Hamas, Zionists, and the Word “Never”

Bomb Rocks Jerusalem Bus Stop, Killing Woman

As I was pulling out of the garage this morning, I heard someone commenting on Hamas and Israel on my local news radio station. I knew something bad must have happened because they have experts weigh in on certain, recent stories. A bomb goes off in a bus stop in Jerusalem. Great. It’s not like anything else is going on in the world. I thought, “suicide bomber or planted bomb?” It’s disturbing that I’ve become so desensitized to violence that the way it’s carried out intrigues me. Planted bomb.

I’ve come to the conclusion, actually a while ago, that the violence will never end there. And the world has Hamas and Zionists to thank. Last week, my blog-friend Kendrick Macdowell wrote Slaughter in the West Bank, referring to the execution of an entire Israeli family (including 3-month-old baby). Two statements from Hamas illustrate the two very different faces they show the world. The cleaned up, “We would never hurt children” English version vs. the raw, “Yes, we killed 5 Zionist usurpers” Arabic version. There was no mention that one of those “usurpers” was a baby. No matter what face they show the world, Hamas can’t hide their evil.

The Zionist response to the slaughter was more settlements of course. What will be the response this time? I was in Dubai when the 10-month settlement moratorium ended. I was back in my hotel room for the evening and saw that it was going to end at midnight. When I woke up the next morning, I turned on the news, and there it was. They were breaking ground. I thought, “they sure didn’t waste any time.”

Until the Zionists stop the settlements and Hamas stops the rockets and attacks, there will never be peace there.

ETA Update: Israel Retaliates for Deadly Blast, Rocket Attacks


14 responses to “Hamas, Zionists, and the Word “Never”

  • seattle99

    Yeah, I know what you mean; but I also never expected the violence in Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland to slacken off like it has.

  • lobotero

    The conflict between the Pals and the Jews is now an institution and as such will take longer, if ever, to resolve…..

  • Terrance H.

    Some – like Kendrick – would argue that even if Israel made every possible concession, that wouldn’t be enough. And one of the concessions is to give up Jerusalem, which Israel is never going to do.

    I’ve had it out with Kendrick regarding this issue. And after talking to him and doing a little more research, I’m not sure there is anything Israel can do to make peace. I think many Arabs believe Israel stole their land and want Israel gone, completely.

    Egpyt Air has in fact removed Israel from their maps. They simply allotted that bit of land to Jordan. Literally.

    So while I’m in agreement with you that Israel could handle certain situations with greater care than what they have in the past, who are we to judge? This conflict as been ongoing and it seems that no matter what Israel does or gives, it’s never enough.

    It’s a tough situation, and tough to take a firm stand on one side.

    • SpinnyLiberal

      Very tough situation. True – we can’t really judge. Both sides have valid points.

      • Terrance H.

        Spinny,

        Read this

        Perhaps Obama spoke too soon?

      • SpinnyLiberal

        Now that wasn’t comforting at all. Crap. Maybe we can just ask the French and British to go on the ground. If one of our guys ejects out of a plane and lands, one of their people can get him. I don’t know. This just SUCKS.

      • Terrance H.

        LOL. I thought you’d like that. Of course, it doesn’t mean they will be right in the face of the Libyans, but it’s possible. And obvious someone at the Pentagon thought to put them there – just in case.

        President Obama perhaps spoke too soon. And he does that often, I have noticed, despite his good intentions.

      • SpinnyLiberal

        Definitely. Maybe he has my same plan – throw the French and Brits in there instead. 🙂

  • Kendrick Macdowell

    By the way, the American pilot who was ejected and landed (thankfully) in territory controlled by the rebels was greeted as a hero by locals, and enthusiastically celebrated before some “boots on the ground” rescued him.

    Part of the problem, of course, is that our “operations” are literally life-and-death propositions for the objects of these “operations.” And therefore, our immensely careful geopolitical posturing pales in comparison to the impact on their lives. Does that matter as a factor in geopolitical decision-making? Ruthlessly, probably not. Some consequence, probably yes.

    Re Israel, I respect your attempted balance in condemning Hamas and “Zionists,” but disagree with the implicit moral equivalence. First, you use “Zionists” as an evident catch-all that includes everyone from the most zealous settlers to the Netanyahu government to, presumably, ordinary Israelis favoring vigorous defense of the country (i.e., virtually all Israelis). That’s the way Hamas uses the term “Zionist,” as a deep pejorative for condemning virtually all Israeli Jews, and Jews generally.

    That’s not the way I or millions of others understand “Zionism,” the movement made prominent by Theodor Herzl. In the 1980s, I lived on a kibbutz in Israel where there were many “Zionists” from different parts of the world committed to leaving their homes and families and friends and re-settling in the land of Israel, and in not a single case were they committed to a “greater Israel” encompassing broader borders, or committed ideologically to some notion of conquest of Arab neighbors or Palestinians. They simply wished to live in the land of Israel, the homeland of the Jews, however Israeli borders might get defined by peace agreements. And that is a “Zionist” — a person committed to a homeland for the Jews and to Jews moving there.

    I do not dispute that there are settlements, and settlers, that are obstacles to peace. I’ve said that it was a bad idea to respond to the recent Itamar massacre with a decision to build more settlements. That, and similar, decisions should be challenged.

