Hamas is a U.S.-recognized terrorist organization primarily based out of the Gaza Strip territory of Israel. Its name is an acronym standing for the “Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya” or the “Islamic Resistance Movement.” This group has had elected control over the Gaza Strip since 2006 after defeating the previous government of the Palestinian National Authority through popular vote (however, the PNA still controls the West Bank territory). Hamas has an openly anti-Israel and anti-Jewish doctrine with many of its attacks aiming to target these communities. 


Views from the Left

Many on the left tend to emphasize Hamas’ status as a terrorist group and the threat they pose to the people of Israel. People who take this view typically support a non-violent, two-state solution to the land conflict, which is the official policy of many governments. The two-state solution would establish a Palestinian State alongside an Israeli State, the aspiration being that the two states could live separately and peacefully.


Some on the left however, who are more likely to support Hamas, calling them freedom fighters (arguing that the group is merely standing up to Israeli oppression, which is not an act of terrorism but self-defense), advocate for a single state of Palestine. This view represents the anti-Zionist position and a lack of support for the establishment of the Israeli state, as they believe the land is rightfully the Palestinian peoples’. 


Notably, some on the left are pro-Israel, arguing the Jewish people have a long history of oppression that dates long before the Holocaust. Along this line of thought, they argue Jewish people deserve a state where they can feel safe after generations of persecution in states that did not want them. So some see Hamas as another attack in a long line of attacks against the Jewish people across time. 


Views from the Right

People on the right tend to focus on how dangerous Hamas is. Many conservatives argue for the complete destruction of Hamas to ensure the safety of the Israeli people. These people on the right tend to care less about the debate over who rightfully owns the Israeli land, and more so care about the safety and protection of Jews. Some of this sentiment is driven by the religious right, some of whom feel that the religious persecution of any Judeo-Christian groups is paramount to oppose. Conservatives are less likely to support a two-state solution, as they often view that as a win for Hamas. They would rather have a military conflict that ends in Hamas’ removal from power entirely. (However, some on the right do support a two-state solution as well). 


While many on the right consider themselves pro-Israel, some in the conservative line of thought think that the land does rightfully belong to the Palestinians, as they occupied the land before the establishment of Israel. 


There can be much overlap on how the left and right view Hamas—the majority of both groups condemn Hamas—but there are also many differing opinions that are more and less sympathetic to the Palestinian and Israeli people. While the left tends to be more pro-Palestinian and the right more pro-Israeli, it does not fall neatly along partisan lines. For example, there are anti-Zionist Jews on the left who generally support Palestine, as well as Zionist Jews who feel that those on the left who may support Hamas are supporting another genocide on their people.