Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

February 22, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

HAMAS....In this week's Time, Joe Klein describes his experience moderating a panel at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha:

Many of the Muslim delegates seemed stunned, finally, by the rush of history unleashed by the Bush Administration. "Everything the United States has favored is now radioactive, especially democracy," said Rami Khouri, a Lebanese journalist. The Administration had pushed for elections in places like the Palestinian territories where the essential components of democracy — a free press, a free economy, the rule of law — did not exist. Religious parties had won, or gained momentum, in most of these elections, and the U.S. had backtracked, refusing to accept the Hamas victory in the Palestinian territories, re-embracing autocrats like Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. "Our indigenous democratic reformers," Khouri said, "are in retreat across the region."

If you say you support democracy, you have to support democracy. And you have to support it even if people you don't like win elections. Efraim Halevy, former chief of the Mossad and hardly a wide-eyed naif, tells Laura Rozen of Mother Jones that this is one of the reasons that the U.S. and Israel should face reality and agree to negotiate with Hamas:

MJ: Again and again, Israel and Washington too have tried to engineer which Palestinians would come to power, to whom they would speak or recognize, etc. Is this itself problematic? Should the West step back from trying to manipulate internal Palestinian politics?

EH: Yes, for two reasons. First, is the sovereign right of Palestinians to decide who their leadership should be. I think that is the basis of democracy. More than that, it is the best possible way in my opinion for a country or society to determine how it wants to be governed and how it wants to be lead. And second, so far it must be admitted that attempts to do this [manipulate internal Palestinian politics] have not succeeded. After all, in the final analysis, it would not be possible to create and fashion a leadership from without.

Refusing to deal with Hamas hurts the United States — as Klein observes, nobody in the Middle East believes our democracy rhetoric anymore — and it hurts Israel too. Halevy notes correctly not just that Hamas holds effective power in the Palestinian territories, but that it will continue to hold effective power since the only competition is Fatah's "aging, tired and sad Abu Mazen." There simply won't be any progress without engaging them.

Recognizing this is both a practical and an idealistic position. Maybe Barack Obama will help lead us in that direction. It's a sure bet that George Bush won't.

Kevin Drum 1:54 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (61)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Joe Klein? Good night.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 22, 2008 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Halevy has been making noises about talking to Hamas for a while.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on February 22, 2008 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

As I understand it, the destruction of Israel is central, official policy of Hamas. So, what is there to negotiate? The timing of Israel's destruction?

Posted by: ex-liberal on February 22, 2008 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

Same with Pakistan, no?


...er, and a lot of other places...

Posted by: gfw on February 22, 2008 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

"...how it wants to be governed and how it wants to be lead."

Or how it wants to be gold?

Posted by: Kenji on February 22, 2008 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

Puhhleeze, Kevin.

Either Obama or Clinton will, to riff on Pat Buchanan, kowtow to Zionist elements in Israel and their amen and shul corners here in the U.S. only a little bit less than McCain would. May have a new entry in "weakest post of the week."s

Ex-lib, as with so many other things, you need to READ, then comment. You obviously don't know everything in the world about the reality of Hamas today.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on February 22, 2008 at 2:59 AM | PERMALINK

Here's something to write about:

Four KBR contractors indicted for graft in Iraq

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on February 22, 2008 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

While yes, secular, liberal (in the proper, not provincial American sense of center-left) democracy advocates are in retreat. That should not be confused with everyone. Secularism, backed by the Statist Left in the Arab world failed badly - gave us Moubarek et al, Rami Khoury is a good mate, but lives in a past movement.

