Some Ideas Are Worth Destroying

(Los Angeles Jewish Journal) David Hazony - "Hamas is an idea, and you can't destroy an idea," say pro-Hamas apologists and a wide range of well-meaning commentators. Nobody ever called Hamas an idea before Oct. 7. Suddenly, in light of Israel's decision to end Hamas' reign in Gaza, it's fashionable to call it an "idea." Hamas is not really an idea. It's a terror organization, with weapons that include rockets and tens of thousands of armed soldiers. To the extent that Hamas really is an idea, it's a pretty horrifying one. The idea, after all, is to kill Jews. More specifically, it is a fantasy of the destruction of Israel and its replacement, not with a prosperous and peaceable independent Palestinian state, but with brutal Islamist rule. The Islamist idea is not nationalist; it knows no borders and embodies no national aspirations. It is more like the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood that spawned it, or like the Iranian regime ideology of a grand global battle. You actually can destroy an idea, or at least sufficiently disempower and disincentivize it so that it becomes harmless. The implication of the phrase - if you can't destroy an idea, one shouldn't bother trying - is tantamount to abandoning the world to the worst ideas of its worst actors. What does it take to destroy an idea? First, you take away its guns. Ideas are like sports teams: Losers are less attractive than winners. This is what the U.S. did to ISIS, and what Israel is doing in Gaza. Second, you take away funding, legal status, and social license. But the most important thing is to provide better ideas. Develop them, hone them, empower them, fund them, repeat them, teach them in schools, to show, over and over, why those ideas are better than the barbarism of Hamas.

2023-12-01 00:00:00

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