How Russian History, and Literature, Can Explain Western Sympathy for Hamas

In weighing its moves, the Israeli government has little choice but to keep in mind sentiments in the U.S., which are shaped in part by the legions of progressives, many of them Jewish, who sympathize with Hamas. “This phenomenon,” write Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro, “is not new.”

Lenin supposedly called people of this sort “useful idiots” and, as the phrase suggests, he had utter contempt for them, especially the liberals of the Kadet (Constitutional Democratic) party. Although they did not themselves practice terrorism, the Kadets apologized for, even applauded, it. . . . No sooner had Lenin seized power than the Bolsheviks proclaimed Kadets “outside the law,” which meant anything could be done to them. Right away two Kadet leaders were murdered in their hospital beds.

In his cycle of novels about the Russian Revolution, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn poses this very question. In one memorable scene, he describes the novel’s hero, Vorotyntsev, at a meeting of the Kadets. “They were all overwhelmingly certain that they were right, yet they needed these exchanges to reinforce their certainty,” he thinks. And despite his better judgment, Vorotyntsev goes along with them as if he were hypnotized—not because he felt he was wrong, but out of fear of saying something reactionary.”

Today, many are unwilling to risk being called “conservative” or worse, not just to avoid the consequences that such a reputation might entail, but so as not to tarnish their sense of self, which is inextricably tied up with being on the progressive side of everything.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Communism, Hamas, Progressivism

Ordinary Gazans Are Turning against Hamas—and Its Western Sympathizers

In the past few days, difficult-to-confirm reports have emerged of unrest in the Gaza Strip, and of civilians throwing stones at Hamas operatives. A recent video from Al Jazeera showed a Gazan declaring that “God will bring Qatar and Turkey to account” for the suffering of Palestinians in the current war. Being an agent of the Qatari government, the journalist turned away, and then pushed the interviewee with his hand to prevent him from getting near the microphone. Yet this brief exchange contributes much to the ongoing debate about Palestinian support for Hamas, and belies the frequent assertion by experts that the Israeli campaign is only “further radicalizing” the population.

For some time, Joseph Braude has worked with a number of journalists and researchers to interview ordinary Gazans under circumstances where they don’t fear reprisals. He notes that the sorts of opinions they share are rarely heard in Western media, let alone on Al Jazeera or Iran-sponsored outlets:

[A] resident of Khan Younis describes how locals in a bakery spontaneously attacked a Hamas member who had come to buy bread. The incident, hardly imaginable before the present war, reflects a widespread feeling of “disgust,” he says, after Gazan aspirations for “a dignified life and to live in peace” were set back by the Hamas atrocities of October 7.

Fears have grown that this misery will needlessly be prolonged by Westerners who strive, in effect, to perpetuate Hamas rule, according to one Gazan woman. Addressing protesters who have taken to the streets to demand a ceasefire on behalf of Palestinians, she calls on them to make a choice: “Either support the Palestinian people or the Hamas regime that oppresses them.” If protesters harbor a humanitarian motive, she asks, “Why don’t we see them demonstrating against Hamas?”

“Hamas is the destruction of the Palestinian people. We’ve had enough. They need to be wiped out—because if they remain, the people will be wiped out.”

You can watch videos of some of the interviews by clicking the link below.

Read more at Free Press

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion