You don’t have to call them names, or respond by attacking them harder than they attack you. The best response to violence is non-violence and a dedication to peace.
I’ve been telling the Arab world for years that responding to Israeli violations of human rights and international laws with peace and non-violence is the best way to deal with Israel.
But, who listens to me, anyway?
Well, apparently, my son does.
Calling Bush names
The reality of Bush’s mounting disapproval ratings has been obvious long before it was disclosed that he created an entire foreign relations strategy based on lies, deception and poor planning.
Invading Iraq hasn’t made Americans safer, unless you don’t consider the 2,453 American soldiers “Americans.” In fact, America continues to face a terrorist threat and Osama Bin Laden continues to operate right under our noses at the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, both American allies now.
I first realized Bush was in trouble last February. In that month, Americans celebrate our presidents, especially in the schools. Polls at several schools show that President Bush is one of the least admired presidents in our history.
Hey, for some American politicians, that’s quite an honor.
The teacher in my son’s pre-school class was quizzing the students on what they knew about our presidents, and asked if anyone knew our current president.
My son was the first to raise his hand, and he proclaimed proudly, “our president is George Bush.”
“What else do you know about him?” the teacher asked.
“He started the Iraq war. My daddy says he is a moron.”
The teacher called and lectured me about calling American presidents names, even though she also agreed he is a moron.
'Both sides feed violence'
But she’s right. Calling him a moron is disrespectful to the office of being president of the United States. After all, Bush is just a visitor to the White House. His term, thankfully, ends in a few years.
The real attitude, we agreed, is to show respect even for those we disagree with. It promotes civility and a better life for everyone. After all, we cannot prevent the bad things from happening. We can only try to keep them from getting worse.
Surrendering to your emotions is the first sign of failure, a common affliction shared by Palestinians and Israelis.
That’s why I am changing my attitude about Hamas, the organization the Israelis helped found back in the late 1970s by giving the late Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the wheel-chair bound paraplegic who the Israelis murdered a few years back, the approval to launch an Islamic movement in the Gaza Strip.
Encouraging an Islamic alternative to the secular Palestine Liberation Organization and its founder Yasser Arafat, as the Israelis did back in the late 1970s, was the strategy of a moron.
But, who knew the Islamic association would become what it did, besides anyone with an ounce of intelligence?
'Hamas right in refusing to recognize Israel'
Anyway, Hamas has lived by its promise not to resort to suicide bombings, although freelancers and former allies – more true morons - continue to target innocent Israeli citizens in a campaign of vengeance and violence that achieves absolutely nothing.
I even think Hamas might be right in refusing to recognize Israel if Israel continues to refuse to recognize the rights of the Palestinians to the Gaza Strip (which has been transformed into an Israeli prison), the West Bank and Arab east Jerusalem. If Israelis are going to keep the illegal settlements, including those in east Jerusalem, they should give the Palestinians land equal to the land they are keeping.
The Israelis, Americans and the European Union are all wrong to deny funding to the democratically elected Hamas government. They should encourage Hamas to pursue peace and not use “violent policies” that intentionally provoke violence from some members of the Palestinian community.
Performing standup comedy In Dubai recently, I asked someone who had wealth, power and owned much property there what they made of the Palestine-Israeli conflict and the continued violence, and he replied very simply, “those on both sides who feed violence are morons.”
I knew exactly what he was talking about.
Encouraging Hamas to make peace
We have too many morons in the Middle East. But instead of calling them all names, as Palestinians and Israelis all do sometimes, we should start spending our energies addressing and strengthening moderation.
And if the Palestinian government continues to speak in terms of non-violence, while arguing political balance, then we have no alternative but to encourage them to peace.
Any other policy would be moronic.
Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American journalist, author and standup comedian. He can be reached at www.hanania.com