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7/24/2006
ANTI-SEMITISM ON THE LEFT

To my mind, it is one of the most amazing transformations in recent political history. After working tirelessly in the post World War II environment to assist in the establishment of the state of Israel, many on the left have forgotten the original noble impulses that spurred their advocacy for a Jewish homeland and, in some cases, replaced it with a virulent, nauseating anti-semitism.

The dichotomy has its roots in the transformation of the old left to the new. While it is true the old left embraced Soviet Stalinism, it nevertheless rejected the Soviet state’s overt anti-Semitism the same way it ignored other human rights obscenities under Uncle Joe’s regime - such things just didn’t happen in the “worker’s paradise.” But it was the refugee crisis in post war Europe that galvanized the left and spurred their support for United Nations action on establishing the State of Israel.

The war ended with millions of displaced persons including 1.5 million Jews who refused repatriation or were denied re-entry to the countries of their birth. This was due in large part to a vicious anti-Semitism, especially in Eastern Europe. It was especially true in Poland where there were several pogroms carried out against returning Jews including a massacre of 42 Holocaust survivors in Kielce. The US and Britain also failed these unfortunate refugees in American restrictions on immigration and the British refusal to allow unrestricted immigration to Palestine. The UN had put the British in charge in Palestine and the local Arab population was not keen on having hundreds of thousands of refugees pouring into what they claimed were their ancestral lands.

By 1947, the situation in the camps was getting desperate. This led to the formation of several Jewish quasi-military units who began spiriting the more than 250,000 displaced persons out of camps and onto ships bound for the Holy Land. Intercepting most of these ships filled with Holocaust survivors, the British set up detention camps on the island of Cyprus to deal with this crush of humanity. These camps were administered by the British Army, not the United Nations and the conditions - little shelter, horrible food, inadequate medical care - were a disgrace.

Led by socialist groups in Europe and America (a large and vocal segment of which were Jews), the resulting international outcry spurred the United Nations into action. The British pawned the problem off to the UN at the urging of President Truman and a special session of the UN General Assembly voted on November 29, 1947, to partition Palestine into two new states, one Jewish and the other Arab. The solution was embraced by the Jews but rejected by the Arabs. On May 14, 1947, the State of Israel was born.

On May 15, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq invaded.

Fighting for their lives, outnumbered 10-1, the Israelis nevertheless prevailed. Over a nine month period, they pushed the Arab armies out of Israel while forcibly displacing some 750,000 Palestinian Arabs. This was a solution backed by the western left at the time because the armistice agreement between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria allowed for the formation of an Arab state in Judea, Samaria, and the West Bank of the Jordan River. The problem was that it was not the Palestinians who would be administering that state. The UN-brokered accord called for Jordan and Egypt to share in governing the Palestinian territory.

For the first 25 years of its existence, the State of Israel’s greatest champions in the west were on the left. Through the wars in 1967 and 1973, liberals in America lobbied for strong American support for Israel against its enemies who were seeking to destroy it.

But something happened that transitioned the left’s strong support for Israel into opposition to Israeli policies and even tipping over into anti-Semitism. And the answer can be found in the transition from the tolerance, coherence, and nobility of thought of the old left into the intolerant, riot of conceits and unabashed hatred spouted by the new left.

It wasn’t just the radicalization of politics during the 1960’s that gave the new left traction. More than anything, it was their bold forays into political advocacy that gave them real power and caused a sea change in American liberalism that booted the old left to the sidelines. Immersing themselves in Democratic party politics, the new left’s anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, statist (later anti-globalist) message that became ascendant saw the state of Israel as just one more rich state oppressing poorer ones. Forgotten was the reason for the formation of the State of Israel. Instead, the grievance culture of the new left identified with the Palestinian cause (as they identified with the bloodthirsty North Vietnamese during the war) and saw Israel’s “occupation” of Palestine a travesty of justice.

