Short-sightedness Watch

12.10.12

Abbas Does-Not-Equal Hamas

I just got an email solicitation from David Harris, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee. It informed me that “Israel is under siege once again—not solely from the threat of Hamas rocket attacks but also from President Abbas's counter-productive gambit to upgrade the Palestinian status at the U.N.” Note the parallelism. Being violently attacked by a Palestinian organization that rejects Israel’s right to exist and being diplomatically challenged by a Palestinian leader who affirms Israel’s right to exist are, in Harris’s view, the same. The entire basis of U.S.—and, theoretically, Israeli—policy since Hamas’s 2006 election victory has been to show Palestinians that there are benefits to supporting a peaceful, pro-two-state leadership and costs to supporting the opposite. But evidently someone forgot to tell Harris, who describes any Palestinian resistance to occupation, even if nonviolent and supportive of Israel’s right to exist, in the language of war.

The letter goes on to note that the “AJC will continue to advance our advocacy campaign with over 150 world leaders to move the peace process forward at the negotiating table, not at the U.N. General Assembly.” To which one might ask: how’s that working out for you? One might think that an organization whose position has just lost at the U.N. General Assembly by a vote of 138 to 9 might reconsider its strategy of never publicly criticizing Israeli settlement policy but relentlessly telling the world to keep quiet about it.

Instead, the email ends with the words “please donate now.”