Hamas in 10 Words or Less

Yarden Frankl,

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צילום: ערוץ 7
Yarden Frankl
Yarden Frankl is the Executive Director of the Center for Analysis of Media Coverage of Israel. His work appears in the Times of Israel, the Jewish Press, the Algemeiner, as well as Israel National News. He was a senior editor for HonestReporting for 11 years. He also blogs at CrossingtheYarden.com. ...

Now that the West has decided to work with a Palestinian "unity" government, Hamas is being mentioned often in the media. In order to briefly tell readers who Hamas is, most articles include a short description.

Typical are:

"...backed by the Islamist militant group Hamas, which the United States and Israel have branded a terrorist organization." (Washington Post)

"...Hamas, a militant Islamic group that hasn't recognized Israel..." (CNN)

"...backed by Hamas, which Israel considers a terrorist organization." (LA Times)

Yet even given the need for brevity that is an accepted requirement of modern day journalism, do these short descriptions convey the most accurate information about the group? Is the refusal of Hamas to recognize Israel the most important fact to tell readers about the group? Or by specifying only that Israel (and in the Washington Post article the U.S.) believes it to be a terrorist organization, are the media implying that the nature of the group is unclear? Is the group more a "militant" group that one responsible for terror?

The fact is that Hamas' track record of suicide bombings, thousands of rocket attacks on civilian areas, kidnapping, and the murder of hundreds of innocent men, women, and children is clear. Hamas openly boasts of these deeds in order to spread terror. Doesn't that make them a classic example of a terrorist group?

If the Post, and CNN, and the LA Times (and many, many others) wanted to provide an accurate description of Hamas in 10 words or less, they should have written something like this:

"...Hamas, responsible for the murder of hundreds..."


"..Hamas, whose funding charter calls for the murder of Jews..."


"...Hamas, an active terrorist organization..."


"...Hamas, whose goal is the destruction of Israel..."

If you were a journalist writing a story that mentions Hamas, how would you describe the group in 10 words or less?