Readers of the Jerusalem Post react to the appointment of Mahmoud Abbas (“Abu Mazen”) as Palestinian Prime Minister:
Sir, – Many media and public figures are bubbling over with praise for Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, for the reason that he is a “moderate.” Shimon Peres says he is a man we can talk to.
However, “The haji: Arafat’s new prime minister” (March 10) notes that Abu Mazen is a Holocaust revisionist. Thus were his name Irving or Zundel, our reaction to him would be disgust. We also hear that Abu Mazen’s moderation and disavowing of violence apply only to those Jews living within the Green Line; for Jews on the other side he advocates death. We furthermore read that Abu Mazen’s objections to violence stem not from any moral or ethical scruples, but solely because violence is not in the interests of the Palestinian people.
So how is it this man elicits so much admiration? Perhaps it is blind faith, or desperation. Or weariness of the struggle. Perhaps it is fantasy and daydreams. Perhaps it is madness.
Whatever it is, let us at least have the courage to recognize evil and reject the notion of making a deal with the devil.
Unfortunately, thanks to the media, terms like “moderate” and “extremist” tend to get distorted and thrown around. The most moderate Palestinian leader has been involved in terrorism; conversely, even the so-called “extremist” Jewish settlers are for the most part just quiet people trying to raise their families and live their lives. When the international press touts Abu Mazen as a hero, and at the same time slams Ariel Sharon, we know there’s something off-kilter. It’s about time we had the courage and moral fortitude to recognize it.