Will Michelle Obama Join Hashtag Battle Against Hamas Kidnappers?


gilad-naftali-eyalBy Jonathan Tobin

When the Boko Haram terrorist group kidnapped 300 Nigerian girls not long ago, the response from the mainstream media as well as liberal elites was not long in coming. The outrage and calls for action seemed strangely disconnected from the enthusiasm on the part of many of those speaking up about the kidnapped girls for President Obama’s weak “lead from behind” foreign policy that has left the U.S. paralyzed in the face of egregious human-rights disasters, such as the one in Syria. But as much as many of those promoting the Twitter hashtag #bringbackourgirls, such as First Lady Michelle Obama, seemed to confuse a tweet with tangible action that might do something, the willingness of Americans both prominent and obscure to express their concern was appropriate. As we have since learned, it will take more than a hashtag and a selfie to rescue the girls that Boko Haram have boasted of selling into slavery. But the criticism of the naïveté of the tweeters revealed that social media has become one of the principal battlefronts in human-rights controversies.

That’s become apparent in the last week as both Israelis and Palestinians have taken to Twitter and Facebook to express their feelings about the kidnapping of three Jewish teenagers who were apparently kidnapped Friday by Hamas terrorists. These social media campaigns have now been taken up by the rest of the world and become fodder for media stories. But unlike the worldwide consensus that kidnapping Nigerian girls was a terrible thing, what we have discovered is that there is no such unanimity in the civilized world about the fate of Jewish boys. While Jews and friends of Israel have promoted the #bringbackourboys slogan on Twitter, Palestinians and their sympathizers have answered with #threeshalits, an expression that is not only a callous comment about their abduction but an explicit endorsement of kidnapping as a tactic to force Israel to release imprisoned terrorists.

The competition between these two groups hasn’t engaged liberal elites the way the Boko Haram attack, did but the willingness of some liberal publications to engage in the worst sort of blame-the-victim memes with regard to the kidnapped boys illustrates that the pro-human rights mentality that made #bringbackourgirls such a huge success is based on sentiments that run about a millimeter deep in our culture. With supposedly cutting edge websites like Vox using the kidnapping as an excuse to engage in specious and largely false arguments about the evils of Israeli occupation of the West Bank to rationalize if not justify Palestinian terrorism, it’s little wonder that Mrs. Obama is not lending her immense prestige to the campaign to free the Israeli boys.

Why won’t Michelle Obama tweet her sympathy for the Israeli boys? The answer is obvious. To do so would be to make it clear that the White House believes that the human rights of Jews, even those living on what the administration thinks is the wrong side of the green line, are human beings with rights, rather than just flesh and blood targets.

While no individual or even any government can involve itself in every issue or incident on the planet, the choices we make are instructive as to whether our putative concern for human rights is a pose or a genuine commitment. In the case of Boko Haram’s victims, it was easy for liberal Americans to express anger for the terrorists and sympathy for the victims, since to do so involved no hard choices, other than the choice former secretary of state Hillary Clinton made in refusing to designate the kidnappers as a terror group during her time in office. Americans don’t really care who runs Northern Nigeria or the intricacies of that vast nation’s political and religious conflicts. But that didn’t stop them from rightly expressing their disgust with the notion that terrorists could simply snatch girls from school and force them to convert to Islam and/or to sell them into slavery.

But to use their hashtag power to speak up against Hamas and the widespread support for kidnapping among Palestinians, even though PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has belatedly condemned the crime, involves some real hard choices. It involves a realization that the Middle East conflict isn’t so much about borders or Israel’s policies as it is about the hate that drives Palestinian rejection of the Jewish state’s repeated offers of peace.

Boko Haram’s military was not matched by an ability to mobilize international opinion on behalf of their cause of preventing women from being educated. But Hamas is more fortunate. They can not only count on Palestinian social media users to glorify their crimes and to call for more such abductions but also rely on the willingness of many Western liberals to rationalize any violence against Israelis.

Up until now, the response of the U.S. to the kidnapping has been weak. While Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned it, he has not sought to draw conclusions from events about the wisdom of his decision to go on supplying the Fatah-Hamas Palestinian government with American taxpayer dollars. Nor has the White House specifically called for the release of the boys and the surrender of the Hamas terrorists.

While we still know nothing about the fate of the boys, countering those who are supporting the kidnapping-a vicious campaign with overtones of traditional anti-Semitism-won’t be easy. But it would be helped if the first lady were willing to endorse freedom for the boys. A hashtag is no substitute for action or even a policy that sought to disassociate America from Palestinian terror. But it would be a start.


{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Michelle is more concerned with her stupid unproven diet for school kids, than some Jewish kids kidnapped in enemy Israel!

  2. Michelle Obama likely wont make a comment at least she has not in the very beginning of this affair. If she is not partial against a world of Jewish interest, it is probably clear that she does not think that the jewish sincerity and situation is anything compared to anyone elses complete horror experience. This article is interesting. I do think you are correct that when a statement is made for one group of hostages, it should be followed by the same for another group. Otherwise you think that there is fervent radical bias in her presentation.

    If you think that Michelle Obama is a very bright lady, just remember she still laughs when the eye of time is lost on the balcony of reality. She is not enough for a First Lady and this is one of the worst dressed First Ladies in history.


  3. Hmmm seems to be unanimous the obamas could care less about abducted kids unless it’s for their political interests of course
    Ahem #bringbackourgirls

  4. one boy is american

    contrast that to Bowe Bergdahl,

    they have killed children before
    remember shalvet pass?


