Victor Davis Hanson: What Were The Hamas Monsters Thinking?

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We know the multifaceted strategy of the monstrous Hamas operation of October 7th. In pre-civilization fashion it wished to kill and mutilate the most vulnerable of all Israeli civilians and thus to shock the world that it was capable of—and proud about— anything, from decapitation to necrophilia…



uch animalistic savagery, in the reckoning of Western therapeutic society, was supposedly to be seen as forced upon Hamas murderers by the “occupation.” The killers felt they would shock the Israelis into concessions given their eagerness to commit the unspeakable. They took captives for tripartite reasons: to barter children and the elderly for their kindred terrorist murderers in Israeli jails; to use captives to force the Israelis to grant cease-fires and pauses in their retaliation; and to bank them as shields to protect Hamas kingpins from retaliation.

Hamas invaded during a holiday in the early hours, in a time of peace, and on the iconic 50th-annivesary of the Yom Kippur surprise Arab attack. Their aim was to prove that  Israeli soil was for the first time porous and 2,000 killers could enter sacred Israeli ground with impunity and kill in one day more Jews civilians than at any day since the Holocaust.

The terrorists shot thousands of rockets into Israel to overwhelm Iron Dome and terrify the entire civilian population.

All these tactics were aimed at long-term strategic goals: stop the Abraham Accords; obey the directives of Hamas’ Iranian terrorist masters as payment for their arms; discredit the radical Palestine Authority and Arab moderate nations as anemic in their opposition to the supposedly shared hated Zionist entity; and prompt an Israeli response that by necessity would involve collateral damage to human shields, schools, mosques and hospitals atop subterranean Hamas headquarters.

Yet if we know their despicable methods, aims, and strategies, why did they think the civilized world would support their barbarity or at least excuse it?

One, Hamas assumed anti-Semitism was prevalent throughout the West and was canonical in the Middle East. Palestinian authorities count on the fact that being an enemy of the Jews of Israel wins them empathy of the world and creating their own unique rules of passive-aggressive victimhood.

So Palestinians demand to be the only “refugees” in the world—not Greek Cypriots, Eastern European Germans, Prussians, Kurds, Armenians and certainly not a million Jews cleansed from the Arab Middle East.

Israelis are to be “settlers,” not millions of Middle Easterners who surge and settle into the West, form resistance communities, sneer at integration and assimilation, and use Western liberality to protect and project their own illiberality.

Second, Hamas relies on useful Western idiots. It understands its terrorists repel the majority of Americans. But it figures Western and globalist institutions—academia, the media, popular culture—in their wealth, ignorance, and self-importance, alleviate guilt and find resonance by mouthing the shibboleths of the “underdog.”

In particular, Hamas understands that the Palestinian cause has fused with the leftwing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion industry. Thus Hamas becomes the Middle-East counterpart to BLM, aggrieved minorities; and, more preposterously, the trans/gay/feminist movement. Meanwhile, Israelis are reclassified as the demonized Western “colonialist” white supremacists.

Third, the Islamic expatriate populations of Europe and the U.S. have soared. In the strange logic of the Middle Easterner in the West—on a green card, or a student visa, or either as an illegal alien or a first-generation immigrant—he will envision the magnanimity of Americans and Europeans who offered him refuge from the violence, hatred, tyranny, racism, sexism, terrorism and violence of his homeland all too often as weakness to be manipulated; not as generosity to be appreciated much less reciprocated.

Middle Eastern expatriates brag of their growing numbers and the political clout that Islam accrues in liberal democracies, without a clue of their hypocrisy of supporting illiberal tyrannies whose violence drove them out to the West in the first place.

So, we watch Middle Easterners in the U.S. trying to ruin iconic events such as crashing “Black Friday” shopping, disrupting the New York Thanksgiving Parade or tearing down American flags on Veterans’ Day.

Only in America would the Iranian terrorist theocracy’s ex-ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, be accorded a professorship at Oberlin or a former top diplomat for the Iranian regime Seyed Hossein Mousavian land a coveted billet at Princeton.

From such perches these expatriates are free to promote pro-Hamas, Iranian, anti-Semitic—and Anti-American—agendas. They consider their hosts not so much tolerant as stupid, in the sense that any American expatriate in Iran who whispered criticism of the theocratic regime would either be hanged or used as a barter hostage. Why would those whose careers were devoted to demonizing and harming the United States from their coveted billets in Iran even wish to move to the Great Satan, while keeping warm relations with their theocratic kingpins in Tehran?

