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In Their Own Words
Why They Fight: Hamas’ Too-Little-Known Fascist Charter

As the Gaza conflict rolls on, the Western press has virtually ignored Hamas’s 1988 “Covenant,” which precisely details the terror group’s radical anti-Semitism and intellectual debt to Nazi ideology.

Published on: August 1, 2014
Jeffrey Herf is Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Maryland in College Park and recently a fellow of the Middle East Forum. His Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World was published by Yale University Press in 2009. He is completing a history of the causes, impact, and aftereffects of the antagonism of the East German Communist regime and West German radical left to Israel from the Six Day War to the collapse of the Soviet bloc.
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  • Jojo Jobxyzone

    But Qatar has told Nancy Pelosi that Hamas is a humanitarian organization – so how can you possibly be correct in your analysis?

  • Breif2

    Enemies of Civilization such as Nazis and Hamas do their thing, and we do ours, which is being willfully blind to emerging threats. “Mein Kampf? Come now, Mr. Hitler doesn’t actually mean those regrettable things he writes, it’s just demagoguery for a frustrated public. Once we meet his legitimate demands, he will become a peaceful stakeholder in the system. Stop being so paranoid, you warmongers!”

    • johngbarker

      And of course the invasion of Czechoslovakia was just a legitimate boundary readjustment that brought peace in its time. Do the warmongers never learn from history?

    • Grigalem

      That’s not what happened, and no one said that.

      We knew he meant what he wrote in Mein Kampf, but no one thought he would ever get elected. As it was Hitler was a minority candidate who should never have been given the Chancellorship.

      • Breif2

        After conducting some exhaustive historical research, I have discovered that Hitler became Chancelor in 1933. When I have some more time, I will try to find out just when it is that World War 2 started.

        • Grigalem

          Yes. You do that.

          Then you will know what happened when he became Chancellor. And even how to spell it.

          • Breif2

            Oh, thanks to your helpful comments, I know what happens after he becomes Chancellor in January 1933: everybody understands what a threat he is and acts accordingly. However, my painstaking historical research has now reached July 1933, and I am not seeing much evidence of such. Please reassure me that I won’t have to delve all the way to 1934.

          • Grigalem

            No one was “being willfully blind to emerging threats”.

            No one said: “Mein Kampf? Come now, Mr. Hitler doesn’t actually mean
            those regrettable things he writes, it’s just demagoguery for a
            frustrated public.”

            No one said: “he will become a
            peaceful stakeholder in the system.”

            When you actually do your research you will find that out.

          • Breif2

            1. You do realize that I was employing a standard rhetorical device and that one would have to be amazingly literal-minded to think that I was claiming that this was a direct literal quote, yes?


            Times of London, January 30 1933: “That Herr Hitler who leads the strongest party in the Reichstag and obtained almost one third of the votes at the last election should be given the chance at showing that he is something more than an orator and an agitator was always desirable.”

            British ambassador to Germany, Sir Eric Phipps, April 1933: “We cannot regard him [Hitler] solely as the author of ‘Mein Kampf'”

            3. The alternative you are offering is that everybody realized exactly what a threat Hitler was, but that despite having several years they were beyond-incredibly incompetent in meeting it (echoes of a previous post here). Should that be your position, consider it presented. Next.

          • Grigalem

            I did not say … or imply … that it was a direct quote.

            No one was “being willfully blind to emerging threats”.

            No one said: “Mein Kampf? Come now, Mr. Hitler doesn’t actually mean
            those regrettable things he writes, it’s just demagoguery for a frustrated public.”

            No one said: “he will become a
            peaceful stakeholder in the system.”

            And your quotes do not support your assertions.

          • Bruno_Behrend

            Actually, they do.

          • julea bacall

            What I would like to ask is..Did you read the full Hamas Charter?

          • Breif2

            Yeeeees… Why?

  • if someone had told the signers of this charter than in 20 years infidels would be shouting “We are Hamas!” in the streets of European capitals, they would have said, “only Allah can make someone that stupid.”

    • Government Drone

      And that it would be proof of divine intervention!

  • Duperray

    Who does not identified on time enough his reckless Enemy is doomed to be destroyed by it.
    This occurred to some european democracies in 1940 and might also occur to US in the future. In 1941. Lack of on-time identification lead to 2 bloody years of war before reversing the tide. And this enemy was of simple concept, aircraft carriers, planes and ground troops: To defeat it was easy for a very developed industrial country, once on gear.
    This time the Enemy is hidden inside society, a religious civil war under preparation. Satellites, laser weaponry, nuclear heads and tanks are useless.

