On Monday, Israeli forces reported discovering the remains of a falcon that Hamas had set on fire in a disturbing attack on Israel. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) did condemn the attack, but refused to mention Hamas. When a spokeswoman belatedly attacked Hamas by name, she also attacked both Israel and the United States.
All this hesitance and equivocation came shortly after Natalie Portman released a PETA video in which she praises Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer for his outspoken opposition to animal cruelty. “We do to God’s creatures what the Nazis did to us,” Portman quoted. This condemnation was nowhere to be found in the Hamas denunciations.
Beginning on March 30, Hamas started sending incendiary kits and balloons toward Israeli territory. According to World Israel News, Hamas has ignited over 1,000 fires, destroying 82,000 acres of forest and agricultural land. These acts of terrorism represent nothing less than a political and an ecological tragedy. Countless animals have been burned to death or lost their habitats.
On Monday, the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) reported the discovery of the flaming terror falcon.
“A falcon attached to a rope with flammable material was found today near the Gaza Strip,” COGAT reported on Twitter, with images of the falcon’s remains. “Apparently it’s not enough to destroy nature with kites, now falcons are being used for terror as well.”
A falcon attached to a rope with flammable material was found today near the Gaza Strip. Arson fires have been caused by incendiary materials flown from Gaza into Israel. Apparently it’s not enough to destroy nature with kites, now falcons are being used for terror as well. pic.twitter.com/j6noxwCwqS
— COGAT (@cogatonline) July 16, 2018
Other images of the falcon also surfaced on Twitter.
World Israel News requested a comment from PETA, and PETA President Ingrid Newkirk responded. “As human beings, all of us at PETA are concerned about human civilians, including children, and other living beings caught in the line of fire of any conflict,” Newkirk said. “As an animal-protection organization, PETA notes that animals claim allegiance to no nation, don’t choose sides, and must rely on human beings to show them mercy, and it’s unacceptable to use them as weapons of war.”
PETA later tweeted the statement.
As an animal-protection organization, PETA notes that animals claim allegiance to no nation, don't choose sides, and can only rely on human beings to show them mercy, and it is unacceptable to use them as weapons of war.
— PETA (@peta) July 17, 2018
Notice what’s missing from this statement: any explicit condemnation of Hamas by name. The organization that launched the “Holocaust on Your Plate” campaign in 2003 lacked even the moral courage to denounce the terrorist organization by name.
World Israel News asked a follow-up question: “Will PETA demand that Hamas stop this animal abuse? Perhaps a campaign of pressure, as it has done in other instances?” The news site also requested a comment on the issue from Portman, since she was involved in PETA’s recent video.
“Everything PETA does is geared toward ending violence of all sorts, and our public statement makes our opposition to the use of animals crystal clear,” Newkirk responded. “Ms. Portman is unavailable for comment.”
It was convenient for Portman to be unavailable for this. In April, the actress cancelled an appearance at the Genesis Prize ceremony in Jerusalem. At that time, she made a statement against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Israel was created exactly 70 years ago as a haven for refugees from the Holocaust. But the mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values,” Portman said. “Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power.”
Netanyahu shot back, warning that Portman had been convinced by Hamas propaganda. She made the statement during Hamas’ “March of Return,” when the IDF was being accused of murdering “protesters” at the Gaza-Israel border, although the majority were proven to be Hamas activists, even terrorists, trying to breach the security fence to kidnap and murder Israelis.
Belatedly, a PETA spokeswoman finally did condemn Hamas by name, but only before mentioning Israel, the U.S. and Europe as equally heinous abusers of animals.
“Our statement makes it clear that we condemn this act by Hamas, just as we have previously condemned the torture and killing of animals by the Israeli military, U.S. ‘wound lab’ training on animals, and European poison-gas experiments on animals,” PETA media liaison Sofia Chauvet said.
Even with this statement, PETA did not condemn Hamas’ long campaign of fire terrorism, which has killed and rendered homeless countless other animals. The group also insisted on the moral equivalence between Hamas, Israel, and the U.S.
If the U.S. or Israel had carried out this heinous attack, PETA would not hesitate to condemn them by name, and would not mention Hamas if Hamas were not directly involved.