Author and journalist Douglas Murray, who received an award of appreciation from the president of Israel and the Minister of Diaspora Affairs on Wednesday, visited the Arutz Sheva - Israel National News studio in Jerusalem to discuss the event.

“I was deeply moved and honored. I don't do it for awards or anything. It was enormously moving to be honored for my work. I don't see myself as a PR soldier, just as a writer and as a journalist. I think it's very important to see things with your own eyes, and that's always been my policy as a writer. That's all I've tried to do. I guessed early on that the world would spend very little time concentrating on the massacre. The next day people were celebrating the massacre in Times Square in New York. I thought right then that I've got to get there as soon as I can because I thought they'll move on to Israel's response.”

He discussed how that has happened in the USA: “I think Biden has been really supportive, even when he has said things that are critical. He has continued arms supplies, for instance. As the IDF has been more and more successful in ridding Gaza of Hamas, the narrative has changed.”

Although advocacy is difficult, he doesn’t see himself quitting. “I think I would do what I do even if I didn't think I was making a difference, but as it happens, I think I am. My belief has always been that one truth can puncture a thousand lies. In the age of social media, that theory is being put to the test in real-time. A lot of the media has an agenda now. That's their right. I'd like Israel to win this conflict, some of them would like Hamas to win, some of them would just like Israel to lose.”

Murray denounces the focus on Israel. “None of these newspapers covered the far greater death toll that has been going on for the last decade in Yemen and Syria. Why are they so obsessed with this one? It's their opportunity to hold on to something that gives a feeling of crisis, but they have arsonist and firefighter reversed here. Many may talk about the history of the conflict, but that only proves it more.”

He notes other oddities about the war: “It's a very uncommon situation for one side to be fighting and also nourishing their opponents. It's an extraordinary testament to this country, but it's highly unusual. I can think of no other conflicts that I've covered or seen or read about in which that's the case. It's also an uncommon situation in war for one side to not only want the death of its enemies but also wish that its enemies should kill its own people. Israel must both fight this enemy and supply them. There's no doubting the appalling suffering of many of the citizens in Gaza, but that's what happens if you start a war.”

Regarding the hostages, there is one point in particular Murray tries to avoid. “When it comes to the hostages themselves, well I'm horrified and amazed by how the world has effectively forgotten that there are more than 100 Israelis who are still held hostage in Gaza. Many women and children have been released, but there's no crime in being a man that they should be considered better off. I think is worth mentioning the obscenity of the interpretation of prisoner swaps, as though there's any comparison between a Jewish child stolen from their home by Hamas and some multiple murderer of Jews who's in an Israeli prison.”

Israel, Murray says, has come a long way in expressing itself, but still has more to do. “All I can do as a journalist is to tell the truth and report on what I see, and then interpret it to any extent I can. Israel, like all states, has the right to explain its case. There are something like eight million people in this country who believe they know how to do Israel advocacy. Getting information out into the world is better now than it ever has been before. I reckon even ten years ago, Israel would not have put out footage, would not have invited journalists in to go and witness for themselves the arms dumps and so on.”

He believes in a simple message, powerfully projected to the world. “There's always a limit to what can be done from this country because it's a numbers game. There are multiple countries at the United Nations who wish this country seriously ill and many of them have very powerful media. That doesn't mean that the truth shouldn't continue to be put out there. The job of Israeli diplomacy is to get out the facts as fast as possible and hope that they have an impact on the world. People have to be reminded who's the aggressor here. The deaths are all on Hamas. Maybe if people realized that, there would be fewer calls for a ceasefire.”

Regarding the calls for people to witness the scenes of the massacre themselves, Murray is staunchly in favor. “I don't forget the scenes, the bodies. It is very important to see, even at this late stage, the ruins of some of these communities. Much of the world still remains pretty ignorant of the actual details of the horrors of what happened that day.”

He does have one reservation: “The IDF’s compilation of massacre footage isn’t something to be seen by everyone.”

Ultimately, he has hope for Israel: “I think there's a huge place for optimism. This country in operation has been remarkable. The young Israelis have risen to the moment and they are doing an incredibly difficult job. They are on the front line of history, and when the history books come to be written, I think that this generation is going to be written about with great pride - and I know because I also write the books myself.”