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Monday, March 09, 2009

Roger Cohen: Hamas wants peace, Israel doesn't

Roger Cohen, heady from all his newfound publicity and trying very hard to supplant Thomas Friedman as the NYT's wise man of the Middle East, decides that Hamas and Hezbollah need to be legitimized by the West:
The 1988 Hamas Charter is vile, but I think it’s wrong to get hung up on the prior recognition of Israel issue. Perhaps Hamas is sincere in its calls for Israel’s disappearance — although it has offered a decades-long truce — but then it’s also possible that Israel in reality has no desire to see a Palestinian state.
This paragraph is the perfect example of anti-Israel bias.

Hamas says explicitly, in many ways and at many times, that its goal is to destroy Israel. Israel, for better or worse, has explicitly accepted the idea of a Palestinian state for the past sixteen years.

Yet Cohen is willing to overlook Hamas' position - in fact, its entire raison d'etre - and assume that Hamas really wants to live in peace with Israel. His assumption, not borne out by even a wisp of a fact, is his basis for accepting Hamas.

But Israel really wanting peace? No, no, that's crazy! When Israelis says they want peace, they are lying! You can't trust those Israelis! They are much worse warmongers than Hamas terrorists are! As Cohen helpfully adds:
The Gaza war was a travesty; I have never previously felt so shamed by Israel’s actions.
Cohen, in a single paragraph, bends over backwards to exonerate Hamas for terror and implacable hate while at the same time accusing Israel of worse terror and implacable hate.

When Cohen calls for negotiations, he is asking for a process to begin where people's words have meaning; where the representatives of each side are assumed to be telling the truth and are putting their positions forth in good faith. Negotiations without the ability to trust the words of one of the sides is worthless. Cohen, however, calls Hamas leaders liars for saying they want to destroy Israel and calls Israeli leaders liars for saying they want to live in peace with Palestinian Arabs.

And he wants both sets of liars to negotiate!

This must be an example of that nuance that we keep hearing about from enlightened liberals - it means that they can read minds and extract the real, deeper truth that is at odds with all facts and explicit statements.

There's lots more to find disgusting about this piece; see Soccer Dad.