As I look into this supposed “pro-Hamas” letter controversy, I find a handful of oddities.
I have not posted in a long time, so what better topic to dive into than Israel and Palestine?
After watching Mr. Scarborough’s video I was compelled to the find the heinous letter that promotes Hamas rather than advocates for the safety of people in Gaza and the West Bank as he described. I have been watching Joe Scarborough ever since he had his own Country, and I usually agree with Joe’s assessments of what is happening in the world, but his statements in this segment of his show are a bit misleading.
First of all, at times Joe is describing “letters” plural, as though there are several letters out there from students praising Hamas for killing, pillaging, etc. As I have been looking into this, I am happy to say I am not finding any letters promoting things like this, so let’s just all breathe a small sigh of relief.
There appears to be one letter that was posted on Google Docs for some reason, which Google has recently removed. According to The Harvard Crimson, which supplies a copy of the original statement, it was also posted on the original student group’s Instagram.
This is for sure an unfortunately-worded letter. Take note that it was never posted on a site under Harvard’s web domains, nor on the student group’s site. This should have given them initial pause that this statement may not be endorsed by the school.
What the letter says
Now, to be very clear and exact, most of this letter does advocate for peace among Israel and Palestine, and it mostly talks about the people there being mistreated by Israel. It does indeed have statements about everyday people in the region who are suffering. I would call this a “pro-Palestinian” letter, as Axios does.
This letter says things like Today’s events did not occur in a vacuum. For the last two decades, millions of Palestinians in Gaza have been forced to live in an open air prison. Israeli officials promise to ‘open the gates of hell,’ and the massacres in Gaza have already commenced…. From systematized land seizures to routine airstrikes, arbitrary detentions to military checkpoints… We call on the Harvard community to take action to stop the ongoing annihilation of Palestinians
Statements like this are clearly pro-Palestinian and anti-pillaging. The statements that Joe and others take issue with include the awful first paragraph: We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.
That’s quite a heavy swing to take. It is silly to hold Israel responsible for terrible acts we see Hamas doing right now. The militants creating so much destruction do so on their own, with backing from Iran apparently.
This letter also said Palestinians will be forced to bear the full brunt of Israel’s violence…The apartheid regime is the only one to blame. The problem is that the letter tries (and fails) to make a good point that you cannot completely blame one side here for all of the violence and you have to take in the entire history. Sadly, instead of confronting which side has what responsibility, all blame is shifted to Israel.
What, I think, that letter was trying to say is that at the end of the day, everyone wants to see Israel and Palestine peacefully co-existing. There have been many times when Israel has been overly-aggressive in handling the dangerous hostility from militant terrorists in Gaza and the West Bank, not to mention Lebanon. Israel has rightly been criticized for responding disproportionately, especially in the period of suicide bombings and the first rocket attacks.
Also, Israel has occasionally acted in too provocative of a manner, given the intense situation. The issue of Israeli settlements and lack of cooperation with certain international organizations that have been trying to make sure both sides adhere to certain agreements regarding land has undoubtedly caused much frustration among people in those areas. The Iron Wall controversy and the expansion of certain kibbutz areas continue to make the problems more difficult.
Even now, Israel is too heavy-handed in their response. Bombing enemy military installations is good strategy. Bombing houses, civil infrastructure and other buildings crucial to people in the region surviving, with the excuse that these structures are used by terrorists, is a great way to bomb yourself in the foot you might say.
The letter’s lack of nuances likely is fueling others to decline to read it more carefully, so that they are compelled to condemn anyone who is affiliated with the message.
Always read what you sign
It is that it is bizarre how several members from groups who signed the letter claimed to not realize they signed it. That is hard to believe. Harvard students are supposed to be some of the best readers and writers on the planet, so their acceptance criteria would have you think. No, I’m sorry, the “I didn’t read it” excuse doesn’t fly. I cannot say how the student group convinced so many others to just go with what they were doing and not carefully examine the statement first. Those who wish to remove their signatures from a document few are willing to publish are not doing a great job cleaning up after the fallout either.
Take the high road
Israel needs to be a leader of peace in its region and be careful about normalizing this level of aggression. The machine of war will take on a mind of its own before you know it, and then normally peaceful people are suddenly advocating for horrific things. For a long time, there has been talk of a Two State Solution. The region we are to understand to be Palestine needs truly affective leadership if it is ready to be their own country. From what I have seen over the years and from what I have read about what got us here, Palestine may not yet be ready to lead itself independently, but I hope they are one day. For now, it is in their best interest to cooperate with Israel and understand the underpinnings of a functioning society so as to root out those who do not want peace.
The people of Gaza and the West Bank cannot sit back as pillaging terrorists do what they want. Just like Ukraine is doing their best to show the world who they really are, the people of Palestine must stand for freedom and justice.