Like so many other American Jews, what I’m feeling right now is anger. Of course, I feel that toward the barbaric jihadi terrorists and their Iranian masters. And, of course, I feel that for the anti-Semites at the United Nations who never fail to single out Israel for sanction, even now after such horrific attacks. And, of course, I feel that same anger toward the far right Neo-Nazis who have made no secret of their hatred for all Jews and who celebrate our victimization. The one that doesn’t get an “of course” is the American progressive left. Maybe it shouldn’t have, but that one caught a lot of us by surprise.
It’s clear now that while the Palestinian cause has been hijacked in the Middle East by terrorist death cults like Hamas and Hezbollah, it has been hijacked in America by those in the progressive movement who suffer from some poisonous mixture of ignorance, ideological blindness, and latent anti-Semitism (by which I mean they know nothing about the Middle East and its history, they hold the inane view that every conflict reduces to white colonialists oppressing virtuous people of color, and they just hate Jews). Now, here we are, witnessing a growing storm of hatred and violence toward Jews.
How can this be the response of our fellow Americans? Think about the fact that Pakistan is forcibly returning 1.7 million Afghan refugees to the clutches of the Taliban or that Russia slaughtered an estimated 200,000 Chechen Muslims or that Serbia committed an internationally recognized genocide against Bosnian Muslims or that China has disappeared or locked in concentration camps 1.3 million Muslim Uyghurs, all with no comparable reaction from America’s progressive left. They are not assaulted by mobs on the streets of New York. They do not have to barricade themselves inside college libraries or dining halls. They do not have their murdered friends and relatives mocked by BLM Chicago posters glorifying hang-gliding terrorists.
Why don’t these tragedies and many others like them cause outrage and calls for violence from American college students and young progressives? Are Palestinians more beloved than other Muslims? Is that why their suffering matters so much more? Clearly not. Otherwise, there would also have been outrage at the refusals of every other Middle Eastern country to take in their Palestinian brothers, just as there would have been when Hamas launched a murderous coup against their only political rival in Gaza, subjugating the rights of the Palestinian population for the next 16 years. Where was the outrage when Hamas endangered Palestinian civilians again and again by launching thousands of rockets at Israel from residential neighborhoods in Gaza? There was none, because they don’t love Palestinians. They just hate Jews.
Attacking Jewish college students is not a protest against Israeli government policies. It’s the exact same baseless hatred of Jews that led to the Holocaust. Setting aside that it is disgraceful and despicable behavior, I’m struck by the ignorance of the many anti-Semites masquerading as pro-Palestinian activists, and the dishonesty of those who knowingly incite them. These people consistently use the words genocide, occupation, colonization, and apartheid but none of them are appropriate.
- There is no Israeli “genocide” of Palestinians. In 1967, there were 400,000 Palestinians in Gaza. Today, there are more than 2 million.
- There is no Israeli “occupation” of Gaza. Israel left Gaza in 2005, handing it to the Palestinian Authority. Within a year, Gazans voted in Hamas.
- There is no “colonization” of Gaza, both because there are no Israelis in Gaza and because the Jewish people are indigenous to the area, living there at least 3,000 years ago, more than a millennia before either Christianity or Islam even existed.
- Israel is not an “apartheid” state. Israel’s 2.1 million Arabs citizens serve in every profession and as judges and members of the Knesset, all with the exact same rights as Jewish citizens. In apartheid South Africa, blacks were systematically banned from many professions and were deprived of even the right to vote. None of that is true in Israel.
America’s educational institutions and its progressive left have failed our young people, and not just educationally. They’ve been brainwashed into the idea that every problem in our world traces to the sins of white colonizers oppressing people of color. That argument, an absolutist and wildly simplistic binary of oppressor vs oppressed, colonizer vs colonized, is ridiculous. Yes, European colonization caused harm to many, but that was just one arbitrary period of time and one group of people out of the vast sea of humans’ history of causing harm to each other. What about the Ottomans’ colonization of the Middle East, or the Romans’? Why is it only British colonialism that matters to American progressives? And how can a country that’s more than 70% non-white and whose population is indigenous be considered white colonizers?
These facts should be compelling, but they aren’t. It is an unfortunate truth that once people embrace a belief, facts don’t change their minds. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that would welcome LGBTQ+ people or even tolerate their existence, yet the “Queers for Palestine” crowd is committed instead to supporting the same people who would gleefully toss them off the nearest rooftop. What’s worse, though, is cheering for terrorists who put babies in ovens and burn children alive. There are many among America’s progressive left who celebrate these attacks. What’s to be said about these people? They’re horrible. Who tears down posters of kidnapped six year old little girls and nine month old babies? That’s not about freeing Palestine. It’s just pathetic, horrible people reveling in the opportunity to act out the filth and rot that’s inside them.
In the Middle East, I don’t know where things will go from here. Maybe the current spasm of violence and bloodshed will be tamped back down, as it has in the past, or maybe it won’t. What I do know is that things are spiraling here in America. Without moral clarity and purposeful action from political, educational, corporate, and media leaders, things will get much worse.