Memo to Irish Times cartoonist Martyn Turner:
Here are five reasons your cartoon was wrong to equate the Jewish underground groups of Israel’s War of Independence with Hamas.
1. The Jewish underground never sought to destroy Britain as the homeland of the British people. Hamas seeks to destroy Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.
2. The Jewish underground never fired rockets at British cities. Hamas has fired thousands rockets indiscriminately at Israeli cities.
3. The Jewish underground leaders like Menachem Begin (the Irgun) and Yitzhak Rabin (the Haganah) went on to reach stable peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan respectively. Hamas cannot maintain unity with the PLO, much less recognize Israel and respect previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
4. The Jewish underground groups were never part of larger international networks of religious terror. Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, and has received support over the years from other Islamic terrorist actors like Iran and Hezbollah.
5. The Jewish underground groups were never part of a national unity government capable of joining international organizations. Hamas, in partnership with the PLO, technically governs Palestine, a non-voting member of the UN with the ability to join international organizations.
I’ve seen enough attempts to draw parallels between the Mideast conflict and “The Troubles” of Northern Ireland. If you want to equate Hamas with the IRA, that’s not my concern, though I daresay IRA supporters may not like it so much.