Sten Hankewitz: Standing with Israel is the same as standing with Ukraine

In the light of the most recent war between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas, there are no ifs or buts; it’s purely based on right and wrong – you’re right if you support Israel, and you’re wrong if you’re supporting Hamas, Sten Hankewitz, the executive editor of Estonian World, writes.

On 7 October, Hamas – a terrorist group, internationally recognised as such – brutally attacked Israel. Thousands of rockets were launched against Israel, followed by a ground invasion which involved murder and kidnapping of innocent Israelis – babies, grandmothers, women among them. Over 1,400 Israelis were killed, including 260 people at a music festival, and many kidnapped, whose fate is unknown.

Never since the Holocaust were so many Jews killed in one day. But, like during the Holocaust, so many people in the world were standing by, watching, not saying a word – because, hey, it’s just Jews being murdered.

Moreover, there are also people who are actively advocating for Hamas, whether realising or unrealising that Hamas, officially the Islamic Resistance Movement, is the entity that is bringing destruction to both Israel and the Arab population living in Gaza Strip that it governs. I’m seeing people on my Facebook feed who are actively holding Israel responsible for Hamas’s attack against it and condemning Israel’s potential retaliation.

Hamas’ terrorists take part in a military parade in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah on 29 May 2014.

Sure, Arab civilians have, are, and will be dying in conflicts between Israel and its Arab neighbours. But the truth is, Israel is doing everything to avoid civilian casualties, as it has always been doing, while Hamas is actively using Arab civilians – the people they claim to represent – as human shields. By attacking Israel, out of the blue, Hamas knows it will only bring death and destruction to the people they claim to represent in Gaza.

Hamas is brutally murdering Jews left and right

I’ve been to Israel many, many times. I’ve been to the West Bank quite a few times, too. Admitted, I’ve never been to Gaza. But the Arabs I’ve spoken to in both Israel and the West Bank – most of them just want to go on with their lives, to live, to work, to live in peace. 

But the terrorist organisations just won’t let them. Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005 – that’s over 18 years ago. Israel hasn’t been “occupying” Gaza for 18 years – and now, Hamas is attacking Israel under the context of occupation. Brutally murdering and kidnapping Israelis left and right, including the elderly and babies.

And yet, there are people around the world protesting against Israel defending itself, its people. And not protesting against the brutality Hamas is bringing to Israel, to the Jewish people.

Dead bodies of Israelis killed by Hamas’ terrorists in Israel on 7 October 2023. Screenshot from a news report by Channel 4 (UK).

It’s true that this, most recent war against Hamas is due to the Israeli appeasement that has run from 2005 to this day. Appease your enemy long enough, and the enemy becomes stronger, and the enemy will attack you. And it certainly doesn’t help that the enemy of Israel is supported by Russia – the same horrendous dictatorial regime that is and has been for years brutally murdering Ukrainians in their own country.

Hamas wants to destroy Israel

Hamas is supported by Russia, via Hezbollah (Lebanese Islamist militant group), via Iran. It’s Russia who wins if Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is attacked and destroyed – because Israel doesn’t fit in the Russian narrative. Russia – and its predecessor, the Soviet Union – has always armed and supported Israel’s enemies, the countries that wanted to destroy Israel. Very much like the Soviet Union’s one-time ally, Nazi Germany, who brutally murdered six million Jews in Europe and actively cooperated with several Middle Eastern Arab leaders in their quest to murder even more Jews.

My dear friend, Dr Efraim Zuroff, the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Jerusalem office, recently wrote in an opinion in Jerusalem Post: “Thus Hamas has in principle – both religious and political – opposed any compromise which would recognise the legitimacy of the State of Israel in its current territory. They are, in that respect, the spiritual heirs of Haj Amin Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who hoped that the Nazis would implement the Final Solution in Palestine and spent most of World War II in Berlin, spreading Nazi propaganda in Arabic, and helping recruit Bosnian Moslems to join the Waffen-S.S.”

Truer words have never been spoken. But now, we also have to take Russia into the equation. In the Second World War, Nazi Germany was the biggest perpetrator, the biggest murderous entity in the conflict; then again, the Soviet Union handed over hundreds of Jews to Nazi Germany as a “goodwill gesture” before the two countries became enemies. All these Jews were murdered.

And now, Russia is supporting the destruction of the Jewish state through the means in its disposal – Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas. Because it serves Russia’s agenda as much as destroying Ukraine.

Fighters from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah at a training exercise in Aaramta village in the Jezzine District, southern Lebanon, on 21 May 2023. Russia does not consider Hamas nor Hezbollah as terrorist organisations and both groups use also Russian-made weapons. Photo by Tasnim News Agency, shared under the Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 DEED licence.

Jews fighting for survival

It’s not Israel who’s fighting for its survival. It’s the Jews.

Jews have been murdered for thousands of years. What creates antisemitism these days is the fact that, for the last 80 years, Jews have been fighting back. It’s outrageous! It’s unheard of! The meme that shows Israeli Air Force fighter jets and says, “Jews. Not so easy to fuck with anymore” has become a staple on the internet age because, it’s not Israel that is fighting for its survival. It’s the Jews. We. Us. The people who have been killed for centuries while nobody gives a toss.

The bottom line is, though, Russia is murdering Ukrainians in their homeland, and now it’s murdering Jews in their homeland by proxy – if not directly. If you’re supporting Hamas, you’re supporting Russia. If you think you can be “objective”, you’re supporting Hamas.

There is no right or left in this war. There is no “look at what they’re doing.” There’s right, and there’s wrong. You’re right if you support Ukraine and Israel, and you’re oh so wrong if you support Russia and Hamas.

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