  • adk

    ”’s strange that the Western press hasn’t inquired into why one of the parties is fighting. That would be Hamas…”
    Not strange at all. Once you start digging into Hamas, you might actually start to understand Israel. A very dangerous (to the MSM consensus) line of inquiry.

  • Anthony

    “A misplaced reticence and a condescending desire not to offend have only made it easier for Hamas to grow stronger and more dangerous.”

    “People have no shortage of selfish motives for violence but really big body counts…pile up when a large number of people carry out a motive that transcends any one of them: an ideology…Ideological violence is a means to an end. But with an ideology, the end is idealistic: a conception of the greater good.” An ideology can render opponents infinitely evil and deserving of infinite punishment; how do we combat (recrudescence and insularity) it long term?

  • FriendlyGoat

    Thank you for bringing this up and linking to the actual 36-article Covenant. I wish it was required reading for liberals, conservatives, Muslims, Christians, Jews and secularists.

    We would hope that the so-called “moderate” Muslims following what George W. Bush called “a religion of peace” would, after reading the Covenant, either resolve to put a lid on the Hamas ideology—-or decide to quit Islam rather than be associated with what’s in it.

    When the rest of us discover that nearly no Muslims anywhere have any intention of doing either of those things,….well, then we might BEGIN to have a realistic grasp of our world problem with Islam itself.

  • Arkeygeezer

    The Palestinians that support Hamas have a religious belief that is beyond reason. Therefore, those that live by the sword can die by the sword, Matthew 26:52.

    • There are increasing number of Israelis with ” a religious belief that is beyond reason”. Do you oppose their stance as well?

  • Corlyss

    “Why They Fight:”
    Okay. They have an identifiable doctrinal ethos. But that obscures the underlying fact:
    They fight because someone foots the bill. No money, no fight!

    • Ethan56

      unfortunately that’s not true. Hamas soldiers and adminstrators have not been paid for several months; Hamas expected the PA to pay them which is one reason why they joined a “unity” govt in which they did not have much power.

      • Corlyss

        It is naive to surmise that foot soldiers’ salaries are the most important item in the payoffs scheme. Money keeps the terrorist ship afloat.

  • Breif2

    My favorite part of the Charter is its quote of the following hadith:

    The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.

    And what truly makes it “sublime” is the part I italicized. I just have one complaint: Hamas should do a much better job of publicizing just what that evil tree is, so that we are able to better find them Jews come Judgment Day.

    • julea bacall

      The Gharkad, Gogi (in Chinese) is good for people and meant to destroy evil. Thats why it protects.

  • Jmaci

    Mr. Herf’s book “Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World” is a very worthwhile read.

  • Grigalem

    What’s left is to point out that Hamas gets its arms and rockets from Iran …. with an even weirder ideology. And Qatari tech and cash helps Hamas with tunnels and rockets.

    “Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told JNS that Qatar is “believed to be the primary financier of Hamas.”,7340,L-4551637,00.html

    The 2012 budget of the Hamas terror organization is $769 million, an increase of 22 percent from 2011.

    Hamas terrorists who venture to Iran spend anywhere from 45 days to six months with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in an intense training program. Terrorists in training learn a variety of skills in technology, rocket launching, detonating IED’s, sniping and other military tactics. Hamas terrorists who stand out from the training remain in Iran and participate in advanced courses. On their return to the Gaza Strip, they open up their own training programs as instructors.

    Iran, Hamas’ financial backbone, supplies the terror organization with:
    122m Grad Rockets – range 20km (12.4 mi.)
    Other Rockets – range 40km (25 mi.)
    Anti-Tank Missiles
    Technical know-how – IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices)
    Training grounds on Iranian soil coached by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard
    Several hundred million dollars of financial aid per year
    Operating permits for Hamas’ headquarters in Damascus

  • FVS

    Just imagine……. if Hamas and the other various hate filled factions in Gaza channeled all that money, energy and logistical effort that they put into building rockets and digging tunnels, buying arms and teaching their children to hate Jews for the sake of hating Jews into say, imitating the Israelis by making the desert bloom with farms to feed their people and manufacturing something that the rest of the world would want to buy from them. Giving them jobs and hope for the future and the futures of their children.

