Brendan O’Neill quotes journalist John Pilger:
“Until the Palestinians are given back their rights we’re going to have instability throughout the Middle East,” declared John Pilger on ABC1’s Q&A last night. “That is central to everything.”
Yet, one of the most striking things about the uprising in Egypt was the lack of pro-Palestine placards. As Egypt-watcher Amr Hamzawy put it, in Tahrir Square and elsewhere there were no signs saying “death to Israel, America and global imperialism” or “together to free Palestine.” Instead, this revolt was about Egyptian people’s own freedom and living conditions.
Yet on the pro-Egypt demonstration in London on Saturday, there was a sea of Palestine placards. “Free Palestine,” they said, and “End the Israeli occupation.” The speakers had trouble getting the audience excited about events in Egypt, having to say on more than one occasion: “Come on London, you can shout louder than that!” Yet every mention of the word Palestine induced a kind of Pavlovian excitability among the attendees. They cheered when the P-word was uttered, chanting: “Free, free Palestine!”
This reveals something important about the Palestine issue. . . . [It] has become less important for Arabs and of the utmost symbolic importance for Western radicals at exactly the same time.
I’m not so sure O’Neill is right about the lack of anti-Israel sentiment among the Egyptian revolutionaries and elsewhere in the Arab world—I certainly hope so, but have seen several items pointing in the opposite direction. For example, USA Today reported that “the top leaders of the protest movement that toppled the regime of Hosni Mubarak” have demanded that the government cut off the flow of natural gas to Israel, on grounds that “the Zionist entity” is mistreating those same Palestinians. I’m not all that positive that USA Today or anyone else can clearly identify “the top leaders of the protest movement” so clearly at this point in time, but this report is surely grounds for serious concern about the attitude of the emerging Egyptian government toward Israel. And here is a very disturbing report about anti-Semitism in Tunisia. Again, I hope O’Neill is right about declining anti-Israel sentiment in the Arab world, but I have my doubts.
O’Neill is clearly correct, though, about his other point: the absolute centrality of the anti-Israel (“pro-Palestinian”) cause to the leftist movement throughout the western world.
While there are still many decent and well-meaning people on the left, this side of the political spectrum is increasingly populated by people who are utterly irrational and motivated by uncontrollable rage. Based on history and psychology, one would expect such people to be anti-Israel and often even outright anti-Semitic.
Obama’s association with the angry left has been one of his formative influences, and even if his expressed attitudes on Israel are not as extremely negative as some, it should be clear by now that he is no friend of that country. See Bookworm:
I’m so upset about what happened at the UN today (Feb 18), I can’t speak (or write). Hot Air explains what happened: after casting a veto against the Security Council’s vote on Israeli settlements, the U.S.’s Ambassador, Susan Rice, launched into a vitriolic attack that would have come easily from the lips of the Syrian or Iranian representative.
Read her whole post, which has a large number of comments.