You may be an ambassador to England or France,
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Bob Dylan might have added Israel to the list if he were a follower of Arab politics, one of the more remarkable features of which is the relentless accusation between competing factions of servility to the Jews. Last weekend, Hamas gunned down the members of some al-Qaeda-style groups in the Gaza strip. Why? You guessed it:

A number of al-Qaida-affiliated groups on Thursday condemned Hamas as an apostate movement that serves the interests of Israel by cracking down on their supporters in the Gaza Strip. . . .

“Hamas’s actions serve the interest of the Jewish usurpers of Palestine and the Christians who are fighting Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Somalia,” the statement charged, urging bin Laden and Zawahiri to come out in public against Hamas.

Ho hum. Hamas accuses Fatah of serving Israeli interests more often than Walt and Mearsheimer accuse neoconservatives of the same thing. Any Palestinian who speaks of peaceful coexistence receives the treatment. During the recent Fatah confab in Bethlehem, collaboration with Israel was a popular charge for political rivals to level at one another. During the mid-1960s, Arab leaders were so aggressive in accusing each other of this grave crime that they goaded themselves into perhaps their greatest humiliation of all time—the Six-Day War.

Have these accusers ever really believed their own claims? Doubtful. But the popularity of the accusation says rather a lot about the fevered and conspiratorial nature of Arab politics, where the greatest insult one can suffer is the charge of servility to the Jews.

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