You may have heard that Hamas is a resistance group dedicated to liberating Palestinians. People are coming together in support of Hamas, passionately chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” because they view Hamas as the champion of freedom and justice, staunchly defending the Palestinian people against Israel. Is this true?
Who is Hamas?
Hamas is an Arabic acronym, Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya, meaning “Islamic Resistance Movement.” It was formed out of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1988. While Hamas calls itself a “resistance movement,” the United States, Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, and the UK recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization.1
Hamas’ charter explicitly states: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”2 Hamas’ expressed goal is to destroy Israel, replacing it with an Islamic Palestinian state3 and to eliminate all Jewish people.4
Hamas’ first major act to accomplish their charter occurred on April 6, 1994,5 when it attacked Israeli civilians with a suicide car bombing next to a bus picking up students. It killed eight people, including teenagers and Arab Israelis, and injured 44 others.6 Hamas has continued to target Israeli civilians in the years following, including firing thousands of rockets at civilians in Israel since 2000.7
Many of these rockets have been fired from Gaza, where Hamas has its base of operations. In response to years of brutal attacks in Gaza, in 2005 the Israeli military forcibly removed all Israeli citizens from the Gaza strip. In 2006, the people of Gaza voted Hamas into power. Then, in 2007, Hamas violently purged the rival party, Fatah, out of Gaza. Thus, the governance of the Gaza strip has been under the control of Hamas since 2007. There has not been another election in Gaza since Hamas came to power.
One of the worst days in Jewish history
On October 7, 2023, Jewish people throughout Israel were going to synagogue to celebrate Shabbat and Simchat Torah. On that day, Hamas launched a massive attack on Israel’s civilians from Gaza. Hamas murdered more than 1,000 people, marking the largest number of Jews killed in a single day since the Holocaust. Hamas infiltrated more than 30 communities, taking families hostage in their homes and murdering them. Hamas kidnapped more than 150 men, women, and children, including Holocaust survivors.
They raped women, burned people alive, and paraded the bodies of dead Jewish people in the streets of Gaza. Hamas shot, burned,8 and beheaded babies.9 One Hamas terrorist even admitted that Hamas abducted babies to rape them.10 Hamas tortured children; they tied them up, burned them to death, leaving their bodies in piles.11 Former IDF chief rabbi, Israel Weiss, working to identify the bodies that Hamas slaughtered, reports his horrible experience:
I cannot describe to you in words what it is like to see a pregnant woman who has had her stomach cut open and the baby pulled out . . . I only knew something like that from the Nazis. . . . We found bodies of elderly civilians. They had all their fingers and toes cut off.12
Hamas is not a resistance group; they are terrorists. One significant difference between the Nazis and Hamas is that the Nazis concealed their atrocities from the world, a subtle recognition of knowing their deeds were evil, or at least would be perceived as such, while Hamas records and broadcasts their acts of terrorism against the Jewish people for the world to see.
Why does Hamas commit these acts of terrorism?
Why does Hamas commit these atrocities against Jewish people? The answer is found in their charter. Article Seven states:
The Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:
“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing 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, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).”13
Hamas’s hatred of Jews is rooted in Muhammad’s instruction to kill Jews. Article Eight states, “Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.”14 For Hamas, politics and religion are intertwined, with their ultimate goal being the destruction of the Jewish people.
In his message on April 8, 2011, former Hamas minister of culture, Atallah Abu Al-Subh asserted, “The Jews are the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon the face of the Earth, because they have displayed hostility to Allah.”15 On July 12, 2018, Senior Hamas Official Fathi Hammad declared the following on Qatar’s Al Jazeera network and Gaza’s Al-Aqsa TV:
On this day, as we are witnessing all that is happening with the grace of Allah, we are looking forward to two important things, which are within sight: The first is the cleansing of Palestine of the filth of the Jews . . . The second thing is the establishment of the Caliphate, after the nation has been healed of its cancer—the Jews—Allah willing.16
On April 7, 2023, Hamas official, Sheikh Dr. Hamad Al-Regeb expressed,
(Allah) transformed them [the Jews] in filthy, ugly animals like apes and pigs . . . . Oh Allah, bring annihilation upon the Jews. Oh Allah, bring annihilation upon the Jews. Paralyze them, destroy their entity, tear them apart, bring upon them a terrible punishment. Oh Allah, enable us to get to the necks of the Jews. Oh Allah, enable us to get to the necks of the Jews. Oh Allah, enable us to get to the necks of the Jews.17
Hamas’s goal is encapsulated in the words of one Hamas-affiliated imam, who said the following words in his message on July 24, 2014, “Our doctrine in fighting you (the Jews) is that we will totally exterminate you . . . We will not leave a single one of you alive.”18 Given these pronouncements, Hamas is not a resistance group fighting for the freedom of Palestinians. It is a terrorist organization that abducts and murders men, women, children, teenagers, and the elderly; destroys families; rapes women; and cuts the heads off of babies.
