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Pro-Palestinian or anti-Israel?

Why do leftists ignore true Palestinian suffering? 

Anti-Israel andpro-Palestinian demonstrators march through central London in support of the Hamas terrorist group, Oct. 14, 2023. Credit: Andy Soloman/Shutterstock
Anti-Israel andpro-Palestinian demonstrators march through central London in support of the Hamas terrorist group, Oct. 14, 2023. Credit: Andy Soloman/Shutterstock
James Sinkinson
James Sinkinson
James Sinkinson is president of Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), which publishes educational messages to correct lies and misperceptions about Israel and its relationship to the United States.

Those who claim to support the Palestinian Arabs in fact do precious little to help them. The plight of the Palestinians globally—such as the denial of civil rights by their own dictators, withholding of citizenship rights by other Arab nations and the murder of thousands of Palestinians by their Arab brethren—is largely ignored by Western leftists.

Where were demonstrations opposing the “occupation” of “Palestinian” lands when Jordan seized Judea and Samaria (aka “the West Bank”) and Egypt took over the Gaza Strip following Israel’s War of Independence in 1948? 

Where are groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today when both Palestinian dictatorships—the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria, and Hamas in Gaza—ruthlessly oppress their people, denying them virtually all basic human rights and civil liberties?

Do any “progressives” protest the treatment of Palestinians by Arab states, where they are denied citizenship, restricted from many professions and have repeatedly been massacred and deported? Do feminists or gay activists on college campuses rail against the mistreatment of women or the LGBTQ+ community by Palestinian rulers or Arab society generally? Why not?

The reality is, those who call themselves pro-Palestinian exclusively attack Israel—leveling false accusations against the world’s only Jewish state and the Middle East’s only democracy. Indeed, Israel is the region’s only nation where Arabs are granted not only citizenship and full equality under law, but also enjoy greater economic opportunity than most all other Arabs. Israel also provides significant material support to Palestinians who are not Israeli citizens—including healthcare, water, electricity, employment. 

Tragically, the only reason Palestinians get so much lip service (and not much more) from the Western left is precisely because they consider Israel—rather than Arab antagonists of the Palestinians—their archenemy. The cause of the hypocrisy is a perverse blend of neo-Marxism and classic antisemitism.

Leftists did not protest between 1948 and 1967 when Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria and Egypt ruled Gaza, even though the international community declined to recognize either annexation as legitimate. Neither Jordan nor Egypt even mentioned forming a Palestinian state, and in fact, not even the Palestinians demanded statehood from them. Curiously, it was only after the Six-Day War, when the Jews recaptured their ancient heartland in Judea and Samaria, that the Palestinians and the left screamed “occupation!” 

The Western left is almost completely silent about criminal human rights abuses committed by the Palestinian dictatorships. P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas is now in the 20th year of his four-year presidency, and he has cancelled “national” Palestinian elections since 2006. In both the P.A. and Gaza, Palestinians are denied free speech, a free press, women’s independence and virtually all other civil liberties. Corruption in both dictatorships is rampant, and arbitrary arrest and torture are commonplace. 

Members of the LGBTQ+ community are ruthlessly persecuted and murdered. Yet leftist groups like Queers Against Israeli Apartheid ignore these outrages, and hypocritically criticize Israel—the only nation in the region where LGBTQ+ rights are respected. What explains this hypocrisy?

“Pro-Palestinian” leftists pay virtually no attention to how Palestinians are treated in other Arab states. Palestinians in most Arab states have no citizenship or rights of any kind. In Lebanon, Palestinians are banned from 39 professions and confined to squalid refugee camps.

It also seems not to faze progressives that Arab states have frequently subjected Palestinians to massacres and mass deportations. During the 1970-71 Black September revolt in Jordan, for example, the Hashemite regime killed 15,000 Palestinians and expelled 20,000. After the Gulf War in 1991, Kuwait expelled 200,000 Palestinians because the PLO supported Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. At least 4,000 Palestinians were killed during the Syrian civil war. None of this stirred protest among the Western left, who only accuse Israel—with no basis in fact—of massacring and deporting Palestinians. Why the inconsistency?

Focus on the Palestinians’ conflict with Israel is rooted in neo-Marxist critical race theory (CRT), which sees the world divided between oppressors and the oppressed. Of course, since Jews in the United States and Israel have achieved notable success—and because Jews are supposedly “white people”—they are by definition oppressors. This, notwithstanding the fact that Jews are the most frequent victims of hate crimes, and that Jews have historically been persecuted for not being white. CRT also ignores the reality that most Jews in Israel are people of color, with origins in Africa and the Middle East. 

This CRT bias bars the progressive left from acknowledging the remarkable rights and prosperity enjoyed by Israel’s two million Arab citizens. Unlike Palestinians in other Arab states, Arab Israelis enjoy full civil rights and equal opportunity. Unlike Palestinians in Lebanon, for example, Israeli Arabs can aspire to any career they want. Indeed, Israeli Arabs comprise 30% of the country’s doctors and 50% of its pharmacists even though they make up only about 20% of Israel’s population. 

Moreover, Arab Israelis have achieved wide success in government—as Members of the Knesset, cabinet ministers and Supreme Court Justices. An Arab party was part of Israel’s previous coalition government. In a triumph of antisemitic double standards over hard reality, Western leftists have the chutzpah to accuse Israel of practicing apartheid.

Finally, Israel does more to improve the lives of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and Gaza than any other entity. Israel supplies both electricity and water to the P.A. and Gaza. Until Oct. 7, Israelis provided tens of thousands of jobs—and some five billion dollars in revenue—to Palestinian workers. Thousands of Palestinians receive medical treatment in Israel. Most pro-Palestinian groups—like SJP and CAIR—provide no social benefits to Palestinians, who suffer brutal oppression and poverty under the P.A. and Hamas dictatorships.  

In truth, Western leftists ignore real Palestinian suffering unless they can blame Israel for it. They were silent when “Palestinian” land was occupied by Egypt and Jordan. They ignore the maltreatment of Palestinians by their iron-fisted rulers. They overlook massacres, deportation and torture of Palestinians by fellow Arabs. Above all, they refuse to acknowledge the exemplary treatment Palestinian Arabs receive from the Jewish state. 

The “pro-Palestinians” among the “progressive” left are not pro-Palestinian at all. They are simply anti-Israel and antisemitic. 

Originally published by Facts and Logic about the Middle East.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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