Responding to Zionists

Things are a bit busy here, so I’ve been bad about getting the rest of the One State / Two State posts out on time. But I couldn’t resist doing a quick commentary on what has to be the most absurd op-ed I read this week (and, given the articles published every day in this country, that is saying a lot).

Today, Ynet published an op-ed in defense of Nazareth Illit mayor Shimon Gapso. Gapso is a rabid racist who has refused to allow a single Arab school, mosque, or cemetery to open in his city (20% of whose residents are Arab); expressed support for plans that seek to get rid of the city’s non-Jewish residents; and has publicly lamented missing opportunities to kill more Palestinian Citizens of Israel.  He is currently running a reelection campaign on the promise to make Upper Nazareth “Jewish forever.” Gapso also published this amazing and amazingly accurate op-ed last week in Haaretz entitled “If you think I’m racist, then Israel is a racist state,” in which he correctly situates his own policies in the longer history of racist Zionist policies. But that is for another day.

Today, Smadar Shir published an op-ed in support of Gapso which simply needs to be read to be believed. It begins by situating (explaining? excusing? parodying?) the mayor’s “Jewish forever” call:

Shimon Gapso wants to preserve the Jewish character of his city, Nazareth Illit, which was built next to the Arab Nazareth. He toured southern Tel Aviv, which is adjacent to Arab Jaffa, and saw with his own eyes that there is not a trace left in it of Jewish character. Or perhaps Israeli character? White character? How do we say it in an enlightened country without being suspected of damned racism?

Here’s a hint: if you can’t find a way of saying it without sounding like a damned racist, it probably means that you are a damned racist. You can’t yearn for your pure Jewish-Israeli-White neighborhood and be ‘enlightened’ any more than Paula Dean can wax nostalgic for the plantation life and be considered ‘enlightened.’ You, ma’am, are a racist.

Shir does, however, admit that Gapso may have made a few misteps along the way. Unfortunately, those missteps have nothing to do with the content of his ideas:

In Israel you may do – you mustn’t talk. Because when you talk about the right vision it sounds bad, and the bleeding hearts immediately attack you and declare you a hooligan, a Nazi and even Hitler. Prepare the guillotine. He will be beheaded in the square of the town whose future he fears for.

Yes. Ethnic cleansing does “sound bad.” When you say it aloud, you get called a racist. The argument here appears to be that you shouldn’t talk about racist things in public, you should just go ahead an do racist things. Because democracy can go fuck itself.

Incredibly, Shir goes on to say:

Every person is entitled to choose not only his place of residence, but also his neighbors, and that’s not arrogance.

Unless, of course, they are Palestinian living beyond the Green Line. Then they get where they can live dictated to them by the Israeli army. Or if you are a non-Jewish citizen of Israel. Then you get told where you can and cannot live as well. But why should they enter in Shir’s thoughts?

Anyway, the rest of the op-ed ends with a confusing and ill-formed screed against alleged discrimination by Arabs. Honestly, it is so vague and badly written it is hard to know precisely what she is talking about. Regardless, it is at best off-topic.

If you can’t write an op-ed that doesn’t sound racist even to your own ears, maybe you should stop and reconsider.


Over the weekend, I saw a number of Israel-apologist on Facebook circulating the following story, whose logic is so powerful it could’ve come directly from the Colbert Report. According to

South African MP Rev. Dr. Kenneth Meshoe wrote in the San Francisco Examiner, “As a black South African who lived under apartheid, this system was implemented in South Africa to subjugate people of color and deny them a variety of their rights. In my view, Israel cannot be compared to apartheid in South Africa. Those who make the accusation expose their ignorance of what apartheid really is.” Meshoe made this statement upon visiting San Francisco, where he was shocked to learn of posters posted within the city comparing Israel to the apartheid regime in South Africa.

The article makes it sound as though your average Joe Southafrican wandered out of his hotel on a vacation to San Francisco and stumbled upon a group of rowdy Palestine solidarity activists and just couldn’t contain his outrage.

Who Is Rev. Dr. Kenneth Meshoe?

