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What happened to Hamas’s rebrand?

CM 09/10/2021


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The 1988 Hamas Covenant has a lot to admire. Honestly, it’s refreshing. Unlike a majority of the world, which cloaks antisemitism in long-winded statements and frosted political correctness, Hamas is transparent.
In a translation of the 1988 document, Hamas claims that Jews cannot coexist with Muslims: “Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people.” The solution to this problem? “Killing the Jews” so the Day of Judgment can come about.
There is no twisting of words, no hidden agenda. Despite being a corrupt organization, plagued with human rights abuses, Hamas’ bluntness is mesmerizing in its respectability.

That is, until 2017. In 2017, then-Hamas leader Khaled Maashal issued a new covenant.
The new covenant is a lot of the same talk: every inch of Palestine is ours, give it back, Islam is the only valid religion, we reject every peace offer and recognition of Israel entirely.
But the new covenant has one obviously striking difference: the way it regards Jews.
In the 1988 document, Jews are the enemy. They are the antithesis of Islam’s values, disgruntled cowards, usurpers and warmongers.
In a translation of the 2017 document, “Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project not with the Jews because of their religion.”
Hamas, once proud Jew-bashers, try to rebrand themselves as a more moderate organization. It’s obviously Zionism that’s bad, not Jews, they say, as though they didn’t run with the Jew-hating premise for decades.
Ironically, Hamas’ “we’re really not antisemitic” defense is immediately followed by an inadvertently antisemitic statement: “Hamas is of the view that the Jewish problem, antisemitism and the persecution of the Jews are phenomena fundamentally linked to European history and not to the history of the Arabs and the Muslims or to their heritage.”
By trying to pawn off antisemitism as a European issue, Hamas ignores the blatant mistreatment of Jews in Arab and/or Muslim countries. Jews have been continually subjected to discrimination, varying from unpleasant (as in the case of the Ottoman Empire) to downright nearly-unlivable (see: most of the Maghreb and southern Arabia). While Arab/Muslim mistreatment of Jews grew far more intense after the establishment of Israel, it certainly existed before. It had nothing to do with Israel or Zionism and everything to do with inherent Jewishness.
The very-inferable message is that antisemitism is excusable – scratch that, erasable – if it works in favor of your agenda.
Hamas demonstrates they are the same organization in the 21st century that they were in 1988. They’re still antisemites, but they’ve learned to cover it up with a slight of hand and buzzwords.
But the bigger question: Why? To whom is Hamas – a radical organization – trying to appeal with their political correctness?
Egypt, maybe. Egyptian President Fattah al-Sisi used to be staunchly anti-Hamas, but the two have been slowly getting cozy since 2017. Also, the Palestinian Authority, which has a strange dynamic with Hamas. In 2017, the PA began a series of sanctions against Hamas, but it wasn’t the be-all and end-all of their relationship. Since then, the two of them have had more break-ups and get-togethers than a dramatic teenage couple.
To further complicate the Palestinian political organization mixture, there’s Fatah, a party to which long-standing PA President Mahmoud Abbas belongs. In October 2017, Egypt brokered an agreement between Fatah and Hamas, which was a pretty sweet deal for Hamas, but there was little follow-through.
Wow, 2017 was a busy year for Hamas. Maybe the rebranding really was a semi-successful attempt to get some allies in the corner.
Or maybe, it was something else: Mashaal’s last grab for power in Hamas before he was replaced by Ismail Haniyeh. Or, 2017 was also the year that Hamas broke from its internal affiliation, the Muslim Brotherhood, so this has been a desperate attempt to distinguish themselves apart.
Honestly, there are a thousand more ideas which could be tossed out. In truth, we know that Hamas was trying to “soften their image,” but the why still eludes. And what’s the point of a rebranding when it’s so clear you haven’t changed?
The fact that we still don’t definitively know why this new covenant was released is unsettling. Who were they trying to appease? Governments? Girls with Instagram graphics? And, more concerning, how will this continue to evolve?
The writer is a journalism student at the University of Maryland with a focus on Middle Eastern relations.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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