Hamas is Not Palestine
I am not a beast, and I don’t unconditionally support neither the entirety of the external policy of the United States, nor the internal policies of the state of Israel. So I thought coming with a follow-up to my previous post, Gaza is Hamas.
Naturally, in principle, I am in favor of decolonization. Initiated in Asia by India in 1947 and in Africa by Ghana in 1957, the dismantling of colonial empires has been a welcome process, even if, unfortunately, it has often been a bloody one. Theoretically, therefore, the areas with a majority of Palestinian population in the current territory of Israel might also have the right to self-determination. The question is by which means this is attempted.
The Palestinian state is still not recognized by a number of Western states, primarily because the former Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) or its factions (such as Fatah and Al-Fatah) were considered terrorist. (Countries close to the Soviet Union supported Palestine for ideological reasons.) Today, the Palestinian Authority, led by Fatah, is not considered terrorist and is recognized by Israel. The Islamist group Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, however, is something else entirely.
But while the French army and police tortured and killed thousands of Algerian militants during their struggle for independence, it is no less true that the National Liberation Front (FLN) organized numerous attacks in Algeria and mainland France during the conflict. These attacks targeted both the forces of law and order and civilians, including Europeans and Algerians considered to be collaborators with the French authorities. On which side were more people killed?
That’s not the question. Perhaps a wiser attitude on both sides would have resulted in a less failed Algerian state, one that did not declare itself “socialist” at liberation, one that was not ruled initially by a terrorist organization and then by a military oligarchy. In any case, FLN terrorism provoked the abuses carried out by the French state, even though neither side has absolutely no excuse. (Personally, I regard the Algerian episode as the greatest disgrace in recent French history.)
Hamas is not Palestine! But is Gaza Palestine?
Returning to Hamas, terrorism today is even less accepted than in the past. We are no longer in the period of anarchist terrorism of 1880-1914. We can no longer tolerate Islamic terrorism in the 21st century.
And Hamas has just proved on October 7 that Sunni terrorism has surpassed in bestiality the “classics”: al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban.
For all its shortcomings (and it has plenty!), the State of Israel is democratic, in a certain sense even more democratic than France during the Algerian conflict. This is why I believe that ZERO tolerance should be shown towards Hamas. Any cause, no matter how legitimate, will be defeated if it is promoted through terror! (I see what some people might point to: no, Israel’s cause is not promoted through terror!)
Unfortunately, most of the pro-Palestinian, often violent, demonstrations currently taking place in various Western countries are not in support of the Palestinians, but pro-Hamas.
There is a risk to associate the entire Palestinian people with Hamas, especially as such demonstrations tend to degenerate in violence and destruction. If the Palestinian leaders weren’t stupid or amoral, they would mandate each and every manifestation to prominently carry the messages “WE ARE NOT HAMAS” and “HAMAS IS NOT PALESTINE”; that is, unless most Palestinians actually support Hamas!
In The Spectator, Britain must stand up against those who support Hamas:
Naturally, the calls for ‘restraint’, ‘de-escalation’ and more poured in from the moment that the attacks became known. For Israel is the only country in the world which is expected to accept with equanimity the mutilation of its citizenry. All the people who think that there is a two-state solution on the table which could come about if only the Israelis tried a bit harder are back at it, apparently without knowing that they are singing a dead song. There is no two-state solution possible. Especially not now. Israel gave Gaza to the Palestinians and the Palestinians gave Israel Hamas and war. If anyone thinks the West Bank should be given similar autonomy then they are simply dreaming of the destruction of Israel.
Plenty of people in our own country do. Look at the immediate celebrations across London, Manchester and other cities in the UK in support of the Palestinians. Within hours of the slaughter, people in London were driving around flying Palestinian flags and blaring their horns in celebration of the massacre. In Manchester the president of the local ‘Friends of Palestine’, Dana Abuqamar, told Sky News, ‘We’re really full of joy, full of pride at what has happened.’ At a Free Palestine rally in Brighton one speaker who claimed she was a Palestinian said: ‘Yesterday was a victory.’ She described the massacres in Israel as ‘so beautiful and inspiring to see’. The crowd applauded.
