Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, two sides of the same coin

A senior Hamas official and spokesman for the terrorist organization has once again rehashed a medieval, hate-filled, anti-Semitic blood libel.  Speaking in Arabic to an Arabic audience on the Lebanese Al-Quds TV channel on July 28, Osama Hamdan stated the following; “We all remember how the Jews used to slaughter Christians, in order to mix their blood in their holy matzos. This is not a figment of imagination or something taken from a film. It is a fact, acknowledged by their own books and by historical evidence.”

Hamdan subsequently appeared on CNN and in an extraordinary exchange, was directly challenged by Wolf Blitzer who asked Hamadan if he really subscribed to these odious views. Hamadan punted and would not directly address the question instead claiming that his words were taken out of context and then predictably changed the subject. Blitzer then played a recording of Hamadan’s interview to reinforce the point and again Hamadan responded evasively prompting Blitzer to state derisively, “I was hoping to get a flat denial from you that you would utter such ridiculous words… that is an awful smear.”

Hamdan was clearly shocked by Blitzer’s query. He made his comments in Arabic and addressed them to an Arabic audience and did not expect or anticipate Western scrutiny. Arab officials routinely speak in forked tongues tailoring their narratives to the specific audiences being addressed. When speaking in Western forums, they appear polished and substantially moderate their tone. It becomes an entirely different affair when they are addressing Arab audiences, when the guard is down and full blown hatred and xenophobia excitedly come to fore.

Blood libels spewed forth by senior members of the Hamas organization should come as no surprise. After all, article 7 of the Hamas charter speaks of Jews hiding behind rocks and trees with the rocks and trees calling out, “0 Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!” Anyone capable of believing and indoctrinating themselves in such insanity is certainly quite capable of regurgitating blood libels.

But if you think that such outrageous talk is limited to Hamas or its cousin, Islamic Jihad, you are sadly mistaken.  In fact, senior members of the Palestinian Authority, the group that the Obama administration considers to be “moderate,” have expressed similar views.

In March 2013, A Western funded Palestinian nonprofit group called Miftah, run by Hanan Ashrawi, a senior PLO Executive Committee Member and frequent representative and spokesperson for the PA, published an article in an online forum – in Arabic of course –  claiming that Jews utilize the “the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover.”

At first, Ashrawi refused to apologize and instead attacked the blogger who uncovered the story. Ashrawi however, quickly changed her tune once she realized that the article’s repulsive content was beginning to draw the ire of some of her Western financiers. Fearing a loss of funding, she promptly pulled the article and apologized, stating that the piece was “accidentally” published and the staffer responsible was “reprimanded.”  The claim of “accident” is of course utter rubbish. The piece was deliberately published in the Arabic online edition but withheld from the English version precisely because Miftah was aware that it would be unpalatable to Western audiences.

The lame excuse was nevertheless accepted. Western governments generally tend to be overly tolerant of Palestinian and Muslim anti-Semitism, and criticism – to the extent that any is forthcoming – tends to be muted.  And so business goes on as usual with Palestinian officials from both Hamas and the PA routinely expressing the most extreme xenophobic positions, backtracking only when exposed and threatened with loss of funding by their Western enablers. I refer to them as enablers because these Palestinian entities rely almost exclusively on handouts and would not be able to function but for Western cash.

It is shameful that the West allows this practice to continue without consequence. Medieval blood libels are regurgitated with alarming frequency, Jews are routinely referred to as the descendants of apes and pigs while Palestinian children are indoctrinated in hate by official PA programming geared specifically for children in Sesame Street-like forums. As long as the West tolerates these unacceptable, xenophobic behaviors without exacting a toll against the offenders, base Jew-hatred will continue to fester and metastasize in the Palestinian camp rendering the prospects for peace all but impossible and virtually guaranteeing another round of fighting.

About the Author
Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor. He has authored several articles covering political and military issues concerning Israel, the United States and the Mideast at large.