Andrew Neil has written a powerful column in today’s Mail about Owen Jones’s bizarre, 25-minute YouTube video in which he reacts to being shown footage of Hamas’s barbaric attacks on October 7th. Here is an extract:
While accepting – several times – that Hamas did indeed commit war crimes on that terrible first Saturday of October, Jones nevertheless proceeds to nitpick, undermine, question and sow seeds of suspicion about the veracity of parts of the video. It is a worrying, disturbing, chilling, often irrational performance which descends into incoherence as it reaches its weary end.
Jones regards the IDF video as Israeli propaganda designed to justify the death and suffering that it has since rained down on northern Gaza in retaliation for October 7th.
If that is its purpose, then it has clearly failed. As the death toll of civilians, including thousands of women and children, mounted while much of Gaza City was reduced to rubble, public opinion across the globe has turned against Israel, as it always does when it responds to some terrorist atrocity.
Even America, the only ally that matters to Israel, is insisting that – with hostilities breaking out again now hostage swaps are over – the IDF must be more careful, considered and proportionate in its efforts to wipe out Hamas.
Israel has indicated it is listening and will behave differently in the next phase of its war on Hamas. But Jones is wrong. The real purpose of the video was not to pave the way for Israel’s invasion of Gaza. It was to show the world exactly what Israel is up against.
How can you negotiate with people capable of such barbarism? What is the point when the Hamas leadership has already pledged to launch more October 7s the moment it has re-established the capacity to do so.
Its aim is not to force Israel to the bargaining table but to wipe it off the map. It revels in killing Jews simply because they are Jews. Exactly what kind of ‘peace deal’ can you do with people committed to your extermination?
Throughout his long ramble, oddly cold and calculating, Jones fails to confront or respond to any of these points. Instead, he concentrates – curiously, perhaps even immorally – on trying to establish that, though Hamas are indeed evil, perhaps they are not quite as evil as the Israelis are making out… and anyway there are lots of evil Israelis too.
It has long been an outrageous conceit of the British hard Left – and proof positive of its moral bankruptcy – that Hamas, a bloodthirsty terrorist group, and the IDF, the military arm of a thriving, disputatious democracy under constant threat, are two sides of the same coin.
Jones is certainly keen to give Hamas the benefit of the doubt and cut its killers the sort of slack he would never grant the IDF. He accepts that Israeli women and children were massacred but is strangely keen to point out that the IDF video provides no “conclusive evidence” that babies were beheaded, women raped and children killed “intentionally”. What kind of bizarre mindset, what sort of moral vacuum leads anybody to posit such crazy caveats?
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Brendan O’Neill had a similar reaction to Andrew Neil when viewing the Owen Jones reaction video. He writes: “It provides the starkest proof yet of the collapse of moral reason and plain decency that has occurred on the middle-class left these past seven weeks.” You can read the rest of his piece in Spiked.