The mainstreaming of Hamas

Yesterday, I argued that one of President Obama’s objectives in brokering a deal that enhances Hamas’ status was to enhance Hamas’ status. I noted that leftists in America and Europe have, for some time, viewed Hamas as the authentic representataive of Palestinians and, accordingly, have attempted to portray the terrorist outfit as “moderate.” Obama’s tilt towards Hamas, it seems to me, is a manifestation of this view.

With that tilt, the liberal foreign policy establishment can now be expected overtly to echo the mainstreaming of Hamas line. Indeed, the Washington Post article I linked to yesterday — “Hamas tactics garner support” –can be seen as part of this process.

Today, Jackson Diehl, the Post’s Deputy Editorial Page Editor, adds his influential voice to the mainstreaming chorus. Hamas, he declares, not only has “the support of region’s richest and most powerful governments,” but it is “preferable to the most obvious Gazan alternative, which is jihadist movements even more closely tied to Iran.”

It seems absurd to distinguish between Hamas and “jidhadists movements even more closely tied to Iran.” (One imagines that somewhere there is a terrorist operation more fanatical than al Qaeda.) But that’s the exercise necessary to depict Hamas as an entity moderate enough for Israel to work with. It’s the same line I heard from the very senior European diplomat I mentioned in my previous post.

Diehl seems hopeful that, with the urging of Egypt, Hamas can be pushed into reaching an accord with Israel or, if not, at least a “modus vivendi that benefits both sides.” As for who will push Israel, there’s only one candidate — the Obama administration.

But Diehl’s scenario presupposes that Hamas is more than just fractionally less extreme than “jihadist movements even more closely tied to Iran.” Unfortunately, Hamas isn’t, and Diehl doesn’t say otherwise.

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