No tear was shed for Gershon Baskin, the proud negotiator whose crowning achievement was the exchange of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in Hamas captivity, for 1,027 Palestinian jihad murderers in Israeli prisons, including the notorious Ahlam Tamimi, complicit in the mass murder of Jews in Jerusalem, and Yahya Sinwar, a very nasty piece of work who subsequently went on to command the Simchat Torah Massacre. Hamas now demands all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails to be released in exchange for the 242 (at last count) captives it holds. The chickens have come home to roost, and Baskin's universe is coming apart.
See, Gershon Baskin is one of those poor souls unshakeably convinced that bad people are people who say that there are such things as bad people in the world. Evil people are people who say that there are such things as evil people in the world. The more Baskin was warned about cosying up to the evil Hamas, the more firmly he clung to his conviction that Hamas is good. The Palestinians are inherently good and he, by his own actions, would prove it. We are at fault for not making peace with them. It starts with us; just do it. We all know people like Baskin, and we all saw them make themselves useful to the Dark Side, and feeling both virtuous and relevant for doing so. We don't all get to see them seeing their universe fall apart, as Baskin's just did.
On 24 October 2023, Ghazi Hamad, top official of the Hamas Political Bureau, said on Lebanese TV that the 7 October massacre was justified, repeating it in English just so everyone is clear. Moreover, "a million 7th Octobers" is justified, he stressed.
Yesterday, 2 November, Gershon Baskin published an emotional letter to Ghazi Hamad, who, for the past eighteen years, Baskin thought had been his friend. With all the heartache and disappointment of a lovers' break-up—oh, why don't you just read the letter, and I'll pick it apart afterwards. It's worth reading in one go just for the pathos. Yes, you are right. I feel no sympathy whatsoever for this useful idiot, who still cannot see that his fingerprints are all over the massacre that was visited on Israel four weeks ago.
I believe that this will be the last time I ever communicate with you. I don't think you have the courage to answer me and I do not expect an answer. But these are my words to you and I hope that they sink deep into your mind.
I think you have lost your mind and you have lost your moral code. You have crossed the line between humanity and inhumanity. I have never justified the killing of innocent people. I never imagined that you would justify the killing of innocent civilians — my God — babies, whole families burned alive, old people, children killed in front of their children (sic). These are not the actions of human beings.
I always thought you were a man with principle of humanity. How can you justify the things that your people did? How can you call for 1 million October 7? I have called Israel's bombing of innocent civilians in Gaza a war crime. I care more about your people than you have ever cared for them. Every time someone in Gaza would come to me to ask for help, I would tell them to talk to you. But you know what they said? They only care about their own people — that's what so many people in Gaza said to me about you and your people. You built tunnels and bunkers for your own people — not 1 single shelter for the people of Gaza. You ran away from Gaza and deserted your people. I am sure you took your privileged family with you when you ran away just like your sick f**** coward leaders in Qatar on red carpets and 5 star hotels and millions of dollars that they and maybe you too stole from the Palestinian people.
Honestly Ghazi, you surprised me and disappointed me. We have known each other for 18 years. We have spoken more than 1000 times. We have met face to face I think 4 times. You earned my respect when you showed that you actually cared for Gilad Shalit and wanted him to be returned to his family — not just to get prisoners released. There was some humanity in you. And on the day of his release you even said "next time we will negotiate peace!". That is what you said. But you have changed and you are evil. Maybe you are under the wings of Salah Arouri, maybe under the influence of someone else.
I am sorry to say that you were someone who I actually trusted and thought that we together could help to bring a better future for our peoples. But you and your friends have brought the Palestinian cause back 75 years. You and your friends are directly responsible for the tragedy that is happening to your people. You and your friends will pay the price, but first millions of Palestinians are paying the price of your hate, your fanatic ideology and your lack of humanity. I never want to speak to you again. You don't deserve to speak to someone like me.
Before going into the contents of the letter, a word about its context. The Palestinians perpetrated the Simchat Torah massacre of 1400 Jews on 7 October. A week after the massacre, the Palestinian Authority, you know, the moderate Palestinian government that pays Palestinians to kill Jews and that some Israeli leaders are now touting as a replacement for Hamas in Gaza, mandated that the Friday sermon include the reciting of the genocide hadith in every mosque:
The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews. (Sahih Muslim 6985)
This is not enough to turn Baskin away from the Palestinians, or even to doubt them, just a little.
