Last month’s ceasefire has given way to a disturbing postlude. Of that fact this readership, bulkily Anglo-Israeli, is vibratingly aware; for the overseas theatre that was the setting for the tragic scene is one that many of us call, or once called, ‘home.’
From New York to Hollywood, it seemed that wherever Jews could be identified as such, they have been waylaid in the streets by hostile and malevolent louts and losers who want them either on a gurney or in a coffin. “Death to Israel!” does not quite say two-state solution, and “Death to Jews!” does not resonate as a yearning for coexistence. Breaking status quos does not mean breaking noses, backs, and jaws.
As Jew-loathing materialized in medieval fashion across American and European cities, we were treated to perfunctory ‘tweets’ by Progressive leaders, who seemingly could not bear to bring themselves to a forthright and honest denunciation of anti-Semitism, but felt compelled to lamely couple it with statements against Islamophobia. I really must insist that those responsible for this recent spate of Islamophobia raise their voice some, for I didn’t quite catch their chants of “Death to Palestine” and “Death to Muslims.” This is akin to declaiming, after expressing due regret for the rise in anti-Uyghur aggression by China, against Sinophobia. (Since, AOC has come out with an unalloyed version of the tweet. Toda, but no toda).
These, you recall, are the selfsame Progressives who were explosive (as it were) in their wrath whenever anyone deigned to suggest that ‘Israel has a right to defend itself’ from Hamas, an unneighbourly neighbour if ever there was one.
The accusatory and exculpatory attitudes, applied to Israel and Hamas respectively, are inexorably related. The ceasefire may have put pause to the bombings and explosions, but these flare-ups against Jews are seen as its justifiable aftermath. “Sure,” this attitude seems to suggest, “no one should be given an extrajudicial public pummeling…then again” (how often these two words anticipate a moral compromise), “anyone who lent support to Israel in the recent contest is, at least, indirectly responsible for the ‘murder’ (casualties) and ‘ethnic cleansing’ (deeds dispute) of the oppressed (by Hamas) Gazans.”
This perspective—besides appearing to believe that Jews wear Kippahs on their heads to flag their support of Israel, in the manner that politicians wear pins on their lapels—emerges from a brilliant confusion between Israel on the one side, and just about every country by which it is begirded, on the other. N.B., this is not just conflation of Israel and her opposites, but confusion between. The confusion cannot be properly labeled ‘moral equivalency’ (to equalize Israel and its enemies would, for one, lend too much legitimacy to Israel), but is more of a moral inversion, a moral downside up, or (in metaphorical language an Israeli would understand) a moral flip-flop.
Too often, the Left appears not to recognize the difference between Israel, a country which endeavors—often at their own soldiers’ expense—to minimize civilian casualties; and Hamas, whose modus operandi is civilian casualties. Whether through knowing too little, or knowing only too well, Progressive apologists remain visibly unknowing to such distinctions. Rather, this state of affairs is presented as a state of unfairs between the booted and spurred Zionist and the saddled and ridden Palestinian, galloping to freedom. Wanton brutality can be countenanced so long as the noble cause is served.
It’s a shame (one might also append the suffix, -ful) that attacks on Jews merit brief or scant concern for Progressives, but an Israeli response against a bona fide terror state inspires righteous convulsions, and affords delicious opportunity for the public venting of moral shock, every time. You may oppose the method and manner of that response. You may agitate for a shift of Israeli policy. You may yearn for Palestinian statehood. But while you wave that punctilious finger in the direction of Israel, you’d be hypocritical not to shake a fiery fist in the direction of Hamas.
Whether you identify with the donkey or the elephant, Hamas remains an ogre. The group is negligent of every liberal norm that those who excuse them are fain to espouse. They condemn homosexuality. Feminism is a word not yet introduced to the Gazan lexicon. Extrajudicial killings and torture are preferred means of intimidation. They make use of civilians—yes, including their own— for their ultimate end, namely, a Judenrein Islamic State. This is a troupe more blackguardly than gallant. How revealing, then, and how disquieting to the conscience, that the most “liberal” faction of the Democratic Party is consistently the least critical of this most illiberal and fanatical program. And how puzzling it is that the party of the underdog refuses to adopt a certain breed: Jewish underdogs might be pounded, but never sheltered.