In Yet Another Anti-Israel Rant Published In Hill Times, Gwynne Dyer Unsurprisingly Calls For Support For Attempts To Arrest Israeli Leaders

In his May 27 commentary entitled: “Crunch Time for Netanyahu?” published in the print edition of The Hill Times, columnist Gwynne Dyer added a new installment to his series of articles that showcase his selective depiction of events in the Middle East following Hamas’ October 7 invasion (pogrom) of Israel.

Dyer’s column was also published in the Hamilton Spectator, Waterloo RecordThe Orangeville Citizen and the Saltwire Network.

Dyer’s problematic assertions included the uncritical repetition of Gaza death tolls provided by Hamas, and the acceptance of a false equivalence between Israel and Hamas.

Dyer began his article by borrowing from the Hamas public relations playbook, claiming that all 35,000 deaths reported to this point by the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, may be considered “civilian deaths”. Dyer allowed that “some thousands of those 35,000 may have been Hamas fighters, but thousands of other civilians still lie undiscovered in the wreckage of their homes. The number stands.”

Not only did Dyer skate past the inherent difficulty in believing the claims of a terrorist organization, he ignored crucial context in understanding those claims. Israel asserts that among the casualties are not “some thousands” of Hamas fighters, but 16,000, or about half of all reported deaths.

This low proportion of civilian deaths relative to combatants is remarkable in light of Hamas’ use of human shields as Hamas terrorists embed themselves in the civilian population in Gaza, and points to the restraint and pinpoint targeting tactics employed by the Israeli military, as noted by John Spencer, Chair of Urban Warfare Studies at Westpoint.

Importantly, unlike the Hill Times version of Dyer’s column, the Hamilton Spectator and Waterloo Record both published this Gwynne Dyer column, but both publications featured a proper and accurate lead which states the following and which doesn’t categorize all Palestinian deaths as constituting “civilian deaths,” which the Hill Times’ version inaccurately states. Here’s a comparison of both

“It has not been a good week for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, chief decision-maker in the war in the Gaza Strip that has already cost at least 35,000 deaths. (Thousands of civilians still lie undiscovered in the wreckage of their homes.)” (Spectator/Record, May 25, 2024)

“It has not been a good week for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyhu, chief decision-maker in the war in the Gaza Strip that has already cost at least 35,000 civilian deaths. (Some thousands of those 35,000 may have been Hamas fighters, but thousands of other  civilians still lie undiscovered in the wreckage of their homes. The number stands.) ” (Hill Times, May 23, 2024)

Despite calling on the Hill Times to take corrective action, as of this writing, The Hill Times has failed to set the record straight.

Dyer’s spreading bold falsehoods is in-line with his previous columns, one on April 15 which peddled an unhinged and unsubstantiated conspiracy theory which claimed that Israel “let Hamas carry out” the October 7 massacres, and another on May 13 which drew an odious moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas.

In his Hill Times column, Dyer pointed to Israel’s increasing isolation in light of the war in Gaza, even from staunch allies. He characterized the recent communication to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his war cabinet from Jake Sullivan, U.S. National Security Advisor, as “a message from U.S. President Joe Biden that he is running out of patience with Netanyahu.”

Israel’s detractors have long employed this tactic of pointing to Israel’s isolation, in order to suggest that Jerusalem must surely be in the wrong, but those efforts long predate the war in Gaza. This attempt to delegitimize Israel has spanned the last several decades in an attempt “to undermine Israel’s inter­national legitimacy in a manner that would lead to its isolation and even­tually cause it to collapse,” as pointed out by Gil Murciano, an expert in Israeli security policy.

Apart from the crucial point that right and wrong are not decided by popular vote, Dyer minimized Israel’s relationships not just with the United States, but across the developed world.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, for example, denied the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruling that issued a warrant for Netanyahu’s arrest for his actions concerning the war in Gaza. In U.S. President Biden’s refutation of that same ruling, he stated unequivocally that “It’s clear Israel wants to do all it can to ensure civilian protection, … And what’s happening is not genocide.”

While ignoring that necessary context, Dyer painted the ICC ruling as a significant challenge for Netanyahu, and claimed that in this ruling “the ICC’s seemingly quixotic attempt to bring the leaders of both sides to justice” is “the only thing that is likely to have a lasting effect.” This, even though Israel and the United States are not members of the ICC, and are not bound by its rulings, even if they had any substance.

The critical point that cannot be overlooked in examining the ICC ruling is the preposterous equivalence drawn between Netanyahu, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Israel, and Yahya Sinwar, the shadowy leader of the Hamas terrorist organization.

The fury from Israeli leaders in being singled out by the ICC for, among other charges, withholding humanitarian aid, is understandable. Just three weeks ago, four Israeli soldiers were killed in a rocket attack carried out by Hamas on the Kerem Shalom crossing. The provocation for this attack? The border crossing was open to allow the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza. Hamas terrorists will stop at nothing to inflict maximum damage, paying no mind to the suffering they inflict most of all – on the civilian population of Gaza.

While Dyer skipped over Israel’s objections to the ICC charge as just “predictable,” and that they are simply claiming victimhood while acting as aggressors, the charges brought by the ICC are utterly baseless. Presenting them as a step in the right direction in ending the war, as Dyer did, ignored the existential threat that Hamas poses to Israel.

Israel’s chief obligation is to its own residents and their security. Dyer’s May 27 column in The Hill Times represented just another vapid attempt to distract Israel and its leadership from their efforts to bring home all hostages taken on October 7 and to uproot and eliminate Hamas and their terror infrastructure in Gaza.

Take action now by sending a letter to the editor to the Hill Times. Send letters to: news@hilltimes.com.

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