    But that is different than saying Hamas and “Zionists” are equally responsible for the frustration of peace. Importantly, the angry settlers who make the news with their bile about Palestinians constitute a tiny fraction of the Israeli population. Hamas, courtesy of Israeli withdrawal and Palestinian elections, controls the Gaza Strip, even to the point of condoning random rocket strikes into Israeli civilian populations as we speak — as in, we don’t care who’s killed, as long as it’s a “Zionist.”

    In the parlance in which we always feel obliged to speak regarding geopolitical disputes, there must be two roughly equivalent bad actors, and we can say, “a plague on both your houses,” and feel we have held forth adequately to discharge our moral concern with the bad acting. But sometimes, bad acting is disproportionate. Sometimes, it is necessary to say, this bad acting is worse, this bad acting is more murderous, this bad acting denies an entire people their right to exist. And if we focus clearly and constructively thereupon, perhaps we can contribute to both sides hedging away from extremism.

    • SpinnyLiberal

      Thank you for your input here. I was wondering if you would comment. I’m glad you did. 🙂

      I lived on a kibbutz in Israel where there were many “Zionists” from different parts of the world committed to leaving their homes and families and friends and re-settling in the land of Israel, in not a single case were they committed to a “greater Israel” encompassing broader borders, or committed ideologically to some notion of conquest of Arab neighbors or Palestinians. They simply wished to live in the land of Israel, the homeland of the Jews, however Israeli borders might get defined by peace agreements. And that is a “Zionist” — a person committed to a homeland for the Jews and to Jews moving there.

      I think this is where we part ways because I believe it isn’t just that at all. While those in your kibbutz were not committed to broader boarder, there is a long history of the “Zionists” buying and settling on land with disregard for the people already there (Arabs). Just as Israel has a right to exist, so do the Palestinians.

      • Kendrick Macdowell

        Thanks Spinny, and thanks for the nod to my piece on the Itamar massacre, and for the friendship. 🙂

        I think the problem is still slippery language. I don’t disagree with your last statement — although you’re comparing a nation with a people. I think (but am not sure) you mean simply to say there should be two states with an equal right to secure existence, Israel and Palestine. And I agree.

        But that very laudable goal is hindered by loose language that demonizes entire populations — the way, IMHO, your pejorative use of the term “Zionist” does. What chance for peace, really, if virtually an entire population (Israelis/”Zionists”) is viewed as one of your two reasons (the other being Hamas) for your conclusion that “violence will never end there”?

        Comparing Hamas to radicalized settlers? Might quibble, but okay, we can work with that. Comparing Hamas to “Zionists,” which appears to embrace virtually the entire Israeli population? No, can’t work with that. No, absolutely no route to peace with that framework. In fact, that IS the Hamas framework. That IS the framework of the most radicalized obstacles to peace in the Middle East.

        Why do you think Hamas, on the Arabic portion of its website, carried an article regarding the Itamar massacre applauding the slaughter of “five Zionist usurpers” (including an infant)? Because convincing people that every Israeli, including a child, is a “Zionist usurper” is a way to keep people whipped into a frenzy of murderous aggression against every Israeli, and to justify whatever murderous means might be employed against the evil “Zionist usurpers.” Is it possible, with a straight face, to conceive of “peace negotiations” with such a sensibility?

        Conversely, would wide swaths of the Israeli government and the Israeli population be reliable peace negotiation partners? Yes. As they have demonstrated repeatedly. And that’s my concern with moral equivalence between murderous ideologies like Hamas and Israelis generally. That spurious moral equivalence actually contributes to stalemate and diminishing prospects for peace because it distorts the opening framework for discussions and empowers Israel-haters internationally to encourage Palestinian intransigence.

        As the recent Al Jazeera/Guardian scandal concerning leaked records of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations illustrated so vividly, there are (a) very sane and rational Palestinians of abundant good will seeking to negotiate peace in good faith, and (b) they have little or no community cover because too many interests are vested in commitment to virulent hate and demonization of all Israelis — meaning even sensible accommodation gets viewed as “betrayal” and “capitulation.” And so, still, we have no peace, and little prospect for it.

        Language matters enormously. “Zionist” means something evil only if you’re in the camp that will perpetually derail Middle Eastern peace.

        Interesting aside: your picture of an obvious orthodox Jew carrying a sign saying “End of Zionism = Peace” is clever. But it is misleading. There is a textured and complicated history of certain ultra-orthodox Jewish communities opposing “Zionism,” and indeed the creation of the state of Israel, for literalist scriptural reasons (twisted in my view). The rough analogy would be a picture of an obviously devout Muslim holding up a sign saying “Al Qaeda Supporters of Israel.”

      • SpinnyLiberal

        Yes – two states with an equal right to secure existence. And I have no idea how that can be achieved when there is a land grab and rockets constantly being fired.

        I can definitely see where you’re coming from when you show why Hamas uses the term “Zionist.”

        Honestly, I don’t know what to call the people who are constantly building settlements, throwing Palestinians out of their homes. Or the people I’ve run into who’ve said “There is no such thing as Palestine” or “There is no such thing as Palestinian people.”

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