The 7 October massacre itself was not enough to shake Baskin's eighteen-year friendship with the arch terrorist Ghazi Hamad, no. Baskin's faith in the innate goodness of the Palestinians is too strong for that. Hamad saying on Lebanese TV seventeen days later, on 24 October, that he wants "a million 7 Octobers," plus Baskin mulling the whole thing over for another week, finally impelled him to unburden his soul.
Deep friendships are resilient, except that Ghazi Hamad was never his friend. A little knowledge of Islam, Hamad's religion, might have equipped Baskin to see the trap he was walking into eighteen years ago.
Islam requires Muslims not only to hate and never trust the kufaar, but also to conceal their hatred and mistrust beneath a pretence of friendship. “O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them” (Qur’an 5:51). The Qur’an further cautions:
Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security. Allah biddeth you beware (only) of Himself. Unto Allah is the journeying, (3:28, emphasis by AP).
Hate them all, even as you smile at them. Ibn Kathir, in his exegesis of Qur’an 3:28, makes clear that Muslims who fear that the kufaar might suspect them:
...are allowed to show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly. For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda' said, “We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.” Al-Bukhari said that Al-Hasan said, “The Tuqyah [Taqiyya, AP] is allowed until the Day of Resurrection,” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 3:28, emphasis by AP).
This goes as much for the kind teacher of your children, as for the nice lady who has cleaned your house for years, as for the decent neighbour who always keeps an eye on your house while you are away. I am not suggesting that Muslims are incapable of genuine friendship towards the kufaar, but those kufaar who would befriend Muslims have to understand that deep ineradicable Muslim hatred of the kufaar is a very big deal for Allah. Eventually the call comes, and the long-stoked hatred finally finds an outlet. The catalogue of decades-long ever-so-nice, ever-so-helpful Muslim neighbours, staff and “friends” turning on stunned Christians, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, Baha’is, Zoroastrians, etc., is very long, very tragic and altogether avoidable, had the warnings are always dismissed as the paranoia (nowadays "Islamophobia") of nasty people.
With that context, let us now look at Gershon Baskin's letter to Ghazi Hamad. Towards the end of the letter, the real problem crystallises. Baskin writes, "You earned my respect..." If Baskin knew the first thing about Muslims, he would know just how deeply offended a Muslim would be to hear such words from a kafir. A Muslim earns nothing from a kafir, least of all from a Jew. A Muslim is entitled to not only the kafir's property, but also his life. A Muslim will not tolerate such presumptive impudence from a kafir. It is a killing matter.
During a 28 October interview with the BBC's Hugo Bachega, Ghazi Hamad stormed out of the studio when pressed to justify the Simchat Torah Massacre that Hamas so proudly broadcast themselves perpetrating. Less than a minute into the interview, the audience hears a thud. That was Hamad slinging the microphone onto the floor, but it could just as easily have been Bachega's severed head hitting the floor. Gershon Baskin was "surprised and disappointed" to learn, after eighteen years of a thousand conversations, that Ghazi Hamad is not an avuncular gent. The man has a camel hoofprint on his forehead, for God's sake!
For as long as Islam has existed, every successful jihad raid on the kufaar, after the slaughter and taking of captives, ends in looting. Chapter Eight of the Qur'an is titled "The Spoils of War." Robbing and stealing are acts of worship, as are raping, maiming and killing, as are the taking of captives. Islam is a religion of barbarians, by barbarians, for barbarians. After the Simchat Torah Massacre, Hamas was routinely described as barbaric. Most of the people who use this term have no idea what it means to be barbaric, which is why they are devastated with every new release of gruesome details. Baskin is oblivious to all of this. He wants to help the Palestinians, and is deeply disappointed that that beautiful enterprise should be drawn into question.
