Self-Fulfilling Sophistry

Jewish Light Editorial

As former Israeli Air Force member Yonatan Shapira was defacing the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto with pro-Palestinian graffiti last week, we wonder if he took time to consider some of the choice words Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has uttered through the years:

• “The Ayatollah’s regime will have a major role in Palestine. We trust Iran to help us deal with the challenges facing us today.”

• “Hasn’t Sheik Osama bin Laden told you that you will not dream of security before there is security in Palestine and before all the infidel armies withdraw from the land of Muhammed?”

• “We will not recognize Israel at any cost.”

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

Need we go on?

Hamas is proud of having come to “democratic” power in 2006 after Israel turned over governance of Gaza to the Palestinian people. But rather than act with the responsibility of a sovereign, the party (or terrorist organization, use your own appellation) has continued to show no respect for, or recognition of, the Jewish State.

The tacit acceptance of almost daily shelling into southern Israel that led to the response of Operation Cast Lead showed an utter disregard by Hamas for civilian life. The organization of a flotilla ostensibly organized for humanitarian purposes, which was nothing more than a PR stunt to skew world opinion even further against Israel, showed how disdainful Hamas is toward anything other than its own violent and selfish goals. (And when after the flotilla, Hamas refused to distribute aid that Israel screened and forwarded, it showed its true colors, putting its political purposes ahead of its people’s needs).

This is the backdrop against which Shapira’s disgusting spray painting at Warsaw Ghetto occurred. “Free Palestine and Gaza,” he wrote, wholly duped by the efforts of the organization that far and away has the most ability to solve the intractable problems in the region.

But the pro-Palestinian activists never seem to focus on the corrupt, misogynistic and hateful nature of Hamas. No, somehow, despite the utter enmity of the Gaza leadership toward Israel – a hatred so virulent that no rational discourse can emanate from it – so-called “peace activists” such as Shapira turn an utterly blind eye.

Why is this? Probably because it disturbs the carefully constructed narrative. “There ain’t room for two bad guys in this here town,” or some such. If those who continually pound their chests with the Gaza theme of innocent suffering were to admit that Hamas shares as much or more culpability as Israel in the ongoing stalemate, they’d lose their storyline and would have to resort to one that is…well, one that has a semblance of objectivity.

Those who turn to this space on a regular basis are aware that we have taken Israel’s leadership to task for many things- ongoing political schisms, botched tactics (eg, the boarding of the Mavi Marmara), an inability to deal with the settlement issue in a meaningful way. The Jewish State is not an innocent bystander in the to-date failed peace process.

But look at what happens when Israel has even a somewhat committed negotiating partner. The West Bank is vastly different than it was a decade ago. Despite all the remaining issues, there is evidence of economic development and Palestinian-run security. The Palestinian Authority’s leadership (primarily due to the persistence of P. A. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat) is making some serious efforts despite the vast difference in position of the parties on West Bank settlements and the status of Jerusalem.

What does this tell you? The settlement and Jerusalem issues, probably the most difficult ones to resolve, are in the PA’s backyard yet its leaders are still engaging in proximity talks that might soon lead to direct ones. And where is Hamas? Planning sophomoric, tragic publicity stunts to try to make Israel look bad, which they believe by extension will make them look good.

And the Yonatan Shapiras, Hedy Epsteins, Anna Balzers of the world fall for this hook, line and sinker. In their world, admitting that the leaders of the people they support are culpable undercuts their one-dimensional tale of Israeli imperialism.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Refusing to hold one’s leaders accountable for their irresponsibility will not in the long run lead to success. If anything, it will lead to ruination, for such leaders, once granted sovereign nation status, will continue to lead exactly as they did before.

That’s why Shapira’s stunt, aside from its pathetically misguided attempt to link the Palestinian plight to the Holocaust, is utterly inconsequential. It does nothing to build strong, effective and responsible leadership for the Palestinian people. If anything, it once again does exactly the opposite.