Farrukh Dhondy | The mess in Gaza: Will Israel’s war create many more groups like Hamas?

The Asian Age.  | Farrukh Dhondy

Opinion, Columnists

Hamas knew precisely what the October 7 atrocities would bring about.

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. (AP/PTI)

“Vanity walked into the hall

And claimed her name was Love

The crow went to the sparrow’s nest

And said he was a dove.

O Bachchoo can we claim we are

Whoever we want to be

Is all creation a disguise?

Are we formless and free?”

From Must Calendar -- Bachhoo’s Diary

For a month now, following the atrocities deliberately and strategically perpetrated by Hamas on October 7, when their militants smashed the enclosing barriers and slaughtered 1,400 Israeli men, women and children in a bordering kibbutz and at a music festival, the vengeance of Behncho-min Netanyahu’s Zionist military has taken the lives of 10,000 civilian Palestinians -- the majority of them women and children. No, I apologise, that should be 9,997 -- three of the dead may have been Hamas “terrorists”.

I am not shying away from that description. There is ample evidence from neutral humanitarian sources that the rule of Hamas over the Gaza Strip was not the most generous, democratic, free, restrained and humanitarian one. There is evidence of horrendous torture and capital sentencing of those whom Hamas suspected of being critical of their rule and aims, including members of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Hamas knew precisely what the October 7 atrocities would bring about. It did. The Zionist vengeance, aimed as it says at eliminating Hamas, has starved, displaced and murdered the corralled innocents of Gaza and brought about the international polarisation of opinion.

The world does not know, yet, what the states that surround Israel will do. Hezbollah in Lebanon, with much greater military capacity than Gaza’s Hamas, hasn’t yet committed to any large-scale operation. Two US aircraft-carriers and their protective flotillas are standing by… Iran, Saudi, Qatar…???

The UK’s own Hedgie Sunoch has declared for Israel and so has Sir Keir Stamer of the Opposition Labour Party. Not that Behncho-min gives a flying-sexual-act for what the UK government or Opposition may think, but Hedgie and Keir are playing local politics. Starmer, displaying his anti-anti-Semitism, is in deep trouble as very many leading Labour figures, while recognising Hamas’ atrocities as such, oppose his stance and call for an immediate ceasefire. Stop the bombing and the invasion of Gaza.

Gentle reader, I side with this opposition. The Zionist aim of eliminating Hamas is one of the biggest illusions of our era. Hamas is not just the present group of militants/terrorists. It’s an ideology born of the resentment against historical injustice. Zionist genocide against the Gazan population will breed a hundred more Hamas-like forces.

Perhaps, gentle reader, I have wasted your time and perseverance on “facts”, speculation and opinions that are now everywhere. And, of course, you know that in every civilised country there have been reactions against the meaningless slaughter in this conflict.

Apart from the demonstrations in London and other UK cities, the media report on isolated incidents of anti-Semitism. Synagogues have been daubed with slogans and paint. Posters showing the hostages taken by Hamas have been torn down. Some Jewish schools say that they have been threatened and have closed down, proclaiming they fear assaults.

Though I haven’t read of any convincing threats to it, I completely understand that the Jewish communities of Britain are cautious and fearful. There may indeed be some maniacs who believe that attacking Jews in London assists the Palestinian cause. And yes, there are people who are brought up with deep anti-Semitic, not necessarily religious, propagandist beliefs.

I don’t understand anti-Semitism. I grew up in close friendship with Baghdadi Jewish families who lived and prospered in Pune (then Poona), where I went to school and college with George and Micael Iny, Daniel Sassoon, Eli Nissan, Jacob Mordecai and several others. There was no anti-Semitism in India in my childhood and teens. These several families had businesses -- “clothing hosieries” -- on Mahatma Gandhi Road and a synagogue called “Lal Deval” (it was made of red brick) at one end of Synagogue Street. (It couldn’t have been at both ends, you idiot, why are you wasting words --Ed. Well, there was an agiary, a Zoroastrian fire temple at the other end, but for some reason it wasn’t called “Agiary Street” --fd.)

And I have taken to pointing out to my Jewish friends the passages in Ezra and Nehemiah in the Old Testament that tell you that the Zoroastrian (Parsi) emperors Artaxerxes and Cyrus had sent armies to liberate the Jews and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. The Jewish people were not at the time victims of what we today call “anti-Semitism”. They were literally slaves to the Pharaohs of Egypt till Moses liberated them and they were weeping by the rivers of Babylon where the Assyrians took them captive. Which is when Artaxerxes noticed his cup-bearer Nehemiah was depressed and sent him to Jerusalem with a bit of a Parsi army to sort it out. Nehemiah did.

Do his Jewish descendants show any gratitude or offer any token of it -- a bank account transfer, or even a case of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc -- to this descendant of those Achaemenid emperors? Go figure… as the Americans say!

Forgive the frivolity, merey Mehboob! It’s only my way of getting my thoughts away from the sort of genocide, hysteria and meaningless, ancient prejudice and enmity and the greed for land that we should hope this 21st century could put behind us. Dream on!