This is how the new left can look at Hizbullah and rather than seeing a terrorist group wishing to kill every living Jew in Israel they see instead a “resistance” to Zionist neo-colonialism. The Ward Churchills and Cindy Sheehans of the new left are only the most incoherent examples of a kind of virulent anti-Semitism disguised as opposition to capitalism and “racism” (as if Arabs and Jews are of a different race) that is now accepted on the new left as gospel. In fact, it is now perfectly acceptable to daydream about ridding the world of the Jewish state while making the jaw-dropping denial that this is in any way anti-Semitic.

This diary at Daily Kos sums it up perfectly: Does Israel Have a “Right to Exist?:

Might doesn’t make right, but it does determine who acts as they please.

The problem is the nations that get no respect and get anti-social as a result. It won’t help Israel to become a giant of bombers and tanks, because they cannot use their nukes.

We hope. What happens if Goliath strikes first, before David winds up his slingshot?

My answer? Evacuate Israel. Take everything that ain’t screwed down. Buy Baja, or some other available property. If it can’t be done anywhere in the world, change the culture to one of assimilation.

He is not alone. As this excellent article in The Weekly Standard by Dean Barnett points out, Daily Kos (which is the largest meeting place for the new left on the web) reveals much more of a casual, obscene anti-Semitism in its numerous diarists and commenters:

Perhaps sensing that this issue could highlight just how far removed the Kos community is from the American mainstream, Moulitsas and his other front-page bloggers have opted to ignore Israel’s war. Combined, the half dozen front-pagers have written exactly one post on the subject. And that post, authored by Moulitsas, simply declared that he wouldn’t write anything further on the subject. So while the most important story of the year develops, the nation’s leading progressive blog has chosen to focus on the Indiana second district House race between Chris Chocola and Joe Donnelly. Nothing wrong with that; it’s their prerogative to blog about whatever they like.

But inside the Kos diaries, it’s been a different story. The conversation in the diaries has been overwhelmingly anti-Israel–and potentially disastrous for the Democratic party.

One diarist labeled Israel “a destabilizing force in the region” and saw “no difference between Iran’s support of Hezbollah and Hamas in the form of finances and even arms and The United States’ financial support of Israel.” Before modifying this diary into a more moderate form, the author opened his essay with the declaration, “Israel is showing the entire world why the Iranian President was absolutely right to suggest that Israel cease being a sovereign state as is.”

Echoing the themes of moral equivalence and hostility towards the Jewish state, another diarist observed that, “War is nothing but terrorist attacks. Call it what you will, whatever rhetoric you want to use . . . when it comes down to it, that’s all it is. Israel committed terrorism today. And we helped to fund that terrorism.” [Ellipsis in original.]

It must be stressed that there is a difference between opposing the policies of the American and Israeli governments and anti-Semitism. But try as one might, it becomes virtually impossible to take such critiques as simple political disagreements when the very same rhetoric used by the anti-Semitic, Holocaust denying Arabs to call for the destruction of the State of Israel is used by the new left in their hateful rants against the Jewish state.

Clearly this metamorphosis by the left from strong support to hateful opposition towards the State of Israel can have a disastrous political effect if exploited by Republicans. However, since no prominent Democratic politician has actually come out and condemned Israels actions in the latest conflict (even though 8 House Democrats including ranking members Conyers, Dingell, Rahall, Stark and Abercrombie - all in line for Committee chairmanships if the Democrats take control - voted no on the House Resolution supporting Israel) it seems unlikely that the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic mouthings of the Democratic base will play any role at all in the November elections.

As Sir Thomas More said in Robert Bolton’s play A Man for All Seasons regarding the switching between Protestantism and Romanism by Will Roper, “Let us pray that when your head stops spinning, it ends up facing the right way.”

One can only hope that the left in America once again will face the “right way” and come home to its original lofty and noble support for one of its truly decent impulses of the 20th century - giving a battered and oppressed people a place that they could call home and where the words “Never Again” would have real as well as symbolic meaning.

