Islamic Jihad, Progressive Humanity and the Tragedy of Gaza

The Arab street is blaming Israel for the destruction of the al-Ahli hospital in Gaza regardless of whether or not Palestinian Islamic Jihad was responsible. Even before the cloud of suspicion was lifting from the IDF, fearful Arab leaders cancelled the planned summit with President Biden. This terrible episode will undoubtedly provide the fuel to set the Middle East alight if Iran and Hezbollah are true to their threats.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad was established years before Hamas and carried out its first attack as early as 1984. Inspired by the success of the Iranian revolution in 1979, its founder Fathi Al-Shiqaqi published the journal, Islamic Vanguard, in London in 1982. His views on Jews were primitive and verged on the antisemitic. In July 1980, al-Shiqaqi wrote that Jews created ‘the usury system’ — a well-known medieval taunt.

in June 1989, al-Shiqaqi noted that the Jews had rebelled during the time of the Prophet and refused to accept Islam — yet fourteen centuries later they had inexplicably returned to the Holy Land. He wrote: ‘we shall awake from our slumber… and irrevocably dispose of them’. For al-Shiqaqi, the presence of a Hebrew republic, constituted a danger to the entire Muslim world ‘from Tangiers to Jakarta, from Istanbul to Lagos.’

The very idea of a two state solution and living in peace with Israel was anathema. It should also be recalled that Hamas shared this view. Hamas destroyed the Oslo peace process between Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat through its suicide bombings in the 1990s. In 2023 Hamas wished to sever any future relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia through the slaughter of Jews and Netanyahu’s reaction to it.

In the wider world, many on the far Left who supported the Palestinian cause could not bring themselves last week to condemn the cold-bloodied murder of hundreds of Israelis in their kibbutzim and villages and the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the border area with Gaza. Some instead lauded ‘the revolutionary violence’ of Hamas and justified the butchery as being the outcome of 56 years of the Israeli presence on the West Bank. They will no doubt be happy that the deaths of innocents in al-Ahli hospital will reverse any prospect of Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.

The far Left has often evaded any mention of Hamas in their press releases and in their public pronouncements — and like Jeremy Corbyn, spoke only of “the Palestinians” — as if Hamas had been periodically re-elected and acclaimed by the entire population of Gaza.

The far Left does not distinguish between Palestinian nationalists who accept partition of the Land and Palestinian Islamists, entrapped by its own interpretation of religion, who are unable to compromise and to recognise difference.

For Palestinian Islamists, there is no place for “the other” — no acceptance of gays and secular women. When Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, they were keen to throw their opponents in Fatah off its rooftops.

Hamas is depicted by the far Left as a classic national liberation movement that will eventually find its path to socialist revolution. In the view of many, Hamas should therefore be supported and turned towards the Left. Yet as anyone with a knowledge of the history of socialism will understand, Lenin categorically refused to endorse any pan-Islamic movement while supporting anti-colonial movements.

Such selective outrage by the far Left leads to the Stalinist belief that the end justifies the means, no matter how immoral. In 2023, the far Left has left its moral scruples far behind, it has become indistinguishable from those forces which endorse reaction and extermination.

Jewish News 18 October 2023

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