Joe Scarborough on Israel: "We cannot be associated with this if this continues"

I … can’t shake the feeling that this isn’t going to help his reputation as a RINO.

Let me focus on this part, since it’s one of the most common canards about Hamas:

“As much as we all hate Hamas, what is going to replace Hamas is going to be much worse. It is going to be a radical Islamist group instead of just power-hungry, corrupt people that despise Israel. This is such a nightmare that is unfolding. And the biggest nightmare is that Hamas was on the run. The Arab states hate Hamas and Israel has not only made them relevant again, but champions of the Palestinian people. This tragedy just keeps unfolding and it just keeps getting worse.”

I’m surprised to learn that Hamas isn’t a “radical Islamist group,” just a bunch of corrupt, Jew-hating bureaucrats. Someone had better let Egypt know too, as the new man in charge has lately become Israel’s best friend precisely because he’s all about smashing radical Islamist groups. But I digress. What would something “worse than Hamas” look like? One Israeli academic wonders:

Worse than Hamas? Really? While Salafi jihadists like ISIS and militant offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood like Hamas differ on questions such as the speed and methods by which Islamic law (sharia) should be imposed on Muslims, there is absolutely no daylight between them about the treatment of Jews. In their eyes all are deserving of death and must, as a matter of religious commandment, be annihilated.

If anything, it is ISIS’s attitude that is less fanatical, in that the Salafists are equal opportunity murderers – targeting Christians, Jews, Shi’ites and any Sunni who does not buy into their particular vision of Islamic utopia – whereas Hamas and its sister organization, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), are singularly obsessed with killing Jews…

Hamas and PIJ are far more dangerous than any of the alternative governors that could realistically emerge in post-Hamas Gaza, in that they have, for over two decades now, been systematically armed, trained and funded by Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and most recently Qatar. Even if these or other sponsors were to overcome their aversion for aiding and abetting ISIS-like jihadists, it would again take a highly disciplined organization many years of undisturbed activity to attain a fraction of Hamas’s current know-how and capabilities.

I can understand being indifferent about which jihadi group runs Gaza or mildly preferring Hamas just because Israel has already collected so much intelligence on them. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. (Netanyahu himself apparently favors that approach.) If you take the “whatever comes next will be worse” logic to its ultimate conclusion, though, you’re forever left defending whichever bunch of degenerates is in charge at the time. Israel can’t oust Hamas because then Al Qaeda might take over; if Al Qaeda takes over, Israel can’t oust them or else ISIS might move in. If ISIS moves in, Israel can’t oust them or else a portal to hell will open in the ground and Hitler and Bin Laden will emerge from the earth to rule Gaza together. And so on. Essentially, so long as Eliminationist Group A remains a bit less savage than Eliminationist Group B, they can be as savage as they like and the west’s commentariat will defend leaving them in power. Also, I thought the lesson of the Awakening in Iraq was that as jihadists crack down on the local population, resentment builds and steers people around to alternatives. That’s a hard lesson to grasp right now, after Maliki’s made a sectarian mess in Iraq and ISIS is in power in Anbar province, but look at Egypt: A year after the Muslim Brotherhood’s revolution, the anti-Islamist revolution snatched back power and sent Morsi to prison. Something “worse than Hamas” might be what convinces Palestinians in Gaza to accept Abbas and Fatah after all. Or maybe they’re ready now, provided Hamas can be finally dislodged.

Scarborough’s right that Hamas was in deep trouble politically before the war began, but I don’t know what path he thinks Israel should have taken once the rockets started flying. Was Netanyahu supposed to simply play defense with Iron Dome, wait patiently while Hamas exhausts its arsenal, and then hope that Gazans oust Hamas themselves as the economic grind from the embargo wears on? Even if that happened, I thought the big fear here was that whatever replaces Hamas will be worse. Why assume that the new regime that rises to power in the wake of a Gaza revolution would be more willing to deal with Israel rather than less? I don’t get it.