For Victor Davis Hanson, “hating Israel is nothing more than an excuse for the West to hate itself.” | Photo: Playback / Twitter
After more than 3,000 rockets were fired by Hamas at Israel, the Democratic Party appears to be paralyzed, unsure of how to react to the latest conflict in the Middle East.
The party is not only afraid that “The Squad”, the Black Lives Matter, the Antifa riot troops and progressive institutions such as the academy and the press are explicitly anti-Israel. The party is terrified that anti-Israelism will become synonymous with anti-Semitism. In no time, it is possible that the Democratic Party will end up being as despised as the British Labor Party under Jeremy Corbyn.
The hard core of the Democratic Party, represented by MPs Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, has already questioned the patriotism of American Jews who support Israel, and even had to apologize for childishly anti-Semitic speeches.
The left in general believes that we must judge the past vehemently, without exception. Why, then, is he hypocritically sticking to a country born with the Holocaust, defending the enemies of Israel who stood alongside the Nazis in WWII?
I’m not just talking about the fact that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, is a Nazi sympathizer. Egypt, for example, took in ex-Nazis because they hated Jews and had military knowledge, including infamous physician Aribert Ferdinand Heim and SS officer Otto Skorzeny. Hamas’s declaration of principle appears to be taken from Hitler’s “My Struggle”.
The left says it stands for consensual government and believes the United States should use its diplomatic power to isolate autocracies. But the Palestinian National Authority and Hamas refuse to organize free and fair elections. If an Israeli official suspended free elections and governed by brutality, American aid would be stopped.
If history and democratic values are not enough to fully explain the left’s apparent hatred for Israel, perhaps human rights violations are. But then again, we have an example of radical asymmetry. Arab citizens of Israel enjoy far greater constitutional protections than Arabs living under the Palestinian National Authority or Hamas.
Does the left care about Hamas allies? After all, most of them are made up of autocracies like Iran and North Korea.
So, we come back to other reasons for progressives’ contempt for Israel.
In part, the Western left still despises those who succeed – as if they were the beneficiaries of an unfair privilege. Israel, the underdog, was not so hated between 1947 and 1967. At that time, it was poorer, more socialist, and more likely to be destroyed by its many nearby enemies.
However, after the victories of 1967 and 1973, the IDF proved invincible in the region, regardless of the size, wealth and armament of its many enemies.
On the left, Israel’s current strength, confidence and success shows that the country can no longer be seen as a victim, but as an oppressor. As the Iron Dome destroys Hamas rockets and planes destroy military installations from which rockets are launched, the left believes that Israel wins battles too easily and acts “with disproportionate force.”
The left also speaks of “imperialism” and “colonialism”. The general rule is that the West cannot occupy the East. But the reverse does not apply.
Millions of people from the Middle East are welcomed in Belgium, France, Germany, UK and USA. And the Jews have inhabited what is now Israel since the dawn of civilization. And the borders established in 1947 were only expanded after Israel was attacked and threatened with extinction.
The left says anti-Israelism has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. But it’s almost impossible today to make that distinction, as progressive criticism is obsessed with Israel, while ignoring much more powerful oppressions there.
Why are there no protests in major western cities condemning the Chinese government for imprisoning a million Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps? Why have the millions of former refugees around the world – the Volga Germans, the East Prussians, the Greek Cypriots – been forgotten, while the Palestinians are elated to be perpetually displaced?
Our official NATO ally Turkey has received few international reprimands for the way it treats the Kurds or for its growing intolerance of religious minorities. Why is Israel alone the victim of so much slander?
Hating Israel, a country under attack, does not only reflect the progressive and ethically bankrupt new left. It is also the symptom of a more serious pathology, that of moral equivalence, amoral relativism and self-hatred.
Hating Israel has become just an excuse for the West to hate itself.
Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
© Daily Show 2021. Published with permission. Original in English