As for "ex-liberal" comment supra, one negotiates with one's enemies, not one's friends. Hamas people do hate Israel for various reasons, but many also wish to cut a deal. Childishness is not in state interest.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on February 22, 2008 at 3:06 AM | PERMALINK

"By their actions, ye shall know them..."
--Jesus Christ

Posted by: Quotation Man on February 22, 2008 at 6:35 AM | PERMALINK

maybe Barak Obama will lead us? God, I almost hope he gets elected just so the idiocy behind such reasoning can be thoroughly exposed. Democracy is a process not an event and as a process it is full of troubles - why would the Israelis be interested in supporting such a thing? and even if they do come to support it how do you know that it isn't for the long term benefit of the process that the Palestinians go down before they can go up? This country is truly sick with delusion if you think Obama can charm the situation to some pleasant conclusion. Maybe if he send Oprah as a special envoy and she can give everyone a free car.

Posted by: gort on February 22, 2008 at 7:34 AM | PERMALINK

"As I understand it"

There's your first problem, dear. You quite clearly don't understand.

"the destruction of Israel is central, official policy of Hamas."

No, dear, it's not, but do keep playing silly little games if it keeps you happy.

"So, what is there to negotiate?"

Quite a lot, dear, and if you weren't bent on posting mindless drivel, we might be able to discuss it. You do know what the term "negotiate" means, right, dear?

Posted by: PaulB on February 22, 2008 at 7:41 AM | PERMALINK

PaulB:

It took Google 0.17 seconds to find this when I googled "Hamas Charter:"

"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it" (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory)."

Dude, it's like the second paragraph...

Not sure how you "negotiate" with people who are committed to your destruction. Do you?

Posted by: Ara Rubyan on February 22, 2008 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

Saw a bumper sticker the other day -- "Be nice to America or we'll bring you democracy." Not so humorous, now.

Posted by: Greg Worley on February 22, 2008 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

How do you shut out Muslim voters in the EU and North America? I have college classes in the Toronto area where sometimes the majority of students are Muslim. They have the vote. Political support for Israel has to go down. Hell, I always supported Israel, but now, after talking to my Palestinian students, I realize I was wrong to ... some degree. Carte blanche support corrupts. Any parent knows that.

Posted by: Bob M on February 22, 2008 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

Politco reporting today on Obama's connection to old Weatherman terrorists - so hell, maybe he can relate to Hamas. Good call Kevin. Nice work.

Posted by: usap on February 22, 2008 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

Not sure how you "negotiate" with people who are committed to your destruction. Do you?

You start by talking to them. You show them they have more to gain through talks than through violence. Really, man, it's not like armed conflicts have never been negotiated to an end before.

Posted by: tomeck on February 22, 2008 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

Hamas will not negociate. It has nothing to negotiate with. It has no power. So it is impossible to negotiate with it. It has nothing to trade. If you rob people of their country in order to live in it yourself, it is necessary to humiliate those people utterly. Their dignity must be reduced beyond the point at which they can distinguish themselves as a people. The United States was able to achieve this as was Australia. The spanish and the catholic church grasped this early in Central and south America and was able to use the people as virtual slaves for centuries.

If you are not rigorous, you have a population of people with no power but plenty of rage, with whom you can not negociate. They have nothing to negociate with because your side owns everything. And your constituents, your people, will not allow you to give something up for nothing. So you can not give the people who you stole land from anything back. So you are stuck. And it will never stop. And in the end they will kill you. Or you will kill them. It is the way.
Amen.

Posted by: exclab on February 22, 2008 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

I don't like double commenting, but I gotta get this in. The Hamas Charter is quoted above, "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it" (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory)."

Well, they don't say that they are going to do it: Islam will do it. It's like when I was in a Catholic high school, and the priest got us to pray for the "happy death" of some nut cardinal. It worked. We didn't kill him; God did. Same thing here with Hamas. You can't stop prayer. As long as it's a happy death you pray for, it is legal and moral, too. Call it freedom of religion, and negotiate with Hamas.

Posted by: Bob M on February 22, 2008 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

Not sure how you "negotiate" with people who are committed to your destruction. Do you?

Yes, I'm not sure how Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, Carter, Reagan and Bush ever negotiated with the Soviet Union. Are you?

