Shabi’s shabby work

Playing catchup, I read this Guardian piece with no great expectations:


And indeed, it follows the Guardian party line about the situation. Any sliver of objective analysis has been removed. And then there’s this interesting paragraph (with my added emphasis):

When westerners use the anti-normalisation card, it just seems like bad politics by proxy. How could the occupation be entrenched by a British person meeting with an individual Israeli? Is it that this meeting, by taking place at all, will cause the Israeli to think that the occupation is OK? What if you meet the Israeli and tell them that the occupation is in fact illegal and must end? And if Galloway’s guiding principle is that he doesn’t recognise Israel, this makes him more inflexible than Hamas, which has implicitly recognised Israel. Again, not helpful.

The online version of this article links the phrase which has implicitly recognised Israel to this:


So, I looked at the article for evidence of Hamas recognizing Israel.

Does “Weighs Options For Recognizing Israel” sound to you like Hamas has recognized Israel?

The best the article does in coming close to backing up Rachel Shabi’s throwaway line is this:

It appears that Hamas is still vacillating between explicitly and implicitly recognizing Israel. Hamas realizes that recognizing Israel would open up the world’s doors to the movement.

First, that is not any form of recognition. Second, the other contents of the article make it clear there is no recognition:

At the same time, Hamas knows that such a move would be seen as a betrayal by the movement’s supporters, both inside and outside Palestine.

If they were to do it, such a move would be, er, betrayal. In other words, if at some time in the future, Hamas recognized Israel…How much does that help?

Or consider this from the same linked article:

As Hamas well knows, its legitimacy derives from its vocal support for armed struggle within the complicated Palestinian reality. Hamas also knows that it will pay a heavy price if it is seen to be agreeing to international conditions. The cost will not only be political, but also ideological.

Or this:

Since Hamas was founded in late 1987, it has been conducting an ideological and political campaign for its members and supporters against recognizing Israel. Hamas’ constitution says that Israel is a “cancer that must be eradicated,” and that “its demise is a Quranic inevitability.” Those and other slogans have been a key component of Hamas’s political discourse. It is therefore not easy for Hamas to change overnight due to political realism and suddenly tell its supporters: We shall recognize Israel, but it’s under duress!

In a nutshell, there is no recognition. Nor is there likely to be any. Rachel Shabi is either wrong or deliberately misleading her readership. To put it another way, she is either engaging in sloppy journalism or lying. You decide.