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Why the Left gave up on Israel For activists, the conflict is a proxy for something closer to home

A Palestinian protester in the West Bank (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

A Palestinian protester in the West Bank (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)


May 19, 2021   6 mins

The good news from Israel is that there were just 40 new cases of Covid on Monday. The bad news is that, well… barely has one horseman of the apocalypse disappeared when a new one turns up, with The World’s Most Endless Conflict back in the news.

People might not understand why Israelis and Palestinians are firing rockets at each other, but that doesn’t stop them choosing a team. “Mark likes Israel, I’m Palestine” — as Jeremy in Peep Show pointed out, it’s much more interesting if you pick sides, and the western world is not short of People With Opinions About The Middle East.

The modern stereotype of western partisanship is, on the one hand, someone with a US flag and/or a crucifix in their Twitter avatar protesting that Israel is the only Middle Eastern country where gay pride is allowed. And on the other, you’d have someone like gender studies professor Judith Butler, who once described Hamas and Hezbollah as being “social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left”.

Yet it wasn’t always like this. As Jeet Heer wrote a while back, American conservatives were once sympathetic to the Palestinians. Right-wing publisher Regnery, for instance, “published a steady stream of books championing Arab culture and sympathetically describing the plight of the Palestinians”. In 1956 the National Review called Israel “the first racist state in modern history” while “James Burnham, the most important and influential foreign policy analyst at National Review, was very critical of Israel, constantly berating the state for inflaming Arab passions by mistreating Palestinian refugees and its internal Arab population.” The conservative science fiction writer Poul Anderson mocked the Left for ignoring the Palestinians — something you couldn’t accuse them of now.

Among certain English conservatives was a strong affinity and natural sympathy with the aristocratic Arab world, while most of the Zionists were radicals, socialists and feminists of various kinds.

So why did Left and Right swap places? After 1967, the two sides did become more aligned along Cold War lines and so to be pro-Israeli was to be pro-American, and vice versa. But Heer argued that conservatives like power, and that their perception of a weak Jewish state changed following their heroic, spectacular victory in 1967: “After that, conservatives, like nerds attracted to a strongman, decided to sidle up to Israel.” That generalisation of conservatives is not entirely untrue, of course; Right-wing views in men tend to correlate with higher upper-body-mass and after the Six Day War Israel became a gym-bro’s dreams. Its military victories, as well as its famous special forces and intelligence agencies, are genuinely impressive in a Boy’s Own sort of way. That Israel operates as a sort of modern-day Sparta while also being ultra-libertarian does push all the right buttons for conservatives.

Then there is religion. In the Seventies, Israeli politicians built relationships with Evangelical leaders, who increasingly referred to “Judeo-Christian” values and gave Israel a solid support base in the US far larger than its Jewish minority; the one tiny downside was that Israel’s victory would ultimately bring about the end of the world, but this was a mere detail.

Israel, most recently, has also become much more religious, and therefore conservative, due to its Orthodox population having higher birth rates; indeed, it has become more religious at a time when religion is in freefall not just in the United States, but in the Arab world too.

The western Left, in contrast, carries with it an overriding interest in the power of victimhood, a legacy of some obscure sect that flourished in that part of the world 2,000 years ago. They also strongly identify with what Jonathan Haidt called the Care/Harm Foundation — the desire to protect the weak — but this is often only really triggered when they can in some way identify with the person doing the harming; that is why Syrian atrocities against Palestinians get as much attention as police shootings in Jamaica or Brazil.

But another, better suggestion for the Right’s identification with Israel might simply be anti-liberalism, so that when the Left adopted the Palestinian cause after 1967, conservatives supported Israel just to oppose them. Much of the modern Right is really only defined in opposition to the Left; if progressives went back to supporting Israel tomorrow, the Right would probably all add little Palestinian flags to their Twitter profiles. As the Balfour Declaration famously put it: “a home for the Jewish people, to own the libs”.

That won’t happen, but there are lots of instances where partisan groups switch sides en masse for purely tribal reasons. Before 2016, Republicans tended to be much more free trade than Democrats, and more hostile to Russia. Post-2016 that has reversed, to such an extent you might assume it was just the natural state of things.

The Left’s fondness for the underdog has often led intellectuals to side with “social movements that are progressive” who were also bloodthirsty maniacs. During the Cold War, many went off to support Leftist guerrillas in Cuba, Vietnam and various parts of Africa, but as Communism faded they found other underdog-murderers to support, and stumbled on Islamic radicals and revolutionaries. Michel Foucault famously had a weird infatuation with the Ayatollah Khomeini, calling him an “old saint” and referring to the Iranian revolution as “the most modern and the most insane” event. He meant “insane” in a good sense because Khomeinism transgressed western notions of rationality, which indeed hanging gay people from cranes certainly does.

Islamic fundamentalists, unlike communists, have little in common with western progressives, but that didn’t necessarily matter. While there are lots of different factors that determine a person’s political stance — personality type, moral flavour, our view of gender roles — the real primary motive is: who hates whom. Who is on your side?

Butler’s argument was that, since the likes of Hamas define themselves as anti-imperialist, and are opposed to US dominance, then they are on the Left. Of course, many on the Left get furious at this argument, since if Hamas were white, they would be defined as so right-wing as to be off the spectrum. Indeed the Right-Wing Authoritarian test has been done on Palestinian subjects and, unsurprisingly, Hamas supporters turned out to be pretty Right-wing and authoritarian.

And yet if they were white reactionaries, they would not be anti-western, nor therefore “anti-imperialistic”, so it is not an illogical rationale. If the Left defines itself as being against the United States’ global hegemony, then Hamas are indeed on the Left.

This is also the logic of the Right on Israel — that not only is it a liberal democracy, but it is somehow on their side in a civilisational sense. In some ways that’s true; visiting Israel, it does feel western in many respects. But neither is that wholly true, and it is certainly not helpful for a country which needs the acceptance of its neighbours for long-term survival. Indeed, it only vouches for the narrative that Israel is a colonial state.

In From Fatwa to Jihad, Kenan Malik interviewed some British-born Muslims fuming at the Zionist entity, and observed that none of them could point to Palestine on a map or mention a single fact about it. But the same is true of most culture warriors on the issue, who all see it as a proxy for a debate closer to home.

The Right is just as bad: during the 2016 presidential race, Ted Cruz was addressing a group of Arab Christians when he proceeded to tell them that they have no greater ally than Israel. Perhaps as a great surprise to him, they didn’t agree and he was booed off stage. But then Arab Christians don’t tend to be especially Zionist, funnily enough. And why should they be? It’s not a civilisational battle between West and East.

A century ago, up to a third of Palestinians were Christian, a group whose existence was famously summed up by the story of an Anglican visitor who asked a local which missionary had converted his family: “Paul”. Many of the leading PLO activists in the 1970s were Christians, as were the founders of Ba’athism. Indeed, rather than Israel being part of the West, the majority of Israelis don’t come from a European Ashkenazi background; over three million are Mizrahim and have always lived in the Middle East; to Europeans many if not most Israelis appear indistinguishable from other Middle Easterners.

But then many people who take an interest in the conflict see it as representative of something bigger. For conservatives, Zionism long ago became a way of signalling civilisational patriotism, opposition to Islam and Muslim immigration in the West, as well as a way of isolating the anti-Semites who have often dogged the Right and toxified the brand. On the other side, Palestinianism is part of a broader struggle; today America’s young progressives are as pro-Palestinian as their European equivalents, conflating it with America’s racial dynamic in a way that displays almost world-beating levels of solipsism.

Yet I wonder how this will last. The region will always have explosive potential, but it might not hold the same symbolic importance it once did. The Religious Right is in serious decline in the US, and the conservatism replacing it is more secular and more nationalist; it is less keen on foreign adventures and less invested in Israel or the Middle East. Americans as a whole have largely given up on the idea that they are in some existential, civilisational clash with radical Islam because they’ve realised that, whatever their issues with the Muslim world, they hate each other more.

Most of all, the whole narrative around the Holy Land was in many ways a proxy for our view on the United States in a brief unipolar moment — and the rise of China will once again flip political alliances in ways we can’t entirely predict. The one thing we can be sure of is that, whatever horrors the Beijing regime inflicts on the world, some western intellectuals will be on hand to justify it as part of the global struggle against western oppression and colonialism. Some things are even more timeless and unending than war in the Middle East.


Ed West’s book Tory Boy is published by Constable

edwest

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Rhys D
Rhys D
3 years ago

The cognitive dissonance the hard left must have to engage in in supporting Hamas, a regime that denounces homosexuality, democracy, and who advocate for the genocide of a people, is astounding. But then again the likes Sakar and Jones et al. adore the CCP, a regime already engaged in genociding a minority within their borders. Funnily nobody on the left ever waves a Uygher flag amongst the sea of black, red, green and white ones. Wonder why?

Strange article though. I for one will only ever support the countries that advocate against tyranny and for democratic freedoms. There’s only one such state in the ME for thousands of miles around…

Last edited 3 years ago by Rhys D
hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
3 years ago
Reply to  Rhys D

The Left have also been entirely quiet about the hundreds of decapitations, burn victims and scorched earth displacements happening in Northern Mozambique. I keep trying to point out to my lefty compatriots that the victims are, in fact, black, but there is, tragically, little mentioned by BLM et al on this matter.

Last edited 3 years ago by hayden eastwood
J. Hale
J. Hale
3 years ago

Everyone knows that BLM only pertains to white injustice against Blacks. Black on Black violence or tribal wars in Africa simply don’t fit the BLM power grabbing agenda.

peterdebarra
peterdebarra
3 years ago

… it is necessary to remember that the so called “ BLM movement “ is largely a white/Anglo Saxon lead & strategised neo marxist troop which majors in puppeteering … when that is grasped—

Simon Coulthard
Simon Coulthard
3 years ago
Reply to  Rhys D

It’s more that the left are supporting the oppressed here. But really, neither side in this conflict reflects the modern values of the left. Israel’s tactics are seen as all the more brutal because they are more powerful. The conflict is really too complicated for any side to fit perfectly into agr ideology

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

“Israel’s tactics are seen as all the more brutal because they are more powerful.”
which makes zero sense. If a country is strong enough to defend itself that does not make it an aggressor.

