Hamas, children, and crickets [Updated]

The New Yorks Times as a front page article concerning how Hamas talks about Israelis in their mosques and to their children — and it’s not very pretty.

As I read the article in my dead tree copy of the Times at lunch today, my stomach churned when I read passages like this:

Radwan Abu Ayyash, deputy minister of culture in Ramallah, ran the Palestinian Broadcasting Company until 2005. Hamas “uses religious language to motivate simple people for political as well as religious goals,” he said. “People don’t distinguish between the two.” He said he found a lot of what Al Aksa broadcast [Hamas’s station] “disgusting and unprofessional.”

Every Palestinian thinks the situation in Gaza is ugly, he said. “But what is not fine is to build up children with a culture of hatred, of closed minds, a culture of sickness. I don’t think they always know what they are creating. People use one weapon, language, without realizing that they also use it against themselves.”

And when I read further in the article about exactly what was “disgusting and unprofessional”, I felt more sickened:

Another children’s program, “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,” has become infamous for its puppet characters — a kind of Mickey Mouse, a bee and a rabbit — who speak, like Assud the rabbit, of conquering the Jews to the young hostess, Saraa Barhoum, 11. “We will liberate Al Aksa mosque from the Zionists’ filth,” Assud said recently. “We will liberate Jaffa and Acre,” cities now in Israel proper. “We will liberate the whole homeland.”The mouse, Farfour, was murdered by an Israeli interrogator and replaced by Nahoul, the bee, who died “a martyr’s death” from lack of health care because of Gaza’s closed borders. He has been supplanted by Assud, the rabbit, who vows “to get rid of the Jews, God willing, and I will eat them up, God willing.”When Assud first made his appearance, he said to Saraa: “We are all martyrdom-seekers, are we not, Saraa?” She responded: “Of course we are. We are all ready to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of our homeland. We will sacrifice our souls and everything we own for the homeland.”

Hamas is aiming this programming at children in Gaza. Children, learning hate. No matter what opinions you harbor about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, you have to recognize that indoctrination of young minds, open to suggestion, into a belief system full of hate and uncritical thought is heartbreaking. And speaking on political terms, if this is how Hamas aims to teach the next generation of Palestinians, then those adults 15-20 years from now won’t seek peace, thus the cycle of violence perpetuates itself.

So why don’t we talk about this? And by “we”, I mean the left. Looking at this story on Memeorandum, I see that a few rightwing/pro-war blogs have latched onto it, but no blogs from the left. And I don’t feel like reading their analysis, because I’m sure the lot of them have used this Times article as an excuse to feed into their own hatred of Palestinians, but we don’t we discuss it? If we’re on the side of the political fence which wants to see less conflict, and Hamas is obviously doing something wrong, how come all I hear from us is silence?

[Update] The rightwing blog Wake Up America has linked to this post, and instead of opening up further discussion, they’ve used it as an insult against the left:

The cluelessness and irresponsibility of ignoring the problems of Hamas, Iran, and other extremists teaching hate to their children abroad, being taught such hatred that the never ending cycle of violence and anti-Semitism will continue to the next generation, is not the New York Times alone.

I also see members of the left asking why other members of the left are not discussing this problem?

Years and years this has been documented and now, all of a sudden because the Times acknowledges there is a problem, the left finally sees what has been in front of their faces for decades?

Before continuing, let me just note my annoyance at his insistence that the only reason I, or anyone else on the left, brought this topic up is because it was on the front page of the New York Times. In the past, I’ve been openly critical against both sides in this conflict, but today one facet of this story just happened to show up on the front page of the New York Times. It was a good article, too. And given that it was on the front page of the Time, yes, I did wonder why no other larger blogger on my side of the fence decided to talk about it. But the first time I talked about this issue was not the first time I read about it in the New York Times. But I guess the “They only listen to the liberal media” stereotype is just one of the things that keeps us from talking with you.


Maybe the left should understand the “right” has been correct in acknowledging the hatred being taught to those children this whole time and it never was about hating the Palestinians. It was about acknowledging the evidence in front of our eyes.

I’m calling BS on this one. Maybe you don’t hate the Palestinians, however the framing from the right is often the Palestinians this, the Palestinians that, like they are some sort of monolithic group. And then when you factor in the abhorrent propaganda coming from people like David Horowitz, things start sounding really ridiculous. Another reason why the left has trouble talking to the right about this issue is because the right never mentions any problems being caused by the Israelis in this mess. Everything is pinned on the Palestinians. Tearing down of Palestinian homes to build new Israeli settlements which are still illegal under international law? Never mentioned. Israelis controlling electricity and water supplies, which they can effectively take out of the Palestinians hands at any time? Never mentioned. The list could go on and on (and the only reason it isn’t is because I’m writing this post inbetween trips the the laundromat), but the story is the same…

Perhaps dealing with this is the main reason why the left never posts about these issues. Now as for the beliefs portrayed on the blog Wake Up America, I haven’t read there so I can’t venture an opinion; I’m just saying what I’ve seen from the right in general. Maybe Wake Up America could point out any inaccuracies if they exist and we could come to a better understanding… Until then, I hope the left at large can look at pet issues of the right that yes, on that particular issue, they are right on, and paint our own narrative with it. It’s OK to agree with the right that Hamas is general a bigoted, piece of crap organization that creates violence and perpetuates conflict. The empirical evidence is in the prove that one — but as far as reasons for and opinions about the conflict go, I don’t see where our recognizing Hamas as bad suddenly makes us of the conservative viewpoint.