    But instead they consider their children as military assets to be used and sacrificed in endless wars and squandering the billions of dollars that the world has given them on corruption and arms and fostering hatred. They then complain to that same world “Look we have nothing, and the Jews have everything, but only because they stole it from us!” Meanwhile hundreds if not thousands of Palestinian sick and injured are treated in Israeli hospitals, tons of food, medical supplies and household goods flow from Israel into Gaza every week. Thousands of Palestinians seek and are given jobs in Israeli industry, farms and construction.

    As long as the so-called leaders of the Palestinians and the Arab world at large remain committed to enriching themselves and keeping the rest of their people focused on a centuries old blood feud, nothing will change and the suffering, war and death will continue. As long as they, and I’m speaking of the Palestinian leaders here, as long as they continue to teach their children that loving death more than their enemies love life is more important than loving their children and building a prosperous future for them, they will remain little more than crude barbarians in the truest sense of the word.

    T.E. Lawrence was right nearly a hundred years ago when he concluded that true progress for the Arab was all but impossible as long as they remained tribal in nature and their leaders continued to perpetuate and manipulate that social structure for their own exclusive benefit.

  • julea bacall

    This is an enlightening article, not opinion but based on the Charter written BY HAMAS. Why is it not more circulated and in Mainstream knowledge? The Hamas Charter is Imperative to any understanding…has the Wilson Center read it? Has Washington? Why NO MENTION?

  • DiaKrieg

    Excellent close-reading of a horrific text. As our audacious president says, words matter.

  • Dan Greene

    The Hamas Charter vs The Book of Joshua. Let’s get it on!

  • YoshiNakamura

    Professor Herf writes: “Its philosophy is rooted in the totalitarianism and radical
    anti-Semitism that has undergirded Islamism since its rise in the 1930s
    and 1940s.” This gives the impression that “Islamism” goes back only 70 or 80 years whereas Islamic anti-Semitism, in fact,goes back nearly 1400 years. Then follows: “According to them [ that is, Al-Banna, Amin el-Husseini and Seyyi8d Qutb] , Islam was an inherently anti-Jewish religion. Through
    selective quotation from the Koran and various commentaries, they
    claimed Islam’s holiest book supported their racist and anti-Jewish
    views.” Why is Professor Herf trying so hard to exonerate Islam? Islamic anti-Semitism based on the Koran and “various commentaries” is NOT selective quotation. The Koran, Muhammad’s sacred sayings and the great Islamic commentaries really do say these things. I urge readers to take a look at the anthology of primary and secondary sources compiled by Dr. Andrew Bostom entitled ” The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism.” Islamic anti-Semitism was not invented by the founders of the Muslim Brotherhood. It goes back all the way to the founding of Islam by Muhammad.

  • B Miller

    The only media (TV) mention of the Hamas charter I have seen has been by Megyn Kelly, anchor of Fox News Channel’s The Kelly File. She read from it on her show, I can’t remember the date. Oh and just now on Hannity (also Fox News). Not sure why everyone else is ignoring it. (especially CNN which I actually watch more) Willful blindness?

  • David

    The only choice Israel has, in face of this implacable enemy, is to grow stronger. This means free-market capitalism to get economic growth. This means mandatory military training. This means more immigration to increase the population. All of these Israel is doing. In twenty years their economic base will so exceed that of Hamas that Hamas will be nothing more than a footnote in history.

  • Sandy Perlmutter

    Possibly it will take ISIS to awaken the world to the threat of Islamism and Islamofascism. Hamas have been very successful at twisting the media to show dead children rather than their own activities and intensions. Soon they will add puppies and kittens. The Hamas charter is, as stated, available on line. I have read it several times because I am active on several comments boards. The Old Left has been anti-Israel for years, and the New Left also, although the Old Left should have known better after the Hitler-Stalin pact. The New Left are getting rather long in the tooth; now they are college professors rather than just radical students. They still don’t read any of the horrible materials available on the Islamist sites. It is like avoiding 1933! For homework, dudes, read and discuss the Hamas Covenant, their Articles of Confederation:

    The larger picture: Islam and the Quran have a lot of blood on their hands, always have had, since the beginning. They were a very effective imperial force for about 700 years or so. They deserve no sympathy, and we need to be aware of the threat they still pose to the peace of the world. The mental sickness caused by strict adherence to Islam makes it impossible for thoughtful exploration of the world; instead, young men are fired up to follow unspeakable leadership. It is not so very different from Nazism, or from the kind of Christianity that has led to slaughter for hundreds of years.

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