Chris T
Chris T
3 years ago

Welll… there’s a limit here. We all see it as less offensive for a woman to hit a man, than a man to hit a woman. Hamas kills 2, Israel kills 200. It’s a question of scale. If I got kicked by a 12 yr old and then punched them in the face, we would have a similar gut feel about it.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris T

Thats patently ridiculous. Israel should eliminate every Hamas terrorist it can. Not only will that save Israeli lives, it will also save Palestinian lives. If your complaint is that Israel is stronger militarily, what better reason for the Palestinians NOT to lob rockets into Israel. Perhaps Hamas should not surround themselves with civilian shields. No country would put up with that. If Canada were lobbing rockets into the US, the US would use overwhelming force to stop it.
your comparison of Hamas and Palestinians to 12 year olds is more revealing than you know.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
3 years ago

What a ridiculous partisan response that is, your colours are certainly clear to all……

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

I’m afraid they think Israel should be sportmanlike and fight with one hand behind their back. However as this country’s supporters of I’s cause don’t like TR’s support , thats the way some people think-like something out of an Edwardian drama-he’s not a gentleman you know -doesn’t know how to be a good loser.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris T

Great comment, not sure why it wasn’t appreciated?

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

Israel is not defending itself, it has the fourth biggest army in the world. Israel is defending its occupation and colonisation of Palestine. That is a very different thing.
When a State uses disproportionate and massive military power to crush the resistance of the people they are occupying and colonising, then yes, they are the aggressor.
They have no right to occupy and colonise all of Palestine in the first place although that was always the plan.
Quote:
“We came to a region of land that was inhabited by Arabs, and we set up a Jewish state. … Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages.
You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either.”
– Former Israel Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, 1969
“We’ll make a pastrami sandwich out of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank, so that in twenty-five years’ time, neither the United Nations nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.” – Ariel Sharon, 1973 (who later became Israel’s Prime Minister)
NB: We do know the names of these villages, more than 500 of them, because they remain marked on British Mandate maps.
And while Jews have received compensation for homes, land and possessions lost in the Second World War, the Palestinian Christians and Muslims have received nothing for the theft of their land, homes and possessions. And they are also denied all human and civil rights by their occupiers and colonisers.

Last edited 3 years ago by Athena Jones
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

“Israel is not defending itself”
of course it is. Just like the US would if someone lobbed rockets across the border from Mexico or Canada.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

No, it is not like the US if someone lobbed rockets across the border from Mexico or Canada.
Gaza is a prison, it does not have a border. In fact Israel has no borders beyond the UN Mandate and all beyond that is Occupied Palestine. See the difference?
If the US invaded, occupied and colonised Mexico (beyond the massive slabs they took in wars of aggression in centuries past) or Canada and if they did to the Mexicans or Canadians, what Israel does to the Palestinians then I bet there would be rockets fired in resistance.
See the difference?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

“No, it is not like the US if someone lobbed rockets across the border from Mexico or Canada.”
yes actually that’s exactly what it is. You may expect Israel not to defend itself but it will and it should. Canadians and Mexicans are not dumb enough to launch a rocket attack against a country that could wipe them off the map.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Paul Marks
Paul Marks
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

No Gaza is not a prison (in spite of its endless attacks on Israel) – the President of Egypt offered the Muslims of Gaza land in Egypt (where most of the ancestors came from – only a century or so ago), years ago. They could leave Gaza, and the border of Israel would be much shorter. But they choose to stay – how can it be a prison when the people there CHOOSE to stay there.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Well said, unfortunately it appears the bigots are walking amongst us… sorry you are not receiving the positive feedback you deserve; still, bad behaviour says more about the other person than you!

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago

What’s the point of a country building up its defence and then being expected to fight back against an attack with armament no greater than the attacker’s
This isn’t a Queensbury Rules boxing match matched by weight of the two contestants and there aren’t just 10 rounds with a referee and nor are there 3 judges at the end to decide who is the winner.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Alka

Those complaining that Israel is stronger militarily and can and does exact a high price for Hamas terror would not complain a bit if it were the other way around. We all know what these folks are about.

Chris T
Chris T
3 years ago

Palestine may not share all the values of the left (women’s rights, for instance) but the approach is not dissimilar to BLM. The Left essentially says the oppressed are allowed to be violent. I do think the level of oppression of Palestinians is on another level compared to minorities in the US though.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris T

There is no country called Palestine. But you are correct that Palestinians and Hamas do not value and respect women. Or gay people. Their values are fundamentally against everything the west values.
The left btw, does not value women and gay people and blacks. It values only those who agree with them. If you’re female and conservative, the left could not care less about your rights.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago

Agreed. The Left is heavily into identity politics and tries to square its support for female/gay/transgender rights with its support for Islamic militants, which tolerate none of these. The only country in the ME which has equal; rights for everyone, regardless of sexuality/gender identity, is Israel, but the befuddled brains of the Left hate Israel.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago

You’re right about Palestine. I would add that there hasn’t been a country called that for two-and-a-half-millennia or so. The name “Palestine” was based on the Roman word for who we call the Philistines. But they had died out as a people a few centuries before the Romans conquered their former region. By their nomenclature, the imperial legions could ensure that those currently living in the area – Jewish people and others – could be put down by a fake sympathy for their predecessors while giving the Romans no anxiety about a long-defunct people. The fact that Arabs have never bothered to provide a new name for the region, but instead rely on ancient Roman trickery speaks volumes to me.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Krehbiel

Yes I guess they think we can’t remember all the way back to 1967 when the six day war occurred between Israel and Syria/Jordan/Egypt. Not between Israel and some imaginary country called Palestine.

Laila Namdarkhan
Laila Namdarkhan
3 years ago

You actually say here what the Israeli Political struggle complain about ie ‘their right to exist as a nation’. Yet you deny Palestinians the same ‘right to exist’. There was no place called Israel before it illegally declared itself to exist in 1948. There is only an ‘imaginary country called Palestine’ in the orthodoxy of Zionist belief.

Aron T
Aron T
3 years ago

By any definition of a country (central government authority with an army, police force, and bureaucracy) Gaza is a country with Hamas being the totalitarian rulers. Moreover it is a country that gets hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, from Iran (through smuggle military goods), from Qatar (in monthly cash payments) and UNRWA which provides free education and healthcare to all Gaza residents. Most of this aid is used to build a war machine to attack Israel and reconquer what they see as “occupied Palestine”, that is, Israel within its 1948 borders. If Gaza is a “prison” it’s only because of that reality. Imagine if Hamas invested all that money to improve the lives of its citizens instead of building a military enclave. Obviously this “prison” isn’t effective enough, considering how much military equipment Hamas manages to import. By contrast Israel has no interest in reconquering Gaza and does everything it can to avoid a land incursion of any sort. It’s truly bizarre to claim Israel in defending itself is trying to “conquer more land”
i didn’t even bring up the PA in the West Bank which, while not a country, is certainly an autonomous entity. The vast majority of Israelis were once on board to let the Palestinians have their own country. Let’s not forget that Israel signed on to the Oslo accords which were created precisely to bring about such a two state solution. Hamas blowing up buses throughout the country is what ended that unhappy attempt at a solution. Why would Israelis agree to another attempt since Hamas makes it very clear to us that they will use the WB as another base to try and wipe Israel off the map?

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Krehbiel

That is a Zionist myth. To refresh your memory of the country called Palestine: 
1. In 1947/48 Zionist armies killed or drove out a million Palestinians who did not exist.
2. In 1947/48 Zionist armies ‘wiped from the face of the earth’ but not British Mandate maps, between 500 and 600 Palestinians villages which did not exist.
3. The ancient Egyptians mentioned (nonexistent) Palestine and Palestinians some 5,000 years ago. They also mentioned, 3,000 years ago when a tribe called Judea wandered in and set up camp, colonists then and now, in Palestine.
4. The Crusades, 1095-1291 were fought in (nonexistent) Palestine
5. The Ottomans Occupied (nonexistent)Palestine for more than 300 years.
6. The British Occupied (nonexistent) Palestine
7. In the 19th century Palestine, albeit nonexistent supposedly, became famous for the Jaffa Orange, sold around the world.
8. The First World War was also fought in Palestine, even though apparently it did not exist – remember Beersheba.
9. In 1930 Golda Meir, later PM of Israel, addressed a postcard to a friend in Tel Aviv, Palestine, even though it did not exist.
10. The Second World War was also fought in this nonexistent Palestine.
11. Centuries of drawings and then photographs exist of the mythical, nonexistent Palestinians and their country. There are some beautiful images from centuries past of Palestine, and in the age of photography, even more.
12. In the late 19th century, around 1890 a political organisation called Zionism was set up with the goal of colonising Palestine, even though it did not exist, with Jews.
13. Ships sailed from Germany which co-operated with the Zionists in the 1930’s full of Jewish colonists for the mythical Palestine, which did not exist.
14. In 1947 the UN partitioned (nonexistent) Palestine so European colonists in the name of Judaism could set up their own religious State.