Posted by: Stefan on February 22, 2008 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

The Bush Administration has bungled everything they touch. Foreign policy is in the kind of shambles I never expected to see. Everyone hates us except Kuwait.

It's particularly amazing that Bush, with Rice by his side, has so totally screwed up our relations with Russia. Supposedly Rice is a Russia specialist. She might be so, but is clearly an incompetent one.

Posted by: POed Lib on February 22, 2008 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Everybody knows that FDR - or was it Winston Churchill, or Ronald Reagan . . . whatever - said that "democracy comes from the barrel of a gun". No wait, that was Mao, and he said that, or something like that, right?

Posted by: semiot on February 22, 2008 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

"Recognizing this is both a practical and an idealistic position. Maybe Barack Obama will help lead us in that direction. It's a sure bet that George Bush won't.

Just picture the demagoguery that would follow...I predict that one of the key McCain talking points (by surrogates) will be that Obama will embrace terrorists.

Posted by: lerxst on February 22, 2008 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

semiot, I don't know about the democracy part, but I found this one:

"All political power comes from the barrel of either guns, sex, or opium pipes, and people seem to like it that way." - Hunter Thompson

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on February 22, 2008 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

Hamas is still shelling civilians in Sderot.

The only thing that that accomplishes is it necessitates that Israel intervene.

Talk to Hamas, sure. Believe them, not yet, let actions determine.

Posted by: Richard Witty on February 22, 2008 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

The problem with refusing to negotiate with Hamas is you can't negotiate with them to recognize the state of Israel if you don't talk to them. This should be obvious.

If you start a dialogue with Hamas, begin softening them up, tell them you will recognize them as the elected government, that there will be real progress towards a state of Palestine, and in exchange they must recognize Israel and remove the destruction of Israel from their charter, you might get somewhere.

Making recognition of the state of Israel a PRECONDITION to negotiations will NEVER get them to recognize Israel, especially since Israel does not recognize them as the authority in Palestine even though the Palestinians elected them. Its a Catch 22.

Posted by: Osiris on February 22, 2008 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Whoa, Joe Klein was moderating a panel at a U.S.-Muslim summit? Sounds like a bad idea to me!

Anyway...

Even conservatives have to come around and recognize some truths eventually.

Klein wrote:

Many of the Muslim delegates seemed stunned, finally, by the rush of history unleashed by the Bush Administration. "Everything the United States has favored is now radioactive, especially democracy," said Rami Khouri, a Lebanese journalist. The Administration had pushed for elections in places like the Palestinian territories where the essential components of democracy — a free press, a free economy, the rule of law — did not exist.

Yeah-- what should anti-intellectual MBAs be telling the rest of the world about how to govern themselves through democracy? A lot of people forget that democracy didn't automatically spring up in the western world. It took generations of struggle, bloodshed, oppression, courage, and education for it to get a foothold! Even then, the anti=democracy forces fought (and have been fighting) tooth and nail to keep it all as close to the old ways as possible! All you crony MBAs, etc., don't realize that when you'll end up arguing for democracy out of one side of your mouth, at all other times you're arguing for conditions to undermine democracy out of the other, because that's the agenda of the corporate masters who run the Republican party!

The Muslims need home-grown Lockes, Humes, Benthams, Martin Luthers, and Gallileos. Western intellectuals need to stop seeing difference cultures as totally different flavors of ice cream, and start recognizing that there are some fundamental truths in the world, including about human nature, human relations and politics, that it's inevitable and natural for a rational people to eventually recognize and adopt. There is, to some extent, such a thing as progress. The Muslims need to recognize some of these ideas (and, if they continue to exist, which certainly seems the case, they'll probably have to eventually) in order to develop a more wealthy society with more equal distribution of wealth, and a more egalitarian outlook. They have to develop some of this stuff in order to become a society that is not constantly running around trying to oppress and kill each other all the time. And it may be a long process.

But it does happen simply by some of the dumbest, most luddite, anti-intellectual assholes in America just showing up, bombing and arresting everybody they don't think they can get to worship General Electirc and WalMart, and saying, "Duh, you have elections! You free now! Duh!"