In fact, the good Rev. Dr. Meshoe is the founder of the Africa Christian Democratic Party, a conservative Christian Zionist party which currently holds three seats out of 400 in the South African National Assembly. His party is strongly pro-life to the point where they oppose the distribution of condoms and voted against the South African Constitution because it enshrined both abortion rights and contained anti-sexual orientation discrimination provisions. In short, Rev. Dr. Meshoe does not represent the mainstream South Africa political opinion.

Nor was this Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s first foray into Zionist speechmaking. In fact, Rev. Dr. Meshoe is one of South Africa’s leading Zionist activists and a frequent speaker in support of Israel in both his native country and in the United States. He is also one of the founders of “Africans for Israel,” an organization whose stated goal is to “stop attempts to crush Israel.”

Like Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s views on social issues, his views on Palestine and Israel are outside of the South African mainstream. Which is why South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party has been at the forefront of efforts to label goods made in Israeli settlement-colonies beyond the Green Line.

Of course, the mere fact that Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s views are not popular within his country should not invalidate his opinions. But is does raise some serious questions about UnitedWithIsrael’s representation of his op-ed.

Hasbara Through Tokinism

Why is there an attempt to portray Rev. Dr. Menshow as though he were speaking from the mainstream? Why are Israel apologists circulating this article with such glee? And why has this particular article gone viral? (At the time of this writing 3,695 Facebook users have shared the story, according to the counter UnitedWithIsrael’s the website).

The answer, of course, is obvious. They choose to highlight Rev. Dr. Meshoe only because he is a black South African. This is tokenism of the worst sort.

Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s actual arguments are not important to UnitedWithIsrael. Which is why they only highlight his personal background. When they do approach his own arguments about Israel, the blog rephrases Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s arguments in its own voice, rather than follow through the logic he lays out in his op-ed. Whereas the original op-ed proceeds to focus on areas of life within Israel’s 1948 borders where Jews and non-Jews share physical proximity, UnitedWithIsrael felt that the focus should have been on (misrepresented) legal protections. And so, they ignore the original explanation offered by the author in favor of their own interpretations of what he should have said. Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s opinions – his actual analysis – is not important to them.

In effect, UnitedWithIsrael is placing a black South African front and center not because they think he actually has something relevant to say, but only because his racial and national background make him a convenient face for advancing their own narrow opinions. Hence the reason Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s written argument is minimized in favor of their own. This also explains why none of the people I saw share this article on Facebook  discuss, quote, or even reference Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s substantive arguments. I would guess that the vast majority of the other 3,500 some-odd Facebook shares similarly don’t care about the content of Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s op-ed.

Frankly, the Rev. Dr. deserves better. He deserved to be read and thought about critically, not just paraded around due to the color of his skin and his passport. And so, I now will do something that UnitedWithIsrael apparently has no interest in doing: engage with Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s argument.

Rev. Dr. Meshoe: In His Own Words

The core of Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s argument against comparing Israel’s policies to those of apartheid South Africa boil down to a series of claims about what life in Palestine and Israel is like for non-Jews who live under Israeli sovereignty:

As a black South African under apartheid, I, among other things, could not vote, nor could I freely travel the landscape of South Africa. No person of color could hold high government office. The races were strictly segregated at sports arenas, public restrooms, schools and on public transportation. People of color had inferior hospitals, medical care and education. If a white doctor was willing to take a black patient, he had to examine him or her in a back room or some other hidden place. In my numerous visits to Israel, I did not see any of the above. My understanding of the Israeli legal system is that equal rights are enshrined in law.

These claims (like many other smaller claims made in the article) range from contestable to flat out wrong. The 4.5 million Palestinians living under Israeli Occupation in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip cannot vote for their rulers (at least not beyond their municipal government). Nor can they freely travel the landscape of Palestine-Israel. Even Leftist parties refuse to sit in government with the so-called “Arab Parties” in the Kenesset, effectively barring Palestinian Citizens of Israel from holding high government office. Sports arenas feature some of the most vile and violent racism anywhere in Israel, and that is some high competition. Israel features segregated busses on both sides of the Green Line, not to mention on roads within the West Bank. And health services in the West Bank are disastrous, in large part thanks to the Israeli Occupation, while in Gaza repeated Israeli attacks on basic infrastructure have meant that doctors must regularly work without electricity and clean water, let alone basic medical supplies. Finally, as Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel repeatedly points out, even among the subset of Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship, the law does not enshrine equal rights for all of its citizens, but rather encodes legal discrimination in all areas of life. And , of course, Palestinians living under Occupation live under a separate system of martial law.

