There is much else I would like to be writing about besides Israel, other kinds of writing I would like to be posting – and I’ll continue to try – but now is an urgent moment. One point I will make repeatedly is the necessity for liberal supporters of Israel to stand up against the mob, the Left-liberal mob, that has joined in spirit with the forces of illiberalism to find, as Yaacov Lozowick so aptly put it today: Israel, the Jew Among Nations.
Once, the sins of the far Left were abominable excesses in the name of truly liberal ideals. The Right, in the historic tendencies of the West, was easily marked and routinely identifiable. What liberal could mistake Franco or Hitler, though one might rationalize their significance and appease them? In the postcolonial era, however, the far Left has valorized theoretical victimization above the values of liberalism, to which the far Left has never truly adhered anyway, but now it drags liberals with it. Israeli Jews are recast as an imperial vanguard, a colonial vestige of a persistent evil, and some of the most repressive, anti-humanistic, illiberal societies and organizations in the world, because they can be ideologized as victims of Western neo-colonialism, are championed against Israel in the rejection of all that is enlightened and liberal.
No right thinking liberal, whatever criticisms that person might lodge against Israeli policy or tactics in its troubles, should be led to this fundamental error of allegiance in ideas and values. It is a watershed time for liberalism, and well-known liberals feel the pressure. At the Daily Kos, where defenders and bashers of Israel may both be found (though the latter, perhaps in greater number – it is not an easy time to be liberal defender of Israel) there are members calling for founder Markos Moulitsas to take the clear position himself that he has not declared.
Yesterday I linked to Eve Garrard at Normblog offering up what Nick Cohen is calling the bullet point defense of Israel – the extensive list of world national and political crimes and death tolls that far exceed anything anyone might consider true of Israel, but that receive less or even no genuine attention from the far Left and human rights NGOs in comparison.
Today, Cohen, with Norm Geras and others, one of the authors of the Euston Manifesto, gives us this Homage to Pilar Rahola, Spanish liberal, journalist, and MP. Rahola offers a resounding defense of Israel and why liberalism should be its defender. Offers Cohen as introduction:
There are more leftists than Conservatives might imagine who are astonished and horrified by the mainstream liberal-left’s indulgence of inquisitorial and anti-Enlightenment movements. Not many though are in prominent positions. Most keep their heads down for fear of being accused of “Zionism,” “Islamophobia,” “warmongering” or any of the other insults designed to stop people thinking and acting morally.
I was therefore delighted to be introduced to the writings of the Catalan politician Pilar Rahola.
She comes from an anti-fascist, anti-Francoist family, and speaks out clearly against the left’s support for the very forces her ancestors fought against.
Now here is Rahola:
Why don’t we see demonstrations against Islamic dictatorships in London , Paris , Barcelona ? Or demonstrations against the Burmese dictatorship? Why aren’t there demonstrations against the enslavement of millions of women who live without any legal protection? Why aren’t there demonstrations against the use of children as human bombs? Why has there been no leadership in support of the victims of Islamic dictatorship in Sudan ? Why is there never any outrage against the acts of terrorism committed against Israel ? Why is there no outcry by the European left against Islamic fanaticism?
Why don’t they defend Israel ‘s right to exist?
Why confuse support of the Palestinian cause with the defense of Palestinian terrorism?
They are only concerned with using the concept of Palestinian freedom as a weapon against Israeli freedom.
And finally, the million dollar question: Why is the left in Europe and around the world obsessed with the two most solid democracies, the United States and Israel, and not with the worst dictatorships on the planet? The two most solid democracies, who have suffered the bloodiest attacks of terrorism, and the left doesn’t care.
And then, to the concept of freedom. In every pro Palestinian European forum, I hear the left yelling with fervor: “We want freedom for the people!”
Not true. They are never concerned with freedom for the people of Syria , or Yemen , or Iran , or Sudan , or other such nations. And they are never preoccupied when Hammas destroys freedom for the Palestinians. They are only concerned with using the concept of Palestinian freedom as a weapon against Israeli freedom. The resulting consequence of these ideological pathologies is the manipulation of the press.
