Spiritual leader?


The CJC’s parliament report from yesterday highlights the following statement by Sen. David Tkachuk:

What is of great concern to me is that we are starting to see a pattern of equivocation emerge. I fail to see how an equivocating position is good for Canadians as we witness the escalation of violence and the mounting death toll on both sides of the war. When one of Canada’s ministers suggests that Israel behaved contrary to its obligations, I suggest this government is getting closer to condoning terrorist actions. When our media repeatedly defines Sheik Yassin as a spiritual leader, I disagree. I suggest that this bolsters terrorism itself. The “spiritualism” of Yassin would be considered a blasphemy by the Christian standards that I uphold, and I would suggest that the faith and values of Canada’s other religions would not condone acts of extermination, something that Yassin’s organization, the Hamas, holds as its mandate.

[ . . . ]

Honourable senators, I know how many have asked these questions, but I want to add my voice to the chorus: Who started these forms of terrorist violence? How long until we declare terrorism unacceptable? This war between Israelis and Palestinians is not merely a battle over land; it is a war between the future of civil society and a future without one.

It is refreshing that not everyone in government has lost their moral compass.

Yassin was, of course, the furthest thing from a “spiritual leader” imaginable. He was a terrorist leader, plain and simple. That the world media has insisted on dubbing him a “spiritual leader” should be taken as the basest kind of insult to all legitimate spiritual leaders of any religion.

Larry Miller has more on this point in the Weekly Standard (via Damian):

OKAY, I give up. What, exactly, is a “spiritual leader”?

I’m curious, because, as any American who reads newspapers or watches TV knows, that’s what Sheikh Yassin was: A spiritual leader. I never met the man, but I sure wish I had, because, after all, one can never have too many scholarly, elevated, Godly, spiritual leaders in one’s life, can one?

[ . . . ]

And the parade of hypocrisy tunes up its instruments, and marches again with banners waving. Israel-evil, Sharon-butcher, how could you kill such a fine, old man? For the record, this fine, old man founded Hamas, insisted then and now that all Israel must be driven into the sea, that the best way to do this was to kill the Jews, kill the Jews, kill the Jews, look for the baby carriages, that hurts them most, the Jews love life, we love martyrdom. Well, you’ve got to hand it to the man, when he’s right, he’s right. The Jews do love life more than he did, and the shattered supermarkets and discos and pizza parlors hurt them most.

Yassin was a “spiritual leader” as much as Hitler was a philanthropist. In other words, not unless your brain is wired wrong could you possibly legitimately confer the term on him.

That hasn’t stopped every major network from CBC to CNN from picking up the term in the days following Yassin’s death. It also hasn’t stopped them from accusing Israel of “murder”.

Murder isn’t the right word. For someone to be murdered, he has to be human first. Now there is a term that “spiritual leader” Yassin wasn’t worthy of.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Josh 03.31.04 at 8:49 PM

What can ya do? You live in a society who has placed the ‘rights’ of the individual above benefit of collective. (I don’t mean to say that Canada should be China, just that there’s no proportion anymore) Gosh forbid anyone be insulted by un-balanced news, they’ll sue and some judge will support that travesty and say that this person was insulted, discriminated, blah, blah, blah.
So now the news is ‘balanced’and it’s not right to take sides unless you are anti-american.
Yassin is a spiritual leader and so is Osama. Abu Mazen and Abu Abbas are prime ministers even though they didn’t rule any people. Arafat is the elected president/chairman even though he disbanded elections like Hitler did. Hitler was also the elected German leader.
Just some rambling…


2 DaninVan 04.01.04 at 12:52 AM

Yup. And in Yassin’s case ‘spiritual’ now means he’s shed his mortal coil.


3 Hanthala 04.01.04 at 1:23 AM

Well Segacs, I was never a fan of Yassin or Hamas or their particular brand of resistance. But, however base Yassin may have been, he was a human being. Blowing him up with 3 missiles shot out of a helicopter because he allegedly (there was no trial) was a terrorist pretty much means stooping to his (alleged…heh) level. Two wrongs don’t make a right. If we go with that logic then Hamas members are fully justified in assassinating Sharon and just about anyone in the Israeli government.


4 Knave 04.01.04 at 4:36 AM

Fair enough Hanthala, so what should Israel have done, arrested Yassin again? How? Would the PA have helped in the capture?

How many people would have been killed trying to bring Yassin to trial?


5 Jonny 04.01.04 at 7:05 PM



6 Hanthala 04.01.04 at 10:14 PM

Don’t know knave, probably as many as will be killed in Hamas vs IDF retaliations.


7 Knave 04.02.04 at 3:38 AM

You answered half my question, I’ll restate the other half, in case you missed it.

A terrorist is hanging around in the West Bank. What is Israel allowed to do to stop his activities?