Laila Namdarkhan
Laila Namdarkhan
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Hasbara and ‘facts on the ground’ is yet another weapon in the military complex known as Israel. It’s only when you visit the region you get the full metal jacket of the Apartheid state…as Mandela said to the colonising Western powers after his release from 25yrs of incarceration in SA , “your terrorist were our freedom fighters”. And whatever political nuance the keyboard pundits want to place on Hamas ( only on the scene since 2008 democratically elected by people of Gaza) is nothing compared to the savage barbarism of the Israeli military complex against those they Occupy for decades. All the talk to convince the world Israel is ‘civilised’ to ‘capture’ the moral high ground is wiped out by the reality of the bottom line, is from its inception a violent ideological entity, born out of terrorism , that with global financial assistance have retained and expanded their military occupation of Palestinian lands . Creating a monumental human rights disaster that will eventually internally combust their own enclaved (to quote themselves) “ home for the Jews , a Jewish state’. That few words of itself denotes a state designed for exclusion not inclusion.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Who was the leader of this imaginary country Palestine in 1967 during the six day war?

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

I agree; I can’t stand it when people refer to this mythical place alled “Palestine”. There is no bloody place called Palestine, and hasn’t been since 1948. And there certainly never was a sovereign nation called Palestine. For nearly 2000 years it was just a region controlled by a succession of colonial powers.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Yes, when people refer to a country called Palestine and you ask them who the leader of this imaginary country was in 1967, they are suddenly silent.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

No country called Palestine. Remarkable the delusion under which some labour. Here is some of the history of your Palestine which never existed. 
1. In 1947/48 Zionist armies killed or drove out a million Palestinians who did not exist.
2. In 1947/48 Zionist armies ‘wiped from the face of the earth’ but not British Mandate maps, between 500 and 600 Palestinians villages which did not exist.
3. The ancient Egyptians mentioned (nonexistent) Palestine and Palestinians some 5,000 years ago. They also mentioned, 3,000 years ago when a tribe called Judea wandered in and set up camp, colonists then and now, in Palestine.
4. The Crusades, 1095-1291 were fought in (nonexistent) Palestine
5. The Ottomans Occupied (nonexistent)Palestine for more than 300 years.
6. The British Occupied (nonexistent) Palestine
7. In the 19th century Palestine, albeit nonexistent supposedly, became famous for the Jaffa Orange, transported around the world.
8. The First World War was also fought in Palestine, even though apparently it did not exist – remember Beersheba.
9. In 1930 Golda Meir, later PM of Israel, addressed a postcard to a friend in Tel Aviv, Palestine, even though it did not exist.
10. The Second World War was also fought in this nonexistent Palestine.
11. Centuries of drawings and then photographs exist of the mythical, nonexistent Palestinians and their country.
12. In the late 19th century, around 1890 a political organisation called Zionism was set up with the goal of colonising Palestine, even though it did not exist, with Jews.
13. Ships sailed from Germany which co-operated with the Zionists in the 1930’s full of Jewish colonists for the mythical Palestine, which did not exist.
14. In 1947 the UN partitioned (nonexistent) Palestine so European colonists in the name of Judaism could set up their own religious State.


Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Yes there is no country called Palestine. The six day war did not involve an imaginary country called Palestine. Three countries did lose territory to Israel after being defeated in 1967. Can you guess which three countries those were? Hint…..not one of them was called Palestine.

Aron T
Aron T
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

This is the most bizarre lists of distorted “historical” facts I have ever seen. Actually the Egyptians mention “Israel” not “Palestine” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merneptah_Stele
Palestine was a name given by the Romans to Judea after theJewish rebellion in 137 AD They used the name of the Philistines (a sea people more related to the ancient Greeks who invaded the Levant and settled in the area which is now Gaza). Contemporary Palestinians have nothing to with either the ancient Philistines or Canaanites for that matter, Hebrew is a Canaanite language. Arabic only came to the Levant with the Arab colonial conquests in the 7th century with the spread of Islam.
if you brought some one living here in 20 AD to this region, they would share language, culture and history with Israeli Jews. they would have no common language, culture or history with Palestinian Arabs. The latter in fact share all those things with the many Arab countries in the world. There is only one country in the world where Jews can express their national heritage and it’s the place we have been indigenous for thousands of years. Anti-Zionism is anti-semitism since it denies the Jewish the right of self-determination.
and by the way, even though the Palestinian national identity is only differentiated from other Arabs by the fact that some of their ancestors once lived here, I’m totally on board with their right to self determination, Guess what? they already have that in Gaza and to amore limited extent in the PA. If they weren’t so determined to wipe Israel off the map they could have had their own state in 1948.

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago

Same with black conservatives, or Conservatives, come to that. Dawn Butler says something that isn’t borne out by any real world facts, that’s great, it’s her “lived experience”. Kemi Badenoch says the opposite, and she should be ashamed of herself, she’s a racial gatekeeper, and so on and so forth.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

The Palestinian Arabs are not “oppressed”; they have an entire well-funded UN organization devoted exclusively to their welfare. Their stateless status is far less the responsibility of Israel and far more that of the Arab nations who waged war on the Jewish state, then refused to allow all the resulting Arab refugees to resettle within their borders.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

I would humbly suggest you read the history of Palestine and look up the meaning of words like ‘occupied’ and ‘colonised.’
Israel was founded 74 years ago in Palestine and since then has taken and occupied all of Palestine and continued to colonise it. The Palestinians are fighting for their freedom and Israel is fighting to drive out Christians and Muslims so it can take all of Palestine for illegal Jewish colonists.
Since 2000 around 1200 Israelis have died in the fight to maintain occupation and around 10,000 Palestinians have died in the same time-frame, fighting for justice and freedom.
Look up a site called, If Americans Knew. The data is all there. It is I believe run by American Jews, sickened and ashamed at what Israel does in the name of their religion.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

“Since 2000 around 1200 Israelis have died in the fight to maintain occupation and around 10,000 Palestinians have died in the same time-frame,”
which proves only one thing. Palestinians can’t do math.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

Your insensitive and inhumane comment says a lot about you and nothing about the Palestinians. It also reflects what is wrong with Israeli society and the minds of many of its supporters.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Who throws away 10,000 lives against a country they have zero hope of ever defeating? One would hope that Palestinians would stop sacrificing their children. If you cared anything at all about them, you’d hope for that as well.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Precisely. Syria and Jordan have zero interest in “Palestinians”. And no gulf Arab state would care a jot of Israel eliminated every single Hamas terrorist. Note how none of them are up in arms. Although Iran is a bit of a loser.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Laila Namdarkhan
Laila Namdarkhan
3 years ago

What utter nonsense….from what you yourself label ‘the Jewish state’..

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Rhys D

I spend a lot of time with various Left activists (in the US) and I have yet to encounter one who is a fan of Islam or any Arab militant group like Hamas. The local Muslims I observe are (1) conservative and (2) wish mostly to be left alone by us natives and our contentious politics. No doubt there are some Islam fans out there, but there are not many, and in any case the Left is politically inconsequential in the US outside of domestic cultural issues.
The Left is, generally, critical of Israel, but this attitude is simply a mirror image of the Right’s infatuation with it and (as the article here states) its identification with American militarism and imperialism. In other words, Israel is a proxy for domestic entities. It is also easy to project White Americans’ treatment of Blacks and Latin people onto Israel’s treatment of Arabs, however erroneously.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Muslims is the US cannot do what they can in Muslim countries. The US won’t allow them to mistreat women, they cannot kill gay people.they cannot chase women they don’t find appropriately dressed through the streets with intent to hit them as my 65 year old mother was in a Muslim country. They don’t do that in the US because WE don’t allow it.
The left is anti-Semitic, they are not “critical” of Israel, they hate Jews. Even within the US. If you believe the right is infatuated with Israel, then you also must believe that it is infatuated with any country that would defend itself while under attack. That’s not infatuation, that’s common sense. Israel is not a proxy for anything anymore than the UK was for defending itself against Germany.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago

Excellent post.

sianhwebley
sianhwebley
3 years ago

Hear, hear, Annette! Israel is a tiny country no bigger than Wales, surrounded by people who want to eradicate its population. Jewish people have been kicked around from pillar to post for thousands of years – now they are, quite justifiably, fighting back. I for one, stand with Israel.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  sianhwebley

Yes that has been true but I do believe things are changing. With the Abraham accords, Muslim countries are recognizing that Israel is actually an important security ally and potential trading partner. The Palestinians used to control the ME narrative but they do not anymore. I hope these accords will continue to grow if Joe Biden doesn’t mess it all up.

Laila Namdarkhan
Laila Namdarkhan
3 years ago

There are so many generalisations in your post as to render it hyperbole in the extreme.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Not all on the right are “infatuated” with Israel. Many despise it just as much as many on the left do. And it’s not always (as some suggest) down to anti-Semitism. The American right who dislike Israel tend to do so because of what they see as America’s over-involvement in intractable Middle East conflicts at the expense of American people. They see the Israel-supporting Jewish elite (aka the “neocons”) as having too much power and influence. And at the same time, they despise the hypocrisy of the pro-Israel open-borders left, decrying America’s borders as”racist” while defending Israel’s right to remain a Jewish state and thus be highly selective about immigration.
Not saying these are my personal views, just that this is the impression I get from a lot of reasonable people on the right who are not particularly fond of Israel.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

Many followers of Judaism also reject the Zionist Israeli state because it gives them and their religion a bad name.
Anyone who thought setting up a religious state for Jews, where followers of Judaism would have superior rights and dominance over all non-Jews, in Palestine in 1947, was ever going to work was delusional.
If the Israelis had been smart they would have given up the dream of a religious state and settled for a democracy, sharing the land between the indigenous Palestinians and their European colonisers. That will happen of course but if it had been done earlier, less blood would have been shed.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Unfortunately what you suggest was and is much easier said than done in the context.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago

The infatuation I refer to doesn’t have much to do with the actual Israel or the actual Palestine or any of the people that live in those countries. It seems to be an abstraction across the political spectrum, and, yes, a proxy for American domestic conflicts. I’ve worked with both Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs, and the great majority in my experience are not combative fanatics but people who would like to come to some kind of reasonable political and legal arrangements and get on with their lives. But that’s not where the money and the power are.

John Lewis
John Lewis
3 years ago

“Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been fined £20,000 for wearing a yellow ribbon on the touchline during the FA Cup defeat at Wigan.

