STARTING today, with its climax on Saturday evening, the Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Tel Aviv. The murdering thugs and gangsters of Hamas and their supporters badly want to disrupt it.
Eurovision is under attack on two fronts. There are calls for a boycott: the Palestine Solidarity Campaign are asking all participants to withdraw from the contest to avoid complicity ‘in Israel’s ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights’.
They claim that days after Israel’s Eurovision win in 2018, it ‘massacred’ 62 Palestinians, but fail to mention that the demonstrations provided cover for attempts to infiltrate Israel’s border and for armed attacks on Israeli troops.
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions organisation accuse Israel of ‘shamelessly using Eurovision’ to ‘whitewash and distract attention from war crimes’. You would be wrong, it seems, if you thought that like other people Israelis might just enjoy Eurovision’s glitzy nonsense for its own sake. No, those wicked Zionists have deviously deployed a naff pop festival in their war to establish global hegemony.
The more serious threat to Eurovision, though, is of actual armed attack on its host country during the contest. Israel has already suffered a rocket and mortar barrage this month from Hamas. Many have interpreted this as being, at least in part, Hamas trying to show their ability to ruin the party atmosphere of Eurovision if they choose.
Hamas would naturally despise Eurovision and not just because it represents Israel’s international acceptance. It might be too tacky for some tastes, but Eurovision is about two things that those with totalitarian instincts such as Hamas hate: fun and freedom.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz believes Eurovision is just too tempting a target for Hamas, despite their lack of any real justification for another bombardment. Even if (and I don’t) you accept that Hamas are entitled to use violence, rocket fire is never a reasonable response to pop music.
Hamas stamp on anything that’s outside their grim sense of propriety. They will not tolerate anything that doesn’t fit with their interpretation of traditional Arab culture. You will struggle to hear music in Gaza that is not either religious or a ghastly celebration of martyrdom and death. Music as a form of free expression for young people has effectively disappeared.
Thankfully, Hamas’s recent armed attacks have been ineffective. Not only are they militarily incompetent but they have been frustrated by Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ anti-missile defence, which knocks projectiles out of the sky.
Only four Israeli civilians have been killed despite Hamas’s best efforts. This figure will disappoint them, given that their military leader Yahya Sinwar has stated a wish to wipe out Israel.
But if that’s beyond them, they will settle for whatever terror and fatalities they can achieve with their virtually random fire. The West’s political left, though, so voluble in condemning Israeli actions, show no sympathy for Hamas’s victims or concern about the consequences of their reckless tactics.
Hamas often launch attacks from civilian areas, hoping to use casualties caused by Israeli counter-fire to score propaganda points. Deliberately endangering non-combatants in this way is a war crime. There’s an example of the practice in this Indian TV report from 2014. When responding, Israel does its best to avoid hitting civilians, often warning of impending attacks; sadly some innocent casualties still occur.
Hamas are also careless about hitting their own civilians. When their rockets accidentally landed in the Al-Shati refugee camp, 13 people, mainly children, were killed. Despite attempts to blame Israel, Amnesty International clearly established Hamas’s guilt.
The claims that Hamas must act in defence against Israeli attempts to massacre Gaza’s civilians are nonsense. If it wished, Israel’s military, one of the world’s most effective, could obliterate Gaza in an afternoon.
But that’s not Israel’s wish. It’s Hamas who have genocidal urges, as a reading of its founding charter will tell you.
Those who protest against Israel’s actions all too often won’t have a word of condemnation for Hamas’s crimes. Or for the visceral hatred it so often shows towards Israel’s people.
Hamas links to a strand of Palestinian nationalism which has much in its history and more recent actions that’s best left hidden. From wartime collaboration with Nazism to present-day summary executions of Palestinians for simply doing unsanctioned business with Jews.
Selling land to a Jew is particularly likely to bring such retribution.
In general, Hamas have no difficulty with violence against their own population.
Hamas respond to domestic opposition with great brutality. According to an Amnesty International report from March this year, Hamas have stamped on dissent in Gaza with alarming levels of torture and ‘shocking human rights violations’ against ‘peaceful protesters’.
Free from Hamas rule, though, is another group of Palestinians, the majority of whom know that they have a far freer and richer life than those living under the Hamas regime: the 1.6million Arabs who make up a fifth of Israel’s population. Israel has its faults and Israeli Arabs have their grievances, such as the greatly resented recent citizenship laws which are widely seen as discriminatory. Nevertheless, polling evidence shows the majority want to be citizens of an Israeli state not a Palestinian one, and are even ‘proud’ to be Israeli.
The miseries Hamas inflicts on its own people aren’t limited to political violence or indifference about the consequences of its ineffectual battles with its powerful neighbour. Hamas is also corrupt and incompetent and mismanages both Gaza’s limited resources and pitiful economy. Much of the badly needed foreign aid it receives for humanitarian purposes, both from governments and charities, is diverted to waste on its futile military efforts.
But the anti-Israel groups and activists and their media allies, blinded by hatred of Israel, won’t talk about the effects of Hamas’s rule on its people. As the New York Times has put it, ‘Palestinian lives don’t matter, unless Israel is to blame’. Perhaps if the Palestine Solidarity Campaign really want to show solidarity with the people of Gaza, instead of of boycotting Eurovision, they could organise a march against Hamas?