HOWARD EPSTEIN: THE LEFT WILL BE LEFT RIGHT OUTSIDE
The year 2016 has seen the beginning of the end for the Anglo-Saxon nations’ once-great left-of‑center political parties (“the Left”): the Democrats of the USA and Labour in the UK. The latter was first off the blocks with blatant revelations of its apparently intrinsic Jew- and Israel-hatred. Jewish Labour MPs have attested to the former, and the anti-Israel part has been too well-reported to need any substantiation here, save to say that Labour commissioned an internal inquiry into its anti-Semitism by some-one whom they had (secretly) already tipped for a peerage. Even before we heard of the peerage, the report appeared as the biggest load of hog- eye- and white-wash that has surfaced in London for some time.
The seeds for these revelations were sown in 2015, when, following Labour’s loss of power that year, incoming leader, Jeremy Corbyn, appointed, as his executive director of strategy and communications, Seumas Milne. Here are some of Milne’s views, published a decade earlier:-
“For all its brutalities and failures, communism in the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialisation, mass education, job security and huge advances in social and gender equality. It encompassed genuine idealism and commitment.”
Such an apologia for the unlamented, deceased Evil Empire (as President Reagan had described Soviet Russia) did not bode well for Milne’s intellectual development, and, sure enough, today Milne, Corbyn and the British Left as a whole reject western liberalism and its foreign policy views.
Milne’s (and Corbyn’s) world view emanates from that of Malcolm X who, back in 1964, had embraced virulent anti-Zionism. He regarded Jews as exploitative of black people (despite Jewish sacrifices in the Desegregation era), and hatred of Israel was plainly an easy bolt-on for X, who spoke of “Zionist dollars bankrolling colonial oppression”. X’s successor, Black Power student leader Stokely Carmichael, declared: “The only good Zionist is a dead Zionist.”
The (then) far Left’s credo: civil rights dissent, opposition to the Vietnam War, black power, Pan-Africanism, neutralism and pacifism, anti-imperialism/colonialism and anti-Zionism, went on to dictate the direction of the Left down to the present day. Western liberalism, as we knew it, was thereby doomed. Anti-imperialism/colonialism regards America, American power and colonialism as evil and immoral. Zionism, in the form of Israel, is to them the last visible vestige of colonialism and, just to make that connection easier, Israel is a close ally of the USA, which is also Israel’s greatest benefactor. For what we may call the “New Left”, the circle is thereby closed.
What did the Labour party achieve in the past and where is it today? The 1945 Labour government introduced into British civil life a fresh concept of citizenship entailing the socialist policies of general care of the people: the National Insurance Act, the National Health service (free health care at the point of demand, and no questions asked), the Family Allowances Act (for child benefits) and implementation of the wartime coalition’s 1944 Education Act (and, for good measure, direct involvement in the creation of NATO, support for the USA in the Korean War and the development of the British H-bomb). All those social reforms continue today, almost unaltered (rather like the safety nets of LBJ’s Great Society, to which we shall return).
And Labour today? Just straight-forward ideological and electoral suicide, brought about by metropolitan liberalism, reflexive genuflection against all things American, a self-loathing of one’s own country and a distaste of parliamentary democracy. Do you see anything there that would interest the working man? No; which is why Labour is on course for annihilation in the next general election. And, by the way, they lost the unthinking, automatic support of the Anglo-Jewish community years ago.
All, this is an introduction for what is going on across the Pond.
American Jews are monolithic in their voting pattern: strictly Democrat. Historically there was good reason, for the Democrats are the party of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson (whose “War on Poverty” was waged through Head Start, Food Stamps, Medicare and Medicaid, all of which have survived) – a roll-call that includes some of the greatest of modern US presidents. How has the New Left mind-set infected the party? The clue is in my omission from the list of political giants of the names of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barak Hussein Obama.
Carter, whilst he must be given credit for the signature of the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt of September 1978, was an embarrassment as a president, not least because of the way he handled Iran and the Hostage Crisis. Fortified by his own incompetence, consistent with the New Left view of Israel, he has appointed himself US Protector-in-Chief of the Palestinians. Carter, seeing their predicament not in terms of their bankrupt leadership but as prisoners of Israeli colonialism, speaks of Israeli-imposed apartheid. He thereby demonstrates a profound ignorance of either the realities of South African Apartheid, or the actuality of life for Israeli Arabs, or both. Worse, even now, he urges the outgoing Obama to have America recognise “Palestine” at the UN in the coming weeks (and to hell with the idea of peace talks). Whether the departing Obama, who has little enough that is successful and positive to show for his eight years in power, will add to his abandonment of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states in preferring Iran and projecting Iranian hegemony in the Middle East (through the JCPOA), by doing Carter’s urging, remains to be seen.
