Hamas is an institution devoted to the delegitimization of the Jewish people and ultimately the violent destruction of the State of Israel. As such it is impossible for Israel to ever engage in any form of official dialogue with Hamas. To do so would be to admit that there is some validity to their claims to the extent that these claims deserve to be placed before the forum of polite society for consideration. If such a discussion were ever to occur Israel would automatically come out the loser simply in terms of the fact that it would mean that Israel, unlike other countries, would be placed in the subservient position of having to defend its own legitimacy. This would be the case even of Israel actually were to win this debate.
Izgad and I have had passionate arguments about a variety of issues, both on my blog and on his. However, I applaud him for his lucidity when he talks about what I consider to be the central problem of our Western civilization:
I do not see either Goldstone or Bollinger as anti-Semites who wish to see Israel destroyed. I see them as simply modern liberals unable to resist granting legitimacy to radical Islam even as this means asking first Israel and eventually the rest of western civilization to write its suicide note. If we in the West, including liberals, are going to survive it will because we understand the difference between those ideas which we can respectfully disagree with and tolerate and those ideas which, by definition, are declarations of war to be fought at all costs.
Izgad offers the same line of reasoning here as Žižek who insists that our ridiculous belief that we need to tolerate all kinds of intolerance and barbarity will end up destroying our civilization. Unless we recognize that not every opinion needs to be tolerated and not all lifestyle choices deserve equal respect, we are doomed to lose all the advances our civilization has made in terms of human rights to those who are unfettered by such inane beliefs.
Westerners still follow the colonial model that forces them to interact with non-Westerners as if they were little children in need of paternal guidance and kind condescension on the part of the wise and all-knowing West. The West's incapacity to see representatives of other civilizations as valid human beings in their own right leads it either to drop bombs on them whenever it feels like or to patronize them through fake tolerance. Western Liberals congratulate themselves for being different from Conservatives in their attitude to the non-Westerners. In reality, though, both attitudes stem from the same profound conviction that non-Westerners are not fully human and, as a result, there is no need to hold them to the same standards and treat them in the same way as we do our fellow Westerners.
In the conflict between Israel and Hamas, Western Liberals have demonstrated clearly that, for them, Israelis belong to their own Western civilization, while Palestinians do not.