On Monday, the Spaniard accepted the Football Association charge for “wearing a political message”, a breach of kit and advertising regulations.

In November, Guardiola said he wore the ribbon to support imprisoned politicians in his native Catalonia.

He has also been warned about his future conduct.“

That was the FA just 2 years ago.

“The FA ‘will not punish fans, players or clubs who display Israel or Palestine flags in the final league matches of the season’ – after Leicester City duo Hamza Choudhury and Wesley Fofana paraded Palestinian flag at Wembley”.

The is the FA 24 hours ago.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Lewis
William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago
Reply to  John Lewis

You couldn’t make this stuff up. No sane ordinary person could. Leave it to the professional virtue signallers.

https://www.premierleague.com/rainbowlaces

Like the rainbow laces. Is this 100% political and utterly banned? Or would that be homophobic?

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago
Reply to  William Murphy

Politics and sport??????

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago
Reply to  John Lewis

The FA appears to have the mind of a demented goldfish!

Chris T
Chris T
3 years ago
Reply to  John Lewis

Well that oughtta make for better fights between fans.

John Lewis
John Lewis
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris T

Thankfully the fans have higher IQs than the players so I guess not.

Dominic S
Dominic S
3 years ago
Reply to  John Lewis

Two manchester united players did the same. I’ve got at UEFA to try to get them to act. If there is enough pressure maybe they will apply their rules.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

“People might not understand why Israelis and Palestinians are firing rockets at each other, but that doesn’t stop them choosing a team.”
who doesn’t understand defending oneself from rocket attacks?  

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

This is the most bizarre article I have ever read on the subject. 90% of his endless analogies and points are just wrong. Its like he is just throwing up a smoke scree to cloud the issues. I had wanted to cut and paste outrageous bits but there were so many it would mean half the article.

“who doesn’t understand defending oneself from rocket attacks?” The same ones who think Police and soldiers doing their job need to be prosecuted? Like 90% of the MSM.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Yes bizarre it indeed is. This part was amazingly so.
“Americans as a whole have largely given up on the idea that they are in some existential, civilisational clash with radical Islam because they’ve realised that, whatever their issues with the Muslim world, they hate each other more.”
i laughed till my side hurt on that one.

Eloise Burke
Eloise Burke
3 years ago

By this he means that the American right has come to realize that the American left is a bigger threat than the Muslim world.

Chris T
Chris T
3 years ago
Reply to  Eloise Burke

As far as an existential threat to the traditional American way of life, that is absolutely true. Islam pulls towards fewer rights for women… but is otherwise conservative on family values. The left seems to be against not just traditional families, but against the notion of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris T

What Muslim family values do you consider conservative?
amd where does Islam stand on gay people, hmmmmmm?

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Eloise Burke

Except that isn’t what he said. Read it again.

Paul N
Paul N
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I think those arguing for prosecution of police and soldiers are doing so because they were not doing their job, but behaving illegally – whether or not it was racially motivated.
Disclaimer – I’ve just been watching AC-12.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul N

 I’ve just been watching AC-12.

My sympathy – I just hope there’s no more.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Agreed – it seemed to be a stream of consciousness ramble through a number of random points, none of which were persuasive. Very odd.

Armand L
Armand L
3 years ago

who doesn’t understand defending oneself from land theft and jet bombing runs which target hospitals

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Randomly firing rockets a civilian areas is not defence. This time round, about half the people killed by Hamas are not even Jews.

Paula Jones
Paula Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

I’m betting the counter to that one will be along the lines of ‘Hamas can’t afford the sort of missiles that would be less haphazard’.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Paula Jones

Hamas can’t afford the sort of missiles that would be less haphazard
Nor would Israel be likely to allow Hamas to have them. The Israeli ambassador to the UK was recently saying Israel has invested in the Iron Dome to protect its citizens, unlike Hamas. I equally doubt she would support Gaza having its own Iron Dome.

Abe Stamm
Abe Stamm
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

Israeli high tech firms “invented” the Iron Dome specifically to thwart short range missile attacks from their neighboring enemies…it not an product of the American Military Industrial Complex.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Abe Stamm

So? I didn’t mention the American Military Industrial Complex, or even the USA. I was talking of Gaza’s lack of precision missiles and missile defence systems, and how Israel criticises Hamas for this lack while it would probably oppose either.

Armand L
Armand L
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

Bombing civilians is not defense either but you defend Israel when it does that. 300 innocent people have died in a week. Where is your compassion for them? Or does it end at the Gaza border?

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

As if you could isolate that from a near century long war of Arab supremacy.

Paul Goodman
Paul Goodman
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

No you are wrong. More than 200 of the 300 you speak of were not innocent. They were Hamas Iranian backed Shiite terrorist (according to most governments) and the rest were their oppressed Sunni human shields. The compassion lies in defeating their oppressors.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Goodman

Agreed.

Armand L
Armand L
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Goodman

So 100 victims is appropriate?

Mike K
Mike K
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Armand, how come your compassion was absent when 700,000 Syrians were slaughtered (ditto Darfur, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Balochistan etc etc etc etc etc etc etc). You know what Armand? I don’t believe you. Your ‘compassion’ is another lie and the whole pretence is to justify your compulsive need to have yet another go at the Jews. You are a pathetic symbol of the sclerotic decline of the West (and nowhere is this more evident than in France). Both pitiful and detestable.

Last edited 3 years ago by Mike K
Armand L
Armand L
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike K

Jews are not responsible for the actions Israeli government and it is deeply antisemitic of you to conflate them. Shame on you, bigot.

Mike K
Mike K
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Hamas thinks they are.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Can you point me to the specific case in which Israel deliberately targeted civilians?
I will happily condemn any case in which the Israeli military targeted non-combatants.
I trust you will then join me in condemning every case where Hamas have targeted non-combatants in Israel.
You could start by condemning the murder of those two Thai workers. Then you could move on to condemn the firing of mortars into Israel near the border crossing points that were opened to allow aid to flow from Israel into Gaza.

Last edited 3 years ago by Mark H
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Israel does not target civilians. Hamas does. That’s the difference.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago

True. Civilians in Gaza do get disproportionately killed and wounded, but that is because HAMAS has its operatives and armaments among them, especially near places like schools and hospitals. The militants don’t care about their civilian population, but they do like it when images showing the IDF hitting them whilst targeting militants go round the world.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

yes, they do indeed like to see the world watching them use civilians as shields.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

You don’t seem to know that Hamas deliberately places its missile launchers and other facilities in residential areas, schools and hospitals, to use civilians as human shields.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago

That’s the idea. HAMAS don’t care about their civilian population, who are expendable.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Unfortunately, civilians get killed in war. The Palestinians seem to have little compassion for their own innocents, as they do not seem to do much if anything to protect them. And it was Palestinians that struck the first blow.
Palestinians have been cleverer at appealing to the tender consciences of left wing westerners – whereas the Israelis just concentrate on the defence of their country.

Warren T
Warren T
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Perhaps you should know that many of us understand that it is the standard strategy of Hamas to house military arsenals within residential housing, hospitals and any other place that would cause the most harm to innocent citizens, which leads to Western media reports of the “atrocities”? Sadly, the only thing that is truly atrocious here is sacrificing your own people in order to hold onto power. Read the book, “Son of Hamas” to learn the truth.

Dominic S
Dominic S
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Please explain why a country trying to stop its neighbour (run by those who have in their constitution a vow not to stop attacking until they have killed every Jew in the world) indiscriminately firing rockets at it has anything to apologise for?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Israel does not bomb civilians.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
3 years ago

A large part of the population cannot exist without “choosing a team”.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

What does this even mean?

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

Or, we opt for the team of justice, human rights, rule of law, democratic principles and common human decency which means we defend the right of the occupied and colonised Palestinians to fight for justice, freedom and their rights.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

Most people understand justice, human rights and common human decency and most people will be on the side of powerless, occupied, colonised and abused peoples like the Palestinians.
After all, millions died in two world wars fighting to free people suffering as the Palestinians have suffered since 1947.
You are a bit glib talking about them firing rockets at each other. How about, Israel’s massive, high-tech bombs and missiles dropped on prisoners in Gaza, men, women and children, who have nowhere to run, and a few primitive rockets fired out of the Gaza prison at their Israeli occupiers who have plenty of places to run and an Iron Dome defence.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Yes indeed Hamas is well recognized for its focus on human rights, particularly those of women and gay people. You have zero credibility on human rights so don’t even bother.
If you object to Hamas hiding behind civilians then perhaps you should rethink your position. Is it dumb to fire rockets at Israel? yes. But then nobody ever accused the Palestinians of being too smart.

Laila Namdarkhan
Laila Namdarkhan
3 years ago

Why don’t you cite Israeli military occupation actions before Hamas arrived? Hamas are late to the Party that tries to defend Palestine from it daily drop drip coercive controlling Israeli occupier.
Odd how you run this debate as if trouble by Israel only erupted after they refused to recognise the democratically elected Hamas in 2008. Before that Israel was still building walls, illegal colonies. Regularly rampaging over al Aqsa, demolishing or confiscating Palestinian houses, restricting Palestinians from entering Jerusalem and going about their daily businesses in the Muslim quarter. Checkpoints everywhere , theft of water, segregated schools, loss of land rights for merely being of no-Jewish origins. Petty restrictions , damaging the Palestinian economy the list of human rights violations since 1948 is a global disgrace…
Speak truth to Hasbara.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

When you are defeated in a war that you started, you often lose territory. This happened to Syria, Jordan and Egypt in the six day war in 1967. They do not automatically get that territory back although they can negotiate to do so if they provide security guarantees to Israel (as Egypt did for the return of the Sinai).
There is no country called Palestine and there never will be until the attacks against Israel stop. Catch on.