Rev. Dr. Meshoe may not have seen any of this discrimination on his trip through the Holy Land, but it exists. If these are the criteria that he lays out by which to judge Israel, then I think it is pretty clear that Israel meets Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s definition of an apartheid state.

But, of course, the Israel-apologists who have promoted this article could care less about Rev. Dr. Meshoe’s criteria nor the content of his arguments. All they care about is his race and nationality. As such, their own advocacy betrays a deep and worrisome racism that should worry even supporters of the State of Israel. But somehow, I doubt it will.

As I mentioned this past Wednesday, a new poll (Heb) was recently published by the “blue and white future group.” If you have not already done so, I recommend reading Mairav Zonszein’s excellent writeup of the poll in English, focusing on the 36% of respondents who seem to outright favor an apartheid system. 

More interesting for me, though are the latter questions and party breakdown. One narrative that you often hear, especially in the United States, is that Israel’s unwillingness to seriously pursue peace is the result of the current government. If only the U.S. could get a Labour prime-minister rather than this Netanyahu fellow, then we’d have peace in no time, or so the narrative goes. This poll, however, ought to give us pause.

Now, whenever you review any poll, you have to apply all the standard caveats, and for this poll there are a great many. First, this is not a poll of Israeli citizens, but only of the  ~75% of Israeli citizens who are Jewish. The common exclusion of the roughly 1 in 4 Israelis who are not Jewish from most public opinion polling is one of the ways that Israeli racism is perpetuated. Rather than provide a simple ethnic breakdown, as in commonly done in public polling elsewhere, the blue and white poll and most other Israeli public opinion polls quite literally tells non-Jewish Israelis that their opinions do not matter to the nation.

The racism of this poll is further reflected in the questions asked, which seek to ascertain how Israel might be able to maintain its “Jewish and democratic” character. Anyone who thinks that it is not desirable or even possible to maintain both of those characteristics simultaneous has no way of registering their dissent on the poll.

That said, the poll does list “Annexing Yehuda and Shomron [the West Bank] and giving full rights of citizenship to Palestinians” as one of the possible vectors for accomplishing this task. Although the language used to describe this option is highly objectionable and patronizing, this is essentially describing a bi-national one-state solution. Zonszein takes this as a sign of hope that some small Leftist core still exists in Israel today:

It should also be noted that the seven percent of the polled Jewish Israelis said they support giving Palestinians full civil rights within a bi-national state – not so tiny considering how marginalized the left-wing one-state vision is in Israel.

The party breakdown, however, does not bare out such an analysis. Indeed, the more right-wing a person is, the more likely they are to support what is essentially a bi-national state. Whereas 12% of Naftali Bennet’s ultra-right religious-nationalist voters and 17% of the religious right Shas party voters support the annexation of the West Bank and the granting of full rights of citizenship to Palestinians, only 9% of left-wing Labour and Meretz voters and 0% of Tzippi Livnis’ Hatnuah (usually, if problematically described as center-left) support such a solution. 

Our ability to determine what the mainstream Israeli Left wants is somewhat limited by the poll’s unfortunate choices in question-wording. The poll lists only four options for maintaining Israel’s Jewish and democratic character: annexing the West Bank with full citizenship for Palestinians (bi-national state), annexing without full citizenship rights (formalized apartheid), maintaining the status quo (informal apartheid), or establishing a Palestinian state along the border of the separation barrier (fantasy).

As such, an Israeli Jew who supports other versions of the two-state solution – such as division along the Green Line, with or without Jerusalem, or the Lieberman plan of forcibly transferring Palestinian citizens of Israel to a future Palestinian state – has no real way of registering their desired outcome. That said, an earlier question in the poll did simply ask if one was in favor of the general principle of “two states for two people” and you see only a very slight drop-off from those who support the general principle to those who support the specific plan of using the current route of the Apartheid Wall as the border. So if there is a range of opinion being hidden by the limited options, it does not appear to be particularly dramatic. 

