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January 8, 2014 8:08 am
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Why do Leftists Attack the Only Liberal Country in the Middle East?

avatar by George Jochnowitz

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Tel Aviv's LGBT pride parade on June 7, 2013. Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv.

What is the most rightist doctrine in the world today? It has to be radical Islam. Islamists don’t allow women to go out of their houses alone, nor do they permit women to drive cars. Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by a member of Taliban for advocating education for girls, lists incident after incident describing the oppression of women in her book, “I Am Malala.”

Radical Islamists are also ferociously anti-homosexual. Homosexuality is a capital offense in nine Muslim countries: Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, parts of Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Liberals have fought for women’s rights and gay rights. To an extent, they have been succeeding in the Americas and in Europe. In the Middle East, however, the only country where gay rights exist is Israel. How have leftists reacted to this? Leftist gay-rights activist Sarah Schulman wrote a book saying that Israel is so bad that it does good things in order to deceive the world.

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There are various leftist and gay-rights groups that have decided to boycott Israel and Israeli academics.

The ASA (American Studies Association) voted to join the BDS Movement (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) in December of 2013.

The ASA is a leftist group fighting against liberal values. We tend to think of leftists as simply ultra-liberals.

This is a big mistake. Leftists are either Marxists or Marxist influenced. Marx looked forward to the day when everybody would think alike. Consequently, Marxist countries have always suppressed free speech. When the “higher stage of communism” will arrive, according to Marx, it will be “possible for me to do one thing to-day and another to-morrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming a hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic.” Then the state will wither away.

Nadine Gordimer made it clear that the left is not interested in freedom and other liberal values when she said, according to The New York Times on May 15, 2002: “I’m not a liberal, my dear. I’m a leftist.”

And so, leftists have decided to support ultra-rightists—radical Islamists. Radical Islamists hate Israel, and so groups like the ASA, and individuals like Sarah Schulman, have endorsed extreme anti-Israel policies—opposing Israel under all circumstances. Leftist groups that have passed BDS resolutions have never said that they would end their boycotts if Israel did X or Y or Z. The BDS Movement has no demands, and so its demands cannot be met.

While I was teaching at Hebei University in Baoding in 1984, dancing was legalized. That was how I learned it had previously been illegal. Malala Yousafzai, in her book, tells us about a girl named Shabana who was killed by the Taliban for dancing (pp. 147-48). The Taliban did not control the government and could not simply outlaw dancing, as Chairman Mao had done in China. And so they murdered girls who danced.

Dictators outlaw not only dancing but music. Ayatollah Khomeini banned western music in Iran. And in Marxist China, the same thing happened. It is no wonder that Marxist countries have formed alliances with Iran. And it is no wonder that leftists fight liberalism and join up with anti-woman, anti-gay, and – above all – anti-Israel countries. Marxism is a philosophy of the far right. It’s no wonder that the ASA voted to boycott Israel and Israelis.

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  • Ebenezer

    This article is much too defensive about “leftists.” Obviously the truth hurts the writer of the article, that the ugly and hypocritical anti-Zionist/antisemitc groups being discussed are in fact very definitely leftist, in fact the chief source of antisemitism in the West today is not the right wing at all, but the left wing. We are not allowed to say that leftists too can be fascists, or that it is no accident nor misnomer that the word “NAZI” referred to Nationalsozialismus, National Socialism, or that the full name of the Nazi Party was the National Socialist German Workers Party. As for Communism, it too ruthlessly and not coincidentally systematically massacred tens of millions of people in the countries it came to rule, and fomented world war. At present, still officially Communist China is a firm supporter of the most savage and inhumane states in the Middle East, sharing nuclear technology not only with its fellow-Communist monstrous state of North Korea but also with Pakistan, Iran, Syria (before its nuclear plant was fortunately bombed out of existence by Israel) and elsewhere.

    It is not just that the extremes meet, because the spectrum of ideologies actually extends in a circle. The key shared link is egalitarian statism. Both the left and far-right endorse state power, a power that reduces all individuals to the same dead level or else they are executed, egalitarianism gone mad. The road to that statism may be different, but the end-result of both groups is similar.

    I write, “the left and far-right,” because liberal-leftists are also statists, and are hostile in addition to Western tradition as such, for the “imperialist-capitalist” Western democracies permit genuine democratic differences, both autonomous group difference and individual difference, and still recognize individual and group responsibilities along with their rights. All that refutes the liberal left’s cultural and moral relativism. So, since the enemy of my enemy is my friend, they see a common cause in supporting the anti-Western totalitarian-authoritarian states of the world, those states brutally enforcing sameness on their own peoples. As liberal leftists plead, we must “negotiate” and “co-exist with” those statist powers regardless of their cruelties, rather than face down and confront them, for “really” we all want the same thing don’t we? And therefore the liberal leftists are oh so “understanding” of the mythic “anti-colonialist resistance” to “Western imperialism” embodied in the terrorist atrocities, hate-incitement and authoritarian violence of the Palestinians, while eagerly defaming the only decent state, and liberal democracy, in the Middle East, Israel. Israel, after all, is manifestly guilty of being a Western democracy, and even worse, of flaunting Jewish difference and autonomy.

    Wishful thinking, and pushing the real problems under the rug, are not the way to understanding and effective response. Three good studies of these matters are: Bernard Harrison, The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism: Jews, Israel, and Liberal Opinion (2006); Robin Shepherd, A State Beyond the Pale: Europe’s Problem with Israel (2009), and paul Berman, Terror and Liberalism (2004).

  • Gee

    The fact is that them claiming to be leftists or liberals is just that a claim. A claim without any foundation.

    The only thing they have is a hatred of Israel. Nothing else – they are Israelphobes. They don’t like Arabs or Muslims – just share a common hatred.

    Their actions prove that

    • Robert Davis

      They do claim something :Israel’s territory and pretend it is been stolen” from the … “palestinians”! Of course it is a political lie but as long as arabs will be in Judea/Samaria/Gaza they will keep telling lies to get these territories for the “palestinians” no matter how fake they are. The only way to stop this multi episodes story which could last another 100 years is to expel arabs to Eastern Palestine. All other plans are simply no solutions! Give them 1 they will ask for 2 and if they get 2 they will ask for 4 etc. it has no end!

  • Emanuel

    The worst part is they constantly accuse Israel and Jews of being leftists or Communists routinely forgetting there are actual Communist states and Totalitarian governments. And they all seem to love Iran and the Palestinian governments who have grossly more restrictive totalitarian policies. All the enemies of Israel can do is lie because they know the truth will not support their shameful claims.

    • Jim

      Amen!

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