Anti-Choice, Anti-War, Animal Rights. How does a lack of critical thought leaad to the dark side?
I saw this video on the blog of biologist PZ Myers. It’s a short series of interviews with pro-life campaigners on a roadside demo in the US. The interviewer asks the protesters a couple of questions. Firstly he asks them whether abortion should be illegal to which they, unsurprisingly, answer a resounding yes. Secondly he ask them what, should abortion become illegal, should happen to the women who seek out and have an illegal abortion? The answer is, I believe, quite telling. Most of the people on the demonstration have put little to no thought into the end result of what it is they are calling for.
Whilst I did find the video amusing I think it shows quite clearly the problem with political stances that are based entirely upon an emotional reaction. Politics like anti-abortion, animal rights and often anti-war ideologies are often based upon this sort of instinctive gut reaction.
We have see a very powerful emotional reaction to the IDF assault upon the people of Gaza. Little surprise too as the actions of the IDF have been monstrous and the images coming out of the rubble have stirred even the most cold of hearts into anger. The problem with this kind of reaction though is that it stops people from thinking through their demands to their logical conclusion or leads to sloppy thinking that can end up acting as apologisms for equally heinous acts or ideologies.
The people on the anti-choice demonstration above are a prime example of this. As are the animal rights people who felt remorse for petrol bombing a pub where veal hauliers drunk only because there may have been animals in the building who would have been injured or killed.
This same sloppy thinking has led for many people involved in the demonstrations against the IDF to have conflated being in support of the Palestinian people with being in support of Hamas.This has in turn led to harsh shrieking that those who offer criticism of Hamas are some how supporting Israel. It is strange that in an anti-war movement there are those who seek to support the winning of the war rather than the ending of war.
There are two kinds of war that are fought on this planet. the first is the battle between one group of the bourgeoisie and another, or sometimes with a group that wishes to become the new bourgeoisie. the there is the class war. As an anarchist I am staunchly internationalist in my perspective. I see no real difference between myself and my fellow workers in Gaza, Israel or anywhere in the world. I support the working class of Gaza in its struggle against both the bombs and Apartheid of the Israeli state and the oppression and subjugation inflicted by Hamas.
It makes little sense to me to support either side in any war that is not the class war. It is very easy for parasitic groups to take advantage of people emotions in an attempt to grow their own bourgeoisie parties, as we can see from the “Socialist Workers” Party sucking up to apologists for Hamas despite Hamas being as close to a Fascist* party as it’s possible to get. It’s easy for these organisations to polarise a complex situation in an attempt to make political capital out of peoples anger.
What I am trying to say is that, whilst anger and emotional reactions to horrificc situations are understandable and can help add fire to our actions, without critical thought then the fire sets light to the wrong target and everyone loses.
*Some quotes about Hamas along with sources. (Cheers Zazaban)
“As noted, the Hamas view of the Jewish people is not drawn solely from the pages of the Qur’an and hadith. Its myopia is also the product of Western anti-Semitic influences. While Hamas, like other modern-day Islamists, has developed its argument on the Jewish question by relying on Qur’anic and other Islamic sources, it also, as Nettler notes, makes it ‘modern by appropriate commentary, and supplemented by felicitous borrowing from such classical Western anti-Semitic sources as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Such opinions are influenced by the most bizarre form of Gentile paranoid conspiracy theory.”
Beverley Milton-Edwards, Islamic Politics in Palestine, I.B. Tauris, 1996, ISBN 1860644759, p. 188
“In calling for holy war against Israel, the covenant of Hamas, drawn up in 1998, also employs the language of the Protocols.”
Frederick M. Schweitzer, Marvin Perry, Anti-Semitism: myth and hate from antiquity to the present, Palgrave Macmillan, 2002, ISBN 0312165617, p. 116.
“The demonization of the Zionists by the Hamas organization is also heavily shaped by European Christian anti-Semitism. This prejudice began to infiltrate the Arab world, most notably in the circulation of the 1926 Arabic translation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion… Reliance upon the document is evidenced in the group’s charter… The Protocols of the Elders of Zion also informs Hamas’s belief that Israel has hegemonic aspirations that extend beyond Palestinian land. As described in the charter, the counterfeit document identifies the Zionists’ wish to expand their reign from the Nile River to the Euphrates.”
