Hamas: An Islamic Nazi Party

by Joseph S. Spoerl (September 2014)


In his path-breaking book, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World (Yale University Press, 2009), historian Jeffrey Herf analyzes in great detail the huge body of Arabic-language anti-Semitic propaganda, much of it openly genocidal, crafted for the Nazis by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the most important Palestinian leader from the 1920s through the 1940s. He also documents the Mufti’s infamous meeting with Adolf Hitler in Berlin on November 28, 1941, at which Hitler granted the Mufti’s wish to extend the “final solution of the Jewish question” (a.k.a. genocide) to the Jews of Palestine. Herf, an expert on Nazi history and ideology, makes an extremely important point in his book about the Hitler-Husseini meeting, namely, that “Husseini was a true comrade in arms and ideological soulmate” to Hitler.1 Their meeting was not merely a piece of political pragmatism on al-Husseini’s part; rather it was, in Herf’s words, “a meeting of hearts and minds.” Both men hated Jews and wished fervently to see them disappear from the face of the earth. Indeed, al-Husseini’s Islamic anti-Semitism had already developed independently of his contact with Nazism, as is shown by his 1937 “Proclamation to the Islamic World,” which was read to the 400 delegates from all over the Arab world (over 100 of them Palestinians) at a pan-Arab conference in Syria in September 1937.2 Jeffrey Herf identifies this proclamation as one of the founding documents of twentieth century Islamism.3

For Husseini, the hatred for Jews was rooted in the Islamic tradition, a tradition replete with anti-Jewish polemics and stereotypes due to the Jewish rejection of Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet and Jewish opposition to Muhammad in Medina.4 For Hitler, it was rooted in a bizarre misappropriation of Darwinian evolutionary theory and Mendelian genetics wedded to the traditional anti-Jewish prejudice of Christian Europe. Despite the cultural differences, Hitler and al-Husseini recognized each other as kindred spirits, united by a hatred for democracy, Western liberalism, and above all, Jews.

The world-view of Hajj Amin al-Husseini lives on today in the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch, Hamas. This is not surprising, since the Mufti belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood, championed its cause throughout his life, and was appointed head of the Brotherhood in Palestine by Hassan al-Banna himself, the Brotherhood’s founder (indeed al-Banna’s support for the Mufti only increased after 1945, when al-Husseini’s Nazi collaboration and calls for genocide were well-known in Arab lands).5 The German scholar of Islamism Matthias Küntzel observes that Hamas today more than any other Palestinian group continues to pursue the policies and principles of Hajj Amin al-Husseini.6 Küntzel identifies three key similarities: (1) Like the Mufti, Hamas systematically assassinates its political opponents and does not brook dissent; (2) Hamas identifies the Jews as the source of all corruption on earth and adopts the paranoid conspiracy thinking that sees Jews as controlling world finance and media, as depicted in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; (3) like the Mufti, Hamas rejects any compromise or negotiation with Israel, insisting that all of historic Palestine must be an Arab and Islamic state and that violent jihad is the only way to deal with the Jews.  

To study Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood propaganda and ideology is to recognize instantly the same themes developed by Hajj Amin al-Husseini decades earlier. Indeed, the similarities are astonishing. Consider only a few examples.