Ghazi Hamad boasts of the Palestinians: “We are called a nation of martyrs and we are proud to sacrifice martyrs.” One of the jihad mass-murderers going house to house in an Israeli kibbutz on 7 October, in the middle of an ecstatic phone call about his killing spree, remonstrates with his brother that, “There’s no coming back! It’s victory or martyrdom! My mother gave birth to me for the sake of the religion.” The last society we know of that raised children specifically for religious sacrifice was the Aztecs. Of course Muslims are barbarians. What else? The Palestinians, much more so than other Muslims, lust after the blood of Jews. Gershon Baskin comes close to tears of frustration with Israel for not making peace with the Palestinians. He never gets close to realising that the Palestinians want war much more than the Jews want peace. They want war so they may sacrifice themselves in jihad. "They slay and are slain in the cause of Allah," (Qur'an 9:111). That is the Muslim gold standard.
Over all of eighteen years, more than a thousand conversations and four face-to-face meetings, Baskin thought that Hamad, a scowling terrorist, had a "moral code" and "the principle of humanity," both of which, shockingly, he has now lost.
I never imagined that you would justify the killing of innocent civilians — my God — babies, whole families burned alive, old people, children killed in front of their children. ...How can you justify the things that your people did? How can you call for 1 million October 7?
You either learn about Islam the easy way, or you learn about it the hard way. Baskin, assuming he starts learning, has a very steep curve ahead of him, and deep, deep guilt for the consequences of his actions. Gershon Baskin is also a fool. I am sorry, but there is no kinder word. "I have called Israel's bombing of innocent civilians in Gaza a war crime. I care more about your people than you have ever cared for them." As a child disappointed that a parent has broken a promise:
"You earned my respect when you showed that you actually cared for Gilad Shalit and wanted him to be returned to his family — not just to get prisoners released. There was some humanity in you. And on the day of his release you even said "next time we will negotiate peace!". That is what you said. But you have changed and you are evil.
Then the curses of the jilted lover:
I am sorry to say that you were someone who I actually trusted and thought that we together could help to bring a better future for our peoples. But you and your friends have brought the Palestinian cause back 75 years. You and your friends are directly responsible for the tragedy that is happening to your people. You and your friends will pay the price, but first millions of Palestinians are paying the price of your hate, your fanatic ideology and your lack of humanity.
The Palestinian people tolerate Hamas’s excesses because Hamas fights Israel and kills Jews much more than the other "resistance movements." Despite their abuses, they are still worth supporting because they do what is most important to the Palestinians, above all else, killing Jews.
"I never want to speak to you again. You don't deserve to speak to someone like me." Poor Ghazi Hamad will never live this one down. Gershon Baskin says to Hamad, "these are my words to you and I hope that they sink deep into your mind." Even after all this, Baskin still thinks that Ghazi Hamad has a conscience.
In all the long years that Baskin has been caring for the Palestinians more than the Palestinians have been caring for themselves, he has never come across any hint of, as his trusted Ghazi Hamad put it, “We are called a nation of martyrs and we are proud to sacrifice martyrs.” He is unaware that for as long as the Palestinians sacrifice martyrs; for as long as Palestinians keep dying, they are “still brimming with life.”
The gaping hole in the middle of Baskin's pathetic letter to the mass-murder mastermind with whom he hoped to walk hand-in-hand into the sunset, is the identity of the perpetrators of the Simchat Torah Massacre. He writes: "I never imagined that you would justify the killing of innocent civilians," but does not say who did the killing. "These are not the actions of human beings," but does not say whose actions they are. He asks, "How can you justify the things that your people did?" but we can only guess at who "your people" are. Are they Hamas, the Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims?
As the emotion rises, he gets close: "They only care about their own people — that's what so many people in Gaza said to me about you and your people." Baskin offers the strongest hint when he draws a distinction between "people in Gaza" and "you and your people." We may now surmise "you and your people" to be Hamas. The hints get stronger: "You built tunnels and bunkers for your own people — not 1 single shelter for the people of Gaza. You ran away from Gaza and deserted your people."
Yet, Baskin finds it is too painful to speak the name Hamas, for his own name, and his conceit as a brilliant negotiator and Patron Saint of the Palestinians, are inextricably tied to that name. They were going to make peace together, maybe make it onto the cover of Time magazine together, and who knows, perhaps even win a joint Nobel Peace Prize. Wheeler-dealing with professional Jew-killers can be a heady business.
