When it comes to Hamas, historians forget the rules of academic deduction

Opinion: University lecturers in Europe, U.S. claim Israel commits genocide and ethnic cleansing without a foundation in reality, leaving historical study without a factual basis and only with a subverted version of events

Dina Porat, Professor Tuvia Friling, Professor Liat Steir-Livny|
One of the first rules historians are taught is how to provide foundations for their claims, through deduction and conclusions based on facts and not on ideas or political views. In order to build a valid historical narrative, they must collect all facts at their disposal, not just those who support their hypothesis or ideas.
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This first and basic lesson stood before us as we read and listened to the comments by university lecturers on the October 7 massacre, in Europe and the United States.
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דרום קוריאה ,  הפגנה נגד ישראל פרו פלסטינית  חרבות ברזל
דרום קוריאה ,  הפגנה נגד ישראל פרו פלסטינית  חרבות ברזל
University of California pro Hamas rally
(Photo: Caroline Brehman / EPA)
We heard lecturers claim to their students and to the world, that the day that Hamas committed their atrocities, was a day of liberation, a notable day in the struggle. We were amazed to read texts by some of those academicians, among them Jews and Israelis teaching abroad, which subverted reality, claiming Israel was committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing in Gaza, that could lead to genocide.
The claim of genocide is refutable. The 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide states that the perpetrators of genocide intend to completely or partially destroy a national, ethnic or religious group or a religion, as such.
Since the start of the war, Israel declared it had two objectives, to eliminate the military capabilities of Hamas and to return the hostages. Those objectives clearly differentiate between the civilian population in Gaza and the Hamas terror group.
Professor Dina PoratProfessor Dina PoratPhoto: Oren Agmon)
Hamas is not a national, ethnic or religious group nor is it a race. It is a terror organization that is part of the Iranian axis. There is no correlation between the term genocide and the war against a terror group. In contrast, Hamas has publicly declared its intent to destroy Israel.
Another claim that has been made was that the IDF response to the Hamas atrocities, is disproportionate. But what is a proportionate response to brutal murder, rape and abuse, burning people alive and beheading babies? Where does the responsibility of a state to protect its citizens end when it is fighting a terror organization that had committed such heinous crimes, uses schools, hospitals, UN facilities and mosques as cover and its own citizens as well as the hostages, as human shields?
Those learned lecturers claim the use by Israeli politicians of terms such as "human animals," when describing the Hamas terrorists, they were de-humanizing their enemy which could be – as world history has taught – the first step toward genocide.
Aside from the fact that the despicable massacre carried out by Hamas, has earned them such descriptive terms, the politicians using them, referred them to the Hamas murderers and not the residents of Gaza as a whole – rendering the term genocide, once again irrelevant.
ד"ר ליאת שטייר-לבניProfessor Liat Steir-LivnyPhoto: Ornit Dayan
The claim "ethnic cleansing," also lacks a basis in reality. Those learned academicians base their claim on the removal of civilians in Gaza from the northern areas to the south of the Strip. That is not evidence of an ethnic cleansing, but rather an attempt by the IDF to limit civilian casualties. In their claims, there is no mention of the humanitarian corridors opened for the population to leave the impacted areas to the safety of the south, even as Hamas snipers were attempting to prevent their escape. The claim also ignores the aid trucks providing essentials into the Strip daily. Many of these trucks are robbed by members of Hamas who take their contents to be used by Hamas rather than the civilians for whom the aid was provided. The terrorists also sell the aid back to the Gaza civilians for exorbitant prices although they were meant to be distributed for free.
Those academic researchers always view Israel as the guilty aggressor even when it allows the delivery of aid into Gaza while over 130 hostages are still being held captive, including women children and the elderly – some in precarious health, and the Red Cross is denied access to them.
The suffering in Gaza is immense and will likely not improve in the immediate future but it is vital to recognize that Hamas is responsible for creating what has become an intolerable humanitarian crisis.
Lacking from the lecturers' assertions is any mention of the systematic destruction of industrial zones established by Israel on the border, to provide employment for residents of Gaza. These areas were a symbol of coexistence and the source of income for thousands of families.

Professor Tuvia Friling Professor Tuvia Friling
For 18 years of Hamas rule in Gaza, the terror group could have opted to invest the millions of dollars flowing into the Strip, to provide a better life for the population rather than building a terror infrastructure, accumulating rockets, constructing underground tunnels and disseminating hate.
Interviews given by senior members of the terror group before and since October 7 reveal that not only does Hamas seek to destroy Israel but is willing to sacrifice its own people on the alter of radical Islam and Jihad.
Professor Dina Porat is professor emeritus of modern Jewish history at the Department of Jewish History at Tel Aviv University and the chief historian of Yad Vashem.
Professor Liat Steir-Livny is an Associate Professor at Sapir Academic College and the Open University of Israel
Tuvia Friling is Emeritus Full Professor, The Ben-Gurion Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism
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