Commentary: Do Not Let Hamas Escape into Exile

by Shmuel Klatzkin


“NYC Public School Wipes Israel from the Map” reads the headline of Francesca Block’s article in The Free Press today (January 11). The map was supplied to the school, PS 261, as part of a program that is sponsored by the rulers of Qatar. The idea is, of course, to normalize to these children the idea of a Middle East from which Israel has been erased.

As America was distracted with the 2020 summer of violence, the shutdown of schools, the impeachment drama, and the bizarre presidential campaign, the most significant advance in Middle East peace in our lifetimes took place — the Abraham Accords. This was peace as peace should be — chosen because it is in the best interests of all to live peacefully and prosperously with the other. Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates joined the peace and within a trice, there was a synagogue in Bahrain along with an invitation for Jews to come there to live and there was a Chabad House in UAE, and then marvelous pictures from a Chassidic wedding in which members of the Emirates elite were joining the dancing. it was clear — hush hush wink wink — that the Saudi Crown Prince was approving and just waiting for the right moment to join in.

Qatar sat it out, scowling. The rulers of Qatar do not believe in a peace like that. The map shows what peace it believes in — the peace of absence, the peace of emptiness, the peace after the Land of Israel is as denuded of living Jews as Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria, Libya, Kuwait, Jordan, the PA, and until the IDF made themselves at home, Gaza — all of which hosted, together, more than a million Jews during the early Twentieth Century, and in some of which Jews had dwelt in since the time of Nebuchadnezzar.

The picture of the map is better than a thousand words to clarify the policy of Qatar’s leaders.

Yet it is precisely these eliminationists who are making a play to be seen as disinterested, honest brokers. Humanitarians, they are, if we get the gist of the new smog blowing from Biden’s Foggy Bottom (to be clear, I refer to the State Department). Why, they have found the magic key, if not to Middle East peace, then to finding a way to patch together the shredding unity of the Democrats. Why, look! We can settle every reasonable demand by splitting the difference — the Israelis (and other) civilians, Jews and non-Jews, kidnapped, tortured, raped, or otherwise abused by Hamas will be saved and the surviving Hamas leadership will get to go into a protected exile.

What’s wrong with that?

What is wrong is that it gives de facto international recognition to indiscriminate slaughter, torture, rape, and abduction of a civilian population as an acceptable way of carrying on “politics by other means.” It will be trumpeted as a victory for the exterminationists of Hamas, evidence of the inability of Israel to win a decisive victory over those who seek its extinction.

It will be an endorsement of any policy necessary to achieve that aim, to the exclusion of any moral norm whatever.

That’s what is wrong with it.

The same kind of release was demanded of Israel when the IDF had Yassir Arafat trapped in Beirut. End the war, he’ll go to Tunisia, you won.

But Arafat turned it into a triumph. He got out of an impossible situation. He parlayed that into a triumphant return to power, and eventually, now a darling of the State Department, into an insincere peace commitment to Israel, which he eventually dropped and inflicted a massive terror campaign against the Israeli civilian public, taking scores of lives, and finally forcing Israel to erect walls to control the terror.

Hamas would like to make the same comeback but do it one better — no pretense of a peace. It would cement their reputation as the kings of Salafist macho, the ones who will act out the most savage, id-soaked fantasies of revenge through torture and enforced sexual degradation.

It seems for the Foggy Bottom boys that, since they won’t be affected by the consequences of snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory, it will be just fine. They will have squared the political circle, getting the old-school Dems who support Israel back together with what they think is the Dem future — the Squad and their like, who are ready to go however far beyond the law they can get away with to compel everyone else to bow to their will.

The most powerful argument that will be used is that it saves the lives of the innocent hostages. It would, in theory. And only those with hearts of stone would blame the families of the hostages for pleading for their lives. But a moral policy takes responsibility not only for those who can plead for the precious lives of these victims of barbarity, but as well, for protecting those who have no voice now — those in the future who will suffer from the terror that will certainly happen again and again if Hamas is rewarded with their lives for returning those whom they have held against their will, some at the very least under horrible conditions. Hamas would celebrate this as their victory in the war to erase the Jews, a kind of a perverse Dunkirk. (Hamas, at least, have been honest from the onset. Their enemy, they affirm in their own documents, are Jews wherever they may be. Anti-Zionism, they tell those who will listen, requires comprehensive antisemitism. And they will carry on as long as they are not finally smashed and held accountable with their lives for the hundreds of lives they snuffed out or savaged with malice aforethought.

The real Dunkirk could not have been the salvation that it was had there not been tremendous self-sacrifice. The Nazi forces were ready to roll up the French coast and fall upon the British army helpless on the Dunkirk beach. The only thing in their way was a small British contingent holding out at Calais. Churchill saw that only they could delay the Germans long enough to evacuate the army on the beach. At Churchill’s insistence, this was the order that was sent out:

Every hour you continue to exist is of the greatest help to the B. E. F. (British Expeditionary Force). Government has therefore decided you must continue to fight. Have greatest possible admiration for your splendid stand. Evacuation will not (repeat not) take place.

Churchill described his own feelings after having made this decision that meant the death of almost all the soldiers at Calais:

One has to eat and drink in war, but I could not help feeling physically sick as we afterwards sat silent at the table.

Determined criminal regimes believe that we are too weak to do what it takes to win, that they can make the stakes too emotionally high for us. They believe they can overcome all our advantages by controlling us psychologically, believing we will not have the determination to pay the psychological price it will take to end Hamas’ rule of terror.

When you’re a facing an enemy that uses Hitler for a model, you need to use Churchill’s model in response. It values courage over comfort, resolve over self-righteousness. Not every enemy is a Hitler; sometimes, most times, compromise is the best way towards peace.

But Hamas are would-be Hitlers. And compromise won’t work. Only terrible determination and the realization that only the greatest of sacrifice will bring real peace.

It is a terrible choice we are forced to make, Israel and America together. It would be shameful to buy ourselves short-term comfort at the expense of the next victims. The horror will never end until we defeat it. Hamas themselves tells you that. And Qatar are Hamas’ shills, their Ribbentrop, the suave and wealthy face of genocidal fanaticism.

If we don’t stand up to it, if we do only what is comfortable, our kids will all be educated by our example and the map and mindset of Nazi Islamists and their collaborators.

And we all know that that is no comfort at all.

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Shmuel Klatzkin is a rabbi who previously served as senior editor at the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute. He received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and writes and teaches extensively.
Photo “Pro-Palestine March” by Montecruz Foto CC2.0



Appeared at and reprinted from The American Spectator

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