8 DaninVan 04.02.04 at 6:05 AM

Hanthala: You obviously haven’t spent enough time watching Westerns and are unfamiliar with the ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive’ concept.

This isn’t ‘Law & Order’, its war. Yassin was a combatant, ie a legitimate enemy target, and don’t waste bytes telling us he was a cripple.


9 Hanthala 04.02.04 at 9:28 PM

Sure DaninVan, define it that way and all IDF members, all members of the Israeli government, and all settlers become legitimate targets too. No problem. Agreed.

Knave, refer to answer above. And what about Israeli terrorists in the West Bank, what are the Palestinians allowed to do?


10 DaninVan 04.02.04 at 10:03 PM

Hanthala: They’ve BEEN targets for decades! That’s WHY Yassin was assassinated. In case your selective memory has forgotten, Arafat was supposed to have stopped all terrorist attacks. No tickee, no laundry.


11 Hanthala 04.02.04 at 10:31 PM

I said “legitimate targets.” That’s where we seem to disagree because if these people are legitimate targets, its because they are illegitimately occupying someone else’s land, in case your selective memory is failing you. Don’t want to get shot? Get off our land! as they say.


12 DaninVan 04.03.04 at 6:22 AM

Legitimate combatants wear uniforms and don’t deliberately target civilians. Yes, civilians get killed and maimed; almost always because the opposition is hiding their ‘assets’ in amongst them.

As for West Bank, isn’t the 1994 treaty with Jordan still in effect?

You will find all you seek, here, My child:


13 Malia 04.03.04 at 6:23 AM

Your “land” is in Arabia. The Jews have every right to their God-given land. And what are doing in Indian land? Get off my land!


14 DaninVan 04.03.04 at 7:12 AM

Malia; you go Girl! I used that analogy last week on another blog; it wasn’t well received. Up here in B.C., Canada, the First nations never signed treaties and now it’s paying off BIG TIME for them. They’re being compensated with HUGE settlements. Sure, it’s coming out of my taxes but hey, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

( uh, just out of nervous curiosity, just exactly where IS your land…)


15 Hanthala 04.03.04 at 10:07 PM

Newsflash Malia, this is “my” land too. The problem is that half my family agreed to share it with the other half, only the latter are not sharing but taking it all for themselves. Sound familiar?


16 Hanthala 04.03.04 at 10:09 PM

Knave, you didn’t answer my question.


17 Albert Law 04.03.04 at 11:42 PM

You’re being normative, not descriptive. Competent journalists do the opposite.

Working off of Merriam-Webster:
Did Yassin lead people? He directed and inspired people so he’s a leader.

Was his leadership of a spiritual kind? It had to do with things that are incorporeal, that are supernatural, so yes, he was spiritual leadership.

“the furthest thing from a “spiritual leader” imaginable. He was a terrorist leader, plain and simple.”
The two attributes are not mutually exclusive.

“he has to be human first”
Again with the normativity. If a journalist uses the term “human” to refer to an homo sapiens sapiens and you’re using it to mean “good person”, it’s not the journalist’s fault.

“It is refreshing that not everyone in government has lost their moral compass.”
It is worrying that some people in government confuse their personnal platonic meaning of a word with the common descriptive meaning of that word.


18 Albert Law 04.03.04 at 11:51 PM


“Your “land” is in Arabia. The Jews have every right to their God-given land.”

Are you then in favour of Israel declaring war on Jordan to annex some of the additioanl land that used to be part of David’s kingdom?

Or perhaps Israel could just go and annex all the land from Eilat to Mount Taurus and from the Nile to the Euphrates? It’s their G-d given land, don’t forget.

“And what are doing in Indian land? Get off my land!”

Two wrongs don’t make a right. You seem to think that if one’s ancestors have done a wrong it ought to stop one from opposing the contemporary equivalent of that wrong. Do you think that since the ancestors of Canadians and Americans were guilty of genocide against the Amerindians, Canadians and Americans should not (have) intervene(d) in genocides?


19 DaninVan 04.04.04 at 6:13 AM

I think I’ll just go sit down now; Mr. Law seems to have the situation well in hand…


20 DaninVan 04.04.04 at 7:16 AM

Albert; I think with all the “she said”/ “she said” there’s some confusion . Hanthala is the pro- Yassin poster.
Malia, who you addressed your post to, is (apparently) First Nations and supports Israel. Glad to be of assistance.


21 Albert Law 04.04.04 at 3:52 PM


Thanks for the information. However, she did say “I was never a fan of Yassin or Hamas or their particular brand of resistance.” Perhaps she isn’t completely disclosing her views.


22 segacs 04.04.04 at 7:04 PM

Oh it’s clear enough. Hanthala’s been around for a while. She pays lip service to being against terrorism, while at the same time managing to make everything out to be Israel’s fault.


