Of the many troubling protests seen since the Hamas pogrom of October 7, surely among the most callous are those involving pro-Palestine activists ripping down posters of Israeli hostages.
Some 235 Israelis were taken captive by Hamas terrorists, according to the American Jewish Committee. To date, only four abductees have been released.
Of course, this was in addition to the 1,400 or so Israeli men, women, and children who were brutally murdered by Hamas, and whose raped, burned and beheaded corpses made headlines earlier this month.
Posters of those still missing have been plastered around cities and university campuses worldwide, thanks to a campaign by two Israeli artists raising awareness about the hostage crisis. So impressive is the reach of these posters that I saw them even on a recent visit to a small university town in far-west Wisconsin.
What I did not expect was to see footage online of an anti-Israel activist from Miami removing the now iconic “Kidnapped from Israel” posters from around her city and tossing them in the trash. Even more shocking is that this pattern has been repeated, seemingly ad infinitum, in the days since.
The way they remove the photographs of those held hostage and laugh as they do it, it’s the sheer unadulterated pleasure they receive from doing it that’s most troubling. Grim. pic.twitter.com/FWQzwzTkY8
— Darren Grimes (@darrengrimes_) October 24, 2023
The legacy press has even begun reporting on the phenomenon, with activists’ cold-blooded cowardice exposed on camera in cities and on campuses from Boston to Baltimore to Brooklyn. Nor is this just an American problem, with flyers also being targeted in London and Melbourne.
Surprisingly, among these many heartless activists are working professionals—including a dentist from Florida who has since been fired and a digital design agency employee from New York, now on administrative leave.
The most generous reading of the poster desecrators’ motive is that they believe the plight of Palestinians deserves equal attention. However, Seth Dillon, CEO of The Babylon Bee, has exposed the hole even in this paltry excuse:
The people tearing down posters of Israeli hostages all say the same thing: ‘What about Palestinian victims?’ But if that’s their concern—if it’s just a balance problem—then why are they tearing down Israeli hostage pictures instead of posting Palestinians alongside them?
Unfortunately, the reality appears to be much more sinister.
According to a recent Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll of over 2,100 voters, almost a quarter (24 percent) of Americans believe the atrocities committed by Hamas against Israel were justified.
The questionnaire asked quite pointedly, “Do you think the Hamas killing of 1200 Israeli civilians on Israel can be justified by the grievances of Palestinians or is it not justified?”
Not only did a quarter of American voters answer in the affirmative, but a full 51 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 affirmed that Hamas’ barbarism was excusable.
Follow the logic: If murdering over a thousand Israelis is justified, what are a couple hundred more hostages?
Leaning into this topic in recent weeks is conservative activist Christopher Rufo, who has observed an alarming ideological overlap between college professors and other academics, Black Lives Matter activists, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and supporters of Hamas.
“The critical race theorists are totally ignorant of world history and devoted to nothing more than racial egoism,” Rufo recently mused. “For them, every conflict must be reduced to ‘white-black oppressor-oppressed’ and schematized as a morality play on 1950s/60s America.”
“Hamas, BLM, DSA, decolonization—same ideology; same bloodlust,” he has likewise warned.
Indeed, the widespread acceptance of pro-BLM narratives in the United States helps explain why the desecration of Israeli hostage posters has mostly taken place in America.
Likewise, the high proportion of anti-Israel sentiment among America’s youth could safely be chalked up to woke universities that have radicalized a frightfully large segment of their student body.
Rufo affirms this latter connection, too, drawing a straight line between the infamous Evergreen State College riots in 2017—widely regarded as prototypical of the cancel culture phenomenon—and what we are seeing unfold today:
The ‘no whites on campus’ incident at Evergreen State was the precursor to the ‘intifada on campus’ activism now. The agitators learned that college presidents are too weak to oppose them. The universities tried to delegate moral question[s] to DEI officials—who are with the mob.
It is not a good look for academics whose entire careers are built on respectability. Nor is it a good omen for the future of the West.
Will those guiding our youth find it in themselves to speak up against terrorism, or will they continue justifying it with their silence?
Time is running out for them to speak up—or be judged by history.
Image credit: “Palestine Rally: End The Siege, Stop the War on Gaza” by Matt Hrkac on Flickr, CC BY 2.0.1 comment