By: Rick Moran at 1:06 pm
15 Responses to “ANTI-SEMITISM ON THE LEFT”
  1. 1
    SShiell Said:
    1:39 pm 

    “One can only hope that the left in America once again will face the “right way” and come home to its original lofty and noble support for one of its truly decent impulses of the 20th century”

    And to do so would be to agree with President Bush. I’m afraid BDS has reached such a degree that even supporting the only true democracy in the middle east against one of the worst terrorist organizations in the world can’t happen because Bush has weighed in on the side of Israel.

    It doesn’t matter that Hezbullah has killed more Americans in terrorist actions than any other group besides Al Qaeda - to side with Israel is to side with Bush. It doen’t matter that Hezbullah started this by invading Israeli territory, killing and kidnapping Israeli soldiers. It doesn’t matter that Israel is attacking Hezbullah using precision guided munitions in order to minimize civilian casualties while Hezbullah si firing unguided rockets into urban centers. It doesn’t matter that Hezbullah has secreted their munitions and Katyusha firing sites within civilian homes, hiding behind civilians and even refusing to allow these civilians to evacuate the area. It just doesn’t matter how right it is to back Israel against terrorism, the left will not support them in any way.

    “Never again” are two words that should have more than symbolic meaning to the world but as far as the left is concerned, the only words that mean anything in this instance is Golda Meir’s “No alternative”.

  2. 2
    Sirius Familiaris Said:
    1:44 pm 

    “One can only hope that the left in America once again will face the “right way” and come home to its original lofty and noble support for one of its truly decent impulses of the 20th century – giving a battered and oppressed people a place that they could call home and where the words “Never Again” would have real as well as symbolic meaning.”

    They will when another Bill Clinton gets elected. You see, what appears to be virulently anti-Semitic rhetoric bubbling up from the depths of the POS - excuse me, KOS - fever swamp is really just another vehicle for expressing hatred of the Bush administration. When the American left sees American and Israeli Jews agreeing with the current administration’s policies, they reflexively express opposition. It’s no different than jumping when someone shouts “Boo!” or throwing your television through the living room window when you inadvertently catch CNN’s war bitch, Christiane Amanpour, while channel surfing.

    This is probably the most cynical response you’re likley to get on this piece, Rick. The American left will support Israel when another Democrat occupies the oval office.

    Regards,

    -the Canine Pundit

    http://caninepundit.blogspot.com/

  3. 3
    Rick Moran Said:
    1:47 pm 

    CP:

    Sadly, I must agree with your conclusion.

    SS:

    What we ALL tend to forget is that Hizbullah has been firing rockets into Israel for months with no response from the Israelis. This inconvenient fact gets left out a lot of critiques of Israels war policy.

  4. 4
    Svenghouli Said:
    4:29 pm 

    Rick,

    I am afraid you have mixed up terms. I think you mean Anti-Zionist and not Anti-Semetic. There are many Jews that do not support Israel. Clearly the left can not be Anti-Semeitic because they support the “other” Semetic people of the region. Though they can be wrong. As for the creation of Israel, no one truly won. Britain was in a no win situation when they started governing Palestine after WW I. They were facing terrorist attacks by both the Zionists and the Palestinians. From the Balfour Declaration to the McDonald papers, the British wavered on who should be ones in charge of the nation.

    Clearly we are seeing will amount to a mess that will last at least a hundred years. Now, is it insane to state that all the Israelis should pick up all there things and simply walk into the sea, but it is also foolhardly to completely blame the Palestinian people for their problems. A large portion of them are merely pawns in the wicked game. The same can be said of the Israelis. The leaders on both sides have to accept the fault.

    Here is where I completely agree with you. Israel is doing the right thing in how they are currently dealing with Hezbollah. They are not using a full invasion. They are sending small groups into Lebanon to fight Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon. The only problem is that they are also bombing Beirut and other areas where there is a Hezbollah stronghold. Invariably, there will be civilian casualties. This could an increase in support for Hezbollah. They already have a foothold in Lebanon. To truly get rid of Hezbollah, Israel will have to actually invade Lebanon. This could be a problem because we just might find how far along Iran is in their nuclear weapons program.

