A close-up of rockets that landed in Ashkelon.
By Rachel Brooks
May 11, 2021
With the terrorist movement Hamas launching major indiscriminate missile attacks against Israel beginning on May 10, 2021, Republic Underground sought the opinion of some of the world’s leading Middle East experts on the conflict and its ramifications. In this first in a series of such interviews, Republic Underground managing editor Rachel Brooks spoke on May 10 with Israel Bitton, executive director of Americans Against Antisemitism.
Israel B. Bitton is an award-winning communications executive who has helped clients across many industries achieve their goals and reach broader global audiences.
With his degree in history of philosophy and a penchant for researching and writing, Israel effectively combines his accumulated knowledge and skills, applying them to the study of antisemitism and the cause of countering the age-old phenomenon by authoring A Brief and Visual History of Antisemitism, our educational curriculum. He is also a guest lecturer for Project Witness, a Holocaust education initiative, on the subject of Nazi and new-age propaganda.
Israel Bitton interview
Question: As Hamas launches this deadly attack on Israel, what do you feel is motivating it and how should the world view it?
Bitton:“We have to first take a step back and understand the historical phenomenon of the anti-Jewish blood libel. It doesn’t matter if we go back to when such charges first appeared in ancient Greek literature, where the claim was made that Jewish priests in the Jerusalem Temple had been fattening up a pagan and priming him for sacrifice, or if we return to medieval Christian Europe where the charge of ‘ritual murder’ took on its acute form.”
“What’s common to all blood libel episodes is the strategy of painting the Jew as ‘bloodthirsty’ and ‘murderous’ as if not only were the libels true, but that they then applied to the entire Jewish people. Of course, they were always fabrications, but for what purpose? Sordidly, the blood libel has never been anything more than a justification for gratuitous violence visited upon Jews, offered as a pretext before or after the fact.”
“So we have to understand that the characterization of Jews as having a particular ‘appetite’ for killing did not first appear in the Israeli-Palestinian context, however, since blatant antisemitism is still mostly frowned upon, the ancient blood libel was simply repackaged in a way that makes the premise of Jewish murderousness more plausible. Why? What changed? One major, noticeable thing. The state of Israel and a standing Jewish army. So whereas throughout history the diaspora Jew was kept in a perpetually weakened and insecure state that allowed for the perpetuation of flimsy libels, the self-assured Jew in Israel presented a problem for antisemites. But they made the adjustment, so now we have ‘anti-Zionism’.”
“Thus, rather than claim Jews are killing Christian kids to use their blood for matzah (although Hanan Ashrawi indulged in that very pathetic trope) and seem insane, the enlightened blood libel now charges ‘Israel’ and ‘Zionists’, euphemisms for ‘Jews’, with the murder of Palestinian children by ‘Goliathan’ IDF soldiers. So, firstly, what we’re seeing in the present is just the latest form of the blood libel, the fallacious and specious charge that Jews show no compunction whatsoever when it comes to the lives of others and even take glee in consuming their blood, which as we know only has one purpose: to justify murdering Jews.”
“This is why when a Jewish man was nearly lynched in his car today, Palestinians shared images of the car running into some of the lynchers as if to demonstrate how this Jew viciously drove his car into innocent bystanders.”
“But, of course, only the reverse is true as footage of the entire incident revealed that the Jew was going to be lynched simply for being a Jew at the wrong place and time. He was lucky to walk away with his life. Whenever there is a misrepresentation of Jewish murder you can rest assured that the murder of Jews will follow.”
Question: How about U.S. policy? The U.S. obviously condemns this Hamas terrorism, but do you feel any U.S. government or political forces have helped enable it?
Bitton: “There are some hypocrisy and double standards. Take Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. They have only commented on Palestinian injuries and deaths. But what about when a young yeshivah student was gunned down in the West Bank? What about the Jewish man who was nearly lynched by a raging mob this morning? If one truly cares about humanity, they’re a ‘humanitarian,’ how is it that they can’t find the words to condemn such grotesque violence against innocent non-combatants?”
“How is it that Ilhan can muster a condemnation of Israel’s retaliation against Hamas targets in Gaza but nothing for Hamas firing rockets into Israel which not only violates every human rights convention for targeting civilians indiscriminately but for firing from behind their ‘hideouts’ in schools and hospitals as though they’re begging for humanitarian disasters to strike them?”
“So not only do you have the issue of blood libels that reverses the guilt, blaming Jews for murders they didn’t commit while actually murdering Jews but clearly a whole lot of fake humanitarians don’t care for human life as much as they make clear they are simply infatuated with any ‘Jew-involved incident.’ That’s why over a million Uighur Muslims held in veritable concentration camps in China get a whimper from these so-called ‘champions of human rights,’ whilst Israel legally evicts Palestinians who refuse to pay their rents because their owners are Jewish sets off shockwaves.”
“What we can deduce from the Tlaib and Omar brand of pro-Palestinianism isn’t that ‘Palestinian Lives Matter’ as much as ‘Jewish Lives Can Never Matter.’ You’ll notice that our organization and our founder condemned violence by Jewish individuals who were randomly attacking Arabs. It’s unacceptable.”
“No amount of Palestinian terrorism will ever serve as justification were a Jew to break into a Palestinian home and stab their babies to death. And that’s why such cases don’t happen. And that comes down to a fundamental question the entire world keeps dancing around. Let’s say the Palestinians, assuming the worst definitions of oppression and apartheid apply, are truly being oppressed, then what Tlaib and Omar are saying is that murdering children of your oppressor is justified. Look, it’s a certain Weltanschauung. Not mine. Not ours.”
“During the Holocaust, though forced into squalid conditions in the Warsaw Ghetto on their way to being systematically murdered (actual genocide, not the hyperbole bandied around today) there was never a single instance of Jews taking vengeance on the Nazis by randomly killing German women and children. So we have a fundamental divergence here. Different rules. Can breaking into someone’s home and stabbing entire families to death, men, women, and children, ever be justified?”
“Now, answering that becomes all the more absurd when considering that just as with the blood libel the charge of murder was projected onto Jews to justify their being murdered, so the charge of apartheid and oppression has only been conjured as a cover to mask the ambitions of the anti-Israel movement that in truth seeks to make it Judenrein ‘from the river to the sea…’ Is it ironic at this stage that those who want to kill Jews claim Jews are murderers? That those who wanted to destroy Israel before it was born to claim that Israel cannot tolerate its neighbors?”
“That those who haven’t stopped attempting to ‘push Israel into the sea’ can cry oppression? That those who invest their GDP on terror tunnels and terrorist pensions lament the continued existence of ‘refugee camps’? That those who make it illegal, punishable by death, to sell the property to Jews cry apartheid? That those who lynch the poor Jew who makes a wrong turn claim to be doing so in the name of peace and justice?”