Criticism of Israel is not Support for Hamas

Karl H Christ
4 min readJan 15, 2024

Do I support Hamas?

No.

Do I agree with their actions, apologize for them, or make common cause (whatever that means) with them?

Fuck no.

I have expressed many criticisms against the state of Israel, specifically against the policies and actions of its government and military. I have been less openly critical of Hamas. This is not because of support for Hamas or because of antisemitism, which is still not equivalent to anti-zionism, despite the best efforts of the Israeli government, its supporters, and histrionically vocal members of the US government, many of them antisemites, racists, and all-around bigots themselves. It’s certainly not because I and others don’t care about crimes and acts of violence when they’re committed against Jews or Israelis, which is an extremely disgusting and insulting accusation.

So, why is it rare that I, and many other leftists, push vicious screeds railing against Hamas like clockwork? Because it is both too easy and difficult to do so.

It is very easy to decry the actions of Hamas militants on October 7th of 2023. They killed innocent people. They slaughtered men, women, and children. They committed acts of sexual violence and mutilation. They did things that were disgusting, horrible, and unforgivable. I cannot and would not condone such actions. It’s very easy to say that people who do such things, who think such things are acceptable or even positive, are terrible and criminal and deserving of condemnation. It is even easier when one regards such an incident as independent of anything else.

Singular events, viewed objectively, are easy to judge. When you hear about a violent crime, it is easy to hate the criminal. When one is aware of history and context, it becomes more difficult.

When you hear that somebody murdered somebody else, it is easy to judge them, to hate them. If you were told that a group of Black men, armed with blades, spears, and cudgels, roamed through a town at night, breaking into white people’s homes, slaughtering men, women, and children in their beds, you’d probably be horrified. You’d feel revulsion and fear and perhaps racial animus. That is how most white people felt when news of Nat Turner’s rebellion spread through the 19th century US news media. They were disgusted and terrified that such a thing could happen and regarded those who did it as monsters and animals. We don’t tend to view slave rebellions quite the same way from a modern perspective. Partly, this is due to the removal of time. Emotional impact is softened when nearly two centuries have passed and turned an event into a story, into dates, details, and trivia. There is also context and history. When one examines the context in which violence occurred, knows the history of the enslaved people who committed such violence and why, condemning them is less easy. Nuance makes it more difficult.

If nothing had occurred before or after the October 7th attacks, it would be easy to unload on Hamas with the most righteous, vitriolic condemnation. If the Palestinian people hadn’t been subjected to generations of dispossession, murders, bombings, blockades, and other human rights violations, and if the response to the October 7th attacks had been solely against combatants, members of Hamas, rather than tens of thousands of civilians, then it would be easy to hate Hamas and support Israel.

While I do not condone, endorse, or support the actions of Hamas, they did not occur without context, they did not happen in a vacuum, as UN Secretary General António Guterres accurately said and for which he was excoriated and slandered by Israeli officials and their allies.

It is also more difficult to criticize a party that has little support and is acting in opposition to a party which has virtually boundless support. I don’t support Hamas, not verbally, rhetorically, and certainly not financially. And while I criticize Israel, I and every taxpayer in the US is also supporting them financially. We are funding the weapons that Israel is using to kill Palestinians. Politicians that purportedly act on our behalf, as our representatives, are facilitating and actively participating in the myriad war crimes and ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people. That is why I criticize Israel and the United States. Because, whether I choose to or not, I have a stake and am complicit in their actions. I don’t have any stake in Hamas, or Hezbollah, or the Iranian or Chinese governments, or any other organization, group, or state that is not funded and endorsed by the United States and therefore, by proxy, by me. Also, there are plenty of people being paid to support the United States and every organization, group, or state that it considers an ally or friend. They don’t need extra, free help. I criticize the United States because it is my home, it is a part of me and I am a part of it, and it is my right and responsibility to criticize it. I criticize it because I know it intimately and want it to be better. Similarly, I criticize Israel because I want it, as a “friend” of the United States, to be better.

--

--