  • The Mufti’s 1937 “Proclamation to the Muslim World” begins with this assertion: “Since the earliest days of their history, the Jews have been an oppressed people and there must be good reason for that.”7 The reason the Mufti gives is Jewish corruption: the Pharaohs had to drive the Jews out of Egypt and the Romans had to drive them out of Palestine because of their immoral and exploitative behavior. The Jews are also spreaders of diseases like the plague, “the reason that the Jews are to this day called ‘microbes.’”8 The Mufti applies this lesson to Germany in 1937: “likewise energetic measures are undertaken in Germany against the Jews and they are driven off like mangy dogs.”9
  • Top Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar asserted in 2010, both in speeches and in a book, that the Jews have deserved and provoked all the persecutions and expulsions they have suffered down through the millennia, e.g. at the hands of the Egyptian pharaoh, European Christians, and Adolph Hitler. Al-Zahar has the following message for the Jews: “there is no place for you among us, and you have no future among the nations of the world. You are headed for annihilation.”10
  • In his broadcasts for Nazi radio, Hajj Amin al-Husseini called openly for genocide against the Jews. “Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion.”11 The Mufti openly informed his Arab audience that the Nazis “had set about annihilating them [the Jews] before it was too late. History will record this action as one of the wisest steps ever taken.”12 “The world will never be at peace until the Jewish race is exterminated…The Jews are the germs which have caused all the trouble in the world.”13 Tolerance towards the Jews was a “stupid plan and a shameful crime against the fatherland” and the only legitimate policy is the “expulsion of all the Jews from all Arab and Muslim countries. This is the only remedy. It is what the Prophet did thirteen centuries ago.”14
  • Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood preachers today routinely call for genocide against the Jews. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, “easily one of the most admired and best-known representatives of Sunni Islam today,”15 accepted as the highest religious authority by Hamas and the global Muslim Brotherhood,16 has asserted that Hitler meted out divinely sanctioned punishment to the Jews and has called for Muslims to impose a similar punishment, calling openly for genocide (“kill them, down to the very last one”).17 On the official Hamas TV station, the Hamas Deputy Minister for Religious Endowments Abdallah Jarbu in 2010 denied the humanity of the Jews, described them as microbes, and called upon Allah to “annihilate this filthy people who have neither religion nor conscience.”18 Hamas author Mukhlis Barzaq writes that the fate of the Jews should be “complete killing, total extermination and eradicating perdition,” and even in Hamas’ children’s publication al-Fatih one can find the prayer, “O God exterminate the Jews the tyrannical usurpers.”19 A children’s program on the official Hamas TV station on May 2, 2014 featured the host interviewing a little girl who said she wished to be a police officer when she grows up, “so that I can shoot Jews.” The host responded “All the Jews? All of them?” to which the girl responded, “Yes,” and the host answered, “Good.”20 Many other examples could be given.
  • In his 1937 “Proclamation to the Muslim World,” the Mufti quoted a hadith or saying of Muhammad that links the extermination of Jews to the Islamic apocalypse: “The day of judgment will only come when the Muslims have dealt the Jews a crushing blow, when every stone and every tree behind which a Jew has hidden, speaks to the Muslim: ‘Behind me is a Jew. Strike him dead.’”21
  • The same hadith is quoted in the Hamas Covenant or statement of foundational principles from 1988 (article 7).22
  • The Mufti insisted that the Jews have been out to destroy Islam ever since the time of Muhammad.23
  • The Hamas Covenant also states that the Jews are engaged in a war to destroy Islam (article 28).

Let us sum up what we have found so far: The Mufti’s ideology and world-view made him an “ideological soul-mate” to Adolf Hitler. Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood today are animated by exactly the same ideology and world-view. The conclusion is clear: Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood today are ideological soul-mates to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Hamas, in short, is an Islamic Nazi Party.

We can strengthen this thesis by broadening our focus beyond Jew-hatred, the most obvious similarity between Hamas and Hitler. In addition to their extreme anti-Semitism, the Nazis were a menace to the world because of their imperialistic and totalitarian impulses. Hitler was bent on conquest for the sake of Lebensraum for Germans. He recognized no right of national self-determination for any nation except the German or “Aryan” race. Furthermore, the Nazi ideology was totalitarian, hostile to individual liberties such as freedom of speech and of the press.

