Written by Daniel Greenfield
Over the last two weeks, a liberal scholar and pundit named Peter Beinart got a lot of attention by arguing that liberals could no longer be pro-Israel because the country and its people had moved too far to the right. The reality however is just the opposite. In every way, from national defense to the role of religion in public life, Israel has actually watered down its principles and liberalized. But it could not and cannot keep up with the pace at which liberals have slid far to the left.
The key factor in falling liberal support for Israel is not inside the country, but outside it. As liberals have become more radicalized, what used to be the left is now simply liberal. And the delegitimization of Israel is part of a larger package of radical beliefs which extends across the spectrum into every area of domestic and foreign policy. For example the anti-Communist liberal who was not at all hard to find in 1967 when Israel fought the Six Day War, is nearly extinct today.
And liberals who support the War on Terror are an endangered species. And if they can't even support America's national defense, it's not surprising that they don't support Israel's own national defense.
Beinart like other left-wing Jewish critics insist that Israel needs to go further to accommodate their support. But how much further is there to go? Israel has worked for 17 years to cut a deal with the Muslim terrorist gangs who employ a constructed identity as Palestinians to leverage international support for their killing sprees. It has withdrawn from large amounts of territory, provided weapons to their militias and even lobbied on their behalf. Will the left suddenly begin supporting Israel, if after offering East Jerusalem to them, Fatah and Hamas still refuse to make peace? We know better than that. No offer Israel could make would suffice to demonstrate its goodwill and the intransigence of the terrorist gangs.
Beinart himself suggests that only when the Palestinian terrorists are happy, and Israel is transformed into an oasis of social justice, (and presumably all conservative parties are banned and the Russian immigrants who voted in Lieberman are deported back to Russia) will his compatriots possibly get on board with supporting Israel again. Which really means that their support for Israel is conditional on the Palestinian terrorists accepting Israel. That is not the way that people who actually ever have any intention of supporting Israel talk or think. It is the way that people who trying to strengthen the terrorists' hand argue. And of course that is the real aim of the left.
The radicalization of liberalism also meant the growing legitimation of terrorism (particularly of those groups backed by the USSR and its left allies) and the delegitimization of those governments resisting them. The left routinely couches its political attacks on those governments in the language of human rights-- but human rights has nothing to do with it. The left hypocritically assails Columbia's Uribe on human rights, while giving Castro, Chavez and the rest of the Marxist gang a pass. Just as it assailed the condition of workers in the US, while giving Lenin and Stalin a pass on an agricultural and industrial system built on the murder of millions. Similarly the left jumps on every Israeli soldier who stops a suspicious Muslim at a checkpoint, while ignoring not only Fatah and Hamas' murder of Israeli civilians, but even their murders of their own citizens.
None of this matters because the left doesn't believe in human rights. It doesn't care about human rights. It never has. Not when Stalin was paving roads with slave labor, nor when Saddam's minions were entertaining themselves in rape rooms. Anyone who seriously thinks that the left is actually outraged about Abu Ghraib because they care about the dignity of man, rather than because they are congenital liars and hypocrites who exploit any misstep by their enemies for propaganda purposes, has not been paying attention. The majority of regimes that the left wing has supported were non-democratic and routinely violate basic human rights. The left not only doesn't give a damn, it defends every one of their crimes.
So let's put to rest the farce that there is anything Israel could do that would win over its left wing critics. The same people who control the dialogue in the press and the melding of minds at universities. To them it is not about justice or doing the right thing or human rights. Those are just words that they use as weapons. Paying attention to those words and trying to demonstrate your innocence only makes you weak and vulnerable. And then they redouble their efforts to cut you to pieces with them. That is what happened to America. It is what is happening to Israel. It is what happens to anyone who stands in the way of their red handed allies.
Of course the left does have a special animus for Israel. And that animus came to the surface when liberalism gave way to the radical left. Because while liberals have been Zionist, the left has been notoriously anti-Zionist. The split goes back to 19th/20th century Europe, where left wing organizations competed with Zionist groups for Jewish support. Both had very different visions of the future. The left wanted to see Jews join in working to create Communism and Socialism in their home countries, before assimilating into them. The Zionists wanted a separate Jewish state. When the left won in Russia, they made Zionism into a crime and the entire Hebrew language was banned as "counterrevolutionary". Possession of a Hebrew dictionary could mean being sent to the Gulags.
The USSR organized and armed entire Arab armies to attack and destroy Israel. And like Nazi Germany had done before it, the Commissars fed Anti-semitic propaganda to their allies in Europe. To their credit, some resisted. Even many French Communists who had seen what the Nazis did to the Jews were disgusted at being given cartoons and messages strongly suggestive of Nazi Germany with orders to incorporate them into their own newspapers. But that resistance is mostly history now. Left wing politicians in Europe think nothing of claiming that Jewish cabals control the government, refusing to publish the papers of Jewish Israeli colleagues and supporting genocidal Islamic groups and countries that vow to wipe out the Jews. That their behavior is an ominous echo of the Hitler era means less than nothing to them. Just as it meant less than nothing to the Nazis.
