Whether motivated by a pathological need to tar Israel as an aggressor or an irrational drive to defame and demonize the world’s only Jewish state, the widespread denial and distortion of the scope and nature of the massacre perpetrated by Hamas on October 7th represents a rapidly evolving manifestation of antisemitism that must be urgently addressed and refuted.
Invading Hamas terrorists tortured, raped, maimed, beheaded, and slaughtered more than 1,200 Israeli men, women, and children of all ages and kidnapped around 240 others that dark Shabbat morning. A vast majority were civilians living in tranquil border communities who were suddenly roused from their sleep by air raid sirens, followed by sounds of nearby rocket explosions and gunfire.
In the age of mass disinformation, the terrible truths of what occurred on October 7th must be repeatedly shared — not only to remember and honor those who perished, but also provide context and legitimacy for Israel’s ongoing self-defensive military campaign in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Within days of the worst atrocity suffered by the Jewish people since the Holocaust, there were already those seeking to downplay or deny Hamas’ barbarity. And this malicious chorus has only grown louder in the weeks that have passed since.
The following are only a few examples of the torrent of lies that have been propagated against Israel over the last month and a half:
Just this past weekend, the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that the Israeli military was responsible for the deaths of the more than 360 Nova music festival attendees who were killed on October 7th.
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “It was IDF helicopter gunships that killed the Nova participants, and then many Israelis in the surrounding settlements”.
Blatant lies and cynicism. pic.twitter.com/ngtKcNRkWY
— Israel War Room (@IsraelWarRoom) November 19, 2023
Meanwhile, Sarah Leah Whitson, a former director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division, is one of many anti-Israeli voices who have publicly cast doubt on the proven acts of rape and decapitation carried out by Hamas.
How the game is run by “human rights activists” like Sarah Leah Whitson, formerly @hrw:
Hamas atrocities—which they livestreamed—need more proof; “please take a pause from asserting it happened.”
But she RUSHED to report “1000 were killed” by Israel—when it was a Jihad rocket. pic.twitter.com/PWlRD0MqIh
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) November 19, 2023
In Israel, United Arab List MK Iman Khatib-Yassin faced fierce backlash and ultimately apologized after making similar claims that Hamas “didn’t slaughter babies” and “didn’t rape women.”
Such rhetoric, also disseminated by anti-Israel propagandists with large international social media followings such as Jackson Hinkle, Max Blumenthal, and Ali Abunimah, among numerous others, has been echoed on college campuses across the globe, including in North America.
At the University of Alberta, the director of the school’s Sexual Assault Center, Samantha Pearson, was fired after signing an open letter denying that Hamas committed rape and other sexual assault crimes.
At Yale University, a column in student paper, the Yale Daily News, was edited to remove what were called “unsubstantiated claims that Hamas raped women and beheaded men.”
To counter the lies it was facing, Israel organized, just a week and a half after October 7th, the first screening for foreign correspondents of grisly videos and photographs, some taken by Hamas terrorists themselves, documenting the savage crimes that took place.
Israeli police have already collected more than 1,000 statements and 60,000 video clips related to the October 7th attack, including from witnesses who reported seeing women raped. First responders also corroborated allegations that Hamas terrorists beheaded infants.
A newly-created Civil Commission on October 7th Crimes by Hamas Against Women is calling out the silence of international women’s and humanitarian organizations on the issue, highlighting documentation that exposes Hamas’ use of sexual violence as a weapon against Israelis.
Only two possible reasons can account for the silence of legacy human rights institutions on the matter — either the belief that Israeli victims of sexual violence at the hands of Hamas are non-deserving of the universal human rights they claim to safeguard or the standards of evidence being imposed on Israeli victims is unparalleled in magnitude compared to other nationalities worldwide.
Both of these lines of logic can only be viewed as antisemitic in motive.
Holocaust denial is one of the 11 examples featured in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism. Someday, October 7th denial may have to be added.
As Israel’s campaign to root out Hamas in Gaza and rescue the hostages still being held captive there continues, so must the fight to ensure that full truth of the evils that transpired on October 7th are recognized and recorded for historical posterity.