Barry Werner – Part 3 – The Far Left’s Obsession with Israel Is Harmful to the Middle East
Part 3 – The Left’s ideological agenda
The European Left is consciously haunted by Europe’s long history of continental warfare caused by religious zealotry, nationalism, pride and mendacity, and by Europe’s colonial past, much of which was immoral by today’s standards, and which ended only recently in historical terms. They consider that history the source of their political values; their agenda is to not be like the Europeans of the past.
Because Zionism is a product of 19’th Century Europe, the European Left accuses Israel of being a continuation of the Europe they despise: they accuse Israel of being a belligerent aggressor, religiously fanatic, nationalistic, and colonialist. The European Left’s need to purge themselves of guilt regarding Europe’s past drives them to purge Israel of the guilt they project onto it. But they excuse the belligerent aggression, Arab nationalism, and Islamist religious fanaticism of the Arab world. It is racist to believe that what Arabs do doesn’t really matter. It is anti-White racism to project the sins of Europe on Israel because the founders of Israel were European.
Europeans are unconsciously haunted, verging on denial, by Europe’s thousand-year history of antisemitism and especially the Holocaust, even more especially the willing and eager participation of Nazi sympathizers and collaborators all over Europe. They avoid this history as a source of political values and downplay or even negate its significance. Except for the Germans, Europeans haven’t come to terms with the phenomenon of Nazi collaboration because it interferes with the development of national pride (as in the case of France), or because many of the WWII antisemites were national heroes who fought against the Soviet Union (as in the case of the countries that broke away from the former Soviet Union), or perhaps because their fathers, uncles, or other relatives were known antisemites. But that history is painfully available, especially from well-meaning Jewish sources, hence unconsciously haunting. The pain is eased if they can believe the Jews in some way deserved the treatment they got not just from the Nazis, but also from the Nazi collaborators, so European Leftists are attracted to the idea of equating Zionism with Nazism.
The American Left is haunted by America’s history of slavery and long lingering racism, which was supposed to have ended, but didn’t end with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, and it is also haunted by America’s wars in Viet Nam and Iraq. American Leftists reflexively support communities they believe to have been oppressed, especially communities that accuse their oppressors of racism, such as the Palestinian Arabs. The Palestinian Arabs have become paired with Black Americans. And American Leftists don’t want America involved in any more wars in the Middle East regardless of the consequences of non-involvement.
Arabs and terrorism
The radical far Left accepts the idea which originated with anti-colonial theorists from former European colonies (Frantz Fanon, etc) that people who are colonized by Europeans may resort to any kind of resistance because the use of primitive weapons and tactics by freedom fighters is no more immoral than the use of modern weapons and tactics by colonialists. They believe formerly colonized people are eternally innocent victims regardless of what they do, including terrorism. So, the Left gets angry when Jews kill Arabs in self-defense, but not when Arab terrorists kill Jews.
It would seem for lack of protestations to the contrary, that Left-wing Westerners accept the idea that the Arab “struggle for freedom” may include not only terrorism but also the promotion of antisemitism. Accordingly, the radical Arab enemies of Israel transferred their allegiance from the Nazis, who lost WWII anyhow, to the Left who, without complaint, tolerate their antisemitism, their use of Nazi symbolism and their use of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
The PA forms its narrative to fit the Leftist agenda. Instead of telling the West they oppose the existence of a Jewish state because their religion says that only Muslims and Arabs have the right to sovereignty in the Middle East, Western Leftists are allowed to believe that the Jews are warmongers practicing neo-colonialism, dispossessing the natives, and racists. In response to the Jews’ real historical roots in the land, the radical Arabs invented a history specifically designed to contradict Jewish history. Western Leftists want to believe these cynical lies, so they give these lies the same weight as the truth. The Left wants to believe that the Arabs are entitled to their narrative no matter how untruthful or aggressive it is.
Strangely, the far Left doesn’t extend its tolerance for formerly oppressed people to the Jews even though the Jews experienced a thousand years of persecution in Europe far worse than European Colonialism or the plantation enslavement of Blacks in America, and six million Jews were cruelly violated, tortured and murdered in the Holocaust. Leftists don’t feel the need to atone for antisemitism the same way they feel the need to atone for Colonialism and anti-Black racism. For the political Left, racism has become an abstract concept by which they understand world events, but the specifically anti-Semitic history of racism is mostly forgotten.
Instead of granting Jews the protected status granted to previously oppressed people, the radical far Left makes the false and disgusting accusation that the Jews of Israel are themselves perpetrating a Holocaust, this time against the Arabs. They try to diminish the enormity of the Holocaust and their feelings of guilt-by-association by suggesting that the Nazis and Nazi collaborators throughout Europe were no worse than the Jews of Israel today, therefore the Holocaust wasn’t so bad after all because the Jews got what they deserved. In 1975, two years after the Yom Kippur War and a year after the UN General Assembly (UNGA) granted the PLO observer status, the UNGA passed a resolution “determin[ing] that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination”. The UNGA revoked that determination in 1991 but the Left didn’t protest it at first and still claims it to be true. The Left does not think that unabated attacks on Israel in the UN by Arab countries aided by Western antisemites, in the form of continuous and inflated accusations of human rights abuses by the UNHCR, and the reclassification of Jewish heritage sites as Muslim heritage sites by UNESCO, are worthy of its disapproval.
Middle Eastern events
The Left stubbornly tries to force all Middle Eastern events into the simple categories of aggressive warfare, oppression, Colonialism, racism, and Islamophobia even though those categories are not relevant to understanding what is happening there today.
For the most part, the violence in the Middle East is not about states going to war with each other, but about non-state actors trying to gain dominance, and about Iran trying to gain regional hegemony. The Middle East is not struggling to replace Western Colonialism with freedom, the Western colonialists are long gone. The racism that occurs is racism against non-Arabs and non-Muslims, like Kurds, Druze, Yazidis, Christians, Jews, etc.
The Middle East is struggling to replace traditional Arab tyranny with a form of modernity that is culturally Arab. If that effort fails, the norm in the Middle East will be Islamist tyranny. Yet, the Left believes that the most important issues in the Middle East are: that Israel is not fighting wars in self defense but rather starting unnecessary wars of aggression; that Israel is not defending itself against terrorism but rather engaging in racially motivated violence; that Israel is not striving to live as a normal country in the Middle East at peace and in cooperation with its neighbors but rather is expansionist and trying to disposes its neighbors; and that Israel is not a liberal democracy because it is run either by secular fascists, or religious fascists or by religious fanatics (it doesn’t matter which you choose). And, this view is supported by a small number of nominally Jewish far-Left anti-Zionist intellectuals who disseminate a form of antisemitism cloaked as anti-Zionism.
The next part of this 5-part essay will discuss the consequences of the Left’s influence in the Middle East.