Ben Shapiro recently appeared at Oxford University and gave a masterclass on how to handle the talking points being used to ultimately prop up Hamas, wittingly or not by those claiming to support the Palestinian position.
In one striking exchange, a woman in a hijab stepped up to the podium to read off a list of accusations about what Israel has supposedly done in its attempt to take out Hamas. She quickly found that she had painted herself into a corner, though.
This was a pretty epic exchange with @benshapiro at the Oxford Union.— Lee Harris (@addicted2newz) November 3, 2023
"If Israel put down its guns tomorrow there would be second holocaust. If the Palestinians put down their guns tomorrow there would be a Palestinian state"
I thought he made his points well. Worth a watch. pic.twitter.com/tbZ9PRbllk
Things started off with a suggestion that Hamas is justified in slaughtering civilians in cold blood as it did on October 7th because Israel has killed civilians in its attempts to destroy Hamas. She further tries to paint an equivalency by claiming that Israel has “bulldozed” 55,000 Palestinian homes since 1948.
SHAPIRO: My answer is, that Israel would not be justified in killing Palestinian civilians because of the actions of terrorists, Israel would be justified in attempting to kill terrorists and civilian casualties are a cost of war. That is just a reality of war. During World War II, there were 70,000 Brits who died during the Blitz bombing, and there were two million Germans, civilians, who died during World War II, and I don’t see a lot of monuments in Britain because of the two million civilians who died in Germany.
The distinction being drawn is important because it eliminates the attempted equivalency from the start. Namely, Shapiro is smart to not go around in circles over her claims but to instead take on her comparison directly. In other words, even if everything she says is true (some of it is misleading), that still would not justify Israel going into Gaza and seeking out civilians to rape and behead, which is what Hamas did to Israel.
Thus, no equivalency can exist unless you narrow the rules of war to such absurd levels as to essentially categorize the Allies in World War II as war criminals. That comes up again later in what is perhaps the funniest part of the exchange.
Shapiro then goes on to ask a question, which is if there’s a moral equivalency between deliberately seeking out and killing civilians and civilians being accidentally killed because terrorists are hiding beneath them.
QUESTIONER: Israel is effectively doing the same because Gaza is the most densely populated region in the world. There are 15,000 people per square mile.
SHAPIRO: So does Hamas get immunity because they’re there? So Hamas gets immunity.
QUESTIONER: Israel has killed 3,500 children in the past three weeks. That’s more children than have died in conflicts around the world in each of the last four years.
I want to stop there because this is where the questioner degrades into just repeating pro-Hamas talking points over and over. For example, the idea that Israel has killed 3,500 children is based solely on reports from Hamas. Whatever the real number is, you can be assured it’s not what the terrorist government is telling people.
Secondly, the claim that the deaths she cites add up to more deaths than all other global conflicts combined over the last four years is completely unfounded. In the Tigray War in Africa alone, 52,000 civilians were killed between 2020-2021. Is the suggestion that almost none of those were children?
SHAPIRO: So just to be clear, your logic is, if you’re a terrorist group located in a densely populated community and you hide behind civilians, you are now immune.
QUESTIONER: Where are the children meant to go?
SHAPIRO: So you’re immune. That’s a violation of the Geneve Conventions, but okay, you’re now immune. |
QUESTIONER: Since 2005, 23 out of every 24 conflict deaths have been Palestinian. I don’t see any moral equivalency there, it’s clearly unjust what the IDF has been doing to the Palestinians because there’s a vast desperately between the number of Palestinians being killed and the number of Israelis.
SHAPIRO: Well, I would certainly hope that Israel is killing more Hamas members.
QUESTIONER: This isn’t a conflict, this is one-sided ethnic cleansing.
To answer her question, the children should be taken South. Israel has warned Gazan civilians to move out of Northern Gaza for weeks. It is Hamas who won’t let them leave because they are too valuable for propaganda purposes. Further, Gaza shares a border with Egypt. Why is there no moral expectation that the Rafah Crossing be opened?
Regardless, her next set of claims revolves around the logical fallacy that deaths in war should be proportionate. That’s not how any conflict in history has ever worked. Bringing up proportionality is to suggest that Hamas should be free to kill civilians indefinitely so long as Israel only retaliates by killing an equal number of people. It assumes that Israel must abide by some ridiculous blood pact, whereby it can’t actually defend itself lest that defense lead to a disproportionate number of deaths.
Shapiro challenged her again by asking about the disparity between British and German deaths in World War II. Her ignorance (or dishonesty) was quickly revealed.
QUESTIONER: Britain wasn’t bombing civilian, civilians…(boos). There’s a clear difference.
SHAPIRO: You should talk to the people in Dresden, but you can’t because they’re dead.
QUESTIONER: There’s a clear difference. I agree that war is horrible, but this is not a just war. What Israel is doing is not a just war. There is a difference between fighting the Nazis…
SHAPIRO: So it’s not a just war when you fight a war against people who murder 1,500 of your civilians and take 233 of them, last count, captive into tunnels. It is not a just war to obliterate them? Please name a just war.
The questioner ignored Shapiro’s challenge, instead claiming that Israel has been killing civilians for the past 75 years. That’s a pretty simplistic way of describing things given that the Palestinians (and Arab nations) have waged numerous wars against Israel during that time. Her intent seems to be the paint the Palestinians as strictly victims without acknowledging their continuous aggression and rejection of peace.
That leads us to Shapiro’s biggest moment in this debate, which was getting the questioner to admit what she really wants.
SHAPIRO: Which part of Palestine is occupied?
QUESTIONER: The entirety of Palestine.
That’s really what this is about. Most Palestinians do not want a two-state solution despite every Western nation being obsessed with the idea. They want a one-state solution whereby Israel no longer exists and Islamism dominates. They wrap it in claims of apartheid and living peacefully, but their real desire is to simply out-populate the Jews in Israel and take over. That’s the point of a one-state solution. Does anyone want to guess how that would go?
Civilians dying is a tragedy, but Hamas chose to break the latest ceasefire, invade Israel, and massacre over a thousand people. With those actions come consequences. All the arguments in the world aren’t going to stop the destruction of Hamas at this point.