23 Albert Law 04.04.04 at 8:24 PM

Ah ok.


Do you think groups like Hamas have a responsability for the hostily level in the Middle-East which is at least partially independent of Israeli actions?

How would you deal with Hamas and similar groups, considering they are against negociations and their end is to destroy the state of Israel?


24 Hanthala 04.05.04 at 3:48 AM

Jeez Segacs, how many aliases do you have? lol. Albert, if I was Israel, I wouldn’t have encouraged or supported Hamas in the late 80s as an alternative to the PLO. Right now, the best means to get rid of Hams et al. is to stop the occupation.


25 Hanthala 04.05.04 at 3:50 AM

And Danin…”pro-Yassin????” If only you appreciated how hilarious and ironic that is. Heh!


26 segacs 04.05.04 at 4:38 AM

Jeez Segacs, how many aliases do you have?

None. I only post under my own name.


27 Hanthala 04.05.04 at 6:44 AM

Is Mr. Law Mr. Slater? Yawn…


28 DaninVan 04.05.04 at 7:40 AM

Hanthala; there’s no middle ground; to use the old ’60s expression, “if you aren’t part of the solution you’re part of the problem.”
Israel and Israelis are fighting for their right to exist and Queensberry Rules don’t apply.


29 Hanthala 04.05.04 at 7:48 AM

“Israel and Israelis (sic) are fighting for their right to exist…” Unfortunately, and I do say unfortunately, Palestinians can say the same thing. BTW, I hate boxing.


30 Hanthala 04.05.04 at 7:52 AM

OK, getting the French and English spelling confused (and ya’ll thought it was Arabic…how quaint) so nite ya’ll.


31 DaninVan 04.05.04 at 9:01 AM

Say What!? NOBODY is threatening the Palestinians right to exist. The only point of debate is ‘where’. Killing Palestinian terrorists is legitimate self defence. I know you don’t understand the difference, but that doesn’t qualify your opinion. (Lord knows, I’d defend to the death your right to have one though.)


32 Albert Law 04.05.04 at 3:04 PM


I’m not Sari Stein.


“Killing Palestinian terrorists is legitimate self defence.”
No reasonable can disagree with that per se. per se= without taking into account contingent consequences.

“NOBODY is threatening the Palestinians right to exist. ”

You’re right that nobody is threatenning the Palestinian state’s existence. They can’t possibly threaten the existence of something that doesn’t exist.

Do you think the Yesha dwellers want to see a Palestinian state come into being? How about the Knesset members that back them?


33 Albert Law 04.05.04 at 4:18 PM

I realsie I didn’t answer the Slater thing. I’m not that Slater person. Is it ‘Dennis Slater”?

I don’t think you really answered my question about Hamas responsability. Does it have any?

Are you Amerindian or Ashkenazi/Mizrahi?


34 Ikram 04.05.04 at 5:33 PM

Al — Palestinians don’t exist? You’re obviously the ghost of Golda Meir, posting under an alias.

DaninVa — You’re not followign Israeli politics closely enough. There are politicians who want to drive Palestinians in to the sea. Effie Eitam, frex. There are others who deny Palestinians exist.


35 DaninVan 04.05.04 at 5:32 PM

Albert: were you into the Manishewitz a day early?!
You were blurring the issue when you brought the subject of a Palestinian state into my argument.
I was speaking to Hanthala’s comment re threatened existence in the corporeal sense. Israel does not condone violence directed at unarmed combatants. Any unarmed and uninvolved Palestinians killed or wounded during an action are a result of unfortunate circumstances, they weren’t the targets. The terrorists’ agenda, on the other hand, is the erradication of every single Jew in Israel, by every means possible.


36 Albert Law 04.05.04 at 6:49 PM


No, I call them “Palestinians”, not “Jordyptians”, don’t worry.

Dan said that the goal of Hamas was to destroy the state of Israel and Israelis. He said no one seeks to destroy Palestinians, but of course, he didn’t mention anything about destroying the independent state of Palestine, because it doesn’t exist.

No Israeli group can possibly be accused of doing something which is logically impossible.

“I was speaking to Hanthala’s comment re threatened existence in the corporeal sense.”
And I was highlighting that the Palestinian state does not even exist in a corporeal sense. That’s even worse than being threatened.

“The terrorists’ agenda, on the other hand, is the erradication of every single Jew in Israel, by every means possible.”
Sure, and it’s legitimate to try to kill them ( insert caveats here about not doing so in a way which is counter-productive or represents a net loss ).


37 Hanthala 04.06.04 at 12:45 AM

Albert: The short answer is yes, if you are speaking of the past couple of years. I see Hamas as the Palestinian equivalent, and response to, Israeli settlers. Both groups walk around with guns in one hand and a holy book in the other. Both want to annihilate each others people so they can claim all of Palestine/Israel. Both feed off of each other.