So far as Obama’s mind-set is concerned, doing Israel, et al, down with the JCPOA, is merely the most recent manifestation of his New Left conviction. Others include his overwhelming predilection for political correctness in banning certain words and terms from official papers (such as “Islamic terrorism” when referring to that very act at Fort Hood) down to the Obama White House reaction to the Ohio State University car-ramming and stabbing incident last week. This atrocity, redolent of the recent mini-Intifada (mainly in Jerusalem), by a Somali whose Facebook page suggested his crime was inspired by Islamic-radicalizing memes earned following toadying Obaman response:-
“If we respond to this situation by casting aspersions on millions of people that adhere to a particular religion or if we increase our suspicion of people who practice a particular religion, we are more likely going to contribute to acts of violence than we are to prevent them”
thereby manifesting the administration’s desire not to confront the truth if it means departing from the New Left mind-set – thus: It is important to understand why a Somali might commit a terrorist act. It could be all that colonialism, to which Somalis have been subjected, that is to blame.
Then we come, in vicarious embarrassment for the Obama White House, to the “omigod!” after-thought deletion of “, Israel” from an already-published White House press release about Obama’s attendance in Jerusalem, Israel, at the funeral of Shimon Peres – perhaps the most puerile example of the grip that political correctness has had on Washington these past eight years.
It is indeed important for Somalis and Palestinians to be understood and empathised with. It is no less important that they indulge in similar exercises. Where is the Palestinian equivalent of B’Tselem or Breaking the Silence, documenting Palestinian abuse of Israelis/Jews? For that matter, when are the Palestinians going to bring themselves into the 21st century and drop their nihilism, misogyny, homophobia, terrorism and anti-Semitism? And why is none of this a problem for the New Left, Labour and the Democrats?
It seems that you may be all of those nasty things: misogynistic, homophobic, a supporter of or actor in terrorism and anti-Semitic – and (if Iranian) indulge in the weekly execution of citizens (such that their methods and kill-rate make even Amnesty International flinch) – provided that you are anti-American. The liberals are apparently unmoved by medieval mind sets or by atrocities committed by those who are anti-Western. We may recall that 1,500 deaths in Gaza (in a war which Israel fought to stop a daily barrage of rockets on its towns) produced (according to the Stop the War Coalition, one of whose key people is/was Jeremy Corbyn), a claimed 150,000 demonstrators on British streets. Do the math. One hundred demonstrators for each Palestinian killed. Logically, we should have seen 50 million Brits demonstrating about the half a million – yes, that’s 500,000 – Syrian civilians killed in its civil war. Yet protests came there none (doubtless because of the absence of the IDF). That is the UK.
In the USA, judging by the noise generated, the Democrat mind-set apparently sees less danger in all the Syrian, Iraqi and Yemeni mayhem than in the building of homes, and even extensions to homes, in parts of Israel and the Occupied Territories that may (or admittedly may not) be surrendered for peace but would be the stuff of negotiations if only Israel had a “Partner for Peace”.
That the liberal/New Left Democrats are ill-disposed towards Israel was highlighted last week in a Brookings Institution survey. It found that, whilst 76% of Americans said Israel was “a strategic asset” to the US, 55% of Democrats say Israel is a burden (the same view being held by only 24% of Republicans), reflecting their party’s stance. Republican voters, who are overwhelmingly not Jewish, favor Israel, but the Jewish voter votes Democrat.
There is of course a disconnect here. Many American Jews do not necessarily identify with Israel. They take comfort from the clear blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea separating US Jews from the Jewish State. That approach is sadly and dangerously delusional, for anti-Semites do not care to see the sea: they just lump Jews and Israel together.
Scott Adams (the creator of the Dilbert comic strip and the author of several non-fiction works of satire, commentary and business), who was one of the few public figures correctly predicting a Trump victory from the outset, wrote of:-
“The social bullying coming from Clinton’s supporters guaranteed that lots of Trump supporters were in hiding. That created the potential for a surprise result, so long as the race was close.”
That arrogance (quite apart from the doubt over Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness and reliability), the claim to exclusive possession of the moral high-ground, denigrating the morality, the discretion and the bona fides of those who would spurn her – the deplorables – were what cost Clinton the election. (Had she been a half-decent candidate, the FBI’s late intrusion, which she blames for her failure, should have whittled a firm 20% advantage down to 18%. She was never even close.)
There is a lesson here for those Jews who have been supporting the New Left Democratic Party: stop the social bullying, stop arrogating all the good stuff to yourselves and regard carefully who is more likely to protect Jewish interests, for having a strong Israel is a Jewish interest, in the USA no less than anywhere else on the planet.
Whether the Trump administration can improve the lives of ordinary people is going to be no more interesting than whether the Democrats will now get the message – perpetuating New Left policies (as does Corbyn’s Labour Party) leads to the wilderness. If that lesson is not internalised and acted upon, the Left will find itself left right outside the corridors of power, on both sides of the Atlantic.
© Howard Epstein, December 2016
Howard Epstein is a political commentator and the author of Guns, Traumas and Exceptionalism: America in the Twenty-First Century, recently published by Amazon and on Kindle, which covers much of the historical ground in the above article. He writes:-
There is no need for me to tell you that the scourge of gun crime is perhaps the most pressing issue in the USA. My book takes a new approach – support failing gun control by viewing gun crime through the prism of gun culture and societal trauma.
Paperback – Amazon USA
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Paperback – Amazon UK