Hamas’s desire to maximize Palestinian suffering is well known, but there’s an easy way to tell whether supposed pro-Palestinian advocates share that revolting instinct: How do they react to good news?

For example, thanks to a report issued quietly earlier this month by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification’s Famine Review Committee (quite the name), we now know there is no famine in Gaza. Yet you will only see this discussed among pro-Israel Jews online. The vast digital army of Twitter martyrs is quiet. Western media appear to be experiencing a self-imposed blackout. The Palestinian cause seems nothing less than deflated at the news that children will not be dying of hunger.

As of this morning, two weeks after the UN agency that monitors “food insecurity” debunked its own hysteria, the closest thing to a reference in the New York Times is an item in a running liveblog that mentions Israel’s latest humanitarian pause. The Times says this brief pause could help “alleviate a severe hunger crisis.” But —hilariously—those words link to the paper’s April report warning that a famine would set in by May. Which is to say, there’s no mention of the fact that famine has been averted. But the Times does mention its own past report, which has been discredited by actual subsequent events.

The cherry on top of this agitprop sundae comes when the Times quotes a British activist complaining, “This is not what a famine response looks like.”

In fact, according to the international organizations that beat the steady drumbeat of famine, this is exactly what a famine response looks like. Sorry to disappoint the pro-Palestinian movement, but it appears the children will live.

The Famine Review Committee “does not find the [famine prediction] analysis plausible given the uncertainty and lack of convergence of the supporting evidence.” As Avi Bitterman, who spent months predicting there would indeed be no famine based on the available evidence, points out: “The food trucks FEWS NET used for its analysis is significantly less than reported by other sources. One of the reasons for this is the complete exclusion of private sector food trucks (something the UN currently still does, by the way — take note @UN). They also excluded [World Food Programme] deliveries to bakeries in northern Gaza in April.”

In other words, despite the availability of the full aid-truck data, the UN only counted some of the food being delivered to Gaza. What’s more, the WFP is an arm of the UN, which means the UN isn’t even counting all the food it delivers itself. And as Bitterman notes, the UN continues to do this. The methodology behind measuring Palestinian suffering, then, is: If you only count some of the food Gazans are eating, Gazans are not eating enough food.

I wish it were more complicated than this, but it really doesn’t appear to be.

How much does it matter? A ton: “Ultimately, these exclusions make the difference between 38-49% of coverage of caloric needs being covered and 75-109% of caloric needs being covered. This is a wild difference to not count, these figures literally make the difference between the plausible range of nutritional adequacy and straight up death in many cases. Also this is the conservative estimate range. The upper end is 157% of caloric needs being met.”

Mark Zlochin spells it out: “the daily kilocalories requirements have been clearly surpassed in April, even if the most conservative estimates are used.” (Zlochin had also questioned the data predicting a famine.)

Two questions remain. First, why isn’t everyone shouting this from the rooftops? The answer is reminiscent of a response I once heard a rabbi give to a young student, who asked if it were permissible for a Jew to be a nice person only to Jews but not to gentiles. The rabbi responded: You are either a nice person or you aren’t; it’s not possible to “be a nice person” only some of the time. Your essential character determines the rest. Similarly, one side in this conflict values life. There is no way to be a person who values life only some of the time. Israel takes pains to prevent the deaths of Israelis and Palestinians alike; Hamas seeks to maximize the number of casualties suffered by both. It is not surprising to see their supporters around the world reflect this.

Second question: Why the routine overexaggeration of suffering in Gaza? Just because there is no famine does not mean there is no hardship. Just because there is no genocide does not mean there is no death. Why must Israel’s misdeeds be invented or inflated?

I think the answer to that, too, is Hamas. Even if you are inclined to dislike Israel and oppose its every move, a war with Hamas must be deeply uncomfortable. Because whatever you may think of Israel’s security policies, the Jewish state exists within a framework of humanity and decency and ethics—and Hamas exists outside that framework. Seeing Israel as the perpetual bad guy must be difficult for even the most committed anti-Zionists when such a stance would require publicly supporting a barbarian terrorist gang such as Hamas. So the solution for the Israel-hater is to inflate Israeli perfidy to comparable levels.

The facts, of course, clearly contradict such positions.

+ A A -
You may also like
Share via
Copy link