Laila Namdarkhan
Laila Namdarkhan
3 years ago

All the likes for that post appear to forget as do all who are pro Zionist Israel, that Israel is a daily military occupier of Palestinian people, in Gaza, West Bank and Israel itself. There every move is monitored by the Israeli vertical military occupation.
The Fourth Geneva Convention states ‘ Occupied people ( not the Occupier) have a Right to defend themselves from those who egregiously Occupy and control them.
Palestinians have since 1948 never had their interests or security protected from the Occupying state actions.
Confiscating lands, demolishing 100’s of villages, incarcerating children, building illegal colonies with separate roads. Even down to civil registrations of private cars the Israelis and Palestinians by law have different number plates. See just how Petty and coercive this so called civilised occupier behaves towards those it illegally occupied. Imagine in your own country car number plates were distinguished by race characteristics. That’s the nuances that the pro Zionists either ignore or don’t know about! Small petty coercive actions designed to blight and abuse 1000’s of Palestinians daily lives is like state orchestrated domestic violence. In the same way as the axis of domestic violence operates the victims resist the coercive control, then the coercive moves rapidly to violent control for the controller to once again regain supreme authority over its victims.
The left v right rhetoric here is just noise and blatantly steps over the human rights issues, gaslights it’s own arguments and fills up space with virtue signalling laced with whataboutery, to cover all bases and deny that firstly Palestine existed and still does, secondly that Palestinians do not exit, and even if they do, no one cares about their oppression and occupied status.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

If the Palestinians do not want to live in squalor, they will have to negotiate a deal with Israel. There is no way around this. Israel is not going away, face that.
There is no country called Palestine. Three countries lost territory after being defeated in 1967. Can you guess which countries those were? None were called Palestine. There will be no two state solution absent Israeli security.
Short of making a deal that ceases the terror against Israel, the Palestinians can wallow in their own misery. The world has moved on and they no longer control the narrative in the ME. Muslim nations now see Israel as a military security partner against Iran and as a potential trade partner. The Abraham accords highlight a new focus in the ME and it isn’t on the Palestinians. They have missed every opportunity to make peace. If they want to continue living in the Stone Age while sacrificing their own children, that’s up to them.

Looney Leftie
Looney Leftie
3 years ago

I find that the likes of Jones, Sarkar and the rest of the wally Guardianistas supporting a hard right terrorist group quite amusing, and shows just how illogical and ill informed the left are in the UK today, personified by the ‘human spaniel’ that is Angela Rayner.

Last edited 3 years ago by Looney Leftie
Armand L
Armand L
3 years ago
Reply to  Looney Leftie

Do you think every Palestinian is responsible for Hamas?
Do you also think every Brit is responsible and needs to pay a blood debt for what the UK did in Iraq, Libya, and is doing in Yemen?
Be honest.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Only a minority are responsible for Hamas, which has grabbed power in Gaza and won’t let go despite the suffering that results.
But what you wrote seems like a weak excuse when read with your other post that generalises “land thieves and ethnic cleansing” to all Israelis, no?

Paula Jones
Paula Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

Neat riposte; and succinct, too.

Armand L
Armand L
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

I was referring to the government of Israel. Now you tell me if every Israeli is responsible for the repercussions of land theft and ethnic cleansing — and if they ought to pay the same blood debt that Palestinian civilians are paying.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

No they are not.
Civvies should not be targeted under any circumstances.
It’s clear that the Israelis are not targeting civvies in Gaza – or the death toll would be shockingly high. They are using precision weapons to target combatants in an incredibly crowded enclave.
Even so, there are errors that result in civilian deaths in Gaza. But that’s different from deliberately targeting civvies, which Hamas are doing.
Also, you forget that Hamas started attacking Israeli civilians before Israel responded with attacks on Hamas in Gaza.

John Lewis
John Lewis
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Do you think every British Jew is responsible for the current conflict?

Be honest.

Those charmers driving through North London obviously did and they are far from alone.

Armand L
Armand L
3 years ago
Reply to  John Lewis

Of course I don’t think British Jews are responsible for the actions of the government of Israel. Silly notion.

Stefan Hill
Stefan Hill
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

When your country goes to war – you are involved. It applies to undemocratic countries as well as democratic. You are part of a team, whether you like it or not

George Glashan
George Glashan
3 years ago
Reply to  Stefan Hill

Armand do you agree that not condemning child sex rings is a form of tacit support and that blowback for this position from an aggrieved person is legitimate?

Armand L
Armand L
3 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

What do sex rings have to do with this topic? Pay attention.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

I don’t know about this idea of blood debt – it sounds like some medieval religious thing, and if I understood it, I’d probably disagree with it. But if the UK is a democracy, then Brits are collectively responsible for the wars on Iraq, Libya and Yemen.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

‘But if the UK is a democracy, then Brits are collectively responsible for the wars on Iraq, Libya and Yemen.’

None of us voted specifically in favour of war against Iraq, Libya and Yemen. Intention to go to war has never been listed in any political manifesto that I’m aware of since I started voting in the 1970s. Collective responsibility therefore does not apply because we voters have no control over decisions taken by our governments once they have been voted into power.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

Is there democracy without collective control?

Armand L
Armand L
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

So Palestinians are not responsible for Hamas embedding themselves among them and firing rockets from their areas — and they should not pay a blood price for Hamas’ actions. You agree?

Looney Leftie
Looney Leftie
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

You are being disingenuous or stupid here, it was quite obvious I was referring to Hamas, as stated in the article. Other than that I do not have an opinion on a very complex matter, that I dont fully understand. I wont reply again, as you sound like an extremist loon or a troll, using idioms like ‘blood debt’ and I also do not converse with people deliberately trying to be deceitful.

Last edited 3 years ago by Looney Leftie
Looney Leftie
Looney Leftie
3 years ago
Reply to  Looney Leftie

Note to every decent person on here! I would ignore Armand, this person is either a troll or an extremist, best not to engage. You have been warned. Unless you want to converse with someone who uses idioms like ‘blood debts’. The choice is yours of course.

Last edited 3 years ago by Looney Leftie
Armand L
Armand L
3 years ago
Reply to  Looney Leftie

You sound like you’re on the verge of tears. How gauche. I’ve been perfectly civil, considering the calamitous scenes we see happening in Gaza.

If you support Palestinians getting massacred, then just say it — don’t hide, stand up for what you believe in.

Looney Leftie
Looney Leftie
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Watch out, Watch out, Armands about!

He’ll start talking about ‘blood debts’ soon, best ignored, he’s either a medieval religious loon, or a deceitful little troll….

Last edited 3 years ago by Looney Leftie
Frederick B
Frederick B
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Armand, as a matter of interest, what is Britain doing in the Yemen at the present time? I’ll give you Iraq and Libya as conflicts which we should never have become involved in, but Yemen?

Armand L
Armand L
3 years ago
Reply to  Frederick B

UK is arming, training, and guiding Saudi forces in Yemen. UK has commandos in Yemen to help prepare Saudi special forces. UK has been doing everything except pull the trigger in Yemen.

Do you think we are legitimate targets for Yemeni response because of the actions of the UK government? If not, why are Palestinians civilians considered acceptable collateral damage?

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
3 years ago
Reply to  Looney Leftie

Thank you for the ‘human spaniel’ desciption – funniest comment I’ve read for a long time.

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago

today America’s young progressives are as pro-Palestinian as their European equivalents, conflating it with America’s racial dynamic in a way that displays almost world-beating levels of solipsism”

Love that bit. But i do get a bit annoyed about the way we have allowed the Left to hijack the word “progressive” – Ed used it about 5 times in this article. There’s nothing “progressive” about the hard left (unless it means, progressing to oblivion)

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
3 years ago

Two important points missing: the USSR’s support for the Arab world in general and the 1977 Israeli election in which the Mizrahi population finally made its voice felt and voted for Israel’s first right wing government.

David Owsley
David Owsley
3 years ago

both rather important points! Well said.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

The left giving up on Israel presumes that the left was ever supportive of it. The left has sided with some of history’s most murderous regimes, from the old Soviet Union to Mao to the Castros. Any time someone notices that a Muslim is behind an act of terror, someone of the left immediately jumps out to warn of Islamophobia. This is the same left that routinely tarnishes entire groups today for real and imagined offenses.
It’s cute that the author broke out the “Right Wing Authoritarian test” like that is supposed to mean something. The world is not exactly teeming with such authoritarians on the right. The left is another matter, from the woketarians who insist on conformity on every topic to the Chinese and North Koreans.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

‘Authoritarianism’ is not a defect in politcs. It’s the required foundation of every peaceful society. It underlies every impartial legal system. One has to accept that all civilisation depends on force, but only in the beginning. It matters not to me how a State is founded (most current states are comparatively new and all are born of conflict), but what it does afterwards is the key.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

Well. Of course, a society without any authoritarian aspect is the purest form of anarchy. It’s such a pure form that it can’t actually exist.
Authoritarianism is generally used to mean i) a government that encroaches on your life to the extent you aren’t allowed to say what you think, even if what you think is perfectly reasonable and understandable; and at the same time ii) a government you can’t get rid of except through force.
Authoritarians can, obviously be left or right by our current confused political benchmarking.
But I would have thought that, if politics is a spectrum, and people on the right generally prefer “smaller government”, it seems odd that far right means an all-powerful, authoritarian state. If the spectrum worked properly, far right would mean anarchy: as few people as possible telling you what you can do in your life and with your money.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

But I would have thought that, if politics is a spectrum, and people on the right generally prefer “smaller government”, it seems odd that far right means an all-powerful, authoritarian state. If the spectrum worked properly, far right would mean anarchy: as few people as possible telling you what you can do in your life and with your money.

It’s the way it is because the left/right spectrum is not defined by authoritarian / libertarian lines anymore, but it got racialised. That’s how and why economically socialistic, broadly liberal democracies like Hungary, Israel, Czech, Poland etc. (and parties / politicians like Marine Le Pen, UKIP, Salvini etc.) get called “far right” and “authoritarian” by the left-infested media, because they reject thirdworld mass-immigration / CRT etc.

