Over the past week, rallies in Australia to support the recent Hamas attacks have sprung up across the country. For decades, the Left has inexplicably aligned itself with the pro-Palestine cause, and following recent events — including the kidnapping of children and the murder of over 1,500 Israelis — rather than condemn the violence, the Left has chosen to double down.
From grassroots activists to federal politicians, among them Australian senators Lidia Thorpe and Mehreen Faruqi, the Left has aligned itself with a nationalist movement run by terrorists. Prominent left-wing American academic, Judith Butler, expressed this relationship by stating, “Understanding Hamas, Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left, is extremely important.”
There is a glaring paradox in support for a Palestinian national movement that increasingly shuns the left-wing ideals of human rights, gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and social freedoms. This association between leftist politics and Hamas reveals an alarming lack of moral consistency. In its deeds and charter Hamas presents a stark contrast to these fundamental humanistic ideals. It has always been anti-gay, anti-women and anti-freedom. The criminal code in Gaza carries 10 years in prison for homosexual activity. Forced marriage is common and “honour” killings rampant, as well as the “corrective” rape of lesbians. Women face restrictions on freedom that are unthinkable in any modern democracy. Palestine has no domestic violence legislation, and women are routinely killed by family members. Marital rape is legal while adultery and abortion are both criminalised in the West Bank and Gaza.
Palestine has been brazenly anti-semitic and intolerant of Israel since its inception. When the UN first established the Israeli-Palestinian plan following the departure of the British in 1948, the entire Arab world rejected it. Arab governments and their leaders announced that they intended to wipe the Jewish state off the map, and they declared war the very day after Britain left.
The goals of Hamas leaders and their supporters have grown extraordinarily complex, and though it is hard to know what it is they hope to achieve, what their leaders say is extremely concerning.
Hamas leader, Mahmoud Al-Zahar:
“The entire 510 million square kilometres of Planet Earth will come under [a system] where there is no injustice, no oppression, no Zionism, no treacherous Christianity…”
The current supreme leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, posted a video of Israelis fleeing Hamas terrorists with the caption:
“God willing, the cancer of the usurper Zionist regime will be eradicated at the hands of the Palestinian people and the Resistance forces throughout the region.”
So, how is it that left-wing activist groups and politicians can, in good conscience, endorse an organisation that promotes a world where there will be no Jews or Christian “traitors”, where gays will be imprisoned (if they’re lucky), where marital rape goes unpunished?
The glaring double standard in the approach to these issues from those on the Left is perplexing. This inconsistency raises questions about the credibility of the principles they profess and the sincerity of their commitments.
In contrast, the Jewish state was established by a group of liberal, mostly secular, idealistic people who had nowhere else to go after World War II. The country was founded in the vision of a democratic state without discrimination on the basis of religion, gender or sex. It guarantees freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture. It is home to the most developed LGBT rights in the Middle East, prohibits gender-based discrimination, and despite what many say, the country is tolerant towards its Arab citizens (the religious Arab Muslim party, Ra’am, was part of the coalition that governed Israel following the 2021 election).
Yet, the NSW Greens last week attempted to amend a government bill to express support for Israel to instead condemn the democratic nation. They then affirmed their support for the Palestine Action Group after a rally in which protesters chanted “Gas the Jews”. The same party that promotes drag queen storytime supports a country that decapitates its queer citizens.
The Left’s persistent demands for an independent Palestinian state ignore the realities of what that might look like. The present future for Palestine looks more like that of Syria or Iran, countries that no left-wing supporter would live in. These polities are no friend of the Left nor an ally to the liberal, democratic project of liberty, equality, justice and human rights.
The longstanding disparity between the desires of the Palestinian people and what is offered by their government casts a dark shadow over their quest for statehood. Support for Hamas may well have significant repercussions for the Left, both in terms of public perception and electoral consequences. Their alignment with an organisation with such regressive beliefs will alienate centre-left and centrist supporters who believe in their commitment to progressivism.
In light of the stark contradictions between left-wing domestic values and their alignment with Hamas, a call for re-evaluation is in order. It is essential for parties to maintain coherence in their political positions and international affiliations. The left must align their international associations with their domestic principles to maintain credibility and consistency in their pursuit of progressive values. It is incumbent upon progressive parties, like The Greens, to ensure that their international affiliations reflect their domestic values, before they compromise the principles they claim to uphold.
A reconsideration of the leftist viewpoint not only provides greater ideological consistency but also leads to a rekindling of opportunities for constructive negotiations. Leftist parties around the world might play a pivotal role in steering the conflict away from a bleak, perilous, and seemingly intractable course — if only they would dig their heads out of the sand.