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June 10, 2015 12:38 pm

The Six Day War, and the Origin of the Left’s Hatred for Israel

avatar by Robert Liebman

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The iconic photograph of Israeli soldiers gazing at the Western Wall, in Jerusalem, for the first time in their lives, after entering the city as Israel beat the invading Arab armies in 1967. Photo: Israel Knesset.

The iconic photograph of Israeli soldiers gazing at the Western Wall, in Jerusalem, for the first time in their lives, after entering the city as Israel beat the invading Arab armies in 1967. Photo: Israel Knesset.

June 10, 1967, marked the end of the Six Day War and the beginning of the radical left’s hate affair with the Jewish State.

Although Israel neither welcomed nor wanted this conflict, the Left declared that Israel, not the invading Arabs, had been ‘militaristic,’ ‘colonialistic,’ and ‘fascistic.’

Was Israel really that bad, or was the Left biased, twisting or ignoring inconvenient facts to fit a prepackaged verdict – and has been biased ever since?

By 1967, Vietnam-war, civil-rights, and feminist protestors joined with hippies, yippies, flower-power pacifists, and not so pacifistic Hells Angels to form a vast anti-Establishment counterculture. The 1960s had become the Sixties. It was not the most rational of times.

Amorphous, anarchic, and contradictory, the movement nevertheless enjoyed basic principles and a single voice: America was Amerika. Revolution was imminent. Frantz Fanon’s Marxist anti-colonial Wretched of the Earth was the radicals’ book of the month.

Facts – such as who actually started the war, and why – were irrelevant. The left was Manichean, pitting the evil West against the good Third World. Israel – a western nation and ally of America – was on the wrong side. It was guilty on all counts.

But international conflict is not a team sport, using crooked umpires is not cricket, and these dodgy methods would result in the Palestinians being not winners but losers over the long term.

Militarism? If Egypt’s President Nasser had not blockaded the Straits of Tiran, replaced UN peacekeepers with his own troops, and allied with several Arab countries, the Six Day War would not have occurred. In 1967, Egypt was guilty of  militarism. The left pinned the rap on the wrong side.

Colonialism? After the 1948 war of independence, Egypt occupied Gaza and Jordan occupied and then annexed the West Bank, denying Israeli Jews access to Jerusalem’s holy sites. The left accepted these racist and illegal occupations. Colonialism can be committed only by Israel.

In the same month as the Six Day War, a Black Panther magazine waxed poetic: “We’re gonna piss on the Wailing Wall/…That will be ecstasy, killing every Jew we see in jewland.”

Radical leaders and the majority of the rank and file membership did not – dared not – censure the Panthers. These radicals similarly failed to criticize Arab threats to drive the Jews into the sea.

The Left seemingly did not care – may not have even noticed – that in its tacit acceptance of militarism, racism, and worse, it was subscribing to values it normally derided as repulsive.  The movement was progressive in name only. Had it looked in the mirror, it would have labelled itself “fascistic.”

Fast forward to the Camp David peace talks in 2000, which failed, according to the Left, because Israel was ungenerous. This was plausible, initially; the talks had not been minuted and details were lacking. But the left stuck to this position even after numerous first-hand accounts highlighted Yasser Arafat’s astonishing one-word vocabulary: “No.”

At Camp David Arafat “committed a crime against his own people.” A high-ranking Arab diplomat said that. The radical left refused to be so honest and frank.

In last summer’s Gaza fighting, Hamas fired thousands of rockets into civilian areas in Israel and, in the ensuing ground fighting, used human shields and positioned weapons in schools and hospitals. The Left – in a repeat of 1967 – put only Israel in the dock.

Gaza pales compared with Yarmouk, where Syrian soldiers and ISIS decapitators inflicted unspeakable horrors on Palestinian refugees – to no outcry from the Left. Israel was not involved in this catastrophe. If it had been, her critics would have gone ballistic.

This post-1967 anti-Israel left is propelled less by compassion than by anger – hatred of America and western capitalism in the Sixties, which was then redirected to Israel after the Vietnam War ended in the 1970s.

