Dr. Finkelstein (and others):
This is Part 2 of my concerns over how the narrative concerning the tragic events in Palestine is being presented by our US Mass Media propaganda machine, including by those media outlets that some foolishly like to call the “independent media”.
Copied below are comments I posted, attached in reply to an article by Juan Cole, on the Scheer Post woke cult left propaganda site.
I am asking you, Dr. Finkelstein, as our nation’s foremost scholar in all matters concerning the tragic plight of the Palestinian Arabs, to address Juan Cole’s promoted assumptions that the propaganda narrative presented in US Mass Media, reporting that the Hamas offensive, in breaking out of the Gaza concentration camp on homemade powered gliders, has consisted of engaging in widespread atrocities, to which Mr. Cole refers as “ISIL-style”, (which calls to mind brutal beheadings, burning people alive, etc), against civilians, including, as widely reported in US Mass Media, murdering babies in their cribs, widespread raping of women, and even beheading babies and children. Hamas has issued a statement denying these allegations of atrocities.
Living under our bubble of Mass Media propaganda, we, the nation’s Common People, have no way of knowing, of course, what is true or not. I would assume that a person of your stature would have sources of information that the general public has no access to. What is your opinion, Dr. Finkelstein, concerning these allegations of atrocities by Hamas?
In a deeply thoughtful article from Patrick Lawrence this morning, he writes:
“There is the question of Hamas, of course, and let us not pretend the question is simple. There is no arguing the justice of the Hamas attacks on noncombatants: There is none. Reports indicate that many of the dead were soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces, and this is altogether another matter. Setting aside the IDF’s casualties, the offensive Hamas launched on civilians last weekend was in no particular order tactically, strategically, morally, ethically wrong.”
These comments from Mr. Lawrence are given by a person living in comfort and privilege passing moral judgment on people living in unimaginably horrific and inhuman conditions. Their families and loved ones are routinely killed without mercy. As I ask in my comments below, as people living in at least relatively ‘civilized’ conditions, how can we presume to pass judgment on people forced to live as the people of Gaza have been for generations? Many of the people who live in the misery of the inhuman conditions of our own nation’s urban ghetto’s very likely do not share Mr. Lawrence’s urbane lack of ability to find any ‘justice’ in Hamas’ actions.
In the same essay, Mr. Lawrence argues that civilians benefitting from deadly colonial cruelty are not ‘innocent’. They are ‘responsible’, he argues. Yet then he concludes that it is ‘unjust’ for the victims of such deadly cruelty to seek retribution against those who are ‘guilty’ of benefiting from the suffering of others.
That’s a moral question to consider that I take up in my comments below. As many are pointing out, these tragic events are not a ‘war’ between two groups, each with an army. This is a struggle between a suffering and defenseless population with no army, against one of the best equipped armies on Earth. Hamas is not choosing between employing terrorism against ‘responsible’ (not ‘innocent’) civilians who are benefitting from their suffering, or instead facing off against those civilian people’s trained and equipped military. Hamas is itself a ‘militia’ drawn from the civilian population of Gaza, which has no capacity to face off against a modern army. So its choice, (like those of the rebels against the French in Algiers, which I mention below), is between striking back against the ‘responsible’ civilians who benefit from their suffering, or else doing nothing at all, and to just keep watching the people they love suffer and die around them.
The question of the efficacy of Hamas’ tactics and strategy is, of course, an important one, as I address below. Mr. Lawrence clearly agrees with Juan Cole that there can be no possible benefit gained for the people of Gaza from Hamas’ daring attack.
If you have time, Dr. Finkelstein, what is your opinion as to the moral questions involved when a deeply suffering people strike back against the civilian people ‘responsible’ (as Mr. Lawrence argues), for their suffering?
And what is your opinion concerning any possible beneficial consequences for the long suffering Palestinian people that might eventually follow from Hamas’ attack on Gaza’s brutally murderous oppressor? Will it cause Netanyahu’s government to fall, as Haaretz speculates (as mentioned below) it will? Will Israel’s murderous brutality against the defenseless civilian population of Gaza move world opinion with enough force that Humanity will no longer tolerate these brutal racists’ treatment of the defenseless people over which they rule with a hob-nailed jackboot?
Thank you for your patience, Dr, Finkelstein. I hope to see much more of your valuable commentary in the days ahead as we again witness the brutally murderous and overtly racist cruelty of the self-proclaimed “Nation-State of the Jewish People”.
My comments, (with some minor edits), attached in reply to Juan Cole’s article as linked above:
Surely none of us living in the relative safety of at least semi-civilized conditions can countenance the use of murderous terrorism against innocent civilians, but apparently Mr. Cole, from his arrogant catbird seat, cannot, even in his imagination, inhabit the perspective of people living amidst the miseries of an actual concentration camp, as the people of Gaza do, and as they have for generations now.
Any who remember the 1966 film ‘The Battle of Algiers‘, surely recall the film’s attempts to explain the use of terrorism under ‘guerilla’ conditions of asymmetrical military power. I certainly remember how powerfully moved I was, when I watched this film in a theater in 1968, by the image of children licking ice cream cones, immediately before the bomb planted in a woman’s purse went off, in a targeted soda shop. Here’s the incredibly gripping scene.
