Friday, August 01, 2014

Look who hates the Jewish state

The way pundits put it in the West, the current war in Gaza is stoking the flames of rage against both Israel and Western democracies throughout the Muslim world.
A closer look at what is being said and done on the ground offers a different picture.
Although there is great sympathy for the sufferings of Palestinians, in most Muslim countries there is little support for Hamas with its tactic of provoking Israel by firing rockets at civilian targets.
On Tuesday, leading Arab columnist Shamsan al-Na'ai took Hamas to task for putting its interests "as a political movement" above that of the Palestinian people.
"Hamas would have done better to tackle the task of improving the lives of the people," he writes. "Instead it has spent resources on rockets and missiles that are like children's toys in the face of Israel, which is the region's major military power."
He castigates Hamas' leaders for exposing "the ordinary people of Gaza" to the violence of war while they themselves are "hiding in the security in their secret bunkers."

Another columnist, Amal al-Hazani, notes, "I have a difference with Israel on a number of issues, but agree with it on a number of other issues, including the Iranian nuclear program and Bashar al-Assad's crimes."
She continues: "Hamas doesn't care what human cost its missiles might inflict. Its sole aim is to fan the fires of war." She then recalls that Hamas has been caught red-handed placing 20 missile launchers in a school run by the UN refugee organization.
Abdul-Rahman al-Rashed, CEO of the satellite TV network al-Arabiyah, also hits Hamas for "deliberate provocations without regard to the human cost of its policies."
He argues that if Palestinians want Israel to get out of their land they can't, at the same time, dig tunnels to sneak into Israeli itself.
Such sentiments have found an echo among Iranian commentators. Sadeq Ziba-Kalam, a Tehran University professor, told reporters Monday that there can be no "sentimental blank check" for Hamas.
Iranian economist Shahin Fatemi also questions those who try to exploit the Palestinian issue for their own political ends.
In a Tuesday column, he lambasts the Tehran leadership for fanning the flames of war instead of helping calm things down when the entire Middle East is plunged into instability.
Efforts by the Khomeinist regime in Tehran to organize mass marches against Israel have failed. In some demonstrations, the official slogan of "Death to Israel" soon gave its place to other slogans, including "Death to the dictator."
Indeed, the security services "advised" President Hassan Rouhani to stay away from the crowds and simply publish his planned speech.
A number of other demonstrations, notably in Kuwait, Amman and Qatar, attracted no more than a few dozen people.
Interestingly, the most violent anti-Israeli demonstrations have taken place in the West, notably in Paris, Berlin and New York. Some demonstrators seemed more motivated by anti-Semitism.
One slogan was "Jews! Remember Kahybar!" refering to a battle in 629 that led to the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Yathrib region, where the Prophet created his first Islamic state.
All the Jewish tribes who had lived in the region for 1,000 years were expelled, never to return.
In New York, a banner showed the double-edged sword (Zulfiqar) of Ali, Mohammad's cousin and son-in-law, who led the Arab army in the battle against the Jews.
In Paris, London and Berlin, where neo-Nazis made a splash, there were chants of "The Army of Mohammad is Back!"
Demonstrations in the West had another interesting feature. In many cases, flags adorned with swastikas flew next to others bearing the hammer and sickle.
There were Nazi salutes and Communist-style waving of the clenched fist in a show of fraternity between extreme right and extreme left radicals.
While many US and European Muslim citizens did join the demonstrations, the bulk of those who turned up weren't Muslims but individuals motivated by Western ideologies.
Amazing though it might sound, hatred for Jews, thinly disguised as opposition to Israel, appeared to be more intense in Western capitals than anywhere in the Muslim world.

Amir Taheri writes for the New York Post. His latest book is The Persian Night: Iran Under the Khomeinist Revolution.

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