Friday, October 2, 2009

Hamas and Israel on MuzzleWatch's Scale of Justice -- and the Winner is...

... I wish it weren't so predictable, but yes, MuzzleWatch's Scale of Justice clearly tilts in favor of Hamas.


Let's take a peek at Rob Lipton's Sept. 24 post gleefully cheering the much maligned Goldstone Report. Here, with quotes directly from the MuzzleWatch post, is my feeble HTML attempt to visualize the trays of their scale:


"The war crimes committed by Hamas are deplorable ... but..."

"... placed within the context of a people trying to fight occupation"

Hamas, "like Jews or anyone else in the same situation, fight back"
"slaughter of civilians"
Hamas "dwarfed" by Israel
"governmental censorship efforts as well as government efforts to suppress dissent"

Clearly, there's a reason why I'm not a Web designer. I'm afraid my little illustration here doesn't do justice to just how stunning — and perhaps I should no longer be stunned, given the glimpses of MuzzleWatch's stance that I'm oh-so-slowly accumulating on this blog — the MuzzleWatch post is.

Here's the relevant excerpt in straight prose:
The recent release of the UN study headed by the South African jurist Richard Goldstone is a watershed of sorts in the diplomatic history of Israel. An ardent supporter/friend of Israel with family living in Israel, Goldstone’s report is sober yet scathing regarding Israel’s actions in Gaza. The report details not just the slaughter of civilians but the seemingly planned destruction of civilian infrastructure that could, in no way, be considered militarily related (unless the futile goal was to make the bombed civilians turn against Hamas). The report also unequivocally condemns Hamas for the war crime of firing on civilian populations in Israel, and likely for that reason, both Israel and Hamas were finally able to agree on one thing, their condemnation of the report.

Further, the report goes on to describe Israeli governmental censorship efforts as well as government efforts to suppress dissent within Palestinian Israeli populations (obvious Muzzlewatch concerns) . Perhaps most importantly, the report goes into detail describing the effects of the occupation in the West Bank as well as the siege of Gaza. This contextualization is particularly damning and frequently completely missing from mainstream analysis. The fact that such a high profile report seamlessly includes this context is refreshing from the point of view of those working to stop the occupation, and conversely, quite galling for those who seek to keep the status quo.

The war crimes committed by Hamas, are deplorable and also described in the report, but they are also placed within the context of a people trying to fight occupation. Israel’s actions are allowed no such context. Israeli maximalist existentialist fears, whether heartfelt delusion or cold eyed cynicism, are simply not treated. Thus most of the responsibility, as it should be, is placed on the shoulders of Israel, whose firepower, and the resulting death toll, utterly dwarfed that of Hamas. (One is left to conclude, logically, that a government seeking to protect the citizens of Sderot and Ashkelon, as it should, would do so by ending the illegal siege of Gaza, not by making life even more intolerable for people who would, like Jews or anyone else in the same situation, fight back.)
After one compulsory word ("deplorable") of criticism of Hamas, a group that unhesitatingly claims "credit" for attacking civilians on buses, cafes, pizza shops, dance clubs, and malls, the author wastes no time with his key follow up word: "but..."

And then, what certainly looks like a justification for the anti-Semitic group's murderous attacks. Hamas is just fighting against the occupation (what jaw dropping ignorance of Hamas's admitted goals!), and just doing what anyone else would do. And after this apologia, the author looks back toward Israel and adds, "there is no way to explain away Israeli actions."

Yes, I'm stunned. I knew MuzzleWatch is anti-Israel and soft on Hamas. But seeing these stances so closely juxtaposed so as to make apparent their relative views of the parties... wow.

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