38 Hanthala 04.06.04 at 12:47 AM

Now before someone answers “see, Israel needs to prolong its occupation to protect itself,” I’ll add that support for Hamas among the Palestinian population is contingent on this occupation. Without it, you’d still have a few hardliners but not too many recruits for suicide missions.


39 Albert Law 04.06.04 at 1:03 AM


Ok, seems reasonable too.

You said earlier that it was your land but you didn’t say if the Big Village or Israel/Palestine was your land.


40 DaninVan 04.06.04 at 1:42 AM

I think Hanthala is actually using us as a PolySci project…which is due anyday now.


41 Hanthala 04.06.04 at 2:26 AM

Cute, Danin, but no. Although I did use some comments from here a while back along with the Link and the old National Post forums for a school project.


42 segacs 04.06.04 at 4:17 AM

I once used some quotes from Christian fundamentalists made on a discussion board for a band I liked for a philosophy paper. I got their permission first, of cours,e and sent them a courtesy copy. They found it amusing that I used them to argue against religion-based morality.


43 DaninVan 04.06.04 at 5:35 AM

…hmmm, If you change your mind you’ll need a ghost writer. I’m available. As a ghost writer I mean…


44 Hanthala 04.06.04 at 8:57 PM

Well, I might have asked for permission, but since its anonymous…plus it would be like asking the Gazette for permission to do a content analysis of their paper (which I did in that same paper along with the Link, the Concordian, the Thursday Report, The Hour, The Mirror, Ici, Voir, Gazette, G & M, NP, La Presse, Le Devoior—What a job!)


45 Malia 04.06.04 at 10:50 PM

Hanthala you don’t make any sense like always. “Your land” is in Saudi Arabia. Comparing Israeli “settlers” and terrorists like Hamas shows what a warped mind you have. I’m tired of repeating myself but “Palestinians” don’t exist! I have asked people to show me the evidence of a “Palestinian” language or culture and of course they can’t. “Palestinians” are displaced Arabs that’s all.


46 segacs 04.06.04 at 10:14 PM

Ugh, content analysis. I never quite got that one. I mean, questions of validity or researcher bias aside, who actually wants to devote months of their life counting how many times a newspaper prints a certain word? I can’t think of much that’s more mind-numbing.


47 Hanthala 04.07.04 at 12:31 AM

Yeah, Segacs, I agree if you’re talking about quantitative content analysis only. My project was an exploration on means of mixing both quantitative and qualitative methods of content analysis (for a methodology class…no one said it would be fun). Anyway, it made for some richer analysis while keeping in mind issues of validity and reliability and accepting that bias is everywhere.


48 Hanthala 04.07.04 at 12:33 AM

lol Malia. My land is in Saudi Arabia? Now that’s a first 🙂 About Palestinian culture, take a look at dress and weaving patterns. Distinct. Also dietary habits and dialect.


49 segacs 04.07.04 at 6:28 AM

The whole “Palestinians don’t exist” argument is a moot diversionary tactic anyway. Regardless of ancestry, or who lived where when, the facts on the ground today are that there is a Palestinian national identity and nationality, with which most Palestinians identify very strongly. Their culture exists. Their nationalism exists. It’s a fact. Denying it gets nobody anywhere.

At the same time, low-brow tactics that I’ve seen from the Palestinian camp of trying to deny a Jewish national identity are equally pointless. Yes, Israeli Jews have regrouped in Israel from around the world, and of course a descendant of Russian or European Jews will be different from someone from Morocco or North Africa or Syria. That’s moot. The point is, whatever you believe about ancestry and history and the Jews returning home to Israel after 2,000 years of diaspora, this is a fundamental part of being Jewish. Most Jews in the world today strongly identify with the meaning of Israel in their hearts, and strongly identify with Jewish heritage, culture, and nationalism.

There is a Palestinian nationality. There is a Jewish nationality. Those are today’s facts. That’s what we have to deal with when considering the situation in the mideast.


50 Malia 04.10.04 at 12:45 AM

Hanthala, “those things you cited doesn’t mean an ethnic group called “Palestinians” exist. These so-called Palestinians speak Arabic and are Arab so that means that they came from Saudi Arabia. These is the place where all the Arabs originated from. If you can show me a “Palestinian” language or culture exists then I’ll take back everything I said.
Sari, I have to disagree with you because after everything I read I feel like I and most of the world have been duped by Arab propaganda. Before 9/11 I believed that a distinct group of people called the “Palestinians” people existed. Now after researching and reading about the history of Israel it’s obvious that the Arabs made up the “Palestinian” term to make it seem that they are indigenous to the land. That is why Hamass can say that the Jews are invaders that should be pushed in the sea when the opposite is true.
I’ve talked to many Jews who don’t want to call these Arabs Palestinians anymore because of the those


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