Supporting Israel is a duty of the left

Left-wing people who are anti-Zionist are either fools or anti-Semites. To put it more politely, they are either taking a position on an issue that they do not understand or they are deliberately siding with haters.

It is not hard to see why many naïve people on the left are anti-Israel. Israel is successful and strong while the Palestinians are needy and weak. However, the view of the conflict as an Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only a fiction created by the anti-Israel lobby groups.

The conflict is not and has never been between Israel and the Palestinians.

The conflict started between the whole Arab world and Israel when the Arab world decided that the Jews, who have a continuous history in the Middle East of 3000 years, should not have their own independent state. This placed the Arab world, 50 times the population of Israel and 600 times its land mass, against the tiny Jewish state.

The size of Israel’s enemy has only expanded since then. The foes of Israel now comprise, in addition to the Arab world, practically all fifty Muslim countries, including the powerful Islamic Republic of Iran, and the majority of countries represented at the United Nations.

At the UN, most countries consistently and blindly support any anti-Israel resolution no matter how one-sided and ridiculous. As Abba Eban, Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1966 to 1974, said, “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions”.

The Israeli population, living on 1/7000th of the world’s land, is forced to defend itself against most of the world, a world whose population is 1000 times bigger than Israel’s.

Which left-wing people worth their salt would support the weaker side in such a lopsided conflict?

Many right-wing Zionists unfortunately encourage this absurdity by making macho claims that Israel won the war and can impose its will on the enemy. Seriously? Which will and which enemy?

In the Al-Aqsa metal detectors crisis of July 2017, many Zionists, including myself, said that under no conditions should the Israeli government compromise and take down the metal detectors. We said that Israel has every right to set the security rules at Temple Mount and that the opposition was simply irrational and driven by antisemitism. We said that any compromise amounted to appeasing terrorists.

Yet, despite the fact that Israel has the most right-wing government in its history, and despite the fact that most of the cabinet was strongly opposed to any compromise, in the end they found that they had no choice. Under pressure from its Arab neighbors and even from its only reliable ally, the United States (under Donald Trump, the champion of many right-wing Zionists), Israel was forced to eat humble pie and give in.

Reality trumps myth every time.

The absurd myth that Israel is an all-powerful force that can do what it wants when it wants is not far from the antisemitic myth that Jews control the world’s media and finances. It is nowhere close to reality, as every Jewish person knows.

The reality is that Israel has survived and thrived only because of very hard work by very determined and creative Jews and a little bit of luck. None of the victories that Israel won, on the battlefield or elsewhere, was a foregone conclusion, and anybody who understands the current situation knows that Israel is still under tremendous threat to its very existence.

As a left-wing person, my political beliefs leave me no choice but to support Israel. Since even before Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, Israel’s enemies have been trying to achieve what they call “justice for the Palestinians” at the expense of the national project of the badly outnumbered Jewish people. Any reasonable, knowledgeable, and non-antisemitic left-wing person cannot accept this.

If justice for the Palestinians is ever to be achieved, the immense and powerful coalition against Israel must first stand down and accept that Israel exists and is the Jewish state. This is the left-wing approach to the conflict.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports the Palestinians' right to self-determination in their own state. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere.
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