Further on in the poll, we get another question about a possible two-state solution, asking if Israel should unilaterally withdraw to the 1967 boders plus the annexation of the large settlement-blocs, including Jerusalem, Maale Adumim, and Gush Etzion. Once again this is a pretty bad question, as we have no way of distinguishing whether people might object to a unilateral withdrawal or to the proposed borders. That said, we once again find large majorities on the Left agreeing with this statement: 68% of Meretz voters and 59% of Hatnuah and Labour voters answer positively. As Mya Guarnieri has covered (part 1part 2), such annexation would make the existence of a Palestinian State all but acceptable, even if Israel could somehow force this raw deal.

So, contrary to the commonplace narrative of an enlightened Israeli Left, waiting in the wings to seize power and finish the Oslo accords, we find a vast majority of the Israeli Left clinging to racist positions. The Left appears to favor unilateral action, refusing the notion that Palestinians maybe ought to have a say in their own future. The unilateral action they favor entails not only the maintenance of the Apartheid Wall in its current form, but also its further expansion to encompass even larger swaths of the West Bank.

In other words, whereas the mainstream Israeli Right appears roughly even divided on whether to maintain an informal apartheid system or shift towards a formalize one, with a small minority favoring a bi-national single state, the Left seems united in its support for continuing an informal apartheid system by means of setting up Bantustans

The racism of the mainstream Israeli Left may not be quite as spectacular as that of the Right. You usually don’t get Leftists talking openly about how they are proud to be racist or how they wish to ethnically cleanse Israel. And yet, if the results of this poll are to be trusted, then there is little evidence that the Left’s priorities are any better than the those of the Right. In fact, they may be worse. 

April 7-8 this year marked Yom HaShoah, the day of remembrance for the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust. (International Holocaust Remembrance Day, when we commemorate the 11-17 million victims of the Holocaust falls annually on 27 January). And while the timing of the commemorative day is all sorts of problematic, we here at Jeremiah’s Laments do join in the commemoration and see the importance of a day to specifically remember the Jewish victims of genocide and insist on the importance of standing up to anti-Semitism and racism wherever they may occur.

As such, I am dedicating today’s post to calling out the particularly worrisome and growing trend of basing modern Zionism on anti-Semitic premises. Allow me to illustrate with three different examples from three very different sorts of Zionists.

The first example comes from this past Yom HaShoah day, where, as has been the trend in recent years, Israeli leaders tied the Holocaust to justifying the existence of Israel as an exclusively Jewish State. Leading the March of Living in Auschwitz this year, Israeli army Chief of Staff Benny Gantz declared that “Israel ensures that a horror such as this will not recur.” While the exact reasoning behind this rather odd declaration is never made explicit, he does go on to argue that “the IDF is the defensive shield of the national home – a safe haven for the Jewish people” (though not, according to a new report, for Holocaust survivors). For Benny Gantz, the Israeli army is there not so much to protect all Israeli citizens, 25% of whom are not Jewish, but rather to protect all Jews, regardless of whether they live in Israel or not.

There are numerous of problems with this sort of abuse of Holocaust memory, and I am certain that as time goes on we will get to pick apart the linking of the Holocaust and Zionism from a wide variety of angles. But, as the main purpose of this blog is to interrogate and critique the Jewish people’s relationship to the modern state of Israel, I want to concentrate on this last part of Lt. Gen. Gantz’s reasoning: namely, that Jews everywhere fall under the aegis of the Israeli army.

Notably, one does not need to abide by the particular secular-miltant Zionist ideology expounded here by Gantz in order to believe in this particular relationship between Israel and non-Israeli Jews. Ultra-right wing religious MP Moshe Feiglin, from the ruling Likud party, for instance, explicitly criticized Gantz’s linking of the Holocaust to a justification of Israel as an exclusively Jewish State, saying: “Israel has wrongly used the Holocaust as a tool to justify our existence and sovereignty here.” Nonetheless, he declares:

“The reason for the state of Israel, for our existence, is not security, but our national goal. But the Holocaust teaches us that we should always be strong, not only physically but also morally.

“Without understanding the deep justification for our existence here in the land of Israel, no army will help us. This is a very important point.”

For Feiglin, as for Gantz, Israel is justified because of some deep sense of nationhood that all Jews share and whose expression is an inherent connection with the land of Israel. The Holocaust teaches Feiglin that Jews must be militant, but the connection between Jews and Israel is, in his mind, innate.

