OPINION: ‘What was your initial response to the October 7th attacks by Hamas?’

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OPINION: ‘What was your initial response to the October 7th attacks by Hamas?’

The question can – and should – be asked of all the people who are shouting the loudest about Israel and its conduct in Gaza.

Piers Morgan's discussion with Novara Media host Michael Walker. Screenshot: Twitter/X
Piers Morgan's discussion with Novara Media host Michael Walker. Screenshot: Twitter/X

Last week, Dana Abuqamar, a Palestinian student studying at the University of Manchester, was informed by the British Government that her student visa had been revoked. The Middle East Eye agitprop site published a video interview with Ms Abuqamar, describing her visa as having been cancelled “following her speech in a university demonstration”. Ms Abuqamar talked about having lost a number of relatives in Gaza during the last eight months and that her visa had been revoked on the grounds of “national security”.

Thousands of people shared the video, expressing outrage at the callous behaviour of the British Government. They seemed less keen on sharing the video of what Ms Abuqamar had actually said at that “university demonstration” – which was odd, as she had been interviewed on national television on October 8th, concerning the people of Gaza, and said the following:

In terms of having family there, of course one would be worried for what is happening and its affects on their mental and physical health – a lot of Gazans right now are living in fear – but also they are full of pride…we are full of pride, we are really, really full of joy at what has happened.”

Perhaps an even more egregious example came late last year, when ITV decided to invite a young Palestinian woman, Latifa Abouchakra, on air to discuss the sharp rise in Islamophobia since October 7th. Ms Abouchakra told ITV that “it makes me feel, as a Muslim woman in this country, that no matter how hard I work, no matter how good I can be, it will never be enough because apparently Muslims and Palestinians are inherently terrorists”.

There has undoubtedly been a sharp spike in anti-Muslim hatred in the last eight months. Unfortunately, as ITV subsequently and embarrassingly admitted, they had chosen unbelievably poorly with regard to their studio guest. Ms Abouchakra is a reporter for Press TV, the Iranian Regime’s propaganda channel.

On October 7th, Ms Abouchakra posted a video to her Instagram. Beaming, she told watchers that: “nothing will ever be able to take back this moment, this moment of triumph, this moment of resistance, this moment of surprise, this moment of humiliation on behalf of the Zionist entity.”

Over the past few months, a trend has emerged, which we can call the October 7th test. It can – and should – be asked of all the people who are shouting the loudest about Israel and its conduct in Gaza. The question is simple: What was your initial response to the October 7th attacks by Hamas? Because if it was celebratory, then why on earth should we or anyone else see you as the moral arbiters of anything ever again?

The number of people who fail that very simple test may surprise some. Last week, a contributor to another far-left Agitprop site, Novara Media, went on Piers Morgan’s show and said that there was a ‘stronger case for kicking Israel out [of Eurovision] than Russia.’ When he was asked what his response to the October 7th attacks had been, he was mysteriously reticent to answer – perhaps because at the time what he had tweeted was “So guys, do we support the right of an occupied people to fight an occupier or not?” One of his fellow contributors – whose every second tweet appears to be about the evils of Israel and of Zionism – notoriously tweeted on October 7th that “Today should be a day of celebration for supporters of democracy and human rights worldwide, as Gazans break out of their open-air prison and Hamas fighters cross into their coloniser’s territory. The struggle for freedom is rarely bloodless and we shouldn’t apologise for it.” They later went on to apologise and claimed they wanted to “move forward differently”.

Daniel Sugarman

The examples pile up. The young man who gave an interview about how he was a Jewish student at Columbia and that that people shouldn’t believe that the encampment was antisemitic? The same person who in response to the White House condemning the October 7th attacks as “unprovoked attacks by Hamas terrorists against Israeli civilianssaidapparently terrorism is when you hit someone and they hit you back“.

The person who in April asked why “pro-Palestine political expression causes such intense and *personal* panic among Zionists”? The same person who on October 7th tweetedGlory to the resistance and the people of Palestine. Though I fear for my family in Gaza and am already mourning the dead, I could not be more proud of my people who continue to demonstrate unthinkable bravery in their struggle for liberation.”

The woman who posted a thread in April about how she was “triggered” and started screaming at a group of Israelis in Barcelona about what was happening in Gaza was the same one who on October 7th wroteWe woke up to witness history. Gaza is resisting, breaking its prison walls, reminding the world that freedom is in our hands.”

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being horrified at the situation in Gaza. Many thousands have undoubtedly died, as Hamas knew they would. In late October, Mousa Abu Marzouk, a Hamas official, told Russia Today that the 500km of tunnels below Gaza were for Hamas fighters and not for civilians; that it was the responsibility of the United Nations – and Israel as the “Occupier” – to protect them.

But when you see someone whose timeline is filled with nothing but vitriolic anti-Israel abuse – apply the October 7th test. Were they celebrating? Were they justifying? Were they denying?

Critics will undoubtedly describe this as ad hominem, but more intelligent minds will understand that people who have failed the October 7th test have utterly forsaken any right to chide, condemn or lecture others. They appear to now think that if they shout loud enough, they can make people forget that they utterly morally damned. But we owe it to ourselves to remember; the world may have moved on from October 7th, but we have not. I am not sure we ever will.

  • Daniel Sugarman, director of public affairs, Board of Deputies
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