The Left is at a Low Point

Homosexuals enjoy more freedom in Israel than anywhere else in the Middle East. Homosexuals are a persecuted minority in Muslim-majority countries and in their communities throughout the world. Women enjoy more freedom in Israel than anywhere else in the Middle East. Women are second-class citizens in Muslim-majority countries and in their communities throughout the world.

The cause of these differences? Islam. Yet a certain brand of leftism adores Islam, especially the more fundamentalist species, while apparently finding nothing redeemable about Israel. Now they are defending anti-Semitic expressions uttered by Islamists. This is the fruit of identitarianism and it is paralyzing the worker movement. I publicly dissociate myself from this brand of leftism. For the record, I will not support any cause or vote for any politician who supports Islamism (and that includes mainstreaming propaganda terms like “Islamophobia”) or tolerates anti-Semitism. These are hateful ideologies and sentiments.

It’s not that there is nothing to criticize with respect to Israeli state policy, the structure of Israeli society, or the situation of Palestinians, especially the occupation. I have been a vigorous critic of all of these things all of my life. The problem is a worldview that carries at its heart loathing of Jews as a people. That insinuates, if not claims explicitly, that Jews possess such power that they steer world history while pulling the wool over western eyes. The problem is a worldview that finds it easy to condemn Christianity while celebrating Islam – condemning patriarchy and heterosexism in one while demanding toleration of patriarchy and heterosexism in the other.

Suspicion, confusion, and hypocrisy are not benign states of being. They feed popular anti-Semitism, which is the motive behind hate crimes throughout the West, are disruptive to working class politics, and destructive to the popular sense of human rights. Moreover, by tainting legitimate criticism of the many with the anti-Semitism of the few, they are counterproductive to the cause of Palestinians.

Over the last several decades, I have watched the trajectory that led so many leftists here. It tracks with the abandonment of real working class politics and the embrace of a multicultural worldview. Some feel like we’re in a moment of promise. But, really, we are at a low point. And low points feed the populist right.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

One thought on “The Left is at a Low Point”

  1. “Stories over the past few months have revealed that in fact the Israeli army pressures LGBTQ Palestinians into becoming informants against their friends and families by blackmailing them and threatening to expose their sexualities. This so-called gay-friendly state of Israel preys on the vulnerability of queer Palestinians, a vulnerability that many of us who live in “progressive” “human rights-friendly” countries still face.” Against the pinkwashing of Israel @AJEnglish https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/08/against-pinkwashing-israel-201489104543430313.html

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.