From Ireland to Greece, European leftist parties were criticized Monday for pro-Palestinian responses to Hamas’s weekend assault on Israel that included avoiding condemnation of the Gaza terror group’s onslaught and instead pointed the blame at Israel.
“The situation of violence and death in Israel and Palestine is the fruit of occupation and apartheid,” said Spain’s radical left-wing Podemos party, part of the ruling left-wing coalition led by the leftist Sumar.
“The only way to end the conflict” was “to put an end to Israel’s impunity” and “to respect the Palestinian right to self-determination,” it said on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday.
Sumar was also cautious in its condemnation of Hamas, blaming both sides for the intensifying conflict.
“Attacking civilians is a violation of the Geneva agreements on humanitarian law, whether we’re talking about Hamas or Israel,” said party spokesman Ernest Urtasun on Monday, even though it was only Hamas that overtly targeted civilians, with gunmen massacring 260 people at a music festival, killing hundreds of others, and abducting still others, breaking into home after home in border-area towns and murdering their inhabitants.
In France, the far-left La France Insoumise (LFI) was accused of relativism over its response to the attack which killed over 900 people in Israel, mostly civilians.
On Saturday, LFI lawmakers referred to an “armed offensive by Palestinian forces,” carried out “in a context of intensification of the Israeli occupation policy.”
“No relativism is possible,” said Olivier Faure, leader of the center-left PS (Socialists) party.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who had the iconic Eiffel Tower lit up in the white and blue colors of the Israeli flag, said, “It’s time to put an end to the mesalliance with (LFI leader) Jean-Luc Melenchon.”
On his blog, Melenchon blasted the “now permanent media stoning” of his movement.
Israel’s national anthem – Hatikvah, which means The Hope – played in Paris with the Eiffel Tower lit up in blue and white.pic.twitter.com/bqRRDFEt5Q
— Aviva Klompas (@AvivaKlompas) October 9, 2023
In Greece, maverick former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis called Gaza “the largest open-air prison in the world” and Israel “the apartheid state.”
“Apartheid, whether it’s practiced in South Africa, or in Palestine or Israel, is always going to procure violence, because it’s a violent, misanthropic system,” he said in an interview posted on X.
The Greek Communist party said Monday that Palestinians “have a right to fight against long-term occupation.”
The “escalation” of violence was “shaped by the chronic crime of the occupation of Palestine, backed by the US and the EU,” said the party in its daily Rizospastis.
In the UK, the main opposition Labour Party under centrist Keir Starmer called Hamas’s assault on Israel a terrorist attack, but the party’s annual conference still saw some sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.
Labour’s leftist former leader Jeremy Corbyn said he did not “support any attacks,” but sought to avoid direct criticism of Hamas, whom he once described as “friends.”
The youth wing and several members of the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, the largest party in Northern Ireland’s devolved assembly, faced criticism after posting pro-Palestinian messages on social media.
Sinn Fein, the former political wing of the paramilitary IRA, could become the biggest party in the Republic of Ireland at an election due by 2025, according to polls.
The IRA fought against British rule in Northern Ireland until a peace deal in 1998, and kept close ties with Palestinian terrorists during the three-decade conflict known as “The Troubles.”
After a huge Palestinian flag was placed on a hillside overlooking Belfast, Sinn Fein’s former leader Gerry Adams said on X: “The Mountain Speaks! Free Palestine.”
West Belfast stands with Palestine ???????? pic.twitter.com/srT7HWj79S
— KNEECAP (@KNEECAPCEOL) October 8, 2023
Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald said Monday that “the targeting of civilians and the taking of hostages is to be condemned outright.”
But, she added, “the bombardment now of Gaza is equally to be condemned.”
“The truth is that for decades the Israeli state has breached international law with collective punishment, confiscation of lands, imposing an apartheid regime, denying the Palestinian people their absolute legitimate right to self-determination,” McDonald told RTE radio.
Hundreds of Palestinian terrorists from the Iran-backed Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, infiltrated Israel at dawn on Saturday under the cover of a massive rocket barrage. Gunmen roamed through communities and areas in southern Israel, killing at least 900 people and kidnapping over 100 others, who were taken to Gaza as captives. Over 2,600 people in Israel were injured.
Israel has responded with heavy airstrikes across Gaza targeting terrorist infrastructure.
The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip said 680 Palestinians have been killed and 3,700 have been wounded in the enclave since Saturday. The Israel Defense Forces has said it has killed hundreds more Palestinian terrorists in Israeli territory.