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The Reason Why

Cats flags up an excellent article by Melanie Phillips.

I must be getting Daily Mail in my anecdotage to have just typed that so I will now criticise it.

I can hardly disagree with Ms Phillips factually apart from on one thing (which I shall come to later) and she describes the opprobrium pored on Israel excellently but she doesn’t really explain it.

I shall try to remedy that and guess what? The one factual point I would dispute with Ms Phillips is the crux of my argument. Ms Phillips argues that no nation ever has been as vilified as Israel. She states that the hatred of apartheid era South Africa didn’t come close. I disagree. When I was a kid in the ’80s the RSA had the boot put into it a lot. I think it would be fair to say that the RSA was the most hated nation on the planet in my fourth form (for what that was ever worth). I always thought this peculiar and because I actually knew some details of the RSA I had some epic debates with my pals over it. This is typical:

Barney: The whites should go back to Holland and Britain, it’s not their country.

Nick: What about the mixed race ones then? And should a quarter of a billion Americans be “repatriated” to Europe and Africa. Anyway Dutch settlers have been in the RSA longer than some of the black tribes.

Barney: So who do you want to see in charge? Nelson Mandela or Botha the botter.

Now this exchange occurred over twenty years ago but my memory is crystal and that last line is verbatim and it triggers the exact same chain of thoughts it did then. The first is the “in charge” and the ludicrousness which I freely acknowledged at the time of two spotty Herberts in Gateshead opining on the leadership of a country half a world away. The second thought was related and was to do with the inevitability of the presidency of Mandela. Frankly that made me feel a bit queasy. If democracy means anything then it should never have that feeling of determinism. Frequently it hasn’t. We’ve all seen the famous picture of Harry Truman holding the newspaper haven’t we? But overall… Well, Barney was very Labour and I reckon you could have just as easily got him to march for the repeal of Section 28 (a truly bizarre law that banned the promotion of homosexuality) as for the rights of black South Africans so why did he use the word “botter”?

And that is the pivot point of my argument. “Botter” is (was?) a Geordie slur against male homosexuals. I guess you’d figured that out already but why did someone of such avowed “liberal” tendencies use that particular insult? And it was pure insult with – as far as I know – no basis in reality.

Let’s reel forward to about four years ago. I’m shopping in Newcastle with my wife and my Mum and I espy a “demo” at Grey’s Monument. Well my Mum can shop for England. Don’t get me wrong here – she’s not a spendthrift – indeed quite the reverse so my Mum had descended into the Hell that is TK Maxx to hunt bargains which is something she does with an eye like a rattlesnake and me and my wife were shopped out. So I went over to the demo and gave them a hint. They were flying flags of various favoured nations – Cuba, Venezuela, Palestine*. Well the imp of the perverse gripped me (primarily because I was having a pleasant smoke rather than ransacking the retail outlets of Tyneside in a manner not seen since my ancestors pitched up 1200 years before wearing horny hats) and I had to point out that they were flying the flag of Venezuela upside down. This amused my for it is a well known fact that you only fly a flag that way to indicate distress at sea. Anyway, my wife and I got chatting to a pleasant, intelligent, attractive Hippy Chick who was moderately amused by her error. I politely declined to purchase from her a CD of The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade Male Voice Choir singing “protest songs”. I just knew it wouldn’t be a “grower”.

Anyway, that conversation with that girl (and I liked her) crystallized something in my mind. The left as Ms Phillips argues does suffer cognitive dissonance. The left can march for any number of causes no matter how contradictory they are. My wife pointed out the Cuban flag and mentioned something about that country’s lamentable record on gay rights. The Hippy Chick acknowledged this and then made some comment about how Cuba was near “carbon neutral” as though not allowing the feeling of love with a hairy man’s ass and making petrol from sugar cane (which they only do because Russia dumped ‘em) in some obscure way cancel out. But what it really comes down to is this. No person or country is perfect. We all make excuses for people or countries we like and we do this purely because we like them. But if we don’t like them their “eccentricities” become things we mock or despise. I guess what I’m saying is that the left by having to metabolise these contradictions – and don’t get me wrong they are massive – can you imagine the outrage this Hamas supporting Hippy Chick would feel if she was told she had to live under Islamic sexual mores? Yet that was what she was not noticing. And I suspect it was the same as that conversation with Barney. We can ignore it because it won’t apply to us.