Similar support occurred in cities across Europe and the United States. One video online shows recent illegal migrants (‘asylum seekers’) at a Greek refugee camp cheering the success of Hamas. In Sydney, Australia, a pro-Hamas mob outside the Opera House chanted ‘gas the Jews’.
Same magazine: Hamas is not long for this world:
Reports of babies murdered and civilians burnt alive. Grandmothers executed on video or dragged away as hostages. Women and children raped, murdered and mutilated, their bodies paraded through the streets. I know I am not alone in being unable to properly assimilate these scenes. Yet the BBC refuses even to call Hamas ‘terrorists’.
It should come as no surprise that Hamas shares its ideological roots with both Al Qaeda and Islamic State. All three sprouted from the Muslim Brotherhood, which in turn represented a toxic mixture of Nazi antisemitism and Islamist extremism. During the second world war, the Palestinian leader Haj Amin al-Husseini, collaborated with Hitler in Berlin. Husseini adapted Third Reich ideology for the Arab world and spewed it into the region via the wireless. Down the generations, that hatred of Jews has endured. In Hamas’ attempt at a second Holocaust this week can be seen the shadow of the Führer.
Today we are subjected to endless voices condemning Israel’s ‘siege’ of Gaza and the lack of water in the territory, which is eclipsing the worst jihadi atrocity in history. Our sympathies are demanded with such insistence that it is starting to look like a propaganda operation. This is like the BBC reporting extensively on the sufferings of Germans during the second world war.
Gaza sits on top of an underground aquifer. For 18 years, while Hamas has neglected its water infrastructure and directed its resources towards funding terror, including tunnels, rockets, arms and explosives, Israel has been pumping in water, effectively propping up a jihadi regime for humanitarian purposes. The same goes for electricity and other resources. Now the rules have changed.
Israel withdrew entirely from Gaza in 2005, leaving behind profitable farms and other facilities. These were destroyed by Hamas because they were seen to be tainted by the Jews.
Under the mismanagement, corruption and fanaticism that followed, Gaza’s economy crashed. Israel, of course, had to keep the border sealed to avoid the scenes of carnage that we have tragically witnessed in recent days.
One thing is clear: if Gaza is an ‘open-air prison’, the true jailers are Hamas. Although Israel has been propping up Gazan society for years, it is under no legal obligation to pick up the tab for a foreign country, let alone one that is led by a regime that is hellbent on another Holocaust. And although many ordinary Palestinians loathe the terror group, an inconvenient fact is that in 2005 they elected them.
Israel’s response now
There are points of concern, though.
The main problem I see at the moment is the practical impossibility of evacuating the population from areas of Gaza that host rocket launchers or other Hamas strongholds, practically half the population of the Strip. All human life is priceless, but at war… as at war.
This being said, in Gaza there is a real humanitarian emergency. It is so since 2007.
Nobody really loves Israel
As a side note, despite the West’s support for Israel, I find it abject that only five countries have embassies in Jerusalem and 91 have embassies in Tel Aviv. I don’t know how this is not considered a violation of diplomatic protocols! As long as you recognize a state, you also recognize its right to declare its capital wherever it wants to. You can have as many consulates as you want and wherever you want, but the embassy must be in the official capital of that country. I have never understood the worldwide outcry over the move of the American embassy to Jerusalem. The existence of an embassy does not imply total and complete support for the policy of the state where you have your embassy!
