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The Guardian and Hamas leader

By Sunny Hundal
June 11th 2012


On Friday the Guardian ran a live-blog on Gaza, for reasons they explain here. It was to note the five year anniversary of the blockade of the Gaza strip, which keeps 1.7m people in an open air prison against their will.

Naturally, some bloggers got on their high horse and started whining about the Guardian publishing a comment piece by the leader of Hamas.

Note that none of them actually condemned the fact that Israel is keeping these people in an open-air prison. That part is glossed over. Either way, I don’t buy it. The Guardian is perfectly right to do so.

For example, one of those people whining is ‘libertarian’ blogger Guido Fawkes, who invited readers to send pizza to the IDF while it was killing innocent civilians. If the Guardian ever start taking lessons on morality from Paul Staines, I’d stop writing for them myself.

I have no love for Hamas – they quite clearly have an anti-semitic charter and used to engage in terrorist activities.

But the Guardian is justified for two reasons. First, they are also a democratically elected body, and obviously have some popular support.

In fact, in an interview with the Times in 2009 (£), Tony Blair himself said western powersshould talk to Hamas as “the de facto power in Gaza”. This matters not only if you want peace, but because democratically elected bodies – however odious – have the right to represent their people in other states.

And just to press home this point further, here are some points on the Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman:

Lieberman advocates ‘reducing the number of Arabs who are Israeli citizens’ through giving the Palestinian Authority Arab-Israeli towns near the West Bank and having Arabs who remain Israeli citizens take loyalty tests and recognize Israel as a Jewish State. Those who refuse would be stripped of their citizenship, but could remain in Israel as permanent residents.

This is what the anti-terrorism think-tank Quilliam Foundation said about Lieberman:

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office is today hosting Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister who is also the founder and leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu, a hardline nationalist and extreme Zionist political party in Israel. In view of Lieberman’s previous openly racist and violence-inciting statements, as well as his alleged involvement in a terrorist group banned in the US and Israel, this decision to host Lieberman is inconsistent with recent Home Office decisions to exclude other individuals on the specific grounds that they ‘promote hatred, terrorist activities and serious violence’ and ‘advocate hatred and violence in support of their religious beliefs’.

The US conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan called Avigdor Lieberman “a fascist“. But when this guy came to London on an official trip no one batted an eyelid.

This isn’t whataboutery, this is a serious question: if people want to deny foreign leaders a platform, then how would you apply to that to the Israeli government?

The second point is editorial: the Guardian were reporting on the fifth anniversary of keeping 1.7m people in an open air prison. By any stretch of the imagination that is a worse crime than publishing an editorial by their “de facto” leader. Personally, I wouldn’t have done it and preferred to get something from an ordinary Gazaian. But whatever. when even Tony Blair acknowledges you cannot ignore Hamas, the rest of the idiot neo-con brigade should also wake up.

Originally published by Liberal Conspiracy

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