Lest we think that this position is limited to right-wing Zionists, over on The Daily Beast’s Open Zion blog, last week, Gil Troy tacks a remarkably similar line of though as he tries to reconcile Israel’s Jewish character with democratic principles. He fails on any number of accounts, not least of which is his perplexing belief that Israel’s Jewish character is limited to the symbols and public holidays of the state, rather than to a host of discriminatory laws, policies, and social norms. But more relevant to us is his particular linking of the Jewish people tout court with the State of Israel:

My understanding of the Jewish state as a democracy starts with the Zionist understanding—which reaches back to Genesis but is confirmed by history—that the Jews are a people; Judaism is not just a religion. Once we accept the notion of Jewish nationhood, with a story, a sense of shared fate, a common language, a unifying culture, a millennial-old homeland—with religious elements, of course—we can understand how a Jewish state can be a democracy and not a theocracy.

So, whether from a secular military perspective, a religious nationalist standpoint, or a liberal Zionist understanding and whether because of the Holocaust, the religion, or two millenia of history, these three very different strands of Zionism all posit an innate, abiding, and universal connection between Jews and Israel. Notably, the notion that Judaism is inherently connected to Zionism has also the basis of a series of legal efforts by Zionists around the world attempting to oppose BDS campaigns. 

Importantly, all three points of view take this as a necessary connection. Whereas an Italian-American may or may not have sympathies, economic interests, or political affiliations with the Old Country depending on their personal and familial particularities, Gantz, Feiglin, and Troy all posit that the connection between Jews and Israel is a necessary function of their Jewish identity (regardless of whether that identity is primarily religious, ethnic, or historical). According to them, every single Jew, whether they know it or not, has a historical/ religious/ cultural/ security / existential connection to the State of Israel.

When these authors propose a necessary connection between Judaism and Zionism, they are not only trying to tell anti-Zionists Jews like me that we are not truly Jewish (The ADL does that just fine here). They are also promoting a particularly anti-Semitic idea of Jews’ relation to questions of national belonging. No longer are Jews rational political actors who can choose whether or not they think supporting or opposing Israel is in the best interests of their communities and the nations in which they reside. Rather, they are necessarily bound to support Israel regardless of whether it is good for them, their communities, and the nations in which they reside.

This proposition is anti-Semitic.

You don’t have to take my word for it, either. In an op-ed, Anti-Defamation League Director Abraham Foxman argued that “Dual loyalty, [is] a charge that has surfaced time and again throughout history to label Jews as “outsiders” more loyal to their own kind than to their country, has largely dissipated on the American scene.” As such, the ADL continues to (rightly, in our opinion) monitor accusations that Jews hold dual-loyalties around the world (such as here, here, or here).

And yet, this anti-Semitic proposition is precisely what Gantz, Feiglin, and Troy propose. If Jews have an inherent connection to Israel, then Jews must ipso facto be loyal to the State of Israel. And if they are ipso facto loyal to the State of Israel, then when the interests of their own countries clash with those of Israel – be it in a soccer match, economic policy, or international politics – then, according to the logic proposed by these authors, Jews’ loyalty is likewise split. That these authors value this dual loyalty thesis positively, rather than negatively in the way anti-Jewish racists do, does not change the fact that both these Zionists and the anti-Semite believe that Jews outside of Israel necessarily maintain dual loyalties.

This Yom HaShoah, let us renew our opposition to anti-Semitism, intentional and not, in all of its forms. As such, and as someone who vigorously opposes anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism, I can see no choice but to strongly oppose this increasingly popular defense of Zionism.

