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Massacre in Yarmouk

Massacre in Yarmouk

The disproportional attacks on civilians must end.


Yarmouk was home to the largest Palestinian refugee community in the country before the conflict began. 180,000 Palestinian civilians called it home. Now only 20,000 remain. Food and medical supplies are routinely denied entry and starvation is one of the three main causes of death. Recently, in the Jarabulus area, 22 people were killed and thrown into the streets to instill fear in the population. Some of them were children.

Amnesty International has called for the immediate lifting of the siege, the cessation of shelling and other indiscriminate attacks, and for humanitarian agencies to have unfettered access to the area. The disproportional attacks on civilians must end.

Down with Israel? Not quite. Yarmouk and Jarabulus are in Syria.

In fact, many in that country are decrying the lack of attention to their plight and the fact that images and videos often go viral only when they are falsely presented as being from Gaza. Marc Lynch, the Director of the Institute for Middle East Studies at GWU, put it succinctly when he said, “It must be so awkward having to check whether the dead child is from Gaza or Syria before deciding whether to be morally outraged.”

So to those condemning Israel: Are you pro-Palestinian, or are you really just anti-Israel? Many of you purportedly care so much when you really care so little. As Leon Wieseltier of the New Republic once wrote: It is easier “not to dive deep into the substance of anything. It is less immediately satisfying than cursing and linking.”

My Twitter and Facebook feeds would have me believe that the only noteworthy military conflict in the world today is that between Israel and Hamas. Either many of you care about war only when it involves a Jew holding a gun, or you are woefully unaware of what else is going on in the world. In case it is the latter, and I sincerely hope it is, here is a (very) partial list of the death tolls from other ongoing conflicts. In no particular order:

Syria: 170,000 (~700 this past weekend alone!)
Mexico: ~80,000
Nigeria: ~5,000
South Sudan: ~10,000.
Gaza: ~600

This is not to say that your attention and sympathies should be dictated by casualty counts. All civilian deaths are tragic. Moreover, such figures tell us nothing about the moral standing of the warring parties, especially not in the case of the asymmetric warfare that Hamas is waging. After all, the United States lost about 450,000 lives fighting in World War II while the Nazis lost over seven million, yet I would wager that none of you think the Nazis held the moral high ground. At least I hope so. The twisted logic and moral relativism of some of the posts I have been reading make me wonder.

What these figures do show is that while all war contains tragedy, including the one in Gaza and Israel, only deaths connected to Jews seem to evoke the cries we have been hearing over the number of dead in Gaza, which pales in comparison to other conflicts and is largely due to Hamas’ grotesque tactics. While there are few of you whom I would accuse as individuals of holding animosity toward Jews, there are many of you who are participating in a global, collective media assault on Israel that is indeed suggestive of something much darker.

I am not asking you not to care. On the contrary, I am hoping that you all start to care more – about the many problems in the world. Then, perhaps going forward your condemnation of Israel could be – let’s see, how should I put this – more proportional.

This piece originally appeared on Jonathan Messing’s blog

July 26, 2014

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Visitor Comments: 5

(4) Albert Hache, July 29, 2014 1:43 PM

"Thou shalt not kill" and Israel's moral stand

The commandment should read: "Thou shalt not kill “unjustly”: it is evil to kill good people but it is good to kill evil people.
Here is the difference: Hamas lives to kill, Israel kills to live. From this statement, it shouldn’t be so difficult to see where the good stands and where the evil lies.
Being killed doesn't qualify one as a good man.

(3) Yehudith Shraga, July 28, 2014 2:00 PM

Yes, it is happening in 21th century!

A Pakistani mob killed a woman member of a religious sect and two of her granddaughters after a sect member was accused of posting blasphemous material on Facebook, police said Monday, the latest instance of growing violence against minorities.

The dead, including a seven-year-old girl and her baby sister, were Ahmadis, who consider themselves Muslim but believe in a prophet after Mohammed. A 1984 Pakistani law declared them non-Muslims and many Pakistanis consider them heretics.

... crowd of 150 people came to the police station demanding the registration of a blasphemy case against the accused," said one police officer who declined to be identified.

"As police were negotiating with the crowd, another mob attacked and started burning the houses of Ahmadis."

Under Pakistani law, Ahmadis are banned from using Muslim greetings, saying Muslim prayers or referring to his place of worship as a mosque.

Salim ud Din, a spokesman for the Ahmadi community, said it was the worst attack on the community since simultaneous attacks on Ahmadi places of worship killed 86 Ahmadis four years ago.

"Police were there but just watching the burning. They didn't do anything to stop the mob," he said. "First they looted their homes and shops and then they burnt the homes."

The police officer said they had tried to stop the mob.

Accusations of blasphemy are rocketing in Pakistan, from one in 2011 to at least 68 last year, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. About 100 people have been accused of blasphemy this year.

Human rights workers say the accusations are increasingly used to settle personal vendettas or to grab the property of the accused.

(2) Rachel, July 27, 2014 8:39 PM

ISIS atrocities against Christians in Mosul; etc.

Christians are fleeing Mosul because they fear they will be killed unless they convert to Islam. Similarly, it was only international pressure that caused the Sudanese government to release a Christian woman (daughter of a Muslim father, which technically makes her Muslim, although she's never practiced that religion) who had been condemned to death for "apostasy".

The death of any one diminishes me. But the coverage is asymmetric -- it seems that in the media, dead children only count if they're Palestinian.

(1) Yehudith Shraga, July 27, 2014 12:59 PM

ISIS Destroys Tombs of Biblical Prophets Jonah, Daniel

Eyewitnesses claim ISIS rigged both tombs with explosives, despite the fact that both prophets are considered holy to Muslims.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has destroyed the tomb of Biblical Jonah, according to Arabic media outlets, in a show of disdain for non-Islamic cultures.

A local Mosul official, Zuhair al-Chalabi, also told Iraqi news outlets last week that Prophet Daniel's tomb was also destroyed.

While Muslims reportedly consider Daniel a Prophet, he is not mentioned in the Koran.

Making war on People of Israel is making the war on G-d Himself.

Put attention, that the name of their Islamic State - ISIS sounds very much like SS

Distroying the Tombs of Prophets is staying without any protection from Above.

Hopefully those acts end any Merit of Ishma'el in the Eyes of G-d and Humanity.

Anonymous, July 31, 2014 3:33 AM

The sons of Ishmael continue to live out the words spoken of their father, that he would "be a wild donkey of a man and live in hostility toward ALL his brothers."

This Middle East fighting is a family inheritance dispute. Isaac got the blessing...and Ishmael didn't.

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