Algerian Writer: Arab Intellectuals Who Support Hamas Are Hypocrites – They Ignore Its Atrocities On October 7 And The Tragedy It Has Brought Upon The Gazans

On October 24, 2023, some two weeks after Hamas’ October 7 terror attack, in which some 1,200 people were killed and about 240 were kidnapped, a group of Arab intellectuals, writers, journalists, film directors and artists issued an open letter in which they attacked their Western colleagues who had condemned Hamas and supported Israel. The letter, which ignored the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7, stated that the Western intellectuals could have been expected to support “the Palestinian people’s struggle for its just and legitimate national rights,” and accused them of hypocrisy for calling Hamas terrorist.

In response to this open letter, Hamid Zanaz, an Algerian author and researcher who resides in France and is a columnist for the London-based daily Al-Arab, accused the letter signatories of ignoring the fact that Hamas directly caused the current tragedy in Gaza by committing atrocities on October 7. Wondering whether these Arab intellectuals really regard Hamas’ atrocities – murdering young men and women, mutilating bodies and kidnapping women, children and elders – as a moral and legitimate form of resistance, as their letter indicates, Zanaz stated that they themselves are the hypocrites, because they talk about values and human dignity, yet remain silent or even condone the “monstrous barbarity” displayed by Hamas. He noted that the letter signatories also disregard the fact that Hamas is a fundamentalist Islamist movement that oppresses the people of Gaza, and wondered whether any of these intellectuals would agree to live under Hamas’ tyrannical rule. The support for Hamas after the atrocities of October 7, he concluded, only harms the Palestinian cause and does not promote it.

Arab Intellectuals Slam Western Colleagues For Condemning Hamas’ Terror Attack

On October 24, 2023 dozens of Arab intellectuals and artists published an open letter to their colleagues in the West. The signatories included France-based Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said Esber, known by his pen name Adonis, Moroccan philosopher, human rights activist and former ambassador to Egypt Ali Oumlil, and many others.

The letter stated: “Against the backdrop of the confrontation currently taking place between the Palestinian resistance and the Israeli occupation forces in Gaza and its environs… we, Arab intellectuals, expected the intellectuals, academics and artists in the West to support the Palestinian people’s struggle for its just and legitimate national rights…

“We expected this of the Western intellectuals because we believe that, within their societies, they are the sector… responsible for safeguarding the important principles and values that modern human civilization has created, and because they and we share the belief in these human principles and values [of] liberty, justice, equality, human rights, the safeguarding of human dignity and the elimination of extremism…”

The letter accuses the intellectuals in the West of taking stances that “defend the hangman and aggressor [i.e., Israel]” and do not reflect the positions and perceptions of the West, and of “remaining silent and turning a blind eye when it comes to the issue of Palestine and the rights of its people,” which, the letter says, “a double standard.”

The letter then states: “Directing accusations at the resistance [i.e., Hamas] and calling it ‘terrorist’ is a flagrant violation of the principles of international law, which recognizes the right of peoples to liberate their occupied land by every means, including by the force of arms.” It goes on to compare Hamas to the resistance against the Nazi occupation, asking: “Is there anyone among the Western intellectuals who is willing… to define the national [movements] in Europe that waged resistance against Nazism and the Nazis as terrorist movements?…”

The letter ends by inviting the Western intellectuals and artists “to hold a joint dialogue about the shared values and principles… and about the status of the issue of Palestine and the rights of its people…”[1]

Algerian Writer Hamid Zanaz: These Arab Intellectuals Ignore The Fact That Hamas Is A Fundamentalist Movement That Has Committed Atrocities And Brought Disaster Upon The Gazans

Responding to this letter, Algerian author and researcher Hamid Zanaz attacked its signatories, writing: “On November 24, 2023 [sic],… Arab researchers, academics, artists and writers from various Arab countries… addressed an open letter to the Western intellectuals, calling upon them to condemn the barbaric Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people and to publicly and explicitly support the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people over their land. They accused the Western intellectuals of remaining silent and turning a blind eye when it comes to the issue of Palestine and the rights of its people over their land.

“What do [the poet] Adunis…, [the Tunisian philosopher and translator] Fethi Meskini, [the Moroccan philosopher and former ambassador to Egypt] Ali Oumlil and the rest of those who signed the letter and will sign it in the future mean [when they refer to] the Palestinian people’s rights over their land? If they mean the two-state solution, then it is an obvious matter and most of the Western intellectuals support this right, including the Jewish ones. But if they mean the right of the Palestinian people to [receive] all of the land of Palestine and throw the Jews into the sea, as the Hamas movement declares [it wants to do], then that is a different matter, which neither the Western intellectuals nor the non-Western ones can accept.