We can find these totalitarian and imperialistic aspects in the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood also, and hence necessarily in the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch, Hamas. Al-Banna celebrated the imperialistic history of Islam, insisting that the great Islamic conquests of the past were blessings for humanity. He also taught that only Muslims have the right to rule the world.24 Contemporary Hamas and Brotherhood preachers routinely predict the Islamic conquest of Europe and America.25

Like Nazism, the ideology of Hamas is also totalitarian. It calls for governance of society according to traditional Islamic law, which means prohibitions of blasphemy and apostasy and severe restrictions on the rights of non-Muslims. Hamas and Brotherhood ideology is deeply hostile to the most basic civil liberties that we take for granted as citizens of Western democracies like the United States.26

Hamas is thus an imperialistic, totalitarian movement driven by genocidal Jew-hatred. Of course, Nazism was not an Islamic ideology, and Hamas ideology is not based on pseudo-Darwinian ideas.  The two ideologies are not identical. They emerged out of different traditions and cultures. Historical purists will thus object to calling Hamas an “Islamic Nazi Party.” But the very things that made the Nazis so dangerous – their imperialistic, totalitarian, genocidal tendencies – are essential components of the world-view of Hamas. To drive this point home, and to alert the world to the gravity of the threat posed to Israel, we should not shrink from calling Hamas an Islamic Nazi Party. This label might also help to inoculate people against the blandishments of delusional commentators like Jimmy Carter who think that Hamas leaders are rational people with whom dialogue, negotiation, and compromise are possible.27 

 

[1] Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009, paperback ed. 2010), pp. 76, 154, 172.

[2] For an English translation of the Mufti’s proclamation, with helpful annotations tracing its roots in the Islamic tradition, see Andrew Bostom, The Mufti’s Islamic Jew-Hatred: What the Nazis Learned from the ‘Muslim Pope’ (Washington DC: Bravura Books, 2013).

[3] Jeffrey Herf, “Nazi Propaganda to the Arab World During World War II and the Emergence of Islamism,” in Charles Asher Small ed. Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity, Volume IV, Islamism and the Arab World (New Yorg: ISGAP, 2013), p. 84

[4] Andrew Bostom, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism (Amherst NY: Prometheus Books, 2008); Joseph S. Spoerl, “Muhammad and the Jews according to Ibn Ishaq” The Levantine Review 2 (2013), 84-99, http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/levantine/article/view/5084.

[5] Matthias Küntzel, Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism, and the Roots of 9/11 (New York: Telos Press, 2007), pp. 36-7, 44-6, 48, 52, 58. See also Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, Chapter 8.

[6] Matthias Küntzel, “Das Erbe des Mufti,” Tribune: Zeitschrift zum Verständnis des Judentums 46 (2007): 151-158. See page 158: “Heute setzt insbesondere die Hamas die Politik des Mufti fort.” Also available on the author’s website: http://www.matthiaskuentzel.de/contents/das-erbe-des-mufti.

[7] Bostom, The Mufti’s Islamic Jew-Hatred, p. 25.

[8] Ibid., pp. 25-6.

[9] Ibid.

[10] “Hamas Leader Mahmoud al-Zahar Justifies Persecution of Jews in History and Promises that Jews ‘Are Headed to Annihilation,’” Middle East Media Research Institute, Special Dispatch No. 3373, November 12, 2010, http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2676.htm; “Hamas senior Mahmoud al-Zahar has recently given a vicious anti-Semitic speech to justify the elimination of Israel and the deportation of Jews from the ‘entire territory of Palestine’. The speech contains themes reminiscent of those found in Al-Zahar’s anti-Semitic book No Future Between Nations, found on board the Mavi Marmara,” The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, November 11, 2010, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/data/pdf/PDF_10_294_2.pdf.

[11] Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, 213.

[12] Ibid., 106.

[13] Ibid., 184.

[14] Ibid., 187.

[15] Bettina Gräf and Jakob Skovgaard Petersen, Global Mufti: The Phenomenon of Yusuf al-Qaradawi (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009), p. 1.

[16] Husam Tammam, “Yusuf Qaradawi and the Muslim Brothers: The Nature of a Special Relationship,” in Bettina Gräf and Jakob Skovgaard Petersen, Global Mufti: The Phenomenon of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, pp. 55-83; and on Qaradawi’s authority specifically within Hamas, see Martin Kramer, “Hamas: ‘Glocal’ Islamism,” in Noah Pollack ed., Iran’s Race for Regional Supremacy: Strategic Implications for the Middle East (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2008), p. 71, http://jcpa.org/text/iran2-june08.pdf.

