A couple of weeks ago, Mahmoud Zahar - the supposedly moderate and pragmatic Hamas leader in Gaza - let his mask slip as he spouted anti-semitic rhetoric, saying that Jews have been expelled from all the countries they've been in because of their "crimes" and they will be expelled from Palestine as well.
Hamas, of course, has been carefully nurturing an image of moderation and pragmatism - an image that is happily believed by the likes of Jimmy Carter and Stephen Walt and MJ Rosenberg. Hamas works assiduously to place moderate-sounding op-eds in major newspapers, all to feed the wishful thinking of leftist wishful thinking and latent anti-Zionism.
Explicit anti-semitism is not on Hamas' current agenda.
So, Palestine Press Agency reports, Zahar received an urgent memo from Hamas' Damascus leadership rebuking him for his impolitic statements.
The memo stated "that the efforts of the Hamas leadership in Damascus with the West and Europe have been opening up new political avenues, and we must preserve them." The memo said that he has to stay away from words like "Jews" and instead use words like "the occupation" - which is exactly what Hamas normally does, even when referring to Israel within the 1949 armistice lines.
The Damascus leaders emphasized that Gaza leaders should not talk about extermination and annihilation of Jews, or uprooting of Jews from the land of Palestine. Instead, those terms should be replaced by saying that they are seeking to liberate the occupied Palestinian territories, and the removal of the Zionist occupation of our land, and to emphasize to Americans that "our hostility is not for the Jews or Judaism, but those who have occupied our land."
Of course, Zahar's statements were exactly in line with what is written in Hamas' charter which is rather explicit concerning Jews.
For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah's victory prevails.
Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah's promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree
When our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad. This would require the propagation of Islamic consciousness among the masses on all local, Arab and Islamic levels. We must spread the spirit of Jihad among the [Islamic] Umma, clash with the enemies and join the ranks of the Jihad fighters.
The Nazism of the Jews does not skip women and children, it scares everyone. They make war against people's livelihood, plunder their moneys and threaten their honor. In their horrible actions they mistreat people like the most horrendous war criminals.
We cannot fail to remind every Muslim that when the Jews occupied Holy Jerusalem in 1967 and stood at the doorstep of the Blessed Aqsa Mosque, they shouted with joy: "Muhammad is dead, he left daughters behind." Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims. "Let the eyes of the cowards not fall asleep."