The Local Crank

Musings & Sardonic Commentary on Politics, Religion, Culture & Native American Issues. Bringing you the finest in radioactive screeds since 2002! "The Local Crank" newspaper column is distributed by Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.

My Photo
Location: Cleburne, Texas, United States

Just a simple Cherokee trial lawyer, Barkman has been forcing his opinions on others in print since, for reasons that passeth understanding, he was an unsuccessful candidate for state representative in 2002. His philosophy: "If people had wanted me to be nice, they should've voted for me."

Sunday, July 30, 2006

When Did This Happen?

AmericaBlog has a thoughtful post about morality and war as it relates to the current fighting in Lebanon. What caught my interest though were the bizarre, rabid, over-the-top comments made by readers (one actually referred to Israelis as "Jewzis" and said "Hitler would be proud" of them). So, my question is, when did American liberals become so virulently anti-Israel? The founding of Israel in 1948 was widely supported by progressives all over the world (including the Queen Mother of American Liberalism, Eleanor Roosevelt); the original state was even fairly socialist in its economic organization. Israel's enemies are certainly not "liberal" by any definition--they are either secular, violent and corrupt (such as the Fatah Party in the Palestinian Authority) or theocratic and as contemptuous of Americans and Christians as they are of Israel (Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, etc.). In all other respects, the Left in America is extremely wary of using code-words for racism, yet their most overblown rhetoric against Israel comes close to (and sometimes pole-vaults over) the line into anti-Semitism. So what's the story? When did knee-jerk opposition to Israel (as opposed to legitimate complaints about specific areas of Israeli policy) become such as defining feature of the American (and European) Left?

Labels: ,


Blogger Eric said...

The answer is when Israel ceased being the underdog and became the "bully" by invading Lebanon in 1980. Ever since then Israel's enemies have pursued the more productive approach of arguing for a Palestinian state (if you can't drive Israel into the sea, the next best thing is to cut it in half), and Israel's overwhelming advantage against the Palestinians and Hezbollah has made them look like Nazis to a generation of liberals too young and poorly read to put these events in their proper historical context. The irony is that the Baath parties of Syria and Iraq are and were the true descendents of Nazi ideology in the Middle East, and most Arabs of that region sided with Nazi Germany during WWII.

7/30/2006 10:30 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

That seems awfully simplistic, though. I just don't see the vast majority of liberals waking up one day circa 1980 and deciding to support the PLO just because Israel is too strong militarily to be defeated. Likely it's a combination of factors, probably also including the Religious Right's unflinching support (predicated on the Jews all being converted to Christianity during the End Times).

7/30/2006 10:42 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

That's a good point about the Religious Right. What I meant, though, is not that older liberals suddenly became anti-Israel in 1980, but that new generations of liberals who have come of age since then and haven't read the history of the region only know Israel as a "bully."

Plus, as sympathetic as I am to Israel's plight, even I have to admit that their tactics can be heavyhanded and counterproductive. This devastation in Lebanon is not going to destroy Hezbollah; it's only going to unite the Lebanese people more solidly than ever against Israel. In fact I think we will soon see a strengthening of Hezbollah's position in the Lebanese government. They knew exactly what they were doing, and Israel played right into their hands.

7/31/2006 7:27 AM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

I'm not so sure Hezbollah was that clever. I think they were trying to play the old game and the ferocity of the Israeli response caught them off guard. They have certainly rushed to take advantage of it, though.

7/31/2006 12:38 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Whether they intended it or not, Hezbollah will definitely gain in political strength. By making the whole of Lebanon their target instead of a more careful strategy that might have sought to isolate Hezbollah from the Lebanese people, Israel has just united everyone behind Hezbollah. It's sad. Like we have begun to accept in Iraq, there will ultimately be no military victory for us in the sense that we can never destroy all of the insurgents/terrorists. We have to pursue a political victory that will most effectively deflate the insurgency (the prospect of civil war is a separate issue I won't even touch). Israel had a golden opportunity to reach out to a new democracy on its border, and it's gone now. I think an international force providing a stable buffer zone is about the only viable option now. Get that useless force out of the Sinai and move it up there if we have to.

7/31/2006 5:24 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

Wait, there are STILL UN troops in the Sinai? Didn't the Israelis turn that back over to Egypt during the Carter Administration?

7/31/2006 8:44 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home