The Forward’s interview with senior Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook was astounding, though surely not for the reasons intended. The terrorist leader said little of interest; it was boilerplate rhetoric — a mix of fanaticism and deceit to fool gullible Westerners. What was shocking, however, was what the interview revealed about some Jews.
Abu Marzook affirmed that Hamas will never accept Israel, nor will he conclude peace with it. He interpreted the hadith calling for genocide of Jews as applying only to Israelis. The response of some Jews? “I think the mere fact of his speaking to you, independent of what he said, is almost more important than the specifics,” Israeli journalist Shlomi Eldar opined. Activist Gershon Baskin termed the interview a “historic landmark” and gushed, “The amount of time he gave you is amazing.”
How cowed and insecure must a people be to delight in the time a terrorist allots to wage psychological warfare against them, preaching their eventual destruction to their faces? In the 1990s, Osama bin Laden gave interviews to Western journalists while simultaneously plotting the downfall of the West. Was the mere fact that he spoke to a British journalist in any way more important than the specifics of declaring war on the West?
The Forward asks Abu Marzook if he’s ever heard of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Think about that for a moment. Is it possible that the Hamas leader has never read his own charter, which cites the book? The Forward then informs the terrorist that the anti-Semitic tract is actually a forgery. “Really?” Abu Marzook feigns innocently. “This is the first time I know [of it].” “Oh, so I should I tell you, because it’s important news,” the interviewer says.
Unforgettably, the Forward explains to the terrorist that there is a difference between an armistice and a peace treaty. “An armistice, it can be many different things,” the interviewer says. “It’s not as clear as a treaty what it is.” A country might offer a “10-year hudna [temporary cease-fire], 20-year hudna , and the armistice is to build up the arms the whole time. Maybe that’s not so good for us.” Maybe? Few things are as certain as knowing that the arming of a theocratic, tyrannical terrorist regime whose stated aim is genocide is not good for us. Hamas’s entire strategy is to use cease-fires never to get to a treaty.
Understanding Hamas is inestimably easier than comprehending the naiveté of some Jews. No matter how clear the war or how obvious the deceit against them, some Jews will never grasp reality. That is the lesson of this amazing Hamas interview.
David Keyes, executive director of Advancing Human Rights, is a contributor to Newsweek/The Daily Beast.