Four, behind all these considerations, is the reality of terrorism and the fear it instills in the West, given the 21st century history of Middle Easterners slaughtering thousands of Americans and Europeans. In crude terms, Hamas and its terrorist affiliates signal us, “damn Israel or be prepared for another 9/11.”

Five, Hamas is a death cult, an updated terrorist version of the more organized SS—with the qualifier it broadcasts rather than hides its savagery.

Radical Palestinians brag that they love death more than Israel loves life. So they count on Israel giving up three convicted terrorists to get back one elderly or young Israeli captive, on targeting civilians with rockets while Israelis drops leaflets warning of their bombing attacks, on coercing human shields that they assume Israel will avoid, on sanctioning raping, mutilating and beheading in a way Israel would never conceive of reciprocating in kind and on and on.

So will all these tactical and strategic methods work? For all the UN, media, and globalist support for Hamas, still perhaps not.

October 7 was a declaration by Hamas that all barbarity imaginable was now fair game. Yet its sheer evil has unleashed the IDF that perhaps not even Joe Biden, hostages and “world opinion” can permanently stop.

For all the boasts about loving death, it was Hamas who cowardly murdered the unarmed, scampered back to the safety of their tunnels and used their own kindred Gazans to shield them from death—delivered to them by supposed nerds who love life too much.

Europeans also have had it with unlimited immigration from the Middle East. Restrictionist politicians throughout Europe are ascending as never before, in Greece, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Holland, Spain and Sweden.

They all reflect growing public anger that Europeans are hated by the very people who seek them out and wish to destroy their Enlightenment institutions by manipulating and discrediting them.  The thousands who hit the streets to cheer on October 7 and damn their hosts only confirm a growing global consensus—in the West, Latin America, Asia and even throughout the Middle East—that admitting migrants from Palestine or Gaza, or their supporters, is a veritable death wish.

Pro-Hamas protestors calling Joe Biden “Genocide Joe” and boasting about the Arab or Muslim vote in Michigan is incoherent. Not only do harassing Thanksgiving shoppers and parades, disrupting iconic American holidays and events, swarming highways and bridges and preying on Jews alienate Americans. But also taking credit for ensuring Biden’s defeat will only distance the Democrat establishment, such as it is, from its embarrassing, loud, but ultimately relatively impotent Islamic constituency.

Shouting for mass death “From the River to the Sea” does not endear the pro-Hamas crowd to half of their fellow Democrats, much less unabashedly strutting their anti-Semitism. The current overt support for Hamas, in other words, has revealed to the nation the bankruptcy of the entire pro-Hamas/DEI base of the Democrat Party and will do much to ensure a conservative president in 2024.

And that president will likely deport anyone on a green card or student visa promoting Hamas terrorism or violating U.S. law, while ensuring a travel ban from terrorist supporting regimes in the Middle East. Such measures will win overwhelming public support, despite media and academic outrage.

Strategically, Iran, Hamas and the Palestinians may seem to have flummoxed Israel into endless concessions by metering out hostages for serial pauses. But again, no Israeli government can retain power by allowing the mass murdering Hamas to survive and so it will not.

Despite all the blood-curdling rhetoric of Hezbollah and Iran, neither will attack Israel or U.S. assets in force, given no American president could afford not to retaliate disproportionately. And “disproportionately” would mean rendering Iran’s military and Hezbollah to something akin to the current status of Hamas.

So for now, Hamas and its American-residing apologists are full of themselves and feel they are leveraging and manipulating the West. But such haughtiness may be a delusion. Hamas in the Middle East and its enablers in Europe and America have done more to harm the Palestinian cause and the idea of Middle Eastern immigration to the West than at any time since 9/11.

It is hard to anger Westerners, but continue the death chants, the violent demonstrations, the creepy anti-Semitism, and the proud support for the Hamas bloodwork of October 7, and they will be surprised at the growing anger of otherwise postmodern Europeans and distracted Americans.

Just as Israel realizes that there is no living with Hamas killers, so the West is learning that it can no longer sustain universities that despise the culture that nourishes it or Middle Eastern immigrants, visiting students and residents that use the gift of freedom and tolerance to promote their abhorrent anti-Semitism, violence, intolerance—and, yes, hatred of their generous hosts. ✪


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