Back in May 2017 BBC audiences were told that Hamas had abandoned “anti-Jewish language” with the publication of a new policy document.
“It also says Hamas’s struggle is not with Jews but with “occupying Zionist aggressors”. The 1988 charter was condemned for its anti-Jewish language.
The text is seen as an effort by Hamas, which rules Gaza, to soften its image.
“The document gives us a chance to connect with the outside world,” spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said.
“To the world, our message is: Hamas is not radical. We are a pragmatic and civilized movement. We do not hate the Jews. We only fight who occupies our lands and kills our people. […]
For years there has been criticism of Hamas over the language of its charter, in particular articles which were branded anti-Semitic.
The charter speaks of the need to fight “warmongering Jews” and cites a hadith – a report of what the Prophet Muhammad said or approved – that declares “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews)”.
It also refers to the “Jews’ usurpation of Palestine” and accuses Jews of controlling the world’s media and of being behind the French Revolution, secret societies and of controlling imperialist countries.”
The same messaging was repeated in another report a week later and several months after that BBC audiences were inaccurately informed by the corporation’s chief international correspondent that Hamas had “made some changes to that charter”. The BBC refused to correct that error.
“Hamas Political Bureau member Fathi Hammad said in a Friday, July 12, 2019 speech at a March of Return rally that aired on Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas-Gaza) that Israel has until the following Friday (July 19) to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip and implement its understandings with Hamas, lest the Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and all over the world use the “many methods and means” that are “up their sleeves” to “powerfully explode” in Israel’s face. He said that, contrary to what Israel thinks, the Gazans are not rational, and that if they die, they will do so honorably while cutting off the heads of Jews and killing them with explosive belts, which he said Hamas has been actively manufacturing in factories. Calling on the seven million Palestinians abroad, whom he said have been “warming up” and “preparing,” Hammad said: “Enough warming up… We must attack every Jew on planet Earth and slaughter and kill them.” Hammad also encouraged Palestinians in the West Bank to purchase knives in order to cut the necks of Jews, saying that knives only cost five shekels. He added: “We will die while exploding and cutting the necks and legs of the Jews. We will lacerate them and tear them to pieces, Allah willing!” [emphasis added]
While Hamad is no stranger to violent and antisemitic rhetoric, this time some Hamas officials tried to distance the movement from part his statements, despite their being not not vastly different from many others made by Hamas officials in the past.
BBC audiences, however, will no doubt continue to see the corporation’s standard tepid description of Hamas as a “militant group” and portrayal of the ‘Great Return March‘ as “protests”.