That viewpoint is implicitly racist. “Multiculturalism” in the lefty sense (I have no problem with it in the real sense – I suspect the global tourist industry would also be in real trouble if people did in general) is implicitly racist because it demands lower standards of behaviour from the wogs. That, ironically (for he is seen as a racist plus ultra), is the attitude that Kipling satirises so beautifully in his “Plain Tales From The Hills” where he pokes a lot of fun at wet-behind-the-ears colonial administrators.

And now, after much pointless muntering, I shall reveal why the left hates Israel. OK, there is some old skool Anti-Semitism** which is quite frankly completely barking but primarily the left hates Israel because Israel is a social democracy with a European standard of living and European mores. I mean there is a big gay scene in Tel Aviv. Is there in Damascus? I’m a happily married (to a woman) man and the only reason I keep banging on about the gay stuff is that it’s the left’s soft underbelly here (I possibly should have phrased that better – or maybe not). The same left that will raise Cain over FDMA will ignore the fact that in their chosen exemplar nations homosexuals are treated abysmally. But hey! So is everyone else so that’s OK! If I dare let myself be accused of sloganeering***, “The left desire equality and the right desire freedom”. As a libertarian I know these are not mutually exclusive. Anyway, the whole lefty slant on this hates Israel because…

Israel is not authentic. It is Europe on the edge of Asia. It is not a pet. It is a leftish social democracy that can stand on it’s own two feet and do the left not despise Israel for that? Israel doesn’t need Westerners telling them how to live (partially because they are Westerners) they require whatever hilarity Lock Mart or Boeing have in line. And yea Gods does that not annoy the Lefties! Why do you think the EU are so virulently contra Israel? Israel is an Asian state that is secular, democratic, economically, militarily and technologically powerful – almost European. And God Almighty do the left not hate them for that? The left hate Israel**** because it is successful. The left supported Israel in ’48 when a load of potless refugees pitched-up and played a blinder (The IAF’s first bombers were USAF surplus B-17s bought on the sly. They had been decommissioned and had the guns removed so the fairings were covered in plaster for they were supposed to become airliners yet they still bombed Cairo on their delivery flight from the USA – that is profound class if you ask me). The left hates Israel because Israel works. The left you see always wants to “help” as it did with that flotilla of “aid ships” whereas Israel can just get on the horn to Lock-Mart and say, “We want a wing of F-16s to our spec and don’t mind the avionics because we can make them ourselves”. The left hates that. The left hates anyone who isn’t a victim or perceived as a victim because that means the left has no use. Forget the fact that the average Israeli woman of any religion is by any rational standard freer than in the neighbouring states because the left thinks she is oppressed in a way that she would not be in an Islamic state where she might “possess the secret of joy” and be sold as a womb in a tent. The left ignores this for an obvious reason: they are so “liberal” they surely can’t be wrong and the hijab is so “freeing”. The fact that the only reason Islamists created that myth is that Muhammad quite simply couldn’t keep his cock within his robe escapes them for it is a non-Western religion and therefore clearly “spiritually worthwhile” despite the fact there is, by free admission, no element of “spirituality” within this most judicial of religions (I’ll grant Sufism there but Sufis tend to get a rough ride in the Islamosphere). The fact it contains certain commandments such as enforced “charity” (zakat) that chime with the left doesn’t hinder.

Essentially Israel is seen as an enlightenment state and that is intrinsically evil. The Palestinians are seen as “romantic” in the Rousseau sense (the geezer who wrote in his “Confessions” about stealing the boots from a tramp and gloried in it) and the left is a product of romanticism. A Hamas operative blowing up a Tel Aviv Pizza Hut is more noble, and therefore more right, than an IDF Apache pilot unleashing Hellfire (AGM-114) on that chap who looked like Saruman. “Looked like” (past tense) being the operative. But you see the Palestinians get a bye on the merciless slaughter of civilians and Israel does not because Israel carries out targeted hits with deeply unromantic high-tech stuff which clearly makes them the bad ‘uns. That is the left’s fundamental intellectual failing. They will side with the perceived underdogs regardless of anything else. Why else did Hamas (in)famously refer to the suicide bomber as the Palestinian F-16? It is essentially a romantic notion and that is essentially an anti-Western notion. The left hates Israel (despite Israel being a social democracy) because it is of the West and of the Enlightenment and our left have so lost the plot that they despise themselves. Note Yvonne Ridley, note Robert Fisk and their complete abandonment of their own cultures when monstered by Muslims. Anti Israeli feeling in the West is merely the externalisation of their own anti-Western feeling. It’s almost that simple. It also, of course, fits in neatly with the bizarre post-colonial narrative that fails to blame the postly-colonised for anything because they are only natives and in some obscure way Islam jigs with it not just because it is non-Western (though that is a factor) but because like the left it seeks the micro-management of everything.

