Israel/Palestine

Hirsh v Milne on CiF

This exchange is worth reading.

Of particular interest to me is Milne’s statement:

“Hirsh is right that the Hamas charter of 1988 was a reactionary, anti-Jewish document. But he omits to mention what he must know, namely that Hamas leaders have in recent years repeatedly disavowed its formulations and commissioned the draft of a new charter.”

I think that what Milne is referring to – possibly – is a statement that Azzam “Kaboom” Tamimi once made at a conference a few years ago, the source for which I’ve been searching, unsuccessfully. I vaguely recall Kaboom suggesting, in response to a question about this racist, conspiracist and genocidal document, that it might be redrafted.

Needless to say, the redraft hasn’t materialised. I’ve heard it argued that this is because Hamas would kinda regard it as a defeat, or as an affront to their pride and honour, you know, not to be genocidal racists. Or something.

David Hirsh puts it well:

What is Milne’s argument here? Hamas used to think that the Jews were evil and should be killed. It used to think that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was true. It used to think that the Zionists were pulling the strings behind the French and Russian Revolutions. This extrerminatory Jew-hatred was central to the philosophy of its very founding document. But now it has changed its mind and no longer thinks that? So why did it change its mind? Was the wholesale embrace that Hamas offered to antisemitism just a terrible error?

Milne says that the leaders have “commissioned the draft of a new charter”. So where is this new Covenant? Let’s see it! The Hamas technicians seem to have plenty of time to build Qassam and Katusha missiles – why don’t the Hamas clerics and academics get working on the new document? Lets see a draft.

What does the new “antiracist” document say? Perhaps it has traded the language of the Protocols for the language of Mearsheimer and Walt, Seumas Milne and George Galloway?

The Covenant said:

“Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”

But the new document, the one that Milne assures us has been “commissioned” will say … what? Perhaps it will say

“Initiatives and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences are in accordance with the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.

If Hamas has changed its mind then it should say what has led it to change its mind. What has led it to reject antisemitism and to embrace co-existence?

Milne is presenting absurd fantasy-politics as though they were entirely reasonable. But these fantasies have a steely and dangerous edge. Why does Milne go to such lengths to pretend that Hamas is no longer an antisemitic and fascistic organization? Why can’t he face the complex reality of the situation? The reality is that those Palestinians who voted for Hamas and who support Hamas have made bad political judgments. Why can’t Milne just accept that sometimes the oppressed make bad judgments? It would be so much easier than all this pretending and so much healthier than all of this apologizing for, and denying, racism against Jews.

If Hamas is not an antisemitic organization how does Seumas Milne explain the fact that yesterday night Palestinian fighters thought it was a smart political move to walk into a Jewish Yeshiva in Jerusalem and shoot eight Jews, who were studying their religion, dead?

Perhaps nobody had told these Jew-killers that Hamas has commissioned a re-drafting of the Covenant?

[I added this further comment]

Here is the official Hamas response to the killing of 8 Jews last night who were learning their religion in Jerusalem:

‘In Gaza, the Islamist group Hamas issued a statement praising the attack. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said his group “blesses the heroic operation in Jerusalem, which was a natural reaction to the Zionist massacre”‘

Perhaps, Seumas, the Hamas leadership has already called for a re-drafting of this response?

Gene adds: In February 2006 Tamimi told The Jerusalem Post that Hamas was drafting a new charter “designed to showcase a more moderate and non anti-Semitic face.”

Yet this new document, acknowledged… Tamimi,… would still call for an end to the Jewish state and the creation of a Palestinian state on all of mandatory Palestine.

It would, he said, provide for the possibility of a long-term hudna (cease-fire accommodation) with an Israel limited to its pre-1967 borders.

He added that Hamas’s success in last month’s elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council would delay the introduction of the charter change, since Hamas would not wish to be seen as capitulating to outside pressure. In the cities and refugee camps of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, meanwhile, Hamas leaders said they never heard of the planned change.

Rather than texts assailing the Jews, as in the current charter, said Tamimi, “The whole language [in the new document] will be changed to political language.”

Tamimi, who has given interviews defending suicide bombings that kill Israeli civilians, added in a telephone interview from London, “All that nonsense about The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and conspiracy theories – all that rubbish will be out. It should have never been there in the first place.”

Uh huh. Must still be in the drafting stage.

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