I have been asking myself this question. If the situation were reversed would I do the same? Would I produce a body count to bolster my position? And I’d have to say that yes, I probably would do something similar. Not flaunt the images as the Palestinians and supporters of the Palestinians do, but perhaps I might use the casualties to amplify a defensive position.
Of course the present situation could never be reversed for reasons too numerous to state here, but we don’t have to imagine a case in reverse where the death toll, at least, was disproportionate. We have a ready-made example. The holocaust.
We do cite the holocaust to remind us of the importance of “never again” and to remind others why Israel needs to exist; when we do so, however, we are met with the following deflections.
- belittling the holocaust / denying it or comparing it to other casualties of war.
- cynically calling it an ‘industry’, saying we exploit the holocaust and use it to shut down debate.
- the ‘you of all people’ manoeuvre, a perfect example of reasoning turned on its head. Logic says that any ‘lesson’ to be learned from the holocaust should be directed at potential perpetrators, i.e., antisemites and Judeophobes, who could do well to learn what hatred and demonisation can lead to. It’s not a lesson for the Jews who already know this. Their lessons have to be “Beware, and Never again.”
Many of those who plaster the internet with images of dead babies rely on nothing more than the body count when questioning or denying Israel’s right to defend itself. That often extends to questioning Israel’s right to exist; they believe that the uneven tally of corpses proves that Israel ‘shouldn’t be there’.
Let them consider whether propagandising with such images amounts to exploiting a tragedy. Let them ask themselves if they are not doing the very thing they denounce, should a Jew have the impudence to mention the holocaust in the same breath as the need for a Jewish homeland, or the have the audacity to say ‘never again’.
Let them consider whether their dead baby scoreboard is a valid justification for Hamas’s use of human shields, digging elaborate smuggling tunnels, diverting cash into amassing weapons and infrastructure solely for the purpose of attacking Jews, murdering Palestinian collaborators, preventing people (women and children) from escaping from battle zones or receiving medical attention, celebrating Israeli deaths, artificially enhancing civilian casualty figures, lying about everything to everyone, etc etc etc.
So, quite a bit more than a mirror image of ‘Jews and the holocaust industry.’ Have I thought this through? I'm not sure, but by the same token we must not blindly minimise the hurt and loss suffered by the parents of dead and injured Palestinian children, or assume their grief is paraded merely as part of a cynical ‘industry’ and not genuinely felt.
A delicate tightrope has to be navigated on tiptoe, given that Pallywood shows that there is an industry, and unexpected revelations like the BBC’s exposé of “hashtag gazaunderattack” show that many people are exploiting tragedy.
We should concentrate (which we usually do) on showing that the tragic death toll and suffering is caused by Hamas, Islam and antisemitism, and not by the existence of Israel.