At a press conference the rebels held after the bombings, the press asks them how they could be so cruel as to kill innocent people, including children. They answered that their children, and their people, were no less innocent when the colonial power that ruled over them (France) dropped bombs on them from jet planes, or shelled them with artillery, or shot them down with machine guns. “We’ll trade you”, they said. “Give us your planes, and bombs, and artillery, and machine guns, and we’ll gladly give you our ladies’ purses”.
This is nearly the exact same thing that Hamas has said, although it has denied wanton killing of civilians during these recently unfolding events. Mr. Cole apparently trusts the accounts he gets from the most notorious lying propagandists in the world. Israel itself, the nation itself, is built upon a narrative of lies, as is the entire US Empire and its wholly controlled and compliant mass media. I don’t necessarily believe the one more than the other, but I sure know enough not to believe accounts in the Israeli or Western mass media.
No one can condone the killing of the innocent, but when the innocent being killed strike back, more innocent are killed. They have no planes, or bombs or artillery. They are forced to use whatever weapons they have.
The ‘sin’ lies on Israel. It is, by its very nature, a murderous racist state. They use the ghastly term, “mowing the lawn”, to describe the ‘routine’ nature of their periodic mass killings of innocent Palestinians in batches numbering in the thousands.
Jewish people from Europe used the most heinous forms of terrorism imaginable, such as going door to door in Palestinian villages lobbing hand grenades into people’s homes, where they huddled in terror. Deir Yassin anyone? It was this heinous reign of the most horrific terrorism imaginable, led by people like Menachim Begin, who would soon become Prime Minister of the new state of Israel, that caused the mass exodus of the estimated 750,000 Palestinian villagers from their homes and land, which the Jewish terrorists from Europe then seized and called “Israel”.
The nation of Israel was born in Jewish terrorism, and from Jewish terrorism.
The arrogantly comfortable Mr. Cole is apparently completely blind to the world shaking nature of Hamas’ actions. Ask the Ukrainian coke-head dictator, Zelensky, how worried he is that his ammunition supplies from the US and Europe are going to be diverted to help Israel kill innocent Palestinians. This drug-addled ex-comedian dictator of Ukraine blames the Hamas attack on Russia.
Did any see the Haaretz editorial? There is widespread speculation that these events will cause the fall of Netanyahu’s overtly fascist government, which has clearly been in the process of annexing and ethnically cleansing the West Bank.
There is even speculation in some quarters that the massive intelligence failure that caught Israel with its pants down was encouraged and induced by the CIA, MI6, and other Western intelligence agencies in order to just generally disturb the prevailing conditions in which their own defeat has for a long time seemed inevitable. Witness the speculation that Iran supported groups, such as Hizbollah, will join Hamas in open warfare against Israel. How many Gazans will Iran itself stand by and watch Israel butcher, without itself taking action? Witness that India’s Modi has come out strongly against Hamas and for Israel. How will these events affect the development of the burgeoning BRICS Alliance, with one major member, India, on one side of a shooting war, and another soon-to-be member, Iran, on the opposite side? This is the root of speculation that western powers were somehow complicit in the intelligence failures that allowed Hamas’ daring offensive to take place.
I’m not saying, of course, that I believe any or all of this speculation. I’m just pointing out how short-sighted Juan Cole is as he describes the “stupidity” of Hamas’ actions, the consequences of which will surely be much more far-reaching than Mr. Cole is apparently able to imagine.
Mr. Cole’s conjecture that Hamas can be wiped out because it does not have jungles or mountain caves to hide in is simply uninformed. Hamas is homogenized within the population of Gaza. Israel cannot ‘wipe out’ Hamas without wiping out most all of the entire population of Gaza, (fully half of whom are children), which the monstrously brutal Israelis, and many, possibly most of their Jewish supporters in the US, are now actually publicly proposing to do.
How many months ago was it that the people of Gaza tried Gandhian non-violence when they massed against the fences of their open-air prison/concentration camp, only to be shot down by Israeli snipers? One of the central tenets of Gandhi’s theories of non-violence was that absorbing the violence of the oppressor fully revealed the monstrously cruel nature of the oppressor to the entire world.
Sure, using US weapons that our war mongering Ruling Elites are eager to supply, (much to Zelensky’s distress), they can wipe out Gaza. And when they’re done, how will a shocked world regard them, or the US Empire that empowers them?
It is ironic to think that Hamas may be bending Gandhi’s theory, (of absorbing the brutally of the oppressor to expose the oppressor’s moral depravity), by provoking the oppressor’s violence with their own violence. How many times have we watched as this brutally murderous nation of Israel has dropped high explosives and rained artillery shells down indiscriminately on the heads of the most densely packed civilian population on Earth? The world was shocked when the Nazi stuka dive bombers bombed the civilian population of Guernica. But the Israelis feel justified in doing much worse to the defenseless Palestinians.
Mr. Cole is not doing his own reputation any favors by 1) accepting as fact and promoting the accounts which are accusing Hamas of using the tactics that ISIL used. Apparently Dr. Cole believes the accounts he reads from the world’s most notorious liars. Hamas denies indiscriminately killing civilians. And 2) by being blind to the world-shaking repercussions that seem sure to follow from these events.