“When the quarrel is Jewish, more than usual caution is required, since the press of Europe isto a great and increasing extent in the hands of Jews.”
Goldwin Smith, New Light on the Jewish Question 1891
It should be considered an axiom that the Western political system can be bought with money, but that its people are best bought with sob stories. The above quote from the brilliant British historian and journalist Goldwin Smith (1823–1910), was in reaction to Jewish atrocity propaganda alleging extremely violent pogroms in the Russian empire. These ‘pogroms,’ covered in detail at The Occidental Observer by Andrew Joyce, were a media-designed mass moral panic designed to serve Jewish interests. In this case, for example, the pogroms acted as a pretext to mass economic migration, and lurid tales of atrocities and suffering were the moral currency used to purchase Western compliance with the immigration of millions of Jews. Although mass protests were held on behalf of Jews, and millions of dollars raised in aid, Smith reminded his gullible contemporaries that British government investigations had already revealed:
At Elizabethgrad, instead of whole streets being razed to the ground, only one hut had been unroofed. Few Jews, if any, had been intentionally killed, though some died of injuries received in the riots. The outrages on women, of which, according to the Jewish accounts, there had been a frightful number no less than thirty in one place and twenty-five in another and by which public indignation in England had been most fiercely aroused, seem, after inquiries by the consuls, to have been reduced to something like half a dozen authenticated cases in all. This is the more remarkable because the riots commonly began with the sacking of the vodka shops, which are kept by the Jews, so that the passions of the mob must have been inflamed by drink. The horrible charge brought by the Jews in The Times against the Russian women, of having incited the men to outrage their Jewish sisters and held the Jewesses down, to punish them for their superior finery in dress, is found to be utterly baseless. The charge of roasting children alive also falls to the ground. The Jewish pamphlet reprinted from the London Times states that a Jewish innkeeper was cooped in one of his own barrels and cast into the Dnieper. This turns out to be a fable, the village which was the alleged scene of it being ten miles from the Dnieper and near no other river of consequence.
As Smith and Joyce both point out, the facts behind the pogrom narrative were more or less drowned out by the intensity of moral feeling provoked by the flamboyantly violent Jewish accounts spread from Russia, and we witnessed precisely the same dynamic play out in the immediate aftermath of the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. Although this essay will focus on some of the detail and mystery surrounding early Israeli atrocity propaganda accounts about the Hamas incursion, the most interesting aspect in all of it is perhaps that Jews seem aware that morality is the currency with which to purchase compliance, or at least muted silence, from the Western public. They’re acutely aware of our sensitivity to moral arguments.
Kevin MacDonald has pointed out that “moral idealism is a powerful tendency in European culture. … Morality is defined not as what is good for the individual or the group, but as an abstract moral ideal.” This contrasts with approaches to moral questions followed by other peoples, which tend to be far more pragmatic, situational, or context-based. Take, for example, Deng Xiaoping’s maxim: “It does not matter whether a cat is black or white; if it catches mice, it is a good cat.” China’s pragmatic approach to morality, when reflected in foreign policy and international security, has been argued as a major driver of its rapidly expanding global influence. The United States, meanwhile, has for decades engaged in a moral demonization of its opponents (“Axis of Evil,” etc.) that makes compromise almost impossible. Writing for Global Asia, Kishore Mahbubani comments that “There is a moral streak that influences US foreign policy thinking that cannot be scrubbed out. And many Americans are proud of the fact that this moral dimension is a cardinal factor. Clinton stated in an April 2009 interview: ‘There is always and must be a moral dimension to our foreign policy.’” The fact that material interests are the main driver of foreign policy objectives doesn’t detract from the understanding of most politicians that they must nevertheless shoehorn their material objectives into a moral framework for public consumption. America’s allies must be presented as morally good, regardless of the reality behind the image, and its designated enemies must be presented as morally bad, even if the opposing group or nation is simply pursuing its own interests.
Jews are aware of this moral dimension, and Zionists in particular have a carefully crafted rhetorical arsenal for Western audiences that is based exclusively around the language of rights, morality, and justice, even if such concepts are far removed from the reality of Israeli actions, attitudes, and behavior. Although Israel is a demonstrably expansionist state, often aggressively so in the form of its settlements in the West Bank, its apologists in the West employ a set of defensive phrases such as “Israel has a right to defend itself,” “Israel has a right to exist,” and, in the phrasing of the Ayn Rand Institute “Israel has a moral right to its life.” An excellent example of what we might call “morality propaganda” appeared in the Wall Street Journal on October 11. The piece, titled “The Moral Duty to Destroy Hamas” and written by Jewish journalists Walter Block and Alan Futerman, argued that Israel was residing next to an “evil, depraved culture.” Arabs were said to be motivated by nothing more than a baseless and amorphous “Jew-hatred,” and had “slaughtered innocent men, women and children. These gangs raped, mutilated and tortured them while screaming “Kill the Jews!””