    Israeli children[edit]

    9-year-old Israeli boy Osher Twito lost his leg after a Palestinian Qassam rocket exploded next to him in the city of Sderot (left) and Oren Almog, who was ten years old at time of the Maxim restaurant suicide bombing, was blinded by the blast, lost two of his grandparents, his father, his brother and his cousin.[120]
    About 70 percent of the Israeli children were killed in Palestinian suicide bombings.[citation needed] Others were killed in shootings and attacks on cars and buses. In addition, several rapes, kidnappings, and individual murders of Israeli children and teenagers have occurred.[121][122][123][124][125][126][127] Other Israeli children were killed in home invasions, some of them in their own beds or their parents’ beds.[128][129][130][131][132]

    According to Amnesty International, between 2000 and 2004 during the First Intifada “more than 100 Israeli children… [were] killed and hundreds of others injured in suicide bombings, shootings and other attacks carried out by Palestinian armed groups in Israel and in the Occupied Territories.”[133]

    Examples include:

    In 2001, a Palestinian sniper opened fire on the Avraham Avino settlement in Hebron from the Palestinian-controlled Abu Sneineh neighborhood. Ten month-old Shalhevet Pass was shot in the head and killed while sitting in her stroller; her father was wounded.[134] Israeli leaders said that the sniper deliberately aimed for the baby.[135]
    The Sbarro restaurant massacre in August 2001 killed 15 Israelis, among them 7 children and a pregnant woman.[136][137][138]
    The Yeshivat Beit Yisrael massacre on March 2, 2002, targeting a group of women and children next to a synagogue, resulted in the deaths of seven children and four adults.[139][140] Eight of the dead came from the same family.[141]
    The 2004 Murder of Tali Hatuel and her four daughters, in which Palestinian militants killed Tali Hatuel, who was eight months pregnant along with her four daughters: Hila (11), Hadar (9), Roni (7) and Merav (2). After shooting at the vehicle in which Hatuel was driving with her daughters, witnesses said the militants approached the vehicle and shot the occupants repeatedly at close range. An alliance of Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees claimed responsibility for the attack.[142]
    Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that 8,341 Israelis were injured as a direct result of the conflict between 2001 and 2007 but does not specify how many were minors.[143] Frequent rocket fire has also caused many injuries in the post-Intifada period.[144] Permanent disability among children has resulted, including blindness,[120][verification needed],[145] paralysis,[120] brain damage, and loss of limbs.[146] A 2003 study by Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel concluded, “Analysis of the injuries sustained by the 160 children hospitalized after these events indicates that most were caused by blasts and penetration by foreign objects. Sixty-five percent of the children had multiple injuries, and the proportion of critical to fatal injuries was high (18%).”[147]

    The rate of Israeli casualties in total declined following the construction of the West Bank Barrier; suicide bombing rates fell as potential bombers were thwarted before entering into Israeli territory.[120]

    Youth have been engaged in military action since before the creation of Israel. In the 1929 Hebron massacre,[2] 67 Jews were killed, young children among them; Arab youths initiated the violence by hurling rocks at Jewish students as they walked by

    this is nothing new. just the world becomes more callous when it is israeli and jewish blood

    sad -so much for the civilized world’

    we have become kafka

  5. Terrorist attacks targeting children[edit]
    Though Israeli children were killed in the conflict during the decades prior, the first acts of Palestinian violence specifically targeting large numbers of Israeli children were committed in the 1970s.

    The Avivim school bus massacre was a terrorist attack on an Israeli school bus on May 22, 1970 in which 12 Israeli civilians were killed, nine of them children, and 25 were wounded. The attack took place on the road to Moshav Avivim, near Israel’s border with Lebanon. Two bazooka shells were fired at the bus.[22] The attack was one of the first carried out by the PFLP-GC.[23]

    The Ma’alot massacre in May 1974 involved a two-day hostage-taking of 115 people which ended in the deaths of over 25 hostages. It began when three armed members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)[24] entered the Netiv Meir Elementary School, where they took more than 115 people (including 105 children) hostage on May 15, 1974, in Ma’alot. The hostage-takers soon issued demands for the release of 23 Palestinian militants from Israeli prisons, or else they would kill the students. On the second day of the standoff, a unit of the Golani Brigade stormed the building. During the takeover, the hostage-takers killed the children with grenades and automatic weapons. Ultimately, 25 hostages, including 22 children, were killed and 68 more were injured.

    The Dolphinarium discotheque suicide bombing was a terrorist attack by on June 1, 2001 in which a suicide bomber Saeed Hotari, linked to the Palestinian group Hamas, blew himself up outside a discotheque on a beachfront in Tel Aviv, Israel, killing 21 Israeli teenagers and injuring 132.[25][26][27][28]

    The Mercaz HaRav massacre, also called the Mercaz HaRav shooting, was an attack that occurred on March 6, 2008, in which a lone Palestinian gunman shot multiple students at the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, a school in Jerusalem. Eight students and the perpetrator were killed. Eleven more were wounded, five of them placed in serious to critical condition.[29][30][31]

    Other terrorist attacks targeting children included the Itamar attack in which six children and their parents were murdered in their beds, including a three-month-old infant,[32] and the 2011 Shaar HaNegev school bus attack in which Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip fired a Kornet laser-guided anti-tank missile over the border at an Israeli school bus, killing one child.[33]

    more examples, yet they

    use their children and human shields

    tell that to the world