How to Fight Anti-Israel Lies in a Post-Truth World

Jun 5, 2024 | History, Trending

Shortly after the events of October 7, when Hamas attacked, killed, raped, and mutilated 1200 Israelis in southern Israel, including babies, a graduate student at my university in Canada (I am retired, but still receive university email), sent a message to our president and senior administrators. The message, forwarded to others in the university community, lamented the suffering of Palestinians and claimed that the accusations and videos of murder and rape by Hamas were not true; they were creations by Israel using AI.

Remember, this was well before the full force of the Israeli response to the Hamas massacre.

I thought of this incredible example of blindness to the truth when I read a recent New York Times article on the limits of moralism in the Middle East by Ross Douthat.

Douthat questions the Israeli government’s decisions, both before and after October 7, but he is especially critical of the pro-Hamas campus protestors for not seeing the truth of Hamas’ rule in Gaza, and for being comfortable in supporting a revolutionary struggle led by Islamist fanatics.

I thought of this blindness again when I read another recent article that makes the same point in the Times of Israel, based on an interview with Salmon Rushdie by the German tabloid newspaper Bild. In referring to the protesters’ demand to liberate Palestine, Rushdie finds it strange that progressive youth would support a fascist terrorist group like Hamas. He adds that although he has long been a supporter of a Palestinian state, it would likely become an authoritarian Islamist regime like Afghanistan.

In fact, Hamas’ 16 year rule over Gaza has shown the terror group to be against all progressive societal norms, including a free press, gender equality, LGBQT+ rights, and free democratic elections. On the other hand, the latest Economist Magazine Democracy Index 2023 ( clearly indicates that Israel is still the only democracy in the Middle East.

Established in 2006, the annual Democracy Index includes 60 numeric scores measuring electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties. Countries are categorized as one of four regime types: full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes, and authoritarian regimes.

[The Algemeiner Op-Ed continues]

For 2023, only 24 countries are full democracies, 50 are flawed democracies, 34 are hybrid regimes, and 49 are authoritarian regimes. Both the US and Israel are at the upper end of the flawed democracy range, the US ranking 29 and Israel 30.

Of the 20 countries listed for the Middle East and North Africa for 2023, only Israel is a democracy. Morocco and Tunisia are hybrid regimes while the rest are authoritarian. Turkey is a hybrid regime, “Palestine” has an authoritarian ranking, while authoritarian Saudi Arabia is number 150 and Taliban-ruled Afghanistan is last at 167.

That the two million Israeli Arabs (20 percent of Israel’s population) participate fully in Israel’s electoral process does not matter when it comes to labeling Israel an apartheid regime, for we live in a post-truth world in which lies are easy to disseminate with the help of the Internet and social media.

Instead of lauding Zionism as the decolonizing effort of an oppressed indigenous people, the Jews (who have always lived in the Holy Land) are colonialists. Instead of recognizing that more than half of Israeli Jews stem from Jewish refugees forced out of Muslim countries, all Jews in Israel are Europeans. Instead of sanctioning Hamas for the genocidal organization that it openly and proudly claims to be, Israel is accused of genocide when it defends itself.

Whether in relation to the blood libel, or the fabricated Protocols of the Elders of Zion, or any one of a number of imagined conspiracies, lies have been the heart of antisemitism through the centuries. Today the technology used may be different, but the lying continues.

Jacob Sivak, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, is a retired professor, who taught at the University of Waterloo.

View This the Algemeiner Op-Ed