Posted by: Swan on February 22, 2008 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter version: the Republicans in the administration and their ilk are people who haven't learned, or who refuse to recognize, the reality of how democracy springs up in civilizations. Look at India, China, South America, etc.- all these countries had really primitive populations, and then had westerners just show up and tell them about democracy- but simply hearing about it didn't solve their problems, and they've actually all still got a lot of violence and oppression going on. Maybe when we get some Poli Sci degree holders running things, they and their intellectual-minded friends will actually start thinking about what it realistically takes to get a people democracy is totally foreign to to start accepting the principles that underly democracy before they try to get a critical mass of those people to accept democracy itself.

Posted by: Swan on February 22, 2008 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

As I understand it, the destruction of Israel is central, official policy of Hamas. So, what is there to negotiate? The timing of Israel's destruction?

I realize he's being deliberately stupid, but what about negotiating making it not central, official policy of Hamas?

Posted by: Stefan on February 22, 2008 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

But it does happen simply by some of the dumbest, most luddite, anti-intellectual assholes in America just showing up, bombing and arresting everybody they don't think they can get to worship General Electirc and WalMart, and saying, "Duh, you have elections! You free now! Duh!"

Should have been "But it doesn't happen. . ." Sorry.

Posted by: Swan on February 22, 2008 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

"Hamas is still shelling civilians in Sderot."

Israel is still shelling civiians wherever they please. If it was [currently] in their own interest they would be shelling Americans too... like they have in the past. Just ask the survivors of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty.

While you're at it, ask why the Israeli Mossad agents were dancing and singing while they filmed the towers going down on 9-11. Ask about the 165 Israeli agents quietly expelled from the US shortly after 9-11. Read about the Israeli firebombing of the US embassy in Egypt. Read about how they traded US nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union.

Israel is neither friend nor ally to the United States... we are merely a tool to accomplish an end... the end-game being the re-creation of a long lost Jewish empire extending to Biblical boundaries and construction of the 'Third Temple' on the site of the Dome of the Rock mosque.

Just the facts...

Posted by: Buford on February 22, 2008 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

"Democracy" is what? Elections? It's a word that has lost its meaning.

Many of our present problems can be traced to not following the principles and wisdom of the Founding Fathers, such as the wisdom of George Washington imparted in his farewell address, which is pertinent to Israel:

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/washing.htm
So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.


Posted by: Luther on February 22, 2008 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Elections alone are NOT enough.

What makes the US great is our INSTITUTIONS that enforce the rule of law that protects individual and minority rights and gives individuals recourse against government tyranny by a system of INSTITUTIONAL checks and balances. Bush does NOT understand and disrespects our own CONSTITUTIONAL INSTITUTIONS and would rather be a dictator himself.

All our INSTITUTIONS are necessary to protect the rights of individuals and minorities from tyranny by the government AND the whims and capriciousness of the majority. These institutions INCLUDE free and fair elections AND courts, legislators and executives. Elections without checks and balances and our other institutions, are NOT ENOUGH. Note that the US government has a liberal CONSTITUTIONAL system. We are NOT technically a democracy.

Bush doesn't get it. Cheney doesn't get it. Rice doesn't get it. This is why their foreign policy has failed.

Posted by: bakho on February 22, 2008 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Nikita Kruschev said, "We will bury you!" We negotiated with them. That turned out well.

The British Government negotiated with the IRA. Eventually the IRA laid down arms. That turned out well, too.

Sadat and Begin negotiated with each other. That turned out well for Israel, and for Egypt.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on February 22, 2008 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you're an idiot. Obama has risen to power simply because while ensconced in ultra left wing intellectual circles of Chicago he opposed the war [big surprise there - if he'd supported it all those old radicals would have stopped inviting him to their wine and cheese parties] - and he also happens to give a good speech. How that translates Kevin into him solving the most intractable foreign policy shit storm in the world is beyond comprehension. Mark my words: Obama will be the next president and his term will be, for different reasons, as bad if not worse than Bush's - much in the way Carter's is viewed as being worse than Nixon's.

