The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley has raised concerns in the West about Islamist threats. But Israel has been facing this specter for decades and – given Israel’s proximity to the Islamist threat – the Jewish state is the West’s canary in the coal mine. But Gaza seems to be the Western blind spot, even though the Hamas-ISIS parallels are glaringly obvious. Since beheadings are the current media focus, and ISIS has beheaded infants, it’s worth noting that Hamas praised the 2011 Itamar murders, which involved the decapitation of a baby. Islamist beheadings should surprise no one, given that they’ve been happening for much of (and despite) modernity – perhaps because “Islam is the only major world religion today that is cited…to legitimize beheadings,” according to this study. While there have been no reported Hamas beheadings of journalists, the similarities between Hamas and ISIS are more important than their differences. Both would like to establish a Caliphate. Hamas Interior Minister declared as much in this 2013 speech. Both gain and keep power through savagery and fear. Hamas rose to power in Gaza thanks to its violent, 2007 coup, and recently planned a second putsch (in the West Bank). Hamas famously threw its political opponents off rooftops.
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