HRC Op-Ed In Hamilton Spectator Rebuts Columnist’s Claiming Israel Has No Right To Defend Itself Against Hamas

In her May 21 opinion column in The Hamilton Spectator, Margaret Shkimba, a “communications consultant” and contributing columnist, wrote that neither Hamas nor Israel have a right to kill. At first glance, it’s a lovely thought. But upon further inspection, her inability to distinguish between genocidal Islamic terrorism and legitimate self-defence demonstrates both a profound ignorance, but also a moral blindness that would seek to prevent Israel from protecting its citizens from terrorism.

On May 30, HRC Executive Director Mike Fegeman was granted space in the Spectator to point out that McMaster University doesn’t owe the anti-Israel malcontents anything.

Column should have prioritized factual accuracy over ideology

Even by the standards of anti-Israel columns, Margaret Shkimba’s May 21 commentary in The Hamilton Spectator, “How much is the cost of peace? McMaster’s response to protest disappointing,”  demonstrates a particularly high level of naïveté.

Shkimba, a “communications consultant specializing in public relations” and a contributing columnist at the newspaper, bemoans what she calls the “non-response” of the McMaster University administration to the anti-Israel campus occupation.

It does not occur to Shkimba that the university does not owe an answer to a motley crew of malcontents and anti-Israel fanatics who represent a miniscule fraction of a percentage of McMaster’s student body. If anything, the only response owed to the protesters – many, if not most of whom are likely non-students – is to vacate immediately.

Shkimba’s column, while predictably whitewashing the embedded hatred, violence, harassment and genocidal statements coming from such campus occupations, portrays the demonstrators as “society’s future,” ignoring that most such encampment protesters are not, in fact, students at all.

In her commentary, Shkimba argues that anti-Israel protests are important to show opposition to “the violent killing of innocent people and the brutal massacre of armed forces,” adding that “I don’t support Hamas. I don’t support the IDF. Thou shalt not kill. Anyone. Seems that needs to be made more clear these days.”

It may interest Shkimba to learn that the 10 Commandments in the Hebrew Bible do not read “do not kill,” but in fact, say “do not murder,” a hugely significant difference because whereas murder is forbidden, self-defence is morally justified.

But by listing both Israel and Hamas without distinction, Shkimba demonstrates that in her worldview, there is apparently no difference between Hamas, a genocidal Islamic terrorist organization, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which have done more to protect civilians in Gaza than any armed force in history.

Moreover, how does she propose that Israel defend its citizens from Hamas’ genocidal efforts without actually fighting Hamas terrorists? Hamas’ charter makes no secret to hide that it seeks the total destruction of Israel, its leaders have proclaimed as much, and its actions on October 7 leave no doubt in that regard, either.

In essence, by saying that Israel cannot “kill,” even Hamas terrorists who seek to murder civilians, she would deny Israel’s very right to defend itself, an indefensible and morally odious position to hold.

Demonstrating the dangers in mindlessly repeating anti-Israel disinformation without any interest in fact-checking, Shkimba writes that “Israel has destroyed every institution of higher learning in Gaza,” and that “more than 100 journalists (have been) killed by Israel” in the war.

If Shkimba had prioritized factual accuracy over ideology, she would have acknowledged that, over nearly 20 years of running Gaza, Hamas has converted the entire strip into a terrorist statelet, thoroughly embedding its terrorists within civilian infrastructure, meaning that hospitals, universities and everything in between have been used by Hamas terrorists in their bloodthirsty war.

As for the claim that more than 100 journalists have been killed in Gaza, that figure conveniently ignores that likely half of those “journalists” are actually active members of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), meaning they are not civilians, but entirely legitimate combatants. 

Shkimba describes herself as a “critical thinker,” yet her May 21 column demonstrates a striking lack of even fundamental research, having prioritized sophomoric accusations over truth.

Mike Fegelman is Executive Director of HonestReporting Canada, a non-profit organization ensuring fair and accurate Canadian media coverage of Israel.


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