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Press Release

Hamas Must Expunge Anti-Semitism from Charter if Palestinians are to Commit to Peace with Israel

New York, NY, May 10, 2011 … In response to the newly forged alliance between Fatah and Hamas for a unified Palestinian government, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is calling on President Mahmoud Abbas and other moderate Palestinian leaders and the international community to add a "fourth condition" for the terrorist group to gain international recognition and legitimacy: Reject anti-Semitism.

"Much has been said of the three conditions that Hamas must meet before it gains international recognition, but to those there needs to be added a fourth," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Hamas must unambiguously reject anti-Semitism. Until they do, there's no use talking about the chances for Palestinian-Israeli peace. The message to the Palestinian Authority and President Abbas should be clear: You cannot reconcile with anti-Semites."

ADL is calling on the Quartet and Palestinian leaders to demand that Hamas comply with one additional condition as a precursor to forming a unity government: To renounce the anti-Semitism inherent in Hamas' founding ideology, and to expunge from its charter all elements of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories and rhetoric.

The recent agreement, signed in Cairo, for the reconciliation of Fatah and Hamas and new elections leading to the formation of a unity government has led to calls for Israel to enter into peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

The members of the Quartet – the United States, the United Nations,Russia and the European Union – continue to insist on Hamas meeting three important "conditions" prior to international recognition and engagement: recognizing the State of Israel, renouncing the use of terrorism and violence, and recognizing the validity of previously negotiated Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

Yet little has been said, so far, of the foundational ideology of Hamas, which is based on age-old, classic anti-Semitic myths. The founding covenant of Hamas is committed not only to the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic state in its place, but is replete with raw, unadulterated Jew-hatred.

Adopted in August 1988, the Hamas Charter openly embraces the notorious anti-Semitic forgery, "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion," holding it up as evidence that Jews are innately greedy, manipulative and conniving, according to ADL. The charter adopts classical anti-Semitic canards: Jews as plotting to control the world, Jews acquiring wealth by stealing, and Jews controlling the levers of power in media, government and finance. Such stereotypical anti-Semitic canards have been used through the centuries to defame and demonize Jews, leading to violence, pogroms and, ultimately, the Holocaust.

Aside from its embrace of virulently anti-Semitic myths, the Hamas Charter is filled with conspiracy theories about Jews through history. The Charter blames "world Zionism" for the French and Communist Revolutions, World War I, and the establishment of the United Nations, which it claims was created by Jews "in order to rule the world by their intermediary."

"The anti-Semitism in the Hamas Charter is not just an item on paper, it is reflected in the current comments of the terrorist movement's leaders," said Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair. "Whether it is Khaled Meshal or Ismail Hanyieh or Mahmoud al-Zahar among the present leadership, or one of the founders of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, anti-Semitic vitriol has been and continues to be a hallmark of their public statements."

Here are a few examples of recent anti-Jewish statements by Hamas officials:

  • "Whoever is killed by a Jew receives the reward of two martyrs, because the very thing that the Jews did to the prophets was done to him. The Jews are the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon the face of the Earth, because they have displayed hostility to Allah. Allah will kill the Jews in the hell of the world to come, just like they killed the believers in the hell of this world." – Sermon by 'Atallah Abu Al-Subh, former Hamas minister of culture, April 8, 2011 (Translation by MEMRI).
  • "The lie of the Zionist Holocaust crumbles with countless holocausts committed by the Zionists in Beit Hanoun, al-Fakhoura school and other places in Palestine." -- Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar, speaking at a memorial service for Palestinians killed during the 2008 Israeli war inGaza, January 6, 2011.
  • [The economic crisis is the result of] "…bad administrative and financial management and a bad banking system put into place and controlled by the Jewish lobby." [The Jewish lobby] "controls the U.S.elections and defines the foreign policy of any new administration in a manner that allows it to retain control of the American government and economy." -- Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum, October 7, 2008.

"The international community should not look the other way when it comes to the anti-Semitism that forms the bedrock of the Hamas movement," said Mr. Sugarman. "Before the United States and other members of the Quartet try to restart negotiations, they should insist that the newly reconstituted Palestinian government renounce anti-Semitism."

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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