Alan Johnson – @Fathom_Journal – is the editor of Fathom and editor of Mapping the New Left Antisemitism: The Fathom Essays (Routledge 2023) Originally published on 9 October, two days after the 7 October Hamas Pogrom, it has been updated as more examples of ‘progressive’ support or apologia for, or rationalisation of that pogrom have come to light.
Pogrom is a Russian word meaning ‘to wreak havoc, to demolish violently.’ Historically, the term refers to violent attacks by local non-Jewish populations on Jews. (The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)
Participants have described a nightmarish massacre, with terrorists — who had apparently known in advance of the event and directed significant forces there — surrounding the participants and cutting down dozens of them with rifle fire, then moving through the area and hunting people in hiding to execute or capture. (The Times of Israel, reporting on the slaughter of over 250 people by Hamas at the music festival in Negev desert near Re’im)
I saw hundreds of terrorists in full armor, full gear, with all the equipment and all the ability to make a massacre, go from apartment to apartment, from room to room and kill babies, mothers, fathers in their bedrooms… I have heard during my childhood about the pogroms in Europe, the Holocaust, of course. All my family came from Europe, they are survivors. But I never thought I would see…things like that. – Maj. Gen. Veruv, on the scene in Kfar Aza.
The gang rushes through the town, drunk on vodka and the smell of blood. The doss house trap is king. A trembling slave an hour ago, hounded by police and starvation, he now feels himself an unlimited despot. Everything is allowed to him, he is capable of anything, he is the master of property and honour, of life and death. If he wants to, he can throw an old woman out of a third-floor window together with a grand piano, he can smash a chair against a baby’s head, rape a little girl while the entire crowd looks on, hammer a nail into a living human body … he exterminates whole families, he pours petrol over a house, transforms it into a mass of flames, and if anyone attempts to escape, he finishes him off with a cudgel. A savage horde comes tearing into an Armenian almshouse, knifing old people, sick people, women, children … there exist no tortures, figments of a feverish brain maddened by alcohol and fury, at which he need ever stop. He is capable of anything, he dares everything. – Leon Trotsky
, from his book 1905
What happened in Israel on 7 October was an antisemitic pogrom. Some 2,500 members of Hamas hunted Jews in southern Israel, burning them out of their homes, shooting, killing and abducting men, women and children. As of 23 October it is known that over 1400 Israelis have been murdered, over 3,500 wounded, and perhaps 222 have been abducted and taken to the Gaza Strip. Jewish people have not been murdered in these numbers since the Holocaust. For a comparison, on the worst day of the Yom Kippur war, 7 October 1973, 317 Israelis were killed.
Hamas moved through towns and villages, slaughtering. Multiple reports tell us babies were not spared. At least 250 people were massacred at a music festival for peace, the executions carrying on for hours. One victim was paraded semi-naked in the back of a Hamas pick-up truck as militants sat on top of her and jeered. She was identified as a German citizen, Shani Louk, 30. Other murdered women were stripped naked and paraded through the streets with cheering men crowding round to spit on them. An elderly woman, a Holocaust survivor, was dragged away by a Hamas terrorist in her wheelchair. A Thai worker was hacked to death on camera. A terrified little Israeli boy shook as he was abused, knocked about and paraded before the cameras by his captors. Children were kidnapped. Canadian peace activists were abducted. Entire families were taken. One such was the family of Shiri and her two babies – Kfir (9 months) and Ariel (age 3) – kidnaped from their home, along with her husband, Yarden, and her parents, Yossi and Margit.
Raziel Tamir, a survivor of the Hamas attack on the desert music festival, awoke to the sounds of gunshots, screams, explosions, and the smell of smoke. ‘When I went outside my tent, I saw a crazy number of bodies, and terrorists running and firing everywhere, throwing grenades.’ At a certain point, the IDF arrived and engaged in heavy gunfire with the terrorists. ‘We were about 100 civilians lying on the ground,’ he said. ‘The soldiers protected us with their bodies, and we saw them falling [from Hamas gunfire] before our eyes.’ (See video footage.)
Amir Tibon reports a scene reminiscent of an earlier time. ‘There were terrorists inside the kibbutz, inside our neighborhood and — at some point — outside our window. We could hear them talk. We could hear them run. We could hear them shooting their guns at our house, at our windows. Neighbors were posting frantic messages. People were saying, “They are in my house, they are trying to break into the safe room!”’.
Faced with the Hamas pogrom how did ostensible progressives in the West respond? In many cases, by cheering it on as… ‘resistance’. Going from bad to worse, the pogrom was met with rationalisations, lawyerly defences, outright support, exultation and, all over the world, rallies in defence of… the pogromists. Those who say that Jews in the West live among pogromists-in-waiting and pogrom-apologists-in-waiting will feel vindicated. Here is an A to Z guide to some responses.
A is for Tariq Ali. ‘Do the Palestinians have a right to resist the non-stop aggression to which they are subjected? Absolutely. There is no moral, political or military equivalence as far as the two sides are concerned. Israel is a nuclear state, armed to the teeth by the US. Its existence is not under threat. It’s the Palestinians, their lands, their lives, that are. Western civilization seems willing to stand by while they are exterminated. They, on the other hand, are rising up against the colonizers.’
