October 30, 2012

Shindler's beef but where is the beef?

I keep seeing links to this article by Colin Shindler, lecturer - maybe a professor - at the School of Oriental and African Studies.  I suppose its a summary of his book, "Israel and the European Left: Between Solidarity and Delegitimization".  You can guess the content from the title and I already blogged about when Dave Osler read the book so you don't have to.  Anyway, the article is in the New York Times and is headlined, The European Left and Its Trouble With Jews and it doesn't even try to substantiate its claim.

Remember the title of the article. It's supposedly about the left. Now see this:
why do today’s European socialists identify with Islamists whose worldview is light-years removed from their own? In recent years, there has been an increased blurring of the distinction between Jew, Zionist and Israeli. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the militant group Hezbollah, famously commented: “If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice I do not say the Israeli.”
Ok, so even if the quote is accurate and it might be, what has that to do with the left? Now see this:
Ken Livingstone, a former newspaper editor and mayor of London, has a long history of insensitive remarks about Jews — from publishing a cartoon in 1982 of Menachem Begin, then Israel’s prime minister, in Gestapo uniform atop a pile of Palestinian skulls to likening a known Jewish reporter to “a concentration camp guard” 20 years later. Today, he contributes to Press TV, the English-language outlet for the Iranian government.
That's it? Yes, that's it. Where's the beef? Perhaps I should ask, what's the beef?
Sometimes the left distinguishes between vulnerable European Jews who have been persecuted and latter-day “Prussians” in Israel. Yet it is often forgotten that a majority of Israelis just happen to be Jews, who fear therefore that what begins with the delegitimization of the state will end with the delegitimization of the people.
But it's not leftists that conflate states with people.   Zionists and other racists do that.  Colin Shindler makes it easy to do that by glossing over or outright avoiding the facts of Israel's existence.  For example he likes Sartre because
He understood the legitimacy of Israel’s war for independence
Did he understand or acknowledge that the war was mostly a war on a civilian population? Did he know that it was a war of ethnic cleansing. I don't know and Shindler doesn't say. But if you avoid these facts then you might well make a case for "delegitimisation" of Israel being unreasonable but in his article, Colin Shindler hasn't even managed that.

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