For all the coverage given by the media to events in Gaza, one crucial element has, mostly, been ignored: the Hamas Chater, adopted in 1988. To start at the beginning: it is one of the most antisemitic, Jew-hating political statements ever published.
It states: “Our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by …the Arab and Islamic world.”
The Charter quotes the Prophet Mohammed: “Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees…’”
One might be tempted to dismiss these invocations to kill Jews as simply religious fundamentalist language, not to be taken literally. But the Hamas Charter rather contradicts the wishes of those well-meaning souls who urge talks with Hamas by rejecting the idea that talking with their opponents is fruitful. Hamas declares, “the so-called peaceful solutions and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of [Hamas] … ”
So much for hopes of a reconciliation between Hamas and the secular wing of the Palestinian movement, Fatah. Indeed, in Article 27 of the charter, Hamas makes clear that “despite the fact that we do not denigrate [the PLO] role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, we cannot substitute it for the Islamic nature of Palestine…”
For Hamas, “there is no solution to the Palestinian problem except Jihad”. The initiatives, proposals and conferences are a waste of time. Instead, Hamas “must imprint on the minds of generations of Muslims that the Palestinian problem is a religious one”.
Talking with Hamas may well be necessary but those advocating such a policy cannot dismiss the core contempt of the Hamas Charter, not just for Jews but for secular Palestinians.
So, with Fatah, secular politics and peace conferences all dismissed, Hamas turns to its real enemy, the Jew. “The Nazism of the Jews… scares everyone. They make war against people’s livelihood, plunder their money and threaten their honour.” For Hamas, Jews are the immortal enemy with huge power to influence world history. Jewish money is used “to take control of the world media”, including press, TV, publishers and news agencies.
This vision of Jews controlling the media meshes with the BNP’s view, expressed by Nick Griffin in Who are the Mindbenders.
Hamas goes further. “The Jews stood behind World War II, where they collected immense benefits from trading war materials…” The Jews use “money to establish clandestine organisations… in order to destroy societies and carry out Zionist interests” including “the Masons, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs… All of them are nests of saboteurs and sabotage.” Three times in its charter, Hamas denounces the Rotary Clubs, which “act for the interests of Zionism… to wipe out Islam”.
Perhaps realising that anyone who read the Hamas Charter would find its language repulsive and antisemitic, article 31 tries to soften the line by declaring: “Hamas is a humane movement, which cares for human rights and is committed to tolerance…”
The charter then refers to “Zionist scheming” which “has no end, and after Palestine they will covet expansion from the Nile to the Euphrates… Their scheme has been laid out in The Protocols of the elders of Zion.”
Politicians and diplomats may dismiss the language of the charter as merely excessive words from Islamists who can be coaxed into the compromises necessary for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. That may be true, but the Hamas Charter still stands as one of the most virulent expressions of Jew-hatred ever written — and written not in 1888 but in 1988, and it still stands today.