The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Self-Inflicted ‘Oppression’

Posted on | October 14, 2023 | Comments Off on Self-Inflicted ‘Oppression’

When I first joined the staff of The Washington Times in 1998, our chief foreign correspondent was Marty Seiff. A native of Belfast, Marty had traveled the world, filing bylines from nearly 50 different countries, and had been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize. Whenever the subject of the Middle East came up — and it was during the Clinton years that the phrase “peace process” entered our vocabulary — Marty was fond of repeating Israeli diplomat Abba Eban’s quote about the Palestinians: “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” This quote sadly summarizes what the Palestinians have done to themselves in Gaza. Prior to 1967, this territory was claimed by Egypt until Gamel Nasser let himself be persuaded to blockade Israeli shipping through the Straits of Tiran, precipitating the Six-Day War.

The sequel of that war was Israel’s conquest not only of Gaza, but also the West Bank (previously controlled by Jordan) and the Golan Heights (previously part of Syria), and the prior possession of these territories was, in turn, a consequence of the 1948 war that established Israel as a nation. For 28 years before that war, the whole region had been governed by the British under a “mandate,” the result of Britain’s defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I. If anyone wants to denounce “colonialism” and “imperialism” vis-a-vis Israel, they’ll have to go all the way back to the Turkish conquest. All of this history I recount not merely to promote my old friend Marty’s book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East (although I’ll collect a small commission if you purchase that book through my Amazon Affiliate link), but because so many liberals (and even a few conservatives) seem to be confused about Gaza and the whole Israel situation in general.

Liberals make the same mistake about this situation that they make on every other issue: Having made an idol of “Equality,” liberals decide that members of a less-than-successful group are victims of “oppression,” and then accuse their more successful neighbors of perpetrating this oppression. Part of this is rooted in the natural tendency to sympathize with the underdog. Watching Star Wars, we naturally cheer when the scrappy Rebel Alliance scores a victory against the seemingly invincible Galactic Empire. In college football, we’re happy when the Top 10 team gets upset by an obscure and unranked opponent. Making such a sentimental attachment to underdogs a fundamental principle of politics (or foreign policy), however, is a formula for folly, and it is just this error that the Left has committed in regard to the Palestinians.

Examining the rhetoric spewed in support of the Palestinian cause, one is reminded of Orwell’s remark: “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”

Is it a coincidence that support for Hamas has flourished on our nation’s university campuses? The same campuses where socialist Bernie Sanders was viewed as an inerrant hero? The same campuses where “diversity” is practically a religion and Black Lives Matter enjoys cult-like reverence?

All of these manifestations of leftist beliefs in academia express the same crytpo-Marxist mentality in which (allegedly) “oppressed” people are endowed with complete moral authority as Heroic Martyrs, their putative victimhood endlessly recounted as an indictment of “the system.”

Victimhood has become a lucrative racket in academia. Consider how Ibram X. Kendi’s “Antiracism Research Center” at Boston University burned through tens of millions of dollars in less than three years and accomplished nothing. Kendi was telling guilt-ridden white liberals what they wanted to hear, that they were complicit in the oppression of black people, and they responded by giving him millions of dollars.

You know what’s really racist? Thinking that black people (or gay people, or any other allegedly “oppressed” people) are too stupid to figure out a good hustle. And certainly the Palestinians are clever that way.

How many billions of dollars in international aid have poured into Gaza since the Israelis pulled out in 2005 and Hamas took over? And what happened to all that “humanitarian assistance”? Do you think the leaders of Hamas are living in frugal poverty, sharing the suffering of their people? No, they’ve been living in comfort in Qatar.

Alas, facts mean nothing to liberals. It is their sentimental attachment to the Palestinians as victims of oppression that dictates their pro-Hamas sympathies. The liberal is always Mrs. Jellyby, devoting herself to the missionary work in Borrioboola-Gha. It is so much easier to sympathize with the downtrodden and disadvantaged when they’re far away, preferably on the other side of the world, because the nearer their proximity, the more difficult it is to view them as helpless victims.

Who is to blame for the atrocities Hamas committed in their recent attacks in Israel? How about the people who elected Hamas? Yes, that’s right — in their first legislative election, the people of Gaza voted for Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization, as their government. Everything that has happened since then is a consequence of that choice, for which the Palestinians in Gaza are wholly responsible.

How is it, then, that expressions of “solidarity” with Hamas, celebrating the “Palestinian resistance” (i.e., beheading babies), have suddenly proliferated on American university campuses?

As Israel mourns some 1,200 dead, prays for the release of more than 100 captives, reels from the worst day in its history, and mobilizes some 360,000 reservists, student activists and the international Left have mobilized to defend, apologize for, and appease evil. . . .
The toxic atmosphere of anti-Semitism has several sources. One is the corrupt university system. Fifty-one U.S. student groups have written a letter that concludes, “We support the resistance, we support the liberation movement, and we indisputably support the Uprising.” The president of NYU’s student bar association said that Israel’s “apartheid regime is the only one to blame” for the chaos. Thirty-one “Palestine Solidarity Groups” at Harvard University echoed her despicable sentiment. Swarthmore Students for Justice in Palestine said it “honors the martyrs” of Hamas. Graffiti writers scrawled “Long live the intifada” and “Israel is dead” on Stanford’s sidewalks. Students at George Washington University, one of the most expensive private institutions of higher learning in the country, held a “Vigil for the Martyrs of Palestine.” This is a small sample of dangerous student idiocy. A full catalogue would be endless.
Campus anti-Zionism and leftwing anti-Semitism are not new. The organizations behind the rallies and letters and social media posts have been around for a while. Democratic Socialists of America, Black Lives Matter, Students for Justice in Palestine, and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the United Kingdom have spent years preparing for this moment. What they have set in motion is stunning, nonetheless.

Guess who is not pleased with the pro-Hamas demonstrations?

“I have been asked by a number of CEOs if Harvard would release a list of the members of each of the Harvard organizations that have issued the letter assigning sole responsibility for Hamas’ heinous acts to Israel, so as to insure that none of us inadvertently hire any of their members,” [Bill] Ackman, the billionaire founder of hedge fund giant Pershing Square Capital Management, wrote on his X social media account on Tuesday.
“If, in fact, their members support the letter they have released, the names of the signatories should be made public so their views are publicly known.”
Ackman, a Harvard grad who has a net worth of $3.5 billion, added: “One should not be able to hide behind a corporate shield when issuing statements supporting the actions of terrorists, who, we now learn, have beheaded babies, among other inconceivably despicable acts.”

Many Harvard students have scrambled to distance themselves from the pro-Hamas statements issued by campus groups. Dana Pico remarks: “One would have thought that the extremely intelligent students who won admission to Hahvahd would have thought, ‘Hey, wait a minute, some of the most important business leaders in the biggest financial center in America, just might be Jewish or have family who are Jewish.’”

You think so? If you believe in a conspiracy theory of Jewish global domination, wouldn’t it behoove you to try to avoid offending those who (according to your own theory) control everything in the world?

But we should never expect sound logic from kooks.



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