Dan Gleeballs
Dan Gleeballs
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

Exactly. Extreme right-wing would be one man, sitting alone, refusing to choose a restaurant for dinner.

The spectrum of politics has always been between the left: those who want to boss others or be bossed – and those who want to be left alone as much as possible. Instead of left and right, we could use infants and adults as an better description.

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Authoritarians come in all stripes. It’s not something particularly related to the right or left. Most military dictatorships are of the right rather than the left, and religious dictatorships often are more right as well.
Today, would you put Russia on the right, or on the left?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

No, authoritarianism is almost wholly a left wing ideology. Russia controls nearly everything its public does. That’s left wing. Even in the US those who want to control every tiny piece of your life are left wingers.
the only exception, Franco in Spain.

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago

Um, that isn’t what left wing means, in any world. What a bizarre thing to say.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Yes actually it is what left wing means, total control of your life, cradle to grave.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Brynjar Johansson
Brynjar Johansson
3 years ago

Part of this debates problem is that we don’t have a common definition of political identities. The traditional ‘left’ and ‘right’ spectrum terms are caricatured to whatever their opponents want it to be.

http://Www.Politicalcompass.org – while still a very flawed – breaks positions down to its economic & cultural components, although arguably it can go much deeper.

Bianca Davies
Bianca Davies
3 years ago

What? AK, you just contradicted yourself

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

The Left did, I believe, broadly support Israel until 1967 and the Six Day War. This was on the basis of the collectivism of the kibbutzim and the fact of the Holocaust etc.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
James Chater
James Chater
3 years ago

As someone who has always tried to not take sides I think this is an excellent piece. Even-handed, rigourous.
Certainly up until recently, I may have taken most criticism of Israel as simply anti-Semitic, which is wrong given the number of Jewish people and allies, who criticise Israel or more accurately, highlight the treatment of Palestinians.*
The ‘proxy war’ in the UK has evidently been very unpleasant for the last few years. As a Labour Party member it was so painful to witness.
The terrible case-study example of Jeremy Corbyn’s complete unsuitability as a leader – apparently not wanting to offend anti-Semites, who were members or who voted Labour. His pure entrenched anti-Zionism making it so hard for him to appear anything but hostile to Israel, always.
You don’t need someone like that leading a major UK political party. (For that I find it hard to forgive the ideologues who, knowing his past thought it was a good idea to ‘give him a go’.)
(*As we should know the vast majority of Jewish people see that Israel has the right to exist: example UK Are the majority of British Jews Zionists? – Full Fact)

Last edited 3 years ago by James Chater
Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

Agreed. Good to read an article that at least tries to interpret why people take the views they do rather than condemning those with a different view..

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

And yet there are plenty of Jews who aren’t Zionists, and in the late 19th/early 20th century it was not at all unusual for European Jews to think the idea of a modern Israel was not a good one, for a variety of reasons, some of them very pragmatic. Many Orthodox Jews also did not like the idea, for religious reasons.
I find it difficult in light of that to accept that the fact that similar views now are just inherently anti-Semitic, when those people were not. The change in viewpoint seems more to reflect changes in the political situation, and quite a lot to do with the fact that Israel now is a real political entity rather than just an idea, people see it as a “fact”.
I always find the construction that “x group has the right to exist” rather strange. It often seems to amount to a trick to make it appear that those who have qualms or disagreements with some element of the group are calling for the whole group, each member personally, to be extinguished.

Last edited 3 years ago by Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
James Chater
James Chater
3 years ago

‘I always find the construction that “x group has the right to exist” rather strange’. In this case, is this anything more than a repudiation of blood-curdling damnations of Israel by Arab and Iranian actors and other proxies elsewhere?
Re the ‘views’ from the past, which are now seen as ‘inherently anti-Semitic’, now that Israel is, as you say, established, aren’t those views simply irrelevant?
Yes, there appear to be many Jews who are not Zionists (aren’t there also many zionisms?) but a tiny, tiny minority who don’t care about Israel the place in the 21st century?

Last edited 3 years ago by James Chater
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

I think some of them are less relevant for sure, and that’s why they are less common.
But that doesn’t make them, or anyone else, anti-Semitic. For example, the pragmatic concerns many had about whether Israel was actually a viable idea certainly take on a different aspect once you have a political state that is functioning, and many people who are living there, were born there, have made it their home. But it doesn’t necessarily tell us that those people were, or are, wrong – Israel is still less than 100 years old and has never really been stable. Some of it’s problems are the ones which were predicted. It’s possible that despite all efforts, it’s not going to be sorted out because the conditions required for it to thrive can’t happen, or would be in some way objectionable.
What is the proper response to the problems, if someone thinks that? It’s not at all clear which is another reason I suspect it’s not commonly discussed, people don’t like viewpoints without some clear actions that spring from them.
But the other reason is because people who might think that are vilified as being bigots. And there is I think something a little dangerous when a pragmatic perspective, about the practicalities of politics and history, is disallowed from the discussion because it’s not ideologically pure enough. It prevents a clear look at the situation, even if the people with the concerns aren’t entirely correct about them.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago

The modern state of Israel is less than 100 years old, but the ancient state of Israel itself goes back at least to the time of King David (1035 BC). It was ethnically cleansed by the Romans in the years following the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 AD.
The Arabs, on the other hand, did not appear in the ME until the third century AD and in overwhelming numbers after the Islamic coinquests of the 7th and 8th centuries AD. The Arab Palestinian identity is one which was invented in the 1960s.
After so much suffering throughout the centuries, culminating in the systematic attempt to wipe them out in the Holocaust, why should the Israeli Jews not be allowed to keep their homeland? It is the only one that they have ever laid claim to.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago

So you don’t believe that Jews have the right to live in the ancestral land which they were ethnically cleansed from in the years following the destruction, by the Romans, of the 2nd Temple in 70 AD? There were no Arabs living in the vicinity at that time, and no Islam until the 7th century AD, and the term “Palestinian” is so recent that it doesn’t ante-date the 1960’s.
Every other country in the ME is Arab and Muslim majority, with the exception of Iran, which is Persian and Muslim majority. Jews (and Christians) are not welcome in any of them, though there is a truce (probably an Islamic “hudna”, so Israel needs to be careful) between Israel and a few of them.
Would you begrudge the Jews – who have offered so much to humanity (e.g. a quarter of all the Nobel prizes for a population of no more than 13 million worldwide), but who have suffered so much in the Holocaust and throughout history) – their historical homeland? Would you like to see the light of this extraordinary country with its clever, innovative people, the only democracy in the ME, extinguished?

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

His pure entrenched anti-Zionism making it so hard for him to appear anything but hostile to Israel, always.

Isn’t that a bit too charitable? Corbyn famously claimed he didn’t notice the famous bankers mural was anti-Semitic, even though all the bankers looked like caricatures out of a Der Sturmer cartoon while the “poor oppressed” people looked perfectly normal.
I genuinely can’t understand how anyone can see that mural and not find it anti-Semitic. You either have to be totally ignorant or wilfully blind.

James Chater
James Chater
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

‘Wilfully blind’ – the charming and astute Seamus Milne, no doubt close by.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

Or vile, like the former Labour leader.

David Nebeský
David Nebeský
3 years ago

The one thing we can be sure of is that, whatever horrors the Beijing regime inflicts on the world, some western intellectuals will be on hand to justify it as part of the global struggle against western oppression and colonialism.

Very very very true.

David J
David J
3 years ago
Reply to  David Nebeský

Also true in the days of Stalin of course.

Mike Ferro
Mike Ferro
3 years ago

No one seems to recognise that there is no moral equivalence here.
Israel is a liberal democracy, the only one in the region, and has always sought to avoid non combatant casualties at all costs. Their enemies actively promote civilian casualties even of those on their own side to gain sympathy and publicity. Media outlets who play into this on their behalf have the blood of the victims on their hands.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Ferro

Exactly!

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Ferro

media outlets like the associated press, currently trying to explain its office proximity to Hamas. Well, former office.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Some investigative journalists they are. Right under their noses and they saw nothing?

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago

Have you seen any evidence of Hamas activity in AP’s former building? Antony Blinken says he hasn’t. AP says not only did they see none, but they made strenuous efforts to check there was none, not wishing to endanger their employees beyond the fact of their presence in Gaza.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

AP is admitting to being very poor investigative journalists. Not much of a surprise. In any case, AP should be very glad to find themselves lodging unpolluted by Hamas activity. Apparently Israel are better at investigation.
Anthony Blinken could not find his butt with both hands, he is a complete joke. Did you see him with the Chinese in Alaska?
Netanyahu has said that he provided the evidence to Biden. Who has not disputed that. If it’s untrue, Biden is welcome to dispute it in public.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

AP is admitting to being very poor investigative journalists. Not much of a surprise. In any case, AP should be very glad to now be able to find themselves lodging unpolluted by Hamas activity. Unless they are unhappy that they have been relieved of having to operate alongside Hamas. Apparently Israel is much better at investigation.
Anthony Blinken could not find his b**t with both hands, he is a complete joke. Did you see him with the Chinese in Alaska?
Netanyahu has said that he provided the evidence to Biden. Who has not disputed that. If it’s untrue, Biden is welcome to dispute it in public.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Matthew Freedman
Matthew Freedman
3 years ago

All I can say is I feel pretty scared. There are comments on twitter that propose ethnically cleansing all Jews in the Levant that get 1000s of upticks by people who call themselves progressive. There’s enough hate out there to kill millions of Jews. It seems endless violence hate against Jews is going to be allowed until Israel is destroyed?

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago

I think it may be the opposite to some extent – real dislike of what Israel as a nation does or even claims to stand for in some cases leads to distrust of Jews.

