Complicit: The Left's Indulgence of Hamas Guarantees Palestinians and Israelis Will Continue to Suffer

By Jeff Robbins

May 18, 2021 5 min read

In a statement last week, a Hamas spokesman expressed the mentality behind the suffering in Gaza in a nutshell. "The decision to bomb Tel Aviv, Dimona and Jerusalem," he boasted about the 3,000 rockets Hamas has fired at Israeli communities in recent days alone, "is easier for us than drinking water."

You bet it is. As in the past, the calculation by Hamas, deemed a terrorist enterprise by the European Union, the United States and others, to use Palestinian civilians as human shields from which to attempt the murder of Israeli civilians, isn't just easy. It is a no-brainer.

Here is what Hamas knows: It will fire missiles at innocent Israelis, using innocent Palestinians in homes, hospitals and schools as collateral damage-in-waiting. No Israeli government can permit its civilians to be used as lambs to be slaughtered. The only way for it to stop the rockets is to stop those who fire them. Israel will try to minimize the harm to Gazans, even those whom Hamas is happy to sacrifice. Innocent Palestinians, whom Hamas has effectively designated for death, will die.

And that isn't all Hamas knows. It knows that the cycle of inanity on the left will be replayed again, with so-called progressives blaming not Hamas for firing the rockets but Israel for trying to protect itself from them.

Hamas' expectations were rewarded last week by Representatives Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who recited the customary blather. Disregarding the rocketing of Israeli civilians that was intended to elicit Israeli self-defense and which required it, Pressley chose to condemn Israeli "state violence" and called for an end to American aid to Israel. Ocasio-Cortez denounced President Biden for noting that Israel had no choice but to protect its civilians, demanding that the president "stand up" to Israel.

One supposes that neither Pressley nor Ocasio-Cortez has had their families forced into underground shelters while missiles aimed at annihilating them landed all around. The painful appearance is that neither congresswoman "sees" Israelis. Both seem to regard Israelis as somehow not quite human, perhaps three-fifths of a human being in the way that America's white Founding Fathers regarded Black people as three-fifths of a white person. Israeli life evidently holds little value or interest for Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez and some of their colleagues, whose silence about the large-scale attacks on Israeli civilians veers dangerously close to the implicit but pernicious racism to which they are sensitive — in contexts other than those involving the Jewish state.

"We cannot stand idly and complicitly by and allow the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people to continue," said Pressley, opting for a platitude both sophomoric and inapposite. The idea that Hamas, which has consigned Palestinians to needless suffering since it seized control of the Gaza Strip in a 2007 coup, acts out of concern for Palestinians' welfare is risible. No one need take Israel's word for it; ask Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas' sworn enemy. Thumbing its nose at the opportunity to help construct a Palestinian state, Hamas has effectively enslaved Gazans in service of its own fanaticism. It is an organization that progressives should not indulge, let alone embrace.

Just as the congresswomen have no particular interest in standing in Israelis' shoes, so, too, are they disinterested in material facts. Were it otherwise, they would know that over the past two decades Israel has repeatedly agreed to an independent Palestinian state encompassing the West Bank and Gaza, in return for peace. Each time the offer was made, Palestinian leadership rejected it. Whether Pressley has the vaguest idea of this when she whitewashes the targeting of Israeli civilians by invoking "the occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people," one can only guess.

Israel has plenty of flaws, like everyone else. But the left's devil-may-care attitude toward the use of innocent Palestinians as human shields isn't merely foolish. It badly hurts those on both sides of the conflict.

Jeff Robbins, a former assistant United States attorney and United States delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, was chief counsel for the minority of the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. An attorney specializing in the First Amendment, he is a longtime columnist for the Boston Herald, writing on politics, national security, human rights and the Mideast.

Photo credit: DEZALB at Pixabay

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