A few thoughts for the pro-Israel Left.

Screen ShotAnyone who reads my material knows that I often use the popular American pro-Democratic Party blog, Daily Kos, as one guide, among others, to progressive-left thinking.  Over years of observing prominent left-leaning venues I came to a conclusion that seems to irritate them.

My conclusion was not, as it is sometimes claimed, that the western-left is crawling with veiled anti-Semites who use the “Palestinians,” and sometimes even the Holocaust, as a club with which to beat up on the Jews of the Middle East and their diaspora supporters.

On the contrary.  In my experience, a majority of left-leaning westerners are most certainly not antisemitic.  However, after decades of rolling around in the sour and an historical muck of the so-called “Palestinian Narrative” they have come to look upon the Palestinian-Arabs as the quintessential victims.  Having won the Grand Sweepstakes of Victim-hood, the Palestinian-Arabs represent victim hood lifted skyward to an iconic status.  Look up the word “victim” in the proverbial dictionary and find the grinning visage of a keffiyeh-draped Yasir Arafat leering back at you.

{If the Jews were the twentieth-century recipient of this dubious prize, the Palestinian-Arabs have certainly taken the trophy from us within the progressive imagination.  Speaking strictly for myself, I am perfectly happy to be rid of it.}

What this has resulted in, though, is the infiltration of western-left venues by antisemitic anti-Zionists who do, in fact, veil their antisemitism behind a veneer of human rights concerns.

The truth is that “pro-Palestinian” activists are not pro-Palestinian at all, for if they were they would care about human rights abuses toward Palestinian-Arabs committed by non-Jews.  But they don’t.  They only care about the Palestinian-Arabs to the extent that they can use them as grotesque props in a staged drama intended to defame the Jewish people and justify violence against us.

{See Pallywood.}

It is within this setting that the acceptance of antisemitic anti-Zionism within the progressive-left is currently taking place.  And this represents the heart of my argument.  It is not that the western-left is filled with anti-Jewish racists, it is that they have come to accept antisemitic anti-Zionism as just another normal part of the left-leaning coalition.  There are feminists and peace activists.  There are the various ethnic constituencies, including the Jews.  There are the environmentalists.  The anti-Zionists.  The anti-Capitalists.  The Gay community.

And so forth and so on.

Most people, of course, are not single-issue and, thereby, represent a patchwork of interests and concerns.

In order to demonstrate the tension within progressive-left circles around the Arab-Israel conflict lets take a look at the reception of a Daily Kos “diary” entitled, Amnesty International: Hamas tortured and killed Palestinians by someone writing under the Nom de Blog, unapologeticliberal777.

Now, to my mind, this is pretty straight-forward stuff.  He or she writes:

Amnesty International said in a report released today that the militant group Hamas tortured and killed Palestinians during the war against Israel in the Gaza Strip last year.

Hamas exploited the fighting against Israel in July and August to “ruthlessly settle scores,” including with members of Fatah, the rival political faction and political base of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which is led by Mahmoud Abbas, according to Amnesty.

Indeed.  And it is refreshing to see Amnesty go after someone aside from Jewish Israelis for a change.

If you observe the comments beneath the piece, which is what I am primarily interested in, you will see pro-Jewish / pro-Israel left-wingers endeavoring to engage with anti-Jewish / anti-Israel left-wingers.  Thus we get to enjoy the following exchange:

9 month old truce broken yesterday too (9+ / 0-)

Rockets were fired into Israel yesterday for the first time since the August truce. Won’t be long now before the sympathizers come and tell us how Israel forced them to indiscriminately fire rockets, intentionally, into civilian areas. I can hear their collective yawns over these new war crimes.

by Angryallen on Wed May 27, 2015 at 06:49:17 AM PDT

Such a pro-Israel comment cannot be allowed to stand alone and so we get this response:

Won’t be long now (8+ / 0-)
before the apologists come and tell us hundreds more Palestinian children need be to be killed and entire neighborhoods leveled because Defend Itself.

Oh wait, already here.

by nosleep4u on Wed May 27, 2015 at 07:31:55 AM PDT 

Note, of course, the antisemitic blood libel embedded in nosleep4u’s comment.  He or she honestly thinks that Israeli Jews love to kill non-Jewish children.  This emphasis on the Jewish killing of non-Jewish children is directly out of the Middle Ages and finds ongoing prominent expression in all left-leaning western venues, today, including Daily Kos.

Notice, also, that both comments received almost the same number of recommendations.  The pro-Jewish / pro-Israel commenter received 9, while his anti-Jewish / anti-Israel interlocutor received 8.

