Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Right vs Left

Ted Belman

ted-44The comments in the last few days attempted to distinguish “real leftism” from “fascist or faux leftism”.

This brings up the question of how do you define the former. Secondly, any definition must yield to history. What has been done in the name of the left to date? It should be judged by results.

The left has accomplished many good things such as workers rights. But at the same time it denies rights. In ways, it fights for group rights over individual rights. This points out the clash between the two. Never easy to negotiate. A balance must be found.

This clash has been with us forever. It is not going away . We must manage it.

Capitalism, too, produces good and bad. We must also manage it.

Rather than look at the pros and cons or the good and the bad, we should also look at the bottom line. i.e. on balance is it good or bad.

The same goes for any ideology, like, for religion, for instance. The left is anti religion and for good historical reason. But not all religions can be tarred with the same brush. While Christianity and Islam can each on balance be found wanting, Judaism at least for over 2500 years has not been. The criteria for judging that I use is how they treat their neighbour. But that doesn’t stop the Left from attacking Judaism or Jews.

I am not unfamiliar with both Christianity and Islam. They both have sorry records. But I prefer to judge them on today’s reality. I ignore their theology. It doesn’t matter to me who they consider God to be. What matters is, what these religions motivate their adherents to do. Today, Christianity is a force for good in my opinion, moreso the Christian Right than the Left. The Christian Left no doubt does good but it also is at the forefront of the fight to demonize Israel. Islam, to the greatest extent, attacks both Jews and Christians and individual freedom and rights and must be resisted at all costs.

Rome used Christianity or the Church for its purposes. So too did Hitler. But Stalin ostracized all religion. All three sought the same thing, to maintain and grow their power.

The Right attacks the Left for a denial of individual freedom. I suggest that that is a fair charge. The left thinks the world is better off for such denial.

Then there is the economic bottom line. The Right focuses on the creation of wealth and believes that all boats benefit from the rising tide. The Left inhibits the creation of wealth by demanding the redistribution of wealth. Thus the Right respects and protects private property while the Left think its theirs for the taking.

Have I got that right?

Another value that movements and people differ on is universalism and particularism. The Left favours universalism which is another form of equality. Multiculturalism is a variant of it though on the surface it seems otherwise. Universalism was a rallying cry of Communism. Christianity and Islam considers themselves universal religions, ie that apply to all men. Both self righteously seek converts. Judaism puts more emphasis on the particular i.e. the Chosen people and Zionism, although it never denied the universal. A few years ago I wrote about this in Particularism before Universalism.

Everyone is familiar with Hillel’s quote, loosely translated,

“If I am not for myself, who am I? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?”

I have always understood this to mean that an individual must make the case for his particular before making the case for the other. Particularism before universalism. Neither should be to the exclusion of the other, but the former, according to Hillel, comes first. One might add that it is only natural to fight for yourself before fighting for others.

The twentieth century witnessed within the Jewish community a flight from the Jewish particular in favour of the universal. As the Jews came out of the ghetto, they shed religion for secularism. They became Communists in Russia, socialists in Europe and liberal Democrats in America.

The Jewish Right wishes to follow Hillel’s dictum by emphasizing the Jewish particular first and then addressing the “other”. Thus, it chooses a Jewish Israel even if it offends the Western notion of democracy. On the other hand, the Jewish Left wishes to do the opposite. It stresses the rights of the other, particularly the “Palestinians”, at the expense of Jewish rights. [..] The Jewish Right wants Israel to be a Jewish state whereas the Left argues that Israel should be a state like other states or of all its citizens. Binyamin Netanyahu got it right when he said, “Israel is the state of the Jews and not of its citizens.”

Finally the Left and Right can be distinguished by their attitudes to war and peace. The Left prides itself on being for peace (Peace Now) and being anti war. The Right has no such pretensions. This is paradoxical because the Anti War movement is anything but peaceful. The Left charges the Right with being war mongers. The Right seeks peace through strength. It believes the enemies of peace must be confronted whereas the Left believes they should be appeased. The Right believes that confrontation leads to peace and appeasement leads to war.

In a way, the Left views the world as it would like it to be, the Right as it is.

What is shaping up for the US is a very clear battle between the Left, now in power, and lead by Obama, and the Right, girding for battle, lead by Sarah Palin. We are in for a classic ideological battle. The state vs the individual, capitalism vs socialism, private property vs public property and confrontation vs appeasement.

May the best metroman or woman prevail.

The Left is out to get Israel

The struggle of Israel, even if the world doesn’t want to accept it, is the struggle of the world.

January 3, 2009 Pilar Rahola

Why don’t we see demonstrations against Islamic dictatorships in London, Paris, Barcelona? Or demonstrations against the Burmese dictatorship? Why aren’t there demonstrations against the enslavement of millions of women who live without any legal protection? Why aren’t there demonstrations against the use of children as human bombs where there is conflict with Islam? Why has there been no leadership in support of the victims of Islamic dictatorship in Sudan? Why is there never any outrage against the acts of terrorism committed against Israel? Why is there no outcry by the European left against Islamic fanaticism? Why don’t they defend Israel’s right to exist? Why confuse support of the Palestinian cause with the defense of Palestinian terrorism? An finally, the million dollar question:Why is the left in Europe and around the world obsessed with the two most solid democracies, the United States and Israel, and not with the worst dictatorships on the planet? The two most solid democracies, who have suffered the bloodiest attacks of terrorism, and the left doesn’t care.

And then, to the concept of freedom. In every pro Palestinian European forum I hear the left yelling with fervor: “We want freedom for the people!” Not true. They are never concerned with freedom for the people of Syria or Yemen or Iran or Sudan, or other such nations. And they are never preoccupied when Hamas destroys freedom for the Palestinians. They are only concerned with using the concept of Palestinian freedom as a weapon against Israeli freedom. The resulting consequence of these ideological pathologies is the manipulation of the press.

The international press does major damage when reporting on the question of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. On this topic they don’t inform, they propagandize. When reporting about Israel the majority of journalists forget the reporter code of ethics. And so, any Israeli act of self-defense becomes a massacre, and any confrontation, genocide. So many stupid things have been written about Israel, that there aren’t any accusations left to level against her. At the same time, this press never discusses Syrian and Iranian interference in propagating violence against Israel; the indoctrination of children and the corruption of the Palestinians. And when reporting about victims, every Palestinian casualty is reported as tragedy and every Israeli victim is camouflaged, hidden or reported about with disdain.


Pilar Rahola is a Spanish politician, journalist and activist. She is a passionate defender of the United States and Israel and an indefatigable fighter against anti-Semitism. All these despite being ideologically from the left. Her articles are published in Spain and throughout some of the most important newspapers in Latin America. She is the recipient of major awards by Jewish organizations.

Ted Belman

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