Monday, November 27, 2023

Netanyahu's Blind Spot

The day after the world's foremost and now most popular terrorist group massacred Israelis, The Times of Israel noted

For years, the various governments led by Benjamin Netanyahu took an approach that divided power between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank — bringing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to his knees while making moves that propped up the Hamas terror group.

The idea was to prevent Abbas — or anyone else in the Palestinian Authority’s West Bank government — from advancing toward the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Thus, amid this bid to impair Abbas, Hamas was upgraded from a mere terror group to an organization with which Israel held indirect negotiations via Egypt, and one that was allowed to receive infusions of cash from abroad.

Hamas was also included in discussions about increasing the number of work permits Israel granted to Gazan laborers, which kept money flowing into Gaza, meaning food for families and the ability to purchase basic products.

Israeli officials said these permits, which allow Gazan laborers to earn higher salaries than they would in the enclave, were a powerful tool to help preserve calm.

The number of work permits granted Gazans ballooned prolifically through Netanyahu's five stints as Prime Minister and

Additionally, since 2014, Netanyahu-led governments have practically turned a blind eye to the incendiary balloons and rocket fire from Gaza.

Meanwhile, Israel has allowed suitcases holding millions in Qatari cash to enter Gaza through its crossings since 2018, in order to maintain its fragile ceasefire with the Hamas rulers of the Strip.

This was no way to commit genocide and nothing an apartheid society or government would do. Moreover, the policy of propping up Hamas while undermining Fatah and the people it governed (on the West Bank) not only stoked the conditions which led to the 10/7 slaughter but also reflected a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of Islam. 

Aayan Hirsi Ali was raised as a devout Muslim in Kenya, escaped the culture of religious extremism to become a member of the Dutch Parliament, and is now an American citizen.  Seven years before the butchers of Gaza attacked Israel and tried to wipe out Jews and take other Jews as hostage, she described radical Islamism in a short, balanced video.  Yet its prescient message was completed ignored, with devastating consequences, by Prime Minister Netanyahu. She explained

If the Jihadists win and the hope for a reformed Islam dies, the rest of the world will pay a terrible price. The terror attacks in New York, London, Madrid and Paris and many other places are only a preview of what's to come. For this reason I believe that it's foolish to insist, as Western leaders habitually do, that the violent acts committed in the name of Islam can somehow be divorced from the religion itself. For more than a decade, my message has been simple: Islam is not a religion of peace. 

Individuals respond to their religious faith in various ways, so

When I assert this, I do not mean that Islamic belief makes all Muslims violent. This is manifestly not the case. There are many millions of peaceful Muslims in the world,. What I do say is that the call to violence and the justification for it are explicitly stated in the sacred texts of Islam. Moreover, this theologically sanctioned violence is there to be activated by any number of offenses including, but not limited to, adultery, blasphemy, homosexuality, and apostasy- that is, to leave Islam. Those who tolerate this intolerance do so at their peril.

That would be all manner of countries and political leaders globally. They have included, ironically, Benjamin Netanyahu, whose obsession with the Palestinian Authority has blinded him to the far greater danger always posed by the religious fanatics of Hamas. Evidently observing irony, Ali continued

As someone who has known what it is to live without freedom, I watch in amazement as those who call themselves liberals and progressives- people who claim to make common cause with the forces in the world that manifestly pose the greatest threats to that very freedom and those very minorities.

She recognized years ago, back during the Obama Administration, what virtually the entire world refuses to recognize even now.  Citing an example from her own experience, 
Ali emphasizes 

By labeling critical examination of Islam as inherently "racist," we make the chances of reformation far less likely. There are limits on criticism of Christianity at American universities or anywhere else, for that matter; why should there be of Islam?

There should be few if any restraints placed on criticism of any religion. Yet, even now- maybe especially now- criticism of Islam is suppressed as symptomatic of white supremacy or Western colonialism.  Further

Instead of contorting Western intellectual traditions so as not to offend our Muslim fellow citizens, we need to defend both those traditions and the Muslim dissidents who take great risks to promote them. We should support these brave men and women in every way possible.... These are the Muslims we should be supporting for our sake as much as for the sake of Islam.

Netanyahu defied this argument by propping up Hamas and squelching the less extreme leaders on the West Bank. If he had done otherwise, such as by realistically accommodating Fatah and isolating Hamas, the latter would have been weakened.

Ali concludes

If we do in fact support political, social and religious freedom, then we cannot in good conscience give Islam a free pass pass on the grounds of multicultural sensitivity. We need to say to Muslims in the West: if you want to share in our societies, to share in those material benefits, then you need to accept that our freedoms are not optional.

"Islam is peace," lied President George W. Bush six days after a terrorist attack killed nearly 3,000 Americans in New York, New York.  Now, after a terrorist attack responsible for approximately 15 times as many individuals on a per capita basis, the myth that "Islam is peace" lives on, with no one permitted to mention the words "Islam" or "Muslim" in anything remotely related to the Middle East. 

But while Islam is not peace, it's not war, either, or at least as it's interpreted by peaceful Muslims.  Putting his lot in with the most fanatical individuals, Bibi Netanyahu decided not to distinguish violent Muslims from the millions of non-violent Muslims on the West Bank. It was a fundamental, unforced error which helped expose Israel to an unprecedented attack and severely undermined the safety and security of his country.

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