Last week, Peter Beinart published a widely circulated article entitled “The Pro-Palestinian Left’s Hamas Blindspot.” In the piece, Beinart complains of the Palestinian solidarity community’s silence over Hamas’s refusal to allow women to participate in the Gaza marathon, a decision that led to UNRWA to cancel event:

This tolerance for certain brands of thuggery is an old story on the left. At its core is the belief that anyone who battles “imperialism” can’t be that bad. Fatah, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, which controls Gaza, are both repressive. So why does Electronic Intifada direct so much more bile toward the former than the latter? Because Hamas is unequivocally hostile to Israel, the “imperialist” power, while Abbas and Israel are—from Electronic Intifada’s perspective—in cahoots. The yardstick, in other words, is not how a Palestinian group treats its own people but how it treats Israel. If it exhibits sufficient hatred of the Jewish state, Electronic Intifada overlooks its flaws. But if a Palestinian leader cooperates with Israel,Electronic Intifada amplifies his misdeeds because it sees the ultimate author of those misdeeds as Israel itself, the one and only true enemy of Palestinian human rights between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Beinart goes on to accuse Palestinian solidarity activists of repeating the sins of their forbearers, who allegedly gave a pass to the fascist and authoritarian tendencies of communist leaders like Joseph Stalin.

The Pro-Palestinian Twitterverse quickly pointed out that UNRWA had already canceled the event and it was unclear what more Beinart wanted from them. Fair enough. There is also a very long history of people justifying colonial interventions on the basis of saving colonized women from colonized men, or, to use Spivak’s famous dictum, “white men saving brown women from brown men.” Again, fair enough. But neither of these seem to get to the heart of Beinart’s criticism: that the pro-Palestinian left allegedly overlooks the sins of Palestinian leaders while concentrating disproportionately on the sins of Israel.

The real problem with Beinart’s line of argumentation is that it tries to frame the debate as though it were a conflict between two sovereign states. The reason he seeks to hold accountable the Hamas authorities in Gaza is because they ostensibly have sovereignty. But, of course, they do not. Gaza’s borders, airspace, economy, and (lack of) infrastructure continue to be controlled exclusively by Israel.

Gaza is not a state. It is a prison.

The strategy of trying to hold Palestinians accountable to the responsibilities of the state in the absence of granting them power to participate in the powers of a state can likewise be seen in the following Al-Jazeera debate on the recent decision of Israel to expand (not introduce, pace most reporting on the issue) segregated buses to the West Bank:

Most of the points introduced by Gregg Roman, current director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Pittsburgh and former colonial officer in the West Bank, are easily refuted by Mustafa Barghouti and Ben White. But Roman continues hammering on one point which the other two seem to have trouble responding to: how can one complain about Israeli racism in housing policy when under the Palestinian Authority selling houses to Jews is punishable by death?

The law against selling property to Jews has its obvious logic: Jewish settlers have used both renting and buying homes in Palestinian territories as steps towards the successful colonization of Palestinian land. Nonetheless, the law seems heavy handed and racist.

What neither White nor Barghouti will say is that it is a bad law. And it is exactly the sort of bad law that thrives under conditions of military occupation and apartheid. If such a law were to be passed by a state with the power to rule over its populations, it would be incredibly worrisome. And if this were a conflict between two sovereign powers, it would likewise be particularly worrisome.

But this is not a conflict between two sovereign powers. It is a conflict between a colonial occupier and the occupied. As such, the law against selling property to Jews, like Hamas’s decision to bar women from participating in the marathon, represent administrations with only the smallest trappings of power, able to act only when its colonial overlords permit it.

Why does all of this matter? When you lack the structures of a state, you also lack important structures of accountability. Some of these structures – like elections, laws, and patron-client networks – are internal to the country. Others – like international accords, treaties, and courts – are external to the country. But all apply best when there is a functional nation-state to speak of. 

These bad laws and policies are precisely the sort of thing that happens when the structures of a state and the concomitant institutions of accountability are not in place. States, for all of their many problems, are important entities. And it you don’t believe me, just look at the places where there is not a functioning state: places like most of Somalia, Yemen, or a Guatemalan prison. Because of Israel’s policies, Palestinians in many parts of the West Bank and certainly in Gaza resemble the situation in the latter far more than they resemble a functioning nation-state. The responsibility for this state of affairs lies exclusively with Israel. Israel maintains both the Fatah-controlled West Bank and the Hamas-controlled Gaza outside of the systems of accountability that are present in states.

Does this excuse the bad laws and policies of Hamas or Fatah? Of course not. But for as long as that is the case, bad laws will continue to be passed by both “governments.” And for as long as that is the case, Israel will bare some of the responsibility.

If Peter Beinart genuinely cares about the women of the Gaza Strip, he should push for their inclusion in a functioning political community. Then and only then will a discussion on Hamas’s policies be meaningful.

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