An Israeli in her home after a rocket hit from the Gaza Strip, in the southern city of Ashdod, on May 18, 2021.
An Israeli in her home after a rocket hit from the Gaza Strip, in the southern city of Ashdod, on May 18, 2021. ( Avi Roccah/Flash90/Times of Israel)

There are four key themes that are propagated in articles, interviews, social media and by well-known comedians, all of which are simply absurd.

Much of the media and many experts and observers have succumbed to what can be described as a complete loss of rational thinking when it came to evaluating the Israel-Hamas war.

Israel’s critics invented an entirely new set of illogical rules of war for Israel that one can only conclude is aimed at leaving the Jewish state defenseless and allowing the terrorist group Hamas to attack freely.

There are four key themes that are propagated in articles, interviews, social media and by well-known comedians, all of which are simply absurd.

1. Using the Ratio of Deaths to Decide Which Side is Right or Wrong

It has been noted repeatedly that the ratio of deaths in Gaza to Israel is about 20:1. To those pointing out the disparity it therefore follows that Israel’s war conduct is unjust, while Hamas’ is not really of much concern because, well, look at the numbers. 

America’s military campaign to eliminate ISIS in Syria and Iraq, however, demonstrates the incredible hypocrisy in how Israel’s conduct is treated versus the rest of the world. The battle against ISIS was conducted in part by the Combined Joint Task Force, a U.S.-led coalition which included Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE and U.K. 

The task force reported that airstrikes from 2014 through 2019 led to 1,257 civilian deaths which were characterized as unintentional. Other credible estimates cited by the New York Times shows at least 7,500 civilians killed. Few coalition soldiers were killed resulting in a casualty ratio far above the current conflict in Gaza; in fact no one bothered to even calculate the ratio.

While civilian deaths were lamented, the general international attitude was praise for the final destruction of ISIS.

2. Urging Israel to Act “Proportionally”

A recent comment by Comedy Central’s The Daily Show host Trevor Noah encapsulates this preposterous thinking: “I just want to ask an honest question: If you’re in a fight where the other person cannot beat you, how hard should you retaliate when they try to hurt you?” 

Writer Bari Weiss replied: “Just so we have this straight: A country should accept a terrorist group launching deadly rockets at its civilian population because a comedian thinks that the terror group won’t win?”

In fact, the concepts of “overwhelming force” and “shock and awe” were implemented by the U.S. in wars in the Middle East and are regularly adopted by armed forces around the world to defeat their enemy. 

Somehow Israel is seen as immoral due to its greater power and is expected to use a lower amount of force against Hamas under some invented notion of “proportionality” that critics seek to apply only to Israel.

3. Decrying Israel’s Iron Dome Compared to Gaza’s Lack of Defenses

Incredibly, Israel has been castigated for having a rocket defense system since Gaza does not have similar defenses for airstrikes. The bizarre notion is that it is inherently unfair that one side in a conflict has better defensive measure than the other. 

An article in the Washington Post even suggested that Iron Dome perpetuates the conflict as it allows Israel to avoid resolving the conflict through negotiation; the article does not suggest that the pathway to peace is for the international community to disarm Hamas.

Not mentioned by Israel’s critics is that Israeli airstrikes are a response to Hamas rockets and if Hamas stopped firing rockets and disarmed its rocket stocks, Israel would not engage in retaliatory airstrikes. 

Once again, the only conclusion from this absurd viewpoint is that if more Israelis died, its actions against Hamas would be more justified. 

4. Civilian Deaths Automatically Mean Israeli War Crimes

It is universally acknowledged that civilian deaths are a tragic and unfortunate consequence of all wars, but when caused by Israel they are treated as automatic war crimes even when Hamas continues to fire rockets. 

In an editorial discussing civilian casualties caused by U.S. drone strikes in the Middle East, which number by estimates at over 1,000, the New York Times conceded, “no matter how precise the weapons, how careful the planners and how skilled the fighters, mistakes, faulty intelligence, even calculated decisions often led to civilians being killed” and that “There is no such thing as combat without risk.” 

In describing civilian deaths in the war against ISIS the Joint Task Force released a statement saying: “Although the coalition takes extraordinary efforts to strike military targets in a manner that minimizes the risk of civilian casualties, in some incidents casualties are unavoidable.”

Such common sense understanding is totally missing when it comes to Israel despite significant evidence that Israel goes to great lengths to minimize civilian casualties from its “roof knocking” policies to precision-guided attacks. 

How long would any nation tolerate the majority of its population in bomb shelters before demanding overwhelming force? Which nation would instruct their military to “go light” on their terrorist attackers because the attacks can be repelled? Which defense secretary would instruct their generals to only respond to the enemy “proportionally”? Which nation would be vilified for their better defense systems? 

When will the “international community” focus its efforts on forcing Hamas to stop firing rockets and stop spending international aid on military infrastructure as a condition for any future aid to Gaza? 

Salo Aizenberg of White Plains, NY., is the author of Hatemail: Anti-Semitism on Picture Postcards, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Awards.