“Decolonization is not a metaphor:” Protesters in New York City. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith via Getty Images)

When People Tell You Who They Are, Believe Them

This is what ‘decolonization’ really looks like. Look carefully at who is cheering it on.

At the end of the Second World War, it took the Allies months, if not years, to uncover the full scale of Germany’s war crimes. That’s because the Nazis tried to hide them. 

In October 2023, Hamas broadcast what they did—what they are doing—in real time.

They took horrific videos to document and share it all. Videos of naked women; of a captured six-year-old-boy; of beheaded soldiers.

This young woman—her name is Mor—learned that her grandmother had been slaughtered because a terrorist took her grandmother’s cell phone, filmed her murder, and then uploaded the video to the grandmother’s own Facebook page, ensuring her family would see it.

Now they are threatening to execute the hostages they have captured on live television.

It’s as if the Cossacks had TikTok.

On the one hand I think: surely this will be sufficient. Surely this amount of blood will be enough to shake the world awake. Surely no one can equivocate or justify this. As my friend Sarah Haider wrote, “How easy is it to simply condemn targeted violence against civilians? Can there be a lower bar?” 

And yet, across the world, people have sunk below it.

Here you can watch people gathered at the Sydney Opera House cheering “gas the Jews” and “death to the Jews.” People are rejoicing in the slaughter on the streets of Berlin and London and Toronto and New York. (Scroll down to read our Free Press dispatch on the celebrations in Manhattan.)

At our most prestigious universities there is silence from administrations that leapt to speak out on George Floyd’s killing and on the war in Ukraine. Indeed, Meantime, the social justice crowd offers explanations for the massacre—a massacre that, in part, targeted a group of progressive Israelis at a music festival. Terrorists came to that festival on paragliders carrying machine guns to start their slaughter. They raped women there next to the dead bodies of their friends.

In that way, as Free Press editor and writer Peter Savodnik explains in our second piece in today’s digest, the last few days have been extremely clarifying. 

Because now we know. 

Now we know who would have looked at Jews shoved onto cattle cars and said, “Well, they did undermine the German economy.” Those are the people today saying: “This is a justified response to the provocation of Israel existing.” Now we know whose politics are rooted not in conservatism or liberalism or anything else other than simply hating Jews. Now we can see exactly how people manage to always come up with a reason for why the Jews deserved it. 

The people cheering and waving flags are not celebrating Palestinian liberation. The Hamas attack that began on October 7 won’t lead to a free Palestine. Instead, it will lead—it is already leading—to a horrific escalation, with many more dead on both sides. The people cheering are celebrating death. I’m struck that American intellectuals are reprinting the picture of the paraglider as an image of liberation, like a hip new logo, that visual of death. 

Hamas broadcast the slaughter. I thought it would be enough. 

Before you read on . . .

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