fbpx

You Want Context? Here’s Context.

The refusal to condemn the horror of Oct. 7 is always based on the “context.”
[additional-authors]
May 1, 2024
Christopher Chan/Getty Images

After Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists and civilians from Gaza invaded Israel and mass-murdered, mass-raped, and mass-kidnapped almost 2,000 people in border towns and communities in Southern Israel, numerous anti-Israel advocates on various talk shows and in other mediums have been asked if they condemn Hamas or even condemn the Oct. 7  Massacre. 

And in lock-step — as if this was a distributed talking point from either the SJP, AMP, or some other Israel-hating umbrella organization — they all have provided roughly the same response; a refusal to condemn one of the most brutal, most video-recorded, monstrous, organized intentional massacres in modern history  — replete with children murdered in front of their parents, fathers and mothers murdered in front of their children, women being raped to death, the display of murdered women’s bodies to screams of revolting adulation from other Gazans over dead and mangled bodies and the murder and kidnapping of literal babies. And the refusal to condemn this horror is always based on the “context.”

The latest widely seen version of that mendacious deflection occurred recently on the Dr. Phil show, where Dr. Phil hosted Mosab Yousef, the “Green Prince,” as well as two anti-Israel agitators from the University of Michigan. Dr. Phil expressly asked the two anti-Israel agitators if they would condemn the Oct. 7 barbarity. In response, one of the Israel-haters said that it was wrong to ask them to condemn Hamas or its monstrous intentional massacre because doing so “ignores the context of the attack in the larger ‘Israeli-Palestinian conflict.’”

As if there is a “context” which makes invading a country and mass-murdering, mass-raping and mass-kidnapping children, the elderly and even Holocaust survivors “okay.” 

As if there is a “context” which makes invading a country and mass-murdering, mass-raping and mass-kidnapping children, the elderly and even Holocaust survivors “okay.” Sadly, this context-based rationalization and justification for depravity is not new. Back in the early to late 1930s, in both America and England, there were sadly many people who were sympathetic to the Nazis who also argued that the Nazis’ most evil ideologies and actions needed to be viewed “in the context” of the German people’s “legitimate grievances” following World War I. 

But, whatever one thinks of the argument that Germans had legitimate grievances over how they were treated at the end of World War I, and whatever one thinks now about claims that Palestinian Arabs have legitimate grievances with Israel over how they were treated during Israel’s war for independence (or thereafter), it should be plain that one’s moral compass is in need of serious repair if that person cannot condemn hordes of armed men intentionally massacring and kidnapping innocent and unarmed civilians. 

The “context” — asserted by the pro-Hamas “all resistance, including rape, is justified” crowd — is as follows:

1) Before World War II there was a separate polity called Palestine with a teeming and thriving population of ethnic “Palestinian” Arabs who were indigenous to the region, lived there for millennia and had a culture that was unique and indigenous to the region.

2) The Jews who declared their independence in 1948 and established the modern state of Israel are European colonialists with no connection to the land of Israel/Palestine.

3) Before 1948 — and certainly before “Zionists” started advocating for Jewish sovereignty and self-determination in Palestine — Jews, Christians and Muslims lived in peaceful co-existence in Palestine.

4) Out of sympathy for the persecution the Jews were facing from Nazi Germany, the peaceful indigenous Palestinian Arabs welcomed “European Jews” with open arms, invited them into their homes, but literally had their homes stolen from them by those nefarious Jews (oops, I mean “Zionists”).

5) After the colonialist Jews — with no more connection to the land called Palestine than a Dutch person has to Southern Africa, or a Brit has to India — declared their independence, they launched a war to ethnically cleanse “millions” of Palestinians from Palestine. 

This is the “context” that people like the agitators on Dr. Phil contend must be the preamble to any question about what one thinks about Hamas, its self-described genocidal charter, its openly fascist ideology, the Oct. 7 Massacre, or even Hamas’s leaders’ promise to perpetuate more and more Oct. 7 style massacres until Israel is completely obliterated. The problem with this “context”? It’s complete bunk.

The actual historical “context”:

1] Before 1948 no independent state or even semi-autonomous state had existed west of the Jordan River after the Jewish Kingdom of Judea fell under Roman colonialist rule in the year 6 C.E.; and for the nearly entire “modern era” of history, from 1517 to 1948 C.E., the land was under colonialist Turkish (Ottoman) and British rule.

2] Prior to 6 C.E., there had been already three separate Hebrew/Israelite/Jewish commonwealths and kingdoms in the land west of the Jordan River. It was in this land that the Jewish people not only had our ethnogenesis but where we developed our indigenous language, culture, and tribal faith. 

3]  The evidence of Jewish indigeneity in the land of Israel is as obvious as the presence of ancient mikvot and ancient Jewish coins, which have been discovered all over Israel, or even the Arch of Titus in Rome over 2,000 kilometers from the Levant, which depicts the Roman spoils of war from their siege of Jewish Jerusalem.

4] After the 7th Century C.E., Arab culture and language as well as the dominant faith of Arabs came to dominate the Levant and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa (outside of the Arabian Peninsula) the same way English language, dominant faith, and culture came to dominate North America, and Spanish language, dominant faith, and culture came to dominate central and South America – through conquest and colonialism. 