Which is not at all a good situation, but one that may have been in part created by people who are pro-Israel. I’ve thought more than once that the desire some have to conflate criticism of Zionism with anti-Semitism, usually in an effort to defuse criticism of the former, may ultimately tend to inflame anti-Semitism. If people tell you they are the same thing, and you have significant issues with the former, the logic is that reflects somehow on Jews more generally.
It’s a very dangerous approach and I am still not sure if people take it because they are naive, or it is some other kind of gamble.

Paula Adams
Paula Adams
3 years ago

Yes, hating Jews is always popular with those who don’t know God, especially those who reject the Bible as God’s word. But God will not allow Jews to be destroyed.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago
Reply to  Paula Adams

Agreed. The Jews are the Chosen People, as we see from the Bible, e.g:
“I will bless those who bless you and I wil curse him who curses you.”
Genesis 12:3
“For this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you – for whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye.”
Zechariah 2:8
Also: Psalm 17: 8 , Proverbs 7:2.

Graham Perfitt
Graham Perfitt
3 years ago

At last! Some sensible historical and biblical perspectiv in the discussion.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

It’s not particularly difficult to understand. The Left hates Israel because it is a democratic and prosperous country that permits freedom of speech, enterprise and association. These are all anathema to the Left, which will happily ally with the most primitive belief systems to oppose Israel and western civilization in general.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

That is quite amusing watching the left champion those who deny women and gays any rights whatsoever.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago

Western nations supposedly championing human rights have been happy to ally themselves with Gulf dictatorships, arguably finding oil and money more important than primitive belief systems and their consequences for women and gays.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

The left is quite fine with all that. What do they care about women and gay people? Hamas would happily kill them of course but that’s all okay with lefties.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
John Riordan
John Riordan
3 years ago

“Much of the modern Right is really only defined in opposition to the Left; if progressives went back to supporting Israel tomorrow, the Right would probably all add little Palestinian flags to their Twitter profiles.”

There’s a good reason for this that goes beyond mere partisan opposition for the sake of it: it reveals the fundamental philosophical gulf between the Left, which sees no limitations on the theoretical reach and power of the State, and the Right which asserts more than anything else that there are good reasons for the State to be limited in size and power. This means that for right-wingers, there is a very large list of issues that ought to have no place in politics but which the Left assets are political. In turn because of that, right-wingers are drawn into an oppositional stance on issues that they would ideally not deal with politically at all.
And yes, this is a tactical weakness of right-wing politics: it means that right-wingers end up fighting political battles just because the left wants to fight them. It is not a philosophical weakness however.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Riordan
David Platzer
David Platzer
3 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

It also seems that much of the left defines itself in opposition to the right. Witness the Democrats in America suddenly make an enemy of Russia more than a decade after thecollapse of the Soviet Union and attempting to smear Trump as a Russian agent.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago

There are plenty of comments posted here referencing injustices against Palestinians past and present. I won’t engage in a debate about the legitimacy of those claims and to what extent Israel and the West are responsible because outside of the obvious historical markers such as the Balfour Declaration I simply don’t know enough of the political nuances to get into it. In that regard I’m going to guess that most westerners that don’t actively follow Palestinian/Israeli politics feel the same.
However, I would bet a lot of people do know some of the basics: that the two have never been friends, that Israel is the only western-style democracy in the area, that Palestinian leaders have a history of refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist, that there are land grab issues, that Hamas is an internationally recognized terrorist group, that every so often rockets are fired at Israel and Israel fires back, that innocent civilians are killed.
Certainly not a comprehensive review of the situation but quite sufficient for casual observers and more crucially, voters, to cede the default moral high ground to Israel. (even though it’s a shame about the loss of life).
The Palestinians are in desperate need of a public image makeover.
Ties with Iranian-backed Hamas and support from Leftie activists that want to cancel Winston Churchill are not helping.

Michael Walsh
Michael Walsh
3 years ago

Solipsism is the core attitude of leftism. It is expressed in a perverse sort of grandiosity: the instinctive belief that other peoples’ bad behavior, is somehow one’s own fault. This is vanity masquerading as empathy -co-dependency writ large, akin to the sad attempt of the child of an alcoholic to gain control of his miserable and chaotic situation: “daddy drinks because I’m bad.” This explains the leftists’ attraction to foreign dictators of a certain stripe: those who hate one’s own country validate the leftist’s grandiosity, and must be honored for it. It explains the leftists’ habit of rationalizing the behavior of terrorists, as being somehow a legitimate response to something we have done. For leftists–to cite a classic example– when it comes to the situation in the Middle East, American support for Israel is our Original Sin. Their solipsism also explains the peculiar selectivity of leftist moral indignation: only those causes that service the pathology are worthy of consideration.

Jorge Toer
Jorge Toer
3 years ago

Its true the progresives (leftist) is whispered is preference for eny one that is against U.S.A ,america sistem is for them oppression&unjustice,,and the young brainwashed here in british soil,,are the some.
Im jewish Israeli,,
and ask myself way the arabs Palestinians no building schools and universities,,and start to have one or two kids × family ???and stop to used womens like factories of jihadis, maybe after, will have others view and partners for peace.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Jorge Toer

Rightly or wrongly, many schools in Gaza have been damaged by recent Israeli airstrikes – Save the Children put the number at fifty.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

Undoubtedly. What’s your point? That Israel should avoid going after Hamas if they use children as shields?
What do you think would be best for the children of Gaza? To continue to suffer every time Hamas attacks Israel and Israel defends itself? Why are you so willing to throw so many lives away?

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Robert Camplin
Robert Camplin
3 years ago

I take it you have not seen the photos put up by Israeli human rights groups showing Israeli soldiers propping Palestinian children on the front of their jeeps and using them as human shields?
Have we truly not moved beyond the myths and fantasies projected on defined enemies? Throughout human history the tales of evil deeds done by the ‘enemy’ have existed, i.e. they ate children; they cut the eyes out of living babies, you know, that sort of thing.
Sticking to facts works better than trying to demonise people, particularly when the people you are demonising have every right to resist their occupiers.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Camplin

The facts are that Hamas uses civilians as human shields. It’s not a myth.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago
Reply to  Jorge Toer

They won’t do those things because their religion, which they can neither leave nor even question, has kept them back in the 7th century AD. Also, they are often endogamous, with frequent cousin marriage, which leads to a number of hereditary conditions and sometimes lower IQ. Lastly, they focus their attention on hating Jews and wanting to destroy Israel. All these factors prevent them from making progress and developing a modern economy.
Am Yisrael Chai! Genesis 12:3 , Zechariah 2:8, and Psalm 17:8.

Anna Clare Bryson
Anna Clare Bryson
3 years ago

It’s often been pointed out that in every period antisemitism has taken the form of figuring the Jews as the people who characteristically stand in the way of the right and proper, or the current ideal of a good society. As ideals changed, antisemitism metamorphosed. So once the Jews were perceived as a threat to the ideal and functioning of a true Christian society, as essence of cruelty, treachery and greed, but in the modern age they became identified with evil capitalism (for leftist antisemites) or alternatively godless communism (for the rightwing antisemites). For ultra-nationalists they were and in some countries still are notoriously viewed as an alien, foreign element, undermining the purity and destiny of the people. For the modern left (those who are, shall we say, overenthusiastic anti-zionists), on the contrary, the Jews – Israel – are regarded as the complete essence of ethno-nationalism, militarism, racism…which is no surprise even before you consider the real situation, because much of the modern left has in recent decades become much more hostile to the nation state, national feeling, the ethno-group, than it used to be. Meanwhile, those who see “Zionism” – just one of the world’s very many small-nation national projects, as a sort of global ideological threat on a level with such abstractions as militarism, capitalism, imperialism…are – often unknowingly, continuing the poisonous legacy of Stalinism.
Even when people on the left loudly – and in many cases sincerely – protest that their opposition to Israel is not antisemitic, they are actually saturated with the mental habits of centuries. There are masses of ethno-religious and territorial conflicts all over the world, some very longstanding, some much more lethal in fatalities than Israel/Palestine, but none of them have, for “nice” westerners, the same kind of irresistible moral “romance” and moral “buzz” of antizionism.

Last edited 3 years ago by Anna Clare Bryson
m pathy
m pathy
3 years ago

Absolutely. Thank you for nailing it.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago

There are indeed masses of ethno-religious and territorial conflicts all over the world, but how many involve carving out an ever-expanding territory and populating it with people whose last links to that land were a thousand years ago or more?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

If Jordan, Egypt and Syria want want territory they lost after being defeated in a conflict they started in 1967, they can negotiate for it back, they do NOT automatically get it back. Egypt of course has already done so, getting the Sinai back in exchange for not attacking Israel. There will be no deals that do not guarantee the security of Israel. If more Palestinians want to die, rather than make a deal, so be it.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Brynjar Johansson
Brynjar Johansson
3 years ago

Quite right. Regardless of the religious aspect, there is something bitter and sad about a side that starts a fight (several times), gets their ass handed to them, and then complains incessantly about the outcome.

Robert Camplin
Robert Camplin
3 years ago

Jews are a religion, not a people. Jews comprise all races, for those who still believe in such labels, and hundreds of different nationalities.
Most Jews do not live in Zionist Israel and never will. In fact, many Jews, possibly most, lived safely in many countries during the Second World War.
Israel’s greatest threat is itself. Internally the orthodox Jews represent far more of a threat than Christian and Muslim Palestinians. And since most Israeli Jews are atheist and not really Jews, by any rabbinical definition, it is a pity they have not created one State where at least they would have the support of moderate Palestinian Muslims and Christians.
Israel is giving Judaism a bad name and increasingly, around the world, and even in the United States, Jews are distancing themselves from the Zionist entity. Perhaps worse, young Israelis are leaving, sickened by what Israel does to the Palestinians: they are returning to the lands their parents and grandparents left to colonise Palestine, mostly Russia and Germany.
Times change and if young Israeli ‘Jews’ have had enough of Israel then young Jews throughout the world will separate themselves from it at an even faster rate.
Perhaps the saddest part of all of this is that Israel has only become the pariah it is and committed the human rights atrocities and war crimes it has and does, because those who claim to be its friends have allowed and supported it in those actions.
A true friend would have called Israel to account long ago.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Camplin

Yes we can all see what a pariah Israel is. The Abraham accords spelled it out really well. Time to wake up, the world has left you and the Palestinians behind.

