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I've spent quite a bit of time getting to know the 2023 Israel–Hamas war, and all this time I've only seen a few cases of pro-Palestinians criticizing Hamas for being part of the problem, most of what I've seen were silent on Hamas and related militant groups.

Where I live (Canada), soon after October 7, a pro-Palestinian march chanted Israelis were terrorists, I've seen another one decrying the killings of Gazan civilians by Israel, but nothing when it was determined that a rocket that fell close to a hospital was from a group within Gaza, etc.

I've never seen any large-scale protest critical of Hamas or related groups, about there not being any election since Hamas took over, Hamas and related militants purposefully and indiscriminately targeting civilians in Israel, Hamas using civilian infrastructure for military purposes, or even supposedly some of their leaders being millionaires/billionaires and living far away from the conflict, and so many other problems you'd think someone who actually cares about Palestinians would be critical of.

Has there been any significant pro-Palestinian protest critical of Hamas?

Related (question from 2014): Was there ANY official condemnation of Hamas over use of civilians and especially children as human shields?

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  • It's worth noting that the government of Israel was itself supportive of Hamas controlling Gaza before the 7 October attack, see this question.
    – Erwan
    Nov 25, 2023 at 18:22

6 Answers 6

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Yes. For example, Palestinians have protested against Hamas (despite the risks of protesting against a heavily armed and dangerously insane group).

Here is some coverage from John Oliver for example:

Israel-Hamas War: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (There is a timestamp but I highly recommend you watch the entire thing)

"And it's notable that in July despite all the restrictions on dissent in Gaza there were actually people on the streets chanting slogans including "Fuck off Hamas!" and "We want to live"."

He is referring to July 2023 protests also covered by AP:

Thousands take to streets in Gaza in rare public display of discontent with Hamas - AP News - 30 July 2023

Hamas’s security forces disperse rare Gaza protests against its rule - The Times of Israel - 14 March 2019

Protests against Hamas reemerge in the streets of Gaza, but will they persist? - The Times of Israel - 8 August 2023

There are also quite a few Israeli citizens and Jews who have protested on the pro-Palestine (or pro-Palestinians) anti-Hamas side.

Hundreds arrested as US Jews protest against Israel’s Gaza assault - The Guardian - 19 Oct 2023

I do not think I have to explain that those Jews are critical of Hamas. For example, one of the organizations who organized the protest wrote on their website: "the massacres committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians are horrific war crimes". But they are pro-Palestine (or pro-Palestinians).

If you think about it, being pro-Palestine (or pro-Palestinians) automatically makes you anti-Hamas.

And if you are pro-Israel (or pro-Israeli people) then that automatically makes you anti-Netanyahu.

"In support of that argument, in an article in Foreign Affairs, two authors affiliated with Arab Barometer, a nonpartisan group that evaluates public opinion across the Arab world, point out that in a survey of Palestinians days before the war began, "73% of Gazans favored a peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." And two-thirds of those surveyed expressed little or no trust in Hamas." https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2023/11/05/1209976575/israel-hamas-war-hope-empathy-personal-stories & https://www.foreignaffairs.com/israel/what-palestinians-really-think-hamas

"A Nov. 3 poll found 76% of Israelis want Netanyahu to resign." https://www.npr.org/2023/11/11/1211767117/israel-netanyahu-growing-opposition-hamas-war-gaza

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    Protests in Gaza aren't pro-Palestine demonstrations & the presence of Jews in a demonstration doesn't make the demonstration anti-Hamas.
    – tim
    Nov 17, 2023 at 6:47
  • 38
    @tim If protesting for improved living conditions in Palestine isn't a pro-Palestine demonstration then I don't know what is. I agree that the presence of Jews does not automagically make any demonstration anti-Hamas; but for example jewishvoiceforpeace.org contains statements like the massacres committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians are horrific war crimes and I don't think anyone is stupid enough to think these people are pro-Hamas. They are Jewish.
    – user43134
    Nov 17, 2023 at 6:59
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    We wouldn't call demonstrations in the US against US government policies "pro-US demonstrations", so why do it with Palestine? As for jvp, they attribute the terror attacks to "Israeli apartheid" and called the terror attack "the latest unprecedented wave of resistance". They are a fringe group with fringe opinions who the ADL has called "veering dangerously close to repeating anti-Semitic slurs".
    – tim
    Nov 17, 2023 at 7:26
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    Attributing the Hamas terror attacks to anyone but Hamas and whitewashing them as "resistance" isn't exactly anti-Hamas either. But sure, if they prominently carry signs on demonstrations saying "the massacres committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians are horrific war crimes", that would count re this question. I'm not aware of that though.
    – tim
    Nov 17, 2023 at 7:30
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    These two sentences are biased, i.e. a point of view, thus detract from the content of the answer: If you think about it, being pro-Palestine (or pro-Palestinians) automatically makes you anti-Hamas. And if you are pro-Israel (or pro-Israeli people) then that automatically makes you anti-Netanyahu. As of 2021 (according to an Al-Jazeera poll) at least 50% of Palestinians supported Hamas. I can find the link if requested. As of 2022, there were clearly a significant percentage of Israelis who supported Netanyahu otherwise he wouldn't be the prime minister now. Nov 17, 2023 at 12:06
30

This protest in Switzerland was clearly anti-Hamas and pro-Palestinian.

