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John Chuckman


Let’s get our facts straight. Natalie Nougayrède’s piece is just one more effort – even if slightly more subtly constructed – to tar Jeremy Corbyn with “anti-Semitism.” It is unfair, lacks facts, and attempts to divert attention from far more important issues than with whom Mr. Corbyn may have spoken sometime in the past.

No progress in any conflict anywhere has ever occurred without talking to “bad guys.” Note the example of “the troubles” in Northern Ireland.

Besides, any open-minded, thoughtful person knows the term “bad guys” is politically loaded and a very inaccurate description right from the start. You cannot arbitrarily assign the roles of angels and devils in any large conflict, as Israel has always very much done in this one.

Despite what Israel presses people to say, Hamas is not a terrorist organization. It is almost silly to say so. It not only includes a lot of professionals and responsible figures, it was freely and fairly elected. And it represented, for the people, a new clean start over the old corrupt ways of Fatah. Israel’s secret services even played a significant role in its early life, in hopes of dividing and conquering Fatah. Then once it succeeded, Israel launched an endless campaign of vilification and threats.

Israel right away actually arrested a large number of the elected government and threw them into prison. It openly threatened the elected leader with assassination. And of course it twice invaded Gaza, killing about 4,000 people, mostly civilians and including about 1,000 children. Then it laid down a nasty blockade which originally included a hideous limit on the number of calories allowed into Gaza to weaken the population.

Hezbollah also is not a terrorist organization and again was partly created out of Israel’s own acts – in this case, Israel’s long, illegal, and brutal occupation of Southern Lebanon. Hezbollah simply grew up as an anti-occupation force, a résistance, a la France in WWII. And it did succeed eventually in driving Israel back home through an unacceptable level of casualties. And of course that is why Israel so hates it.

Hezbollah has never attempted to invade Israel, but Israel has invaded Lebanon numerous times. Israel has done many brutal things to get back at Hezbollah, including its last horrific atrocity of dropping about a million cluster-bomb bomblets in the region to kill and cripple farmers and children for years to come.

In both cases, what really is taking place behind a lot of meaningless words is Israel’s slow but constant effort to build “Greater Israel,” taking more of other peoples’ land without the people. Those who oppose this in the region are called “terrorists,” and those abroad who address the matter are called “anti-Semites.”

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