Posted by: offerman on February 22, 2008 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK
Sadat and Begin negotiated with each other. That turned out well for Israel, and for Egypt.
For Sadat and Begin, personally, not so much - ultimately. Stupid hard-core religious conservatives. They seem, in large part, to be hung up on that "barrel of a gun" thing. Posted by: kenga on February 22, 2008 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Osiris, upthread:

"Making recognition of the state of Israel a PRECONDITION to negotiations will NEVER get them to recognize Israel, especially since Israel does not recognize them as the authority in Palestine even though the Palestinians elected them. Its a Catch 22."

well, it's a feature, not a bug. Just as saying "there is not partner in negotiations" when the potential and elected leaders have been assassinated or jailed.

the point is to keep any positive steps from occurring. that's why there has been an aggressive action by Israel every time it looks like something positive might happen.

Since it's all been working so well in Palestine, wonder how well it's gonna work out in Pakistan, since GW and co are pushing to keep Mushy in power even though the people voted him out.

Posted by: just sayin on February 22, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK
Mark my words: Obama will be the next president and his term will be, for different reasons, as bad if not worse than Bush's - much in the way Carter's is viewed as being worse than Nixon's.
(emphasis mine)

Therein lies the rub.
"Viewed by whom?", I might ask.
"And why?", I might follow up.

Posted by: kenga on February 22, 2008 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Buford, PUHLEEZE. Your 9/11 "truther" conspiracy theories about Mossad are full of shit.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on February 22, 2008 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

The idea that hamas is committed to israel's destruction, like the idea that iran is committed to the same thing, is the result of a play on words, an exploitation of ambiguity. However, such tricks with words would not matter if it were not for the oppressive unanimity with which the 'mainstream press' (for how long more, 'mainstream'?) beats only israel's drum.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley on February 22, 2008 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe Barack Obama will help lead us in that direction.

Maybe a president Obama will help lead us in that direction. Maybe he will not. Then what?

The Palestinian solution will continue with little resistance from Americans. President Obama will visit the Holocaust Museum and make a wonderful speech.

Posted by: Brojo on February 22, 2008 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Great post Kevin. It certainly crystalized a few things for me- I think we can say three fundamental lessons of the Bush years can be summed up as:

1. You can't base your foreign policy on lies

2. You have to actually believe in and understand the things you say, like "democracy" and "elections"

3. Accept the results of free elections, unless you elect an emotionally stunted dullard frat boy to be your leader

Posted by: Jason on February 22, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

"The idea that hamas is committed to israel's destruction, like the idea that iran is committed to the same thing, is the result of a play on words, an exploitation of ambiguity."

What's more, it doesn't even matter if the talking point is correct and the rhetoric and the position are, in fact, unambiguous. Rhetoric matters little when it comes to matters of negotiation, else we would never have negotiated with the Soviet Union.

Nations spend a lot of time negotiating with other nations and groups who either disagree with them or who are their nominal enemies. That's simply a fact of life. Ignoring this fact, as the Bush administration has repeatedly done, has at least partially led us to the insane position we're in now.

Posted by: PaulB on February 22, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Not sure how you "negotiate" with people who are committed to your destruction. Do you?

Pretty fucking simple mate, just the same bloody way the West negotiated with the Sovs and the Comintern members in the day.

It ain't such a fucking deal, except if you want to deliberately block things, eh?

Posted by: The Lounsbury on February 22, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

As I understand it, the destruction of Israel is central, official policy of Hamas. So, what is there to negotiate? The timing of Israel's destruction?

Good God - Drama Queen much? Get a grip, dude. We know you are a coward and a warmonger, who can apparently only sport wood when the thought of killing brown muslim people is pervasive. What a sick, pathetic fuck...what a miserable wasted life.

