Alan Dershowitz: The media's misplaced sympathy for the Hamas lynch mob

As evidence mounts that Hamas intended to murder Israeli children, women and men after breaching the border fence to Israel,  Hamas apologists must ask themselves why they are on the wrong side of morality. 

The recent border attack and attempted invasion of Israel by Hamas was anything but a peaceful protest.  It was a lynch mob targeting Israeli day care centers, schools, and homes.  The goal of the lynchers, according to Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas political leader, was to “take down the border” and “tear their hearts from their bodies.”  According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, “Hamas posted maps for their operatives showing the quickest routes from the border to Israeli homes, schools and day care centers near the border.”

Yet many in the media, and many Hamas sympathizers on the left, insist on portraying this invasion as a peaceful demonstration, comparable to those conducted against the Ku Klux Klan by Martin Luther King and his fellow civil rights demonstrators. 

I was part of those demonstrations back in the 1960s, and it is a gross insult to the memory of King and his followers to compare his peaceful tactics to the murderous goals of Hamas.  One of Hamas’ co-founders, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, recently told the truth in an interview with Al Jazeera: “When we talk about ‘peaceful,’ we are deceiving the public.”

Many in the public seem all too eager to be deceived because Hamas has succeeded in portraying themselves as the civil rights demonstrators protesting against the Israeli Ku Klux Klan.  But in reality, the roles are reversed.  Hamas is the Ku Klux Klan, violently rioting to break down the protective barrier so they can lynch innocent Jewish children and other civilians, the way the Klan lynched innocent black citizens. 

Only Hamas can stop the bloodshed. But it won’t as long as the media gives it public relations victories every time Israel kills in self-defense.

Thankfully, the Israeli military, who are the good guys in this encounter, were there to protect innocent civilians from being lynched.  I know, because I was at the Gaza border, and in a tunnel used by Hamas to try to murder and kidnap Israeli civilians and soldiers. 

I witnessed young Israeli women – 18 and 19 years old – each with a computer assigned to monitor several yards of the protective barrier and to assure that no one crossed over and endangered their fellow Israelis.  I met with ordinary soldiers and commanders stationed on the border.  These good people lose sleep every time an Israeli sniper accidently kills an unarmed rioter because another rioter burned tires sending up black smoke calculated to block the view and distort the aim of Israeli soldiers whose job it is to protect civilians.

The ordinary citizens of Gaza are also victims of Hamas’ bloody tactic of promoting death and martyrdom. Only Hamas can stop the bloodshed.  But it won’t as long as the media gives it public relations victories every time Israel kills in self-defense.

Every time an Israeli soldier kills a Gazan rioter or protestor, Hamas wins. And every time Hamas kills an Israeli civilian, Hamas wins. Because Hamas’ dual goal is death among civilians on both sides.  

The time has come, indeed, it is long past, for the world to recognize and condemn this Hamas tactic, which the media incentivizes by its gruesome focus on the body count.

Alan M. Dershowitz is Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School and author of, "Trumped Up! How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy," which is now available. Follow Alan Dershowitz on Twitter: @AlanDersh Facebook: @AlanMDershowitz.