View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Monday, March 22, 2004

Fair and Balanced 

Apparently, when it comes to the late Sheik Yassin, this means getting the views of both a traditional leftish academic, and a raging maniac from a Middle-East studies department. The Washington Post had two discussions today, one with Henry Siegman of the Council on Foreign Relations (known as the voice of the foreign policy establishment), and the other with Fawaz Gerges, chairman of the Middle-East studies department at Sarah Lawrence College. Apparently, getting a rational, although left-wing Jew, and an Arab who can't see straight when the Palestinians are involved, passes for diversity of opinion in the WaPo discussion room.

Gerges is easy. He alone is a one-man justification for Campus Watch and Martin Kramer. He said, prior to 9/11, that the US "terrorist industry," those thinkers who were concerned with this rising threat, were worrying too much about potential catastrophic scenarios. He also claimed that Iraq would become a symbol of Muslim resistance to invaders, much like Afghanistan under Soviet occupation. With a track record like that, it's obvious where the man's reputation for a seer comes from.

He has this to say about the oblique Hamas threats against the US:

Until now Hamas made it very clear that its struggle was internal and that it would not expand its attacks outside Palestinian territories.

The only way this struggle is "internal" is if Israel is part of the "Palestinian territories."

When one of the questioners suggested that Sharon is trying to precipitate a Palestinian civil war, Gerges says that:

My own instinct tells that the Palestinians have shown maturity and restraint. They have refused to plunge into the brink of civil strife.

Yes, they've been restrained because there's been an Israeli Army there keeping Palestinians not only from killing Israelis but also from killing each other. Moreover, it's that "restraint" that allowed the murders of "collaborators" by what passes for civil authority in the PA.

Sheikh Yassin did sanction sucide bombings against Israelis. And yes, suicide bombings do not serve the interests of either the Palestianians or Israelis. In particular, they have done considerable damage to the moral cause of the Palestinians. They have also diverted attention from the brutal Israeli occupation and the dismal plight of the Palestinians.

This is the closest Gerges comes to condemning suicide bombings. How sad that they've diverted attention from and discredit the Palestinian cause. Saying that suicide bombings don't serve the interests of Israelis is like saying that 9/11 is going to have a negative impact on United Airlines' on-time performance.

Gerges is a revolting spectacle, a man who has no sense of academic responsibility, objectivity, detachment from his subject. He's a man who, instead of placing his politics at a distance, has harnessed his academic position as a tool to advance his own murderous politics.

By comparison, Siegman is the soul of reason. Without going overboard, he merely reiterates that this killing won't make Israel secure, will just recruit more people for Hamas, blah blah blah. But having a run-of-the-mill leftist return to the tropes about the sanctity of a cease-fire line overrun in a later war is just normal.

Next time, the Post might consider actually getting a second point of view.

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