Friday, March 22, 2024

Warped in Its Simplicity


Leo Varadkar on Wednesday suddenly announced his resignation as (southern) Ireland's prime minister. He, Cenk Uygur, and Mehdi Hasan have a common and dangerous misconception.

Certainly, their ardent support of "Palestinians;" also, their conviction that all Palestinians are the same. As reported here, "when the leader of Ireland appeared alongside President Joe Biden on St. Patrick's Day," 

he spent about half of his speech advocating for a ceasefire in Gaza. But before he made his case, he explained why the issue hit so close to home.

“When I travel the world, leaders often ask me why the Irish have such empathy for the Palestinian people,” Leo Varadkar, the Irish taoiseach, or prime minister, said Sunday at the White House. “And the answer is simple: We see our history in their eyes — a story of displacement, of dispossession and national identity questioned and denied, forced emigration, discrimination and now hunger.”

If Biden, an Irish-American who loves to celebrate his ancestral homeland, was hoping for some Irish cheer at the event, Varadkar was not the one to deliver.

The taoiseach said he “supports” the president’s push for a humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, and called for the release of Israeli hostages. But Varadkar went further in criticizing Israel than Biden has, calling on its “bombs to stop.” He added that “Israel must reverse its precipitous decision to authorize a land incursion into Rafah,” the city in southern Gaza that Israel says it must enter in order to defeat Hamas, but which now contains more than 1 million civilians. 

Varadkar seems so naive as to believe- if that is possible- that Israelis held as hostages would be released by Hamas if Jerusalem/Tel Aviv orders its "bombs to stop."  And in pleading that "the Irish have such empathy for the Palestinian people" while criticizing the Israeli effort, he equates the war against Hamas- in which thousands of Gazans have been killed- with the "story of displacement, of dispossession and national identity" of those "Palestinian people."

This might be true if Israel's war were against the "Palestinian people," who themselves are never clearly identified. Alas, there has been no attack against the millions of Palestinians in Jordan or elsewhere, countries in which ethnic Palestinians enjoy fewer rights than do Palestinian residents of Israel. There have been, as the media chooses to downplay, a constant barrage upon northern Israel of missile and mortar attacks from Hezbollah in Lebanon. There was no statement from Vardkar for the thousands of Israelis who have been displaced- nor for the attacks upon Lebanese Palestinians by Hamas. 

"The Palestinian people," Varadkar intoned, because he thinks (or appears to think) that all Palestinians are the same. 

And then there is Cenk Uygur. who asks "do the Palestinians have a right to defend themselves?" That would be a relevant question if "the Palestinians" launched a barbaric terrorist attack upon Israel on October 7, 2023.  But they didn't;  it was Hamas specifically.  

Members of the Israeli religious right have disproportionate influence in the Netanyahu government. Some of them consider Palestinians en bloc as the enemy, despite the great number of Gazan Palestinians who find Hamas distasteful. Embodying the same mentality, Uygur believes (if sincere) an attack by Israel upon some Palestinians- residents of Gaza- is an attack upon all. 

And of course, high on the list of haters of Israel must be the well-educated, self-absorbed Mehdi Hasan. 

In the video to which Hasan links above, Republican strategist Scott Jennings can be seen remarking

No, she's a Democrat. She's going to vote for Biden. I'm not surprised by that. I am surprised that in the year of our Lord 2024, that there is a public relations agent for Hamas sitting in the United States Congress.

We can assume that Ilhan Omar is not a public relations agent for Hamas only because there is no evidence that the Minnesota congresswoman is being paid by the brutal terrorist organization. She called for a ceasefire on October 7, 2023 because that would have precluded retaliation by Israel for the mass murder of its residents which had occurred earlier that day.

Unsurprisingly, Hasan presented Jennings' comment with no context. However, it's very likely that Hasan would have noted any Jennings' mention of "Islam" or "Muslim." So, no Islamophobia. And in charging "racism" without cause, Hasan shares with Uygur and Varadkar the notion that Palestinians are all all alike. In Hasan's take, by condemning Omar, Jennings is blasting every Palestinian. 

It's a common mistake, one taken for strategic advantage. It places on defense supporters of the Middle East's only democratic state and subtly accuses them unjustly of racism. It's an ironic charge from people who view individuals as only the sum total of their race, thereby identical and interchangeable..

 


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