Posted by: Volatile Compound on February 22, 2008 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

If you say you support democracy, you have to support democracy. And you have to support it even if people you don't like win elections.

Yes and no. Religious parties are defacto anti-democratic. You can't conflate voting, which they used to do even in the Soviet Union, with a democratic political process. Nowhere in the ME, including Israel, is there a truly democratic state or is there ever likely to be as long as religion is at the center of daily life.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 22, 2008 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

"It took Google 0.17 seconds to find this when I googled 'Hamas Charter:'"

Um ... All you've done is prove my point (and that you have trouble with reading comprehension).

"Not sure how you 'negotiate' with people who are committed to your destruction. Do you?"

Yup. You sit down and you talk to them. It's not particularly difficult. Reaching a mutually agreeable settlement, enforcing that settlement, verifying the enforcement of that settlement -- these are difficult. Starting the negotations? Not so much.

As I've already noted, nations have been negotiating with other hostile nations for centuries. This isn't exactly rocket science.

Posted by: PaulB on February 22, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

God the ignorance of people about Hamas just goes on and on. Hamas runs several local city governments and had done so for months before they won that election everyone keeps talking about.

And what did they DO (as opposed to the rhetoric) when they ran those cites? Their technical experts worked with Israeli experts. They observed a truce – and observed it more faithfully than Israel did. They promoted Christian tourism to the Christian holy sites. They talked (under their breath) about de facto recognition of Israel. But that was the LAST thing either Israel or the US actually wanted: Hamas to be a partner in negotiations.

Here’s a little question for the ex-liberal and the other wingnuts? Has Israel every renounced its desire to destroy Palestine? Has Israel ever promised to give up violence (targeted assassinations) against Palestinians? Has Israel ever dismantled a single active settlement? Has Israel ever stopped taking Palestinian land?

Posted by: JohnN on February 22, 2008 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

It's worth pointing out (for those of you who want to have a discussion, not just yell at eachother)that there are two streams of thought within Hamas - the fanatic wing and the realist wing. The realist wing might not exactly be enamoured with Israel, but they may well be willing to negotitate.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that the realists tend to be in Palestine, while the fanatics generally are abroad. It's a real power struggle going on within Hamas, and it would be in Israel's interest to take advantage of it.

Posted by: An Israeli on February 22, 2008 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "If you say you support democracy, you have to support democracy."

That's obviously untrue. The Cheney/Bush administration proclaims that they "support democracy" and the corporate media endlessly repeats this claim to the American people as if it were a fact.

The reality is that the Cheney/Bush administration consistently acts to undermine, suppress and destroy popular democratic movements and governments throughout the world, while actively supporting the world's worst, most brutal dictatorships.

And there is nothing new about that. The government of the USA has for many decades consistently sought to undermine, suppress and destroy popular democratic movements and governments throughout the world, while actively supporting the world's worst, most brutal dictatorships.

The reality is that "support for democracy" means "support for authoritarian governments that will be subservient and friendly to US corporate imperialism."

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 22, 2008 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Fanatics or peace?
Choose!

Posted by: MarkH on February 22, 2008 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK
If you say you support democracy, you have to support democracy.

This is, in fact, clearly false, as this Administration has repeatedly demonstrated. If you mean to say "If you say you support democracy, you ought to actually support democracy", then you should say that.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 22, 2008 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

An Israeli; Hello from an American Jew - cultutally Jewish, religiously agnostic - and member of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace.

I don't frequently wade in to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, but when I do I say much the same thing you just did. Hamas is more than just armed militants. It is also health clinics. There are parallels to be drawn and lessons to be learned from Northern Ireland. People thought it was the end of the world when Sein Finn was negotiated with, too.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on February 22, 2008 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, Red State:

Yes, it will come to that, sooner or later...

It's probably also worth mentioning that violent and dumb Israeli policies had a hand in creating Hamas and now helping it. Not a good idea.

I'm at work (and almost never comment) but I'll check out your link later!