Israel is essentially seen by our left (most of it) as the only non-fellow traveller in the Mid-East and this despite it coming closest to their (pronounced) ideals. I would argue it is because it comes closest to their ideals but then I might risk tripping over Rousseau’s filched boots for.

It could be simpler though…

I just realised I might have wasted nigh on 2200 words here and that an actual explanation of this is much simpler. Or maybe not. I think I nailed it with the F-16. The Viper is a truly brilliant multi-role strike fighter.The newest version – the F-16I Sufa (Storm) is a serious piece of kit. The Viper is a beautiful aircraft but it is also hellishly effective. The left love Hamas and their ilk because they have bottle rockets and that is romantic whereas Israel has Gen 4.5 strike fighters (an F-16 canopy alone costs a million dollars) and that just isn’t to the lefty. I might see dinner in Venice with a beautiful woman romantic and the sight of a load of beardy blokes lobbing crappy rockets at a primary school in Sderot not but then I am neither unique or universal. I mean if that is the “resistance” then bring on the JDAMs if you ask me – nobody does ask me but no matter. That is not how they see the world. What is your dream set of wheels? Well, for me it’s ones that fold shortly after take-off but let’s be moderately realistic here and say a 911 (for the sake of argument). Not if you are of the left. If you are a true lefty (and remember that the chauffeur driven Zil is no longer an option) you aspire to ride a folding bike. You probably have – I dunno – a Honda Civic on the drive but that is only because the vicious capitalists don’t provide enough bus services and you feel righteously terrible about it. Something Indeed Must Be Done! We shall gloss over the fact that you probably don’t really want to ride the bus with the gobbing and puking proles. That’s the difference between me and you, lefty. I admit it and you don’t. You prefer to admire the lower orders from afar (apart from when you turn on them – which you do – frequently). Some of the stuff I have seen on the 192 through South Manchester… It turned the stomach of me so God knows what it would do to a Guardian reader.

Anyway, that is why I am nearly 2500 words into this nonsense. Because it is nonsense. Do we even know what the word “romantic” means any more? Now my vague understanding is that it means totally different things. If I were to be invited to a party and introduced myself as Squadron Leader Nick then I seriously suspect I wouldn’t be leaving alone. Except it isn’t entirely like that is it? The romanticism of the left is deeply contra progress. The aforementioned Hippy Chick would rather check out Abdul’s home made rocket launcher than let me take her to Heaven and back in the back seat of my Viper. Her loss I guess.

And that ultimately is what it is about. I want more next year than I had this year. The Lefties want less. But it is not a personal decision because it is a desire (a need) for less overall. The average lefty has a car but doesn’t want one or to put it bluntly thinks a world without personal motor vehicles is desirable as long as everyone is equally denied the “privilege” .

And fundamentally that is why they hate Israel. The Israelis had the temerity to not be “authentic”. They had the audacity to buy (or build) state of the art military kit, they had the sheer evils to import to the third world the ethics and methods of the first.

Ultimately the left hates Israel because the left hates itself. Because the left sees itself as needing to matter in a way that it quite simply doesn’t. I justify myself simply because I exist and that is enough for me but that is never enough for a left that needs, that demands work to the cause and that’s why they need you on board the MV Rachel Corrie. The left ultimately is defined by what they hate and not what they love. And that is why I am not one.

Not all the left, obviously.

Just a lot of them.

*Yes I know but I can’t caveat everything.
**A very common viewpoint is along the lines of, “The Yids and the Towelheads -just the same ain’t they” – so a lot of Anti-Semitism is not specifically targeted at Jews. It’s just the hatred of “non-whites”.
***Is that a word. Chrome seems to think it ought to be “Mountaineering” or possibly “Domineering” which are both very different things.
****Not all of the left. There are some decent folks about.

