Matthew Levitt

Jan 14, 2024

Hamas

Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad

Yale University Press 2008

The world is reeling from the savage terror attack that brutalized, raped, murdered and kidnapped Israelis and civilians from at least 25 other countries, continuing to hold many of them hostage – and from the ongoing war that followed.

After Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, some thought it would become more moderate. That was wishful thinking. The barbaric massacre of October 7, 2023 made it clear that Hamas is a terrorist group intent on destroying Israel and hoping to spark a regional – and even wider-war.

We talk with Matthew Levitt, a counterterrorism expert with extensive field experience in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and author of Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (Yale UP, 2008). This important book provides the most fully researched assessment of Hamas ever written. It draws aside the veil of legitimacy behind which Hamas hid, by presenting concrete, detailed evidence from an extensive array of international intelligence materials, including recently declassified CIA, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security reports.

Levitt demolishes the notion that Hamas’ military, political, and social wings are distinct from one another. Levitt exposes Hamas as a unitary organization committed to a militant Islamist ideology.and expands the book’s insights and their implication for the future in “The War Hamas Always Wanted.” Foreign Affairs, 16 Oct. 2023, and "The Road to Oct 7: Hamas’ Long Game, Clarified" in CTC Sentinel (Combating Terrorism Center at West Point), Vol. 16, issue 10, Oct.-Nov. 2023.

Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at reneeg@vanleer.org.il. She's on Twitter @embracingwisdom. She blogs here.

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Renee Garfinkel

Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at reneeg@vanleer.org.il. She's on Twitter @embracingwisdom. She blogs here.

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