Hamas as ‘Willie Horton’

Barack Obama had plenty of reason to slap down George W. Bush over the President’s claim that “some people” who advocate talking to Hamas are the latterday equivalents of those who tried to appease Hitler.

But while Obama went on the offensive over the Bush foreign policy of empty posturing that has actually empowered the likes of Iran and Hamas, he may, in fact, have dug himself a hole on the substantive question of talking to Hamas. Obama insisted he had stated “over and over again that I will not negotiate with terrorists like Hamas.”

That, of course, is the wrong answer, because as Joe Klein made clear this week, talking to Hamas is nothing less than the duty of the U.S. government. Anyone with any serious grasp of events in the region knows that peace talks with Mahmoud Abbas are not peace talks at all, as Daniel Levy so eloquently explains, because Abbas and Israel are allies, not enemies. Today, it is the Israeli Defense Force, rather than Fatah, that is the principal guarantor of Abbas’s political survival. And any peace agreement between Israel and Abbas will have no impact whatsoever on the ongoing conflict between Isael and the Palestinians. So talking to Hamas, in fact, is the only game in town when it comes to seeking peace. The only alternative to talking to Hamas, or to Iran for that matter, is war. That’s what Obama ought to have made clear. Instead, he seems to have succumbed to the pressure to chant the mantras of the AIPAC crowd, rather than stick to the more thoughtful and critical position he previously adopted, arguing that to be pro-Israel doesn’t necessitate being pro-Likud. Someone ought to tell Obama that two thirds of Israelis support talks between their own leaders and “terrorists like Hamas.”

Moreover, it’s a little off the mark to blame Bush for Hamas’s rise on the grounds that the Bush Administration insisted the Palestinians hold elections. Those elections were a good thing, they simply revealed the reality that the Palestinians had lost faith in Fatah — for good reason: Fatah’s 15 years of negotiating with — and appeasing — the Israelis and Americans had yielded nothing but more settlements for the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza. It’s for failing to press the Israelis to abide by international law and end its occupation policies, not the demand for elections, for which the Bush Administration ought to be held accountable.

So, he may have come out swinging, but Obama picked the wrong punches. Instead of insisting he wouldn’t talk to Hamas, he’d have been better off ridiculing the notion that Hamas or Iran are the equivalent of Nazi Germany, and pointing out that Bush — by substituting teenage testosterone for serious policy — is essentially teeing up another war that will not be good for Israel or for the United States.

This entry was posted in 99c Blogging and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Hamas as ‘Willie Horton’

  1. Pingback: CAMPAIGN 08 & EDITOR’S COMMENT: Who needs to talk to Hamas?

  2. sceptic emeritus says:

    Bravo! This absolutely hits the nail of reality on the head of an Obama who should—and conceivably does—know better than to continue squirming around in the” toughness trap” set by the enemies of all who wish to see the American electorate grow up.
    Before reading Tony’s piece, I had written to a friend back home the following (slightly edited) message:
    Rather than “defending” themselves by competing for Most Fervent Uncritical Lover of Israel and Most Virtuous Non-talker to Terrorists, Democrats—and especially BO—need to explain the facts of life to the American kiddies who don’t know where conflict-ending babies come from. For a start they can quote the well-known appeaser-terrorist J Baker: “You don’t make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies.” And as for the WeDon’tTalkToTerrorists mantra, a bit of History 101 would not be out of place: the roster of former beyond-the-pale baddies & ex-detainee/prisoners who somehow became Presidents of their Nation applauded by former non-talkers is perhaps too long and embarrassing to mention (Mandela, Makarios, Kenyatta…or the fiendish Founding Extremists of 1776…etc). Show a few times the photos of Mr NEVER!! of Northern Ireland, the Rev Ian Paisley, sitting/talking/laughing-his-head-off with new Deputy First Minister, one Martin McGuiness, the affably tough former IRA Chief of Staff……..So all you Yeswecanists over there need to say: c’mon Barrack, you know the truth, the reality, you know how to “give good speech”, how to frame your words to fit the pitch, and you’ll need to make it now to Ladies & Gentlemen of the Jury who may not be looking at you with adoring eyes and love in their hearts. Either make them play on YOUR field, which is also OUR field, and use a ball that’s not been tampered with,–or you & we will lose, because playing games on THEIR field with your feet tied to the other team’s bench is not a good idea….

  3. Murphy says:

    Two points:

    1) When it comes to bending over for AIPAC, Obama is every bit as supine as all other major politicians in the US. Maybe more so, in the sense that he did at one stage appear to sympathise with the Palestinians. However, they were jettisoned in great embarrasment the very moment Obama developed presidential aspirations. While some may say that Obama is merely saying what he has to say in order to be elected, I don’t buy that excuse. There is every reason to believe that, having proved himself more than willing to be bullied by AIPAC, he will continue along the same lines when or if he becomes president.

    2)”to be pro-Israel doesn’t necessitate being pro-Likud.”

    This line perpetuates the ‘US liberal Zionist’ view that Israeli politicians can be divided into ‘bad’ Likud and ‘good’ Labour. The record proves this false: apart from the fact that both parties are in disarray right now, Labour have been responsible for more settlement building than have Likud, and their current leader, Ehud Barak, is a notorious hawk.

  4. Shlomo says:

    Yep, if Obama said he would negotiate with Hamas, he’d lose. Period. We have zero chance of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before we revamp Bush’s “War on Terror”. Zero.

    Be patient, folks. One step at a time. If negotiations with Iran work, he’ll try it with Chavez/Castro. If those work, he’ll have more leverage to push for negotiations with Hamas and Hezbullah.

  5. Richard Kane says:

    Obama doesn’t like is when Hamas or when his now x-preacher praised Obama too much.

    So now if one is concerned with Palestine, one is reluctant to mention,Obama’s early voting record and Raul Castro wouldn’t dare praise him.

    So most Obama supporters are pretending that Iraq is the only issue

    There has never been a foreign adventure McCain didn’t like breaking with Republicans to lavishly praise Bill Clinton over Boshnia. But his vision of flexible strength clearly implies that Americans will be dieing elsewhere than in Iraq.

    Obama may not mind Hamas gaining from Obama’s criticism, he just doesn’t want any praise from them.

    So we have an election season where those in the know praise Obama without showing any good reason why.



  6. Moshe says:

    Before the PLO recognized the Jewish right to self determination, commonly known as “Zionism”, the US did not speak with Arafat and Co. But Poor Richard, the indignant ignoramus reactionary, fails to do his basic homework. The US has an alliance with Israel. FACT. When the USSR sought to threaten the Western oil trade, Arab states – not the only Jewish state – found common ground with Atheism. Islam its such a pius religion! FACT. In the ’67 and especially the ’73 Arab/Israeli wars, Israeli soldiers destroyed Soviet equipment and killed arab soldiers/women. The problem with arabs, because their soldiers fight like women, their people bitch bitch bitch. FACT.

  7. Hey, cool tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a bottle of beer to that person from that forum who told me to visit your site 🙂

  8. Electronics says:

    The US has an alliance with Israel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *