Friday, February 03, 2006
Hamas: Suicide Voters.
Christopher Hitchens in the January 30 2006 issue of Slate, wrote an analysis of the Hamas win in the Palestinian Authority election.
Hitchens wrote: "Almost all our commentary on the Israel-Palestine dispute is unconsciously ethnocentric and practically every paragraph on the Hamas election victory has followed this bias by asking what it means either for the Israelis or for the "peace process." It might be worth just thinking about what it could mean for the Palestinians.
The preferred analysis, which certainly derives from a kernel of fact, is that the vote represents a repudiation of the baroque corruption of the Arafat gang (which was so brilliantly anatomized by David Samuels in the Atlantic of September 2005). But there are at least two difficulties with this comforting conclusion. For one thing, anyone voting for a clerical party in the hope of abolishing corruption is asking to be considered a fool and also treated as one: There is corruption all over the Middle East, but it is nowhere as flagrant and exploitative and damaging as in the region's two main theocracies, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Those who come to power as puritans lose no time in becoming positively gorgeous in the excess of their corruption, and Hamas will not be an exception to this rule.
There is also an element of condescension in the "corruption" explanation. Hamas says that it wants an Islamic state all the way from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. It publishes and promulgates the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Why not assume that it is at least partly serious about all this? For years, the PLO leadership has been at least officially committed to a two-state solution and has at least officially made a distinction between Judaism and Zionism. It has also renounced the disgusting tactic of suicide murder. The emergence of a party that considers all of these evolutions as betrayals may have to do with something more than the provision of welfare. I am uncomfortably reminded of the tripe talked by many liberals and leftists about the Khomeini revolution in Iran in 1979, where it was said that religion was merely the form that protest against the corrupt and repressive shah happened to take, and that the mullahs could be contained."
There was a time when Fatah was a working part of the left. I remember during the 1970s, leaders of Fatah's Central Command, met with American leftists, often privately, explaining their positions, and soliciting political support. I know this because I was at such a meeting. Fatah always differentiated Zionism from Judaism.
I think you should read the article Hitchens on Hamas. It is a good starting point for a discussion of the issues facing that part of the world. I found this article generally thought positively on rightist blogs. I think the message is for the left.
Hitchens was invited as a speaker at a GOP Zionist conclave, that was cancelled. The Zionists were opposed to Hitchens speaking there.
Posted by Frank Partisan at 12:29 AM