The Curse Heard ‘Round the World (“Rarely”)

Both the remark and the reporter’s presentation are worthy of note in this recent New York Times piece on Israel’s movement of ground troops into Gaza:

Another woman found only half of the body of her 17-year-old daughter in the Shifa morgue. “May God exterminate Hamas!” she screamed, in a curse rarely heard these days. In this conflict, many Palestinians praise Hamas as resisters, but Israel contends the group has purposely endangered civilians by fighting in and around populated areas.

The version in yesterday’s Providence Journal has a slightly different construction that accentuates the tone:

“May God exterminate Hamas!” she screamed, in a curse rarely heard these days during a conflict in which many Palestinians praise Hamas as resisters but which Israel contends has purposely endangered civilian lives by fighting in and around populated areas.

The grammar has some outright errors, so it could be that the Times subsequently edited its online edition for that reason, but the effect of the original, long sentence was to slither away from a stunning quotation and place its speaker in league with the enemy, against the group for which reporter Taghreed El-Khodary seems to think she ought to have more sympathy.
Consider, too, the insinuation that cursing of Hamas may have been less rarely heard in the past, thus diminishing its astonishing nature. If we admit that it has something new and surprising about it, then we must also wonder whether tides of opinion — of culture — are beginning to turn.
There has, after all, been a prominent example of a nation turning against the terrorists who proclaimed to be fighting for it and to begin the process of restructuring its society in such a way as to join the modern world.

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13 years ago

This is from Rabbi Michael Lerner, writing in Tikkun. You might profit from reading it.

The current Israeli fantasy is this: the Israelis decimate Hamas, making Fatah the only remaining force. Then Israel negotiates an agreement for two states, but the agreement allows the Israeli West Bank settlements to remain in place, and the IDF to remain there to protect the settlers and the special roads that criss-cross the West Bank for use by settlers only. The outcome: a Palestinian state that is defacto a set of isolated cantons fully surrounded by Israelis, in effect the occupation continuing but in a different form. Fatah Palestinian leadership might grab at such a two state idea, and that might provide peace for a few years or even more. But eventually the nationalist and Islamic forces will revive from the current slaughter in Gaza, and they will see that a Palesitnian state of this sort is neither legitimate nor viable, and the violence will start up again.


Justin Katz
13 years ago

Do you really believe that “peace for a few years or even more” would lead to a static situation? Resolving this sort of problem is a cumulative process. More peace means more compromise. The less protection settlers need, the less presence there’ll be, and the fewer restrictions on people’s movement.
Rabbi Lerner’s argument seems to me to be a rationalization to oppose a strategically smart (and necessary) action by Israel, with the effect of supporting continued violence until such time as the Palestinians can find a strategy whereby they win (probably entailing the destruction of Israel).

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