The language of morality employed here is of course identical to that used by Jews when explaining the history of anti-Semitism in Europe. “Jew-hatred” is always spontaneous and disease-like, emerging without context and entirely lacking in justification. “Jew-hatred” is both unexplained and unexplainable, a kind of demonic possession that takes hold of entire societies, and it is inherently unjust and immoral since its victims are always innocent. In a January 2 op-ed in The Jerusalem Post titled “Why Do People Hate the Jews?”, Micah Halpern explains anti-Semitism with the non sequitur “Today’s haters have only hate — a passionate fervor of hatred.” People thus hate Jews because they are filled with hatred of Jews. It’s really quite remarkable that this passes for serious analysis in most quarters.
Since Jews are never acknowledged as having harmed other groups, tales of their rape, mutilation, and torture by “Jew-haters” are all the more shocking and abhorrent. This framing and understanding of anti-Semitism inherently imbues Jews with a kind of moral currency, even superiority, and Jews have enjoyed an almost limitless abundance of moral currency since World War II because that war has been repeatedly packaged as the quintessential “good war” — a war against evil. Although efforts have been taken in recent decades to address Allied moral choices and ethical dilemmas such as the morality of using the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki or the British decision to bomb Hamburg to rubble, the one untouchable element of the popular understanding of World War II is that Jews were the primary victims of an ‘evil’ regime in the conflict and that their experience during that war has profound and enduring moral lessons for all Western peoples.
The Jewish Carte Blanche
The most immediate and geopolitically significant result of this framing of World War II was the establishment of the State of Israel and the international granting to Jews of carte blanche to dominate and remove hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from desired lands. In fact, it is difficult to point to an instance of ethnic cleansing in living memory that has provoked a more muted international response than the Israeli displacement of the Palestinians. US consulate officials in Palestine in 1948 noted that Jews were bombing Palestinian civilian targets in a fashion “so completely motiveless as to place [it] in [the] category of nihilism.” Jews, who only a few decades earlier had been spreading false rumors of Russian rape and looting to the world, were reported by a U.S. diplomat in 1948 as “carrying furniture, household effects and supplies from Arab buildings and pumping cistern water into tank trucks. Evidence indicated [a] clearly systematic looting [of the Arab] quarter [by Jews].” But these observations remained precisely that — observations.
Although it is tempting to fully throw one’s support behind the Palestinians, it’s important to remember that we have more than enough problems of our own — even if many of them have been caused by the same suspects. I echo Kevin MacDonald’s comment that “This does not mean that I am a cheerleader for Palestinians. The Palestinians are a typical Middle-Eastern people and all that that entails in terms of non-Western social forms—the clans, the collectivism, and Islam with its long history of hatred against Europe.” But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is of vital interest to Western peoples for two main reasons. First, Israeli dominance in the region is totally reliant on Western support, especially American financial, diplomatic, and military aid. Adjusted for inflation, American taxpayers have handed over hundreds of billions of dollars to the Jewish state since 1948. Israeli actions in the Middle East have direct implications for Western nations — they consume Western resources, they provoke acts of terrorism in Western countries, and they are components of a kind of manipulative morality theater in which Israelis constantly struggle to present themselves as the heroes battling against a mob of villains. Central to this theater is the atrocity tale.
It’s indisputable that Hamas committed violence against children during and after the October 7 incursion into Israeli territory, but the particularly gory and emotive claim that Hamas beheaded dozens of babies gained sudden and widespread prominence in the days after the massacre. This prominence largely resulted from amplification of initial claims by a single Israeli journalist by U.S. and Israeli government figures. The claim was also widely repeated by politicians including Republican representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Elise Stefanik, by major news outlets such as CNN, Fox News and the New York Post; by Israeli officials, including the prime minister’s office; by ADL President Jonathan Greenblatt, and by a number of Jewish actors and celebrities on social media. The claim became a viral phenomenon in its own right, but as time went on it became clear that evidence was lacking.
Sarah Swann, writing for PolitiFact, commented:
The confirmed violence is horrible enough. So why did a weakly sourced claim about 40 beheaded babies travel far and wide? Experts on disinformation and the Middle East pinpointed the emotional response elicited by violence against children, along with a lack of confirmation from official sources. “Because it is such a shocking claim … it has garnered significant attention as well as attempts to support or rebut,” said Osamah Khalil, a Syracuse University history professor specializing in the modern Middle East and U.S. foreign policy.
The claim that Hamas beheaded 40 babies can be traced to an Israeli reporter’s on-air comments. on October 10, three days after the Hamas attack on Kibbutz Kfar Aza in southern Israel. Nicole Zedeck, an American Jew attached to i24 News, an Israeli news channel, claimed IDF soldiers told her infants had been killed in the attack. During an English-language broadcast from Kfar Aza, Zedeck said “The Israeli military still says they don’t have a clear number (of the casualties), but I’m talking to some of the soldiers, and they say what they’ve witnessed is they’ve been walking through these different houses, these different communities — babies, their heads cut off. That’s what they said.”