[17] “Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi On Al-Jazeera Incites Against Jews, Arab Regimes, and the U.S.; Calls on Muslims to Boycott Starbucks and Others; Says ‘Oh Allah, Take This Oppressive, Jewish, Zionist Band of People…And Kill Them, Down to the Very Last One,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Special Dispatch No. 2183, January 12, 2009, http://www.memri.org/report/en/print3006.htm; “Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Allah Imposed Hitler Upon the Jews to Punish Them – ‘Allah Willing, the Next Time Will Be at the Hand of the Believers,’” Middle East Media Research Institute, Clip No. 2005, February 1, 2009, http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2005.htm.

[18] “Hamas Deputy Minister of Religious Endowments: Jews are Bacteria, Not Human Beings,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Clip No. 2415, February 28, 2010, http://www.memri.org/clip_transcript/en/2415.htm; see also “Deputy Hamas Minister of Religious Endowments Abdallah Jarbu’: Only a Madman Would Think Jews Are Human,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Clip No. 2430, March 19, 2010, http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/2430.htm.

[19] Meir Litvak, “The Anti-Semitism of Hamas,” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics, and Culture 12:2-3 (2005), http://www.pij.org/details.php?id=345.

[20] Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch, “Hamas to kids: Shoot all the Jews,” May 5, 2014, http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=11384.

[21] Bostom, The Mufti’s Islamic Jew-Hatred, p. 31.

[22] “The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Special Dispatch Series No. 1092, February 14, 2006, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/1609.htm.

[23] Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, pp. 147, 162, 185.

[24] Joseph S. Spoerl, “The World View of Hasan al-Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood,” New English Review, December 2012, http://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm/frm/128355/sec_id/128355.

[25] “Dr. Subhi Al-Yaziji, Dean of Koranic Studies at the Islamic University of Gaza: We Hope to Conquer Andalusia and the Vatican,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Clip No. 3450, May 25, 2012, http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/3450.htm; “Hamas Leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar: Western Civilization ‘Will Not Be Able to Withstand the Great and Glorious Islam,’” Middle East Media Research Institute, Special Dispatch No. 4282, November 14, 2011, http://www.memri.org/report/en/print5814.htm; “Hamas Sermon in Gaza on Al-Aqsa TV: Rome Will Be Conquered by Islam,” Special Dispatch No. 2854, March 12, 2010, http://www.memri.org/report/en/print4030.htm; “Hamas MP/Cleric’s Friday Sermon: We Will Conquer Rome, the Two America, and Eastern Europe,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Special Dispatch No. 1885, April 14, 2008, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/2727.htm; “Hamas Leader Khaled Mash’al at a Damascus Mosque: The Nation of Islam Will Sit at the Throne of the World and the West Will Be Full of Remorse When It Is Too Late,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Clip No. 1024, February 3, 2006, http://www.memri.org/clip_transcript/en/1024.htm; “Leading Sunni Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi and Othjer Sheikhs Herald the Coming Conquest of Rome,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Special Dispatch No. 447,  December 6, 2002, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/774.htm; see also Jonathan D. Halevi, “The Hamas Threat to the West Is No Different from ISIS,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, August 4, 2014, http://jcpa.org/hamas-threat-no-different-from-isis/.

[26] See Joseph S. Spoerl, “What a Muslim Brotherhood State Looks Like,” New English Review, June 2013, http://www.newenglishreview.org/Joseph_S._Spoerl/What_a_Muslim_Brotherhood_State_Looks_Like/.

[27] Kenneth Stein rightly takes Carter to task for recasting Hamas as a moderate partner ready to negotiate with Israel: Kenneth W. Stein, “My Problem with Jimmy Carter’s Book,” Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2007, pp. 3-15, http://www.meforum.org/1633/my-problem-with-jimmy-carters-book; see also Alan Dershowitz, “Supporting Hamas Is Anti-Semitic,” Gatestone Institute, August 14, 2014, http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4609/supporting-hamas-antisemitic

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Joseph S. Spoerl is professor of philosophy at Saint Anselm College.

 

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