In the West, while many centrist social democrats have been among the greatest friends of Israel and the Jewish people, the remainder of the left largely incorporated ideological hostilities reminiscent of the Soviet regime. When the “New Left” emerged in the 1960s, its libertarian suspicions of the repressive Soviet society didn’t prevent the adoption of a demonized view of Zionism straight out of the Soviet playbook; some of the movement’s graduates (in Germany, ironically) were even recruited by Palestinian terrorist groups to organize attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets. Meanwhile, in this century, the moderate centrist left, with some honorable exceptions, has been at best passive in the face of a virulent, Soviet-style campaign against “Zionism” that has involved boycotts, harassment and occasional violence not against the Israeli military or government, but directed at ordinary Jews in Western Europe, South Africa and North America.Let us now consider how s**t much of the Left is.
This recent past matters because the present figureheads of the left are either in denial about it or, in some cases, actually complicit in it. In the United States, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has spoken out against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, but he has never questioned whether a political movement whose core goal is to return Jews to the situation they faced in 1945 should be considered “progressive” in the first place. In France, the leader of the populist left, Jean-Luc Melenchon, is an enthusiastic advocate of boycotting Israel, declaring last week that the French Jewish leadership is composed of unpatriotic “communalists.” In Britain, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on one day offers an assurance that anti-Semitism has no place in a party that has recorded more than 300 internal anti-Semitic incidents since 2015; the next, he attends a Passover Seder organized by a radical Jewish group that proudly excludes any Jews with basic sympathies for Israel (i.e., most of them) from its events.
At that same Seder, a modified “Haggadah” invited guests to pause and “consider how s**t the State of Israel is.” Such puerile obscenities are, sadly, the price of being accepted as a Jew on the far left. But as relevant history demonstrates, that’s not an aberration of our own time, but entirely consistent with the established patterns of the past.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
The Left's Deft, Bereft Anti-Zionism
Ben Cohen unpacks it here: