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Unpacking the Support for Hamas in America

The support or even the apologetic approach of many progressives in the West of Hamas raises profound questions. Despite the atrocities of Hamas' actions on October 7th, and their classification as a terrorist organization by the US and the EU, a paradoxical embrace by some Western progressives persists. The below is a pretentious brief attempt to explain why.

The roots of this paradox can be traced to the so-called red-green alliance. This is an evolving collaboration between certain factions of the radical left and political Islamists, which originated in Europe (and Canada, to some extent). Initially, an opportunistic partnership, it has since matured into a strategic alliance, bridging ideological divides in pursuit of shared goals. This phenomenon, amplified by identity politics and the framework of intersectionality, has been gaining momentum in the US over the past two decades.

Below we outline the dynamic within the red-green alliance that enables the legitimization of Hamas:

  1. Rebranding political Islam: American organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood have adeptly rebranded themselves as representing a political Islam, distinct from the radicalism of al-Qaeda and ISIS. They argue for engagement rather than ostracization, advocating that such dialogue could temper extremism. This strategy has brought a level of legitimacy to Hamas in Western discourse, troublingly so given their documented acts of violence and discrimination.

  2. Racism of low expectations: Sympathizers of Hamas are introducing antisemitic rhetoric that is often met with muted criticism, if not outright acceptance. What normalizes antisemitism and hinders the condemnation of Hamas, could be framed as ‘racism of low expectations’. This is rationalized under the banner of fighting against perceived oppression, thereby stifling legitimate concerns as acts of aggression.

  3. Gaining political power: Organizations such as American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP) have emerged, openly sympathetic to Hamas and working closely with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party to lobby for their causes. tThe rise of the progressive wing within the Democratic Party has provided a new platform for shaping perceptions of Hamas. Figures such as Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, who often participate in events associated with Hamas sympathizers, have influenced the discourse within the party. In light of this, the extent of support of the Biden administration is nothing short of miraculous.

  4. Qatar: The red-green alliance is augmented by powerful allies, primarily Qatar, and to some extent, Turkey. Qatar offers political, logistical and even financial support and allows Islamists to voice their agenda on Al Jazeera and its digital offshoot, AJ+. This is before even engaging with the issue of Qatari money in American universities, which deserves a separate post.

  5. Using social media: The decentralization of media has further complicated the landscape. Radical elements bypass traditional media to disseminate their narratives through social media, reaching audiences directly and unfiltered. This has been a game-changer, allowing for the spread of anti-Israel and pro-Hamas sentiment among new, particularly young, demographics.

In conclusion, the support for Hamas or even an outrageous approach that puts Israel and Hamas on equal standing, is the result of deep long-term undercurrents, which have been eroding the ethical clarity of many within progressive movements and empowered antisemites.

To end with a positive note, there is also a great deal of opportunities, which we outlined here in the current reality.


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