Tatchell takes on the British left on Hamas


In the Guardian, Peter Tatchell, a leading British human rights activist, takes his country’s left to task for coddling Hamas:

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.

Besides, support for Hamas has declined dramatically as people have experienced the consequences of its administration in Gaza. If a genuinely free and fair election were held today, Hamas would not win.

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.

Tatchell’s opinions about Israel are not going to win him many Jewish friends – he wants its leaders dragged to the Hague for war crimes and is not opposed to a single binational state.

But it is bracing to see a self-described leftist – in the Guardian, too – acknowledge not just Hamas’ anti-Semitism, but its oppressive essence.

It is an antisemitic, misogynistic, homophobic, anti-trade union, authoritarian, clericalist movement. 

And also to see Tatchell describe as war crimes the events that launched the war: Hamas’ rocket attacks.

To supposedly prove its resistance credentials and outdo Fatah, it fires rockets into Israel against non-military targets, with no concern for the civilian casualties caused there and no regard for the effects on Palestinian civilians of Israeli retaliatory attacks.

Far from advancing the Palestinian cause, Hamas’s strategy is constantly weakening and undermining it. The people of Gaza are worse off in every way since Hamas took control.

The Gazan people are lions led by Hamas donkeys.

Recommended from JTA