The heart breaking images of dead children that are fast becoming a permanent feature of the news media are deliberately designed to stir up emotions and depending on the intellectual level of the audience, these emotions can be of the most basic kind.
There's no other issue that can stir up emotions more than the interminable Arab-Israeli conflict. It's the one issue where common sense seems to absent itself and where supposedly educated people take sides with little or no idea of why they hold the positions they do.
Attempting to understand the different stances of people in the western democracies is as difficult a task as any, but the attempt does serve to enlighten the researcher if they can work at keeping an open mind and fight to make sure they are not swayed by what is blatant propaganda.
Some neutrals blame the Palestinians for inviting the current carnage by firing rockets into Israel from civilian areas such as schools and hospitals; others claim that the Israeli response is disproportionate. Many people maintain that the Israeli's have a right to defend themselves while others believe that the Palestinians have a right to wage war on people they consider to be occupiers.
When I was a fully paid up member of the hard left I supported the Palestinians without really knowing why. I only knew that to be a proper lefty and fit in with the crowd, hating Israel was a non-negotiable ideological requirement. Any arguments I used in justification were the usual tired staples revolving around stolen land, occupying force, expelling the natives, equating Zionism with Nazism and a pile of other offensive nonsense dreamt up by the left to justify their hate.
Those who sided with the Israelis were reckoned to be westerners suffering from a post war overdose of Holocaust guilt or supporters of an international Jewish conspiracy of bankers, industrialists and politicians bent on surreptitiously ruling the world.
All this may very well be true but I personally find it difficult to understand how a scattered people comprising of a mixture of the very wealthy, the very poor, with a sprinkling of middle class merchants, but mostly landless peasants, can organise themselves to rule the world but couldn't save themselves from the Nazi Holocaust.
It is worth taking a very brief look at the history of Israel in order to help with context for the various positions held with reference to the current conflict.
It is indisputable that the land known today as Israel was the ancient homeland of the Jews. The evidence is overwhelming, from the written records of the ancient Greeks and Romans, together with those of the Jews themselves and the Dead Sea Scrolls. All these writings are confirmed by archaeological evidence. It is also indisputable that the Jews were exiled several times during the existence of Israel ending in the final exile forced by the Romans after the sack of Jerusalem by the Emperor Titus in 70 AD.
Although Jews were dispersed throughout the Middle East, Africa, India and Europe, a sizable population remained in the Holy Land.
After the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, Christianity became the dominant religion and although the population consisted of Jews, Arabs and others, Christians formed the vast majority and they remained the majority until 1187 AD when they were displaced by Saladin and his Muslim armies. The ancient land of Israel has been ruled by a variety of powers ranging from the Babylonians, the Romans - both heathen and Christian - the Mongols, the Ottomans, the British and by UN Mandate, but there has never been a Kingdom of Palestine nor has there ever been a homogeneous, centrally governed country of Palestine.
According to historians, the people who refer to themselves as Palestinians are descended from the ancient Philistines who were a warlike nomadic people centered around what is now Jordan.
History also records that whichever country the Jews migrated to, they were demonised and persecuted mercilessly as the Russian pogroms can attest. The persecution and killing of Jews in Europe escalated during the Crusades culminating in the massacre of the entire Jewish population of York, England in 1190 AD.
(Read the story here)
Anti-semitism and Jew hatred is embedded in the European psyche with the caricature of the shifty, untrustworthy Jew made popular by Shakespeare's Shylock in the Merchant of Venice and Dickens's Fagin in Oliver Twist.
If the Nazis had succeeded there would no longer be a reason for Jew hatred because there would be no Jews; as it happens they only managed to murder six million. Even before the horrors of the Holocaust Jews were made unwelcome wherever they went to seek refuge.
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse from your teeming shore".
This famous quote by Emma Lazarus welcoming immigration into America didn't apply to the Jews aboard the SS St Louis who, desperately fleeing Nazi persecution, were refused entry and turned away after a trans-Atlantic voyage.
(Read the story here)
After the Holocaust and facing Jew hatred wherever they went for sanctuary they had little choice but to return to their ancient homeland where they vowed there would never again be another Holocaust.
The United Nations and the British, who governed under a mandate, granted them independence and the modern state of Israel was born - it has been fighting for survival ever since.
The Jewish homeland is surrounded by Arab enemies who have not only sworn to eradicate the State of Israel but to kill every Jew on the planet.
Looking at a map of the Middle East and the number of oil rich Arab Islamic countries which surround Israel who could accommodate any number of Palestinians in comfort, it is obvious that this dispute is not about land but a visceral, hatred of Jews.
The various Palestinian factions, including the western funded Palestinian Authority, have no respect for human life including the lives of their own children. They are deliberately firing their missiles indiscriminately into Israel with the intention of killing civilians including children.
They position their missile sites in schools and hospitals with the full knowledge that children will be killed as the Israelis protect themselves. The subsequent horrific images are part of a well thought out exercise in Public Relations designed to raise emotions against Israel and the Jews. The Palestinian terrorists are killing their own children in order to demonise Israel and re-awaken the latent anti-semitism of a gullible western audience. This is PR manipulation at its worse and to its eternal shame the west is falling for it hook, line and sinker.
The lives of innocent children are sacrosanct regardless of race, religion or anything else, therefore it is the height of hypocritical sanctimony for western audiences to be outraged by the killing of these unfortunate children in Gaza but not so outraged by the killing of innocent Jewish children by Palestinian terrorists.
It would appear that the massacre of innocent Jewish children in Kiryat Shmona and in the Ma'alot massacre have been conveniently forgotten. After rightly mourning the death of the children in Gaza it would only be right and proper for the outraged people to read the enclosed list of innocent children murdered by Palestinian terrorists and mourn them equally.
In the interests of balance here is a Powerpoint Presentation of innocent Israeli children murdered by Palestinian terrorists between October 2000 and January 2005.
Prior to breast beating and howling in outrage at the deliberate deaths by Palestinians of their children in Gaza, it should be borne in mind that people are being cynically manipulated by an international Jew hating community in what is probably the most evil PR exercise of all time.