Beware: Hamas isn’t what you think it is

Tuvia Brodie,

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Tuvia Brodie
Tuvia Brodie has a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh under the name Philip Brodie. He has worked for the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham College and American Express. He and his wife made aliyah in 2010. All of his children have followed. He believes in Israel's right to exist. He believes that the words of Tanach (the Jewish Bible) are meant for us. His blog address is He usually publishes 3-4 times a week on his blog and 1-3 times at Arutz Sheva. Please check the blog regularly for new posts.

Hamas is not what you think it is. It is not a ‘freedom’ movement. It is not a movement to establish a ‘state for Palestine’. 

There is no way to sugar-coat Hamas. It is, according to the United States, Canada, Jordan, Egypt and the European Union, a terror organization.

If you want to understand what Hamas is all about, you need go no further than its name. The word Hamas has three meanings. You should make sure you understand those three meaning before you condemn Israel and ennoble Hamas or the Hamas-Fatah unity government.

First, the word, ‘Hamas’, is an acronym. It means, Islamic Resistance Movement. Its second meaning, as a word in Arabic, is more revealing: ‘devotion and zeal in the path of Allah’ (Esther Webman, “Anti-Semitic Motifs in the Ideology of Hizballah and Hamas”, Project for the Study of Anti-Semitism, 1994. ISBN 978-965-222-592-4).

The word, ‘Hamas’, also reveals a third meaning: it is part of a Movement (see below).

Notice that, in all three meanings, something is missing. What’s missing is what you support. What’s missing is what you believe about this conflict. Specifically, what’s missing is all reference to political self-determination, freedom for the so-called ‘Palestinian people’ or the creation of a state called ‘Palestine’.

Hamas focuses on none of those things. Hamas has only one focus: Islam.

If you support Hamas because you believe it ‘yearns for ‘Palestinians’ to be free’, you’d be making a mistake. Hamas doesn’t yearn for freedom. There is nothing within Hamas that even hints of ‘freedom’.

Freedom is a Western concept. Perhaps that’s why you may support Hamas against Israel—because you believe in freedom and want the same for Hamas (and you believe Israel denies that freedom).

If that’s what you think, you’re wrong. Hamas rejects your thinking. It rejects ‘freedom’. It rejects the West’s approach to political conflict (compromise). In fact, its Charter says explicitly that compromise will not solve the ‘Palestinian problem’ (ibid).

Hamas has its own solution for the ‘Palestinian problem’. That solution has nothing to do with freedom or compromise or political dialogue (all Western ideals). Consistent with the meaning of its name, Hamas calls its singular solution, Jihad—holy war.

Is that what you want to see happen in the Middle East? You may support Hamas without knowing this, but Hamas does not yearn for what the West calls ‘two states living side-by-side in peace and security’.

Hamas yearns for only one thing. It yearns for Islamic rule.

It is not a peace organization. That’s why so many term it, ‘terrorist.’ Its Charter reveals a hate-filled political-religious intention: it demonizes Jews and quotes Islamic religious texts to justify killing the Jews of Israel (ibid).

Its goal is to destroy Israel for Islam (the Hamas Charter). Specifically, it “strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine [Israel]" (ibid, Article Six). It seeks to achieve that goal through ‘resistance’, which is the refusal to accept any end except its own—a complete Islamic rule over a ‘Palestine’ it sees replacing Israel.

But Hamas isn’t just a local organization. It doesn’t just think about Israel. Its name tells you that it’s also a ‘Movement’. That is, it is part of something larger than itself. It is part of the Muslim Brotherhood (ibid).

The Muslim Brotherhood supports terror. Bahrain, Egypt, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates consider this Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization. The Brotherhood’s goal is to destroy the West. It seeks to create a world-wide Islamic Caliphate.

This Brotherhood is a model for Islamic political rule. It combines political ‘activism’ with Islamic law. Its stated goal is to instil the Qur'an and Sharia law as the ‘sole reference point for ...ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community ... and state’ (Steven Kull, 2011. Feeling Betrayed: The Roots of Muslim Anger at America, Brookings Institute Press. p. 167). Put another way, its goal it to control every aspect of both public and private life in every country everywhere, using Islamic law.

Like Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood is a ‘Movement’ that seeks complete Islamic rule. According to the BBC, the Brotherhood's most frequently used slogan is "Islam is the Solution".  Another well-known slogan is "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope ”(ibid).

The focus in these Movements is always the same: Islamic rule. Freedom, self-determination, justice, morality or a ‘Palestinian’ state are nowhere to be found.

You might want to think twice about what and who you support. If you support Hamas and the Hamas-Fatah unity government against Israel, be careful. You might get something you really don’t want. You might get world-wide Islamic law.

Are you going to like that?