News out of the Middle East has a habit of being inspiring and depressing at the same time. That was the one-two punch today when I read about the ongoing, secretive campaign in Germany and Hungary to issue passports to the Hamas-held Israeli hostages who are eligible for citizenship in those countries.

The Jerusalem Post reports: “Some of the hostages who received German and Hungarian passports were freed in exchange for Israel’s release of convicted Palestinian terrorists and criminals. Other Jewish Israeli hostages who have received Hungarian and German citizenship and are still being held hostage, the Post was told in an exclusive interview. The Israelis who received passports have family members who were born in the Central European countries.”

It is genuinely moving to think that there are those who emerged from their Gaza prison hell to learn that they’d been saved because Germany issued them a passport. History has a funny way of subverting expectations sometimes.

But it’s also a depressing reminder that the governments of the world treat the Jewish state a lot like the way societies treat the individual Jew. And that the world does everything it can to portray the Jews as holders of dual identities—only to use it against us by acting as though we brought it on ourselves.

Jewish prisoners apparently need a reason they should be left alive.  Simply being “human” doesn’t cut it. It’s reminiscent of the Albert Einstein line that if his scientific theories were vindicated then Germany would say he’s a German and France would say he’s a citizen of the world, while any failure would result in France claiming he’s a German and Germany saying he’s a Jew.

Nonetheless, this strategy is a good idea and for all we know, other countries might be doing something similar. While we’re on the subject, perhaps it’s time to hear from President Biden again on this. By the White House’s count, there are still six American hostages in Hamas hands. (The number was eight but two have since been declared dead.)

The hostage crisis sparked a certain degree of solidarity, at least at the beginning, as Andreas Kluth wrote back in November: “The hostages include citizens of not only Israel but also some 25 other countries — from the US to Thailand, Argentina, Germany, France, Nepal, Russia, China, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and beyond. Almost all humanity now has a chamber of its heart held captive somewhere in the tunnels under Gaza.”

Kidnapping is a tactic. Unless Hamas is destroyed, these won’t be the last Americans taken by the terror group. It’s frustrating that this argument even has to be made—that it’s not enough to know that Israelis will be taken hostage in the future—but it’s also the truth. All of the pressure should be put on Hamas, not Israel. It’s not an exaggeration to say that any scrap of reward Hamas receives in this regard puts American and European, not “just” Israeli, lives at risk.

I’m getting tired of the “just Israeli” exception to the rules of the game. So are Israelis. Hopefully neither that exception nor Hamas itself will exist for much longer.

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