And for Gilbert Achcar of International Viewpoint, and a SOAS professor, who wrote ‘Gaza’s latest counter-offensive brings indeed to mind the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising’, equating anti-Nazi Jewish resistance to the Third Reich in 1943 to an Islamist slaughter of Jewish civilians in 2023. On 15 October Achcar then wrote on his blog of ‘Hamas’s latest operation, the most spectacular attack it ever launched on Israel…’ and complained in these terms of western media coverage of the pogrom: ‘As usual, grieving Israelis, women in particular, have been profusely shown on screens, incomparably more than grieving Palestinians have ever been. Hamas’s Operation Al-Aqsa Flood occasioned a flood of images of violence against unarmed people, with a special focus on a rave similar to those commonly organized in Western countries, so as to accentuate the “narcissistic compassion … evoked much more by calamities striking ‘people like us’, much less by calamities affecting people unlike us.” Achcar went on: ‘however dreadful some aspects of Hamas’s operation have been, they are … inscribed … in the Palestinians’ struggle against Israeli colonial dispossession and oppression, and that of the struggle of the peoples of the Global South against colonialism.” The journal New Politics reposted Achcar’s blog post. The founding editors of that journal, the late Julie and Phylis Jacobson, must be turning in their graves.
And for Marie Andersen, Norwegian medical student at Warsaw University pictured at a rally on 21 October holding an antisemitic poster that showed a Star of David being binned next to the words “keep the world clean”.
B is for Rivkah Brown, commissioning editor & reporter, Novara Media: ‘Today should be a day of celebration for supporters of democracy and human rights worldwide, as Gazans break out of their open-air prison and Hamas fighters cross into their colonisers’ territory. The struggle for freedom is rarely bloodless and we shouldn’t apologise for it.
And for Fatima Barkatulla, London-based legal scholar, trained at SOAS and Kings College London, awarded the prestigious Aziz Foundation scholarship, who tweeted, in response to the massacre of over 250 Israeli civilians in the desert, ‘How about don’t have musical festivals on stolen land?’
And for Black Lives Matter Chicago who posted the ostensibly benign slogan “I stand with Palestine” rendered rather less than benign by its placement above a Hamas paraglider on his way to slaughter those enjoying a desert rave.
And for Black Lives Matter Los Angeles who posted ‘resistance must not be condemned but understood as a desperate act of self-defense’.
And for Derron Borders, diversity and inclusion director at Cornell University, who wrote, as the pogrom was unfolding, ‘When you hear about Israel this morning and the resistance being launched by Palestinians, remember against all odds Palestinians are fighting for life … F–k your fake outrage.’
And for BlackRedGuard, a self-declared American Maoist who posted at X to his 21.7k followers ‘”But do you condemn H-“ No, actually, I hope they fucking win. Get out of my face.’
C is for Counterfire: ‘Palestinian fighters launched a significant “break out” attack on Israel. Thousands of rockets were launched against Israel and Palestinian fedayeen broke out of Gaza and entered the Israeli settlements of Ashkelon and Sderot … we need to organise now for demonstrations in support and solidarity with the Palestinians communities of Gaza and the West Bank’.
And for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE): ‘Palestine is Rising. Long live the Resistance’.
And for the City University of New York Students who posted a ‘Solidarity Statement’ on 12 October: ‘We unequivocally, and unapologetically stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people … We strongly affirm their right to armed resistance’.
And for the actor Steve Coogan and the 2000 other ‘Artists for Palestine’ who wrote an open letter on 17 October condemning ‘Israel’s war crimes’ but failing to even mention the 7 October Hamas Pogrom, let alone condemn it.
And for demonstrating students at New York’s Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art who on 25 October forced terrified Jewish students to take shelter in a locked library as they banged on the doors to gain entry, slammed anti-Zionist posters against the windows and shouted slogans. ‘I was crying. I think if the doors weren’t locked – I don’t know what would have happened’, one Jewish student said afterwards.
And for Pomona, Scripps, Claremont McKenna, and the other Claremont Colleges in the California consortium of idyllic, liberal arts schools. ‘Students attempting to hang fliers containing the pictures of hostages being held by Hamas at this very moment were physically blocked and prevented from accessing common spaces. Their posters were torn down and they were physically impeded’. By contrast, also at Pomona College a shrine was erected to honor the “insurgents” who died trying to “liberate Palestine”. Students laid teddy bears at the shrine for the pogromists who rang home to tell their parents they had ‘killed 10 Jews! 10! 10! 10!’
And for many Churches. On 19 October Rabbi Angela Buchdahl expressed disgust at the leaders of the Manhattan faith community, who ‘could not say the words “We condemn Hamas terrorism and massacre”. She said, ‘It was chilling to realize how many people–often those who generally have the most compassion for victims of oppression and violence, simply have a blind spot when the victims happen to be Jews.’
