Quotes of the day

More Americans say they sympathize with Israelis than Palestinians in the current conflict in the Middle East, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll finds.

Forty-three percent of adults say they sympathize more with Israel, 14 percent are more sympathetic toward Palestinians. But another 43 percent say they’re unsure.

The results are more lopsided when asked to choose between Israel and Hamas — 54 percent sympathize more with Israel, while just 7 percent sympathize with Hamas.


In the United States, by contrast, support for Israel remains strong (although less so among the young, who are most exposed to the warring hashtags of social media). That support is overwhelming in political circles. Palestinian suffering remains near taboo in Congress. It is not only among American Jews, better organized and more outspoken than their whispering European counterparts, that the story of a nation of immigrants escaping persecution and rising from nowhere in the Holy Land resonates. The Israeli saga — of courage and will — echoes in American mythology, far beyond religious identification, be it Jewish or evangelical Christian.

America tends toward a preference for unambiguous right and wrong — no European leader would pronounce the phrase “axis of evil” — and this third Gaza eruption in six years fits neatly enough into a Manichaean framework: A democratic Jewish state, hit by rockets, responds to Islamic terrorists. The obscenity, for most Americans, has a name. That name is Hamas.


Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan would not say whether or not Hamas would consider removing the part of its charter that calls for the killing of all Jews.

CNN’s Jake Tapper read directly from Hamas’s charter to Hamdan: “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or tree.”…

Hamdan then addressed Tapper’s question, but just barely. “If they are against a sentence here or there, we want them to change the occupation,” he said. “Continuing the occupation and killing Palestinians will not bring peace and will not bring security for both the Palestinians and them.”

Tapper concluded the segment: “That’s true, and killing Jews will not bring security or peace either.”


It’s hard to find criticism or questioning of the wisdom of the government’s response to Hamas’s rockets in Israel’s media (aside from the pages of the left-leaning Haaretz). Those Israelis who do view the war – which has claimed over 1,700 Palestinian lives so far – as counterproductive, have little sway in a climate where raising criticism against the war can lead to furious accusations of treason…

According to a poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute, 95 percent of Israeli Jews say the campaign is justified and less than four percent say the army has used excessive force

[M]any Israelis ask, what is international support against the security of millions of civilians currently within rocket range, and the southern Israeli towns vulnerable to Hamas infiltration via tunnels? The common view here is that international critics are naive, when not actively anti-Semitic, in their view of Israel’s use of force as being out of proportion to the threat.

As for suggestions that lifting the economic blockade of Gaza would make the country more, not less, safe, most Israeli’s scoff. Tzipi Livni, Israel’s justice minister and chief negotiator with the Palestinians, told Ynet on Sunday that a peace agreement is a long way off. Compromise with Hamas? “You want to talk about lifting the blockade? Not with us, and not now,” she said.


After years of trying to make peace, the wars they had to fight, being attacked by their enemies, and still being attacked, and finally after years of running into bomb shelters and having hundreds of civilians killed by suicide bombers, civilians being killed in their sleep, stabbed to pieces, finding enough is enough and finally retaliating, instead of my peers sticking up for the only democratic country in that region, they go and take out poison letters against them…

I am asking all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives. Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now?

You have been able to become famous and have all your monetary gains because you are in a democratic country: America. Do you think you would have been able to accomplish this in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, et cetera? You had a great responsibility to use your celebrity for good. Instead, you have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel.

You should hang your heads in shame. You should all come forth with deep regrets for what you did, and ask forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel.


When Oz speaks of the neighbor who shoots at you with a child on his lap, he is speaking, of course, of Hamas, and he consistently makes the distinction clear between Hamas and Palestinian civilians, for whom this war has been a devastating bloodbath. Oz does not absolve Israel from its responsibility for the death and destruction in Gaza—that would be impossible—but he sees Hamas as more than an equal partner in it. That is what he means, he explains, when he describes the war as lose-lose for Israel: “The more Israeli casualties, the better it is for Hamas. The more Palestinian civilian casualties, the better it is for Hamas.” There is no end of argument about how to parcel out responsibility for this war and its ghastly toll on Gazans, but Oz is hardly alone in his view of Hamas’s strategy. My colleague Lawrence Wright, in his deep reporting and one-man theatre piece about Gaza, is unsparingly critical of the Israeli occupation. But, when he turns to Hamas’s attitude towards Gaza’s disproportionately young population, he concludes, “These children are being groomed to die.”

Khalidi, however, hasn’t got a bad word for Hamas. He says, “We might not like Hamas or some of its methods, but that is not the same as accepting the proposition that Palestinians should supinely accept the denial of their right to exist as a free people in their ancestral homeland.” Right—of course it’s not the same. But that doesn’t negate the fact that Hamas doesn’t accept, or even nominally recognize, the right of Israelis to exist as a free people. As Khalidi says, we should pay attention when Netanyahu tells Israelis about controlling their security on the West Bank. So shouldn’t we also listen when Hamas tells Palestinians that they should never accept the existence of Israel—and that victory will not come until they have wiped out not only the Jewish state but all the Jews?

If you take an interest in the war in Gaza, you should read the Hamas charter, but Oz sums up its biggest idea handily enough: “It says that the Prophet commands every Muslim to kill every Jew, everywhere in the world.” If Khalidi has a problem with this, he keeps it to himself. While Oz has no problem saying that Israel’s violent occupation is unjust to Palestinians and endangers its own people, Khalidi refuses to acknowledge that Hamas exists to end Israel’s existence and thrives on Palestinian wretchedness. In the heat of his moral condemnation of Israel—and of America for supporting Israel against Hamas—the hardest line that he will allow himself against Gaza’s categorically genocidal leadership is that “we may not like” it. What would he lose to say that we must not?


While it is true that Hamas is expert at getting innocent Palestinians killed, it has made it very plain, in word and deed, that it would rather kill Jews. The following blood-freezing statement is from the group’s charter: “The Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realization of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: ‘The day of judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jews will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say ‘O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”…

Hamas is an organization devoted to ending Jewish history. This is what so many Jews understand, and what so many non-Jews don’t. The novelist Amos Oz, who has led Israel’s left-wing peace camp for decades, said in an interview last week that he doesn’t see a prospect for compromise between Israel and Hamas. “I have been a man of compromise all my life,” Oz said. “But even a man of compromise cannot approach Hamas and say: ‘Maybe we meet halfway and Israel only exists on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.'”…

In 2011, the former Hamas minister of culture, Atallah Abu al-Subh, said that “the Jews are the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon the face of the Earth, because they have displayed hostility to Allah. Allah will kill the Jews in the hell of the world to come, just like they killed the believers in the hell of this world.” Just last week, a top Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, accused Jews of using Christian blood to make matzo. This is not a group, in other words, that is seeking the sort of peace that Amos Oz—or, for that matter, the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas—is seeking. People wonder why Israelis have such a visceral reaction to Hamas. The answer is easy. Israel is a small country, and most of its citizens know someone who was murdered by Hamas in its extended suicide-bombing campaigns; and most people also understand that if Hamas had its way, it would kill them as well.




“You cut the words — not you, the Israelis. They cut the facts and start this propaganda to say they are innocent,” Hamdan, videoing in from Qatar, said to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “I have Jewish friends supporting the Palestinian cause.”