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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Who are the real leftists?

Dr. John Ray has posted my blog on Who are the Good Guys in the Middle East? at his blog, Dissecting Leftism. That's all to the good, and I hereby return the compliment. However, some things need to be clarified. I need to constantly point out to anti-Zionists who admire my criticism of Israel, as well as to Zionists who rebuke me for criticizing Israel, that I am a Zionist. I live in Israel. Equally, I need to point out to anti-Zionists who criticize me as a "Zionist reactionary" and to anti-progressives who admire my support for Israel that I am what they would call a "leftist" and what I would call a social progressive or social revolutionary. I would much rather agree with everyone, but apparently that's not in the cards.
Firstly, I do not think there is such a thing as "leftism." It is not a defined movement or coherent ideology. It cannot, for example, encompass BOTH Karl Marx with his vision of the inevitability of social change and class warfare on the one hand, based on his historical metanarrative, and also encompass postmodernists who insist that there is no metanarrative at all. "Leftism" becomes just a label that is applied to people whose political views one likes or does not like, and is not a key to understanding their beliefs about society.
Secondly, it seems to me that people who support reactionary medieval religious movements that advocate repression of women and murder of homosexuals cannot possibly be socially progressive or "leftist." There is no reason to give them that honor. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw that a group of US "leftists" had gotten together a petition asserting, among other things, that the US should not interfere with the repressive mullocracy of Afghanistan, which was allowing the Afghani people to exercise "self-determination" by repressing women and smashing Buddha statues. It is incredible that those British socialists and "liberals" who claim to be inheritors of the ideas of Karl Marx, or of John Maynard Keynes or Bernard Shaw, would demonstrate in London in support of Hassan Nassrallah, the mad dervish who leads the Hezbollah, which means, let us not forget, "the Party of God." What happened to "religion is the opiate of the people?" It is scarcely believable that the New York Times would write an article about "Liberal" Jews who oppose Israel, that includes among those "Liberals" a reactionary ultraorthodox rabbi, David Weiss, who traveled to Iran to kiss Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and attend a Holocaust denial conference with former Ku Klux Klan Wizard David Duke. Can these people be "leftists" or "liberals"?
It may embarrass Dr. Ray to find out that one of my other blogs is entitled ZioNation - Progessive Zionism & Israel, and that I do not think John Maynard Keynes' economics are any more incorrect than any other economic theory. In fact, he had some useful ideas.
If you are a reader of The New Republic or Front Page magazine or the New York Sun, it is a  perhaps embarrassing  fact, that Zionism is an inherently "leftist" social revolutionary movement. It is the only one of the nineteenth and twentieth century "isms" that succeeded.  Zionism is the god that did not fail. Zionism, like other social revolutionary movements, stems from the tradition of anti-authoritarian questioning that began, perhaps with people like Jan Hus and John Wycliffe, and evolved to the enlightenment and the French and American revolutions, and then evolved again to support the quest for social justice.
Oppressed people have often tried to stand up against their oppressors throughout history. Spartacus, who led the slave revolt in ancient Rome, probably had little ideology beyond the realization that it was not much fun being a gladiator or a slave. However, modern social movements were initiated by those who posited, in various ways, that the social order was not ordained by God, and that what is, is not necessarily what is correct or the will of God. The 2000 year exile and persecution of the Jews was the social condition that was questioned by Zionism, and that was upheld by religious anti-Zionists, who insisted that the Messiah must come before the Jews could seek any salvation. Almost all the founders of modern Zionism were what Dr. Ray would call "leftists," including Zeev Jabotinsky, who later founded the "right wing" revisionist movement.
Real "leftists" were long ago pushed into a corner by the followers of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Josef Dzugashvilli, who replaced the egalitarian socialist dream with the totalitarian USSR and Maoist nightmares. "Socialist" society "as implemented" had nothing to do with the original design. After the fall of the USSR, the "leftist" cause took another wrong turning, so that instead of supporting Fascist atheists, they find them supporting reactionary religious Fascist Islamists. Their ideas should not be mistaken for Leftism. Similarly, real Zionists should not let themselves be pushed off the stage by right wing Messianic Jews whose ideas have little or nothing to do with the original concept of Zionism.
Ami Isseroff

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


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