Hamas 'not angels', but not necessarily terrorists, say Jewish activists

Beneath their pointed anti-Israel slogans and confident, justice-seeking rhetoric, certainty, and a willingness to clearly label actors, apart from Israel, appeared far more elusive.

September 6, 2015 10:29
2 minute read.

Anti-Israel protesters react when asked if they think Hamas is a terror organization

Anti-Israel protesters react when asked if they think Hamas is a terror organization


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Bearing banners, placards and impromptu signs condemning "Israeli occupation" and "Israeli terror," on August 27 activists from Jewish Voice for Peace took to New York's leafy Eighth avenue to march in commemoration of Palestinians killed in last summer's operation Protective Edge.

"Zionism is bound to fail, so boycott, boycott Israel," they chanted as they waved Palestinian flags in Manhattan's affluent upper West Side.

However, beneath the pointed slogans and justice-seeking rhetoric, certainty and a willingness to clearly label actors, apart from Israel, appeared far more elusive.

In a video uploaded by the Israel Project on September 5, members of the August rally, organized by JVFP, an NGO that works for "a just solution for security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians" were asked to posit their thoughts on Hamas.

"I don't have a strong opinion [on Hamas]," said Lana Povitz, a rally leader who did confirm that Hamas is "not her favorite," when asked her opinion on the Palestinian Islamist organization. 

According to Povitz, the use of human shields is not "the most serious crime that's been done here" and that, while she does condemn the practice "where it occurs," to focus on Hamas "is not productive."

Povitz went on to say that condemning Hamas is not her "first fight," a quarrel she is waging against the United States government, who she says "is much worse" than Hamas.

A different protester, sporting a kaffiyeh, the checkered black and white scarf often worn in solidarity with the Palestinian cause, seemed to match Povitz's ambivalence regarding Hamas.

While sure of his outrage at "Israeli war-crimes" and the carnage caused by the summer offensive, Gaza's militant rulers, who were filmed firing rockets only meters away from civilians, were demoted to a footnote rather than recognized as a major actor.

"It's a difficult situation to speak on," said the demonstrator before admitting that he was "not educated enough to say" if Hamas is or is not a terrorist organization.

Another protester, who arrived to protest the siege and  the "occupation" of Gaza, echoed Povitz's equivocal sentiment regarding Hamas, ruling them out as "definitely not angels," but eschewing applying the terrorist label.

Whether or not Hamas is or is not a terrorist organization, would, according to her, "depend on how terrorism is defined."

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