Zedeck said the claim came from Israeli soldiers, but the IDF hadn’t confirmed how many babies were killed or if any were beheaded. Other journalists on the ground in Kfar Aza that day, including Oren Ziv of +972 Magazine, and Samuel Forey of the French news outlet Le Monde, denied that any such claims had been made by IDF soldiers. In a post to X that Ziv has since mysteriously deleted, he said that he saw no evidence that Hamas beheaded babies during the tour of the kibbutz that day, “and the army spokesperson or commanders also didn’t mention any such incidents.” Ziv said journalists in Kfar Aza were allowed to talk to hundreds of soldiers without supervision from the Israel Defense Force communication team, and that no such gruesome discoveries were mentioned. Similarly, Forey said in a post which is still viewable on X, “No one told me about beheadings, even less about beheaded children, even less about 40 beheaded children.” Forey said emergency services personnel he spoke with had not seen any decapitated bodies.
Despite rebuttals by other journalists present on the same tour of the kibbutz, Zedeck later posted the next day on X that “one of the commanders told me they saw babies’ heads cut off.” Thirty-five minutes later, she posted again, saying “soldiers told me they believe 40 babies/children were killed.” Within 24 hours, news outlets in the U.S. and UK, including The Independent, The Daily Mail, CNN, Fox News and the New York Post, repeated the claim that Hamas had beheaded babies, citing Israeli media or the prime minister’s office as sources. The latter gained traction because, on October 11, a spokesperson for Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN that babies and toddlers were found in Kfar Aza with their “heads decapitated.”
By the following morning, however, CNN reported that the Israeli government could not confirm the claim that Hamas beheaded babies, contradicting the Netanyahu’s office’s previous statement. This didn’t prevent Joe Biden from repeating the claim during an October 11 meeting with Jewish leaders, saying, “I never really thought that I would see and have confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children.” It fell to White House staff to later inform CNN that Biden had in fact neither seen photos nor received confirmation that Hamas beheaded babies or children. Biden was referring to public comments from media outlets and Israeli officials, which hardly amounted to having personally “seen and have confirmed” images of children beheaded by terrorists.
Netanyahu said during Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Biden’s visits to Israel on October 18 that Hamas beheaded people, but Netanyahu did not say whether the victims were infants. Netanyahu’s office then went public with photos of babies it said were “murdered and burned” by Hamas, but the provenance of these images was as obscure as the earlier claims. Sarah Swann pointed out that:
When asked about the authenticity of the images of dead children Netanyahu had shared, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Oct. 12, “I don’t think we’re in the business of having to validate or approve those kinds of images. They’re from the prime minister of Israel and we have no reason to doubt their authenticity.”
So the information was authentic solely because it came from Netanyahu.
“Proportionality” and the Renewed Carte Blanche
Just as atrocity propaganda was crucial to facilitating Jewish mass migration to the West during the time of the Tsars, and crucial again in founding the state of Israel, so it is also crucial in the granting to the Jews of their latest carte blanche. The invasion of Gaza by the IDF has so far led to the deaths of more than 22,000 Palestinians, with a further 7,000 missing or buried, and the exodus of around 1.9 million. More profoundly, the international amplification of the Jewish narrative has paved the way for something previously considered unthinkable — the Israeli abolition of the governing system in Gaza. Rumors are now circulating that the Israelis intend to “divide the Hamas-governed territory into areas ruled by tribes or clans rather than a single political entity. According to public broadcaster KAN, the plan was devised by the Israeli army. … It stipulates that the Gaza Strip be divided into regions and subregions, with Israel communicating separately with each group.” In other words, it amounts to “divide and conquer.”
Israel is being Internationally permitted to carry out actions that would be considered beyond the pale by other nations because of international Jewish political and cultural control, and the veneer of morality glossing its rhetoric. Early calls for “proportionality” were deftly swept aside by a tide of carefully positioned Jewish commentators. Jill Goldenzeil, writing for Forbes in an article titled “Proportionality Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means in Gaza,” performs a classic role in shaping ways of seeing, encouraging readers to abandon even the most common sense understanding of a proportionate response to what happened on October 7, and instead flummoxing her readers with the explanation that “Proportionality is a challenging principle to understand—not only because of semantics, but because of the cruel reality of war.” The Jewish News Syndicate rushed out an article on “What Proportionality Actually Means,” and Steven Erlanger at the New York Times bluntly informed readers that Israelis would not be bound to an expectation of “a balanced number of casualties.” In fact, the sheer scale of the Jewish propaganda effort to redefine and nullify any expectation of moderation led the Brussels International Center to note that Israel was engaged in a “war on proportionality,” or any suggestion that there be limits on its action against Gaza.
Critics of Israel’s action would have been saved from their apparent surprise with a little reading of Goldwin Smith. When the quarrel is Jewish, after all, and especially when moral pleading and horror stories are involved, more than usual caution is required.
 G. Smith, “New Light on the Jewish Question ,” The North American Review , Aug., 1891, Vol. 153, No. 417 (Aug., 1891), pp. 129- 143 (133).