Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Israel as a scapegoat: Another target for Leftist hatreds
Brendan O'Neill is pretty right in the excerpt below but he misses the larger context: The Left have always hated Jews. It goes at least as far back as Karl Marx, who hated Jews even though he was himself one! Leftist Jews who hate Jewry are still with us, of course. Hate swamps reason. Marx in fact hated just about everyone and so do Leftists today. O'Neill writes from Britain and antisemitism is particularly virulent among the British intelligentsia. See the links in the sidebar at EYE ON BRITAIN
Among people who consider themselves liberal and progressive, who cleave to fashionable ideas about fairness, social justice and having an ‘international community’ to oversee global problems, who might be described as the cultural elite, hostility towards Israel is intense, bordering on hysterical. Israeli military action riles this political set far more than the military action of any other nation on Earth, including America and Britain. Where America and Britain’s numerous military excursions, particularly in Iraq, are described by this political set as ‘mistakes’ or as ‘counterproductive’, in that they apparently generate more terrorism than they defeat, Israel’s militarism is described in the most heated language imaginable: as ‘murderous’, a kind of ‘bloodletting’, even Nazi-like. Israel’s militarism never fails to generate large protests in European capitals, from Rome to Berlin to London, at which gatherings of Islamists, leftists and respectable academics wave placards denouncing Israeli apartheid, murder, barbarism, and so on.
The double standard inherent in this shrill, ahistorical response to Israeli militarism is clear if one contrasts it with the response to something like the Obama administration’s bombings in Pakistan. In many ways, Obama has already done to rural parts of Pakistan what Israel is currently doing to Gaza – that is, he has launched bombing raids against militants which have inevitably killed or injured large numbers of innocents, too. Where Israel has said to have killed 130 in Gaza over the past week – some of them Hamas militants but many of them not – Obama’s drone attacks in Pakistan in recent years have killed many more: an estimated 2,600, in fact, only around 13 per cent of whom were militants. This means that around 2,200 ordinary Pakistanis have been killed in bomb attacks okayed by Obama. Yet far from Obama’s drone attacks generating public protests, or being described as ‘murderous’ and ‘Nazi-esque’ by respectable, caring newspapers, Obama remains a hero of the very same set that sees red whenever Israel fires a missile or a gun.
The best way to understand this extraordinary and shameless double standard that Europe’s cultural elite in particular applies to Israel is as a consequence of how these people view Israel: not simply as another country that does questionable military things, like America or Britain or France, but rather as a remnant, or a reminder, of an era that every right-minded, progressive person defines him or herself against – the era of colonialism and of nationalism. Israel has effectively been turned into a conduit for Western colonial guilt, for Western self-disgust with the crimes committed by our nations in history. Israel, through its use of rather old-fashioned, sometimes belligerent language about pacifying those people who allegedly threaten its values or existence, has come to be treated as the embodiment of those colonial values that every decent Western politician now explicitly eschews and every serious academic writes scabrous revisionist histories about. Uniquely among nations that pursue military objectives, Israel is frequently said to be driven by ‘an expansionist, lawless and racist ideology’ and is said to be led by ‘colonialists’, ‘racists’ and even ‘fascists’.
It is important to note how much this transformation of Israel into a whipping boy for the sins of colonialism is a project initiated by the elites rather than by radicals. Anti-Israel posturing and protesting dresses itself up in radical garb, with Israel-hating street protesters frequently claiming a lineage with anti-imperialist movements of the past. But in truth, the demonisation of Israel as the embodiment of ideologies from the past – particularly colonialism and racism – is led by elite elements. The United Nations in particular has played a key role in projecting on to Israel the sins of colonialism. The UN’s jumped-up Human Rights Council has passed more resolutions condemning Israel than it has against all other states combined. In 1975, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 3379, which explicitly ‘determined that Zionism is a form of racism’ and condemned Israel for its adherence to doctrines of ‘racial differentiation or superiority’ and for its ‘colonialism’ (2). It is this frequent intergovernmental denouncement of Israeli behaviour and colonialism which informs radical protesting against Israel. Indeed, today’s shrill agitators against Israel, those left-wingers and liberals who make up today’s Israel-hating respectable classes, will often cite UN resolutions as a justification for their disproportionate fury with Israeli militarism. Such protesters are better understood, not as a genuinely independent or radical movement against militarism, but rather as a spin-off from international elites’ cynical, self-serving transformation of Israel into the embodiment of ugly outdated colonial values.