Piers Corbyn, Jeremy’s brother, ranted on 28 October that Hamas had not butchered women and children on 7th October, insisting: “It was a lie, a lie, a lie – and the Israeli government admits it was a lie.’ adding ‘There’s no evidence of this stuff. The whole thing was a set up from start to finish to justify an invasion and take the oil. And destroy Palestine and make an Israeli superstate.’
Columbia University and Barnard College where 144 members of its faculty signed an open letter on 28 October defending earlier anti-Israeli student statements and referring to Hamas’ terrorist attacks as a ‘military action’, ‘just one salvo in an ongoing war’ and ‘an occupied people exercising a right to resist’. Columbia’s student intake is 22 per cent Jewish. One, Jessica Brenner, 20, said ‘I feel walking on campus many people just want me to die. Now I get it, I actually understand how the Holocaust happened. When Columbia professors band together and sign a letter that basically justifies Hamas’ actions, I do not feel safe.’
D is for the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). The political party’s New York City chapter on Saturday announced its ‘All Out for Palestine’ demonstration as rockets rained down on Israel and civilians were being butchered. ‘DSA is steadfast in expressing our solidarity with Palestine.’ The chapter said its supporters were taking to the streets ‘in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their right to resist 75 years of occupation and apartheid.’ Other groups who organised the Times Square protest include the Palestinian Youth Movement, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, New York 4 Palestine, Al-Awda NY, and the Palestinian Assembly for Liberation. Another group behind the protest, called The People’s Forum, tweeted a photo of its doors covered in fliers that said, “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free.”’
And for the Dublin People Before Profit candidate who tweeted ‘Palestinian resistance is beautiful, it’s inspiring and it’s legitimate. Palestine will be freed.’
And D is absolutely for Jemma Decristo, Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of California at Davis. She tweeted ‘one group of ppl we have easy access to in the US is all these zionist journalists who spread propaganda and misinformation. they have houses w addresses, kids in school. they can fear their bosses, but they should fear us more’ followed by emojis of a knife, an axe, and three large drops of blood. (She kept her job.)
E is for Ieuan Einion (commenting at the Jewish Voice for Labour website). ‘Today’s events put me in mind of the Tet offensive in Vietnam in 1968 … It will however plant the seeds of resistance amongst the broader Palestinian population and their Arab sisters and brothers and the millions of other people around the world who stand in solidarity with them.’ Einion was expelled from the Labour Party in 2017. He has written in praise of conspiracy theorist David Icke and stated on social media that the UK media is ‘controlled by Rothschild and the Anglo-Zionist Nato-Empire’.
And for Dr Mennah Elwan, an NHS medic at the Liverpool Walton Centre, and a BMA activist, who posted a video of the Hamas slaughter at the music festival with the message ‘if it was ur home u would stay and fight. u wouldnt just run away’. She added a smiley emoji. She also tweeted ‘there are no civilians in Israel’.
And for author Dylan Evans who tweeted on 12 October ‘It is rapidly becoming to (sic) clear that the so-called “final solution” wasn’t nearly final enough’ and ‘It’s time to unleash total Jihad on Israel.’ On 13 October he tweeted ‘What’s the best way to donate money to Hamas? Asking for a friend’.
And for Oliver Eagleton, writing online at New Left Review (the ‘flagship journal of the Western Left’) wrote of “the Al-Aqsa Flood on 7 October” using the language of Hamas to describe its pogrom. He expressed his hope that it and its aftermath would end the Abraham Accords, which he framed not as hopeful steps towards peace in the region but as an ‘Imperial Design’ to be smashed. ‘Hamas’s attack’, he hoped, would ‘unravel a political conjuncture in which the apartheid regime had become convinced that it could repress any serious resistance to its rule’. He characterised Israel’s response to the massacre as ‘the Zionist war’.
F is for Norman Finkelstein: ‘The crocodile tears have begun over Israeli hostages taken by Gaza militants … Gaza is only playing by the book written by Israel.’ Finkelstein then quoted Karl Marx [who opposed terrorism] to reframe the pogromists as heroic ‘plebian’ rebels: ‘the baron of old, who thought every weapon in his own hand fair against the plebeian, while in the hands of the plebeian a weapon of any kind constituted in itself a crime.’
And for the Australian Greens Federal Senator Mehreen Faruqi who, while not mentioning Hamas in her 16 October speech, did condemn ’75 years of Israeli oppression’ – making clear that Israel’s very existence was its sin in her eyes – and declared ‘It’s Nakba once again’. She called on Senators to reject talk of Israel’s right to self-defence, saying it was nothing more than ‘the terrorising and killing of more innocent civilians.’
G is for Tony Greenstein, an ‘anti-Zionist’ activist in the UK: ‘My first reaction was the opposite of the political hypocrites and presstitutes who wondered how it could be that Palestinians were once again attacking those poor, defenceless and long suffering Israelis. My mood in contrast was elation not despair … finally the inhabitants of the Gaza Ghetto had struck back … The Palestinian Resistance has undoubtedly killed many Israeli civilians but we have to remember that most Israelis are not only reserve soldiers but they have given overwhelming support to the slaughter of Palestinians … let no one tell us that Israeli civilians are innocent. It was they who elected the present ethnic cleansing far-right coalition government.’ Greenstein lamented the hesitancy of Hezbollah to join the great battle: ‘[it] sounds very much like Hezbollah are not going to do anything except sit it out … The time to fight is now.’
