Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Stephen Zunes: Hamas "Resorts" To Violence

I'm not sure if you remember Stephen Zunes, he's just one of many anti-Israel bloggers on the Huffington Post after all. They are practically a dime a dozen. We haven't seen Zunes as much recently though he first appeared on our radar was one of many bloggers pushing distortions of the Mavi Marmara incident and trying to pretend he was a professor of international law. This time around he is many weeks behind the times to complain about America's behavior during Pillar of Cloud, and the biased remarks come fast and furious.

He begins by referring to Pillar of Cloud not as a battle in which people were killed on both sides but as an "onslaught" of Gaza which he refers to as a "crowded civilian enclave." He also declared that America was "virtually alone" in standing with Israel, apparently forgetting that Ashton and Merkel said as well as Belgium and Bulgaria and Canada that Israel has the right to defend itself, and so did NATO. I guess it's pretty easy to dismiss everyone you don't like as "virtually" irrelevant, but telling lies really doesn't help your point of view. Zunes whines that US Ambassador Susan Rice said that Israel has the right to defend itself and criticized Hamas, but didn't criticize Israel. Boo hoo hoo.

The bloody shirts come out quickly:
"The real issue, however, was never Israel's right to self-defense, but its attacks on crowded residential neighborhoods, which killed more than 100 civilians, nearly a third of them children (as compared with four Israeli civilians killed by Hamas rockets). "
By the way, in case there was any doubt in your mind that Stephen Zunes actually gives a toss about Arab civilians, he has written all of two articles about Syria. The first one is about how we shouldn't intervene there and the second is about how the rebels should practice "unarmed resistance." Yeah, he's a real humanitarian. Why are 100 Palestinian civilians more of a problem than thousands of dead Syrian civilians? Oh right, because you can't blame Israel for dead Syrian civilians.

That's assuming that his 100 civilians are correct. The PCHR and the UN say that 102 civilians were killed during the fighting. Not killed by Israel's attacks. There is a huge distinction there because even the Huffington Post itself noticed that Hamas was killing its own people through lynchings and rockets falling short. Not to mention the likelihood of accidental and natural deaths. By the way, if you follow Zunes' link, it's to a Hamas official saying that 100 civilians are dead. Apparently that is more than good enough for a professor at San Francisco University.

Anyway, this is about Israel's right of self-defense, no matter what Zunes says. Because he is bashing Israel for defending itself against terrorists who commit crimes against humanity because civilians are being killed. How many civilians is too many? Well, apparently that number is whatever Stephen Zunes decides it will be. If there is never an action that Israel can take to defend itself that Zunes find "legitimate," then in practice they don't have a right of self-defense in his eyes.

He continues to rewrite history by blaming Israel for violating the cease fire, engaging in the classic talking point of "the war starting when Israel fired back." He then remembers that he is supposed to be talking about the US policy toward Gaza and starts whining:
"This even-handedness was too much for the Obama administration, however, which promised to prevent the passage of any statement or resolution that didn't explicitly put the blame for the violence solely on Hamas."
Hm. A free, democratic ally of the USA is fighting a genocidal Islamist terrorist organization bent on its destruction. Now why would we want to be "evenhanded?" Were we "evenhanded" when Britain was fighting Nazi Germany? Why should we be "evenhanded" now? Oh right, because Stephen Zunes just doesn't like Israel. That's the entire reason. As usual, his calls for "evenhandedness" is code for calls for depriving Israel of its ability to defend itself. If Hamas picked a fight with Egypt and got slapped around for it, he wouldn't care. The complaining continues:
"It is hard to imagine anything the administration could have done that would have more greatly alienated public opinion in the Arab world than block international efforts to end the killings, particularly at a time when public opinion matters more than ever in that part of the world and as once-close U.S. allies in the region like Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia are taking increasingly independent foreign policy positions."
Apparently he once again forgot that Syria exists. Because I would say failing to save the lives of tens of thousands there would make the Arabs far angrier than anything involving their precious chosen victims. Oh wait, I forgot that doesn't fit the narrative that "the world revolves around Israel." And I know that I'm only a lowly blogger not nearly as informed as a prestigious professor at SFU, but I wonder if the "increasingly independent foreign policy positions" of Tunisia and Egypt have anything to do with the fact that there were freaking revolutions there.

