The other day I heard a Hamas spokesman on BBC insist that their charter does not call for the destruction of Israel. Incredulous, I searched the text of this odious document and found that the phrase, “destruction of Israel,” indeed is not there. Instead, the term that is used is “obliterate,” as in this passage, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.” The method of obliteration is clearly stated as “jihad.” Indeed, nothing in Mein Kampf is any worse than the words of Hamas’ charter, which, among other things, insists that the Jews control the world media, and in fact, the whole world, through their alleged organ of power, the U.N. (how’s that for a fantasy). The Hamas Charter even cites as definitive proof of Jewish nefariousness none other than the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the long discredited czarist forgery purporting to be the minutes of a Jewish plot for world domination. You can read the whole chilling document for yourself at www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm.
Since the election of Hamas, I have been monitoring the pages of the Daily Planet for Palestinian propaganda or at least some juicy blame-it-all-on-the-Israelis letters to the editor. However, the Daily Planet, has been largely and uncharacteristically quiescent. Could it be that neither the Daily Planet nor the vast majority of Berkleyans can stomach what the Palestinians have done this time?
Berkeley, in its small way, bears real responsibility for this debacle. The Daily Planet, the Peace and Justice Commission, and members of our City Council, Linda Maio, Donna Spring, and Kris Worthington sent a clear message to the Palestinians that it was perfectly OK to elect this theocracy of terror when they condemned Israel for imagined transgressions, while entirely overlooking the overwhelming evidence of the complete dysfunctionality of the Palestinian body politic.
It has long been chic among Berkeley’s radical left to give adoring and utterly uncritical support to the Palestinian cause. But the radical left got this one all wrong. For years, Arafat was their darling. It is now universally acknowledged that Arafat was not a leftist. He was a kleptomaniac, a thug, a murderer, and a terrorist. Arafat diverted almost all of the billions of dollars of donor aid to his own pockets, to the pockets of his close cronies, and to the upkeep of his 17 separate security services. Courts remain functionally non-existent, and the rule of law null. Homosexuals are routinely murdered. Hundreds of women have been killed by their own family members in “honor killings” for such trespasses as refusing to marry the family’s choice or having premarital sex. Tragically, one young mother was even forced to blow herself up at a Gaza border crossing after she was caught in an extra-marital affair (and Israel is routinely blamed for stifling Gaza’s economy when border crossings are closed in response to innumerable Palestinian attacks upon them). Numerous and reliable polls of Palestinians have shown that a clear majority have favored suicide bombings. And the plain fact for all to see is that when given the opportunity to freely elect their leaders, they anointed none other than the suicide bombers themselves.
So Berkeley’s radical left has been mostly silenced, perhaps dumbfounded, by Hamas’ victory, though the excuse is already making the rounds that given the choice between a kleptocracy and a theocracy, who can blame the Palestinians for choosing the latter. Let’s stop that nonsense right now. Instead, perhaps Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission and City Council should call the Palestinians to task for failing to build for their own future a civil society with any other options but these.
Is the Daily Planet’s general quiescence a sign that Berkeley is finally sobering up from its heady fling with the Palestinians? Let us hope, because the Palestinians could use some tough love from their diehard friends. And if the Palestinians do not listen to their friends, perhaps the radical left should move on and devote its energies to Darfur.
John Gertz is a Berkeley resident.