And for Green Party MSP Ross Greer: ‘Palestinians have a clear right under international law to defend themselves, including by attacking their occupiers’.
And for Zareena Grewal, Yale Associate Professor who tweeted ‘Palestinians have every right to resist through armed struggle, solidarity hash tag FreePalestine’.
And for Erik Gordon, University of Michigan Professor caught on campus tearing down posters of the kidnapped Israelis, some US citizens, with a smirk on his face.
And for The Guardian’s Chante Joseph shared posts casting doubt on Hamas’ 7 October atrocities and promoted conspiracy theories about Jewish power, repeatedly sharing false claims about Israel and Zionism made by the notorious conspiracy theorist rapper Lowkey. (A Jewish Guardian staffer wrote at The Jewish News about how they felt unsafe in the Guardian office.)
H is for Harvard, where 31 student societies signed a joint statement holding Israel ‘entirely responsible for all violence’. And for all those hymns of praise to Hamas down the years which have prepared the ground for the left to support an anti-Jewish pogrom. Two examples. Judith Butler: ‘Understanding Hamas/Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the left, that are part of a global left, is extremely important.’ And Jeremy Corbyn’s statement that the antisemitic movements Hamas and Hezbollah were ‘friends’ and ‘dedicated towards the good of the Palestinian people and bringing about long-term peace and social justice and political justice in the whole region…’ Corbyn repeatedly refused to condemn his ‘friends’ after the Hamas pogrom, saying only ‘all attacks are wrong’.
And for UC Berkeley tutor Victoria Huynh who emailed students on her course, Asian American Communities and Race Relations to offer extra credits to those who would agree to attend an anti-Israel protest (“National walkout against genocide, settler-colonialism and the siege of Gaza”) or watch an anti-Israel documentary.
I is for celebrating Islamists around the world. In the UK. TV presenter Rachel Riley witnessed, and recorded, Londoners ‘partying’ and ‘dancing’ in celebration on Saturday. Writing on social media, she said: “Acton, half an hour ago. Popped into a cafe for some baklava with the kids and our Ukrainian friends. People have been brutally murdered, kidnapped and there are people in London dancing.’ In another post, she wrote: ‘I just passed two cars in West London driving with Palestinian flags flying from each window, bouncing up and down in their cars, seemingly celebrating like they were having a party.’
Pro-Hamas rallies took place in Philadelphia and New York, Chicago, in Canada, and in many cities around the world, including Rotterdam. At the London demonstration of 14 October some participants celebrated the Hamas hangliders who dropped into southern Israel to slaughter civilians on 7 October, some chanted ‘Khaybar Khaybar Ya Yahud’, a reference to a massacre against Jews in 628 CE, and most chanted ‘from the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free’ widely understood now to be a call for Israel’s destruction. One held a banner declaring their ‘Unconditional Support for Palestinian Resistance’.
At the New York demo some on the pro-Palestinian side chanted “700,” apparently referring to the confirmed number of Israeli fatalities in the attack at that point, while making throat-slitting gestures.
J is for the pro-Corbyn group Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) who posted the Bible verse ‘For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.’
And for the twitter / X feed of jewdas, the London-based ‘radical Jewish diaspora group’ of far-left ‘anti-Zionists’ and self-proclaimed ‘anti-fascists’. They posted on October 6. Then nothing on October 7, the day of the Hamas Pogrom. Again nothing on October 8. Then on October 9 they sprang back to life with a call to ‘Stand with Palestine!’ No condemnation of the Hamas Pogrom was forthcoming.
And for Emily Jacir and the thousands of artists, curators and other members of the international arts community who published an open letter on 19 October expressing support for ‘Palestine liberation’ people but not mentioning the 7 October Hamas Pogrom. The letter featured a work by Palestinian artist Emily Jacir who on the day of the Hamas Pogrom posted a mocking Instagram story with a picture of 85-year-old Yaffa Adar, who was taken hostage from Kibbutz Nir Oz [inside Israel]. Jacir’s posted comment was: “This captured settler (sic) looks happy. I hope they feed her a good Palestinian dish.”
K is for Matt Kennard, chief investigator at DeClassified UK, who tweeted ‘Gaza is a concentration camp’ and ‘Israel is a fascist regime’ and ‘It must be emphasised that armed struggle by the Palestinian Resistance against the occupier is legal under international law’.
Birmingham City councillor Ayoub Khan, who represents the Liberal Democrats in the city’s Aston ward posted a series of TikTok videos to let the world know he ‘has a problem with the credibility’ of accounts of a massacre at a Kibbutz, warning ‘There is something called the big lie theory… it was used by the Nazis, and others’.
Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor at Columbia University, has denied there is a difference between ‘Hamas or other militants coming out of Gaza killing civilians, and Israeli pilots, or Israeli gunners, or Israeli gunboats killing civilians. Killing civilians is killing civilians’. Martin Kramer has pointed out that this is the defence used by the Einzatsgruppen squads after World War Two. Questioned about the morality of shooting defenceless people, The chief defendant, SS-Gruppenführer Otto Ohlendorf, commander of Einsatzgruppe D, which carried out mass murders in Moldova, southern Ukraine, and the Caucasus, replied by referring to the Dresden bombings: ‘I am not in a position to isolate this occurrence from the occurrences of 1943, 1944, and 1945 where with my own hands I took children and women out of the burning asphalt myself, and with my own hands I took big blocks of stone from the stomachs of pregnant women; and with my own eyes I saw 60,000 people die within 24 hours.’ This is called the ‘Dresden defence’. Ohlendorf was asked, ‘Do you attempt to draw a moral comparison between the bomber who drops bombs hoping that it will not kill children and yourself who shot children deliberately? Is that a fair moral comparison?’ Yes, he did. (As today do Khalidi and Queen Rania. Indeed, it is the common sense of the demonstrators.) The Judges rejected the ‘Dresden defence’ in these terms: ‘A city is bombed for tactical purposes … it inevitably happens that nonmilitary persons are killed. This is an incident, a grave incident to be sure, but an unavoidable corollary of battle action. The civilians are not individualized. The bomb falls, it is aimed at the railroad yards, houses along the tracks are hit and many of their occupants killed. But that is entirely different, both in fact and in law, from an armed force marching up to these same railroad tracks, entering those houses abutting thereon, dragging out the men, women and children and shooting them.’ Ohlendorf was hung in June 1951.
L is for leaked instructions to journalists from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Honest Reporting Canada say a leaked email sent on October 7 by George Achi, the CBC’s Director of Journalistic Standards and Practices and Public Trust, to all CBC journalists, urged journalists to not refer to Hamas as ‘terrorists’ despite the Islamist group kidnapping Israeli women, children, men and the elderly and slaughtering hundreds of Israeli non-combatants in cold blood, as terrorists, and despite the fact that the Canadian government regards Hamas as a terrorist group and is listed as such by Public Safety Canada.
And for Ronit Lentin, a ‘political sociologist and antiracist activist’ who was born in Haifa and moved to Ireland in 1969. She complained on her website on 23 October about ‘the continued racialisation of the Palestinians by Israel and also by western politicians and media that speak of the Gaza based organisation Hamas as “terrorists”, of Palestinian resistance as acts of cruelty and terrorism, and of Israel as victims of “Arab violence.’ Lentin also suggested that Israel had ‘wanted this to happen’ so it could ‘demolish Gaza’.
M is for Joseph Massad, the Columbia professor who on 8 October celebrated Hamas’ attack as ‘awesome’ and a ‘stunning victory’. He wrote ‘The sight of the Palestinian resistance fighters storming Israeli checkpoints separating Gaza from Israel was astounding. Perhaps the major achievement of the resistance in the temporary takeover of these settler-colonies is the death blow to any confidence that Israeli colonists had in their military and its ability to protect them.’
And for Saree Makdisi, a professor at UCLA, writing in The Nation on 12 October, hailed ‘the stunning surprise attack by Palestinian fighters from the Gaza Strip’ and argued that ‘The most significant thing about the Gaza breakout is that it demonstrated once again that the Palestinians are not merely a scattered collection of hapless refugees led by a corrupt and servile collaborationist administration based in Ramallah, but still a people with agency of their own and the right, will, and determination to be free’. He exulted: ‘Seeing armed Palestinian fighters standing over disarmed Israeli soldiers was like witnessing events pulled out of the pages of Frantz Fanon’s classic anti-colonial work The Wretched of the Earth or scenes from Gillo Pontecorvo’s Burn!’. He mumbled in passing, in one clause of one sentence in his long article, that the killing of Israeli civilians was ‘wrong’. The word ‘Hamas’ did not appear. (For more on Makdisi see Russell Berman’s and Cary Nelson’s Fathom article ‘Anti-Zionism and the Humanities: A Response to Saree Makdisi’)
And for Hagar Matar (+972 Magazine) who said ‘…the unprecedented assault by Palestinian militants from Gaza … is not a “unilateral” or “unprovoked” attack. The dread Israelis are feeling right now, myself included, is a sliver of what Palestinians have been feeling on a daily basis … there is a reason to everything that is happening today’ (emphasis added).
And for The Morning Star, daily newspaper of the Communist tradition in the UK, which wrote ‘No-one should cheer the slaughter in Israel … But to forebear from cheering is not to condemn … [we did not] celebrate when the FLN bombed cafés and concert halls in Algiers. Yet those blasts were the echo of 150 years of French imperialist brutality.’ The Morning Star also carried a photographic feature of “the best photos from the week’s protests around the world” including “Palestinian supporters wave flags as they march to the Sydney Opera House in Sydney on Monday”. As Jm Denham pointed out in the socialist weekly ‘Solidarity’, ‘There is no mention of the video evidence that a section of the marchers chanted “Fuck the Jews” and “Gas the Jews”. Did the Morning Star not know — or not care?’