The left's opposition to Israel has nothing to do with human rights, but with its insistent belief that Jewish separatism is illegitimate and diverts recruits from their effort to build modern socialist states. Beinart indirectly makes the same case, insisting that support for Israel's survival must be subsidiary to the country's compliance with the left's political values. Because of course the same people who agitated against any overthrow of Saddam, when it comes to Israel make their support conditional on passing an impossible test, in which Israel either commits suicide to win their support, or survives and loses their support. I will only love you if you kill yourself .
The left is determined not to allow any redefinition of Israel as legitimate. Its hijacking of liberalism means that once again it feels driven to win Jewish recruits by destroying any independent national and religious identity that they may have. By forcing liberal Jews to choose between their political allegiances and Israel, they are setting up a difficult choice for them. Having the Obama Administration attack Israel was only one of the many forms of strain introduced to create that breaking point. Even while pundits like Joe Klein and Andrew Sullivan relapse into rants against Israel that the editors of Der Sturmer would have run on the front page.
This was what the left wanted all along. Consider the following "forecast" of a perfect socialist future from H.G. Wells
And yet between 1940 and 2059, in little more than a century, this antiquated obdurate culture disappeared. It and its Zionist state, its kosher food, the Law and all the rest of its paraphernalia, were completely merged in the human community. The Jews were not suppressed; there was no extermination... but under the Tyranny there was never any specific persecution at all; yet they were educated out of their oddity and racial egotism in little more than three generations. Their attention was distracted from Moses and the Promise to Abraham and the delusion that God made his creation for them alone, and they were taught the truth about their race. The world is as full as ever it was of men and women of Semitic origin, but they belong no more to "Israel".
To understand Beinart and why the left really hates Israel, read that paragraph very carefully. This is why left wing anti-zionism is anti-semitism. It isn't that they want to wipe out six million people of semitic ancestry. They just want Israel and Jews gone. They would rather do it bloodlessly, with no "extermination" or "specific persecution", but if the Jews don't cooperate, they still intend to fulfill their goals.
People who think this way are not going to be reassured that Israel is a good little country. To them Israel is unacceptable. It is unacceptable because they reject the idea of a separate Jewish national identity. And that robs them of manpower and ties in with all sorts of religious ideas they would like to get rid of, among both Jews and Christians.
And so they delegitimize Israel as a country that has no right to exist. That has no right to defend itself. That has no right to survive. That always does everything wrong. That is an oppressor, that steals organs and is the neighborhood bully. An unjustifiable monster disrupting the entire world. If it sounds familiar, it should. The Nazis used those same arguments to justify a progression of persecution that eventually culminated in genocide. The left is using them today. And it may lie to itself about what its ends and means are, it may even believe in its claptrap about human rights, but blood always tells the truth in the end.
George Bernard Shaw, that corrupt old socialist scribbler, said it simply enough: "Those Jews who still want to be the chosen race... can go to Palestine and stew in their own juice. The rest had better stop being Jews and start being human beings." The Beinarts still unconsciously echo Shaw like a dog howling for its deceased master. And the message remains the same, that a real world Jewish state is incompatible with being a liberal Jew. Liberal Jews can support the rights of any and every people to a state (assuming that the left approves of them) including that of the entirely mythical Palestinian people-- just not the Jews.
Liberals betrayed Israel by allowing themselves to be taken over by the left. Not against their will, but all too often they allowed their own political radicalization to occur without considering the long term implications. The further they went to the left, the more they turned on their own country, and other countries the left considered its enemy, such as Israel. And the left is busy indoctrinating their children against the homelands.
The left does not hate Israel because of Ariel Sharon, but because of Moses and Abraham and King David. It wants Jews to forget that they are not merely cogs in a socialist state-- to forget that are the descendants of kings and warriors. The sons and daughters of the people who faced down Assyrian chariots and Roman legions, the children of a great civilization in a sea of barbarism that changed the world.
They want us to forget, because a people that does not know its own power is already enslaved. In the last century, we remembered that we were the descendants of kings and warriors. Of queens and prophetesses. Sailors and scholars. That we had a better destiny than to escape prejudice by subsuming ourselves into the left's great dream of a universal socialist state. We remembered and we started to become those things again. The left fears this exodus from their power, as that ancient Pharaoh feared the loss of his Hebrew slaves. They want us to forget. To sink down again. To accept their brand of liberalism that denies our rights in the name of their ideology. Their lies are chains around our feet. Those who choose to be slaves will wear them proudly as iron badges of honor. Those who choose to break them will be forever free.
From NY to Jerusalem, Daniel Greenfield Covers the Stories Behind the News