What should we do?
Jewish people are enduring unspeakable atrocities, and Hamas actively disseminates its Jew-hatred worldwide, attempting to garner sympathy and support for its actions. We should counter this by standing in solidarity with the Jewish people and advocating for Israel’s obligation and right to defend itself. Spread the truth about Hamas on social media and in person. Attend pro-Israel rallies and pray for Israel. If you are not Jewish, be there for your Jewish friends during this time when Jew-hatred is spreading. And always remember, Psalm 121:4, “Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” Am Yisrael Chai!
- “Hamas,” ADL, October 10, 2023, https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounder/hamas#.UqeDv-LfLzM.
- “The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement,” The Avalon Project, August 8, 1988, https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp.
- Matthew Levitt, Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 9.
- See article 7 of Hamas’s charter discussed below.
- Levitt, Hamas, 12.
- Clyde Haberman, “Arab Car Bomber Kills 8 in Israel; 44 Are Wounded,” The New York Times, April 7, 1994, https://www.nytimes.com/1994/04/07/world/arab-car-bomber-kills-8-in-israel-44-are-wounded.html.
- “Hamas,” ADL, October 10, 2023, https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounder/hamas#.UqeDv-LfLzM.
- Tovah Lazaroff, “Hamas burned Israelis alive in South, Netanyahu says,” The Jerusalem Post, October 12, 2023, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/article-767832.
- Tzvi Joffre, “Photos of babies being burnt, decapitated confirmed,” The Jerusalem Post, October 12, 2023, https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-767951.
- Interrogation footage available here: Emily Schrader – אמילי שריידר امیلی شریدر, Twitter post, October 11, 2023, 5:24 a.m., https://twitter.com/emilykschrader/status/1712036369248186674.
- Stuart Ramsay, “Israel-Hamas War: Recovered Bodies Show ‘bloodthirsty’ Gunmen ‘Took Time over Torture’ – and That Hamas Has Changed,” Sky News, October 16, 2023, https://news.sky.com/story/israel-gaza-war-recovered-bodies-show-bloodthirsty-gunmen-took-time-over-torture-and-that-hamas-has-changed-12985212.
- Quoted in Peter Wilke, “‘I only knew that from the Nazis’: Israeli forensic experts identify tortured and burned bodies,” Politico, October 15, 2023, https://www.politico.eu/article/i-only-knew-that-from-the-nazis-what-israeli-forensics-have-been-seeing-for-days/.
- “The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”
- Memri, “Former Hamas Minister of Culture ’Atallah Abu al-Subh: ‘The Jews Are the Most Despicable and Contemptible Nation to Crawl upon the Face of the Earth,’” MEMRI, April 8, 2011, https://www.memri.org/tv/former-hamas-minister-culture-atallah-abu-al-subh-jews-are-most-despicable-and-contemptible.
- Memri, “Senior Hamas Official Fathi Hammad: We Will Cleanse Palestine of the Filth of the Jews, Heal the Nation of the Jewish Cancer; Netanyahu, Lieberman, We Are Coming to Chop off Your Heads!,” MEMRI, July 12, 2018, https://www.memri.org/tv/hamas-political-bureau-member-fathi-hammad-at-gaza-rallies-cleanse-palestine-of-filth-cancer-of-the-jews.
- Memri, “Hamas Official Sheikh Hamad Al-Regeb Refers to Jews as ‘Brothers of Apes and Pigs’ During A Rafah Friday Sermon, Prays for Annihilation of Polytheists and Atheists, Adds: ‘Oh Allah, Enable Us to Get to the Necks of the Jews,’” MEMRI, April 7, 2023, https://www.memri.org/tv/rafah-gaza-friday-sermon-hamas-official-regeb-allah-necks-jews-annihilate-them.
- Memri, “Hamas Sermon from the Gaza Strip: Our Doctrine Entails Exterminating the Jews,” MEMRI, July 24, 2014, https://www.memri.org/tv/hamas-sermon-gaza-strip-our-doctrine-entails-exterminating-jews.