Michael P. Arena, Bruce A. Arrigo, The Terrorist Identity: Explaining the Terrorist Threat, NYU Press, 2006, ISBN 0814707165, pp. 133-134.
“From the beginning, Hamas espoused the antisemitism of the Muslim Brotherhood’s leading thinkers, Hasah al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb. This fact is clear from its own ideological credo formulated as the Islamic covenant in 1988, which not only calls for Islam to eliminate Israel but also states “our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave.” It cites the Hadith… in noting that at the end of time, Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them. The covenant and other Hamas publications draw on the libels of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, accusing Jews of a universal conspiracy for world domination… Some of the antisemitic canards are backed in the covenant by koranic proof texts.”
Levy, Richard S. Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution, ABL_CLIO, 2005, p. 289.ISBN 1851094393
“Hamas, like most Islamist groups, is fundamentally anti-Semitic (in the commonly understood sense of the word). This is seen in at least two ways. First, the Hamas discourse refers primarily to “Jewish” (al-yahud), less so “Zionists” (al-sahyunuyiun), and almost never to “Israelis” (al-isriliyun)… However, Hamas is properly termed anti-Semitic for propogating [sic] the slander of Jewish control of the world, particularly the world’s financial health.”
Glenn E. Robinson, “Hamas as Social Movement”, in Quintan Wiktorowicz, Mark Tessler. Islamic Activism: A Social Movement Theory Approach, Indiana University Press, 2004, p. 131. ISBN 0253216214
“In addition, classically anti-Semitic texts coming from pre-Holocaust Christian Europe, such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, also inform the ideals and philosophy of HAMAS members and their views of Jews and Judaism.”
Thomas M. Leonard, Encyclopedia of the Developing World, Routledge, 2005, p. 742. ISBN 1579583881
“Hamas hardened the conventional tone among Arab nationalists toward the Jews, adopting anti-Semitic charges based on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion concerning a Jewish conspiracy for world domination.”
Shaul Mishal, Avraham Sela. The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, Violence, and Coexistence, Columbia University Press, 2000, p. 45. ISBN 0231116756
Also quotes from Hamas themselves.
Article 7 of the Hamas Covenant states the following: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharqad tree would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslem).
Article 22 claims that the French revolution, the Russian revolution, colonialism and both world wars were created by the Zionists. It also claims the Freemasons and Rotary clubs are Zionist fronts.
“You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.”
Furthermore, Article 32 of the Covenant makes reference to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion:
“Today it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.”
Statements directly from member’s lips:
A report by MEMRI from 2002 states that the Hamas monthly Falastin Al-Muslima published a series of articles by Ibrahim Al-‘Ali on how Allah punished the Jews by transforming them into animals such as “apes, pigs, mice, and lizards”. According to MEMRI, the author stated that “The transformation was actual” and not metaphoric.
[ http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sr&ID=SR01102 ]
In an interview aired on Al-Aqsa TV on April 9, 2008, Hamas Culture Minister Atallah Abu Al-Subh stated that “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is the faith that every Jew harbors in his heart”.
[ http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=countries&Area=palestinian&ID=SP190508 ]
In 2008 Imam Yousif al-Zahar of Hamas said in his sermon at the Katib Wilayat mosque in Gaza that “Jews are a people who cannot be trusted. They have been traitors to all agreements. Go back to history. Their fate is their vanishing.”
[ http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/31/mideast/hamas.php ]
Sheik Yunus al-Astal, a Hamas legislator and imam, in a column in the weekly newspaper Al Risalah in 2008 discussed a Koranic verse suggesting that “suffering by fire is the Jews’ destiny in this world and the next.” Astal concluded “Therefore we are sure that the Holocaust is still to come upon the Jews.
[ http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/31/mideast/hamas.php ]
Posted on January 22, 2009, in International, Politics and tagged Abortion, Animal Rights, Cognitive Dissonance, hamas, IDF, israel, Israeli Defence Force, Pro Choice, Pro-Life, PZ Myers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.