John Montanari: Prashad has false, morally confused position

Sunday, August 03, 2014
To the editor:

In a recent guest column, Vijay Prashad characterizes the recent Israeli actions in Gaza as “less a war and more collective punishment,” and implies that Israel’s purpose is to “eradicate Palestinians from their lands — to kill them or to throw them into Egypt and Jordan.” He has it exactly backwards.

It is the Hamas government of Gaza whose charter includes the destruction of Israel. It is Hamas that intentionally targets Israeli civilians with its bombs and raids, while it endangers its own citizens by using them as human shields, thus causing a high death toll that Hamas can use to garner world sympathy. It is Israel that, though its forces must do what it necessary to protect their citizens and disarm their enemy, takes great pains to minimize civilian casualties. It is Israel that, unlike its foe, does not celebrate enemy deaths and lionize its terrorists, but constantly engages in the wrenching self-questioning that any such conflict should engender.

Professor Prashad must know that the recent kidnapping and murder of the Israeli teenagers is not the primary “casus belli for the war,” as he states, but rather that Israel’s purpose is to diminish Hamas’ ability to launch bombs on Israeli civilians and infiltrate Israeli territory through tunnels built with materials provided to Gaza for peaceful and constructive purpose. So what, then, could be his purpose in steadfastly maintaining such a false and morally confused position? I shudder to think what the answer could be.

John Montanari