And for Moshé Machover, Jewish socialist, founder of the radical leftist Israeli group Matzpen, wrote an article published in the Weekly Worker on 12 October (No. 1462) that called for readers to side with Hamas as anti-colonialists: ‘How should we relate politically to this war? You will hear a lot of people saying that Hamas is a reactionary force – look at the way they slaughter civilians. I think we should look at it in the way that history looks at such arguments: those who fight in anti-colonial resistance movements do not behave like ethical, gentle people. Take the colonisation of North America. The US Declaration of Independence refers to the indigenous people as “merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.” And they were certainly guilty of killing a large number of American settlers, yet whom do you now side with? The colonial settlers or native Americans? I think that is a question worth asking. (…) Similarly in Algeria the National Liberation Front was also responsible for thousands of civilian murders, so whom do you side with? the French colonial regime or the NLF? I think we should draw the right conclusions from this and apply the same kind of standard to the present conflict.’
And Jumana Manna, an artist whose work is currently on display at Wexner Art Center at Ohio State University. She celebrated the massacre, posting to social media ‘long live the creativity of the resistance’ over representations of the Hamas hang gliders.
N is for the French Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste: ‘We are all Palestinians! Hamas launched a vast offensive from Gaza into “Israeli” territory. The NPA is not joining in the litany of calls for so-called “de-escalation”. The NPA reiterates its support for the Palestinians and the means they have chosen to resist. Intifada!’
And for parts of the New York Left. An Israel-born rabbi of a progressive New York synagogue, after comforting his congregants all day on the phone, reported that ‘those most devastated were either people who had lost close friends or family, or young Jews “completely shattered by the response of their lefty friends in New York,” who were either justifying Hamas’s atrocities or celebrating them outright’ wrote Michelle Goldberg in the New York Times.
And for National Public Radio, America’s government funded radio network which ran an article on 17 October titled ‘How does Hamas explain an attack on civilians? A Hamas spokesman has answers’. The article began thus: ‘NPR’s Steve Inskeep talks to Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad about the attack on Israel and ensuing war. NPRs’ Greg Myre points out a key point Hamad made, “Israel has no right to exist in this region”‘. (I writer had to double check that one as it had the tang of satire. NPR really published it.)
O is for Owen Jones who retweeted these sentiments: ‘The selective, anguished humanitarianism that only floods my timeline when Palestinians fight back isn’t going to cut it.’ And ‘Israel bears full responsibility for this and for what’s to come.’ (emphasis added) When a Hamas leader told an interviewer that the group intended to repeat 7 October style pogroms until Israel was annihilated, and the video went viral, Jones tweeted that it was ‘a nonsense on every level’ to argue this might justify Israel’s military action to stop Hamas. And when it was pointed out that Hamas had made homosexuality illegal he objected, most oddly, ‘Oh, and by the way, it wasn’t actually Hamas who introduced the law banning homosexuality in Gaza. Guess who it was? The British Empire.’
P is for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Manchester PSC released a statement on 7 October, with the pogrom ongoing and before Israel had responded,, titled ‘Manchester Supports The Palestinian Resistance’. It began ‘In a heroic move today, the Palestinian freedom fighters … broke Zionist colonial barriers and entered settlements built on stolen Palestinian land inside 48 Palestine.’ The statement continued: ‘The brave fighters gave us all a glimpse of a liberated Palestine as they took hold of entire Israeli settlements … It is our duty here to express our unconditional support to the Resistance until Palestine is free.’ A speaker at a PSC rally in Brighton said the actions of Hamas had been ‘beautiful and inspiring … we need to celebrate these acts of resistance … revolutionary violence by Palestinians is not terrorism.’ (The middle class crowd whooped.) At a PSC rally in Manchester on 8 October participants shouted for the terrorists who had been slaughtering Jews and called for the annihilation of Israel. They waved banners reading ‘Glory To Palestinian Freedom Fighters’.
And for Code Pink: ‘The US-backed Israeli apartheid regime inflicts daily settler violence and terror on Palestinians. Israel is an occupying force. Palestinians have every right to resist it.’
And for Kei Pritsker of ‘Breakthrough News’ who said on 13 October, ‘In the last few days Israel has been working hard to cast itself as the victim, the victim of hatred, the victim of terrorism, the victim of anti-semitism … but underneath the carefully concocted victim-complex is a racist Jewish supremacist state.’
Q is for Quislings, like the anti-Zionist Jews who turned up to a pro-Hamas rally in New York on Sunday with ‘Jews for a Free Palestine’ placards and chanted ‘There is only one solution, Intifada revolution!’
R is for Roncesvalles Pedestrian Bridge in Toronto where Toronto4Palestine organised a huge banner and flags ‘to honour and celebrate the resistance’. A notice posted on social media by the group stated ‘A few people wish to hand out sweets to celebrate the resistance and its next level accomplishments’.
