-May 24, 2021
WHENEVER I discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with western Leftists who believe Israel is an illegitimate state, I’m shocked at their ignorance of basic historical facts. Most Leftists believe that before the 1947 UN Partition Plan for British Mandatory Palestine there was a country called Palestine inhabited by mostly Arab Muslim Palestinians, and that it was stolen by Jews emigrating from Europe.
I always ask Leftists why the Arabs of Palestine should be granted two states comprising the entirety of historic Palestine but the Jews of Palestine shouldn’t have a sliver of the land for themselves? Almost always, the Israel-haters will look confused. It’s new information for them to be told that Jordan was the first Arab state carved out of British Mandatory Palestine in 1921.
The 1947 UN Partition Plan involved creating a second state out of British Mandatory Palestine that again comprised mostly Arab Muslims and a minority of Arab Christians. There was also going to be a small Jewish state where there has been a Jewish presence long before Arabs left Arabia and spread Islam via the sword across the Middle East, north Africa and beyond. Israel rightly accepted this plan. The Arabs of Palestine and the wider Arab world rejected it, which led to the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli war.
Even if your average Leftist concedes that there was a Jewish presence in Palestine before the arrival of Arabs, he or she will assert that the current Arab population have been there longer than the majority of Jews who arrived from Europe or elsewhere over the last century. While the Jewish presence did grow significantly through inward migration to Palestine during the 19th and 20th century, it is also a fact that many of today’s Palestinians are themselves of immigrant stock, having arrived from other parts of the Arab world during the same period.
Palestinian leaders themselves have admitted that Palestinian nationalism is a recent invention and motivated by Arab imperialism that cannot countenance a tiny Jewish state in its midst. In 1977 senior PLO official Zahir Muhsein stated:
‘The Palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.’
More recently in 2012, the senior Hamas figure Fathi Hammad told Egypt’s Al Hekma TV: ‘Every Palestinian, in Gaza and throughout Palestine, can prove his Arab roots whether from Saudi Arabia, from Yemen or anywhere.’
If Arab migrants and the descendants of these Arab migrants within the region of Palestine are entitled to a Palestinian state, Jewish migrants and their descendants have an equal right to self-determination in a homeland of their own. Unless, of course, our Leftist fanatical Israel-haters are arguing that one set of migrants should be treated very differently because of their religion and ethnicity. In most cases I don’t think your average Leftist is making this argument. They are just ignorant of the complex history of the region, but at the same time worryingly incapable of accepting such facts when presented to them.
The most glaring double standard the Left applies to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is related to matters of defence. Hamas quite regularly fire rockets at Israeli civilians, but the Iron Dome anti-missile system is able effectively to deal with most rockets if the numbers are low. In these instances, Israel doesn’t retaliate and they rarely make the news. However, the recent large-scale rocket attacks initiated by Hamas against Israeli civilians did lead to deaths and casualties and so Israel responded. It is well established that Hamas launch their attacks from within densely populated civilian areas to maximise casualties resulting from retaliation for propaganda purposes. Under international law it is a war crime to use your civilian population in this way. Before they launch a retaliatory attack on a given building, the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) send text messages, make phone calls and drop leaflets warning civilians to flee. Their intention is not to harm civilians and they do all they can to avoid it. Hamas on the other hand intentionally target Israeli civilians. As tragic and upsetting as it is to see innocent Palestinians killed in a retaliatory airstrike, the Left ignore the fact that the IDF try to prevent it. They reserve their outrage for Israel and their compassion for the Palestinians. You will never see a western Leftist on a march protesting about the intentional killing of Israeli civilians. When you ask them how many Israeli citizens should Israel allow to die by ignoring sustained, large-scale rocket attacks, they either won’t answer you or will show their true colours by arguing that the Palestinians have been pushed into a corner and it’s inevitable they will fight back. The reason Hamas are not criticised to the same extent, or indeed not criticised at all, is because there is an underlying assumption by many people on the Left that as Israel is an ‘illegitimate state’ it deserves to be attacked and as such has no right to defend itself. Hamas, who have substantial support in Gaza and the West Bank, openly state that they want to eradicate all Jews in Israel. The Left like to proclaim their opposition to fascism and racism and calling anyone who disagrees with them Nazis yet they completely ignore the fact that Islamo-Fascism and a genocidal hatred of Jews is rife among many Palestinians. Were Israel to ignore this fact it would be suicide. Why would a people who were almost eradicated from the face of the earth less than a century ago not want to do all they can to protect themselves from a second Shoah?
When Leftists attend anti-Israeli demonstrations in the West and chant ‘From the river to the sea Palestine will be free’, they are regurgitating a genocidal Islamist slogan that refers to Israel being free of its Jews. This is not the slogan of a two-state solution supported by moderate Palestinians and Israelis.
Apart from the historical ignorance, there are other factors that motivate such visceral hatred towards Israel from the Left. Israel is a successful capitalist country and its largely Jewish population, one of the world’s most ancient and historically oppressed minority groups, reject Neo-Marxist identity politics and instead focus on hard work and being global leaders in many industries. Neo-Marxists and woke centrists don’t like minorities that refuse to participate in the intersectional oppression Olympics.
Israel is also a staunch ally of the United States, a state despised as a bastion of white supremacy and Islamophobia by the Left.
Finally, when they are attacked by Islamist terrorists the Israelis fight back. The Left and the biased western media can’t stand this. Unlike weak, supine western countries who prostrate themselves before radical Islam, Israel refuses to do so. Don’t the Israelis know that the politically correct response to terror attacks against your own civilians involves blaming yourself and people holding hands at candle-lit vigils while clutching teddy bears and belting out some anodyne song about love conquering hate? Sure, one day in some idealised future love may well conquer hate, but in the here and now it’s ineffective at neutralising a crazed Islamist on a stabbing spree or deflecting a rocket launched at a synagogue.