Actually, sorry, he does remember there is fighting in Syria, but a "slaughter" there that is equivalent to the "slaughter" in Gaza. No honest person would call fighting that had one of the lowest civilian to combatant casualty ratios in the world a "slaughter," but it's clear that Zunes' prejudices are talking now.

He then complains some more about "Israeli peace activists" and the Obama administration helping with the ceasefire (what he refers to as "preventing further carnage."), before getting into some loaded questions:
"Why did it [the Obama administration] apparently give the Israelis the green light during the first bloody week of fighting? Is the insistence on sidelining the United Nations in favor of a Washington-led initiative yet another sign of the administration's preference for U.S. unilateralism over working through the U.N. system, and for Pax Americana over real peace? Why has the Obama administration increased military aid to Israel to record levels despite Israel's propensity to use U.S. weapons against heavily populated civilian neighborhoods and despite repeated calls by Amnesty International and other human rights groups for an arms moratorium on both sides?"
Well, if you really want to know, here are your answers:

1. Because every country has the right to defend itself, as you yourself begrudgingly admitted above. And what you call a "bloody week" of fighting racked up about as many casualties as an afternoon in Syria. Again, not that you give a crap.
2. What has Hamas done exactly that makes you think that they seek "real peace?" Oh right nothing, you just don't like America standing up for people that you don't like.
3. Because Israel is careful to minimize civilian casualties even if you can't be bothered to find out the truth. President Obama and his cabinet knows that and behave accordingly. Reality isn't always spoon fed to you by Israel-hating "human rights" groups. Sometimes you have to actually do some real journalism and find out the facts on your own.

After all this bias and whinging, it's time for the last insult, showing us exactly how biased Zunes really is (emphasis mine):
"The United States has stridently opposed nonviolent initiatives by moderate Palestinians and their supporters -- such as U.N. recognition of Palestinian statehood; boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns against the occupation; humanitarian aid flotillas; and allowing the International Court of Justice and the U.N. Human Rights Council to address ongoing Israeli violations of international humanitarian law. Given that, is it any surprise that Hamas and other extremists in the Gaza Strip would resort to violence?"
So on the one hand, I'm glad that he admits BDS campaigns and the ICJ is "Palestinian initiatives" to give them an advantage and not "pursuits of justice" or any of that weasel word crap. On the other hand, for him to pretend that Hamas considers violence to be a "resort" and not the reason they exist is unconscionably dishonest. Hamas has never stopped attacking Israeli civilians from the day that it is founded. They have said many times that they consider peaceful means like talking to be only a temporary setback in their true genocidal goal. Zunes has no excuse not to know that and even less of an excuse not to share that with his readership. Once again we see a perfect example of cognitive egocentrism. Once again a liberal college professor is happy to share with us just how "understanding" he is of a fascist terrorist organization. He doesn't support their violence (or at least he won't admit it when he does) but he "understands" it.

In other words, he's the perfect Huffington Post blogger. No wonder they've kept him around so long.


  1. This is a gross distotion of what I believe and what I have written. I never said Hamas uses violence as a "last resort" and I categorically condemn Hamas attacks against Israel. I also unconditionally support Israel's right to self-defense, but believe that Israel -- like all countries -- should respect international humanitarian law. I know it is tempting to claim that those of us who support the Israeli peace movement are "anti-Israel" and to lie about what we say and believe, but I will keep speaking out for a two-state solution, rejecting extremists groups like Hamas and Likud/Yisrael Beitanu, and supporting moderates on both sides working fore peace.

    1. Hi Stephen thanks for stopping by. You're right, you didn't say they use it as a "last resort," you merely implied it and I have corrected the post to make that clear.

      However, the post did not distort what you said at all. You said that Hamas "resorts" to violence only because such initiatives like flotilla and boycotts have failed. Yet any freshman history student would b e able to tell you that that isn't true.

      You can go back to the same old talking points if you like but your whitewashing of Hamas remains on the record. If you'd like to take it back feel free to do so at any time.


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