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‘Hamas is an asset’ is the Israeli consensus

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So what is the (liberal) Israeli peace camp up to? The same stuff.

The 61 Project, an initiative of the Molad Center  whose interest is “The Renewal [sic…] of Israeli Democracy”, has issued this poster of Member of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich (of the Jewish Home party), who said yesterday:

“The Palestinian Authority is a liability, Hamas is an asset”.

Smotrich is a fascist, a religious fanatic and a rabid anti-LGBT campaigner. He deserves the graphic treatment in the poster. However, numerous mainstream Israeli officials and public figures have stated that having Hamas in power in Gaza is good for Israel, because it makes it easier for it not to negotiate on the future of the area. Surely they are not wrong in this assertion, and Smotrich was just slightly more candid than them.

Furthermore, one can recall Israel’s pulverization of PA systems and infrastructure in the previous decade, when the PA was insufficiently obedient, as well as the current threats against Mahmoud Abbas and his administration, warning them against challenging Israeli apartheid on the ground and in the international arena.

Moreover, this is the Israeli consensus: it supports Israel’s crimes in the OT, doesn’t like Abu Mazen (especially when he gains international support for condemnations of Israeli policies), and doesn’t mind at all having Hamas in power in Gaza.

Elements of the liberal Zionist “Peace Camp” like to target the extreme right wing from a so-called *patriotic* perspective. The message is that Smotrich is in alliance with Israel’s worst enemies. Instead of informing the Israeli public of the origins of Hamas, as a grassroots resistance movement with legitimate concerns and a long-term truce on its agenda, these liberal Zionists adopt the right wing’s method of smearing the other side as a non-patriot, even a traitor. The 61 Project has copped out of criticizing the Israeli mainstream for its support of atrocities.

This approach has not succeeded, and is unlikely to succeed. The right wing will always have an advantage on the patriotism playing field. However, such Peace Camp populism makes it easy for liberal Zionists to hold on to their delusions about a handful of extremists being responsible for the horrors of the present, and their fantasies about “the renewal of Israeli democracy”.

When “centrist” Israeli politician Yair Lapid calls for a “Lawn Mower” operation against the Palestinians, we should remember that the majority of the Israeli political spectrum supports the worst Israeli crimes being committed right now. The 61 Project’s politics is not grounded in the political reality of Israeli apartheid and colonialism.

Ofer Neiman

Neiman is an Israeli activist

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6 Responses

  1. John O on October 8, 2015, 2:23 pm

    Thank you, Ofer. I hadn’t thought about it in that way before. Here in the UK the demonising of new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn includes his alleged support for Hamas. So Hamas is an asset to the Tory party.

  2. JLewisDickerson on October 8, 2015, 2:59 pm

    RE: “The Palestinian Authority is a liability, Hamas is an asset.” ~ Israeli fascist Smotrich

    SEE: “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas”, By Andrew Higgins, The Wall Street Journal, 01/24/09

    [EXCERPT] Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor’s bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile’s trajectory back to an “enormous, stupid mistake” made 30 years ago.
    “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.
    Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. . .
    . . . When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and ’80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel. The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools. Crucially, Israel often stood aside when the Islamists and their secular left-wing Palestinian rivals battled, sometimes violently, for influence in both Gaza and the West Bank.
    “When I look back at the chain of events I think we made a mistake,” says David Hacham, who worked in Gaza in the late 1980s and early ’90s as an Arab-affairs expert in the Israeli military. “But at the time nobody thought about the possible results.” . . .


    • brent on October 10, 2015, 1:09 am

      Sheik Yassein, the Hamas founder, probably had no clue he was signing his death warrant when he said Hamas would be up for a 40 to 50 year stand down during which matters could sort out.

      A week later a hellfire missile splattered bits of his body across his mosque wall as he rolled down the sidewalk in his wheelchair, something he did every Friday after prayers.

  3. a blah chick on October 8, 2015, 4:44 pm

    “The 61 Project, an initiative of the Molad Center whose interest is “The Renewal [sic…] of Israeli Democracy”

    When exactly was this “democracy?” When military rules was imposed? When they passed the Nakba law? When they made advocating BDS illegal? When Palestinians were denied the right to marry whom they wanted? You can’t renew something that never existed.

    I’ll say this about the Squishy Left, they’re far more annoying than scary.

  4. brent on October 10, 2015, 12:42 am

    In 1988 at a press conference at Hebrew University, an Israeli journalists asked the general in charge of Gaza, “Today you arrested 200 Palestinians. All but five were Fatah, the rest Hamas and they were insignificant players. How do you explain that?” The answer didn’t resemble the question.

    It’s amusing to hear the claim that facilitating the rise and development of Hamas was not intentional. Hamas has written Israel the permission slips consistently over time. If it didn’t exit, Israel would have invented it. How else to refuse to negotiate, to play the double game?

  5. wondering jew on October 10, 2015, 5:21 am

    I recently listened to a podcast of Gershon Baskin, who (was part of the team that) negotiated the release of Gilad Shalit. He was opposed to a new reality being negotiated between Israel and the Gaza Strip, because he felt that this would legitimize Hamas and its tactics and discredit the cooperation tactic exhibited by Abbas and Fatah. He was opposed to it for a few other reasons as well, (that this new Gaza arrangement would in fact lead to the existence of a Palestinian state in Gaza while the West Bank would remain under occupation and the existence of one Palestinian state would alleviate the urgency of establishing yet another Palestinian state.

    I was a bit horrified or at least troubled by the attitude rejecting the possible for a better deal down the road. I heard all of his objections, but still my instinct to alleviate the Gaza problem is strong enough that I would prefer the bird in the hand to the two in the bush.

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