The Night Light with Joshua Johnson
The Night Light with Joshua Johnson
Episode 13: What Is Hamas? Why Does It Hate Israel?

Episode 13: What Is Hamas? Why Does It Hate Israel?

A simple, comprehensive guide to this pseudo-Islamic terror movement

silhouette photography of national flag

Hamas is doing unholy things in the Holy Land… but good luck telling them that.

The monstrosities of Hamas’s attack on Israel speak for themselves. I’ve tried to think of something insightful or revealing to add, but… nothing. Maybe it’s because we’ve become so acquainted with pseudo-Islamic terrorism since 9/11 that everything’s been said by now. And frankly this moment has left us with few brilliant statements, but lots of very basic questions.

Unfortunately, it’s also a time when social media has failed us, yet again. Thanks, Elon.

You might have strong feelings about the so-called mainstream media nowadays — I used to work there, so I definitely feel a way about it — but those feelings won’t help right now. Social media is not a trustworthy source of information at a time when terrorists and hucksters are flooding it with lies. Legacy news outlets get a lot of justifiable flak for how they filter things, but filtration is vital with so much pollution in our information streams. The head of CBS News recently said that of a thousand videos claiming to be from the war in Israel, only 10% were usable. Wouldn’t we rather have someone checking?

Deepfakes and hoaxes are now a weapon of war. Don’t be a casualty. Don’t be gullible.

This episode of The Night Light will answer your questions about Hamas, bringing you up-to-speed on what’s been going on in Israel and the Gaza Strip before this attack. Northwestern University Prof. Elie Rekhess gives us a primer on Hamas, including why it feels justified committing acts of terrorism. “Hamas”, by the way, is an acronym. Prof. Rekhess explains what it means early in our conversation. We also break down what the Gaza Strip is, what Hamas wants, and how other nations have given it material support.

I also share my thoughts on how we talk about Israel, Hamas, terrorism and the future of the Palestinian people. A number of universities have come under scrutiny for things their students have said — particularly big-name schools like Harvard and NYU. Some students made full-throated statements of support for the Palestinian cause… which would be enough if they hadn’t also blamed Israel for, essentially, bringing this on itself. Those statements led to very intense condemnation, and to a job offer being rescinded. Still, there’s another need that must be met in this situation, especially because these are young adults we’re dealing with.

We’ll start with my thoughts, then move on to Hamas. Let me know what’s on your mind and heart, or if you have more questions that need answering.


It’s been a while, and frankly I’d love to just hang out with you and catch up. These AMA YouTube streams are a perk for paid subscribers (the first one was live, just to test it all out), so keep an eye on Substack and/or your email for the link. It’s unlisted on YouTube, but feel free to share the link with someone who would enjoy The Night Light and might like to take part.

The Night Light with Joshua Johnson
The Night Light with Joshua Johnson
Bright, nonpartisan insights on news & culture from former NPR & MSNBC host Joshua Johnson.