This means there is a great irony to anti-Israel sentiment in the West today: it depicts itself as anti-colonialist, sometimes even as anti-imperialist, but it actually helps to rehabilitate Western and particularly UN authority in global affairs in a new way. The transformation of Israel into a kind of scapegoat for the crimes of colonialism is itself a neo-colonial act, driven as it is by the needs of Western and other powers to assert their post-colonial diplomatic and military authority over so-called deviant states, like those that exist in the Middle East. Indeed, radical protesters’ description of Israel as a ‘rogue state’, as ‘the real rogue state in the Middle East’, as a ‘state of insanity’, speaks to their instinct to fashion a foreign territory that both they and their leaders might reprimand and punish. Anti-Israel activists and thinkers frequently call on ‘Our Leaders’ to enforce sanctions against Israel or to criminalise it with the tag ‘rogue state’ or even to intervene in it, militarily if necessary, to put a stop to its ‘barbarism’ and ‘bloodletting’. This reveals that modern, fashionable anti-colonialism, the reckoning with past colonial crimes, is underpinned by its own brand of colonial-style moral superiority and disgust with disobedient foreigners, in this case Israelis.
A key trend in Western public life today, particularly among those who define themselves as progressive, is to feel and proclaim alienation from the past, to express a profound discomfort with the things and events that brought about the modern, industrial world. From re-appraising the Enlightenment to handwringing over the Industrial Revolution to churning out texts on how horrendous exploration and colonialism proved to be, it is now de rigueur for Western intellectuals and activists to be consumed by a kind of self-disgust that dresses itself up as a radical stance. It is in this context that intense anti-Israel sentiment emerges, where, in George Gilder’s words, Israel comes to be hated for its ‘virtues’, primarily for the perception that it is a stubbornly old-fashioned outpost of ‘freedom and capitalism’.
Demonizing others is essential to the Left
Listening to Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, and reading the latest headlines that say that the president’s new constituency form does not have a place for whites or for men, I have to ask myself, what does the Democratic Party have against old, white men? Joe Biden is an old white man. Harry Reid is an old white man; Barney Frank is an old white man. Michael Moore is a white man and a darn rich one, at that.
In fact as a young liberal, nearly all of many the liberals I knew growing up were white. I have to confess I am a middle-aged white man, who still has trouble thinking of myself as middle aged. I don’t burn crosses, or abuse women. I don’t hate Hispanics or blacks or Arabs. But somehow, people like Debbie Wasserman-Shultz seem keen to paint people like me as misogynistic racists. And all of the protesting I might do to the contrary would not change that. I could talk myself hoarse about how non-racist I am, but my cries would fall upon deaf ears.
I’m not going to fall back on the old saw “Some of my best friends are black (or Hispanic). Some of my friends over the years have been black, and my best friend in high school was in fact, a native of Mexico.
I have done charity work for my community, served a mission to stop human trafficking, and yes I am a conservative, but have always been kind to every liberal I have ever interviewed, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios. I’ll admit that when I started out, I was just as angry as any guy on the AM dial, but I learned listening can be more important than speaking, and a loud voice does not always make one’s case. Maybe it’s because I’ve mellowed with age, maybe it was getting re-baptized and accepting Christ that made me view things in a different light. But I evolved. The political party of my birth has seemed to move in the opposite direction.
As a conservative, my issue has never been with race, but with policy. My desire for America has not been to see the poor stay poor while I get rich. I work in radio for crying out loud, I’ll never be rich. Rather, it is the idea that if people earn their own money and are responsible for their own homes and build their own lives and they have the pride of having ownership and stewardship of those things.
I’ve read the Koran. In fact, I own a copy.
I don’t care who or what one worships, or even if one does worship, but I believe that those who chose to do so should be left in peace.
I didn’t agree with Occupy Wall Street, but I would go to the mat to allow them to protest. Because I believe that the First Amendment is first for a reason. People have the right to assemble and speak out, even those who don’t agree with me.
Yes, I think if you own a business, you are entitled to make a profit. In my direct experience, the “rich” people I have met, and for that matter the people who aren’t rich are extremely generous with their money and their time. I see it every day on the streets of the little town in which I live.
Sadly, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, Marsha Fudge, or any Democrat around would not take sixty seconds to look at who I am or where I came from, what I actually think, and for that matter, they would not do the same for you, either. You are either one of them and hence a friend, or not one of them and hence an enemy.
It is a different scenario, but it is the same story and it has been going on for years. It has been reflected in every power-oriented regime in history and in fiction. To consolidate power, and rally people to your cause, you must create someone to hate. There must be “The Other”. The Other that wants to kill you, The Other that wants to enslave you, The Other that must be isolated and ultimately dealt with in some definitive manner if society is to move forward. To isolate and defeat The Other, his character flaws must be exaggerated, and if necessary manufactured. The Other must be vilified, caricatured, lampooned and turned into a monster. Unfortunately one of the most effective ways to unify a nation is to create a common enemy, and strip then him of any vestige of humanity.
Are we seeing such a thing now? History will tell, but history seems to move pretty fast these days. And if we are dividing up the nation, those who are siding with the majority should take note: when you side with people who only crave power that becomes your lot in life. You must side with them forever, even if they day comes that you do not agree with them.