But as with all true love, Baskin cannot quite let go, and must, in the end, redeem Hamad, starting with prizing his precious partner for peace away from the rest of the Hamas leadership. "You took your privileged family with you when you ran away just like your sick f**** coward leaders in Qatar." Baskin struggles with the implications of his disillusionment: "Millions of dollars that they and maybe you too stole from the Palestinian people." OK, so it is not "the Palestinian people" who had perpetrated the massacre. Their innocence remains pure, as it needs to for the useful idiot to remain righteous.
Hamas destroyed Baskin's righteousness, but he will try to salvage it by extricating the Palestinians from this mess. Yet he cannot quite condemn Hamad as one of the "sick f**** coward leaders" of Hamas, for what would that say about him and the last eighteen years of his life? It helps that most of the Hamas leaders are in Qatar. It makes it easier to pretend that Hamad was manipulated. "But you have changed and you are evil. Maybe you are under the wings of Salah Arouri, maybe under the influence of someone else."
The saddest line in this whole sorry episode has to be, "You even said 'next time we will negotiate peace!' That is what you said." One can sense Baskin's unrestrained weeping as he wrote this. He still, even now, does not realise that to a Muslim, lying to a kafir is an act of worship, multiplied so many times over in the case of Palestinians to Jews. There are currently nine such people in the Knesset. The first reaction to the massacre by the supposedly secular Arab MK Ayman Odeh was to tell Israel to hand over the Palestinian "hostages" in Israeli prisons in exchange for the Israeli captives in Hamas's dungeons. Perhaps Ghazi Hamad would be kind enough to introduce Odeh to Baskin.
Baskin, though, is a man truly in pain. Before his own deluded conscience, he must now salvage what he can of his self-respect from a past that is haunting him. And it is the same pain that so many Leftwing people in the West, to their credit, are finally suffering. For those in Israel, it might be too late for tears.
"I don't think you have the courage to answer me." A man who would happily see 1,400,000,000 Jews slaughtered, a hundred times more than actually exist, lacks the courage to answer Baskin? What conceit! "I believe that this will be the last time I ever communicate with you." Of course it will be the last time. You've outlived your usefulness, you idiot.
Screen grab, MSNBC video
By Ecrusized, influenced by user Rr016. - Own work, NYT & WSJ. Made using OpenTopoMap data., CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=138683876
6 November 2023 at 14:53
Dear Anjuli Pandavar
Very well written.
Regretfully we have no lack of useful idiots and self-hating auto-Antisemitic Jews including Israelis.
Dr. Uri Milstein in his Hebrew article points out and compares the defaults of 1973 to 2023.
I would add additional connections to the collapse of the concept and paradigm of Oct. 2023:
In my opinion, the Hamas 2023 attack happened because Ariel Sharon handed over Gaza to the Arabs in 2005, when the entire Labor Party and all their moral predecessors of the Meretz, Labor and Yesh Atid voted for it, including others from the Likud who joined Ariel Sharon in breaching the Likud's official platform. That includes Benyamin Netanyahu. He appointed Gershon Baskin to negotiate the shameful Shalit deal.
This is what the Left and the spineless "moderates" did to Israel when they helped Sharon hand over Gaza to the Arabs.
That day, was decided on Tisha B'Av 2005 and then symbolically postponed by one day, gave birth to the present brutal attack and war - including all previous attacks and wars by Hamas.
A thin silver line runs from Rabin's government appalling Oslo disaster, to Barak's disgraceful escape from Lebanon in 2000, Sharon's forced expulsion of Jews from Gaza in 2005 to Olmert's disastrous war in Lebanon in 2006.
The exchange of 1027 Hamas prisoners in 2011 for Gilad Shalit was Netanyahu's populist, shameful and irresponsible deal.
The shameful surrender to Hezbollah of the Lapid/Benet transitional government and the transfer of Israeli territories and assets to the terrorist organization of Hezbollah in 2022.
All of these are under the auspices of the High Court and the media, including many other useless military operations against Gaza to this day from 2005.
In fact, Israel gave Arafat, and his 15,000 terrorists arms, money and territories as part of the Oslo disaster in exchange for an imaginary peace.
That deal collapsed, just like all the ones that came after it.
Ben Dor A.
7 November 2023 at 11:23
Dear Ben Dor A.
Thank you for your comment.
You mention, "Dr. Uri Milstein in his Hebrew article points out and compares the defaults of 1973 to 2023." Does this article exist in English?