Excerpt from their page (translated by Deepl, verified by me, original available in German/French):

The unjustifiable massacres and hostage-takings by Hamas were followed by a massive military retaliation by Israel against the Gaza Strip. This collectively punishes the defenceless and imprisoned civilian population, which has almost no drinking water, food or medical care to survive in the face of the blockades.

It was mainly organized by a Swiss NGO called GSoA/GSsA on 2023-11-02 in Zurich, Switzerland. It had two speeches, one written by someone from Israel and one written by someone from Palestine, both of whom wanted to remain anonymous. It wasn't the biggest pro-Palestine protest in 2023 in Switzerland, but certainly significant.

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Frame challenge: why would they even bring it up in such a protest?

Protests tend to focus on a specific issue without really going beyond that.

It's somewhat like asking "Has there been any pro-ham-on-pizza protest critical of pineapple on pizza". Some pro-ham-on-pizzanian (including those taking part in protests) may indeed have been critical of pineapple on pizza, but obviously if it's specifically a "pro-ham-on-pizza protest", you wouldn't expect their opinions on pineapple on pizza to be brought up during the protest (except maybe when it comes to what they think of ham and pineapple pizza).

As for protests generally, you probably wouldn't find many protests being anti-Hamas, because that's already been designated as a terrorist group by most of the western world. The point of a protest is to cause some action or change in opinion, but I'm not sure such a protest would have much to accomplish (unless it's taking place in Gaza itself or you're protesting for your government to take some action against Hamas). I'm not aware of any aid the US has given specifically to Hamas (whether the Gaza humanitarian aid qualifies is questionable). On the other hand, it's given upwards of 100 billion dollars in military aid to Israel, and has designated Israel as a major ally. So if you're anti-Hamas and anti-Israel, it may make a lot more sense to protest the latter, because there are obvious changes to push for.


I'm putting aside the fact that there have been anti-Hamas protests by Palestinians (as another answerer points out), which sounds very "pro-Palestinian" to me, but some might disagree or view that term more in the context of being anti-Israel.

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    It isn't quite as separate as that. Palestinian lives are put at risk both by Hamas and Israel. In your pizza analogy its more like "In a pro-pizza rally have there been any anti-pizza-burning presence or is it all focusing on the current don't-drop-your-pizza movement?" (Copied from above) Nov 17, 2023 at 11:46
  • @LioElbammalf As noted in my last paragraph, it really depends how you define "pro-Palestinian". And I'm not sure you can generally really effectively protest against multiple distinct bad things that are happening to a party in one protest. You may have some pro-pizza protests that are about anti-pizza-burning and some that are about don't-drop-your-pizza, without having a protest that involves both.
    – NotThatGuy
    Nov 17, 2023 at 11:55
  • @LioElbammalf: well, the 2003 protests were not carrying banners asking Saddam to give up his WMDs voluntarily or to "stop cooperating with al-Queda", before being invaded. Can you guess why? Nov 19, 2023 at 12:11
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I viewed images of a lots of demonstrations in Germany and most are focused on their rejection of Israel & do not mention Hamas.

This demonstration is representative of that. A participant was removed because he carried a sign saying "Free Gaza from Hamas".

Wikipedia has an extensive article listing 2023 Israel–Hamas war protests. For the pro-Palestine demonstrations, no anti-Hamas signs can be seen. A google image search for "palestina demonstration" or "palestina demonstration hamas" likewise does not reveal any.

Instead, a lot of demonization of Israel can be seen ("genocide" accusations and such). In Germany, pro-Palestine demonstrations were forbidden for a while because of the high likelihood of incitement & antisemitism (including Jews=child killers, child killer Israel, attacks against journalists as jew press, solidarity with samidoun (which was outlawed after it publicly celebrated the 7.10. terror attacks), etc).

Now, that doesn't mean that no such demonstration can exist. I'm sure somewhere there will be one. But by and large, these demonstrations focus on Israel, which they solely blame for the current war (despite the war having been started by the brutal massacre of 1200 Israelis by the terrorist group Hamas).

