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Several days ago, in a post I called “Distinctions Without a Difference,” I expressed several questions that were floating around the back of my mind regarding whether there are really meaningful distinctions of intent between “Palestinians” and “Hamas.” I raised those questions because everywhere we turn, both explicitly and implied, we’re being asked to believe that Hamas is one thing but Palestinians are another. I said in that post that I can imagine that such distinctions are meaningful, but that I always seemed to lack actual evidence.
One of the arguments I often hear for the lack of evidence for the existence of non-genocidal Palestinians is the fact that peaceful Palestinians are oppressed by Hamas and, if they were to openly push-back on acts of terror, then they would themselves be targeted. It isn’t hard to imagine that possibility, but there’s something about it that feels a wee bit too convenient for my comfort. We’re just supposed to take their word for it. Such an explanation is crafted in a way that forecloses the possibility of ever having any empirical evidence. We are expected to take it completely on faith.
The narrative for the existence of peaceful Palestinians goes something like this: “By golly, those meany people in Hamas are terrible, but Palestinians aren’t like Hamas. All those secret peace-loving Palestinians would really tell it like it is if they weren’t afraid of those meanies in Hamas. Otherwise, boy, they’d really let loose with their anti-genocidal views.”
Okay. I guess. But how might we test a hypothesis that maybe rank-and-file Palestinians don’t actually share common genocidal inclinations with Hamas?
One way to do that would be to take a close look at what Palestinians say and do when living in geographies not controlled by Hamas. If the only thing holding them back is their fear of being targeted by Hamas, then if they’re not within Hamas’ reach, we should expect to hear words of peace flowing from their tolerant Palestinian lips.
In the weeks following October 7th, with astonishing speed given such supposedly short notice, massive Palestinian protests have erupted all over the world in celebration and support of what Hamas has done. Everywhere you look, the nakedly genocidal chant of “from the river to the sea..” has been ringing in the streets of major cities throughout the West.
But what have we heard from the non-genocidal faction of the Palestinian people? Crickets. Bupkis. Nada. Zip.
I’m afraid that, like it or not, a rational person would have to conclude from the evidence that, if non-genocidal Palestinians exist, they are a vanishingly small community — no more relevant to actual events than unicorns and faeries. For if there really was a sizable community of such Palestinians anywhere, ones who really eschewed Jew-hatred, we would expect to have heard from them by now.
That this dog still isn’t barking, at this late hour, should be…instructive.Published in