Tongue tied by Hamas’ lies? Unravel both with the truth

A resource for responding to anti-Israel messages

Jay image

You encounter the provocative lies everywhere, from online to on campus. 

They are the catch phrases that Hamas' supporters shamelessly peddle to recruit allies by demonizing Israel and lionizing Hamas. 

Many of us become tongue-tied trying to respond.   

But the truth is kryptonite to their soundbite lies. Here are seven examples, slaying their most frequent distortions.  

  1. Immediate, Unconditional Ceasefire 

  • It was Hamas' October 7 violation of an existing ceasefire that sparked this war...  the eighth time since 2007 it has done so. 

  • Hamas calls for "ceasefire" only once Israel begins defending itself.   

  • Calls for Israel to cease fire are never accompanied by demands that Hezbollah, the Houthis, or Hamas ceasefire.  

  1. "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free"   

  • Long before Hamas adopted the phrase as its own, it became part of the PLO's charter calling for Israel's destruction in 1964-three years before Israel took control of the West Bank.  

  • It explicitly does not envision a two-state compromise solution.   

  • The naïve or disingenuous claim that phrase only means that everyone between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea should live freely.  

  • Should read:  "The naïve or disingenuous claim that phrase only means that everyone between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea should live freely."

  • Many candidly acknowledge it means no Israel, that the land will be free of Jews, or at best Jews live "free" under a Hamas-run Islamic State. 

  1. Israel violates international law, commits war crimes, and practices apartheid 

  • Hamas violates international law by taking hostages, refusing International Red Cross visits, using Palestinian civilians (and hostages) as human shields, stealing humanitarian aid, and using schools, mosques, and hospitals as military bases.  

  • Apartheid countries don't allow the discriminated group to serve as members of the parliament, the judiciary, the diplomatic corps, the police, the Army, and to rise to the very top public and private sector roles. Israel not only "allows," but encourages and celebrates Arab-Israelis rising to these positions.  

  • Israel treating Arabs in the West Bank differently than it does its own citizens is not apartheid. All countries treat their own citizens differently than non-citizens; doing so is not discriminatory. West Bank Palestinians are not now and never have been Israeli citizens, and do not seek Israeli citizenship.  Hence, they do not and cannot claim the rights or obligations of Israeli citizenship.  

  1. Genocide 

  • Israel has falsely been accused of genocide-the intent to destroy a group of people-in each of its defensive wars. 

  • How Israel fights is the opposite of genocide: in the war's first 100 days, it has made 79,000 phone calls, dropped 7.2 million leaflets, and sent 13.7 million text messages letting civilians know where and when attacks will occur. Israel does not employ all its military might, while providing humanitarian aid and safe passage corridors.  

  • During 75+ years of supposed genocide, Gaza's population has grown from 80,000 in 1948 to over 2 million today. While every innocent life lost is a tragedy, Gaza's population was higher at the end of 2023 than it was January 1, 2023. Population growth amid genocide is incompatible. 

  1. Disproportionate 

  • The number of combatants killed on either side is not an indicator of proportionality. Should America have stopped fighting Japan or al-Qaeda after the casualties equaled the 3,000 killed at Pearl Harbor or on 9/11? 

  • There is no fathomable proportional response to murdering innocents, raping, and taking hostages. 

  1. Israel is a settler, colonial nation  

  • Jews-who are indigenous to and have had an unbroken presence in the Land of Israel-can't be "settler colonialists" in their own historic homeland. 

  • European settler colonialists sought to enrich their motherlands, with the desire to return home.  

  • Jews returning to their historic homeland were not acting on behalf of a European motherland, and they had no interest in returning.  

  1. Gaza has no electricity, internet, or fuel  

  • The cell phones taking propaganda pictures and videos are powered by …electricity! 

  • Those picture and videos are then posted for propaganda purposes on the ….internet! 

  • Those thousands of rockets being fired from Gaza are powered by…..fuel!   

There are many more Hamas lies. And there are many more truths we need to arm ourselves with.  None of us can rely only upon what we first learned decades ago or reposting yesterday's pithy meme.  

Jay Tcath is Executive Vice President of JUF. 

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