Originally published 8/6/07, 10:54 PM, Eastern Daylight Time.
The following Time magazine article, "A Sort of Peace in Gaza", describes how Hamas is bringing law and order to Gaza.
Our first response may be that this is not true. To maintain our image of Hamas, we don't want to hear of them doing anything that even smacks of being good; their intent must be for evil. There is a real problem with that type of response.
Marc Shapiro in his book on the Sridei Eish mentions that this Torah Sage -- the last Rosh Yeshiva of the Berlin Yeshiva -- was originally enamored by fascist ideology having read works by Mussolini. He thought that the anti-Semitism of the Nazis ym"s was secondary to their real intent to maintain the other goals of fascism; tragically he was wrong, and suffered greatly because of his mistaken perception of Nazi anti-Semitism. To the Nazis, anti-Semitism was a very significant part of their ideology.
Yet this story of the Sridei Eish still points out to us that there was still more to Nazi ideology than anti-Semitism. If the Sridei Eish could have any positive thought regarding fascist thought, he must have seen that its objective was more than anti-Semitism.
In fact, this is what attracted the average German citizen to not only support Hitler ym"s but idolize him. The same happened with Chmelnitzkei ym"s. Both these Sonei Yisrael became idolized by their people. The fact that they were anti-Semites may have furthered their support; it generally did not cause them a problem. But the real reason the people were behind them is because they helped their people.
This is a concern with Hamas. We often look at the world through Jewish eyes, viewing matters from a Jewish perspective. This is not necessarily how everyone else sees the problem. There may have been Germans who even felt bad about what the Nazis were doing to the Jews but, bottom line, their concern was themselves and Nazi policy, in general -- not in regard to the Jewish People -- was beneficial to them.
Hamas is in the same place -- and that is why we have a real problem. Hamas has support amongst Palestinians because of what Hamas does for the Palestinians. The Time article shows that Hamas is interested in being a good government for their people. Let's not try to deal with this by simply declaring not to be true. Let's assume the worst -- that it is true. Now Hamas' anti-Semitism is a real problem -- because it is not Hamas' only focus.
Hitler, Chmelnitzkei, could not have done anything against the Jewish People if they first did not find favour within their nations. They accomplished this through working on behalf of their people. Once they had the support of the people, their anti-Semitism could come out, especially if it also was supported by the people or, at least, didn't really bother the people.
We have a real problem. What Hamas seems to be doing is good government. If this were happening anywhere else in the world, we would be happy to see a government act in the best interest of the people, rather than in their own greedy interest which was the way of other Palestinian leaders. Of course the people are going to turn against the greedy leadership.
So what is Israel going to do? Support the greedy leadership because it is better for Israel? That has its own problems as the people have found this alternative of others interested in their welfare -- and Israel is seen even more as the enemy.
So do you support this leadership that is actually acting for the people? Of course not, as this leadership is a mortal enemy? We have a real problem.