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Tags: hamas | college protests
OPINION

Religious Fervor Drives Hamas, Not Politics

Religious Fervor Drives Hamas, Not Politics
Protesters at Harvard University (AFP via Getty Images)

Micah Halpern By Monday, 11 December 2023 10:45 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

It’s taken two hurtful months, but finally, I’ve figured out why so many people on campuses across the United States support Hamas.

Students, faculty, administrators and staff at U.S. colleges and universities are the epicenter of pro-Hamas support. From these vaulted bastions of higher education we get the spill-over effect. And pro-Hamas support spills over, often even boils over, onto the streets and boulevards of cities across the country.

But why? Why the support — the fervent, passionate, support for Hamas?

There are many easy answers to the question of “why.” The best easy answer is that, principally, being pro-Hamas is a guise for Jew hatred. For hardcore Hamas activists, that would be the only answer needed.

But most of those pro-Hamas, headline grabbing and Israeli flag burning protesters destroying our cities are not hardcore. Most of them aren’t even aware of what Hamas is. Most don’t know what Hamas stands for and holds dear.

It is actually an acronym in Arabic for the Muslim Resistance Movement. And other than Jews and Israelis, these students don’t know who makes the Hamas hate list.

So how do you explain the mass turnouts at rallies, marches and pro-Hamas demonstrations?

Fringe groups of radicals have emanated out of the extreme left on campuses across America for decades. Until now, however, their extreme messages were muted by and often modulated by mainstream voices on the left.

These extremists were not taken seriously — not even by the mainstream left on campus. It’s been the case since the 1960s when the anti-war movement coalesced on college campuses.

One of the axioms about campus political life is that the mainstream campus left is far to the left of the mainstream off-campus left in adult society. It’s part of the college experience.

Over the past two decades, however, that axiom has become extreme and campus dialogue has transitioned into more of a monotone and much less a cacophony of ideas.

And in that environment, since October 7, Hamas has become the darling of the educated class.

Despite the fact that much of the video and sound of the October 7th massacre comes from Hamas’ own body-cam and GoPro headsets recording live as they perpetrated their horrific acts, many Hamas supporters insist on denying the horrific massacre. Despite the fact that most of those on campus thrive on the internet and much of Hamas’ own footage was uploaded immediately to the internet — some even streamed live, they persist in denying the carnage and disregard for human life.

The murder, brutal rape, burning, dismembering of Jews by Hamas terrorists seems undeniable and yet people — people who we categorize as “educated” deny it or apologize for it or diminish it. Some even blame the Israelis and the IDF.

If the educated class thinks Hamas is the hero and Israel the villain, it only makes sense that people on the street follow suit and embrace the evil.

And now, to the “why.”

Hamas is defended and supported by so many people today because defending Hamas has been adroitly translated from a military and religious issue into a social action, into a political cause tailor made for the overall left on campus.

Defending Hamas is a defense of all Palestinians and of all people worthy of support. Palestinians, they believe, are oppressed and all oppressed people fall into this same social political category.

Hamas is synonymous with “the cause.” As placards proudly carried on campuses and streets proudly proclaim, “We are all Hamas.”

All Hamas, even though history tells us that the women with their hair blowing in the wind and members of the LGBTQ community proudly draping their colors with hastily bought black and white or red and white kaffiyehs would quickly be murdered by their Hamas heroes.

Hamas is synonymous with the cause.

In their eyes, there was no initial Hamas massacre. It doesn’t fit their narrative. For them, it is simple. Israel is the oppressor, Hamas and Palestinians are the victims. They are defending the victim against the oppressor.

Just listen to the rhetoric. The conferences, the speakers, the protesters, they almost never even mention the Hamas massacre. And if the Hamas massacre of October 7th is mentioned, it must be “contextualized.”

Forget Congress and the university presidents — there is no better example of this than the recent meeting between families of hostages called together to speak with the ICRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross. At that meeting the ICRC, in essence, told the families to stop whining. The ICRC — who has not yet visited one hostage as they are mandated to do — told the hostage families to think about the Palestinians in Gaza who were being bombed every day by Israel.

Instead of expressing concern for the hostages, instead of promising to do their utmost, despite Hamas’ constraints, to visit the hostages, provide medicine and food, deliver messages, attest to their heath and well-being, the ICRC lectured these tortured families. These families — many of them composed of released hostages who know exactly what their loved ones are living through, were told to be considerate and think about others, the Gazans — the supposedly less fortunate.

Hamas does not care about Palestinian lives.

Pro-Hamas masses on campus and on the streets of America do not understand the basic underpinnings of Hamas. Hamas is driven by religious verve, not politics.

They should know. They should understand. Hamas does not hide it. They hide hostages. They hide rifles in teddy bears.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern," a weekly TV program, and "My Chopp," a daily radio spot. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. Read Micah Halpern's Reports — More Here.

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MicahHalpern
In their eyes, there was no initial Hamas massacre. It doesn’t fit their narrative. For them, it is simple. Israel is the oppressor, Hamas and Palestinians are the victims. They are defending the victim against the oppressor.
hamas, college protests
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2023-45-11
Monday, 11 December 2023 10:45 AM
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