Posted by: An Israeli on February 22, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

BG, An Israeli.. yeah, Israel basically did everything but create Hamas precisely to demonize Palestinians in general. Some apologies to Israel's populace by some of the leading governmental offenders are in order at some point.

But, as I said near the top, to expect Obama to really the ball along much, rather than pander? I wouldn't hold my breath.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on February 22, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

An Israeli:

Great comment on the start of Hamas.

A marvelous story and context has just been available by Uri Avnery on his site in Israel.

http://www.avnery-news.co.il/english/index.html

Uri is an amazing human being. He joined the Stern Gang as a fifteen year old (he lied about his age), fought for Israel, was elected to he Knesset and helped found a major peace group.

His last two articles on his web site are a basic primer on the mess in Israel, palestine, lebanon, Syria. He presents a summary of what he's learned since the 1930's about occupation, terrorism, and the weird psychology of "leaders."

You owe it to yourself to read his articles --- and look up the book that he recommends:

"Violent Politics" by William R. Polk; a history fo Insurgency, Terrorism and Guerilla war, from the American Revolution to Iraq.

Posted by: keramik on February 22, 2008 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

I don’t understand what’s the big deal about negotiations.
Israel already negotiate with all enemies, including Hamas.
They are in direct or indirect contacts with Hamas and Hezbollah every day.

Posted by: tt on February 22, 2008 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

It shouldn't surprise anyone that the realists tend to be in Palestine, while the fanatics generally are abroad. It's a real power struggle going on within Hamas, and it would be in Israel's interest to take advantage of it.

In the same vein, the most conservative and combative Israelis look like craven appeasers compared to Kristol and his ilk, comfortably ensconced thousands of miles away.

Posted by: esther on February 22, 2008 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

I just love the "we will not negotiate with terrorists like Hamas"

This from the country which invited Gerry Adams to the f***ing White House!

Or perhaps I missed the extended version "we will only negotiate with terrorists whom it suits our electoral purposes to pretend we're descended from"?

Posted by: ally on February 24, 2008 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK


I read the comment here: "Rhetoric matters little when it comes to matters of negotiation, else we would never have negotiated with the Soviet Union."

Comparing Israel versus Hamas and the US versus Soviet Union is not apt and demonstrates a fundamental misconception about Islamists.

The Soviets regime's fondest wish and goal was to "liberated the American working class" and install the Communist Party in power in the US. Hamas' fondest wish on the other hand is kill Jews in Israel and impose Islam (the Religion of Peace) on those who survived and who were willing to accept their Dhimmi status.

The easiest way to CLEARLY PROVE my assertion is to simply IMAGINE (for the sake of the argument) for a moment that all Hamas weapons disappeared into thin air. (Suppose an extraterrestrial ship disintegrated them with some special annihilation rays).

Now HONESTLY imagine the consequences: The IDF would enter Gaza and arrest a few dozen (ok, a few hundred) Hamas leaders. Maybe - but (in view of the extremely humane Israeli courts) NOT at all certainly - kill a few dozen of them (since they would be unarmed).

Now imagine for a moment that all Israeli weapons disappeared into thin air: Hamas (and many other Palestinians) would swarm Israel and there would be NO END OF LYNCHING - a DELIBERATE mass slaughter of practically all Jewish men, women, children, the old, patients in hospitals, etc. They would NOT betray the Koranic injunction ""If you gain mastery over them in battle, inflict such a defeat as would terrorize them, so that they would learn a lesson and be warned." (The Qur'an 8:57. Also 5:33)

There is too much sophisticated vacuous left-wing claptrap on this page. Before you attempt any analysis, for heavens sake, face plain reality.

The GIST and ROOT of the unresolvable conflict with Islamists is that their religion DEMANDS subordinating of Jews (and other non-Muslims): the Koran 9:15, 2:191, and many other verses.

