That Hamas are Retrogressive Revolutionaries who Deserve to be Destroyed
My thesis recently completed, entitled “Freedom Violence and Revolution: A Critique of Liberal Democratic Conventions,” seems to have some timely resonance with current events. In the past couple days the Israeli — Palestinian conflict has surged to frightening levels of violence, with both sides clamouring for legitimacy for the use of violence. In this piece I will analyze the Palestinian cause for freedom, as well as the Israeli, and offer a framework for evaluating just revolutionary causes, of which the Palestinians aspire to, and which the Israelis once aspired to, and realized in 1948 at the cost of much bloodshed to herself and her enemies.
In my thesis I broach the question of what purpose should a revolution have. I state: “Should a revolution have a telos, a purpose? I believe it should: it should aim at the most universalistic goal, for then the most amount of freedom for the most amount of people will be realized.” I state this axiom because it is a crucial scale for determining the kinds of causes which are just in the events of human and political history. How do we differentiate between the freedom the American founding fathers achieved, with the freedom the adherents and leaders of Islamic state achieved within their once-sprawling caliphate? There is some intuitive, inherent, repulsion at the barbaric, medivalism of IS (Islamic State), while, barring the slavery-based nature of the American republic, their goals visions and aspirations accord closer with the dignity we know lives within the human heart. It is precisely because the American revolution, although ignoring the plight and savage inhumanity with which they treated their African slaves, aimed at a wider franchise than the preceding British monarchy, that America today is rightfully regarded as a freedom-seeking country (although flawed, as I can’t stress enough). On the other hand, the world was forced to watch as IS butchered, enslaved, burnt alive its enemies all in the name of a strict interpretation of the Quran.
It is with this tool, understanding that revolutionaries should aim at universalistic goals of human emancipation, that Hamas, the main revolutionary body of the Palestinian people, fails terribly. It takes the most cursory look at the Hamas Covenant of 1988, or the Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement to see that this body which leads them is a strict jihadi Islamist movement, aiming to eradicate infidels, howsoever defined. Take this most infamous of statements: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it”.
They define themselves both as a ‘universal organization’ and a ‘Islamist organization,” a plain contradiction unless we consider it from another angle, all-inclusive of Muslims exclusivley. It describes itself as being influenced by all aspects of Islamic culture: “It is characterised by its deep understanding, accurate comprehension and its complete embrace of all Islamic concepts of all aspects of life, culture, creed, politics, economics, education, society, justice and judgement, the spreading of Islam, education, art, information, science of the occult and conversion to Islam.”
The world for Hamas is divided between the believers and the non-believers, and the latter are either to be forcibly converted or obliterated.
It is a consistent worldview, one whose roots are deeply enmeshed within the Quran (although I will provide my own explanation for the core principle of Islam which is actually the most universalistic of all monotheistic creeds). I have read the Quran with delight, it is a beautiful book with holy words. And in my opinion, although this is heretical to the dictates of rabbinical decrees, the Prophet Muhammed was a prophet of the Lord. Islam centrally concerns itself with the Umma ( an Arabic word for community), and the central thesis of the Quran is simply this: those who follow the Lord, those who submit to the One-God and perform His Will, these people are all part of the Umma, and are rightfully considered to be called Muslim. For this reason all the prophets of Judaism and Christianity are Muslim. And all the upright of all faiths will have their share of reward in Paradise for their submission to God.
This is where the core contradiction of jihadi Islam comes about — it assumes that those who do not follow the exact letter of Sharia law, or Islamic lifestyle, are not part of the Umma, and are the unbelievers. Therefore the Quran’s initial, beautiful vision of all the followers of the Lord being united as one, is perverted, twisted and used to justify the most horrible oppression imaginable to legitimate believers. This is the problem when you universalize what it means to be a follower of the Lord, as opposed to seeing the beautiful, multitudinous ways in which the Lord has blessed different peoples with following his will.
But this is theology, let us return to Hamas. Hamas would like to see nothing less than the obliteration of the Jewish people in spirit and body, and after they are done with the Jews, they would come after the Christians, until every different type of faith is subsumed into Islam. Even the Quran refers to the Jewish people, as People of the Book, and its various pages are addressed at correcting the wrongs of errant Jews rather than obliterating them.
And this is why Hamas is an unjustified revolutionary body from my point of view — because the type of world it envisions would erode all the hard-won freedoms it has taken Western civilization thousands of years to achieve, and replace it with a creed which is dangerously, sickeningly intolerant.
All of this is not to say that the cause of Palestinian freedom itself is unjust. The Palestinain people rightfully deserve their own state. But a state which is hostile to western freedoms, which for the most part are freedoms of man qua man, not man qua God, is one that will always produce friction on the global stage. And at some point you have to draw a line in the sand and say that I stand up for my kind of freedom, just as Hamas admittedly does, and hope that you have enough force,power and strength on your side, so that your way of life wins out against the other. This is why my thesis focused so heavily on violence, and how its use determines who wins an irreconcilable war of political differences.
As for Israeli freedom, I am far more sympathetic for its dedication to human rights whether in the pursuit of life-giving biomedical technologies or women’s and gay rights, the Jewish state, which still has its own religious teleology which many find restrictive, is still less oppressive than any putative Hamas-run state. You are not forced to be Jewish at gunpoint, or risk of seizure of your property. And much of the restrictions against Arabs, whether in Israel or in the Occupied Territories, are preventative security measures. But this requires much more specific knowledge, and I care more about the end-goal visions of these societies than all the various incarnations of policies, effected during continual war-time.