Your enemies enemies, not always your best alliesI would call myself a Marxist, of the libertarian variety, who has long supported the Palestinians' right to self-determination. However, there seems to be nothing positive in today's discourse on the Middle East, and on Israel in particular.
These days, your enemies enemies are certainly not always your best allies. Contemporary criticism of Israel by the left reveals more about the un-critical outlook of the left than it does about any possible solution to the Palestinian question.
Talk of 'Nazis', 'ZioNazis' or 'Zionist SS' only belittles and relatives the real Third Reich that tore Europe apart in the last century. It also serves to divert attention away from what's really happening and fails to see any fundamental changes that are taking place. For example, it's very popular to condemn President G. W. Bush for being 'the most pro-Israeli President ever'. But my assessment is that it is quite surprising how far this right-wing Republican Administration has gone to accommodate Palestinian concerns. Washington, of course finances and arms Israel, but Bush is the first President to commit America to supporting a Palestinian state. Bush has endorsed the Israeli withdrawal plan.
If anything, the Israeli military machine is less trigger happy now than it was in the past. In the past Israel engaged in full scale invasions like Lebanon in 1982, where Palestinian refugees were massacred. Today, Israel is more likely to opt for 'targeted assassinations' of Palestinian leaders.
Even the wall that Israel is building is seen by some on the left as a 'new form of occupation', rather than seeing the Israeli fence as part of fundamental changes that are taking place in the mindset of the ruling elite. For the first time, Israel has put security above any broader territorial ambitions it once had. The wall has put into question the historic distinction between the revisionists of the Likud Party and Labour Zionists. Lukid is basically writing off its territorial claims through the act of making this wall. The wall also offers a powerful physical recognition, of Palestinian territory. This is why even hard-right wing Israelis have serious reservations about the proposed wall.
In the West, the left no longer openly support the Palestinians right to self-determination, mainly because they are too preoccupied with bashing Israel. The Israeli state has long been viewed as an outpost of Western civilisation that is surrounded by violent, hostile Arab Muslims - this was Israels' strength not so long ago, now, that very same quality has become Israels' liability. The Western left seem comfortable only with wars fought under the banner of multilateral humanitarianism, unlike Israels' insistence on defending it's national sovereignty. So, the more Israel fights, the more it's actions are viewed as totally unfashionable
Today, Israels' critics have nothing progressive, liberal or liberating to argue for, in fact, it says more about the uncritical and defeatist attitudes in the West than it does about achieving peace in the Middle East.
Picture: Palestinian protest. BBC News