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President Biden Adds Battle Against Islamophobia to His Quest for Peace

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

Some Muslim leaders want more. As Rami Nashashibi, founder of the Inner City Muslim Action Network in Chicago and a participant in that White House session, said, such an effort would be “dead on arrival” with the Muslim community until the Biden administration forcefully condemns members of the far-right government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who have openly called for the eradication of Palestinians from Gaza.

Some of the Muslims and Arab Americans in the group also want Biden to apologize, or at least publicly clarify, his recent comments that he had “no confidence” in the Palestinian death count from Israel’s retaliatory strikes, because the data comes from the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

That’s probably a bridge too far, given Hamas’ founding principle of eliminating the Jewish state.

The intractability of the dispute has been vexing for ages. Two ancient peoples have fought and argued over the same big patch of disputed land, and there’s no clear end yet in sight.

Yet there also have been glimmers of hope and sometimes valiant leadership over the decades. Yes, you can be opposed to Israeli government policies without being antisemitic. To be a government critic does not mean being anti-Jewish, and many Israelis strongly opposed Netanyahu’s policies before the Hamas attack.

Similarly, we should avoid equating the views of Hamas with those of all Palestinians.

A promising July poll commissioned by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion found that 62% of Gazans supported Hamas maintaining a cease-fire with Israel.

 

And half agreed with this proposition: “Hamas should stop calling for Israel’s destruction, and instead accept a permanent two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.”

Would that Hamas had listened to the views of the people it purports to represent. Alas, we can only hope the anger, grief and misery on both sides don’t foreclose the possibility of achieving some level of peace in the foreseeable future. Keep that hope alive.

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(E-mail Clarence Page at cpage@chicagotribune.com.)

©2023 Clarence Page. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


(c) 2023 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

 

 

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