It’s been 40 days since Hamas terrorists carried out the worst antisemitic attack since the Holocaust, which included the abduction of over 240 people – including women, children and babies – who are still being held hostage in Gaza. During this time, Jews in diaspora communities across the world have faced a tsunami of antisemitism – expressions of hate towards Jews and revulsion towards the Israeli victims of Oct. 7 that’s included a campaign by radical anti-Israel activists to tear down posters of the hostages.
Brooklyn (Williamsburg) – two individuals tear down posters of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas; the one in orange keeps calling the Jewish man filming a “dog” in Arabic and then tells him to “burn in hell”.
Recognize them? DM us! pic.twitter.com/c71gjoFDL0
— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) October 23, 2023
How any normal, non-antisemitic person could be triggered by posters, with the message “Please bring them home alive”, depicting photos of Jewish babies, toddlers, adults, elderly men, women and even Holocaust survivors, who were dragged from their homes into Gaza’s tunnels by Hamas operatives, is incomprehensible.
As an article by Emily Benedek in Tablet argued, “The barbarity of the Hamas attack on innocents was thus impossible for those who hate Jews to process, so they didn’t. Rather, they attempted to deny the evidence by throwing away photos of the real-life Jewish victims, in a vain yet chilling attempt to resolve their own logical impasse.” It’s also evidence, Benedek argued, of the behavior of those “belonging to a group with impenetrable beliefs that are not open to discussion or questioning, like a cult”.
As Jerusalem Post editor Avi Mayer wrote, “Those who tear down posters bearing the faces of 10-month-old Kfir Bibas or 84-year-old Ditza Heiman, 13-year-old Alma Or or 59-year-old Michel Nisenbaum cannot countenance the notion that Jews can be victims – or that others might see them as such. To them, he added, “Jews are invariably evil, always the aggressors…There is no such thing as an innocent Jew”.
Yet, earlier in the month, our colleague Gilead Ini posted about a New York Times article by reporter Katherine Rosman about those who have been tearing down these posters, to the disgust of people across the world and political spectrum. However, Rosman argued that, maybe, the posters are the real problem, as she made the case that the destruction of the posters “has quickly emerged as its own form of protest — a release valve and also a provocation by those anguished by what they say was the Israeli government’s mistreatment of Palestinians in the years before Oct. 7 and since the bombing of Gaza began”.
CAMERA responded to the NY Times repugnant reporting normalising such aberrant behavior by erecting a billboard across from the NY Times’ offices in New York City.
— CAMERAorgES (@CAMERAorgES) November 16, 2023
The tearing down of hostage posters has of course also been rampant on the streets of London.
Central London where antisemites continue ripping down posters of Israeli hostages and scream “f*** Israel” pic.twitter.com/NitDZealZT
— Emily Schrader – אמילי שריידר امیلی شریدر (@emilykschrader) November 15, 2023
The Guardian’s Chris McGreal published an article about the phenomenon (“It’s like a fire in the world’: how the Israeli ‘kidnapped’ posters set off a phenomenon and a backlash”, Nov. 10). Strangely, the headline includes scare quotes around the word “kidnapped”.
Like the NY Times reporter, McGreal legitimises those tearing down the posters. Though, in fairness, he provides ample quotes from Nitzan Mintz and her partner, Dede Bandaid, who launched the red and white posters of Israelis abducted by Hamas, he also normalises – and places on equal footing – those who impute bad faith to those highlighting the plight of innocent Jews abducted and held hostage by the antisemitic extremist group in Gaza.
Here are the relevant paragraphs:
The posters quickly became embroiled in the interminable battle over narrative in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Alongside thousands of people taking the initiative to print out their own posters, pro-Israel groups helped flood cities with the flyers. With that has come accusations that, whatever the original intent, the posters are part of a propaganda push to justify Israel’s killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
While pro-Palestinian groups are mostly reluctant to comment publicly on the removal of the posters, an organiser in one group, who asked not to be named, said that whatever their origins, the flyers have now become part of a pro-Israel propaganda drive to justify the killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
Pro-Palestinian groups say that some people appear to be targeting mosques and other Muslim or Palestinian sites to post the flyers in large numbers. The director of the Islamic Center of San Diego, Tazheen Nizam, told the San Diego Tribune that he regarded the sudden appearance of the posters outside his mosque as intimidation.
There was also this:
Victoria Ruiz resigned as a New York county public defender after she was filmed taking down a poster. Ruiz does not respond in the video to being asked repeatedly: “Why are you taking down pictures of missing children?”
However, in a statement to her former colleagues after she was forced out her job, Ruiz said the posters were being used as a deliberate provocation by a hardline pro-Israel group, StopAntisemitism
In the entire article, which includes unchallenged quotes by extremist pro-Palestinian activists who tore down photos of abducted babies, the only ideological pejorative used is in referenced to the group StopAntisemitism – a mainstream US organisation whose mission is narrowly to combat antisemitism. The word choice was McGreal’s, as the letter by Ruiz in question doesn’t mention the group StopAntisemitism, or use the term “hardline”.
If, as Benedek said of those tearing down the posters, the barbarity of the Hamas attack on innocents was impossible for those who hate Jews to process, it’s similarly true that journalists like Chris McGreal, wedded to the belief in the virtue of the pro-Palestinian cause, are evidently unable to process clear evidence – particularly after Oct. 7 – that so many of these ‘activists’ are indifferent to Jewish suffering, antisemitic and just plain cruel.