When it launched its murderous attack on Southern Israel, did Hamas anticipate the Western left being among its casualties? Probably not immediately. The terrorist organisation was undoubtedly encouraged to see tens-of-thousands of young Western leftists marching alongside their Palestinian ‘comrades’ through the streets of Western capitals. Likewise, the Western left’s rush to blame the ‘Zionist Entity’ for the horrors of 7 October 2023 would have been received as a useful adjunct to Hamas’s overall propaganda campaign.
How many of the Western left understood the cruel cynicism of the terrorist organisation they were applauding? Those who planned the assault on Southern Israel knew that the Israeli Government’s response would be biblical in its ferocity. Indeed, they were counting on it. Sheltering behind the bodies of the defenceless inhabitants of Gaza, the Hamas leadership understood that if it was truly determined to destroy them, then the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) would have to inflict a record number of civilian casualties.
As scenes of death and destruction across Gaza were beamed out to the rest of the world, the inevitable clamour would arise for Israel to cease its ‘genocidal’ military operations and allow humanitarian aid to be delivered by relief agencies.
Leading the charge for this urgent cessation of hostilities would be the Western left.
‘How can a modern, allegedly democratic, nation state, equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry, make war upon innocent women and children?’ That is the question these ‘progressives’ will pose to the world’s media.
The glaringly obvious alternative question: ‘How can a government with a clear duty of care to its citizens launch a deadly attack on a nation it knows will retaliate with overwhelming force, and then utilise the entirely predictable casualty count as both a military and diplomatic weapon?’ That is a question the Western left will never ask.
How to explain this inability to recognise the moral depravity of Hamas’s strategy and tactics? This blindness to the reality of Jihadi fanaticism? This wilful mis-characterisation of Hamas as a Middle-Eastern version of Fidel Castro and Che Guevarra’s guerrilla army of the 1950s. Why is the Western left unable to distinguish what is true about Hamas from what is false?
The root cause of the Western left’s moral failure may be traced to its political failure. It was the expectation of the European founders of socialism that it would be in Europe – Western Europe – that the first socialist states would appear. Certainly, it was the expectation of Marx and Engels that the proletarian revolutions destined to bury capitalism would take place in the most developed industrial economies – Great Britain, Germany and France being the most likely candidates.
Implicit in these expectations was the conviction that all such revolutions would build on, and be enlivened by, the liberal-democratic values of the Enlightenment. How else could their progressive character be guaranteed? The Western left’s crushing historical disappointment was that reform was as far as Western nations were prepared to go. So, the first socialist revolution took place in Russia, and it ended up about as far from the values of the Enlightenment as can be imagined.
All of which positioned the Western left in the belly of a still very much-alive capitalist beast and operating in a system that drew much of its wealth from the victims of its imperialist expansion. What made everything so much worse, from the Western left’s perspective, is that the Western peoples – including the Western proletariat – were benefitting hugely from the whole capitalist-imperialist deal. They were the ones with the highest living standards, the best education, health and housing services, and, as if that wasn’t enough, they were also the ones living under liberal-democratic governments. It was the peoples of the West who had the enforceable civil and political rights and the legal trade unions: blessings that the rest of the world’s peoples were none-too-gently denied.
Rather than count their blessings, however, the Western left began its slow, and seemingly irreversible, descent into self-loathing. Simply by living in the West, they grew fat, while others, far less fortunate, grew thin. It was this self-loathing which led, in the years following the Second World War, to the Western left’s abject surrender to the ideological and political programmes of capitalism’s and imperialism’s non-Western victims.
The Baader-Meinhof Gang, also known as the Red Army Faction, active in the 1970s, offers a dramatic illustration of the process. Trapped in the belly of the German capitalist beast, a beast made even more appalling by being administered by former Nazis, Baader-Meinhof rejected the religious, moral and political values of their parents’ generation. Declaring themselves unreservedly for the French Afro-Caribbean political theorist Frantz Fanon’s “wretched of the earth”, they also embraced the “emancipatory violence” that Fanon insisted was the only effective means for the oppressed setting themselves free. Working on the age-old principle of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”, the Baader-Meinhof terrorists sought assistance from the Soviet Bloc, which, displaying a hitherto unrecognised sense of humour, teamed them up with Palestinian terrorists.
In a pattern that would become firmly established over the succeeding 50 years, the terroristic Baader-Meinhof Gang alienated and disgusted their German compatriots (although some of their anti-establishment ideas did seep into Die Grünen – the German Greens), and aroused nothing but scorn among the Third World revolutionaries they purported to serve.
The Western left’s increasing rejection of Western society’s ‘rigid’ ethnic and gender categories (the next best thing to a revolution if you can’t spark a real one) provokes little but disgust among the deeply conservative cultures of the non-Western world. Not that this bothers the Western left, which refuses point-blank to judge the customs and morals of non-Western peoples. (The explanation for most Western feminists’ silence when it comes to the oppression of their sisters by the Taliban.)
This brief sketch of the Western left’s moral and political decay, a process that has seen its self-righteous intolerance grow in inverse proportion to the affection with which it is held by its host populations, will, hopefully, allow the reader to make sense of the extraordinary scenes that have unfolded on the streets of Western cities over the past three weeks. The sickening sight of young Australians marching shoulder-to-shoulder with Arabs chanting “Gas the Jews!” comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with Fanon’s writings, in which he makes it clear that “human beings who are not considered as such (by the colonizer) shall not be bound by principles that apply to humanity in their attitude towards the colonizer.” [Wikipedia]
Certainly, Hamas was in no way bound by the “principles that apply to humanity” when they shot, raped, tortured and burned their way through Southern Israel. By their reckoning (passim Fanon) there are no human-beings in the ‘Zionist Entity’. Their grave mistake – in public relations terms – was to put their name to a sequence of events that nobody, other than their supporters among the self-loathing left, could possibly applaud.
The sight of the Western left doing just that will, almost certainly, prove the last straw for those Western peoples grown weary of the Woke. De-platforming controversial speakers, and making a fuss about pronouns, leaves ordinary people feeling aggrieved. But cheering on the killers of women and children – that makes them sick.