The international press does major damage when reporting on the question of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. On this topic they don’t inform, they propagandize.
In my native city of Barcelona , the city council decided to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel, by having a week of solidarity with the Palestinian people.
When reporting about Israel , the majority of journalists forget the reporter code of ethics. And so, any Israeli act of self-defense becomes a massacre, and any confrontation, genocide. So many stupid things have been written about Israel , that there aren’t any accusations left to level against her.
At the same time, this press never discusses Syrian and Iranian interference in propagating violence against Israel ; the indoctrination of children and the corruption of the Palestinians. And when reporting about victims, every Palestinian casualty is reported as tragedy and every Israeli victim is camouflaged, hidden or reported about with disdain.
And let me add on the topic of the Spanish left. Many are the examples that illustrate the anti-Americanism and anti-Israeli sentiments that define the Spanish left. For example, one of the leftist parties in Spain has just expelled one of its members for creating a pro-Israel website. I quote from the expulsion document: “Our friends are the people of Iran , Libya and Venezuela , oppressed by imperialism, and not a Nazi state like Israel .”
In another example, the socialist mayor of Campozuelos changed Shoah Day, commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, with Palestinian Nabka Day, which mourns the establishment of the State of Israel, thus showing contempt for the six million European Jews murdered in the Holocaust.
They kill us with cell phones hooked to satellites connected to the Middle Ages.
Or in my native city of Barcelona , the city council decided to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel, by having a week of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Thus, they invited Leila Khaled, a noted terrorist from the 70’s and current leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terrorist organization so described by the European Union, which promotes the use of bombs against Israel .
This politically correct way of thinking has even polluted the speeches of president Zapatero. His foreign policy falls within the lunatic left, and on issues of the Middle East , he is unequivocally pro Arab. I can assure you that in private, Zapatero places on Israel the blame for the conflict in the Middle East , and the policies of foreign minister Moratinos reflect this. The fact that Zapatero chose to wear a kafiah in the midst of the Lebanon conflict is no coincidence; it is a symbol.
Spain has suffered the worst terrorist attack in Europe and it is in the crosshairs of every Islamic terrorist organization. As I wrote before, they kill us with cell phones hooked to satellites connected to the Middle Ages.
And yet the Spanish left is the most anti Israeli in the world.
As a non-Jew, journalist and lefty, I have a triple moral duty with Israel , because if Israel is destroyed, liberty, modernity and culture will be destroyed too.
And then it says it is anti Israeli because of solidarity. This is the madness I want to denounce in this conference.
I am not Jewish. Ideologically I am left and by profession a journalist. Why am I not anti- Israeli like my colleagues? Because as a non-Jew I have the historical responsibility to fight against Jewish hatred and currently against the hatred for their historic homeland, Israel . To fight against anti-Semitism is not the duty of the Jews, it is the duty of the non-Jews.
As a journalist it is my duty to search for the truth beyond prejudice, lies and manipulations. The truth about Israel is not told. As a person from the left who loves progress, I am obligated to defend liberty, culture, civic education for children, coexistence and the laws that the Tablets of the Covenant made into universal principles.
Principles that Islamic fundamentalism systematically destroys. That is to say that as a non-Jew, journalist and lefty, I have a triple moral duty with Israel , because if Israel is destroyed, liberty, modernity and culture will be destroyed too.
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1 thought on “The Liberal Conscience”
Why aren’t there mass protests against…? Maybe because everyone knows it would do no good. The dictators in question don’t give a good goddamn whether people in London or New York protests them. Israel, at least to some extent, does. Thus change may result.
Personally I think everyone with any real influence in the region, from the Mullahs to the heads of state, are a bunch of children. Occasionally murderous, self-indulgent children, but children. And anyone who doesn’t acknowledge that both sides have failed to deliver anything approaching real moderation is lying to themselves, and everyone else.