Despite the movement’s blatant moral and intellectual shortcomings, it admittedly enjoys considerable success. It has a large and loyal following, and in castigating Israel, it has been unified and consistent, a signal achievement considering that leftist movements are generally fractious and fragile.

And the Palestinians? They are still stateless, stuck in a hole they dug for themselves by their own obstinacy. But the left helped them dig it, encouraging the Palestinians in their demand for all of mandatory Palestine.

Israel is not going to disappear, or be disappeared.

Chaos now envelops the larger Middle East, with no end in sight. A peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is more remote, more elusive, than ever before.

The radical left is hardly alone in failing to foresee the Arab Spring and its horrendous consequences. But it is accountable for providing vacuous and dishonest cheerleading when the Palestinians needed wise and honest counsel. Now, with the broader Middle East in turmoil, it might be too late.

For nearly fifty years, the anti-Israel left has been committing crimes not just against Israel but against the Palestinians – and the entire peace process.

Robert Liebman is an American freelance journalist who lives in London, England.

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  • Pingback: The Six Day War: myths, facts and legalities | Anne's Opinions()

  • P. Nile Schwartz

    Everyone should read Jared Israel’s firsthand account of how the US federal government sabotaged and destroyed leftwing movements on college campuses using provocateurs like William Ayers, who then went on to indoctrinate others into anti civil rights bigotry, Jewhatred, and a rejection of rational, law-based discourse. “The Provocateur Exhumed”

  • United States official position on Jerusalem
    In 1990 the United States Senate adopted a resolution “acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital” and stating that it “strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city.” The subsequent Clinton Administration refused to characterize East Jerusalem as being under occupation and viewed it as a territory over which sovereignty was defined. Vice President Gore stated that the US viewed “united Jerusalem” as the capital of Israel. In light of this designation, the US has since abstained from Security Council resolutions which use language which construes East Jerusalem as forming part of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act which declared that Jerusalem should remain undivided and that it should be recognized as Israel’s capital.

  • Yale

    Placing the origins of the Left’s antipathy to Israel in 1967, and connecting it to Vietnam, identifies the real issue for the Left today: Admitting they have been wrong on Israel means they were wrong about America, wrong about Vietnam, wrong about just about everything.
    For a movement that regards itself as wiser, better educated, more intelligent, and more moral than those who disagree with it, acknowledging that they have been profoundly wrong challenges their very sense of self. Admitting they were wrong, and their opponents right, means those opponents were actually the wiser, more moral and better informed. Without those elements in their self-conception, the Left is nothing.

  • Michael Mulcahy

    The First Big Question: What is history? I would argue that it begins with a set of undisputable facts: This event happened. Afterwards things can get murky, with conflicting theories and ideologies and the secrecy that may or not be revealed at a later date. What we have seen is an outright denial of the objective FACT of constant Arab aggression. What can we expect, when the American educational system produces students who do not even know when the American Civil War, or even World War II, took place?

    The Second Big Question: Why are you a “leftist” or a “progressive” in the first place? Is it not to make the world and the people who inhabit it, better off in some fashion? This of course involves a moral judgement based on facts, not an ideology
    that denies “normalization.”

  • E lipke

    Didn’t you mean Jordan and not Egypt as occupying portions of the Jerusalem?

  • RobiMac

    No, Israel wasn’t that bad. They never were. Whenever they dealt with their Arab neighbors, it was because Yahweh told them to and He hasn’t told them to do anything since the Old Testament.

    As far as the sixties not being the most rational time, I shall add my own opinion to that one.

    We have gone so bloody far down the hill since then that we can’t even look up the hill to see where the sixties were.

    But, not to worry. Jesus is coming to claim His land that He holds the title deed to and all will be well with the world.