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    The deletion requests for this answer are entirely inappropriate. Unfortunately, Palestinian demonstrations have not, generally, been very good at distinguishing Palestinians from Hamas. Any long term Western pressure on Israel to deal fairly in negotiations with (non-Hamas) Palestinians are highly contingent on that distinction being made loud and clear. Pretending this is not a problem, like the censorship applied to this answer, will not help the Palestinian cause. Downvoting is fine, deletion requests though stink of censorship. Nov 18, 2023 at 21:07
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    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica Agreed. I had some notes on the last sentence, but the rest of the answer is unfortunately correct.
    – user43134
    Nov 18, 2023 at 21:22
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    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica This answer should be deleted for the simple reason that it isn't an answer to the question being asked. Whether the answer makes correct statements, and wider political considerations, are not relevant when this most basic criterion is not fulfilled. Nov 19, 2023 at 10:20
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    @CharlieEvans If you say so. I consider it a valid contextualization answer: most protests seem more intent on criticizing Israel, by a huge margin, than Hamas. That's what the Q was about and this answer reminds us of that simple fact. Now, if that upsets you: too bad. Nov 19, 2023 at 17:45
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    @CharlieEvans how is this answer not an answer? Q: Is there any protest against Hamas? A: No anti-Hamas protests visible where it could be (because other protests are visible there)
    – Tom
    Nov 20, 2023 at 9:26
-4

Has there been any significant pro-Palestinian protest critical of Hamas?

It's difficult to protest "pro-Palestinian" since Palestine is not a political party or course of action. Palestine is just a territory.

One could only protest actions of either Israeli army or of Hamas - or both.

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  • Are you denying there is such a thing as Gaza (and thus Palestinian) civilians? (I know it's a popular argument in some US/Israeli political circles.) Nov 18, 2023 at 18:37
  • Of course not. But they have been neglected for years. They only could receive support from other Muslim countries, and Israel/US did everything to interfere.
    – troyan
    Nov 18, 2023 at 19:00
  • @troyan The EU also sends aid ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_23_4850 & aljazeera.com/news/2023/10/9/…
    – user43134
    Nov 18, 2023 at 21:27
  • OP q was: has anyone openly protest FOR Palestine. To protest for Palestine, one needs to protest AGAINST Israel, and, its allies. Like the protester could bring up Qs of illegal Israeli settlements, or EU frowning upon HAMAS while helping Ukrainian terrorists attack ethnic Russians in Donbass and helping Zelensky to commit genocide by forcefully moving Russians from Dombass. To answer the Q, Who has the nerve to protest all this and lose his high salary job? So far, only UN has. And Musk perhaps. Even though he is likely to lose some major support from Apple/Disney
    – troyan
    Nov 19, 2023 at 2:57
  • There absolutely IS a definite entity called Palestinian Authority. And also there is a Palestinian nation (in the nationality sense merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nation). Nov 24, 2023 at 10:02
-5

The political message of demonstrations are usually delivered through speakers. People will march and chant and speakers with expert knowledge or direct experience with the situation at hand will give speeches. On pro-Palestinian demonstrations - at last in the Western world - it is very rare for at least a few speakers to not condemn attacks "targeting civilians" or war crimes "on both sides". Which clearly are formulations critical of Hamas. Speakers on demonstrations following October 7 may also explicitly condemn Hamas's attacks or demand an unconditional return of the civilians it holds.

However, such language is utterly mundane and not captured in media's headlines. Journalists generally focus on what is unique and not on what is routine. So to verify for yourself that Hamas is indeed condemned with formulations similar to the above you have to either listen to speeches from demonstrations or read their transcripts.

Here are some examples, proving that indeed Hamas or its attacks on civilians are condemned on Western pro-Palestinian demonstrations:

Rally in Chicago, USA:

But amid the cries of "Free Palestine," some also condemned Hamas' deliberate attacks on Israeli civilians.

"We are against killing civilians," said Najeh Zahghlol, a Palestinian American in Chicago. "We're against that."

How some Palestinian émigré communities in the U.S. reacted to the Israel-Hamas war

Rally in Washington, DC, USA:

Anne Mustafa [speaker at pro-Palestinian rally], of Montgomery County, Md., called for an immediate cease-fire and a greater flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza. [...]

Mustafa, however, strongly condemned Hamas and said she does not support the killing of innocent civilians no matter who is behind it.

“I do not support any form of terrorism,” Mustafa said. “I support only humanitarian causes.”

Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters march across DC

Rally in Dublin, Ireland:

Sinn Féin TD and party leader Mary Lou McDonald equally condemned the the targeting of the Gaza Strip and attacks on Israeli citizens by Hamas. She labelled the tactics by Hamas a breach of international law that must be condemned.

Speaking to RTÉ’s News At One today, McDonald added: “I have to say the the bombardment now of Gaza is equally to be condemned.”

Rally held outside Dáil in solidarity with Palestine

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    What can be more mundane than blaming Israel for everything, especially at such protests? Yet it is reported routinely. If there are "transcripts" that demonstrate your point, you could link to them to improve your answer.
    – Zeus
    Nov 23, 2023 at 23:43

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