Speaking at a press conference in Israel in the midst of another whirlwind Middle Eastern trip to seek a resolution to free the 136 hostages held in captivity by Hamas, Israel’s war on Hamas, and presumably reducing the immediate threat from Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Iran in general, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a series of remarks that were foolish, and not conducive to a resolution of any of these. It’s shocking and embarrassing that the US Secretary of State would do so, not just because it shows his foolishness on full display, but it shows America's allies and enemies alike that its policies remain rooted in seeing the world as they want things to be rather than how they really are.
Blinken was in Israel for his seventh time since October 7, speaking on February 7, four months since the Hamas atrocities.
When he started off his remarks were on the mark, “Israelis were dehumanized in the most horrific way on October 7. The hostages have been dehumanized every day since.” But then he devolved into what’s been referred to as a harsh rebuke of Israel’s conduct of the war, and put his foolishness on center stage, “But that cannot be a license to dehumanize others.”
The idea of dehumanizing others is one that is deliberate, pre-meditated, evil. It flies in the face of the biblical notion that we are all created in God’s image. We have seen dehumanization of others many times throughout history, but Israel’s war against Hamas is not one of them. Blinken knows that. The world should know that too. It’s been well documented that Israel has in fact gone over and above to prevent civilian casualties, delaying ground operations, and creating corridors for civilians to flee where there is about to be fierce fighting. Israel has dropped millions of flyers and sent SMS messages and phone calls to Gazans, urging them to flee. Israel has sent in ground troops putting their lives at risk rather than simply carpet bomb Gaza. Israel has allowed humanitarian aid into Gaza, something unprecedented in war, to provide fuel, food, and resources knowing that one’s enemy will not only benefit but steal these all from the civilians. And more.
If anything, this demonstrates a superhuman effort to preserve human life, not what Blinken suggested.
“The daily toll that [Israel’s] military operations continue to take on innocent civilians remains too high.”
Blinken’s foolishness was also on full display by accepting the Hamas alleged casualties (27,000+) which is neither documented, reliable, nor does it separate the number of terrorists targeted and killed (over 10,000 by Israel’s count), or draw a distinction between those who are actively part of and supporting Hamas despite whether teachers, UN employees, journalists, and many others who have a civilian job but were directly or indirectly involved or supported the October 7 massacre and hostage taking. It does not distinguish between those killed by stray Hamas rockets and others.
Blinken acknowledged that “more assistance than ever is flowing into more places in Gaza than at any time since October 7.” But treacherously added that Israel “must ensure that the delivery of life-saving assistance to Gaza is not blocked for any reason, by anyone.” The later remark was a direct swipe at the real pain and anguish in Israel over this issue, and the legitimate democratic right for Israelis to protest the delivery of any humanitarian aid to Gaza without Israeli hostages coming out. Israelis have a right to peaceful demonstration no less than Americans, and Blinken has no right to challenge that.
Blinken was foolish to use a parallel of the dehumanization by Hamas against Israel and Jews, throughout decades of indoctrinated to their children, and on full display on October 7 and since, conflating it with any humanitarian problem in Gaza. Even a genuine humanitarian problem does not equate to dehumanization. Here, Blinken’s harsh and foolish rhetoric actually became offensive and dangerous.
Blinken called for “a concrete, time-bound and irreversible path” to a Palestinian state alongside Israel, both living in peace and security. Yet, it’s foolish to talk about a Palestinian state in general, but specifically in this context, in this venue, and at this time, as a reward for terror. He knows that there is no person or entity that is capable of actually leading a Palestine state that would both responsibly advocate for the well-being of Palestinian Arabs, and be willing and able to prevent and counter incitement and violence against Israel.
“The overwhelming majority of people in Gaza had nothing to do with the attacks of October 7. The families in Gaza whose survival depends on deliveries of aid from Israel are just like our families. They’re mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, who want to earn a decent living, send their kids to school, have a normal life. That’s who they are. That’s what they want. And we cannot, we must not lose sight of that. We cannot, we must not, lose sight of our common humanity.”
Blinken was foolish to say declaratively that most Palestinian Arabs in Gaza had nothing to do with October 7. Not only does he not know that for a fact, nor is there any evidence to support it, but there is abundant evidence to the contrary. If only because of Arab polls that show Palestinian Arabs overwhelmingly support Hamas, much less that they have been willing enablers of its reign of terror. This is a result of the indoctrination that has been allowed to take place (largely under the auspices of UNRWA, and largely funded by the US for decades) of Palestinian Arab children, for decades, which has created this culture of hate, violence, and dehumanization of Israelis and Jews. There is no parallel in Israel.
Blinken would be well advised to observe how US funding of this system for decades laid the foundation for October 7, rather than to suggest that Israel has lost sight of humanity.
Blinken knows that when looking at the vast physical terrorist infrastructure Hamas has built throughout Gaza alone, there is no way to imagine that it was done without the full awareness and complicity of countless Gazans. Maybe even most of them. If Blinken is right, where are the thousands of Gazans (democratically) protesting Hamas’ holding hostages, knowing that once they are released their lives will improve vastly?
Blinken was correct in stating that Hamas is “an enemy whose leaders surround themselves with hostages, an enemy that has declared publicly its goal to kill as many innocent civilians as it can, simply because they’re Jews, and to wipe Israel off the map. That’s why we’ve made clear that Israel is fully justified in confronting Hamas and other terrorist organizations.”
He was correct saying, “That’s why the United States has done more than any country to support Israel’s right to ensure that October 7 never happens again.”
But with such foolishness on full display, it makes it hard to take him seriously, to see him and the Biden Administration as really being that competent in this situation. This foolishness sends a clear and dangerous message to Hamas, Iran, and all the rest of its proxies, that it is ultimately a paper tiger seeking to limit Israel’s necessary and justified military response.
Israel is at war to crush Hamas and its ideology which has hijacked Palestinian Arab society, and every effort must be made to win. Not in this war, or any other just and necessary war, is it legitimate to cast aside the imperative to win with foolishness embodied in all these comments and this one, that Israel “needs to put civilians first and foremost in mind.”
To what extent Blinken’s remarks, immediately followed by Biden’s comment that he thinks Israel’s response has been “over the top,” are governed by politics and how that impacts Israel carrying out the war is unclear. But it is becoming more clear that US politics are gaining influence on how Israel will be able to conduct the war, which was discussed in depth in the Inspiration from Zion podcast.
Secretary Blinken, Israel does need to put civilians in mind first and foremost. Its own civilians.
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
Image credit: ©Getty Images/Leigh Vogel / Stringer
Jonathan Feldstein was born and educated in the U.S. and immigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He writes regularly for a variety of prominent Christian and conservative websites and is the host of Inspiration from Zion, a popular webinar series and podcast. He can be reached at [email protected]
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