The new antisemitism
In Europe, and especially in France, the growing antisemitism of the 21st century isn’t the “traditional” Christian antisemitism, but mostly antisemitism among second-generation Arabs. Being it or not because of its former colonies, France has accepted a huge influx of Arabs (mostly from Maghreb) and Africans (most of them Muslims), many of which refused to integrate or, as it’s often the case, the 2nd and 3rd generations are those who are now endangering the public safety. It’s worth noting that, while an important number of French intellectuals, actors, performers, and other personalities are of Arab descent, the prisons are disproportionately full of Africans, Arabs, and generally Muslims. This is not a far-right propaganda, it’s an objective fact, mentioned e.g. in this 2008 article in The Washington Post:
This prison is majority Muslim — as is virtually every house of incarceration in France. About 60 to 70 percent of all inmates in the country’s prison system are Muslim, according to Muslim leaders, sociologists and researchers, though Muslims make up only about 12 percent of the country’s population.
On a continent where immigrants and the children of immigrants are disproportionately represented in almost every prison system, the French figures are the most marked, according to researchers, criminologists and Muslim leaders.
“The high percentage of Muslims in prisons is a direct consequence of the failure of the integration of minorities in France,” said Moussa Khedimellah, a sociologist who has spent several years conducting research on Muslims in the French penal system.
In Britain, 11 percent of prisoners are Muslim in contrast to about 3 percent of all inhabitants, according to the Justice Ministry. Research by the Open Society Institute, an advocacy organization, shows that in the Netherlands 20 percent of adult prisoners and 26 percent of all juvenile offenders are Muslim; the country is about 5.5 percent Muslim. In Belgium, Muslims from Morocco and Turkey make up at least 16 percent of the prison population, compared with 2 percent of the general populace, the research found.
Sociologists and Muslim leaders say the French prison system reflects the deep social and ethnic divides roiling France and its European neighbors as immigrants and a new generation of their children alter the demographic and cultural landscape of the continent.
Of course, France is stupid while trying to be impartial:
As a matter of policy, the French government does not collect data on race, religion or ethnicity on its citizens in any capacity, making it difficult to obtain precise figures on the makeup of prison populations. But demographers, sociologists and Muslim leaders have compiled generally accepted estimates showing Muslim inmate populations nationwide averaging between 60 and 70 percent.
They don’t want to know the truth; as a result, France is the European country with the most terrorist attacks in this century! It’s impossible to ignore the 2004 Madrid train bombings, the 7/7 2005 London bombings, the 2017 Barcelona attacks, and other acts of Islamic terror (e.g. in Germany), but here’s what Wikipedia lists as Islamic terrorism in France after 2000:
2012 Toulouse and Montauban shootings ■ 2013 La Défense attack ■ 2014 Tours police station stabbing ■ 2015 Île-de-France attacks ■ 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting ■ 2015 Hypercacher siege ■ 2015 Nice stabbing ■ 2015 Saint-Quentin-Fallavier attack ■ 2015 Thalys train attack ■ 2015 Paris attacks ■ 2016 Paris police station attack ■ 2016 Magnanville stabbing ■ 2016 Nice truck attack ■ 2016 Normandy church attack ■ 2017 Orly Airport attack ■ 2017 Champs-Élysées attack ■ 2017 Notre Dame attack ■ 2017 Champs-Élysées ramming ■ 2017 Levallois-Perret attack ■ 2017 Marseille stabbing ■ 2018 Carcassonne and Trèbes attack ■ 2018 Paris knife attack ■ 2018 Strasbourg attack ■ 2019 Lyon bombing ■ 2019 Paris police headquarters stabbing ■ 2020 Romans-sur-Isère knife attack ■ 2020 Paris stabbing attack ■ 2020 Murder of Samuel Paty ■ 2020 Nice stabbing ■ 2021 Rambouillet knife attack
Now, most such attacks weren’t specifically directed against Jews, but against Western values. However, some were specifically directed against Jews. Many French Jews felt insecure, and they decided to immigrate to Israel; I don’t have any figures at hand, but this is a shame for a country such as France.
The renewed antisemitism
There is also a good deal of regular citizens, either without any religious affiliation, or Christians, who are having antisemitic thoughts, even if they publicly don’t act in any discriminatory way. Decent citizens, mostly.
