If there was any doubt that DouchebloggerTM Richard Silverstein defends Hamas, there shouldn’t be after this post.
Following on a post I published here about a Wahington Post story on the “new pragmatism” of Hamas, Khaled Meshal expanded on these themes in an AP interview in which he affirmed Hamas support for a Palestinian state established through Israeli withdrawal to 1967 borders. Though the Islamist movement’s chief leader refused to renounce violence as a tool in the fight for Palestinian rights, he made clear that violence was a tactical, and not a strategic choice; and that his first choice would be the types of “popular resistance” exhibited during the Arab Spring uprisings and the first Palestinian Intifada in 1987:
Popular protests have “the power of a tsunami,” Mashaal said, pointing to the recent waves of demonstrations across the Arab world.
“Now we have a common ground that we can work on — the popular resistance, which presents the power of people,” he said. The idea for the protests originated with the Palestinians themselves and the uprising they launched against Israel in 1987, he said, typified by crowds of rock-throwing Palestinian youths confronting heavily armed Israeli soldiers.
Mashaal also gave rare Hamas public support to the idea of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
Pointedly, Meshal, in reaffirming Hamas support for a Palestinian state, did not mention the traditional Hamas fudging tactic, offering a hudna in its struggle against Israel:
We have political differences, but the common ground is the state on the ’67 borders. Why don’t we work in this common area,” he said.
There is no magic bullet as far as Hamas is concerned. It won’t all of a sudden become a liberal social democratic movement that is to the taste of Israel, the U.S. and the western world. Nor should that be necessary to take it seriously as one of two Palestinian interlocutors that must be included in any discussions that would resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a related matter, The NY Times’ Isabel Kershner continues to lie about Hamas’ views about Israel. This recent passage is exemplary of her sweeping distortions of the group’s position:
…Hamas, the Islamic militant group that…is sworn to Israel’s destruction.
While there is certainly no love lost between Israel and Hamas, no senior Hamas official that I know of has in the recent past (the past few years) made any such statement. And the group would certainly, from their point of view have reason to do so after Operation Cast Lead, the Mavi Marmara killings, and years of punishing siege. Though I don’t find Hamas an exemplar of democracy (nor Fatah or Israel for that matter), statements like Kershner’s and Bronner’s do a disservice to a full understanding of the nuance of the conflict.
When some commenters provided proof of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh pledging to use “armed resistance” (aka terrorism) “until all of Palestine is liberated from the river to the sea,” Silverstein made the following astounding statement:
I stand corrected. But Khaled Meshal is Hamas’ leader, not Ismail Haniye. And Hamas policy on such matters is made by Meshal, not Haniye. As for Kershner, it would actually have been accurate for her to say that SOME Hamas leaders call for the end of Israel, which she did not say. But the movement as a whole, and it’s most senior leader do not.
Further, it’s worth noting that even Haniye, as radical as he may be, calls armed struggle “an option,” which corresponds to Meshal’s articulation, which sees popular (non-violent) resistance as the preferred option, with armed struggle held back and used only if necessary.
And again, even if Haniye believed otherwise and held that armed resistance was preferred, he doesn’t determine the military strategy of Hamas, as I wrote above.
To suggest that what Ismail Haniyeh says in Arabic is irrelevant goes beyond mere ignorance (especially considering Hamas’ charter). We are talking of blatant dishonesty in order to paint Hamas in a more positive light.
But it gets worse. When a commenter points to a statement by Meshal..
Oct 02. Speaking in Tehran, at a conference in support of the intifada, Meshall said, ‘Resistance will remain the strategic option and project throughout the stages to liberate Palestine, establish a real Palestinoan state and eliminate the Zionist project’.
..Silverstein responds by demanding proof:
I wrote about that speech here and that’s not at all what I recall reading regarding it’s contents. Provide a link to your report and tell us who translated what Meshal said. Frankly I wouldn’t trust any such claim from you without a credible source and translation.
I’ve just researched your alleged quotation & the sources I found don’t actually put that statement in quotation marks. In other words, it’s a paraphrase of what he said. I don’t trust paraphrases on subjects as sensitive as this
..which he receives:
But despite the fact the link is from a pro palestinian source, Silverstein won’t acknowledge its accuracy.
Got it. I checked that out & again it’s not a quotation, but a paraphrase, which isn’t trustworthy in my opinion.
After another commenter provides the following source:
Ha’aretz has it translated this way:
“Palestinians must resort to resistance no matter how costly it is, until Palestine is free and Israel is destroyed,” Meshal said.
They cite the AP in the byline as well.
..Silverstein once again cannot bring himself to acknowledge it:
Frankly, I don’t know who translated the speech & whether the translation is trustworthy. If you can find the original Arabic I can have it translated by a trustworthy translator. I am not denying that he said something close to what is claimed. But until you can authenticate the accuracy of the translation I’m not prepared to concede this is accurate.
In contrast, Silverstein hastens to post any translation of statements in Hebrew by Israeli officials which paint Israel in a bad light.
This latest example of Silverstein’s dishonesty shows just how far his anti-Israel activism extends: To defending the terrorists of Hamas.
I challenge any of the media outlets who have published Silverstein or otherwise painted him as a trustworthy source to publish this piece.