Salvo 10.09.2023 5 minutes

Hamas and the American Left


They don't hate Israel because it's Jewish; they hate it because it's white.

New Yorkers were taken aback when the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America approvingly tweeted—or X’d—a notice about a Palestinian solidarity rally planned for October 8 in Times Square, just one day after Hamas stormed through southern Israel, murdering hundreds of civilians. “In solidarity with the Palestinian people and their right to resist 75 years of occupation and apartheid,” the NYC-DSA announced. “FREE PALESTINE!”

The DSA has been a rising force in local Democrat politics in New York City since the 2018 election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Congress. Since then, about a dozen other socialists have been elected to city council and the state legislature, and one other—fire alarmist Jamaal Bowman—joined AOC in Congress in 2020. NYC Comptroller Brad Lander has been a self-identified DSA ally since he was a teenager. All these politicians were elected as Democrats, however; the DSA does not have a line on the ballot.

The DSA has punched significantly above its weight, however, by threatening to primary “mainstream” Democrats whom they perceive as insufficiently pure ideologically. For instance, otherwise liberal Democrats who don’t want to defund the NYPD, decriminalize “sex work,” seize and socialize vacant apartments, or limit the amount of time that illegal aliens are permitted to occupy hotel rooms at taxpayer expense, risk being labeled MAGA extremists.

The effect of this pressure has been to drive politics in New York City rapidly left. Two-party primary politics tends to impose a moderating force on extremism, because nominees know they have to face moderate voters in the general election. But when one party is guaranteed to win the election, as is the case in 90 percent of New York City, there is no countervailing force to prevent extreme leftists from winning low-turnout Democratic primaries.

As a result, marginal organizations like the DSA have managed rapidly to achieve outsize influence in a number of districts. They are abetted by Soros- and taxpayer-funded “community organizations” such as Make the Road, VOCAL NY, and the New York Immigration Coalition; leftist unions like the United Auto Workers and the Communications Workers of America; and dubious political groups like the perversely named “Jewish Vote,” which almost exclusively backs non-Jewish candidates who vow support for the Palestinian cause. DSA sympathizers work extensively in staffing and campaign positions, in the press, and in the quasi-academic NGO world that establishes the tenor of public policy in New York City.

It is a rule of leftist discourse to bring the margins to the center. So noisy factions that claim to speak for the historically disenfranchised get priority and their views are given top billing. And this dynamic works its way down the chain. So groups like the DSA are permitted, despite their minority status, to dominate the Democrat Party, and noisy factions within the DSA that support a maximalist anti-Israel perspective are permitted to dominate the DSA. We thus wind up with a political system where it’s not just that the tail wags the dog, but the fleas on the tail wag the dog.

So it was no surprise that, one day after the savage Hamas attack on the softest of soft targets—families, old people, children, hippies—the DSA would announce its rabid support for a Times Square celebration of the perpetrators. No surprise, that is, to observant critics of Left politics. But mainstream moderate Democrats were flummoxed, and have raced to denounce the DSA, which clearly failed to read the room, electorally speaking. Few New Yorkers, even those broadly sympathetic to the Socialist program, were ready to ululate and cheer the naked slaughter of innocent civilians.

Nevertheless, the hard Left across America will continue to press its main point, which is that Israel is a settler state that has practiced apartheid since its inception, and which is entirely illegitimate, even though it was admitted as a full member of the United Nations in 1949, well before Ireland, Hungary, Finland, Jordan, and dozens of other countries.

What normal Americans need to understand about Israel and the Left’s persistent antipathy towards it is that the Left isn’t lying when they say that anti-Zionism isn’t (necessarily) antisemitism. They don’t hate Israel because it’s a Jewish country; they hate it because it’s a white country. Despite the fact that the Israeli Jewish population includes Jews of all skin tones, the Zionist project is classed by the Left as a racist colonial state built on stolen land that must be radically “decolonized.” Israel is a synecdoche for white supremacy.

That’s why the Left calls it an apartheid state, even though Israel bears no resemblance to apartheid South Africa (the Jews are the majority in Israel, for starters). But don’t forget that the Left calls America an apartheid state, too, and will do so increasingly as the white population of America shrinks beneath 50 percent. America, Britain, Canada, Europe—none of these countries is permitted to exercise control of their borders, because to do so would be racist. Ending majority-white populations is the major project of the global Left, and Israel tops the list. When the Left—in Times Square or at Harvard—holds signs saying “Decolonization is not a Metaphor,” they are telling us that Hamas is right, both in theory and in practice.

It may be tempting to write off the Israel-Hamas war as a tribal conflict rooted in centuries of mutual hate. But Westerners should be aware that the stakes for themselves are massive. The decolonizers are coming after you, too.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

Suggested reading from the editors

to the newsletter