Robert Camplin
Robert Camplin
3 years ago

I meant in the real world, not countries which will accept payment to become pseudo-allies, or the US which has never been an honest broker on this travesty of justice.
The rest of the world, most of the planet, that world where the Abraham Accords are seen for the desperate propaganda that they are.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Camplin

It must be so hard to watch your dream slipping away. You have somehow missed the fact that Iran is now seen as the problem, even throughout the ME.
but you have oddly neglected to respond to my question as to the leader of the imaginary country Palestine in 1967. Who was that?

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Aron T
Aron T
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Camplin

Thank you for telling me-an atheist Jew-that my Jewish identity is about religion not peoplehood and that I just don’t realize it. Thank you for telling me—whose uncles, aunts and cousins were burnt in ovens, and whose parents and their families fled from Belgium, that most Jews lived “safely” in Europe during WW2. Your views just confirmed to me what pre-war Zionists knew all along – we can’t trust our safety in the hands of non Jews, most of whom are hateful and/or arrogant when it comes to Jews. Moreover you confirm we need our own country where we can fully develop our culture and decide for ourselves what it means to be a Jew, without having outsiders explain to us the meaning of our lives.
BTW just so you know the most atheist of Jews are still defined as Jews by the most Orthodox of rabbis. But that’s neither here nor there because the Orthodox definition does NOT actually determine who is a Jew under Israeli citizenship law. And if I feel Rabbis have too much influence in my country that’s my problem to solve not yours. Go fix your own country and stop worrying about mine, Because no matter you come from, I can assure you there are many awful problems that need solving.
Finally, thank you for pointing out that Jews are a multiracial people. thereby refuting the usual leftist canard that Jews are “white” which insults the hell out of me or the white supremecist view of Jews as an inferior race, Of course you totally conflate race with ethnicity and peoplehood, but that is just one more false take in your post.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
3 years ago

This is a fantastic and nuanced article.
Your point about mindless tribalism is all too familiar. Environmentalism is another example of note.
In the 1930s it was the Left who wanted to flatten the natural world in the name of progress, and in part because those who owned land and wanted it beautiful formed the capital class.
Today it has completely switched: it’s the Left who now find a sudden passion for the environment and many conservatives, who would have been gun-totting conservationists as recently as the 1970s, now dismissing all environmental data as the deranged fantasy of ideologues.
It makes me wonder whether anyone who decides to be part of one tribe or another, is capable of thinking clearly at all.

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
3 years ago

The purpose of joining a tribe is to stop having to think, to replace thinking with feeling.

Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Roman

True. There is a certain kind of thinking within a tribe, though – group-think.

Lindsay Gatward
Lindsay Gatward
3 years ago

It so seems like the aesthetic merit of conserving the environment is replaced by using it as a political weapon promising destruction at a remote and distant time if the correct politics is not followed in a mimic of religious zealotry of threats in the afterlife. Certainly the predicted Armageddon from global cooling/warming/change of the 60’s 70’s 80’s 90’s etc are all failed prophets but as per today predict far enough ahead to be safely retired or dead before the prediction expires.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Seeing as I’m on a roll today in terms of entirely fact based comments, I thought I’d share this previous ‘controversial’ comment for others to downvote at their leisure.

‘Although Jews, Christians and Muslims have long been found in the Palestine region ie the area that corresponds to the boundaries of modern Israel and the Palestinian territories, ‘indigenous’ Jews ceased to be a majority in the 4th Century

Christians were the majority thereafter until the end of the 11th Century and Muslims became the majority at the end of the 12th Century and remained so at least until the founding of Israel in the middle of last century, according to the records.

Prior to the rise of Zionism, in 1850, Palestine had around 350k inhabitants of which, at the most, 5% were Jewish.

A British survey in 1920, but a few years after the 1917 Balfour Declaration that seriously set the wheels in motion for the creation of the nation state of Israel, found that there were barely 700,000 residents in Palestine*, of which four fifths were Muslim with the remaining fifth being made up of Christians and Jews in roughly equal proportions.

*Compared to around 14m today, with just over 9m in Israel and around 5m in the Palestinian territories.

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

In 1968, when I was sixteen, I was saying to my older brother how much I admired the Israelis in that war. He said to me ‘Should we give England back to the Welsh?’ I still don’t have an answer to that.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

I don’t understand the analogy. How is it a retort to admiring the Israelis?

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Maybe O’Donnell’s older brother’s point is that admiration for the winner is less important than who has right on their side

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I think it probably has a tongue in cheek element.
The idea is, should we cede political control of land on the basis that some group lived there years ago – (how many years, maybe up to 1000 say) and therefor has some kind of moral right to it? If that is the principle, there could be a lot of land claims all over the world!

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Read your history

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago

Tell him that ‘ownership’ is irrelevant to notions of statehood. What defines a state is its legal and constitutional framework (and the freedom of those not accepting that to emigrate – which would make a single ‘world state’ of the leftists illegitimate), not who ‘orginally’ owned what. No-one ‘originally’ owned anything.
Ownership post-dates the formation of a legal dispensation. The concept is otherwise meaningless.

Last edited 3 years ago by Arnold Grutt
Janice Mermikli
Janice Mermikli
3 years ago

Neither do I, because the analogy is a foolish one.

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell
3 years ago

I’m what sense is the analogy foolish? When were Jewish people last in majority in Palestine? When were Britons last in majority in England?

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Christianity is Jewish and many people ignore that.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

So presumably Israel is really just a crypto-Christian theocratic state then?

Last edited 3 years ago by G Harris
Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Yes

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Certainly seems that way for some.

Might struggle a little to sell that one to the punters down at the Wailing Wall mind.

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell
2 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

According to many sources that I have read, the idea of a Jewish state first appeared among groups of Christian fundamentalists in England in the 19th century. It’s a complex story but well explained in: Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Sebag-Montefiore

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Yep, gradually starts to go down and yet no refutation, no comment just a disapproval of inconvenient facts.

Rather difficult to have respect for the opinions of people who do that quite frankly.

Robert Hope
Robert Hope
3 years ago

The Chinese century will suit the Left just fine, self censorship, no such thing as free speech cos you can’t shout fire in a cinema, everything cancelled but Party diktat. They will absolutely adore it

John Riordan
John Riordan
3 years ago

“Right-wing views in men tend to correlate with higher upper-body-mass and after the Six Day War Israel became a gym-bro’s dreams.”

Not the first time this silly trope gets included in an otherwise serious argument. It annoys me because it contains a natural corollary: people who are physically weaker tend to hold left-of-centre views, which surely has to be even more of an embarrassment if you’re going to be daft enough to want to make such comparisons.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Or, does higher upper-body mass imply a beer belly? Just curious…

John Riordan
John Riordan
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark H

Assuming you aren’t simply joking, the correlation involved is all about actual body strength, so no.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I was half-serious, but that’s an interesting answer, thanks!

Last edited 3 years ago by Mark H
Neil Colledge
Neil Colledge
3 years ago

I struggle to imagine how there could ever be any kind of lasting peace in the middle-east. Even were the world to move away from oil, and towards Elon Musk’s car batteries, the hatred remains, immovable, unforgiving & passed from generation to generation. The historical blame for much of this enmity must lie at the feet of the intransigent, warmongering monster who was Yasir Arafat. He was the worst possible choice as peacemaking negotiator, breaking his word time and time again. Also a major factor is the access to and supply of water, deals brokered over the Jordan/Yarmuk rivers being consistently broken by both sides. I suspect anybody finding themselves without fresh water in the midst of an Arab summer would not find it hard to understand why. The historic desire of many Arab peoples is for an Ouma (homeland) for all muslims stretching from Mauritania in the Atlantic – to Mindanao in the Pacific. Such a homeland would be a disaster for Isreal and they will never allow it. What is happening to Palestinians is appalling and many Israelis denounce the situation. Again the blame rests with Arafat for much of this. Because of his actions & attitude (even after decades have passed) Isreal is paranoid about every Palestinian citizen (young and old). How on earth can such suspicion, bias, mistrust & pure hatred ever be extinguished? It is the great tragedy of human affairs.

David Owsley
David Owsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Colledge

“How on earth can such suspicion, bias, mistrust & pure hatred ever be extinguished?”
This works both ways; from the Israelis it is a genuine fear for safety. From the Palestinians it is because they hate Jews.

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago
Reply to  David Owsley

That seems rather reductive.
Middle Eastern Jews and Middle Eastern Arabs often hated each other before Israel ever existed in modern time. As is often the case in those kinds of scenarios.
And to suggest that there are no real fears that Palestinians have around the actions of Israel, is simply untrue as well.

David Owsley
David Owsley
3 years ago

Yes, you’re correct but unfortunately any debate I have – within a few sentences – reveals my words to be more than true; yes, this is my opinion and experience and you are right, especially the middle paragraph. Plus I know I am generalising re all Palestinians etc. Admonishment accepted.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Neil Colledge

“I struggle to imagine how there could ever be any kind of lasting peace in the middle-east.”
I might have agreed prior to the Abraham accords but there has been a very obvious shift in the relationship between Israel and other Muslim countries, many of which now fear Iran and see Israel as a potential security ally. If you were in a Muslim country, and Iran attacked, you’d be very happy to have Israeli security and military assistance. The Palestinians have been relegated to an irritant rather than a major ME issue. That’s why Hamas chose this moment to lob rockets at Israel.
But there is no going back for the ME to the days when the Palestinians controlled the entire ME narrative.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago