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.