I had been thinking about writing a few words on why people on the left should be giving their support to Israel in it’s struggle with the fascists of Hezbollah and Hamas but when I started to sketch out the possible structure of such a post I realised how ludicrously pointless and offensive this debate on the left has become.
After all, for a discussion among leftists aimed at convincing those who disagree with a basic position of solidarity with Israel one should probably start with some sort of explanation for why the Jewish state has a right to exist.
But isn’t there something odd, indeed sick, about even having to make that case? Why, over 50 years after the successful foundation of a state by and for the survivors of the Nazi genocide of six million Jews, should any case for it’s ‘existence’ need to be made?
Is there any other nation state in the world that is discussed in such terms? And why bother with discussion with people who think that of all the states in the world only the Jewish one, Israel, should never have existed and therefore, logically, should cease to exist? And is there really any need to start to explain what the ending of Israel’s ‘right to exist’ would mean, in practical terms, for it’s citizens?
The post should then probably have gone on to explain why I think Israel has the right to defend itself. But again this seems too absurd to even bother with. Is there any other state in the world that is the subject of such discussion? What other country in the world, after being constantly bombed by a terrorist enemy (sponsored by a state whose leader has called for that country to be “wiped off the map”) would be urged not to respond and told to negotiate and compromise with that enemy?
In all probability I would then have gone on to argue that anti-fascists, with any sense of history and any guts at all, should naturally be on the side of those fighting back against violent and armed anti-semities who produce Nazi salutes at their parades. But does any anti-fascist really need convincing of this? Is there really a need to dust off the old line about how ‘peace won’t come by words alone?’
I could then have gone on to make a broader point, that a defeat for Islamist terorrists would be a positive development for all those, everywhere who are opposed to clerical fascism and a boost for those across the world who day-to-day face the threat of totalitarian political-religious movements and who prefer to live in free and tolerant societies. And of course, that the reverse would apply in the case of a victory of any kind for Hezbollah – that it would a major boost for Islamist supremacists globally and a blow for democrats.
But is there any serious supporter of democracy who really needs to be reminded of the historical lesson that fascism, or any other kind of violent reactionary movement, has never been stopped by appeasement?
I could then have ended my post by offering a reminder that a basic position of solidarity with Israel need never exclude criticism of tactics or strategy or specific acts carried out by it’s government or armed forces. But again that’s so obvious isn’t it? As is the point that basic solidarity with Israel need not take anything away from support for the creation of a Palestinian state.
And given the nature of this blog perhaps I would also be tempted to make some observations about the ‘leftism’ of those who chose to take to the streets this weekend marching with slogans such as “We are all Hezbollah” and “Victory Hezbollah” and whose newly bearded leader loudly proclaims his desire to ‘glorify’ the terrorists. But then does that really require comment?
After all, how many times have we pointed out that in the main struggles between forces of democracy and progress and those of totalitarianism and reaction, a large chunk of what claims to be the ‘radical left’ have simply crossed over to the other side?