There are two kinds of videos going around that show the extent of the worldwide attempt to dehumanize the Jewish people. The first is the tranche of sadistic Hamas recordings from the terrorists’ October 7 rampage, some of which were released by the group itself, streamed to victims’ own social-media accounts, and now being shown to horrified journalists by the Israeli government. The second is obviously tame by comparison—but only by comparison. These videos show Americans and Brits tearing down posters featuring the names and faces of the missing Israelis held by Hamas in Gaza.
You can learn a lot about the poster vandals’ motivations by simply asking them why their first instinct upon encountering the picture of a missing Jewish child is to destroy it. The fact that they keep responding, on video when they are confronted, fills in part of the picture: They were given no reason by their respective societies to believe there would be consequences for their actions.
Yet in at least one case, there were consequences. Miami dentist Ahmed ElKoussa was fired after he was filmed destroying the fliers. In the grand tradition of playing the victim, ElKoussa and his attorney, Hassan Shibly, have asserted that these consequences vindicated ElKoussa’s vandalism. “For his employer to rush to unquestioning judgment based merely on a random website’s uninformed and wildly speculative word on what is in Dr. ElKoussa’s heart over his is both outrageous and demeaning. It is indicative of the atmosphere of hysteria we are in,” Shibly said.
And what was in ElKoussa’s heart? The desire to “promote peace” and “ensure that there’s no conflict here in Florida. And when he saw those posters, he was just concerned that they may lead to an escalation in conflict.” ElKoussa has demanded his job back along with an apology.
That same sense of entitlement was on display with Yazmeen Deyhimi, an NYU student and onetime intern with the Anti-Defamation League who was caught ripping the posters on campus. In the annals of “look what you made me do” excuse-making, hers was a doozy: “I have found it increasingly difficult to know my place as a biracial brown woman, especially during these highly volatile times.” A spokesman later put out a statement on her behalf, reminding everyone that she is a “young Indian and Middle-Eastern, American, Hindu, girl in university who is still learning and still loving.”
Everyone just wants to ease tensions, reduce volatility, you see. And the way to do that, at least in the enlightened West, is apparently to treat reality as a new Covid variant and keep all traces of it at a safe distance. When a University of Pennsylvania law school employee was confronted about the innocent victims on the fliers he was ripping down, he responded: “There were people killed in the hospital bombing.” This was a reference to the false accusation that Israel had been responsible for a deadly strike that was actually carried out by Hamas, a modern blood libel pushed by the New York Times and others in the media at Hamas’s urging.
A woman in London claimed she tore down the fliers because they contained “inaccurate information”—specifically, that women were raped by Hamas terrorists during the attack. This fact had already been established by forensic examiners. In New York, an Israeli artist named Ronit Levin Delgado got into a heated exchange with pro-Palestinian activists in front of the fliers. “We have almost 2,000 that got murdered,” Levin Delgado pleaded with them. Their response, according to the Jewish Week: “We have millions over the last many years,” which the reporter made sure to note was “a significant exaggeration of the Palestinian death toll throughout the history of the conflict.”
Such exaggerations shouldn’t be too surprising at a time when some journalists feel comfortable letting Hamas dictate their stories and others cast doubt on atrocities by quibbling over the difference between “beheading” and “decapitation.” But there is something especially perverse about denying Jewish humanity because of grievance politics or personal comfort in the wake of October 7, a day that has showed the world where that denial can and will lead.