In the wake of the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston from his Palestinian kidnappers, the leaders of Hamas were quick to take credit for this humanitarian act. Predictably, that led to calls in Europe — echoed faintly even here among some American Jews — to drop the boycott of the Islamist terrorist regime that runs Gaza and engage them as legitimate negotiating partners.
Many of us imagine that everyone, even those who embrace terror and intolerance, are really just like us when it comes to their dreams for the future. The goal, we are told, is to separate the "moderates" in Hamas from the fanatics, a theme familiar to the history of conflict between democracies and tyrannies.
Yet trying on our own to rehabilitate the image of Hamas requires not just wishful thinking, but moral blindness. Hamas is a group whose beliefs are based on an absolute denial of the right of Israel to exist, as well as on intolerance of any form of government not ruled by fundamentalist Islam. Hamas dreams of a world without Israel — or any Jews, for that matter. Until it gives up such lurid goals, calls to negotiate with them are an exercise in futility that deserves to be ignored.