Media Week – Hamas’ press agent?; Pander bared

Media Week - Hamas' press agent?; Pander bared

Hamas’ press agent?

It is unlikely Paul McGeough receives a commission from Hamas, but Fairfax‘s chief correspondent sometimes seems to view it as his job to advocate on behalf of the unreconstructed terrorist organisation.

In his latest effort, courtesy of the Canberra Times and Sydney Morning Herald (June 19), McGeough argued that “The US is now ready to talk to the Taliban…what would it take for Washington to talk to Hamas?”

Hamas has the democratic bona fides to be engaged because “unlike the Taliban, which stole government in Afghanistan, Hamas was fairly elected as the governing party of the Palestinian occupied territories in 2006.”

But let’s just ignore the fact that Hamas launched a coup to take over Gaza in 2007 and has not actually held any elections in seven years…

McGeough insists that Washington is being “rigid” in demanding “Hamas renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept all deals done by other Palestinian leaders with Israel…before it will engage with the Islamist movement” because these are “preconditions [Hamas] cannot accept.”

If it is unreasonable to insist that Hamas forego violence and pursuing Israel’s destruction, then what is there to talk about?

Pander bared

In the Canberra Times (June 22), Clive Williams suggested Islamist terrorism against the West is primarily blowback for our ill-advised interventions and policies in matters that do not concern us. And how should we make extremist Islamists understand that we come in peace?

Surprise, surprise, by throwing Israel under the bus because, as Williams argued, ”Palestine is one of the basic rallying cries for young Muslims to engage in jihad against the West”!

Never mind that 9/11 was organised precisely when the Clinton administration was exerting maximum effort to negotiate the creation of a Palestinian state.

And never mind that 9/11 predated the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq which Williams blames for most contemporary terrorism.

Williams also insisted we determine our foreign policy on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, based not on principle but opinion polls because it ”makes sense politically now that we seem to have more Muslims in Australia than supporters of Israel”.

That’s almost certainly not true. Many Christians and others with no religious affiliation support Israel.

But it is interesting that Williams’ argument for his preferred policy comes down to a demand to pander to the relatively small Muslim minority in this country. Want to bet that if there were more Jews than Muslims, he would not then argue that it ”makes sense politically” to adopt Jewish views on Israel?

Meanwhile, on ABC “Unleashed” (June 17), Scott Burchill lionised Edward Snowden for allegedly leaking confidential US government documents.
Snowden opined that too many are willing “to defend the state and oppose the public’s right to know” because “close proximity to powerful people is very seductive.”

And what was one of the examples Burchill nominated of the “powerful” buying compliance? “You might get duchessed around the Holy Land on a junket paid for by the government of Israel. Or given an award for your demonisation of Palestinians by a lobby group on the payroll of that state”.

– Allon Lee