And for Nick Riemer, president of the faculty union at the University of Sydney who tweeted on 8 October, as the massacre unfolded, ‘‘No progressive should feel the need to publicly condemn any choices by the Palestinian resistance. Doing so just adds to the perception that their cause is unjust. Condemnation is the speech-act you perform when breaking contact off with someone, not when standing in solidarity.’
And for Barnaby Raine, anti-capitalist activist, rs21, who tweeted on 7 October ‘supporters of the occupier have no right to criticise the tactics of the occupied’, ‘may every coloniser fall everywhere’, and ‘Three times Moses said “let my people go!” And when Pharaoh refused, plagues were unleashed upon the slaveholders.’
And Cornell history professor Russell Rickford who told a campus rally on 15 October ‘What has Hamas done? Hamas has shifted the balance of power. Hamas has punctured the illusion of invincibility’. The Hamas Pogrom, he went on, was ‘ exhilarating!’ and ‘energizing!’ Rickford closed his remarks by stating: ‘I was exhilarated!’ The crowd then erupted into thunderous applause and chants of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
S is for the (UK) Socialist Workers Party: ‘The Palestinians have every right to respond in any way they choose to the violence that the Israeli state metes out to them every day. Victory to the Resistance.’ Later, as if fearing they may lose first place in this pogrom-apologist Olympics, Socialist Worker ran the headline ‘Rejoice as Palestinian resistance humiliates racist Israel’. Note that: Rejoice. On 4 November demonstrators took over Charing Cross train station concourse in London, waved Socialist Worker placards, surrounded the poppy sellers from the Royal British Legion, and chanted ‘There is only one state, Palestine ’48!’ a call for the destruction of Israel.
And Students for Justice in Palestine, the leading pro-Palestinian college group in the US, which said, ‘Callous oppressors only know the language of destruction’ and, in an astonishing reframing of an antisemitic pogrom, ‘Today, we witness a historic win for the Palestinian resistance: across land, air and sea’. It’s Ohio State University branch praised the ‘heroic resistance’ and called on people to ‘honor our resistance and our martyrs’ and to ‘celebrate’.
Stop the Wall tweeted on 8 October ‘we hold Israel fully responsible for each and every killing’.
Stop the War leader Lindsey German told a demonstration in support of Hamas in London that ‘What has been going on in the last few days, the scenes from Israel are terrible scenes. … [but] the real people we should blame for all this are the people who continue to allow this war against the Palestinians … It’s not Israel defending itself, it’s Israel defending its right to continue to oppress the Palestinians’. She went on: ‘When people say, ‘why don’t the Palestinians protest peacefully?’, what the hell do people think they’ve been doing for 75 years?”’ (German erases the entire history of Palestinian violence aimed at the destruction of the only Jewish state as well as every Israeli offer to divide the land.) The game was rather given away when German was interrupted by a chant from the crowd – some of whom wore ‘Make Israel Palestine Again’ caps – who sang “We don’t want two state, we want ‘48”, and “there is only one solution, intifada revolution”.
And the trade union Starbucks Workers United, which posted “Solidarity with Palestine” on social media platform X above an image of a bulldozer operated by Hamas tearing down a fence on the Gaza strip, i.e above the opening move of an antisemitic pogrom.
And the Stanford lecturer who was suspended after asking Jewish and Israeli students to ‘identify themselves’ before telling them to grab their belongings and stand in a corner, saying ‘This is what Israel does to the Palestinians’. The Forward reported. ‘How many people died in the Holocaust?’ he then asked the Jewish students of the class, to which they replied, ‘Six million.’ He allegedly responded, ‘Colonizers killed more than 6 million. Israel is a colonizer’. He also reportedly stated that Hamas represents the Palestinian people and the acts committed on 7 October were 100 percent legitimate. Students identified the instructor as 46-year-old Ameer Hasan Loggins, a Lecturer, at Stanford Introductory Studies of Civic, Liberal, and Global Education. Stanford has kept the identity of the lecturer anonymous.
And for Najma Sharif, US writer, who tweeted on 7 October ‘What did y’all think decolonization meant? Vibes? Papers? Essays? Losers. “Not like this” Then like what. Show us LOL.’ Washington Post columnist Karen Attiah ‘liked’ the post.
T if for tribal Football Fans.
‘Victory to the Resistance’ banners were held up by Celtic fans ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Premiership match with Kilmarnock, despite the slaughter of hundreds of Jewish civilians. Israel’s international midfielder Nir Bitton, who spent nine years at Celtic and now plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv, commented: ‘Supporting terror organisation who’s proudly celebrating the slaughtering of families is absolutely crazy!! Embarrassing. Most of you don’t even know where Israel is!! You have zero clue about this conflict and you still act like you know everything. As a father for 3 kids I want to see how you react when your innocent kids getting slaughtered and kidnapped in front of your eyes!’
And for activist and would-be ‘humanist’ Peter Tatchell who, though not justifying the killings, tweeted ‘What did Israel expect? You reap what you sow’.
And for Mika Tosca
an associate professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who tweeted ‘Israelis are all pigs. Savages. Irredeemable excrement … may they all rot in hell.’
