a symbolic attack?



On April 13, 2024, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) launched an attack of over 300 drones and ballistic missiles aimed at the entirety of the State of Israel — that is, an indiscriminate attack on 9.2 million people, about 98% of them civilians. Allegedly, the attack was carried out in response to Israel bombing a building adjacent to the Iranian embassy in Damascus and killing a senior Quds Force commander, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and another seven IRGC officers, as well as two civilians. 

Thanks to Israel’s air defenses, plus the cooperation of France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, Israel managed to largely thwart the attack.

One Israeli Arab Bedouin seven-year-old girl was severely injured and is still in critical condition. Three Iranians were injured by misfired rockets.

Because the attack was successfully repelled, many social media users, journalists, and political pundits have started calling the attack a “symbolic attack,” a legitimate but harmless response to Israel’s strike. The rhetoric is angering me more and more by the hour. It not only illustrates astonishing ignorance about the IRI’s true motives, but it also shows me, once again, how little regard people have for living Jews (dead Jews, like Anne Frank and Jesus Christ, they absolutely love). 

Just because we are now able to successfully defend ourselves doesn’t mean it’s fair game to bomb us or that an enormous barrage of missiles and drones aimed in our direction is meaningless. 



Since the 1970s, the IRI has been sponsoring Palestinian nationalism as a tool to destroy the State of Israel, which they view as an obstacle to their ultimate vision of a worldwide Islamic Caliphate. The IRI sees all of Israel as Islamic land. 

Just the other day, the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Tweeted, “Al-Quds [Jerusalem] will be in the hands of the Muslims.” That’s not exactly a message of coexistence. 

In 2017, the IRI inaugurated an “Israel doomsday” clock in Tehran, counting down to Israel’s supposed annihilation. According to Iranian-American policy analyst Karim Sadjapour, the three ideological pillars of the Iranian regime are “compulsory hijab, death to America, and death to Israel.”

One only need to peruse Khamenei’s Twitter to see that he posts about exterminating Israel practically weekly, if not more. Why is this an acceptable thing for a head of state to Tweet about another sovereign nation? Why does the world accept it?

As former Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid said in a 2022 United Nations General Assembly speech, “There is only one member-state in the UN that openly states its wish to destroy another member-state. Iran has declared time and time again that it is interested in the ‘total destruction’ of the State of Israel. And this building is silent.”

The IRI, for decades, has made its genocidal message crystal clear: it aims to annihilate Israel. Now, it’s launched its first ever attack on Israel from Iranian soil…and we are told it was just “symbolic.” When people tell you who they are, why shouldn’t we believe them?



Israel’s defense of the Islamic Republic’s attack was absolutely unprecedented. Key word: unprecedented. Of course, the IRI knows Israel has missile defense systems, most notably the Iron Dome. Which is why it sent so many missiles. Like Hamas on October 7, the IRI probably hoped the sheer quantity of the barrage would overwhelm Israel’s missile defenses. 

For years, that has been Hamas’s strategy — to build up its missile arsenal (with the IRI’s help) to overwhelm the Iron Dome. If that is Hamas’s strategy, then that is almost certainly the IRI’s strategy. 

Had this been a “symbolic” attack — whatever that even means, because there’s nothing “symbolic” about bombs flying over people’s heads — the IRI wouldn’t have fired hundreds and hundreds of missiles at 9.2 million people. 

The IRI also didn’t know that Arab countries such as Jordan (with a predominantly Palestinian population and a Palestinian queen!) and Saudi Arabia would intervene on Israel’s behalf. In fact, it certainly hoped the opposite would happen. It was thanks to the intervention of other countries that most missiles were shot down outside of Israeli territory. Had the IRI gotten its way, Israel would have been on its own, or at least without the support of those Arab countries, and more missiles would have gotten through. 



The fact that Saturday’s attack was the first ever coming from Iranian territory doesn’t mean that this is the first attack the Islamic Republic has directed at Israel in its perpetual quest to annihilate the Jewish state.

In fact, the IRI has been bombing Israel in a near-daily basis since October 7, 2023, via its proxies, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. An IRGC commander, Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who Israel killed in its Damascus strike, helped orchestrate the October 7 massacre. Leading up to the October 7 attack, some 500 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists trained in Iran. 

And this is just since October 7. For decades, the IRI has been funding, arming, and training its proxies, which have killed not only thousands of Israelis, but hundreds of non-Israeli Jews worldwide.

The IRI, which has used the Damascus strike as its propaganda excuse, is associated with at least six bombings and attacks of Israeli embassies and diplomats, the deadliest of which was the bombing of the 1992 Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which killed 30. In 1994, the IRI orchestrated the bombing of Argentina’s largest Jewish community center, murdering 85 people. 

The IRI has inflicted real horror on Jews and Israelis for decades. Not symbolic horror. Real horror. 



As mentioned, a seven-year-old Israeli Bedouin girl was critically injured in the attack, and she is still fighting for her life in the hospital. There is nothing symbolic about this little girl’s injury. It’s real. 

In Iran, three people were injured by misfired missiles. Their injuries are real too, not symbolic.

After October 7, Israel is in a state of deep societal trauma. Certainly for many people, especially for survivors of the massacre, the IRI’s attack re-triggered that trauma. As a reminder, October 7 started with a barrage of missiles and air raid sirens. That trauma is real, not symbolic, and this retraumatization is real as well, not symbolic.  

Unless you’ve lived with missiles flying over your head, it absolutely reeks of privilege to call a simultaneous attack of 110 ballistic missiles, 170 drones, and 30 cruise missiles merely “symbolic.” 

Bombs explode. They’re real. They kill people. There’s no symbolism in that. 




October 7 was deeply traumatizing to Israel and the Jewish world. But arguably more shocking was the response of the world to the indiscriminate slaughter of Israelis, most of them Jews. It was not only that our bloodied, mutilated corpses were paraded to crowds of thousands in the Gaza Strip, or that they handed out candy in the streets of the West Bank. It’s that immediately after the massacre — the next day, quite literally — enormous crowds gathered to celebrate in Times Square. It’s that a group of the 30 Harvard University organizations blamed Israel for its own slaughter. It’s that numerous Black Lives Matter chapters openly celebrated the murder and hostage-taking of Black Israelis and foreign students. It’s that feminist organizations suddenly don’t believe all women. The list goes on. 

Since October 7, I’ve learned how little the western progressive left — who I used to identify with — values Jewish lives. 

This became clearer than ever when the one-sided ceasefire calls started, with no mention whatsoever of the hostages, and no mention that Hamas, too, should cease its fire during a ceasefire. No concern whatsoever that Hamas insists it will carry out 10/7 again and again until we are all dead. Instead, ceasefire protestors in Toronto were outright jubilant when they learned of Hamas’s attack. They don’t mind fire when Jews are on the receiving end. 

The IRI now has launched an unprecedented barrage of bombs, and Israel, thanks to regional cooperation and billions of dollars invested in defense (Saturday alone cost $1.2 billion), was able to thwart the attack so that the damage was minimal. Now, people are determined to minimize the nature of the attack, as though the IRI didn’t really mean it. As though it’s fair game to bomb us for symbolic effect. But if someone shoots you, and you don’t die because you’re wearing a bullet proof vest, they still shot you, and that’s still a crime. It’s not “symbolic.” 



While the IRI bombed Israel, the police command in Tehran announced that they would be intensifying their mandatory hijab laws. They could’ve done so at the same time as the bombing attack to divert attention from their repressive laws. 

But that doesn’t mean their bombing was symbolic or irrelevant. It’s two sides of the same evil coin. 

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