The Chasm between the Left and the Jews
By David Forbes
Despite historic connections, the chasm between the Left wing movement and the Jewish people is growing both in Australia and internationally. Read many Left wing publications, just some examples being the New Matilda in Australia or the International Socialist Review, and one will read that Israel is a Western imposed, colonial, inherently racist and apartheid state with ethnic cleansing and genocidal aims. As an inherently illegitimate State, any acts of “self defence” from Israel are considered acts of aggression and hence any action against it is acceptable.
There is plenty of room for reasonable, balanced and even severe criticism of some of the actions of successive governments of Israel (and indeed of the Palestinian and Arab world leadership) in the management of the Israel/Palestine conflict. However, descriptions of the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict in Left wing publications are so myopic and the representations of the nature of Zionism so distorted, that it beggars belief that these accounts are investigated and reported with open-minded and genuine attempts at understanding the complexities of the conflict. To suggest so seems quite disingenuous. An example of the chasm between the Left and the Jews is that currently President Ahmadinejad of Iran can deny the Holocaust, cite the stranglehold of the Jews on international media and finance, describe the US as puppets of the Jews and call for the extermination of Israel while the Left wing press barely says a word.
What is far more interesting and curious, however, is that in these publications, the commentators then continue to challenge the Jewish mainstream definition of who the Jewish people are. The Jewish people are not, apparently, Semites with their identification being a complex interplay of relationships between peoplehood, the land, the religion and the culture- who have survived years of Diaspora since exile from Judea with this identity largely intact (with obvious natural and healthy idiosyncratic variations). No, apparently they are a European people, who falsely pretend to be descended from the ancient Judeans, Israelites and Hebrews, whose connection to the land of Israel is merely a post-Holocaust and Western colonial phenomenon. The arrogance of Western intellectuals actively challenging and re-defining the manner in which the Jewish people defines itself demonstrates a cultural colonialism one would have thought to be an anathema to the Left. However, on the Left, the spirit of Terra Nullius lives!
Each time Israel and the Palestinian Authority move toward mutual recognition, a mediated settlement and a future with less pain and suffering, rather than celebrating reconciliation, the rhetoric from the Left ramps up. Brave attempts by President Abbas to negotiate a mediated settlement and refuse to resort to violence are belittled as weakness and he as an Israeli puppet. In contrast, murderous threats by Hamas, accompanied by refusals to ever negotiate with Israel, are lauded as “resistance”. The Left whispering of sweet nothings in the ears of the Palestinians, de-legitimising the rights and aspirations of the Jewish people, seems intent on maintaining the conflict. In trying to understand the above, one comes to the conclusion that, for the Left wing movement, the Israel/Palestine conflict is the battleground for their international conflict with the United States. Hence, there is a vested interest in the maintenance of conflict and in viewing Israel through this lens (irrespective of the reality).
The sooner the Palestinians and Israelis recognise no good comes from de-legitimising the other and consequently throw off the influence of these dogs of war, the sooner there will be peace and prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians. The International Left (and Right) can then play out their deadly games of incitement in their own backyards.