For the record, in the wake of the escalating violence now in the Middle East. I associate myself with the superb column in this week’s Washington Post by Dana Milbank, entitled, “What a Lonely Time to Be a Jew in America.” He writes, “This is a frightening time to be a progressive Jew in America.” While “Jews as a group are among the most progressive in the United States,” Milbank quotes his rabbi, “People are filled with anguish. It’s become very, very lonely to be a progressive, Enlightenment-believing Jew.”
Milbank writes in this context that “the far left needs to be confronted about its morally empty attempts to draw an equivalence between the premeditated murders committed by Hamas terrorists and the military action of Israel as it tries to incapacitate the terrorists.” On the one hand, while “the demands for an unconditional cease-fire by Israel would leave the terrorists capable of repeating their attacks,” on the other, American Jews “can’t tolerate the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Gaza.” He calls for a “political and economic Marshall Plan for the Palestinian people” which is contrary to “attacking the Jewish state’s very existence” and setting off “an orgy of violence that and harassment directed at American Jews.”
I dare say if some kind of a resolution that affirms mutual concord and a two-state solution can be found, it would be a marked departure from the dominant history of western civilization since 1914, when prominent European leaders, all descendants of England’s Queen Victoria, chose vengeance and retribution as their preferred paths, and before the dust settled at the end of World War 2, over 200 million innocents were dead.
Referencing Milbank’s column, I thought of noting that I, myself, am not Jewish, but that is highly irrelevant. I am gay, and fashion myself to be a child of the Enlightenment as were our nation’s Founding Fathers and their revolutionary guiding principle that “all men (and women) are created equal.”
As racial and ethnic hatreds grow, they will extend to all of us who are not willing to cow-tow to the various brands of New Dark Age thinking that is hostile to rational thought and science, to expanding the opportunities for freedom and self-determination to wider and wider circles of humans and that do not insist that straight white males have a divine right to dictate what women can and cannot do with their bodies.
What is being thrust upon us in these dark times is truly pre-Enlightenment fierce butchery in the name of religion dating from an era before it was determined that the earth is round, no matter in whose name atrocities are espoused.
Hamas, of course is among the major perpetrators of this anti-intellectual counterrevolution, and it must be said that it is clearly obvious that it is a puppet not so much of Iran, but of Russia and its Hitlerian designs on Europe. The October 7 Hamas pogrom that killed 1,400 Jews in Israel was timed to disrupt the best efforts in the U.S. and the West to maintain the capacity to defeat the Russian military invasion of Ukraine and to defend the main of Europe in the process.
We are now seeing the effect of this as key pro-Russian assets in the U.S. Congress are insisting that the U.S. cannot afford to fund military efforts in Ukraine on top of helping Israel, even as President Biden rightly insists we must,
It comes as no surprise to this writer that the so-called “far left” in the U.S. is once again siding with the enemies of democracy in the U.S. as they threaten to abandon support for Biden in siding with Hamas, its invasion and ongoing atrocities against the Jewish people.
Like the lead-up to World War I, humanity’s enemies are now situated on both, or all, sides set to ignite the flames of a wider, horrible conflagration. They include Russia, Iran and Hamas on one side, and the bellicose Netanyahu government in Israel on the other.
In 2023, have we come any closer to averting yet another such unspeakably monstrous war? So far, not, I fear. But we must keep trying.