I’ve said this before and I will say it again: Hamas is a right-wing, repressive, theocratic, authoritarian, dogmatic, inequitable, terrorist organisation. If it gains control over what is now called Israel, it will be no better than the current Israeli government. Instead of Jewish-supremacist nationalism, it will bring Muslim-supremacist nationalism.
Just two months before Hamas started its attacks, people in Gaza were protesting against Hamas’s mismanagement and repression, as well as Israeli oppression. Hamas responded by beating protesters and clamping down on dissent. Hamas claims to speak for the people of Gaza, but it doesn’t give a shit about their welfare. Gazans are starving, unemployed and struggling to survive, while Hamas leaders are living high off the hog. For example, Hamas’s political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, is a millionaire. The Gazan government has been known to harass and muffle journalists.
What happened in August was a legitimate pro-democracy protest. What Hamas is doing, on the other hand, is terrorism.
Hamas may have a lot of popular support despite its clear failings—but then again, so do Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky, despite the wartime political repression occurring in both Russia and Ukraine. Ironically, the defenders of Hamas (as well as leftists who refrain from condemning it) are often those who criticise Kiev for its repression of opposition politicians and journalists, its association with American and NATO imperialism, the promotion of Nazi sympathisers among some ultranationalist politicians and activists, and its disregard for ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Hamas’s repression is worse than Ukraine’s, but because the West is not supporting Hamas, contrarian leftists continue to support it without criticism. Ukraine, at the very least, aspires to be democratic; Hamas does not. This is why, despite my severe misgivings, I have not completely turned against the idea of offering Kiev military aid. Hamas, on the other hand, deserves no support from the left. Nor does the Israeli government.
Instead, leftists must reject both Israeli and Palestinian nationalism, as well as the leaders who promote it. Although Palestinians are clearly the victims of Israeli oppression, it is dangerous to counter eliminiationist nationalism with more of the same thing, this time with a crescent instead of a Star of David. Neither the Israeli nor Palestinian leadership is worthy of our support.