I’ve told this story before but it bears re-telling. When the Khmer Rouge seized control of Cambodia, they eventually ran out of enemies to lock up, and began arresting seemingly loyal party members out of paranoia and a need to maintain a grip on the country. People with power will do many things to hold on to that power, and if you step out of line, then suddenly, you may become The Other.
Take care that in your zeal you do not become the thing you claim to despise. You may be one complaint away from becoming one of us.
Lincoln Brown (above) might also have mentioned that after the Russian revolution Lenin executed most of the old Bolsheviks. Hate can turn on the haters
Not Enough Dead Jews
In the aftermath of Israel’s latest conflict with Hamas terrorists, it seems that the Jewish state’s greatest failing was that it did not suffer enough casualties to satisfy its critics. And so, once again, the world is railing against “Israeli aggression” and casting its sympathies with those who seek to slaughter its civilians, and this despite the outrageous statements of the Islamic radicals hell-bent on destroying Israel.
On Thursday, November 23rd, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said, “Israel screamed with pain from what the resistance did to it. I thank everyone who provided us with arms and money, especially Iran.” Yes, to make Israel scream with pain is something virtuous.
Shortly after the bomb blast in Tel Aviv that wounded 22 Israelis, Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV aired a report showing footage of the bloody scene and commenting: “These are scenes of the casualties. God willing, we will soon see black body bags. I pray to God the exalted we will see body bags in a short while. . . . Right now in these moments, the mosques in the Gaza Strip, their minarets are loudly sounding cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’ and cries of joy, and the residents of the Gaza Strip are bowing down to Allah for this offering [or, gift]. The morale of the Gaza residents is in the sky right now, and is rising just as the rockets of the resistance.”
This is in keeping with Articles 6 and 8 of the Hamas charter which read (in part): “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it … The Islamic Resistance Movement…strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine … Allah is our goal, the Prophet our model, the Qur’an our Constitution, Jihad our path and death for the cause of Allah our most sublime belief.” (The last sentence is the motto of Hamas.)
Danny Ayalon, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, noted “that Hamas's charter includes the aspiration that ‘The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews)’.” In contrast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pointed out that, “For us, every time there are civilian casualties, that’s an operational failure. For them, every time there are civilian casualties, that’s an operational success.”
In fact, an Israeli soldier cannot leave base without having in his or her possession the Israel Defense Forces Code of Ethics, including values like these: “The IDF serviceman will, above all, preserve human life, in the recognition of its supreme value and will place himself or others at risk solely to the extent required to carry out his mission.
“The sanctity of life in the eyes of the IDF servicemen will find expression in all of their actions, in deliberate and meticulous planning, in safe and intelligent training and in proper execution of their mission. In evaluating the risk to self and others, they will use the appropriate standards and will exercise constant care to limit injury to life to the extent required to accomplish the mission.”
Yet so much of the world still sees Israel as the evil aggressor, and when a caller to Geraldo Rivera’s KABC radio show observed that, “there's absolutely no moral equivalency between a free democratic nation trying to protect its citizens and a terrorist organization that's trying to sow conflict by firing rockets at innocent civilians from amongst highly populated residential, civilian areas,” Rivera replied, “No moral equivalency? Yeah, yeah, I get that too, I get that too, except that's not the way the world sees it. You know, that's just not the way the world sees it. And there is, you got 116 dead Palestinians and three dead Israelis. I mean, that’s a, where's the equivalence there either?”
If only there were more dead Jews!
In keeping with this perverse mentality, on November 20th, in an interview with Gil Hoffman of the Jerusalem Post, BBC World News presenter Mishal Hussein asked, “OK, you say that Israelis have been running for their lives ..erm…from rockets from Gaza, so tell me then; until this current confrontation, how many Israelis have been killed by these rockets from Gaza this year?”
Similarly, BBC correspondent Kevin Connolly claimed that on the Israeli side, “there is anxiety . . . there is fear,” whereas he claimed that the people of Gaza (in the words of one woman) are “surrounded by death.” Connolly also noted that, “I think we have to be clear about this, that there is an asymmetry in the casualty figures . . . and there is a colossal asymmetry in military hardware deployed here as well.”
How dare Israel defend itself so forcefully. And how dare its new Iron Dome defense system work so well in intercepting more than 400 Hamas rockets, including new long range missiles supplied by Iran. If only more Jews had been killed!
Even before Israel began its attack on Hamas last week, the student senate at the University of California Irvine (UCI) passed a resolution by a vote of 16-0, accusing Israel of “human rights abuse and institutionalized structural violence against the Palestinian people.” But terrorist groups like Hamas are apparently guilty of no such thing.
If only their rockets and missiles were more accurate. If only more Israelis died. Then Israel wouldn’t be quite so evil in the eyes of the world.
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . GUN WATCH is now put together by Dean Weingarten.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 1:33 AM