23.4.07

The myth called Israeli left

Around the world, the word spreads that among the Zionists there are the good guys and the bad guys. We have grown accustomed to calling the first group The (dovish, peaceful intellectual ...) Left, and the second was accordingly named The (hawkish, radical, fanatic...) Right. And so the word spread that there are the good guys who work for justice and peace, and there are bad guys who are only interested in bloodshed and violence.
This has become a strong argument of many of Israel's supporters. Saying, for example, this government does not represent all Israelis, there are Israelis who want peace.
However, the idea of what a leftist movement really is usually escapes these arguments. The Left, should, in my modest understanding, present a way forward that is not built on intolerance and bigotry. The left should me more open to ideas that present a real alternative. More importantly, the left can only be called so if it puts matters of justice, equality, democracy, participation and human rights over and above all other considerations. The left should be the anti-thesis of all social and political forces which are based on intolerance and bigotry. It should be willing to fight these groups, in democratic means, in order to achieve these ideals.
That is why the left has come to be understood amongst progressive groups as good. Simply because all humans are viewed as equals and no matter of their differences.
My argument is that in Israel, no such movement exists. At least not at scale which can be called a movement.
The pride of Israel's propagandists who preach of its "Left" is Meretz. It is nonetheless a Zionist party which views all humans as equal in their status, beneath Jews- that is. Of course you will not find this argument in the party's literature which is full of arguments on peace and justice. But racism is not only to call an African American the N-word, it is a state of mind. Meretz's state of mind, allows its to believe that Jews have more rights to this land than other people who lived and continue to live there. This is really interesting considering the fact that they do not hold religious reasons behind their views, but rather historic reasons. So to them it is not the fact that God promised this land to Abraham's seed, but rather that the seed lived here. At the same time, other people who lived there do not have this right. That really is a strange reasoning coming from a secular party! If religious people cite a divine promise for their claims, then what can you call such secular claims other than racism?
look at the following words of Yossi Sarid for example "... Britain had made up its mind to fold up the flag of the empire ... the Yishuv must prepare for its real war of liberation, against the Arabs, and not waste its strength in a war against the rearguard of an imaginary enemy."
These words are a clear indication of the fact that his mentality, as that of his party and Zionism in general, is loaded with bigotry. So how can this mentality be considered to stem from a leftist progressive mind?

1 comment:

brady01 said...

Your post contains the inherent assumption that a Jewish state is necesarilly illiberal and undemocratic. By your logic, any Israeli who supports the fundamental concept behind their country is a right-winger.

The history of Jews in both the Christian and Islamic world underscores why Jews deserve at least partial control of their ancient homeland. While this idea, the basis of Zionism, is religion-conscious, it is not neccesarilly bigoted. Many Zionists, myself included also believe that many other races, religions, and ethnicities (such as Kurds, Tibetans, Palestinians to name a few) deserve their own homeland.

If you accept the concept that the Jews deserve a homeland, you must also accept the idea that while Israelis who are not Jewish should certainly enjoy equal rights, they are visitors in another people's homeland.

If you accept the concept that the Jews deserve a homeland, you must also accept the idea that a politician can be a liberal (someone who believes in human equality and dignity) while still supporting a homeland for the Jewish people.

The Israeli Left maintains its fidelity to both Zionism and Liberalism, while proving that these two political philosophies can coexist peacefully.