11 Comments

  1. QM says:

    Bravo, a lengthy but satisfying swipe at the hypocritical left and oh so true.

  2. Bob F says:

    Excellent. Well done.

  3. A. Watson says:

    Excellent article. I was that lefty, in my teens, but then I grew up.

  4. Sam Duncan says:

    Yep, that’s pretty much it. They hate Israel for exactly the same reason they hate industry and commerce and, well, any real progress.

    Incidentally, when the filthy capitalists did provide enough buses, after that awful Thatcher woman deregulated them all, the Left decided it was all perfectly horrid and they should be properly regulated again.

    You can’t win with Leftists.

  5. RAB says:

    Excellent rant there Nick. Not much to add but see what you all think of this which I just came across. It’s a long read, but would this give Leftists the vapours, or What?

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/the-politically-incorrect-guide-to-ending-poverty/8134

  6. Matt says:

    Fast forward to last year and (strangly also in Gateshead) had a conversation along similar lines about Israel and Palestine.

    I think I am the only none leftie in the office and it seems to me that their logic differs from event to event to fit their world view.

    Their arguments are so simplistic are so easily shown to be flawed but they go on believing whatever the last artical in the Grauniad told them to,

  7. Lynne says:

    Nick, you were very generous giving the lefties so many words. I’d give them only two:

    Envious stupidity.

  8. Lynne says:

    In fact I could shrink those two words down to one. It begins with c and ends in unts. ‘Nuff said.

  9. TDK says:

    I think you have hit the main reason. The noble savage vs the visible success of Israel.

    But there’s a bit more.

    As you say in 1948 the left supported Israel. That support remained throughout the next two decades until the victory in 1967. It was policy for the CP during much of that time but the romance then was the Kibbutz movement. Besides Marxists of the Modernist era desired progress. It was only in the Post Modern era that progress came to be seen as bad.

    I was part of the Trotskyite left in the late 70s, early 80s. At that time the change from pro Israel to anti-Israel was in progress. All were sympathetic to the PLO but amongst the older people there was a residual affection for Israel. That wasn’t so for the younger people who were overwhelmingly sympathetic towards the Palestinians. Even so, this was a sympathy towards the PLO as a generally secular national liberation movement, not as an Islamic one. Islam never came up at all except as an exotic religion – some wanted to be in on an eastern religion but everyone else already did transcendental meditation, so this was relatively unknown.

    It was only during and after the Iranian revolution that Islam became better known. Of course you had to be against the Shah and the Ayatollah was the only show in town and given the ridicule that he invited you had to defend his revolution against racism in general and the USA in particular.

    And by then moral relativism in universities was common and so the idea that we might hold Islam to the same standards as the West couldn’t even be raised without accusations of racism.

  10. NickM says:

    TDK,
    Almost every revolution I can think of was broadly supported. Revolutions by their nature being against something rather than for something. Once the old lot are carted off then the real business starts and, unfortunately, it tends to be the nasty and the organised who seize power and their erstwhile allies have a tendency to come to stick ends. A lot of the Iranian left discovered this very rapidly after ’79.

    You are absolutely right that the old skool left desired material progress. This is why I never use the word “watermelons” in this context. Green is not the same thing repackaged.

  11. TDK says:

    Oddly enough, if you go back before Marx then you find a kind of proto Green Socialist. Much of the reaction to emerging industrialisation was centred around the idealisation of the rural society that was being replaced. It was a Conservative reaction and that can be seen most clearly in the later writings of Ruskin and Morris. But the idea is also visible in the utopian communities devised or set up by the likes of Robert Owen and Charles Fourier. Their models of utopia were invariably based upon a mainly agrarian village community. They wanted to restore feudalism. Call these Tory Socialists.

    These early socialists were reactionaries against the obvious progress that Capitalism had brought about. Marx’s contribution was to reject the ideal of regression in favour of progress beyond Capitalism. Nevertheless Socialism remained an idea for Philosopher Kings, which obviously has a strong appeal to Tories (in the old sense) such as Ruskin then and Monbiot today. I think it better to think of Monbiot, Prince Charles, Zac Goldsmith, Caroline Lucas as Tories first and Socialists second.

    So whilst I tend to agree that Green is not Marxism repackaged, I also recognise that there is an intertwined history. Greens are the descendants of Tory Socialism.

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