  • Steve Wenick


  • Frank Adam

    At least RL is honest about being an American living in Britain – a category to be taken with caution qv the authoritarians TS Eliot and H James and Brother fleeing “The Great Republic” for the deepest political Episcopalian conservatism available to Anglophones.
    To be radical(ised) is not necessarily to be “left” and the original mainspring of Left anti-Zionism and even Antisemitism is a long history of anti-clericalism and the clergy’s – all clerics of all denominations – tendency to authoritarian corruptions well illustrated by the boneheadedness of the current Israeli Chief Rabbinate, and not only the Israeli rabbinate. One should not forget either that Jews and Zionism have always been objected by right wing religious nationalists such as most Arabs; and that despite Communism, nationalism continues to be the a most important given and motivation in all nations’ politics.

    There is a failure to see and manage the motivations behind Socialism and Communism as the desire of the Wretched of the Earth – a title taken from the opening line of the Internationale: “Debout les damnes de la terre. Debout les forcats de la faim….” Preaching family business free market 18th century capitalism to those who are rack rented for their lodging and wonder where their next meal is coming from in a context of rigged electionds if any besides rigged “justice” just looks pompously uncomprehending unless you practice some pretty ruthless anti-trust measures and give the peasantry their holdings for modest ground rents.

    The irony in Americans of any sort grumbling about “the Left” and leftists is that the US remains the most brilliant fruit of the 18th century Enlightenment – the roots of “The Left”and with its anti-trust intentions aware of Adam Smiths criticisms of the bosses and owners. The US was the first to create a constitution of popular sovereignty, keeping clergy out of Government and spent its first century and a half denigrating and undermining right wing government namely the British and Spanish Empires. The French and Russian revolutions just followed in the US footsteps as did Bolivar and Latin America. The alternative is to return to kings by the grace of God and a strong right arm like the ibn Sauds.

    The “Sixties” was about repatriating this clean up and reinvigorating this revolutionary thinking as the Empires had disappeared by 1960 (excepting Portugal till the 70’s “First out and last back” like the Marines. The oddest blind eye of all was that while the US recognised Tito’s Yugoslavia was a nationalist enterprise as well as Communist and used its nationalism as part of containing Russian secular domination of Europe in which Communism was a useful red rag; it failed to do as much for Ho Chi Minh in Viet Nam, and went on to lose at least 4000 aircraft there – read as many million dollars besides similar again in other war expenses. If the LBJ government had been as sharp as Truman’s, they would have backed Ho Chi Minh’s succession to the French as they backed Indonesian independence, and made an anti-Peking grateful ally. Similarly the Arab objection to Israel does rest on the all American tripod of nationalist anti-imperialism which is why the US backed the Nasser government in its early years; religion and total sovereignty and independence -while the others of all stripes have to defer. You might not like all this but do consider it before spluttering in outrage: don’t get angry get even and the present BDS and other anti-Zionists will not be beaten unless we pull the theoretical rug under them that they are NOT LEFT but clerical right ancient regime medievals and not constructive of the way to Churchill’s… “broad sunlit uplands.”

    • Ilbert Phillips

      Frank Adams’s piece is totally irrational and clearly does not properly analyze the 60’s. I was a young man in the 60’s and rubbed shoulders with those who preached, “You cannot trust anyone over 30” as they raised the “Red Book” in praise of Mao as he murdered millions. They praised Castro, as he jailed and murdered his opponents. I remember when before the 60’s, many Jewish Americans were Communists until they discovered that Stalin hated Jews. The left in fact supported Israel until it discovered Israel had to modify its Marxist policies if its economy was going to survive. That great socialist experiment the Kibbutz caused additional anguish when that institution became more capitalistic to survive. The Arab objection to Israel is based upon their hatred of Jews, a hatred that uses any doctrine available to avoid discussing Arab hatred. It is not complicated. Who practices apartheid? The Palestinians in Gaza who make it clear that they will not allow any Jews to live in Gaza or will live in the West Bank when they develop a state there. Who kills Palestinian families and children? Hamas who fires thousands of rockets on Israel and then uses these families and children as human shields to increase the number of casualties. Who sought to eliminate the Jews in Israel? The Arab nations. They attacked Israel and lost every war so now they lie about Israel and hope the world will adopt their lies. Who is the only true democracy in the Middle East? Israel lets is Arab, Jewish and Christian populations flourish, unlike ISIS who decapitates Muslims, Christians and other Non-Muslims with relish.