I didn’t talk to any such persons recently, but some of them might have their antisemitism strengthened by the current events in Israel. Some people really can’t show empathy.
I’ll try to list here some popular ways of reasoning that aren’t quite kosher.
1■ “Oh, I’m sick of their complaining about the Holocaust! It’s not only they who died in the Second World War!”
Indeed, but they were the primarily targeted group!
2■ “They were too quick to establish the figure of 6 million killed Jews! What if they were 4.5 million? One cannot contest the official figure, for fear of being declared revisionist or a Holocaust denier!”
It might be indeed difficult to investigate and to come with a lower figure than 6m (say, 5.5m) if you’re not a Jew. Sometimes, trying to protect a community or an ethnic group might include elements of dogmatism.
3■ “By the way, why only the Shoah and the Armenian Genocide cannot be contested in some countries, under penalty of heavy fines or jail time?”
Obviously, this is aiming to prevent the spread of hatred and the potential for violence against the groups that were victimized during these historical events. This is why spreading false information such as “the Earth is flat” or “2+2=5” isn’t criminalized anywhere on Earth. Note however that in the United States, the Holocaust denial, like many forms of offensive or false speech, is generally protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The protection of free speech rights generally means that even offensive or false beliefs, as long as they don’t incite to violence or to discrimination, are permitted under the law (I am not a lawyer, but this is how I understand it). I couldn’t tell which of the two approaches (“the Law establishes the Truth in certain cases” vs “the Freedom of Speech is essential as long as it doesn’t incite to a crime”) is better. Is antisemitism higher in the US than in Europe? Should Europeans as a whole still be blamed for what their grandparents did?
4■ “But you can’t say anything against them! These laws are too much!”
Well, this has nothing to do with the Jews. Actually, organizations such as the French LICRA (International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism) are more interested in what they call “Islamophobia” than in anything else. Go figure, in today’s Europe, the Muslims pretend to be “the new Jews discriminated against by everyone”! The anti-hatred laws have elements of wokism that don’t protect the Israelites alone. One cannot say “you are fat” or “she is ugly” without risking criminal charges. I was permanently banned on Twitter because I said I don’t want to see the breasts of the women who are nursing their babies! (I have been breastfed without my mother showing everything to everyone, thank you. Back then, women actually were dressed while in public, unlike today, with their leggings, yoga pants or other tight-fitting extra-thin trousers, or too short shorts!) Who knows, one day the law will force us to ask people about “their preferred pronouns” and use them! So what has anything to do with Jews?! The laws are stupid, but not specifically in their favor!
5■ “But they are everywhere! Look, in Hollywood, in showbiz, in mass media, you name it!”
While it is true that, in many countries (including the US and France), in such fields (film-making, acting, music, press, writing, etc.), many more personalities than you’d think are of Jewish descent, this has probably two historic reasons, and this is a personal opinion:
1. Judaism has a long tradition of valuing education. The pursuit of knowledge and study of the Torah and of the Talmud is a central part of Jewish religious life. In Judaism, education is encouraged for both boys and girls, and there is a strong emphasis on passing down knowledge and traditions through generations. In my opinion, while this isn’t great for non-religious free thinking, the stress put on education in Judaism is much more important than in Christianism or than in secularism, where people are free to be dumb and uneducated.
2. The Jews tend to be more cohesive and to help each other more systematically than the non-Jews. Being a minority in various countries for so many centuries, this makes sense. How can this be a bad thing?
6■ “But… but… Freemasons!”
No, the Freemasons were not preponderantly Jews! This is an old misconception.
7■ “But they themselves don’t want to mix with non-Jews!”
