Slaughter of innocents

Last week I wrote of how proud I was of being a Zionist, and how much I admired and respected the flawed but still remarkable state of Israel. The vomit of abuse was predictable — sent to me privately but also on display in the comment section of this newspaper.

Just hours later, the militant, violent face of such race-hatred and irrational anti-Israel hysteria revealed itself when five innocent people, three of them tiny children, were slaughtered like animals as they slept in their beds.

Udi Fogel, 36, was knifed to death, as was his wife, Ruth, a year younger. The other three victims were Yoav, who was 11, Elad, who was four, and tiny Hadas, a mere three months old. One of the children who survived, just two years old, found his mother and father in pools of blood and hugged them and cried as he told them to wake up, wake up, please wake up.

This was not a bomb, not a random shot, not an accidental attack. A terrorist spent time trying to enter various homes until he found one where a family was asleep. He then plunged a knife into each person, taking what must have been quite some time as he systematically murdered them. He would have looked at the sleeping babes, heard their breaths, smelled their child-like innocence, and then stabbed them over and over again.

The coverage of the horror has been limited, partly because of the catastrophe in Japan, but also — let’s be honest — because compassion fatigue set in a long time ago when Israelis suffer. The Israeli government has made an official complaint about CNN’s jaundiced coverage of the event, but there is not much it can do about media indifference. Imagine for a moment if an Israeli had done this to Palestinians. There would have been full front pages within a day and documentaries, dramas and books already planned.

Not here, not now, not for these people. In Gaza, the allegedly starving inhabitants were given cake and candies to celebrate the event, and even in parts of the West Bank there was celebration. Many Arab leaders did, however, condemn the atrocity, but what is said in English to the greater world is often different from what is said in Arabic to their own world.

It is not the first time that children have been targeted by Palestinian terrorists. In fact, kindergartens and schools are common attack sites. Then there are discos, old people holding Seder meals, or even hospitals. It is one thing, and a terrible thing, for an Israeli shell to accidentally kill innocent people, but quite another to deliberately kill the weakest and most precious and needy.

There is a culture of life and a cult of death at war in the Middle East, and if we do not see beyond fashionable politics and the perverse sacraments of modern leftist theology we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. Palestinians deserve justice, but justice demands humanity.

By the way, this slaughter of innocents took place while publicly funded Canadian students were trying to silence and intimidate their opponents by holding Israel Apartheid Week. The irony bleeds, and so do the Fogels.

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Contact the Editor: Joel Johannesen

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