If you’ve been around the heathen community for a while, you’ll likely have seen Pat Condell’s videos. (I believe the Dawkins Foundation website has occasionally reposted them.) They’re often on the mark, sometimes not, but they’re always passionate—and Condell’s passion is used against him by his critics. He’s “strident.” I don’t understand that kind of tone-trolling when there are substantial issue on tap. But we see that kind of criticism leveled at atheists by religionists
And here’s one of them: Condell’s views on Palestine and Israel. Do not comment below unless you’ve watched the whole thing!
It’s incumbent on me, when posting something likely to be this inflammatory, to give my own views. In the main I agree with Condell, though I think the “lower expectation of Arabs” reflects not racism, but the traditional sympathy of liberals for the perceived underdog. But I agree with him that the problem is largely religious and not political, and that there will never truly be peace until the Muslims drive the Jews out of the Middle East—or there’s a bloody war.
If you deny that, read the Hamas charter, which the organization refuses to repudiate. A few passages:
This Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS), clarifies its picture, reveals its identity, outlines its stand, explains its aims, speaks about its hopes, and calls for its support, adoption and joining its ranks. Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realised.
. . . Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).
. . . There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with. As in said in the honourable Hadith:
“The people of Syria are Allah’s lash in His land. He wreaks His vengeance through them against whomsoever He wishes among His slaves It is unthinkable that those who are double-faced among them should prosper over the faithful. They will certainly die out of grief and desperation.”
. . .Moreover, if the links have been distant from each other and if obstacles, placed by those who are the lackeys of Zionism in the way of the fighters obstructed the continuation of the struggle, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:
“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).
. . .The Islamic Resistance Movement calls on Arab and Islamic nations to take up the line of serious and persevering action to prevent the success of this horrendous plan, to warn the people of the danger eminating from leaving the circle of struggle against Zionism. Today it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is, of course, a hideously anti-Semitic hoax—a forged plan of Jewish world domination concocted by the Russian government around 1900. It has been used against the Jews for a century, though the fact that it’s a hoax has been known since 1921. It amazes me that the Palestinians would consider it “proof” of anything. It is just another example of the lies and viciously anti-Semitic propaganda that permeate the Arab media: a situation completely ignored by the Western press. Remember when that horrible and bigoted anti-Islamic film, “Innocence of Muslims,” came out, and how much publicity and disapprobation it received? Things just as bad are daily staples of the Arab media. (See my post on this here and see some cartoons here).
Faced with a charter like that, how do you suppose the Israeli government is supposed to feel, especially since Hamas totally refuses to rescind those words?
I also feel that both the Israelis and Palestinians have screwed up the situation. I believe that Israel should vacate the West Bank and dismantle the settlements there. I want there to be a Palestinian state. But remember that Yasser Arafat rejected that possibility in 2000, and it was a generous offer. A review of that negotiation in Wikipedia:
. . . partly due to insistence for compromise by President Clinton, Barak offered Arafat a Palestinian state in 73% of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian percentage of sovereignty would extend to 90% over a ten- to twenty-five-year period. Also included in the offer was the return of a small number of refugees and compensation for those not allowed to return. Palestinians would also have “custodianship” over the Temple Mount, sovereignty on all Islamic and Christian holy sites, and 3/4 of Jerusalem’s Old Quarters. Arafat rejected Barak’s offer and refused to make an immediate counter-offer. He told President Clinton that, “the Arab leader who would surrender Jerusalem is not born yet.”
Finally, I am with Condell when he says that popular sentiment gives the Palestinians—and Arabs in general—a pass on their behavior. The Arab media is awash in the most vicious anti-Semitic statements, approved of and presented by their governments, and yet, as I said, this is largely ignored by those liberals who excoriate Israel. Yet if Israeli television or newspapers contained stuff like that, there would be a a huge international outcry. Palestinians deliberately kill Israeli civilians via randomly fired rockets and targeted suicide bombings. Israelis try at all costs to avoid civilian deaths, but it’s hard because the Palestinians, as Condell notes, put their weapons in civilian areas. If the Israeli government sent suicide bombers into Palestine to kill people at weddings, the world would raise a tremendous hue and cry. When the Palestinians do it, very few fault them, and the murders are soon forgotten (this is largely because the Palestinians seek worldwide publicity when even a single civilian is killed.) The actions of Israel and Palestine are not morally equivalent, and the Palestinians come off far worse.
As I said, I favor ending the occupation of the West Bank and creating a Palestinian state. But I don’t think for a moment that that will bring peace in the Middle East. The more radical elements of Islam, which hold sway in Gaza, are sworn to driving the Jews off the land, and the terrorism will continue so long as they remain. I fear that this will eventually produce a war. And it will be a religious war.
I’ve had my say, and you can have yours. But I ask several things: deal with the issues that are raised by either Condell or me. Be calm (unlike Condell!) and reasoned. Do not attack your fellow commenters’ personalities, or call them names. I’d like to see a reasoned discussion of the issue, and I will not tolerate nastiness toward anyone posting on this site.