The most interesting aspect of a letter written by Kashif Sheikh, and published by the Guardian on Friday, was that it was couched in language suggesting the opposite.
“I have been a supporter of the Palestinian cause for many years, but I do not believe terrorism is justified.”
Ok, it starts off well, but then executes a rather interesting pivot.
“[However] If suicide bombing is the only avenue available, then that is tolerable against military forces.”
“Blowing yourself up outside falafel stands is most definitely not.”
Sheikh’s Solomonic parsing of the ethics of killing others by self-detonation represents the second letter they published in support of suicide bombing in three days. Recall the Jan. 26 letter by Ted Honderich, which read as follows:
As Sheik’s commentary on Friday was published beneath another one which unequivocally condemned the use of terrorism, that makes the moral tally of letters written in response the Palestine Papers as follows:
Against Palestinian suicide bombing: 1
In favor of Palestinian suicide bombing “within historic Palestine (which presumably means Jewish men, women, and children anywhere in the West Bank and sections of Jerusalem)”: 1
In favor of Palestinian suicide bombing, but only if targeting Israeli military personnel: 1
It has been noted on these pages that the commentary which has accompanied Guardian’s “Palestine Papers” has crossed an extremely dangerous line. From referring to Palestinian leaders who show flexibility during negotiations as “craven” and publishing a piece by a Hamas member (who issues a thinly veiled threat of violence), to posting a political cartoon from a notorious anti-Semitic extremist, and publishing multiple letters justifying the use of suicide bombing as a legitimate political tool, the Guardian is no longer merely a vehicle for anti-Israel activism.
Guardian editors have shown themselves shamefully tempted by the most lethal (not to mention juvenile) political orientations – those which, throughout history (whether in the service of left-wing or right-wing ideologies), contain a couple common denominators: They fetishize radicalism and political extremism, and, most dangerously, sanitize – even romanticize – the use of violence to achieve political ends.
However, the Guardian, I’m certain, will rest easy and won’t be burdened by the real-world effects of the dangerous ideologies they’re legitimizing.
As Jonathan Freedland said – pertaining to the release “Palestine Papers”, but representing, it seems, a much broader Guardian view regarding the political fire they carelessly ignite:
“The consequences are for others to manage.”