5] Even after the respective Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Crusader, Arab, Mamluk, and Ottoman empires imposed their respective colonialist rules on the Levant and made life for ethnic minorities, and in particular Jews, generally very oppressive and difficult, there has never been a time in over 3000 years when Jews have not lived in the Levant, save for short periods following brutal campaigns to massacre and ethnically cleanse the Jewish people from their indigenous land. 

6] Jewish life in Arab- or Ottoman-controlled lands, while generally less severe and oppressive than Jewish life in western Europe during the Middle Ages, eastern Europe following the Middle Ages, and practically anywhere in Europe during the Holocaust, was nevertheless generally quite clearly oppressive. 

Jews living in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) from the end of the 7th century C.E. through the 20th century were generally subjected to a wide variety of laws and de facto rules signifying their second class status and often subjected to significant pogroms (mass-murder riots), such as in 1465 Fez (when almost the entire Jewish population was murdered), 1834 Tzfat (when practically the entire Jewish population was either killed or ethnically cleansed), or between 1863 and 1870 (when over 1,000 Jews were murdered in antisemitic riots across North Africa). Notably, the foregoing is sadly a tiny fraction of the number of mass-murder riots and pogroms that Jewish communities were subjected to in the MENA following the Arab conquest and colonization of the region in the 7th Century. 

7] After the Romans renamed the region “Syria-Palestina” around 135 C.E. in homage to the Jews’ ancient enemies, the Assyrians and the Philistines, those Jews who were not forcibly exiled from the region were often subject to systemic discrimination, including mass-murder riots/pogroms. In the city of Hebron itself, one of the four holy cities to the Jewish people, there were terrible riots targeting Jews for murder and rape, including in 1517, 1834 and 1929. All of these pogroms, and in particular the 1929 Hebron Massacre, were deeply reminiscent — in both rhetoric and brutality – of Hamas’ Oct. 7  Massacre (talk about “context”).

8] Even though 78% of the original British Mandate for Palestine was turned into a brand new, never before existed Arab country — Transjordan — by the British Colonial Secretary in 1921, before Israel declared its independence in 1948, its leadership twice (in 1937 and 1947) agreed to share well over half of the arable land west of the Jordan River, and twice agreed to the creation of the first ever independent Arab state west of the Jordan River. 

9] The Arab side to the conflict, led by an undisputed Nazi collaborator and virulent antisemite, Hajj Amin el-Husseini, rejected both of those offers in favor of war; and, but for those wars, there would have been no refugees or casualties whatsoever from the Arab-Israeli conflict. Notably, when the 1937 and 1947 offers to create two separate independent states in British controlled Palestine (west of the Jordan River) were rejected by the Arab Higher Committee (with el-Husseini as its head) – those offers were to create an independent Jewish state and an independent Arab state, and not a “Palestinian” state, because …

10] Before 1948 the only people in the Levant who generally referred to themselves as “Palestinians” were the Jews. That’s why the “Palestine Post” (which became the “Jerusalem Post”), the Palestine Symphony Orchestra (which became the Tel Aviv Philharmonic), and the Palestine Electric Company (which became the Israel Electric Corporation) were all founded by Jews who were working toward building the foundations of an independent Jewish state during the period of Turkish and British colonial control of the Levant.

11] After Israel declared its independence in 1948, Arab dictatorships throughout the MENA forced nearly 900,000 Jews from their homes and almost all those Jewish refugees found refuge in Israel.

12] From 1948 to June 1967 — before there was any “occupied territory” — no one ever tried to create a Palestinian Arab state in either Gaza or in Judea and Samaria (what Transjordan decided to call the “West Bank” in 1950) even though both areas were completely controlled by Arab countries; and during this time, nearly 1,000 Israeli civilians were murdered in terrorist attacks.

13] The Palestinian Authority in 2000, 2001 and 2008, without ever making a counteroffer, rejected three different offers that would have created a first-ever Palestinian Arab state in over 90% of the “West Bank” and Gaza; and in 2001 they launched a brutal bombing campaign (called the Second Intifada) that murdered over 1,000 Israelis and maimed another 8,000 in barely more than four years.

14] The Palestinian Authority’s corrupt dictator (who built himself a $13,000,000 home and is in the 19th year of his original four-year term) funds a virtual “pay to slay” program that incentivizes Palestinian Arabs to murder Jews by paying those who murder Jews nearly eight times the average salary earned by a high school teacher working for the PA.

15] Both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas promote incredibly antisemitic propaganda that demonizes all Jews (not just Israelis) and completely denies the historical, cultural, archeological and religious connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel — all while promoting Nazi-like stereotypes of Jews. The Hamas Charter, for example, has blamed Jews for causing every conflict from the French Revolution through World War II. Demonizing Jews and making it easier for people to mass-murder Jews, just like the Nazis did.

This is the context.


Micha Danzig served in the Israeli Army and is a former police officer with the NYPD. He is currently an attorney and is very active with numerous Jewish and pro-Israel organizations, including Stand With Us and the FIDF, and is a national board member of Herut North America.

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

Antisemitism Is Anti-American

By addressing antisemitism head-on, we reaffirm our commitment to the core values that make America strong and resilient.

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.