Hamas has found new allies: the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Over the past few weeks, Hamas leaders have expressed deep satisfaction with the work of the BDS activists around the world. Hamas is convinced that the anti-Israel campaign will ultimately pave the way for the elimination of Israel.
For Hamas, this is not just about boycotting or imposing sanctions against Israel. Rather, it is about delegitimizing and isolating Israel, and turning it into a rogue state that has no right to exist.
That is why Hamas today believes that it shares a common goal with the BDS movement -- namely to destroy Israel. As far as Hamas is concerned, BDS is not about putting an end to Israeli "occupation," but about ending the existence of Israel.
Hamas supports the BDS campaign to boycott Israeli products, companies and academic institutions. But Hamas, which seeks to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic state, believes that such measures are not enough. Hamas wants BDS supporters to step up their activities so that it can achieve its goal of eliminating Israel.
Now that most of the Arab countries -- including Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia -- have turned their backs on Hamas, the Islamist movement considers the BDS movement its natural partner in the fight against Israel. The leaders of Hamas in the Gaza Strip are rubbing their hands with satisfaction as they follow the anti-Israel activities of BDS supporters on university campuses in the US, Canada, Australia and Britain.
Hamas views these BDS activities as an extension of the campaign to destroy Israel that the Islamist movement has been waging since its founding in 1988. While Hamas has been unable to send its representatives to speak to students and professors at the university campuses, BDS supporters seem to be doing the job on its behalf.
The U.S. universities that allow BDS activists to disseminate their hate against Israel are unaware that these people are serving as Hamas's ambassadors. Moreover, Western governments, above all the U.S., are unaware that Hamas and its BDS allies also consider them enemies of the Palestinians.
Here is what senior Hamas official Izzat al-Risheq had to say about the U.S. Administration's public opposition to the anti-Israel BDS campaign: "The attempts by the U.S. Administration to prevent the rise of the political, economic and academic boycott against Israel makes it complicit in the crimes and terror against the Palestinian people."
Heaping praise on the BDS advocates and activists, the Hamas official openly admitted that the ultimate goal of the BDS campaign was to destroy Israel. "We call for escalating the campaign to isolate the occupation and end the existence of its usurper entity," he added.
When Hamas talks about "ending the existence of the usurper entity," it is actually repeating its main goal of eliminating Israel.
Al-Risheq's remarks show that Hamas is pinning high hopes on BDS to pave the way for the destruction of Israel through boycotts, divestment and sanctions.
Hamas believes that such tools are no less important than rockets and suicide bombings, which have thus far failed to achieve the goal of wiping Israel off the face of the earth.
Another senior Hamas official, Ahmed Bahr, also went out of his way recently to applaud the work of the BDS movement in delegitimizing and demonizing Israel. However, Bahr said that boycotting Israeli products and companies was "insufficient." He called for forming a Palestinian and international working team that would coordinate the BDS campaign, intensify efforts to "isolate" Israel and force it to "succumb" to Palestinian demands. He, too, lashed out at the U.S. for opposing the anti-Israel campaign.
What Bahr is actually saying is that the BDS campaign should be intensified until Israel is forced to surrender and accept all the demands of Hamas, which include ending the existence of Israel. Like al-Risheq, Bahr is also optimistic that the work of the BDS movement could eventually help Hamas achieve its goal of destroying Israel.
Last week, Hamas leaders had another reason to celebrate. This time, it was over a decision by the British National Union of Students to boycott Israel. Hamas was the first Palestinian group to applaud the decision and call on other groups in the international community to follow suit and boycott Israel.
While the anti-Israel activities of the BDS movement have emboldened Hamas, they have also undermined those Palestinians who continue to believe in peace and coexistence with Israel. Many BDS supporters are also opposed to any meetings between Israelis and Palestinians, and opposed to security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank. Like Hamas, many in the BDS movement want the PA to boycott not only Israeli products, but also peace talks with Israel.
Until now, the BDS movement has failed to offer the Palestinians anything good. It wants Palestinian workers to boycott Israeli companies, but has not been able to offer them an alternative source of income. If BDS supporters really care about Palestinians, why don't they go to the Gaza Strip and try to promote the rights of women living under Hamas rule? Why don't they come to the Palestinian territories and try to promote reforms, democracy and freedom of speech under the PA and Hamas?
At the end of the day, BDS seems to be more about hating Israel than helping the Palestinians. And BDS seems to be more about promoting Hamas's agenda than advancing the cause of peace in this part of the world.