September 7, 2017 Special Dispatch No. 7082

Syrian-Palestinian Philosopher: Iran, Hizbullah Use Slogan Of Resistance Against Israel As Cover For Their War On Sunni Arabs

September 7, 2017
Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 7082

In an article published in the UAE paper Al-Bayan, Dr. Ahmad Barqawi, a philosopher of Syrian-Palestinian origin and the former head of the Philosophy Department at the University of Damascus, who currently resides in Dubai, came out against Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas. He said that they exploit the slogan of resistance against Israel to win the support of Arabs and cover for their actions, which are detrimental to Sunnis and to the Arab countries at large. He also criticized Arabs who fall for this ploy, while noting that most do not: they judge Hizbullah and Iran based on their actions against Arabs, not based on their empty slogans. He added that this exploitation of the resistance against Israel only harms the Palestinian cause by making people loath rhetoric related to Palestine.

Ahmad Barqawi

The following are excerpts from the article.[1]

"It is only natural that the Arabs, as individuals and as a collective, take a hostile position towards Israel and support the Palestinians in their struggle for freedom and honor and for the liberation of their land. This position does not confer any privileges upon anyone [because it is perfectly obvious]. It is the opposite position [i.e., Arab support for Israel] that arouses puzzlement and provokes condemnation... [But] hostility towards Israel does not entitle anyone to harm others, and it is neither reasonable, nor necessary, nor realistic, nor moral [to regard] hostility towards Israel as a certificate of good character that entitles anyone to attack societies, nations or people [in general].

"Every time anyone criticizes Hizbullah – which is one of the sectarian parties in Lebanon – certain writers immediately jump up and say: 'but Hizbullah is an enemy of Israel and an emblem of resistance.' Those who make this claim undoubtedly espouse a knee-jerk way of thinking, for they use a single criterion as a yardstick to understand and assess various phenomena and form an opinion about them. Even if we assume, for the sake of the argument, that there is a measure of truth in this claim [that Hizbullah opposes Israel], do these people think that hostility towards Israel is a sufficient reason to support [Hizbullah]?

"[There are many people who will never support it]. For example, a resident of the city of Al-Qusayr [in western Syria] who was expelled from the city after Hizbullah took over it will hate Hizbullah even if [this organization] liberates Palestine. He will base his opinion upon his own tragedy, which Hizbullah caused, and he is justified in regarding Hizbullah as responsible for a criminal act. [Likewise,] Hizbullah, which supported the tyrannical [Syrian] regime that has killed 60,000 prisoners,[2] will receive nothing but absolute contempt from the families of [those] victims. The South Lebanese murdered by Hizbullah – that same Hizbullah that murdered [former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq] Al-Hariri and [liberal journalist and academic] Samir Kassir and others in Lebanon – will never defend Hizbullah to Lebanon's Sunnis. Nor will Hizbullah, which took over Beirut like an invading force, ever win the love of the people of western Beirut with slogans of resistance. And so on and so forth.

"A Houthi [in Yemen] hangs up a poster saying 'Death to Israel' and then occupies the cities of Al-Hudayda, Aden and Sanaa. So what is the meaning of the slogan 'Death to Israel' if in practice [this Houthi only] sows destruction in Yemen? And what is the point of Hamas's declarations of hostility towards Israel and its support for the complete liberation [of Palestine] if in practice it [only] makes Gaza impossible to live in? What is the point of a country like Iran declaring hostility towards Israel and then adopting a policy of destabilizing its Arab neighbors using militias that oppose the [very] notion of the state and by exporting its fake revolution?

"The principles of freedom, liberation, stability and justice cannot be divided, and neither can the position that man has a right to live in honor. If you support the Palestinian people and its freedom, this means that you must support the Syrian people's noble struggle for freedom, liberation and honor. If you are hostile towards Israel, this means that you support Yemen, Iraq and Syria against the militant sectarian forces and their allies [i.e., Iran, Hizbullah, Al-Hashd Al-Sha'bi and the Houthis]. If you are against Israel, you cannot support terror in some other country.

"In fact, turning hostility to Israel into a slogan in order to harm others is reprehensible behavior, and not only politically. It is blatantly immoral. Moreover, its effect on the Palestinian cause is very negative, because this morally flawed [approach] creates a kind of loathing towards any rhetoric related to Palestine, and can [cause the Palestinian issue] to lose its seriousness and its place in [public] awareness."  


[1], August 9, 2017.

[2] According to a May 2016 report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, over 60,000 prisoners have died in the regime's prisons since the beginning of the civil war. See, May 22, 2017).  

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