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April 06, 2009

Avineri Answers Roger Cohen on Talking To Hamas

Roger Cohen picks up the mantle today in the International Herald Tribune on advocating engaging Hamas. And here's what Shlomo Avineri has to say about it:

The question is what to talk to Hamas about. . . .Most Israelis, as well as the Europeans and Americans, know that Hamas espouses the destruction of Israel. What most of them do not know is that Hamas' founding document includes a much more comprehensive attitude, not merely to Israel and Zionism, but to the Jews.

The prologue to the covenant states that Hamas' aim is a war - not against Israel or Zionism but against the Jewish people at large, since the Jews, and not merely Israel and Zionism, are the enemies of Islam.

And in order to remove any doubt, the entire chapter 22 is devoted to detailing the iniquities of the Jews . . .

Don't tell me that these are merely words and Hamas must not be judged only on the basis of its covenant. Would anyone dare say that if a similar movement were to arise in Europe or America and, in addition to statements like these, was busy killing Jews?

Here's more on Hamas' founding charter. And here's more Roger Cohen folly.

Posted by TS at April 6, 2009 04:30 AM


Cohen is excessively charitable to Muslim countries while unyielding in his approach to Israel. As for the Iranian government's dismissal of Barack Obama and its demands of the US, Cohen says only that "it is an opening gambit". With Israel, each position of the Israeli government is denounced. Cohen never refers to any Israeli position as "an opening gambit". With Iran and with Hamas, Cohen views each statement of policy as an initial approach which the West should understand and encourage. With Israel, Cohen is unremittingly negative. In his interview with Erdrogan of Turkey, Cohen seems to exult in Erdrogan's tirade against Shimon Peres. One can only imagine Cohen's wrath had President Peres lectured Erdrogan about Turkey's merciless bombing of Kurdish villages in Iraq. Had President Peres asked Erdrogan when Turkey will admit responsibility for the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Armenians, Cohen would have been apoplectic. Cohen is by now mindnumbingly repetitive. Fortunately, he convinces nobody.

Posted by: Jim Jacobian at April 6, 2009 08:43 PM

One problem with Roger Cohen's campaign on behalf of Iran and Hamas is instituting the notion that countries and political movements can advocate any amount of violence about another people, another religion, as long as those of us who are ''in the know'' keep reassuring the vaster audience that Iran and Hamas do not really, ''really'' meant it.

Even those of us who are experienced reporters and foreign correspondents, who have been there over and over again, cannot take such a stand.
It is irresponsible and more importantly, it is wrong.
If Hamas says it will kill Jews and if Iran says it wants to destroy Israel, we have to take them at their word. Anything less is not merely a misjudgment . It is pretty arrogant. Our first obligation as reporters, to readers, is to report what we see, what we are told, not what we think we know.

Furthermore, who's whose words do we take? Iran or Israel, Hamas or the PLO and why?
Hamas has a charter : We take its charter seriously . Iran has a president who has given many speeches that we too must take seriously. We cannot wink and nod about it. Neither can the NYTimes which published those columns without caveats.

Finally, speeches and charters travel.
Two generations of Palestinians and Iranians have heard nothing but that kind of talk. I am afraid Roger Cohen's personal view is irrelevant to those who have died and those who might still die--- Jews and Christians, infidels, and even Muslims both sunnis and shiites.

Posted by: youssef ibrahim at April 16, 2009 05:27 PM

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