What’s Left?

With apologies to Nick Cohen, that’s a fantastic title and a book I still need to find and read ASAP.  This post is inspired by my own run-ins with alleged ‘liberal’ online antisemites.


I am a liberal.  I am a Democrat.  I am a Teamster.  I come from a generally conservative family with more Republicans than you can shake a stick at, especially on my Irish side, and especially more than you’d think considering where we are from (Urban North Jersey and The Bronx), but even they are union folks all the way.

Folks who are called ‘Reagan Democrats,’ the kind who’d be the first to offer you a Bud and a burger and friendly talk about baseball and football, yet completely refuse entry onto their property if you were silly enough to dare show up at their backyard barbecue with a case of Coors.



A contrarian by nature, I spent a good chunk of my teenage years, and much further into my twenties than I’d like to admit, reading Zinn and Chomsky, and calling myself a socialist.

I voted for Ralph Nader for president of the United States of America in 2000, the first election in which I was eligible to vote (I missed 1996 by a few months, but I probably would have voted for Nader then, too) although I do regret that vote.


I have knocked on thousands of doors for Democrats; these days I am mainly an activist in local food and urban farming movements, and I spent most of my recent, unfortunately way-too-long, period of unemployment, volunteering at a Jewish food pantry here in Philadelphia.

All of this foreground is just basic information to establish my leftist credentials, which still even to this day, put to shame those of most of my critics, and those with whom I now regularly clash, particularly at places like the large, progressive US political blog Daily Kos.


I used to be tight with many folks there, I still have many friends I’ve made there.  I was a founding member of the Feeding America food bank drive ‘blogathons’ we used to hold there.


Eventually, though, I could no longer turn my head from the rampant Jew-hatred there, sometimes in the guise of ‘pro-Palestinian-ism,’ other times not.


Since then, I was kicked off for a while (for no actual reason other than being pro-Israel, of course), then for some no-less-mysterious reason let back as a full member, after which I decided, “okay, let’s see what these people are up to these days.”

Just this morning, I came across an especially stupid ‘argument’ laced with antisemitic overtones, lies, conspiracy theories and general insanity, by a long-time anti-Israel fanatic who, of course, is also a long-time ‘trusted user’ at that place.


As a result of this exchange, I am sure I will once again be referred to, and dismissed as, an insane right-wing Zionist fanatic, but only because the truth hurts, and they will have no response to anything I state.  They’ll take care of me ad hominem-ly, of course.  Yet the truth remains, and the calm and patient tearing apart of the laughable ‘arguments’ of anti-Israel fanatics, especially on their own websites, is a very useful endeavor, in my opinion.


The comment, and my reply, in bold and italics, thus went:

Israeli government is at least as smart as (2+ / 0-)

your local bank.

Ah, Israelis = bankers.  Cute.

The last think Israel wants to do is have what we now call Gaza in the same legal jurisdiction as itself or to be responsible for its upkeep under. . .  military whatzitism. Like the banks who have defaulted borrowers but do not want to complete foreclosures because completing the foreclosure means the bank and not the borrower becomes responsible for taxes and maintenance of the premises.

Israel, or ore accurately its right wing government,  would then be responsible for making sure water was clean and the pollution of the shared  coastal water table from Israel  more nearly literally than usual, no longer affects the potability of Gaza water. And it could not unilaterally cut off electricity when it feels like it.  Or maintain the difference in essential quality between cinnamon and cumin, one illegal to import and one not.

“what we now call Gaza.”

What else would, or should, we call it?

I’m having trouble understanding what your point about water is.  Or are you admitting that the potability of Gaza’s drinking water, and its treatment (or lack thereof) of its wastewater, is none of your concern under Hamas, but would beunder Israel in the alleged situation the diarist posits, which even you seem to admit will never actually happen in reality?

Why even mention it in that case, since one would think that one who is actually concerned about Gaza and its people would be concerned about its water quality no matter who is in control of the area?

I can’t recall the last time I saw a diary here taking Hamas to task on its failure there, though.  Perhaps you can enlighten me with a link to one?

History shows that those who actually pay for products and services, like energy, provided to it by others, don’t generally find same ‘cut off.’

I’m pretty sure that if I stopped paying my electric bill, and used my North Philadelphia rowhouse as a base to shoot rockets at PECO’s headquarters in Center City, I’d probably find my light switches out of service sooner or later.

(But I see Egypt gets a pass on that, too, amongst other things.)

There have been posters here who suggest that what would happen if Israel took Gaza again would be that it would evict the Palestinians to Egypt, and go back to the old days with the Israelis who were evicted by Ariel Sharon and never gave up their claims either.

And such a move would invigorate BDS because the eviction or the abuse would be more visible than the events of ’48 and ’67, which happened before the birth of a lot of current activists, or the Bedouin abuses now under way which are flat out not covered well outside Israel or inside either.

It’s also probably not advisable to publicly fantasize about causing pain to others in order to ‘invigorate’ a ‘movement’ you cheer on from afar.

Israel’s plans for the Bedouin are to resettle as many as possible in modern neighborhoods with utility hook-ups (I believe you’ve already mentioned right here in this comment that you’re very concerned about things like water, right?  Isn’t this a good thing, then?), in order to reduce the environmental impacts on sensitive lands in the Negev.  Those affected will also be compensated for their trouble, in addition, although there is no requirement for this.

I know it may be hard for those who view Israelis as constantly mustache-twirling, comic book villains always plotting their next evil caper to believe such things, but the truth isn’t a subjective matter.


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