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‘NYT”s Erlanger calls Gaza ‘Hamastan’

on 9 Comments

A month back we landed on New York Times Paris bureau chief Steven Erlanger for condescending comments he made about Palestinians in Gaza, as if they were an alien species. Well yesterday Strobe Talbott, the head of the Brookings Institution, tweeted that Hamas is a “perfect example of NGO acting like a state,” and Erlanger responded:

Well, can call Hamas many things, i think, including an NGO, but not my first thought. Gaza is Hamastan. not NGOworld!

Hamastan, a pejorative term suggesting that Gaza is like Afghanistan under the intolerant Taliban, has a pedigree in neoconservative circles. Three examples (thanks to wikipedia):

Netanyahu, 2006: “the state of Hamastan – an offshoot of Iran – has been established before our eyes.”

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a rightwing thinktank, 2007: Iran is building Hamastan in Gaza

Dennis Ross, 2007: “The specter of ‘Hamastan'”: Gaza is being lost to the Islamists

His tweet suggests to me that Erlanger believes the neoconservative view of the Arab world. I wonder if the NYT’s constraints on reporters’ opinions are chafing at him, and if he isn’t headed for a thinktank before long, where he can give full throat to his opinions about Muslims and Palestinians…

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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9 Responses

  1. James Canning on January 20, 2013, 2:29 pm

    Wasn’t a huge rally held in Gaza just the other day. A rally for Fatah?

    Let’s remember that Fatah lost the Palestinian elections due in considerable degree to perception of the voters that Fatah was corrupt.

    • Hostage on January 21, 2013, 5:27 am

      Wasn’t a huge rally held in Gaza just the other day. A rally for Fatah?

      No problem, President Abbas noted that he was ready to negotiate with Hamas, because Israel and the US had already done it on several occasions, e.g. Efforts to agree on a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas intensified, with help from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton - .

      Israel and the US government have been calling Hamas the de facto government of Gaza for years. In international law, it’s a given that the territorial “thing” a government “governs” is a state. I notice Netanyahu unconsciously violated the Likud platform by acknowledging the establishment of another, Palestinian “state” between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

      The US State Department has a web page which explains that blockades have historically resulted in belligerent recognition of statehood, because they are “a weapon of war between sovereign states.”

  2. American on January 20, 2013, 2:41 pm

    ”Gaza is Hamastan”

    Humm… what Israel?…Zioastan? Judastan? Israstan?

    I really must get around to taking up twittering…

    • annie on January 20, 2013, 5:31 pm


      it’s called tweeting american.

    • Tzombo on January 20, 2013, 5:38 pm

      The proper name would be Likudstan.

      Or Settlerthugistan. That’s probably more accurate.

  3. Avi_G. on January 20, 2013, 2:59 pm

    Does that mean that in the name of balance and fairness, Erlanger will next time describe Israeli politicians as “Jesus Killers”?

  4. hughsansom on January 21, 2013, 12:01 am

    Again, we have the familiar American media double-standard. If any prominent journalist at any major news organization were to use comparably loaded language to refer to the right-wing extremist government of Israel, there would be instantaneous and widespread calls for his firing.

  5. Nevada Ned on January 21, 2013, 1:18 am

    When Hamas defeated the PLO in elections in Gaza, one reason was the corruption of the PLO. But another reason was that the PLO had become the party of acquiescence to the occupation: their position was to accept any deal that Israel proposed, no matter how rotten the deal for the Palestinians. Hamas stood for resistance to the occupation. So the choice that voters in Gaza faced was: acquiescence or resistance?
    And the Gaza voters went for resistance.

    Even though Hamas is the Gaza branch of the Moslem Brotherhood, I don’t think that the vote indicated wide support in Gaza for Islamic fundamentalism. Of course, it’s no secret that most people in Gaza are Moslems. (And most people in France are Catholic, but often pay little attention to religion.)

    Hamas proved it could run for office, and win, with a platform that “Islam is the solution”, but governing with that as your platform is very different and quite difficult. Years ago, Edward Said described Hamas’ political program as “inchoate”.

  6. Citizen on January 21, 2013, 10:17 am

    I think Sacha Baron Cohen is the Zionist honcho behind trending to ridicule via such names. The other side of tragedy is comedy–even really cheap stuff like Cohen’s.

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