Entangled in self-righteousness, radical Left disappears

Posted: July 21, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Israel, Own Articles, Politics

Former MERETZ MK Zehava Gal'on

JUST RECENTLY, A colleague of mine, stopped by my office room and saw a small poster I printed out and hanged on my wall. Well, not a poster, really, just a picture, promoting a certain computer game. "How fascist," she exclaimed. During a small argument that ensued, she attempted to back her statement up, saying something to the effect of "fascism" is using arms to reach a certain goal. She knows, because she read it in books (which I certainly believe).

I may be wrong on this, but for me "fascism" is uniformed soldiers marching under swastikas. For many of my peers, I believe, the association is same. While fascism is an ideology, and is not confined to Nazi Germany, for many people this association is imminent.

In my opinion, the colleague, admittedly belonging to far-Left, illustrates brilliantly the ultimate issue with the Israeli radical Left. Remember: these people are usually highly educated, most of them hold at least one university degree. They read much and have understanding of history and economics. Those are smart people.

In my view, education is important, but it cannot substitute fairness in a person. For example, for all their education, radical Left activists and supporters hate the settlers (sometimes spilling over unto the entire religious population), while fully taking pro-Palestinian stand. I wouldn’t mind them willing to protect Palestinians – many of them do need a voice. A person as educated as ones on radical Left should understand, I believe, that you have to look objectively at both sides, fight your emotions and attempt to better yourself. What kind of an educated person are you, if after reading all the proven or false theories you still cannot comprehend you might be wrong on a certain issue? If history told us one single thing it is that many people throughout it were absolutely sure they were right – in truth, being totally wrong.

If you ever needed a better example of people shooting themselves in the foot for the sake of ideology, go no further. There is a reason why former Knesset Member Zehava Gal’on, pictured above, lost her seat when only her MERETZ party won only three seats in the Parliament, dropping for 6 in 2003 elections (the electorate granted MERETZ with 10 seats in 1999 elections). MERETZ – once a major Zionist radical-Left party, became a tiny minority, now ignored by just about everyone. While certainly other factors were in play, it is hard to miss what regular people say: MERETZ, and their voters, are so entangled in their righteous defeatism and snobbery, most would prefer to avoid them.

Loss of Gal’on is a bad thing, although I know many on Israeli Right would disagree. Yes, she was totally furious and hateful towards the Right (and the ultra-orthodox), calling them "fascists" on many occasions. You could see it in her eyes – if you do not support her opinion, you’re not just dead wrong: you should be either forced to change your opinion or drop dead. Besides this, however, comes Gal’on’s women-rights activism. She fiercely fought against oppression of women, and should be commended for that work. Here lies the great tragedy of the Israeli left – they could do so much good for the people, yet do so little, due to lack of popular support.

And they are unlikely to get any, if they keep to their ways. No one says they should alter their opinions – but getting free of snobbery would be the first step out. After all, most people – the regular folks – never read Freud or have a doctorate in history. They are regular folks – the ones MERETZ lost touch with years ago, unable to rebuild lost ties. Unless this party is able to release itself from the hatred within, they will become irrelevant.

Far-Left supporters, such as my colleague, should finally get it: any extremism is bad. Settlers, going on violent riots against Palestinians due to removal of an outpost are wrong. But so are the people who brand all IDF troops as evil murderers. You cannot walk with your nose above the skies, and still expect people to accept your ideals for face value. You have to show them, that your ideals are something worth fighting for, and for that you would have to get down to earth.

This is not something we should expect from the radicals any time soon.

  1. Sadly, you are correct. I believe that we should understand what they mean by the word – they refer to the general ideology. However, they should understand how their terminology is being viewed by others.

  2. ivarfjeld says:

    Dear brother.

    You are right. The word «fascist» in one of the most misused words in todays public debates. Secular Jews who use this word on fellow Jews who disagree with them, runs the risk of supporting the campaign of Ahmadinejad against Zionism. The Iranian president and his supporters have invented a new word that is connected: Zio-Nazis».

    You are more than confused when you use such a word. You are in need of divine deliverance.

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