ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

When He’s Good He’s Great.

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Was reading Bob from Brockley’s demolishment of Henry Siegman’s cheap arguments on Hamas:

“First, for all its failings, Hamas brought Gaza to a level of law and order unknown in recent years, and did so without the large sums of money that donors showered on the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. It eliminated the gangs and warlords who terrorised Gaza under Fatah’s rule. Non-observant Muslims, Christians and other minorities have more religious freedom under Hamas rule than they would have in Saudi Arabia, for example, or under many other Arab regimes.”

[Bob’s reply]:

‘ If we were to accept what Siegman says here as true, the argument would have the same structure as the following argument: “The notion that Germany under Hitler murdered its Jews is a lie because in fact Hitler made the trains run on time and in any event Stalin killed more people.” Or: “The claim that the My Lai massacre was a war crime is a lie because the American occupation made lots of Vietnamese people rich and anyway Pol Pot did some worse things.” Or “A chicken is not a bird because it’s really a farm animal and anyway a duck is more of a bird than a chicken.”

Quite simply, the extent to which Hamas brought Gaza law and order and religious tolerance is irrelevant to the question of whether it used this orderly and tolerant haven as a launching-pad for rockets. The extent to which the Wahhabi monarchy is a theocratic dictatorship is irrelevant to the question of Hamas’ responsibility for the attempted mass slaughter of Israeli citizens. ‘

It is very good (wish I had written it), read on.

Update:

Bernard Avishai is worth a read too:

“Palestine is not Hamas and Israel is not its settlers, though the trends are not encouraging. Poll after poll shows that a majority of Palestinians still want a two-state solution with Israel, while surrendering to the logic of violent struggle. Palestinian elites still look forward to cooperation with Israelis on advanced businesses, higher education, construction, and tourism; they may even have some affection for Israelis; they know that their economic dignity and secular life depend on staving off Hamas. And a majority of Israelis still want peace with Palestine, skeptical as they may be of Palestinian political institutions. Israeli elites are raging against Hamas, but are still stirred by globalization and know that West Bank business infrastructure cannot development with 500 checkpoints. They know their own economic growth and cultural vitality depend on peace; their children, many of whom are leaving the country, hate guarding and paying for settlements.

Yet both sides’ leaders, no matter who they are, cannot break out of a now impossible bind. They cannot imagine prompting a near-term fight with their own rejectionists, which means wide-scale civil disobedience, even civil war, for a long-term negotiation that would be hostage to the first atrocity. Peace advocates are exhausted, increasingly cynical, overwhelmed by military professionals and insurgent militias depicting their own actions as preempting the other side in a fight-to-the-finish. Hamas and Israeli rightists do not oppose a peace deal the way Republicans oppose Keynes. They have killed their own leaders to get their way. And this–not just a stalled “peacemaking process”–is where America comes in.
…”

(H/T: Charles Lenchner )

Update 2:
cabalamat’s got a characteristically intelligent grasp of the situation.

Written by modernityblog

27/01/2009 at 20:06

Posted in Uncategorized

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