OpinionIsrael at War

Hamas is at war with the Jews and Judaism

And the war against Zionism is the war for Jewish weakness.

Palestinian youth demonstrate their skills during a graduation ceremony of a military-style camp organized by the Hamas movement in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Palestinian youth demonstrate their skills during a graduation ceremony of a military-style camp organized by the Hamas movement in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Jerome M. Marcus
Jerome M. Marcus
Jerome M. Marcus is a lawyer in Philadelphia.

There are only two things you need to know to understand what is happening in the Middle East, and they both appear in the 1988 Hamas Charter.

First, Hamas is fighting for Islam and its war against Israel is a religious war. The charter states: “It is necessary to instill in the minds of the Muslim generations that the Palestinian problem is a religious problem and should be dealt with on this basis.”

Hamas asserts Islam’s claim to the territory of the Land of Israel; not the claim of any political organization, the Palestinians or anything else. “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day,” the charter states.

“This,” Hamas explains, “is the law governing the land of Palestine in the Islamic Sharia (law) and the same goes for any land the Muslims have conquered by force, because during the times of (Islamic) conquests, the Muslims consecrated these lands to Muslim generations till the Day of Judgement.”

Hamas also clearly states that its war for Islam is a war against Judaism: “Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious.” 

In the eyes of Hamas, Jews are permitted to live only under Islamic oppression. This is what Hamas means when it says that it “strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followers of all religions can coexist in security and safety where their lives, possessions and rights are concerned. In the absence of Islam, strife will be rife, oppression spreads, evil prevails and schisms and wars will break out.”

Under Islamic law, that “coexistence” is a system of religious apartheid in which all minorities are subjugated by the Muslim majority.

Thus, Hamas has an essential problem with Zionism: Zionism is the demand, the insistence, that Jews will not live under anyone. It is the insistence on Jewish independence and the maintenance of Jewish power to defend that independence.

That’s what “Hatikvah,” the Israeli national anthem, means when it speaks of being “a free people in our own land.”

Zionism means the ability of Jews to defend themselves as Jews. It means a Jewish national home and the Jews’ ability to defend that home. That is what Hamas cannot tolerate. It is what Iran cannot tolerate. In the eyes of Hamas and Iran, it is what Islam cannot tolerate. Jews defending themselves is the exact opposite of Jews living “under the wing of Islam.”

The Western world today—the post-Enlightenment world, the world after the American and French revolutions, the world after John Locke and the schools of Western philosophy from him to Friedrich Nietzsche—cannot take religious wars seriously. We would never fight one. We can’t understand why anyone else would fight one. For us, religion is at most a matter of individual conscience. Going to war over religion makes no sense to Westerners, even those who lead religious lives. And to the ever-growing number of “nones”—those who affiliate with no religion at all—a religious war is an absurdity.  

But we should be broadminded enough and respectful enough of other cultures to understand that our secular worldview is not the only possible worldview. Hamas and Iran’s worldview is the opposite of secular. To them, religion is not only real. It is the ultimate, defining reality. As Hamas states, “In the absence of Islam, strife will be rife, oppression spreads, evil prevails and schisms and wars will break out.” There can be no other cause for such upheavals than the absence of Islam because religion is the only thing that determines reality. That is why other religions can only be allowed to survive “under the wing of Islam.” Islam can impose Islamic order. When and only when then happens can peace be maintained.

Remember, in Arabic, “Islam” does not mean “peace.” It means “submission.” That is why Hamas has a problem with Zionists: Zionists won’t submit.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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