BOOK REVIEW: Hamas and the Media – politics and strategy

Wael Abdelal’s informative treatise, “Hamas and the Media: politics and strategy” draws upon the issue of counter-hegemony to portray the relevance and importance of resistance media, in this case, the role which the media has played to further the politics of Hamas.

The counter-hegemonic narrative is paramount in this study. As the author describes, the general dynamics of alternative media and its links to the community, civil society and social movements provide an alternative to mainstream media domination, as well as the means for revolutionary movements to combat prevailing trends and manipulation.

In many ways, best seen through a chronological analysis of media and its uses, including means and dissemination, Hamas, like other resistance movements, has relied upon this medium in order to generate influence. Perhaps the most striking aspect of this book is the juxtaposition of the evolution of Hamas and the evolution of its media.

Abdelal commences with a description of alternative media as “inseparable from ideology, domination and the Gramscian notion of hegemony.” The departure from a more generic “alternative media” to “resistance media” in relation to Hamas provides scope for analysis of similarities and differences, such as shared characteristics between social and resistance movements, and how these elements are crucial to shaping strategies in order to reach a target audience.

Early on, Abdelal makes the assertion that: “Hamas has also created a counter-frame to the hegemonic discourse used by the PLO and Fatah in the domestic context and the diaspora, thus filling a void in the hearts and minds and becoming the voice of many Palestinians.” From this viewpoint, it is also clear that the historical precedents as regards Palestinian media since the British mandate were challenged by Hamas and channelled into a more centralised endeavour. Read more.

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