Then we get this:

Yes, by all means. When all of Palestine has been (3+ / 0-)converted into a gigantic walled prison with all points of entry controlled by Israel, with access to food and water limited to somewhere between starvation and subsistence and with assassination via helicopter gunships or airstrikes by an occupying power a constant threat, let’s shine a light on the bad behavior of some of the inmates of this massive prison. Because that’s clearly the most important thing going on.

by Ralphdog on Wed May 27, 2015 at 11:35:15 AM PDT 

Wow.  That is some kind of serious indictment.

All of Palestine is a gigantic walled prison!

All points of entry are controlled by Israel!

They have limited access to food and water for the native population to somewhere between starvation and subsistence!

They assassinate Palestinian-Arabs via helicopter gunships or airstrikes for no reason whatsoever!

I embellished a bit, but the obvious implication of Ralphdog’s dark fantasies about the Jews of Israel is that, much like every other generation of Jews for millennia, we deserve whatever beating anyone wishes to dish out.

Every generation we are told why it is that the Jews need a sound thrashing – if not the occasional helpful genocide – and Ralphdog is simply doing his bit to see to it that the current generation of Jews are no less maligned than the previous ones.

Ralphdog has rolled around in the poisonous muck of the “Palestinian Narrative” for so long that vomiting outrageous accusations against Jewish Israelis has become a gag reflex.  When anyone dares to criticize even the most vicious of Islamist dictatorships people like Ralphdog  (by the way, if you give it a moment’s thought you will realize the appropriateness of his moniker)  inevitably spit poison at the Jews.  This despite the fact that the Hamas charter calls quite specifically for the murder of the Jewish people wherever we might be found.

According to the Hamas charter, anyone for any reason should have every right to walk into my house and chop my head off merely because I happen to be a Jew.

And, yet, western-leftists continue to believe that diaspora Jews have a moral imperative to support the progressive movement, despite the fact that the progressive movement, and the Democratic Party, have made homes of themselves for people like Ralphdog.

The American right-wing, of course, has its David Dukes, but it must be acknowledged that the American Right has done a very good job of purging the antisemites from their midst ever since William F. Buckley, as an editor for The American Mercury in 1951 and 1952, stood up against anti-Jewish racism before launching The National Review.

The same, unfortunately, cannot be said of the American Left.  Again, it is not that the Left is crawling with anti-Jewish racists, but that, given The Narrative, they have accepted a fundamentally antisemitic sub-movement – anti-Zionism and BDS – into left-leaning organizations throughout the West.

This represents a betrayal of its Jewish constituency, at least among those of us who care about the well-being of the Jewish people and thereby the well-being of the Jewish State of Israel.  The question is, what is to be done about this betrayal?

What I chose to do was conclude any association with the progressive-left and the Democratic Party.

I no longer march.  I no longer donate.  I no longer phone-bank.  None of it.  The day that I looked up during an anti-war rally in Civic Center, San Francisco, and saw a Nazi Swastika entwined within a Star of David at a “peace rally” was the day that I knew that the Left was dead.  For me that sign represented a worm, a leach, gnawing its way into the movement.

Perhaps if the person who held aloft that image had been confronted, I might have felt differently.  Of course, I did not confront him either.  My group, which was almost entirely non-Jewish, simply walked out of the rally.

Leaving the Left, however, is not the only reasonable response to such circumstances by western Jews.  One can also stand one’s ground and fight.  Western-left Jews who confront the Ralphdog’s of the world are needed and, if you follow the thread, you will see that Ralphdog was, in fact, confronted.

However, Jews who remain on the Left, who also wish to support Israel, need to do so from a position of strength, not weakness.  They need to be pro-active, not merely reactive.

When I was still mouthing-off in left-leaning venues it always seemed that the antisemitic anti-Zionists would attack and we would defend.  They attack, we defend.

It is long past time for this pattern to change and we are the ones who must change it, because sure as heck no one else is going to do it for us.

I recommend two tactics:

1)  Expand the terms of the discussion both historically and geographically.

This is not a fight that started in the twentieth century, but in the seventh.  That is, the struggle is not over land, but is, in fact, part of much longer Arab-Muslim effort to oppress the Jewish minority in the Middle East for Koranically-based religious reasons.

Nor is it a squabble between Israelis and Palestinian-Arabs, but between the Jews of that part of the world and the great Arab-Muslim nation that surrounds them and refuses to allow them normal status as human beings in the world.

Both of these assertions have the advantage of historical accuracy.

2)  Put the Left on notice.

Make for them to understand that the Jewish people are not going to accept the betrayal.

The western-left and the Democratic party have betrayed their Jewish constituencies through accepting antisemitic anti-Zionism as part of the general coalition.

That is what the well-meaning Left needs to understand.

Jewish progressives can stay and fight, but they cannot do so without acknowledging the obvious.

Unless you confront your non-Jewish left-leaning friends and colleagues directly on that score then, at best, you’re trimming the hedge.

First published at the Elder of Ziyon. 

Mike blogs at Israel Thrives

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