“For Us, Hamas is a National Liberation Movement”

Yesterday, the Jerusalem Post Magazine published an interview with Sisa Ngombane, the South African ambassador to Israel. While the thoughts and ideas he shares with the interviewer are nothing new, the mere fact that an ambassador to Israel working on our land made such comments deserves to be called out on them.

Below are some direct quotes from the ambassador with some of my own comments. None of his words is being taken out of context.

When asked “What is your policy toward the Hamas regime in Gaza and do you condemn the attacks?” he replied:  “…we have no problem condemning the rockets that appear to be shot randomly at every target in Israel, including civilian targets. The approach that was adopted by our own liberation movement in South Africa was that of course you cannot just use random violence–you need to be more precise….For us, Hamas is an important player in this environment.”

His contention, and he makes no apologies for it, is that violence is okay to achieve the goal (ie, the destruction of the State of Israel, which is indeed the Hamas charter) as long as you are precise in your target. Does that mean blowing up a pizza shop is ok, since it is “precise” but shooting rockets randomly is not good?

Furthermore, in reply to the same question, the ambassador states: “To drop a few rockets that fall in the field and then bring a reaction from Israel, for which they feel they must have reprisals, is just counterproductive.”

A “few rockets”? Is he aware that thousands of rockets have been launched from Hamas-controlled Gaza over the last many years causing untold human damage, both physical and psychological? And how would South Africa reply to thousands of rockets launched at them from Botswana, Namibia or Zimbabwe? Would they overlook them or would they “feel they must have reprisals”?

The interviewer asks “Let me be blunt. Do you consider Hamas to be a national liberation movement or a terrorist organization?” he replies by saying: “To be honest, for us Hamas is actually a national liberation movement. We think they have got legitimate grounds to exist…”

THEY have  legitimate grounds to exist? They have a right to put in writing that their raison d’être is the elimination of the Jewish state?  And what of Israel, the very country where you are posted Mr. Ambassador? Does Israel have a right to exist? Let me answer that question for you: In view of the fact that the existence of Hamas  is to destroy Israel, then by extension, Israel does not share that same right to exist.

In reply to another question, he states: “So we think that the mere fact that terrorist activities can be linked to Hamas, does not qualify the whole group as being terrorist (sic). We think that they have committed some errors, some serious errors in judgment, and we engage with them on these issues.”

Do you refer to the murder of dozens and dozens of innocent, Israeli civilians as “errors in judgement”? Seriously? Your reply is like saying that while the lieutenants of a Mafia family carry out hits on their enemies, you can’t call the Don of the family a criminal. After all, just because the underlings are all charged by the overlords as to their jihadic mission does not make all of them bad now, does it?

After being asked why doesn’t his government call for boycotts of Saudi Arabia, given their terrible record on human rights, he offers the following, pathetic reply:We are unable to make this direct connection precisely because we think the Saudi state has its own origins. It is a monarchy and it doesn’t claim to be democratic, it never claimed that. And, therefore they’ve got a system that they run,  based on religion. So we have said ‘Okay, it’s the system that they have chosen for themselves.‘ “

So, let’s get this straight. If you are a monarchy and/or if you are based on a religious law, you have the right to terrorize your own citizens, discriminate against them, and even in view of blatant human rights abuses (345 beheadings from 2007-2010 including VICTIMS of rape!)…there is no reason for South Africa to condemn those actions; all  is okay, since after all they have chosen that life.  For such abuses, the ambassador of South Africa is willing to look the other way. But when thousands of rockets fall on a sovereign country he merely looks at it as a lack of precision in achieving a goal–the utter annihilation of Israel.

So, Mr. Ambassador, I must commend you on one thing. You do indeed have guts. You clearly state your country’s terrible anti-Israel bias in that same country’s most-read English newspaper. No, there is no double-speak here. You make it quite clear–the goal of Hamas is admirable and desirable, so long as they go about it the right way.

The Art of War, written in ancient times by Sun Tzu in China led to a well-known idiom among the Chinese:

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the enemy, and with G-d’s help, may we NEVER suffer another single loss again.

About the Author
After living in Chicago for 50 years, the last 10 of which Zev Shandalov served as a shul Rav and teacher in local Orthodox schools, his family made Aliya to Maale Adumim in July 2009. Shandalov currently works as a teacher, mostly interacting with individual students.