Hamas: Suddenly popular in Egypt

The nearly three-quarters of Egyptians who previously had a negative view of Hamas now have a positive view.

By Hugh Fitzgerald, Frontpage Magazine

For decades, Hamas was not popular in Egypt. It was seen, rightly, as the local branch, in “Palestine,” of the Muslim Brotherhood.

And the Muslim Brotherhood has been fought by every Egyptian regime since that of King Farouk. Gamal Abdel Nasser fought the Brotherhood.

After Anwar Sadat, once a Brotherhood supporter, signed the Camp David Accords with Israel in 1979, the Brotherhood called for his overthrow.

Sadat crushed the Brotherhood, and for that, he was assassinated in 1981 by the Tanzim al-Jihad, an Islamic group allied to the Brotherhood.

Hosni Mubarak also fought the Brotherhood during his 30 years of rule (1981-2011).

After he was overthrown in a popular uprising, a caretaker regime took over, quickly followed by the first truly democratic election in Egypt’s history.

Held in 2012, Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Freedom and Justice Party that was affiliated with the Brotherhood, was elected President.

A year later, he was ousted in a coup d’etat by General Abdelfattah Al-Sisi, whose regime has continued to fight the Muslim Brotherhood, and naturally, it has also opposed Hamas.

Most Egyptians have been inculcated with the belief that Hamas, as a part of the MB, is a danger to Egypt’s wellbeing.

That is, they were ready to believe the worst of Hamas — until the last few months.

More on the sea change in Egyptian popular attitudes toward Hamas since October 7 can be found here: “Egyptians used to hate Hamas. Now they love them.” Elder of Ziyon, March 5, 2024:

The Fikra Forum of the Washington Institute asked Egyptians in November/December what they thought of Hamas after the October 7 massacres.

While we had seen other polls showing broad approval of Hamas’ terrorist attacks in the Arab world, this one is especially interesting because it compares Egyptian attitudes of Hamas after October 7 with their historic disapproval of the group.

The turnround in Egyptian attitudes towards Hamas is stunning.

In 2020, 73% of Egyptians viewed Hamas negatively and 23% positively. That has now flipped to 75% who now approve of Hamas compared to only 21% who disapprove….

Egyptians think that Hamas is the only group that actually risks its members to fight Israel; the other groups are just blowhards.

There is no bravery in lobbing rockets from a distance. That is why Hamas is so popular: its willingness for martyrdom in its zeal to murder Jews up close.

The poll also found that 94% of Egyptians don’t believe that Hamas killed civilians on October 7. This is in line with Palestinian polls that showed that over 90% also don’t believe that Hamas committed any war crimes on that date….

How did Hamas go from being deeply disliked by almost three-quarters of Egyptians, to being applauded by three-quarters of them?

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In 2020, 73% of Egyptians viewed Hamas negatively and 23% positively. But after Hamas’ atrocities on October 7 and the war with Israel that has followed, everything has flipped.

The nearly three quarters of Egyptians who previously had a negative view of Hamas now have a positive view. What happened?

On October 7, 3,000 Hamas operatives pushed their way into Israel, where both at the site of the Re’im dance party, and at more than 20 kibbutzim, they managed to rape, torture, mutilate, and murder Israeli men, women, and children.

Babies were beheaded; children were burnt alive; girls were gang-raped, tortured, mutilated, and murdered, the breasts sliced off women and used by Hamas “fighters” to play catch, the genitalia were cut off men and their eyes were gouged out; children were murdered in front of their parents, and parents in front of their children.

This is what Hamas did. And Egyptians did not recoil from the horror.

Instead, Hamas’ ability to inflict terrible damage on Israeli civilians made the group soar in Egyptians’ estimation.

But, some will say, the Egyptians knew nothing about the atrocities. They only claimed to know that Hamas had attacked the IDF.

In the poll, 94% of Egyptians said they didn’t believe that there were any Israeli civilians who were attacked on October 7.

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Don’t take that poll’s results at face value. They are claiming that disbelief because, while they approve of the atrocities, they don’t want the world to know that they do, so it’s best to pretend you “don’t believe” those claims of atrocities.

But the world’s media was focused for weeks on the events of October 7, that is, on the attacks on Israeli men, women, and children.

The mainstream media, on television, radio, and newspapers, carried the stories about the atrocities in detail.

So did the Arabic-language channels on the BBC, VOA, AFP, DW that were listened to into Egypt. Millions of posts on social media, including those by Hamas members themselves, described the killings of civilians.

Pro-Palestinian professors, such as Hamid Dabashi and Rashid Khalidi, exulted in the Hamas killings of civilians.

Here, as one example, is what Khalidi, a professor at Columbia, had to say: “Gaza has been under siege for 16 years. Israel had assumed that it could live a peaceful, quiet life whilst putting its boot heel on the Palestinians in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. And sooner or later, that had to explode. Now, it exploded in a particularly ugly fashion, with these massacres; it resulted in the highest death toll among Israeli civilians in the entire history of Israel’s wars, since 1948.”

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It was clear to everyone in Egypt, as elsewhere: on October 7, Hamas committed “massacres” of “Israeli civilians.”

It would simply not have been possible for 94% of Egyptians to disbelieve in what was being broadcast repeatedly, all over the world.

They did know, and they approved.

That’s why three quarters of them now hold Hamas in such high esteem, after years of despising the group because of its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The moral of this unedifying tale is this: Rape, torture, and murder Israeli civilians to your heart’s content. The Egyptians, and the other Arabs, will love you for it.