Fortunately, especially in countries such as the United States, interfaith marriages are more and more common. It was more delicate a matter in the past, though. I remember having read that Napoleon Bonaparte’s efforts to emancipate Jews in the territories he controlled, including the famous Assembly of Jewish Notables in 1806, led to discussions and negotiations regarding various legal measures and social integration of Jews. At the time, there were debates about whether Jewish women should be allowed to marry non-Jewish (goyi) men. Some rabbis and Jewish leaders opposed this, as it went against traditional Jewish law. Concerns also existed about how the proposed reforms might lead to the assimilation of Jews into the French society, potentially diluting the Jewish identity.
Back to current days, as long as I don’t want to marry a Jewish woman, this doesn’t bother me. But it’s sad if many of them are still reluctant to mix their blood and religion.
Also, I wish I had more Jewish friends. (Not that I would ask people about their ethnicity, religion, or sexual preferences. Or pronouns, for that matter.)
8■ “But Israel is the only country that mixes religion and race! Marriages in Israel are still only religious, not secular!”
This might be true. While technically Jews can be of various ethnic and national backgrounds, they’re expected to embrace Judaism. Israel’s legal system often intersects with religious institutions, potentially creating challenges for individuals who identify as secular or atheist Jews. Marriages in Israel being governed by religious authorities, Jewish marriages are typically religious ceremonies conducted by Orthodox rabbis. If I remember correctly, a European “nominal” Christian was asked in Israel for a certificate from a priest that he never married, although in his home country his personal status is determined by the secular state authorities, not by the Church!
However, this is not limited to Israel. As far as I know, Greece is another such country where non-religious civil marriages face severe limitations. In Greece, civil marriages are not officially recognized, unless performed by a foreign authority, and legally recognized only as a foreign-made marriage. Orthodox Christianity can be a pain in the ass. (Jumping to Catholics: the civil marriage is performed in Italy only since the 1970 Legge sul Matrimonio Civile; prior to that, you guessed it, you had to have it legally contracted in other countries.)
I remember having read in 2019 some talks on some legal issues. Here’s an introductory one: How is Jewish identity defined? The Law of Return faced some legal challenges, e.g. in the case of a Polish Jew who converted to Catholicism during the Holocaust, and in the position of a Carmelite monk, saved many Jews during the Holocaust: “When Brother Daniel applied to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that he was ineligible because the Law of Return does not include Jews who practice another religion.” This led in 1970 to Amendment number 2, 4a, which covers such (and other) situations. There is still the problem of the 2018 “nation-state law” (khok ha’leom, “nation law”), pertinently discussed in The New Yorker. Israel’s Supreme Court refused in 2013 to allow secularists to register as “Israeli” nationals instead of “Jewish” nationals. Here’s an interesting opinion from 2013 in Haaretz: Defining ‘Who Is a Jew’ (“If a Jew need not live in Israel, need not speak Hebrew, need not be committed to formal communal relations with other Jews, need not believe in the God of Israel and His Torah, and does not necessarily have to be the child of a Jewish mother, who then, is a Jew?”) One more article by the same author: Defining Who Is an Israeli (unfortunately, not archived anywhere else, and even to access it from outside Israel, you need a VPN).
This last topic is definitely not antisemitic, nor anti-Zionist. It’s just a reflection on how the legal system of Israel, mostly because of the complex and difficult past of the Jewish people, is inflexible and resistent to modernization. But this shouldn’t be your problem, unless you’re fascinated by legal talks from an intellectual standpoint. In my case, I studied the legal systems of the US (federal and a few States), France, Romania, and in a more limited measure, of England and Wales, Belgium, Germany, Italy.
Si vis pacem, para bellum
Unfortunately, I don’t see any sign of relief anytime soon. The war has just started, and the fanaticism of Hamas is more than obvious. Let’s also not forget that Israel has many other enemies in the region.
And this is going to have implications all over the world. Damned century! We thought the 20th was the worst of all for its wars and massacres, not for its technological advances.
Hamas is also outside Gaza: ‘Everything that they do is justified’: Hamas terror sympathizer in Mississauga at pro-Palestine rally.
(The banana thing was real, but it was an isolated case. I watched the respective video.)