"Abu Hilayel said he was unaware his son was a member of Hamas. "He never spoke of his political affiliations and I didn't know that he had joined the armed wing of Hamas," he said. "But the truth is that there is no difference between one Palestinian group and the other. We are all one people fighting against the common enemy the Jews."
So many on the Left would make the argument the pro-Israel camp cannot lump all the Palestinian people or organizations together with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and clearly, Palestinians don't, so maybe the Left has been right all along. I mean, this sounds like a well reasoned argument that opposes the killing of civilians in the name of religious fundamentalism, oh wait, no it doesn't.
Rethinking Palestinian Solidarity
With the noblest of intentions, students last week stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of The Palestinian Authority. I have seen Palestinian children throwing rocks at Israeli tanks and I have seen the damage done by Israeli bulldozers, and I am sympathetic. But I have also seen the Israeli father who lost his wife and two children on an Israeli Kibbutz when a gunman burst in, sprayed the dining hall with automatic rifle fire and then ran into another room and shot his two children. And after seeing this, I wonder why students would continue to stand with The Palestinian Authority. If there is one party in this mess that is guilty of the gravest of crimes, it is the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, who have done next to nothing to control the spread of terrorism in their country, and nothing to insure that Israeli civilians will no longer be killed in acts of terror in the name of religious fundamentalism.
Support for the Palestinian cause has picked up momentum at other universities as well. At Harvard and M.I.T, students and faculty members have been leading a crusade to encourage their universities to divest from companies that do business with Israel. Palestinian Solidarity Week, held last week at WU, was part of a resolution adopted by the Second National Student Conference on The Palestine Solidarity Movement, sponsored by Students Allied For Freedom and Equality. Washington University’s events, particularly, the invitation of speaker Robert Fisk, was part of an attempt to draw attention to the plight of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. As has already been suggested on this opinion page, Mr.Fisks’s rhetoric was inflammatory at best and disingenuous at worst. Mr. Fisk placed the largest share of the responsibility for the terrorist actions of religious fundamentalists on Jews and others that would question the supremacy of an Islamist worldview. In acknowledging such a position, Mr.Fisk and those that would support him make far too many concessions to a disturbing coalition of terrorists and totalitarian regimes. It is upsetting to see students on this campus accepting, or condoning terrorism as a way of fighting opposing worldviews.
We cannot be naive about what support for the Palestinian cause amounts to. Palestinian terrorists do not want to engage in debate, they do not want peace. People who blow themselves up in buses are not asking to negotiate. What they demand is the complete destruction of the state of Israel. I am not suggesting that every Palestinian person is a terrorist, but the responsibility must lie somewhere. A poll taken in June of this year, by the independent Jerusalem Media and Communication Center, found that sixty-nine percent of Palestinians surveyed were in favor of suicide bombings, and that number was down from seventy four percent in December 2001.
If the Palestinian people were so opposed to the use of terror as a means of achieving political goals they would be in the streets calling for the arrest of members of Hamas or the Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade, or calling for a change in government. If Palestinian civilians are not to blame, let us point the finger at their security forces, or at Yassir Arafat. Can we honestly say that we support only the “good” Palestinians, those that do not support terror? How does one make such a distinction? One cannot simply support the Palestinian People without supporting the Palestinian State. Palestinians are obviously dissatisfied with their life of curfews and violence. But that does not justify the killing of civilians. We should not tolerate in any way the killing of civilians as a means of redressing human rights grievances. The Palestinians have pursued a diplomatic solution only sporadically. They could have had a state in 1948, at the Camp David Accords, or at talks with President Clinton in 2000. At every opportunity, they have turned down the offer of statehood. What makes their claim more viable now, in light of recent violence on both sides?
Those who suggest that Israeli violence and Palestinian violence are interchangeable make dangerous assumptions of moral equivalence. Israel, though it tends to overreact, is trying to defend itself against people that seek its destruction. There should be no question that such an attempt is reasonable, and that all democratic governments have the right to protect their citizens from terrorism. At worst, Israel kills civilians by accident in the process of attacking suspected terrorist targets. Palestinian terrorist organizations however, kill civilians at random, targeting men, women and children regardless of their role in the present conflict. Such actions should be abhorrent to every student on this campus. There should be no excuses made for these cowardly actions, and no solidarity should be expressed with the people or government of a nation that condones terrorist tactics.
You'd think, that of all people, Ralph Nader would wake up and smell the blood on his hands from 2000,but apparently he's still a self rightous Bush supporter according to a little chat he had with Ronnie Dugger of The Nation.
"Ralph persists in advancing the view that it does not matter (or does not matter enough to matter) whether a Democrat or a Republican sits in the White House. His position derives much of its energy and plausibility from moral fury against the Democrats who, for example, helped pass the infamous USA Patriot Act and voted to authorize Bush to attack Iraq in a war of aggression that will stain the national escutcheon in history. (When I told Ralph I was writing this article, he said sardonically, 'I hope you make the case that Gore would not be as much a warmonger as Bush. And Lieberman.')"
Dems have got to stop Nader, he's lost his mind. He might be the best public citizen in the whole history of this country short of Ben Franklin(thank you PBS docudrama) but if he thinks his liberal progressive agenda would be equally served by either party then he is dumber than the President he helped elect. If you're a wayward Dem, check out Howard Dean's Blog for a little faith restoration.
Here's an exerpt from my StudLife piece to salivate over until it runs in the Friday issue.
Those who suggest that Israeli violence and Palestinian violence are interchangeable make dangerous assumptions of moral equivalence. Israel, though it tends to overreact, is nonetheless trying to defend itself against people that seek its destruction. There should be no question that such an attempt is reasonable, and that all democratic governments have the right to protect their citizens from terrorism. At worst, Israel kills civilians by accident in the process of attacking suspected terrorist targets.
Palestinian terrorist organizations, however, kill civilians at random, targeting men, women and children regardless of their role in the present conflict. Such actions should be abhorrent to every student on this campus. There should be no excuses made for these cowardly actions, and no solidarity should be expressed with the people or government of a nation that condones terrorist tactics.