Sara Roy, a senior research scholar at Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, complained recently of censorship because her review of a book by the Washington Institute's Mathew Levitt Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad, was rejected by a peer review panel at Tufts University's Fletcher Forum on World Affairs as one-sided and lacking in objectivity. (Apparently, peer review is regarded by Roy as a mere formality, something akin to the approval of a presidential decree by the Syrian parliament). Cinnamon Stillwell has a detailed account of the issue. Roy's review was in the end published elsewhere and upon reading it, the justification for its earlier rejection is readily apparent.
This what Roy had to say in her review about Hamas, the Islamist movement whose innovation in Palestinian politics has been to move in its Charter beyond the customary call for Israel's extinction by violence to the general murder of Jews:
Since Hamas's victory in the January 2006 legislative elections, there has been a further evolution in its political thinking — as evidenced in some of its key political documents — characterized by a strong emphasis on state-building and programmatic work, greater refinement with regard to its position on a two-state solution and the role of resistance, and a progressive de-emphasis on religion.
Really? Here are some indicators of Hamas' record since January 2006:
In February 2006, senior Hamas figures Mahmoud Zahar and Saed Siyam rejected any possible peace negotiations with Israel, with Zahar saying that Israel was an enemy, and thus not a partner for negotiations.
In April 2006, Musa Abu Marzouq, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau, reiterated in an interview that "One of Hamas's founding principals is that it does not recognize Israel. We [participated in] the elections and the people voted for us based on this platform. Therefore, the question of recognizing Israel is definitely not on the table unless it withdraws from ALL the Palestinian lands, not only to the 1967 borders."
In June 2006, Hamas blasted Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas for suggesting that it may accept a two-state solution and recognize Israel.
In September 2006, Marzouq said: "Hamas has serious reservations about the [Arab Peace] initiative since it involves acceptance of two states, Palestine and Israel. Hamas rejects this because it means recognition of Israel."
At a 20 October 2006 Hamas convention in Khan Yunis, Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Al-Zahar stated that "Israel is a vile entity that has been planted in our soil, and has no historical, religious or cultural legitimacy. We cannot normalize our relations with this entity ... [We say] no to recognizing Israel, regardless of the price we may have to pay [for our refusal]."
In March 2007, Hamas issued a statement reaffirming that it was still committed to Israel's destruction despite having signed a power-sharing agreement with Fatah in Mecca: "We will not betray promises we made to God to continue the path of Jihad and resistance until the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine." Later that month, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum stated, "We stress that we do not and will never recognise the right of Israel to exist on one inch of Palestinian land."
In April 2007, Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan declared in a sermon televised on Palestinian television that "The Hour [Resurrection] will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims kill them, and the rock and the tree will say: ‘Oh, Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, kill him!' We must remind our Arab and Muslim nation, its leaders and people, its scholars and students, remind them that Palestine and the Al Aqsa mosque will not be liberated through summits nor by international resolutions, but it will be liberated through the rifle."
Not particularly telling examples of "refinement" with regard to its position on a two-state solution (a defective euphemism for accepting Israel) or anything else. Roy's Orwellian apologia for Hamas is a telling instance of the corruption of academic standards in Middle East studies.