I was struck today by a comment made on the PCUSA’s Israel Palestine Mission Network Facebook page. It had to do with the announcement of the deal between Israel and Hamas that will free Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, who was kidnapped over five years ago. In the deal, the Israelis agreed to release 1000 Palestinian prisoners–at least some of whom are terrorists who were serving life sentences for murder–in return for Schalit. It’s a bad strategic decision by Israel (I think it only encourages Hamas to attempt other kidnappings, as well as letting loose murderers who will almost certainly try to kill again), but it’s very much in accord with Israeli ethics. So what the IPMN say about it?

So it’s official: a Palestinian life/freedom is worth 1/1000 an Israeli’s.

Hence the post headline. At no time has the IPMN ever encouraged Hamas to do the humanitarian thing and let Schalit go, say in a one-to-one prisoner exchange. Hamas has, in fact, held out for the maximum number of prisoners to be released in return for Shalit. For goodness sake, Hamas once demanded the exchange of hundreds of Palestinians in return for giving back three corpses of Israeli soldiers it had killed, whose bodies it kept specifically for the purpose of blackmailing Israel into giving up terrorists in return for having the opportunity to bury its dead with dignity. I don’t recall the IPMN urging Hamas to act civilized and give back to the grieving families the bodies of the soldiers it killed.

I mean really: does IPMN think that Israel held out to increase the number of prisoners it would release in return for Schalit in order to make some kind of racist statement? Why not release 2000 prisoners? Why not release them all, and then snigger behind Hamas’s back, “see, one Israeli is worth every Palestinian we’ve got!” One could suggest that it is in fact the IPMN that is drawing the racist inference here, rather than Israel implying anything about the worth of Palestinians. But that would mean steering the conversation back into the land of reality, and the IPMN is highly allergic to setting foot on such alien territory.