Mustafa al-Lidawi, formerly a senior official of Hamas, has written a variant of the classic antisemitic blood libel myth in Ma’am, an Arabic newspaper.
Al-Lidawi called Purim a “holiday that the people of Europe hated and detested and wished that the Jews would leave their countries so they could be saved from their wickedness”. He continued that “this is because the Jews who lived in Europe would always bake a large pastry on the occasion of the holiday, and everyone would eat it. However, this pastry was mixed with the blood of a victim they chose from among those who were not Jews. Most of the time the victim was a little boy”.
Blood libel is an antisemitic myth that originated in England, and typically revolves around the accusation that Jews used the blood of Christian children to bake matzah. However, it has many variants, most of which involve accusations of Jews engaging in ritualistic killing. Blood libel was imported into the Middle East by Imperial powers and has become a prominent part of contemporary Islamist antisemitism.
Al-Lidawi linked this blood libel to Israel, stating that “his Jewish mentality and this ancient Jewish nature have not changed. For they fashioned their joy from the blood of others, hold their celebrations at the expense of the sighs and groans of the victims who they tortured, and base their happiness on the sorrow of others”.
His comments are a disturbing reminder that behind the purported political motivations of Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation, there lies a hardcore antisemitism that mirrors the same mentalities that fuelled hundreds of years of persecution of Jews in Europe. Whilst the fact that someone who was a senior official in Hamas has made such blatantly antisemitic comments is not remotely surprising, his comments provide a telling illustration of the profound antisemitism at the heart of the terrorist group.