“Additionally, and even ignoring everything else, what is the point of calling to recognize the rights of the Palestinian people, which have been recognized internationally for decades?

“It is curious that the letter of the Arab intellectuals to the Western intellectuals does not even mention Hamas, as though [this movement] has nothing to do with the destruction of Gaza and is totally unconnected to the whole affair, when the fact is that [Hamas] is the directly responsible for the tragedy of the people of Gaza. What is even stranger is that, at the beginning of the letter, the signatories define Hamas as a resistance movement… According to these intellectuals, the fundamentalist Hamas – which has humiliated the Gazans for some two decades – has [suddenly] become ‘the Palestinian resistance,’ which, moreover, [represents] the Palestinian people and their cause. We have never heard these intellectuals expressing outrage against Hamas for committing crimes against the rights of the Palestinians in Gaza, which it occupied by the force of arms.”

Is Murdering Young Men And Women, Mutilating Bodies And Kidnapping Women, Children And Elders A Legitimate Form Of Resistance According To These Intellectuals?

“Yes, what Israel is doing in Gaza is reprehensible in the eyes of any normal person. But does it help the Palestinian cause to be associated with Hamas, especially after the atrocities it perpetrated on October 7, 2023? Reading the letter of these Arab intellectuals, one gets the impression that they haven’t heard Hamas did on that cursed day. Ignoring the facts, and the very same values that they charge the Western intellectuals to respect, they write that ‘directing accusations at the resistance [i.e., Hamas] and calling it ‘terrorist’ is a flagrant violation of the principles of international law, which recognizes the right of peoples to liberate their occupied land by every means, including by the force of arms.’ Do the actions of Hamas – which included murdering young [Israeli] men and women who were dancing at an outdoor [party], mutilating bodies, and kidnapping women, children and old men and women – count as legitimate and moral resistance, rather than terrorism, in the eyes of the honorable men and women [who signed the open letter]?

“These self-styled Arab intellectuals accuse the Western intellectuals of applying a double standard, [but] that is an accusation that can obviously be directed at them as well. They certainly deserve it, because most of these signatories, if not all of them, failed to utter a peep against [Hamas’] monstrous barbarity on October 7, whose victims were civilians. In fact, some of them saw this massacre of civilians as a heroic resistance operation by Hamas.

“One does not need a degree in politics in order to understand that the West is not monolithic, [and that] the talk about ‘Western intellectuals’ is an example of a misleading generalization, since the West is pluralistic in every respect, including in its thinking and culture. For example, the Left and the Green [parties] disagree with the others and support the Palestinian cause, and some of them strongly oppose the state of Israel. Are the Arab intellectuals ignorant of the fact that most of the Western intellectuals are part of the Left, which supports peace and the rights of the peoples, and that the Right is becoming more extremist in its positions against the Arabs and Muslims because of the Islamic terror that has perpetrated brutal attacks in Europe, the U.S., and the rest of the world? Is the letter addressed [also] to the intellectuals on the Right, or are its authors [completely] ignorant when it comes to the West?”

Would Any Of The Signatories Agree To Live In Gaza Under Hamas’ Oppressive Rule?

“From the pragmatic perspective, when the Arab intellectuals invite the Western intellectuals to a dialogue based on the supreme values of human civilization, in what framework is this [dialogue] meant [to take place]? Who will represent who, and by what right? Do the authors of the letter realize that there is no such thing as ‘Western intellectuals,’ but only French, German, Norwegian, American and Japanese ones? And that letters do not reach their intended recipient when the [recipient’s] name and address are incorrect?

“Given that, in the eyes of certain people who have become secularists, leftists and pan-Arabists, Hamas is a resistance movement and is the real representative of the Palestinian people, [I wonder]: If [Hamas] wins [the war] and establishes its state, as described in its literature and its charter, will these people, who support this extremist Islamic movement, be able to live under its Islamic rule? Would even one of them be willing to promise to live in Hamas-controlled Gaza? Or will they continue to live under the sky of [Western] liberty and secularism, and leave the Palestinians to bend under the yoke of the Muslim Brotherhood’s shari’a rule, which Hamas will enforce in Gaza just as it has enforced it throughout [the years of] its rule[?] [This is] an absolute dictatorship that has abolished elections, forgotten [the population] on the surface of the Gaza [Strip] and turned to building [underground] passages and tunnels.”[2] [1] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), October 24, 2023.

[2] Al-Arab (London), December 7, 2023.

Check Also

French President Macron Meets With Arab Delegation To Discuss Gaza

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan headed an Arab ministerial delegation …