programme of eradicating Hamas continues. It is beginning to feel as if the world has dropped all pretence of acknowledging what started the whole thing in the first place.

Instead of supporting Israel in its attempt to finish a job that is not only of the utmost necessity for its own continued existence, but hugely important for the future of the West, we see instead a wide range of anti-Semitic tantrums thrown globally, with crowds chanting “from the river to the sea” – a call strongly associated with the eradication of the Jews from Israel.

So: below all the boilerplate support for Israel after Hamas’s pogrom, the truth was this: Israel was only ever going to be given two, three weeks tops after the massacres to make things right again for itself (which was obviously impossible), after which point the great and the good would lose patience, demand that Israel lay down arms, let Hamas regroup and win, and continually and falsely accuse the Israeli military of being trigger-happy where Palestinian lives are concerned.

Indeed, the necessary continuation of Israel’s campaign seems to have enraged both the respectable – Lord Cameron, Sir Keir Starmer and hundreds of parliamentarians – and the less so, including keffiyeh-wearing far-Left activists, Islamists, and of course the thousands who turn out on the streets every weekend to demonise Israel.

It’s not surprising that this lot have no clue about the concept of waging a just war and why doing so is different from committing genocide, but it’s more troubling that this distinction seems to have completely escaped the sensibilities even of senior Conservative members of the Cabinet and the UK’s likely next prime minister.

Last week’s Commons debate on a ceasefire in Gaza showed how far the goalposts have moved, how normalised this shift is, and how distant the invasion and barbarism of October 7 has become in a great many Western minds.

Labour, the SNP and the Conservatives fought like cats about the wording of their various amendments to condemn Israel, the main difference between them appearing to be a decision by the Scottish Nationalists to bizarrely claim that Palestinians were enduring collective punishment.

The Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, was so exercised by the question of what Parliament ought to tell Israel to do that he broke convention, upending constitutional norms, picking the Labour amendment for a vote when he wasn’t meant to.

The threat of physical intimidation of MPs by extreme activists also weighed on him. Meanwhile, outside a mob was busy beaming “from the river to the sea” onto Big Ben. No one, unsurprisingly, was beaming: “release the hostages” – the only surefire way for the war to end immediately.

It is, in short, as if the actual events of October 7 are simply ceasing to exist outside of Israel – as if Hamas’s actions, and the terrorist group’s decades of terror and abuse of its own people, the careful, obsessive hoarding of UN funds and aid that allowed it to carefully construct its ornate and nightmarishly extensive terror infrastructure, have now been almost totally forgotten.

Calls for a “ceasefire”, always ludicrous, have morphed into utterly mainstream accusations of Israeli “genocide”. Making comparisons between Israel and Israelis and Nazi Germany and the Nazis is a key plank in the IHRA definition of “anti-Semitism”, but it is widely accepted nonetheless because, in too many people’s heart of hearts, it is felt to be true.

Some say that Hamas, one of the most vicious and ambitious terror mobs the post-war world has known, has “won the propaganda war”. But that is to imply two false things: one, that there was some kind of equal war of words between Hamas and Israel that the latter has simply performed worse at, and two, that there was a case at all for Hamas to credibly prosecute.

The truth is that Hamas knew all along that, because of the power of anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Zionism, the world would end up siding with it, either explicitly or implicitly.

This has now seen politicians and international bodies pulling together to try to stop Israel finishing its job, and rewarding the Palestinian cause with talk of unilaterally recognising a state and, as President Biden strangely chose to do last week, reasserting the position, nixed by Donald Trump, that Israeli settlements are illegal.

What Hamas did on October 7 merits the very harshest punishment.

But as one wit put it a few months back, if Israel didn’t care about civilian lives, the war would have been over on October 8.