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An echo, not a choice

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday January 28, 2006 05:36 PM

On no subject is the essential unanimity of Republicans and Democrats more plain than the subject of Israel. Hamas won the the Palestinian elections, and five minutes later we see Democrats and Republicans reading from precisely the same script.

Hillary: “Until and unless Hamas renounces violence and terror, and renounces its position calling for the destruction of Israel, I don't believe the United States should recognize them, nor any nation in the world."

Schumer: "[Hamas is] a terrorist organization, which means they believe it is their right to murder women, children and innocent civilians to achieve their goals… It is unrealistic, unwise and even immoral to ask Israel to sit down with a government that contains people who have such beliefs…No other country would, why should Israel?"

("Murder women children and innocent civilians to achieve their goals"? Actually, that sounds a lot like the United States, Chuck. As memorably articulated by your fellow Democrat, Madeleine Albright. But I digress.)

Biden: "Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with a party that calls for its destruction, engages in terrorism and maintains an armed militia."

Fascinating, isn't it, how much of this exaggerated miming of horror turns on what Hamas has said, or is thought, correctly or incorrectly, to believe? Hamas are ineligible interlocutors because they "don't accept Israel's right to exist" or because they have "called for Israel's destruction." In what other political context would objections like these sound like anything other than the ravings of a lunatic?

Now you may or may not like Hamas. (I like their militance, personally, but think their world-view is a little crude.) Regardless what you think about Hamas, though, it's pretty clear that they have the Palestinians' mandate. And unless you're willing to declare the Palestinians nonpersons, with no rights a white man is obliged to respect -- which is, of course, precisely the view shared by Republicans and Democrats alike, in perfect bipartisan harmony -- then it follows that you have to accept them as interlocutors. And if peace in the Milddle East is thought to be in the interest of the American people -- and surely it is -- then are not our leaders duty bound to swallow their highly selective fastidiousness and sit down with the people the Palestinians have chosen to speak for them?

Well, of course, A child could see that. But don't expect to hear it from any Democrat.

Comments (3)


Some good commentary on the topic here:



You won't hear this stuff from official Washington or the media.

Tim Dempsey:

This is priceless:

"[T]he U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution that Hamas should not be permitted to participate in Palestinian polls until it renounces violence."

It would be great if governments around the world passed similar resolutions calling for the Republicans and Democrats to be excluded from U.S. elections until they renounced violence, but I guess that's hoping for too much. Really though the irony and hypocrisy is just unbearable at this point.

By the way, as Raimondo pointed out in his column on Friday, the Israelis themselves gave birth to Hamas back in the late 70s and early 80s in order to take down the PLO. Talk about blowback. I guess it's no surprise that this hasn't been mentioned at all in the mainstream media...

Anyway, the U.S. response to the Hamas victory is reminiscent of that famously frank statement by Kissinger that was something to the effect of "Just because a country is stupid enough to go red, doesn't mean that we have to sit back and let them."

Michael J. Smith:

I was trying today to think of analogies to this ridiculous demand to "renounce violence" and "accept Israel's right to exist". Best I could come up with would be the US, back in the 70s, refusing to negotiate with the Soviets unless they renounced Communism and accepted Merrill Lynch's right to exist.

Of course what all this is really about is contriving excuses not to negotiate. That's what the Israelis are doing, have been doing for decades, and they get all the cover a rogue state could ever dream of from our Republicans and Democrats alike. (Once upon a time the Republicans were less sedulous than the Democrats in this regard, but on this topic, as on every other, the Republicans in recent years have stolen the Democrats' clothes.)

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