Richard Cohen’s ignorant, anti-Hamas rant

Shorter Richard Cohen, today: We have to starve Gaza’s 1.5 million people in order to save them (from Hamas).
Where does this guy get his ignorant opinions from, and why does the WaPo pay him huge gobs of money as a staff columnist to continue inflicting them on the reading public?

    It’s a pity that Israel, while substantially loosening its grip on Gaza, will continue to enforce a blockade when, with just a little imagination, it could insist on a deal with the activists once again steaming its way: You can proceed to Gaza if, once you get there, you demand that Hamas cease the persecution of women, institute freedom of religion, halt the continuing rocketing of Israel, release an Israeli hostage, ban torture and rescind an official charter that could have made soothing bedtime reading for Adolf Hitler. This may take some time.
    In fact, these demands would never be met…

His evidence for these claims? He adduces no direct evidence, at all! The whole “argument” he makes is one built on guilt by association– Hamas’s claimed close association with MB founder Hassan al-Banna, Haj Amin al-Husseini, and Sayyid Qutb… as traced by that wellknown “scholar” of such thinkers (not!), Paul Berman.
Yes, the very same Paul Berman who was one of the key, New York-based liberal hawks who helped crowbar large chunks of the “liberal” portion of the U.S. elite into supporting the idea of saving Iraq’s people by invading their country.
(How did that go, Paul?)
Well, now Berman has a new book out, this time an explicitly anti-Islamist screed. And stop the presses! Richard Cohen has read it!
That is the entire data-set on which Cohen bases his allegations against Hamas. Oh no, don’t bother him with such mundane things as mere facts! E.g., as against his claims about Hamas’s “persecution of women”– the fact that Hamas has a number of articulate and savvy female elected MPs. Do you think Cohen even knows that? Or cares about actual facts?
He completely ignores all other salient facts, too. Including the relevance of the international laws governing belligerent military occupation, and Israel’s responsibility under those laws for the wellbeing (and not just the bare physical survival) of Gaza’s people… The fact that Israel’s military control of Gaza has continued unbroken and brutal for 43 years now… Israel’s continued detention of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners including tens of elected MPs, with many of those civilian detainees held without trial for many years now…
Oh, but he makes sure to mention Gilad Shalit, the one serving Israeli soldier taken captive by Gazans during a firefight in 2006 and now held by Hamas, which sadly enough is a risk that soldiers take once they put on the uniform.
This screed is beyond one-sided. It’s pathetic. But the WaPo carries on giving him his real-estate on the opinion page there…

5 thoughts on “Richard Cohen’s ignorant, anti-Hamas rant”

  1. I mean, as an Israeli I have at least enough of a Palestine-centric view to believe that the continuing enmity of Hamas as revealed in the Charter and the continuing popularity of the Palestinian activist Izzedine al-Qassam, and his Brigades and his Rockets, testify adequately to the essential goals of Hamas as being the destruction of the Yishuv as formed in the period 1929-2010. Why go to Egyptian thinkers like Qutb and al-Banna when plenty of present-day Palestinians are making sure the message of 1937 and 1987 arrives (“Color: Red.”) loud and clear?

  2. Helena,
    It is a fundelmental principle that in Judism, Christianity and Islam women have a status lower than men. In some countries this difference is more open, e.g. Italy and most South American countries which are Christian and of course Saudi Arabia, a muslim country where women cannot drive or even be out without a male escort who is either a husband or family member. Is it possible that the verison of Islam as practiced by Hamas allows women equality with men?
    While most Christian countries are moving in that direction, most Muslim countries are quite a bit farther behind. That fact that Pakistan had a female President doesn’t mean women have equality. That Israel had a female Prime Minister doesn’t mean women are equal in Israel. Because these women were exceptions. I suspect that “the fact that Hamas has a number of articulate and savvy female elected MPs” are also exceptions. But I hope you will forgive me if I’m a little skeptical, a society that destroys a summer camp run by the UN because they want children to only attend their own summer camps where they can be indoctrinated into their movements philosophy is an authoritian society. Authoritarian societies in general and especially authoritian Islamic societies don’t generally have as a key component equality of women.

  3. “which sadly enough is a risk that soldiers take once they put on the uniform.”
    Actually being held incommunicado for years under explicit threat of execution is not what soldiers sign on for. But do carry on apologising for HAMAS’ war crimes. Quite entertaining to see a “peace activist” so selective in her application of international law.

  4. I mean, I do find demands by Israelis or Americans made on Hamas’s domestic political arrangements to be especially obtuse, I can and do (as a member of their polity) make requests of the Israeli Islamic Movement and on Ram-Ta’al. The only thing I can really demand of Hamas is that they limit their impact on Israelis, and as as someone with cross-sector and trans-Green Line medical care experience, I can lobby Israel to limit its impact on Gazans in that sector. What Hamas does not seem to have is a doctrinal theorist like Nasrallah, which means that “We should be allowed to fire rockets from the West Bank” and “1967 lines for a Hudna” and the Charter are as close as any excavating Israeli Orientalist can come to a Hamas statment-of-intent. Makes one nostalgic for Muhammed Jalal Kishk, who could at least doctrinally link phenomena as diverse as Qutb and the FLN as Islam-as-authenticity. Maybe the LACK of a totalizing vision is what characterizes Hamas. Or the Protocols-insanity of their Charter is that vision, which is a dismaying thought.

  5. My government has made refusal to talking to various Palestinian organizations into a fine art, so I suspect that the Israeli political echelon is not that much more well informed than the man in the street regarding the miserable conditions in Gaza, or perhaps it does not wish to know.
    On July 15, Mr. John Ging, director of UNRWA operations in Gaza is coming to my kibbutz, Kibbutz Zikim, to give a talk on what the Palestinians are undergoing as victims of Israel’s blockade. I have invited people from the kibbutzim , villages and Ashkelon, all within the radius of the qassam and mortar bombardment to hear him speak. This particular population has suffered along with the citizens of Gaza, (note please, it is not my intention to suggest that the suffering of the two peoples has been equal).
    My hope is that Mr. Ging, an honorable man, can make it clear to the Israelis that excepting the 26,000 Hamas armed fighters, the 1,500,000 Palestinians in Gaza are not guilty of the death and destruction caused by the qassams. Note well also, that the Israeli neighbors of Gaza are not those who carried out, by the inordinate use of inappropriate weaponry, the unnecessary deaths and destruction in Gaza.
    If the sources I have seen are to be believed, the quality of the Hamas leadership and its administration of Gaza is not far from that of the Natanyahu/Lieberman axis in Israel. Richard Cohen might not be completely wrong, but that is bye the bye.
    I expect that, as within any large group, Hamas is not a monolithic entity. While it is not necessary to feel sympathy toward your enemy, it is necessary to realize that his point of view is as justifiable to him, as yours is to you.
    If the Israeli government was doing its job, it would be trying to contact the least extreme members of the Hamas leadership in order to search for a modus-vivendi so that the common man in Gaza as well as the common man in Sderot might live in peace.
    Alas, my government does not seem to be doing its job.
    Is the ultimate goal of Hamas the well being of all the citizens under its control? Again I would suggest that in this matter as well, Hamas apes the current Israeli government far too closely.

Comments are closed.