      • Dee L.

        Ilbert Phillips gave one of the best short essays I have seen in a while. Says so much with so few paragraphs.

      • Terry Huffman


  • JohnWV

    Israel kills Palestinian families and children with American attack jets and white phosphorous. Israel jails Palestinians and Palestinian children cruelly and indefinitely. Israel defines itself as a Jewish state and, by supremacist apartheid enforcement, validates that definition. We Americans resist believing, or even comprehending, the horror. This June 18, 2012 excerpt from Times of India facilitates understanding of the Jewish state’s behavior.

    RABBI OVADIA Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is the former Chief Rabbi of Israel and the spiritual leader of the Shas party, Israels “kingmaker” party. In a sermon given on Saturday on laws concerning what non-Jews are permitted to do on Shabbat, Yosef said: “Goyim” [non-Jews] were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel. Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat.” According to Yosef, death has “no dominion” over non-Jews in Israel. “With gentiles, it will be like any person – they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money. This is his servant… That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew.”

    MENACHEM BEGIN “Our race is the Master Race. We Jews are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves.”

    • Naomi

      John WV – you have been fed lies. Have you bothered to check the sources properly? Anyone can say anything quoting anybody to advance their agenda. Go to the library and check the voracity of these supposed statement. No doubt you will find out there is no truth to them and you will realise they have been propagated by the enemies of the Jews, to fill the world with baseless hatred instead of infinite love.

      It requires a certain level of humility to acknowledge that others have the upper hand on morality – not because they are superior to anyone through being born Jewish but because by virtue of the given texts the Jews have the potential (and it doesn’t mean this potential is realised in every Jew – and it can be realised in a non-Jew if he bothered to look in) to reach ultimate spiritual heights here on earth.

      My advice to you is: Go and investigate the facts – with integrity, courage and humility. Truth demands this.

      • Terry Huffman

        Lovely you are.

    • zadimel

      JohnVW: I am requesting the actual published support for your obviously outrageous and apparently false statements. Prove me wrong.

    • James Sinkinson

      John WV’s quote attributed to Menachem Begin is bogus. You can research this and find that the misattribution began with an article by Amnon Kapeliouk in a “New Statesman” article in 1982. As for John’s accusation that Israel jails Palestinians and Palestinian children “cruelly and indefinitely,” this is simply a rant supported by no evidence. Like every Western country, Israel operates by rule of law in its own lands and by the rules of war with its enemies. In matters of war, Israel is demonstrably more humane and just than any other country on earth.

    • Steven Manus

      You’re quite the scholar, John. Thank you for your post. It reminds us all of the true feelings of the psychopathic Left, toward all things Jewish . . .

  • Lauren Goldman

    And there it is; no frills, just facts.

  • Mike P.

    Excellent analysis, Ronald.

    This NEEDS to be a book.

    I hope you’ll write it!

  • Isaac Haskiya

    The anti-Israel left has been so harmful that it should be treated like an enemy.

  • yehudi

    Let people know the truth. Al-Husseini, the British appointed Mufti of Jerusalem (1920) participated in the jihad Ottoman genocide of Armenians in 1915. He “played an active role” in the extermination of the Jews, being a good friend of Hitler and Eichmann living in Berlin during the war. He mentored Arafat and Abbas. See Maurice Perlman’s “The Mufti of Jerusalem” or
    The great question is how can these lefty Jews be turned back to the Torah? Is it possible?

  • Arthur Cohn

    This article is very true! Every point is well established. In the 1960’s many people who had been liberals, kept the appellation, but moved much further left to having communist social attitudes if not communist economic organization plans..


