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‘The Origins and Ideology of Hamas’: YIVO’s three-part webinar series

The discussions will explore “the deep affiliations of radical Islamist Hamas with the antisemitic propaganda of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union,” said YIVO executive director and CEO Jonathan Brent.

Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini and Adolf Hitler, 1941. Credit: German Federal Archives (Deutsches Bundesarchiv) via Wikimedia Commons.
Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini and Adolf Hitler, 1941. Credit: German Federal Archives (Deutsches Bundesarchiv) via Wikimedia Commons.

Oct. 7, 2023, changed the Jewish world.

Jeffrey Herf
Jeffrey Herf. Credit: Courtesy.

Amid so much public debate governed largely by ideologically mass-produced clichés, antisemitic slogans, catchphrases and historically uninformed rhetoric, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research—devoted to education and historical truth—has developed a three-part webinar series to explore “The Origins and Ideology of Hamas.”

It is curated by historian Jeffrey Herf, and features other highly regarded historians, such as Benny Morris and Matthias Küntzel.

This series will elucidate the circumstances of Hamas’s origins and the development of its ideology; shed light on the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and explore the rise of global antisemitism in the wake of the Oct. 7 massacre.

“Exploring the deep affiliations of radical Islamist Hamas with the antisemitic propaganda of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, this series exposes a painful point of intersection between Eastern European Jewish history and contemporary events,” said YIVO executive director and CEO Jonathan Brent. “The YIVO Institute is uniquely positioned to illuminate that nexus and unflinchingly probe its implications.”

“Mein Kampf” in Arabic
“Mein Kampf” in Arabic. Source: Screenshot.

“As shocking and awful as the Hamas attack of Oct. 7 on Israelis was, it was not a surprise for those of us who have examined the Jew-hatred at the core of Hamas’s ideology,” said Herf. “It is a set of ideas that combined a distinctly Islamist interpretation of Islam that took shape in the 1930s and 1940s, survived in the Muslim Brotherhood after World War II, and persisted in the formation of Hamas in 1988. One aim of these webinars is to present the work of scholars who have examined that ideological background and its consequences.”

View the entire series at: yivo.org/IdeologySeries. All sessions are online and free of charge.

Matthias Küntzel
Matthias Küntzel. Credit: Courtesy.

The first session, “Hamas and the Origins of Islamic Antisemitism,” takes place on Feb. 26, at 1 p.m. EST. Historians Matthias Küntzel and Jeffrey Herf discuss the origins of Hamas, the history of Islamic antisemitism, and its causal significance in the war of 1947-1948.

Register at: yivo.org/IdeologySeries1.

Benny Morris
Benny Morris. Credit: Courtesy.

The second session, “Colonialism, Racism and the Arab-Israeli War of 1948,” takes place on March 25, at 1 p.m. EST. Historians Benny Morris and Jeffrey Herf discuss the international politics surrounding Israel’s establishment, the causes and nature of the war of 1948, and the controversies of how this history is understood in contemporary discourse.

Register: yivo.org/IdeologySeries2.

Karin Stögner
Karin Stögner. Credit: Courtesy.

The third session, “Responses to Oct. 7,” takes place on April 16, at 1 p.m. EST. Historian Jeffrey Herf will lead a panel featuring scholars Meir Litvak, Norman Goda, Karin Stögner and David Hirsh, which will explore responses to Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre and the State of Israel’s subsequent military response.

Register: yivo.org/IdeologySeries3.

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YIVO is dedicated to fostering knowledge of the ongoing story of Jewish life, with a focus on the history and culture of East European Jewry—the ancestry of a significant proportion of Jews in the world today. This story has played an important role in shaping the times we live in. It’s a story that’s still unfolding and still being told. Scholars continue to uncover new layers of the story in our archives and library, one of the world’s most important resources on Jewish life and history in Europe; Yiddish language, literature and folklore; the Holocaust; and the American Jewish immigrant experience. We bring you our discoveries, insights and treasures from our collections through our programs, courses, exhibitions, award-winning publications and websites. See more at: https://www.yivo.org/.
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