    Whatever happens, we have found something to unites the people of Iraq.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraqleb24jul24,1,2987360.story?coll=la-headlines-world&ctrack=1&cset=true

  5. 5
    Drewsmom Said:
    5:14 pm 

    Its ok if the left bashes Isreal, cuz they are the left, they are Gods and they feel they have the right to say anything.
    Think I’ll cruise on over to Barbara Streisand’s site and see what kind of crap she is puttin out.

  6. 6
    GawainsGhost Said:
    5:40 pm 

    Mr. Moran.

    You are on the right track here, but miss the larger problem and true source of resurgent anti-Semitism. That is, the Left, and apparently the Democratic party as a whole, have completely bought into National Socialism and all the totalitarianism it entails. This is why their rhetoric has more in common with Goebel’s Big Lie and Orwell’s Newspeak than anything else. If they keep spouting multiculturalist dogma, they think it will come to be believed as truth. And they use political correctness to stifle any debate and suppress all opposition.

    Given the Nazi origins of National Socialism, it isn’t hard to understand why anti-Semitism has returned.

    In Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, he observes that the reason the Jews have been persecuted throughout history is because they alone retained the faith in the one true God and the idea of Man as in the image of God, while all around the rest of the world descended into animalism, paganism and idolatry. The Left embraces all of these and adheres to National Socialism because it is the most recent and most effective method of obliterating the true faith and the true idea of Man. Thus, the anti-Semitism and its corollary, anti-Christianism.

  7. 7
    Joel Said:
    3:16 pm 

    Svenghouli
    Nice moral equivalence argument but it does not wash. Israel is right and her enemies are evil. Comparing Israeli leaders with Arab leaders is as absurd as comparing George Bush to al-Qaeda.

    Thomas More was an arch reactionary who had no problems with the burning of “heretics” during Henry VIII’s days.

  8. 8
    Joel Said:
    3:19 pm 

    By the way - not every anti Zionist is an anti Semite but every anti Semite is an anti Zionist. Also spare us the baloney about Arabs being Semitic too, so therefore they cannot be anti Semitic.

  9. 9
    Bill Baar Said:
    8:03 am 

    Anti Semitism used to mean a world without Jews. Now it means a world without a Jewish State. The outcome is pretty much the same either way.

    Things said about Jews now on the left are startling. You see it with anonymous comments on the blogs. Kos very typical. Nick Cohen wrote an interesting column about his experience.

    On the Saturday of the great anti-war demonstration of 2003, I watched one million people march through London, then sat down to write for the Observer. I pointed out that the march organisers represented a merger of far left and far right: Islamic fundamentalists shoulder to shoulder with George Galloway, the Socialist Workers Party and every other creepy admirer of totalitarianism this side of North Korea. Be careful, I said. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq has spewed out predatory armies and corpses for decades. If you’re going to advocate a policy that would keep a fascist dictator in power, you should at least talk to his victims, whose number included socialists, communists and liberals - good people, rather like you.

    Next day I looked at my e-mails. There were rather a lot of them. The first was a fan letter from Ann Leslie, the Daily Mail’s chief foreign correspondent, who had seen the barbarism of Ba’athism close up. Her cheery note ended with a warning: “You’re not going to believe the anti-Semitism that is about to hit you.” “Don’t be silly, Ann,” I replied. “There’s no racism on the left.” I worked my way through the rest of the e-mails. I couldn’t believe the anti-Semitism that hit me.

  10. 10
    The Absurd Report Trackbacked With:
    8:29 am 

    ANTI-SEMITISM ON THE LEFT

    Probably the number one bastion of anti-Semitism is the United Nations as evident by Kofi Annan’s latest tirade.

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  14. 14
    Azzurra Said:
    3:30 pm 

    Buon luogo, congratulazioni, il mio amico!

  15. 15
    Anti Right Wing Said:
    11:30 am 

    What lies you all tell. Anti Semitism on the left does’t exist. We on the left are not out to say that Israel can’t exist. What we are saying is that we probably don’t need to support them and their actions. I’ve never heard anyone in the base saying that Israel should not exist.

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