Peter Tatchell: why is the left ignoring Hamas’ repression of Palestinians?

On Comment is Free, Peter Tatchell says:

“It is therefore disturbing that significant sections (not all) of the left are flirting with Hamas. During the January protests in the UK against Israel’s barbaric bombardment of Gaza, there were frequent pro-Hamas chants and placards. “We are all Hamas now!” some marchers yelled. At one rally in Hyde Park, speakers on the main stage urged “Victory to Hamas!” and received tumultuous cheers of approval (with only a few boos).

I am tired of hearing leftwingers defend Hamas on the grounds that it was democratically elected. So what? The Israeli leaders are democratically elected but that does not make their war in Gaza right. A democratic mandate is not, by itself, sufficient to secure legitimacy for the government in Gaza – or anywhere else. If democratically elected governments violate human rights they forfeit their legitimacy, as in the case of Britain when it was torturing and assassinating Irish republican suspects in the 1970s and 80s.”

Another favourite left and liberal justification of Hamas is that it is less corrupt than its Palestinian rivals in Fatah and that it organises social programmes for the poor. You could say the same about the Nazis, compared to the indulgence and incompetence of some Weimar Republic leaders. No, a few good works do not exonerate Hamas. Yes, their critique of Fatah nepotism, pocket-lining and thuggism has some truth. But the alternative they are offering is far worse.”

Read it all.

(It’s not as if Peter Tatchell is the only one and he’s not constructing an argument to end Israel’s existence it’s not so worrying, but… for those diminishing few of us who aren’t international law experts it would be helpful if when calling Israeli military leaders war criminals, authors would to link to the articles of the Geneva Convention in question and to trustworthy commentary on how Israel’s actions relate to these. I haven’t seen this, to date. Regretting civilian deaths is one thing. Saying they were needless is another. Saying they were war crimes is very serious indeed. And calling them war crimes as confidently as most people are doing makes a trial kind of redundant…)

2 thoughts on “Peter Tatchell: why is the left ignoring Hamas’ repression of Palestinians?

  1. Rosso Verde

    Like this article!

    Peter says ” have some sympathy for a one-state solution – a unified democratic, secular state of Palestine-Israel, based on a confederation of autonomous, self-governing Jewish, Arab and mixed towns and cities, where all Israelis and Palestinians can live together in peace, security, harmony and equality.”
    Thats what I want and agree with Peter’s line on the whole issue generally.
    He cuts through the name calling and bile that clouds discussion on this issue.

  2. Mira Vogel Post author

    Agree. He’s a walking advertisement for looking at the conflict from a human rights point of view. This gets you to a position where you’re comparing competing goods, rather than blindly supporting one or the other side.


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