What The American Left Really Thinks About Israel: Tom Hyaden Explains It All For You
Unlike most of the netroots, Tom Hayden has never been deceptive or vulgar. He has been relentlessly and transparently honest about the agenda and as a result has never had a career outside of the hard-left precincts of Santa Monica and environs. Today at the HuffPo, the old SDSer offers a genuine expression of the left’s view of the current crisis:
One might argue, and many Americans today might agree, that Hezbollah and Hamas started this round of war with their provocative kidnappings of Israeli soldiers. Lost in the headlines, however, is the fact that the Israelis have 9,000 Palestinian prisoners, and have negotiated prisoner swaps before. Others will blame the Islamists for incessant rocket attacks on Israel. But the roots of this virulent spiral of vengeance lie in the permanent occupation of Palestinian territories by the overconfident Israelis. As it did in 1982, Israel now admits that the war is not about prisoner exchanges or cease-fires; it is about eradicating Hezbollah and Hamas altogether, if necessary by an escalation against Syria or even Iran. It should be clear by now that the present Israeli government will never accept an independent Palestinian state, but rather harbors a colonial ambition to decide which Palestinian leaders are acceptable.
In 1982, Israel said the same thing about eliminating PLO sanctuaries in Lebanon. It was after that 1982 Israeli invasion that Hezbollah was born. I remember Israeli national security experts even taking credit for fostering Hamas and Islamic fundamentalism as safe, reclusive alternatives to Palestinian secular nationalism. I remember watching Israeli soldiers blow up Palestinian houses and carry out collective punishment because, they told me matter-of-factly, punishment is the only language that Arabs understand. Israelis are inflicting collective punishment on Lebanese civilians for the same reason today.
It is clear that apocalyptic forces, openly green-lighted by President Bush, are gambling on the impossible. They are trying to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in Iraq through escalation in Lebanon and beyond. This is yet another faith-based initiative.
If the American people do not see through the headlines; if the Democrats turn hawkish; if the international community fails to intervene immediately, the peace movement may be sidelined to a prophetic and marginal role for the moment. But we can say the following for now:
Militarism and occupation cannot extinguish the force of Islamic nationalism. Billions in American tax dollars are funding the Israeli troops and bombs.
There needs to be an exit strategy. The absence of any such exit plan is the weakest element of the U.S.-Israeli campaign. Just as the White House says it plans to deploy 50,000 troops on permanent bases in an occupied Iraq, so the Israelis speak of permanently eliminating their enemies, from Gaza to Tehran. The result will be further occupation, resistance and deeper quagmire.
The immediate conflict should not become a pretext for continuing the U.S. military occupation of Iraq. American soldiers should not be stuck waist-deep in a sectarian quagmire. Congressional insistence on denying funds for permanent military bases is a vital first step. Otherwise we will witness a tacit alliance between Israel and the U.S. to dominate the Middle East militarily.
Hayden is to be thanked for stating the real agenda of the Democratic Party’s dominant faction in bold and undisguised particulars.
Contrast Hayden’s clarity with, say, the deceptions of Lawrence Korb, as translated by Paul Mirengoff.
I’ve known Hayden for a long time, and he’s never not been open about the agenda. “Making values explicit,” has always been an objective for him and the first radicals. The Koskids are not nearly so honest.
The left is anti-Israel, and the left has been absorbed into the Democratic Party. The attempted purge of Joseph Lieberman is just the first step, and this may be the last major conflict Israel finds itself in with even the nominal support of the Democrats. So deep is the anti-Bush hatred, a descendant of the anti-Reagan hatred, that the left cannot begin to understand the Islamist threat much less respond to it.
Tom Hayden’s essay demonstrates that. I thank him for his service.