When mainstream media describe “clashes” between Israel and Hamas and global leaders call for “restraint” from both sides, a bizarre equivalence is implied between the democratic State of Israel and the terrorist dictatorship of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Even more disturbing, the media usually fail to fully describe the Hamas organization—how it behaves toward Israel and its own people, and the group’s avowed motivations.

Why do the media and many on the left—including many American Jews—support or at least sympathize with Hamas, despite the fact that Hamas began firing missiles on Israeli Jewish and Arab civilians on May 10 with no threat or provocation from Israel? Why do the media and leftists also perpetuate false justifications for the current conflict?

There can only be two explanations for favoring Hamas and opposing Israel’s response to its aggression: Either an ignorance of indisputable facts about the Israel-Hamas conflict and about Hamas itself … or a deep-seated, irrational animus toward the Jewish state and its people.

It is worthwhile to examine the six most-cited pro-Hamas myths in mainstream and social media:

Hamas is the underdog: In truth, Hamas is supported by heavyweights in the radical Islamist world—like Iran, Turkey and Qatar—who send Hamas hundreds of millions of dollars and weapons. Hamas has amassed an arsenal of 14,000 deadly missiles to use against Israel. This is no weakling.

Israel occupies Palestinian territory: Israel retreated entirely from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Hamas exclusively rules that land and its two million people. However, because of attacks on Israeli civilians, Israel imposed a blockade on the territory in 2007; Egypt later followed suit.

Israel won’t let the Palestinians have a state: Israel has made three offers of land and a state for peace to the Palestinian Authority in the last 21 years, but the P.A. rebuked them all. Hamas could have built a flourishing state in Gaza, but they have chosen to squander their resources to create terror against Israeli civilians.

Hamas is fighting for the Palestinian people: Hamas is a brutal dictatorship that has no functioning relationship or cooperation with the P.A. (and its two million people) in the West Bank—indeed, the two groups are bitter enemies. Nor does Hamas “represent” Palestinians in Gaza—the people under its rule have not voted for 15 years.

Israel is stealing private Palestinian land in Jerusalem: The issue in Jerusalem is a property dispute based upon non-payment of rent on property agreed by its Palestinian residents to be owned by Jews. The case has reached Israel’s Supreme Court, which has not yet ruled.

Israel wants to take over the Al-Aqsa mosque: Israel allows Muslims to manage the Temple Mount, and hundreds of thousands of Muslims regularly pray there. Israel has no plans to change this. Jews, however, are forbidden to pray on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

All these “justifications” for supporting Hamas are simply false—they are verifiably “fake news,” whose context is hidden by many mainstream media.

In addition to these misconceptions, some mainstream media and other Hamas supporters simply fail to accurately describe the group and its actions. Above all, the media rarely mention that dozens of governments around the world, such as the United States, European Union, Canada, the United Kingdom and Arab nations, classify Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Hamas’ founding charter—the words it uses to define itself—relays its goals. The charter starts with: “Israel … will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” Thus, this is an organization openly dedicated to the utter destruction of Israel. Most media fail to reference this fact.

The charter also frequently mentions violent jihad and has no interest in peace, compromise or negotiation. It clearly states that: “[Peace] initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”

Do your news sources report this?

However, the most egregious part of Hamas’s charter is its religious aspiration to kill all Jews everywhere: “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight Jews and kill them. Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will cry out: ‘O Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’” In other words, Hamas doesn’t hate Jews because of Israel, but rather wants to destroy Israel to kill the Jews.

Although defended by many progressives in the West, Hamas is also the misogynist, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Christian and repressive ruler of the Gaza Strip, which it brutally took over in 2007 by throwing its opponents from high-rise buildings. Hamas also refers to Christians as “infidels” and targets churches in Gaza. Celebrating Christmas and other Christian holidays is banned, converts to Christianity are killed, while Christians have been forcibly converted to Islam and Christian leaders have been targeted and killed.

Those suffering most from Hamas are ordinary Palestinians in Gaza, who are brutally repressed. They are regularly used as “human shields”—producing the bloody pictures Hamas needs to gain sympathy. While Hamas receives hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid, they do not use these funds to create hospitals, welfare programs or electricity. They use it to obtain thousands of offensive rockets and an underground shelter system used only by Hamas leaders.

When activists and media create an equivalence between Israel and Hamas, they hide the context—the reality of what Hamas believes and does. This is not a war between equals. It is a war between a genocidal organization that seeks the bloodshed of others as well as its own, against a democratic, freedom-loving people defending its homeland from incessant attack.

Anyone who sympathizes with Hamas’s cause—or who objects to Israel’s defensive response to unprovoked aggression—should be called to account for the brutal, oppressive and war-obsessed behavior of this terror group. Given the facts, anyone who supports Hamas should themselves feel ashamed, and if not, be held to shame by all moral people. If your friends still retain sympathy for Hamas, I challenge them to view this short video, in which Hamas leaders vividly reveal themselves.

James Sinkinson is president of Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), which publishes educational messages to correct lies and misperceptions about Israel and its relationship to the United States.

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