Friday, December 15, 2023

A @NYTimes article on Gaza cemeteries is nothing less than an antisemitic conspiracy theory

One of the major problems with both "human rights groups" and major media reporting on Israeli military actions is their underlying assumption that the IDF is a malevolent force that enjoys causing death and damage for no legitimate reason.

So many articles are built with the same structure: 

- We notice the IDF doing something that seems wrong.
- We cannot figure out why they are doing that.
- Therefore,we must assume the reason is because Jews are vindictive little shits who deliberately direct enormous resources and firepower towards civilian objects for no valid reason.

We saw it yesterday with CNN not understanding why the IDF might use "dumb bombs" and assuming they are being used indiscriminately against civilians. we saw it with HRW reports on Israel using white phosphorus. We've seen it countless times with stories about specific Israeli airstrikes where residents are interviewed saying "We never saw any militants here!"

Today's example comes from The New York Times, saying that since they cannot fathom why Israel might be razing Gaza cemeteries, they must be doing it maliciously and are therefore guilty of war crimes.

The headline summarizes the article:

Why assume that a modern, professional army would do anything without military necessity? If the IDF told hundreds of soldiers, "go destroy this cemetery for no reason" or "because we hate Muslims" wouldn't you think there would be dozens of soldiers running to Breaking the Silence to complain about it?

The NYT is implying a conspiracy theory, that lots of Israeli military leaders secretly work to humiliate and hurt Gazans, and in the middle of a war zone they waste time and resources on things that have no legitimate reason.

Yes, that is antisemitism. But it is acceptable antisemitism nowadays, justified because the IDF did not comment on the accusation.

As is often the case, the newspaper doesn't bother to speculate on why a cemetery might be a legitimate military objective. 

It does mention that "In Gaza City’s Shajaiye neighborhood, where heavy combat raged in recent days, Israeli forces razed part of the Tunisian cemetery to set up a temporary military position. "  It doesn't say that this is a necessary part of any ground combat operations.

Wars require logistics. Soldiers have to be physically there in safe positions, they need to be supplied with ammunition and food, their equipment needs to be secured. The actual fighting is only a portion of what military necessity means. And as difficult as any war is, an urban war is far harder because the army needs to find space where the defender holds great military advantage of hiding among buildings and underground. Securing an area for thousands of troops means they have to use what is there to keep their soldiers safe. 

Tank crews need to eat. They need to relieve themselves. You don't just park a tank in an exposed position on the street surrounded by buildings where the enemy can spend all night placing powerful explosives in its treads. If there is a choice of placing a tank in a cemetery where a perimeter could be secured or in the middle of a residential neighborhood, any sane military commander uses the cemetery assuming it can be secured properly.

Securing the cemetery means bulldozing the gravestones to ensure no tunnel entrances or mines are there and no terrorists are hiding behind trees or monuments. Protecting soldiers' lives is a higher priority than protecting gravestones. 

Here is an article on urban warfare that should be required reading for everybody. It gives a small idea of what is involved. Most importantly, it shows how and why urban warfare is the most difficult kind there is. Real journalism would report on these issues and inform readers about the difficulties and choices commanders have to make. Lazy, biased journalism doesn't bother.

And as bad as the article is for what it says and implies, it is worse for what it doesn't bother to say. Which is that Hamas has a history of using cemeteries for military purposes.

Here's video of rockets being shot from a Gaza cemetery in 2014. 

Hamas has shot hundreds of rockets from these supposedly sacred cemeteries. 

Did the New York Times ever castigate Hamas then for desecrating a religious site? On the contrary  when Islamists destroyed a large cross in a British military cemetery in Gaza in 2006, the New York times didn't report the story. 

Cemeteries are ideal places to hide rocket launchers. There are no tall buildings around and any digging that happens there is considered normal activity. Which also makes cemeteries ideal places to hide tunnel shafts as well. Hamas loves using cemeteries - and soccer fields - as rocket launching pads. 

And some neighborhoods in Gaza are so crowded that people have been building houses on cemetery grounds. No NYT stories about that desecration either.

The idea that the IDF, in the midst of a highly complex military environment, wastes time and energy on wanton, needless destruction of a cemetery is not just ignorant. It is not just a libel. It really is an antisemitic conspiracy theory that is eagerly spread by the "newspaper of record."

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

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