Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Yalla peace: No deals with the devil
Yalla peace: No deals with the devil
By RAY HANANIA
09/28/2010 JERUSALEM POST
Like the proverbial pact with the Germans during the British Mandate and Saddam Hussein inthe 1990s, cheering Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not help the Palestinian cause.
‘My enemy’s enemy is my friend” is described both as a Chinese and an Arabic proverb that is used to explain how someone can make a pact with the devil if it helps their cause. Sometimes called “the devil’s pact,” it’s not a good policy, even if it does have historical weight in the Middle East.
One of the first such pacts was made by Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Jerusalem mufti during the Palestine Mandate who reached out to the Germans during World War II. The Germans were railing against international Zionism, although no one yet knew the extent of the Nazi horrors.
It was a pact of convenience, not hatred, often used to wrongly demonize all Palestinians.
Like the US, Palestinians also made a pact with Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s tyrant who was finally toppled and replaced by a new tyrant, Halliburton.
Saddam began as a client of the US in his decades-long war with Iran.
Of course, the US had a stronger pact with Iran’s pre-ayatollah tyrant, the shah of Iran, whose government murdered hundreds of thousands of dissidents.
Palestinians turned to Saddam when the Iraqi dictator, seeking to exploit their suffering for his own political benefit, gave the families of suicide bombers money; Israel’s policy of collective punishment violated international laws and punished innocent people for the crimes of others.
Although the gesture was good, the source and motive were corrupt.
NOW, MANY Palestinians are turning to the strident fanaticism of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the “president” of Iran. Like Saddam, Ahmadinejad uses the suffering of the Palestinian people to tug at the heartstrings of the pro-Palestinian movement. It is a pact with the devil that Palestinians should avoid. But in a world where support from major powers is weak, Ahmadinejad’s abrasive assaults against Israel have attracted many admirers.
But Ahmadinejad is a demagogue.
After making his outrageous claims at the UN that the US was somehow involved in the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, a group of activists – mostly extremists but including some Palestinians – met with Ahmadinejad. They praised the Iranian tyrant and he praised them. I am sure they left the meeting agreeing that his voice can help pull the veil from Israel’s brutal occupation – a veil that is wrapped tightly around the eyes of most Americans.
But like the proverbial pact with the Germans and Saddam, cheering Ahmadinejad does not help the Palestinian cause. In fact, it harms it.
The Palestinians do not need to cuddle up to tyrants to find friends; they have a just cause as they challenge Israel’s policies. The issue of settlements is not one of family growth, as Israel contends, but rather one of land theft – theft that is a counterweight to the fight against terrorism.
When Israel doesn’t follow through on its often-empty peace promises, some activists see the devil’s pact as an attractive option.
Palestinians should purge the Arabic proverbs that have helped bring down Palestinian aspirations for statehood. They should slam the door on Ahmadinejad’s hypocrisies, and challenge his own oppressive tyranny. Having principles means that when you criticize one enemy, you never embrace the devil. Principle means that when you stand up for justice in the cause of Palestine, you stand up for justice in the cause of those persecuted by Iran, such as the hikers who have been jailed for more than a year, or the hundreds of political activists who speak out against its vicious policies.
Having principles means that when a Palestinian kills an Israeli, you speak out as forcefully as you would when an Israeli kills a Palestinian.
Sure, Israelis could use these words of advice too. After all, they have stolen Palestine’s felafels and the Arabic proverbs too, making their own pacts with the devil.
But you don’t do your justice any justice if you defend your wrongs by saying the other side does it too, or by accepting the canard that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
Ahmadinejad is not our friend.
The writer is an award winning columnist and Chicago radio talk show host. www.YallaPeace.com