6 Responses to “Hamas, children, and crickets [Updated]”

  1. I think the link above this comment might be one of the reasons why there is silence. It is the difference between having a nuanced argument, and getting bludgeoned over the head with this stuff.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m down as hell to have this discussion–one story I didn’t get a chance to write on that has bothered me lately was a daughter who was murdered in Saudi Arabia by her father for chatting on facebook.

    There are severe human rights issues at work here, and there is an ugly culture of destruction and hate being taught to new generations, generations, might I add, that provide perhaps the only hope of peace and understanding.

    But the pitfall in bringing it up is one in which you risk feeding the unnuanced argument, or, as WUA accurately portrays, the “I was right and you were wrong” mentality.

    Good post, and great question though.

  2. Cee says:

    If Israel hadn’t help create Hamas to delegitimize the PLO, we wouldn’t be talking about this now.
    The state of Israel isn’t an innocent victim.

    I can bet you that the NYT’s won’t print the story about the rabbi who said Arab children should be hung from trees.

    Eliyahu proposes “hanging the children of the terrorist who carried out the attack in the Mercaz Harav yeshiva from a tree


    Everyone should also visit http://www.btselem.org/English/ to stay abreast of what is really happening.

  3. Dynamic says:

    I posted a comment on their blog to respond. I’m genuinely interested in their solutions – they’ve been having the discussion for decades, I’m positive they have some good ideas.

  4. editrix says:

    “Israelis controlling electricity and water supplies, which they can effectively take out of the Palestinians hands at any time?”

    Israel would be thrilled if Palestinians would use some of the billions of dollars in aid that have/continue to receive in order to build their own electricity/water infrastructure. Don’t you find it curious that none of this money has ever been used to build up the infrastructure and economy of the territories? Or even when Palestinians were handed agricultural greenhouses in perfect working order, they chose to destroy them rather than use them to generate economic growth? Can you explain why Gazans are still living in refugee camps when they control their own territory and are more than capable of building their own apartment buildings and houses? (think of all the job creation that can be going on!)

    Believe me, the less we have to do with them, the better. Israel is not “controlling their infrastructure”. After 15 years, Palestinians have still not managed to build it for themselves, despite the billions they’ve received. But I guess this fact doesn’t fit as neatly in your Israeli oppression narrative.

  5. tas says:

    Don’t you find it curious that none of this money has ever been used to build up the infrastructure and economy of the territories?

    So what happens after that infrastructure is built up… Israel bombs it?

    Can you explain why Gazans are still living in refugee camps when they control their own territory and are more than capable of building their own apartment buildings and houses?

    All while Israelis take away Palestinian land for their own settlements?

    But I guess this fact doesn’t fit as neatly in your Israeli oppression narrative.

    Yet nothing can penetrate your stereotypes about people who disagree with you.

  6. Cee says:


    The Palestinians don’t control their water sources


    Israel also bombed the power plant in Gaza.


    You also aren’t telling the whole truth about the greenhouses.

    Despite widespread looting after the Israeli withdrawal in September, occasional attacks from Palestinian militant groups looking to claim territory, and the challenge of managing their own crops for the first time, the Palestinian greenhouses produced over 12,000 tons of what one Israeli exporter who tested the fruits and vegetables called `very high quality` produce. Indeed, the tomatoes, tasted by this reporter, were as sweet as apples.

    In November, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice brokered a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that called for the only goods crossing leading out of the fenced-in Gaza Strip, Karni, to remain open except in cases of exceedingly specific security threats.

    But during the height of the harvest season, from January until now, Karni was closed by Israel more often than it was open, sometimes for weeks straight…

    The result of Karni`s closure, Jabir said, is that only 1,500 tons of produce made it out of Gaza.
    Instead of winding up on the dinner plates of Europeans, as was the plan, the cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers and strawberries were occasionally given away to charity groups but mostly dumped in the surrounding sand dunes

    `Can you imagine what it felt like to dump the fruit out into the wadi?` said Tesir Farraj, 47, a father of 10 from Gaza City who spoke Hebrew from many years spent as a construction worker in Israel. `All we needed was a crossing or a port we controlled by ourselves and we could have sold all this to the world and brought in so much money. We could have had another 6,000 workers come here.`

    Jabir blames `the Israeli occupation` for ruining what should have been a crowning achievement for Gazans. But he also pulls no punches in regard to the Palestinian militants who did their fair share in scuttling the enterprise.


  1. Wake up America-Fitna Released - Spoonfed Hatred, Morning, Noon and Night- Part #2... People have been discussing it, nice of you to finally join the…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook