Sam Gross, who blogs on The Times of Israel website, describes himself as “a Swiss-born Briton studying Asian and Middle Eastern studies at Cambridge University” who is “involved in pro-Israel activity”. In a 7 August post, titled “Named & Shamed: Complicity in the Death of Children”, he argues that “Hamas was trying their hardest to get Palestinian innocents killed” during the recent fighting in Gaza.
He says that Hamas was “unequivocally successful” in “the PR war”. He adds: “Each person who decided Israel should lift the blockade on Gaza, who thinks that Israel needs to sit down and negotiate with Hamas, who is convinced that Israel’s actions are disproportionate, or that it committed war crimes, each one of those people represents a victory for Hamas – in what can only be called the ‘telegenically dead child strategy’.”
As well as criticising Labour leader Ed Miliband, Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, Mr Gross singled out the National Union of Students, whose national executive committee voted on 4 August to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
He writes of the NUS: “This lot, having recently rejected BDS, adopted it during the operation [in Gaza]. Apart from the anti-Semitic undertones, it rewarded Hamas’ strategy of making sure as many children as possible die, and encouraged them to do it in future.”
Underneath a picture of an injured Palestinian child, a caption reads: “By giving in to Hamas’ tactic of putting children in to harm’s way, the NUS not only passed a motion that will target all Jews, but made horrifying scenes like this one more likely to happen again.”
Comments below Mr Gross’ post have dismissed the piece as “utter muck”, “nonsense on stilts” and “clearly written by a team of comedy writers with very poor taste”.
Asked for a response, a NUS spokeswoman said in a statement: “The motion passed by our national executive council commits us to ensuring that, as far as is practical, NUS does not employ or work with companies identified as facilitating Israel’s military capacity, human rights abuses or illegal settlement activity, and to actively work to cut ties with those that do.”
The statement added: “NUS has reaffirmed our commitment to raising awareness of and combating all forms of racism, including but not limited to Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, that may and have occurred in response to recent events in Israel and Palestine.
“The national executive committee also reiterated NUS’ support for a two-state solution.
“We are committed to creating an atmosphere in which robust debates can take place without creating a climate of fear or intimidation.”