U is for Professor Usama Makdisi of Berkeley who retweeted ‘The Palestinians keep showing new forms of creative resistance & resilience’ on 7 October. (Slaughtering over 250 people at a music festival is indeed ‘new’.)
And for The United States Council of Muslim Organisations (USCMO) which issued a statement reiterating its support for Palestinians, failed to mention let alone condemn the ongoing Hamas pogrom, but did condemn ‘unprovoked and continuous attacks by’, yes, Israel.
V is for Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek finance minister and author: ‘The path to ending the tragic loss of innocent lives – both Palestinian and Israeli – begins with one crucial first step: the end of the Israeli occupation and apartheid.’ (emphasis added) This brilliant man couldn’t say peace begins with not exulting in the planned mass butchering of young Jews at a rave, with not solemnly, religiously, committing to the annihilation of the Jews in your founding Charter, with not being fascistic Jihadists seeking to destroy the Jewish state. On 8 October, knowing about the Hamas pogrom, Varoufakis went further. He gave an interview in which he said,’Those who try very hard to extract from people like me a condemnation of the attacks of the Hamas guerillas will never get it. And they will never get it for a very simple reason. … The criminals here are not Hamas … the criminals are Europeans. Us.’ He could not condemn the slaughter of non-combatants, the beheading of children, the gang rape and execution of of women, the abduction of children and the elderly by antisemitic Islamist men shouting God is Great, whom he prettified as ‘guerillas’. The largest number of Jews murdered on one day since the Holocaust and Varoufakis proudly refused to condemn the murderers.
And for Dale Vince, Labour Party donor, who said to Times Radio when asked to condemn Hamas, ‘One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. This is my view. This is how I feel’.
W is for Asa Winstanley, author of Weaponising Anti-Semitism: How the Israel Lobby Brought Down Jeremy Corbyn, who tweeted a one-word reaction: ‘Heroes’. He also tweeted ‘This is what liberation will look like’, ‘There is no such thing as Israeli “self-defense” against Palestinians’ and ‘Keris (sic) Starmer is bought and paid for by the Israel lobby’.
And for The World Socialist Web Site which condemned… ‘the vicious and obscenely hypocritical statements of President Joe Biden and leaders of the European Union denouncing the Palestinian resistance as “terrorism”’.
And for NYU Law School Student Bar Association president Ryna Workman who claimed ‘Israel bears full responsibility’ after the Hamas attack, adding ‘I will not condemn Palestinian resistance’.
And for those University of Washington students who organised a rally to ‘uplift the just Palestinian resistance’ and advertised it with flyers featuring a drawing of a paraglider similar to the ones that flew into southern Israel to massacre the festival-goers. Jewish students pleaded with an administrator to put a stop to the rally saying ‘They want our people dead. They want us killed’. The administrator said there was nothing he could do. Flyers for the event featured a drawing of a paraglider similar to the ones that militant Hamas terrorists used to fly into southern Israel and massacre scores of innocent concert-goers. The letter failed to mention the massacres by Hamas of 1,400 Israelis.
The Weekly Worker, a small-circulation revolutionary socialist newspaper produced in the UK, features letters in No.1463 from Pete Gregson declaring all Israeli Jews (‘except for the highly Orthodox Jews’) to be ‘enemy combatants’ and calling upon the paper to ‘show more empathy to Hamas’, and from Roland Laycock claiming the Hamas attack was ‘planned by Tel Aviv with the support of Washington’. Gerry Downing is hoping the next edition will include his letter, which he has shared on Facebook, declaring ‘unconditional but critical support for Hamas against Israel’.
X is for ‘X’, the cesspit formerly known as Twitter, which I had to join to research this article and which I discovered is where the world’s antisemites and pogromists-in-waiting exchange notes and high fives.
Y is for the Young Communist League of Britain, which tweeted ‘We, in the World Federation of Democratic Youth, affirm that this battle that the Palestinian resistance is waging is the battle of all the free people of the world.’
Z is for Husam Zomlot Head of Palestinian Mission to the UK, who, refusing to condemn Hamas, wagged his finger and said ‘Enough with western mainstream media obsession with blaming the victims!’ He added: ‘Statements about “Israel’s right to self defence” will only be interpreted as a green light to commit further massacres.’ So, the murderers are the victims and the murdered have no right to self-defence.
The list of individuals and organisations who instantly endorsed and spread the Hamas lie that Israel had bombed Al Ahli hospital in Gaza on 17 October, but who failed to retract this lie once it became clear that the perpetrator was actually Palestinian islamic Jihad, is just too long to set down here. One example can stand in for them all. Jeremy Corbyn tweeted on 17 October that ‘Israeli air strikes have hit Al Ahli hospital in Gaza. More than 500 people – patients, doctors & those sheltering – have been killed. What unspeakable horror. We will mourn their loss forever.’ The post has 11.9 million views. He has posted no retraction.
For a very different response to the Hamas pogrom read this statement from the Alliance for Workers Liberty. We have reposted it at Fathom not because we agree with every word but because we wanted to show that another left is possible.
To donate to the UJIA Emergency Appeal visit their website. https://ujia.org/