    The Six Day War was not the origin of the left’s hatred for Israel. Indeed Israel was the darling of the left thru the Yom Kippur War. What changed was Arafat’s ability to transform the perspective of the Israel-Arab struggle from one of the fight for Israel’s existence to one of Israel’s insatiable (according to the Arabs) quest for Arab land. The left has been naive enough to accept this Palestinian lie, mindlessly oblivious to the fact that a Palestinian victory would result in eight million dead Jews. But it should still be noted that Israel’s settlement policy has contributed to this fraudulent perspective because the left, esp. W Europe, has accepted that Israel is only about stealing Arab land.

    • NYgal

      Nonsense. The Left wasn’t naive; it was taking its cues from the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was a patron and a supplier of both arms and advisors to Egypt, Syria and Iraq.

      Egypt deliberately proceeded to the war. Week after week we watched on TV in the Communist Poland as Egyptian soldiers waited on the border, combat ready, for attack orders, after Egypt Kicked out the UN forces. And we saw Israeli farmers working fields armed, in case they were attacked. There was a report of the Egypt’s blockade of Aqaba and acknowledged that it was an act of war.

      When the war finally started, for days We were told of the glorious Arab armies marching into Israel, only hours from pushing the Jews into sea, as Nasser promised. And then suddenly we were informed that Israel attacked its Arab neighbors
      in a sneaky, unprovoked attack and without provocation. To the amazement of the citizenry, at least those who did not listen to Radio Free Europe, we woke up to find out that the Arab Armies were not in Tel Aviv, but were badly beaten, with Egypt loosing all of Sinai, Syria, Golan Hights and Jordan, the called West Bank, which they occupied illegally since 1948.

      Moscow didn’t like to loose and so the anti-Zionist rallies commenced in all Communist Block countries and diplomatic relations with Israel were severed. And since Moscow exerted influence on the Left in the West, little by little the narrative changed.
      As for the U.S., seeing Israel victorios and Israel being in anti-Soviet block ( not by Israel’s choice) made Israel attractive, after all, Israel turned to the U.S. The captured Soviet tanks and airplanes for inspection. For the first time The US had provided airplanes and other weapons to Israel.
      The only common denominator between Vietnam protests and anti-Israel movement is the Soviet Union.

      • NYgal

        Sorry, this got posted on its own, before I could proofread it.

        • Terry Huffman

          anyway, thanks.

  • Marshall Schwartz

    Actually, Arafat said more than ‘No’. When presented with a proposal that met 98 percent of his demands, he didn’t even bother with a counteroffer. Instead, he replied, “There are other considerations.” [I heard this from someone who was in the room at the time.]

  • Martin Bookspan

    Bravo! An honest, historically accurate exposition of the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel motivation of the scum of the earth…….

  • Fritz Kohlhaas


  • steven L

    Is the EU preparing their own anti-Israel BDS?

  • Ezra

    Dear Mr. Liebman,

    Thank you for your succinct and chronological summary of how the left has abused Israel with deceit and obfuscation, and the crimes they have and continue to commit against both against Israelis and Palestinians alike. So long as Palestinians do not or are unwilling to face realities, they will have no state and no peace because Israel is here to stay.

  • George Mason

    You certainly are omitting a large amount of information in this piece, mainly the events leading up to the Six Day War to make your case there, and the accusatory stance of the Likud government in 2014 to start the rocket fire, which was responded to disproportionately as quoted by almost every non-biased political scholar. You also omit the facts involving the “peace talks” with Arafat in 2000. All this (and more i’m sure) is rather ironic since you are accusing a political faction of bias against Israel, but “journalism” and unbridled jingoism for Israel from sources like this are the exact reason why the left can’t stand the Israeli governments atrocities, it’s not anti-Semitic, it’s not biased, it’s actually breaking free from bias like this piece that gets us so riled up. How can I support a nation that is being shoved in American’s faces as a beacon of morality and how they are threatened, when they do some much to provoke everything. It makes no sense.

    • Zack Margolies


      You gave not one shred of data to support your position. So tell me, if the Arabs had accepted the 1947 UN plan for partition and not attacked from all sides and from within to drive the Jews into the sea, wouldn’t there be the Arab State they say they want? The fact is they still want to drive the Jews into the sea and the facts for the last 66 years tell that story. This is not jingoism.