Negotiating with Hamas is not simply negotiating with a dangerous opponent. It's like negotiating with a non-pacified murderer who tells you OPENLY AND CLEARLY he wants to MURDER you. Israel CAN negotiate with Hamas. But it would be wrong and humiliating.

Goran A.,
Jerusalem, Israel

Posted by: Goran A> on March 5, 2008 at 3:43 AM | PERMALINK

I read the comment here: "Rhetoric matters little when it comes to matters of negotiation, else we would never have negotiated with the Soviet Union."

Comparing Israel versus Hamas and the US versus Soviet Union is not apt and demonstrates a fundamental misconception about Islamists.

The Soviets regime's fondest wish and goal was to "liberated the American working class" and install the Communist Party in power in the US. Hamas' fondest wish on the other hand is kill Jews in Israel and impose Islam (the Religion of Peace) on those who survived and who were willing to accept their Dhimmi status.

The easiest way to CLEARLY PROVE my assertion is to simply IMAGINE (for the sake of the argument) for a moment that all Hamas weapons disappeared into thin air. (Suppose an extraterrestrial ship disintegrated them with some special annihilation rays).

Now HONESTLY imagine the consequences: The IDF would enter Gaza and arrest a few dozen (ok, a few hundred) Hamas leaders. Maybe - but (in view of the extremely humane Israeli courts) NOT at all certainly - kill a few dozen of them (since they would be unarmed).

Now imagine for a moment that all Israeli weapons disappeared into thin air: Hamas (and many other Palestinians) would swarm Israel and there would be NO END OF LYNCHING - a DELIBERATE mass slaughter of practically all Jewish men, women, children, the old, patients in hospitals, etc. They would NOT betray the Koranic injunction ""If you gain mastery over them in battle, inflict such a defeat as would terrorize them, so that they would learn a lesson and be warned." (The Qur'an 8:57. Also 5:33)

There is too much sophisticated vacuous left-wing claptrap on this page. Before you attempt any analysis, for heavens sake, face plain reality.

The GIST and ROOT of the unresolvable conflict with Islamists is that their religion DEMANDS subordinating of Jews (and other non-Muslims): the Koran 9:15, 2:191, and many other verses.

Negotiating with Hamas is not simply negotiating with a dangerous opponent. It's like negotiating with a non-pacified murderer who tells you OPENLY AND CLEARLY he wants to MURDER you. Israel CAN negotiate with Hamas. But it would be wrong and humiliating.

Goran A.,
Jerusalem, Israel

Posted by: Goran A. on March 5, 2008 at 3:45 AM | PERMALINK


One commentator here remarks "... the people who you stole land from" - referring, I presume, to Jews "stealing" land from Palestinians.


I have a few questions:

(1) If you mean politically, stole from whom? There was never any country "Palestine". If you mean ethnically, why is Jewish PEACEFUL immigration (to it's OWN ANCESTRAL LAND !) since the 18 th century "stealing" the land, and Muslim Arab conquest (in 638 CE) not "stealing" ? They population here which the Muslims invaded was Jewish, not Eskimos. To the degree the local Arab population was displaced in 1948 - it was mostly a result of Israel's DEFENSIVE war against Arab armies which jointly ATTACKED Israel. If (I repeat: if) Israel had wanted (as many Arabs continually keep claiming) to kick out Palestinians then there would be NO ARAB left in Israel - exactly as there is NOT A SINGLE JEW left living in Gaza under Hamas rule.

(2) Should non-native Americans (Indians) who claim that America is their land be given the right to rule the land ?

If we imagine (with enormous difficulty) that Native Americans (Indians) decided to set up terrorist organizations for the "liberation" of their land and to kill or subjugate White people, should all those not wishing to be subordinated victims leave? Those who can trace their descent from Europe would to go back to their respective countries ?! And should those who can't, should be pushed into the Atlantic ocean ??

You see what a primitive usage of the highly charged word "stolen" implies? Questions that show the ridiculousness of it.

Goran A.
Jerusalem, Israel

Posted by: Goran A. on March 5, 2008 at 5:09 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly