Discover more from Conviction by Jason Hicks
I was an anti-Zionist
For years I protested against what I saw as the injustice of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
Then I saw what Assad did to Syrians—and to Palestinians in Syria.
Assad targeted for extermination every community that protested his rule and that included Palestinian refugee camps in Syria.
Studying that war on civilians showed me the difference between Assad’s total war, which aimed to destroy civilian life, and Israel’s wars of self-defense, which had tragic civilian casualties—but whose deaths were not the goal.
In Syria, Assad attacked civilians so much that many moved to be closer to the frontlines of the military conflict because it was safer there. In Syria, civilian life moved underground to evade the bombs—so Assad used chlorine gas (which sinks because it’s heavier than air) to kill them there or drive them aboveground. Hospitals were targeted day after day to render them dysfunctional. People were starved to death. Everything was reduced to rubble.
Israel is accused of carrying out such crimes, yet with an infinitely stronger military than Assad’s, it hasn’t destroyed civilian life in decades of “attacks” to the extent a few years of Assad’s attacks did.
And that’s because destroying civilian life isn’t its goal.
And now that Israel is increasing its bombing of Hamas targets in Gaza, it is warning civilians to leave targeted areas, rather than targeting them on purpose as Assad did.
10/7 showed what targeting civilians looks like.
Excuse me for this horrible counterfactual: The IDF has the capability to respond by going house to house to kidnap Gazan children. But they’re not and they won’t.
They won’t because it’s wrong.
And because Hamas wouldn’t accept the exchange: Hamas wants to exchange innocents for terrorists, life for death.
What Syria also showed me is that virtually no one in the international Palestinian solidarity movement protested against Assad’s attacks on Palestinians—and almost all of them even defended Assad.
They defended Assad despite him killing far more Palestinian civilians than Israel did (and he displaced the majority of Palestinians in Syria). Again, more important than the numbers is the goal behind them: Assad intended to kill civilians. The IDF did not. Yet they still did not protest Assad.
Look at the protests since 10/7.
Do they condemn Hamas? No.
If they’re for Palestinian lives and rights, why not? Do they think Hamas helps their cause?
Did the protests clarify what they mean by “resistance”? No—but some explicitly embraced the paragliders as a symbol and the massacre of 10/7.
If they don’t protest when Assad massacres Palestinians and then continue to call for “resistance” without qualification after 10/7, it is not Palestinian lives and dignity that drive them.
It is hatred of Jews.
And I’m ashamed I was ever a part of it.
I still stand for treating all lives with dignity. However, the obstacle to Palestinians living in peace and prosperity isn’t Israel—it’s the rejection of peace with Israel.
All those who care about Palestinian lives should hope Hamas is destroyed and that the hateful ideologies that allow them to exist are overcome.