OpinionIsrael at War

The racism of woke progressivism

The root of all modern-day evils for the new left is colonialism, and Israel is, they claim, a colonialist power.

A pro-Palestinian rally in Cambridge, Mass., on Oct. 10, 2023. Credit: Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.
A pro-Palestinian rally in Cambridge, Mass., on Oct. 10, 2023. Credit: Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.
Yisrael Medad
Yisrael Medad is a researcher, analyst and opinion commentator on political, cultural and media issues.

John J. Ray, writing in Political Psychology in 1984, postulated that “anti-authoritarian leftists and pro-authoritarian rightists are equally likely to be racists.” Moreover, based on further research, he suggested that:

“a Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not … they think they have the right to tell other people what to do.”

In other words, we are now in the age of a new racism. It has absorbed the old antisemitism but has mutated. Zionists are currently seen as well-poisoners—the stereotyped greedy, revengeful, somewhat cruel people who purposefully isolate themselves.

The new woke progressivism has assaulted language so perversely that I doubt even George Orwell would be up to the task of satirizing it. Terms such as “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid” and so on have simply gone through a complete redaction. Whereas the art of definition is normatively considered to act so as to avoid misinterpretation and vague notions or broad ideas, our linguistic revolutionaries corrupt our thinking by beclouding our notions of accepted concepts.

Journalist and author Bari Weiss, speaking at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention on Nov. 10, pointed out: “In lockstep, the social justice crowd—the crowd who has tried to convince us that words are violence—insisted that actual violence was actually a necessity. That the rape was resistance. That it was liberation.”

Here is Anne Boyer, who resigned as poetry editor of The New York Times Magazine in protest over the Gaza hostilities:

“It is an ongoing war against the people of Palestine, people who have resisted through decades of occupation, forced dislocation, deprivation, surveillance, siege, imprisonment and torture.”

The bon mot is but an emotive description that has no true factual or contextual basis and could be applied equally in measure to Israel’s population in its defense against Arab terror.

Educated and inculcated by professors and instructors trained in the New Marxism, a new generation of the left considers history as influenced mainly by mass killings, displacement and oppression. The root of modern-day evils for them is colonialism, and Israel is, they claim, a colonialist power. In their efforts over the decades to reach an arrangement of peace, the historical truth that Islam and the Arabs were the major colonialist force over the past hundreds of years in the Middle East, Africa, Far East and Europe was, to put it mildly, downplayed. It wasn’t nice to bring the subject up. Or that of Arab dominance in the slave trade. In fact, right at this moment, genocide, ethnic-cleansing and associated actions are being conducted by Arabs against black Africans in Darfur yet again, and no one of the woke progressives is protesting.

Israel is, for them, more evil, and that is the new racism. Zionists are “whites,” and they are “privileged.” To Tom Nichols, writing in The Atlantic, it is quite obvious: “Many students who think they’re protesting against Israeli policy are actually engaging in anti-Semitism, spewing hatred in a way that will change them as people and alter their lives.”

Perhaps the clearest example of the shapeshift from liberal humanistic values to inhuman immorality is that of people ripping off walls and poles the posters calling on people to engage in the release of Israelis and citizens of some 30 other countries abducted by Hamas on Oct. 7 and held in Gaza.

They smile and laugh while doing so. They curse at those berating them. They claim that they are only keeping their city clean while hundreds of other posters adorn the neighborhood or college campus.

As one young Israeli woman from South Africa who witnessed removals explained, the rippers were compelled to tear down the photos of innocents kidnapped because “it doesn’t fit the propaganda they’ve been feeding the world,” which denies the humanity of Jews and Israelis while painting them as monsters who oppress innocent Palestinians. She further explained that “every death and missing person we announce, it’s all ‘fake,’ and we’re ‘making it up,’” even though abundant evidence has been provided by the very same people who did the killings and kidnappings. There is Holocaust denial, and now, massacre denial.

Even an extreme Haaretz leftist, Uri Misgave, needed to ask why the liberal West is against Israel, leaving Misgav’s so-called “democratic camp” lonely and feeling “betrayed.” Pamela Paul, writing in The New York Times, insists that the most troubling characteristic of contemporary progressivism is that it is the application of purity tests, and they “are more likely than liberals to apply public censure to divergent views. This intolerance … [is] entirely antithetical to liberal values.”

Indeed, she continues, “progressives have increasingly supported forms of racial distinction and separation, and demanded equity in outcome rather than equality of opportunity … progressives seem increasingly wedded to an identitarian approach that emphasizes tribalism over the attainment of common ground … [resulting in] progressive efforts to shut down public discourse, disrupt speeches, tear down posters, censor students and deplatform those with whom they disagree.”

In this semi-religious rapturousness, progressives align themselves with the core element of classic antisemitism over the centuries: fixating on an “other” and making him/it the target of hate. Yet in a complete reverse of their concerns for justice, morality and humanity, they applaud those who act in contradiction of their presumed values and deprecate the Jews and Zionism, the Jewish national identity. In the illogical parallel otherworld of anti-Semites, we see the melding of white Christian Jew-hatred with woke progressivism all to further Islamism, the most violent, uncompromising anti-Western force of our times.

And there is an additional element of contradiction, which is the preponderance of Jewish youth—not seen since the Bolshevik revolution—engaged in this hatred that, as we have been witnessing, is engaged in physical acts to cause injury and damage, not just ideological victories.

Even a cause that has become near-sacred—that of women and the safeguarding of their bodies—has been ignored in our post-Oct. 7 world. There is no rationality anymore, it appears. Eve Barlow, that transplanted Scottish Jewess, expressed herself on X in response, texting: “I am inspired to coin a new thing. Please welcome the Susan. A Susan is defined as a white feminist who wraps up her antisemitism in a fetish for Islamist terrorism.”

Racism is less about the object of the discrimination and hate, and more about the perpetrators. Woke progressive racism of today is no less negative and evil than those forms of Jew-hatred of the Church and its Crusaders, Spanish racks and the German Ariernachweis certificate attesting to blood purity.

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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