From the Hamas Charter
"The Islamic Resistance Movement calls on Arab and Islamic nations to take up the line of serious and persevering action to prevent the success of this horrendous plan, to warn the people of the danger eminating from leaving the circle of struggle against Zionism. Today it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion', and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying."
Ah, yes, the Protocols, one of those European anti-Semitic tracts that caught on in the Middle East which Bernard Lewis was talking about. Wikipedia describes its contents:
"The Protocols are widely considered to be the beginning of contemporary conspiracy theory literature, and take the form of an instruction manual to a new member of the "Elders," describing how they will run the world through control of the media and finance, and replace the traditional social order with one based on mass manipulation. The work was popularized by those opposed to the revolutionary movement, and was disseminated further after the Russian Revolution of 1905, becoming known worldwide after the 1917 Bolshevik October Revolution, when the idea that Bolshevism was a conspiracy for world domination sparked far-ranging interest in the Protocols. It was widely circulated in the West in the 1920s and 1930s, and while continued usage of the Protocols as a propaganda tool substantially diminished with the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, it still has currency in the arsenal of contemporary anti-Semitism."
The charter goes on to say, "The Islamic Resistance Movement consider itself to be the spearhead of the circle of struggle with world Zionism and a step on the road." It begs the question, "The road to what?" While the Charter contains the standard Muslim idea that the religions of the book can live together peacefully, it reads like a throwaway line amidst stuff like, "Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people." Like other Islamic militants, Hamas hearkens after an age in which its ideals were dominant, an age which unfortunately for them never really existed. And lest you think Hamas's hatred is just directed at Jews, don't forget Article 22:
"For a long time, the enemies have been planning, skillfully and with precision, for the achievement of what they have attained. They took into consideration the causes affecting the current of events. They strived to amass great and substantive material wealth which they devoted to the realisation of their dream. With their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others. With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests. With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries and instigate them to colonize many countries in order to enable them to exploit their resources and spread corruption there."
Yes, those Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, and Lions.
All of this is not to go back on my basic pro-Palestinian orientation in the Arab-Israeli conflict, nor do I deny that some within Hamas want to modify this charter. However, as far as I'm concerned, they need to actually do it and show they mean it before they should be treated as a respectable power on the world stage.