Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Roger Cohen: A Mind Divided Against Itself

It’s time for a little coherent thought. On the one hand, Roger Cohen is bemoaning the rising tide of European anti-Semitism. On the other hand, he is cheerleading Angela Merkel for opening Germany to a flood of anti-Semites.

Cohen’s is a mind divided against itself.

European leftist intellectuals, a group of easily terrorized cowards, have responded to the growing threat of Islamic terrorism by paying protection. They have decided, by Cohen’s reporting, to support the Palestinian cause by adopting the newest version of anti-Semitism.

In so doing they are mimicking the attitude of the current occupant of the White House. Surely, Barack Obama has made the world safer for anti-Semitism. His mere presence has stimulated the Boycott Divest Sanctions movement; his propensities have encouraged anti-Semitic groups like Students for Justice in Palestine.

Cohen begins his column by looking at the Labour Club at Oxford University. As you know, the British Labour Party is their version of our Democratic Party. Today, Cohen reports, the group is so full of anti-Semitism that one of its leaders has just resigned:

Last month, a co-chairman of the Oxford University Labour Club, Alex Chalmers, quit in protest at what he described as rampant anti-Semitism among members. A “large proportion” of the club “and the student left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews,” he said in a statement.

Chalmers referred to members of the executive committee “throwing around the term ‘Zio’” — an insult used by the Ku Klux Klan; high-level expressions of “solidarity with Hamas” and explicit defense of “their tactics of indiscriminately murdering civilians”; and the dismissal of any concern about anti-Semitism as “just the Zionists crying wolf.”

In America, leftist campus radicals are inveighing against white privilege. They despite Western civilization and everything it stands for… be it liberal democracy or free enterprise or the Industrial Revolution.

This leads them, naturally, to hate Israel. After all, what is Israel but the cornerstone of the civilization they despise, a beacon of free enterprise and liberal democracy. They did not understand, when they were drinking in the anti-Western propaganda and the white privilege nonsense that they were absorbing anti-Semitism, straight up. Even now they do not really understand how they were dispossessed of their minds.

Cohen points out:

The zeitgeist on campuses these days, on both sides of the Atlantic, is one of identity and liberation politics. Jews, of course, are a minority, but through a fashionable cultural prism they are seen as the minority that isn’t — that is to say white, privileged and identified with an “imperialist-colonialist” state, Israel. 

Take a deep breath. Who is the American champion of, if not liberation politics, at least, liberation theology? Who spends his Sunday sermons denouncing Israel and America? Who prints tracts by Hamas in his church newsletters?

You got it: Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Many of you voted to put his protégé in the White House. For shame.

Cohen does not connect any of it to Wright’s protégé, but he does see that when the British Labour Party made Jeremy Corbyn its leader, it opened the floodgates for anti-Semitism:

The rise of the leftist Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of Britain’s opposition Labour Party appears to have empowered a far left for whom support of the Palestinians is uncritical and for whom, in the words of Alan Johnson, a British political theorist, “that which the demonological Jew once was, demonological Israel now is.”

Corbyn is no anti-Semite. But he has called Hamas and Hezbollah agents of “long-term peace and social justice and political justice in the whole region,” and once invited to Parliament a Palestinian Islamist, Raed Salah, who has suggested Jews were absent from the World Trade Center on 9/11. Corbyn called him an “honored citizen.” The “Corbynistas” on British campuses extol their fight against the “racist colonization of Palestine,” as one Oxford student, James Elliott, put it. Elliott was narrowly defeated last month in a bid to become youth representative on Labour’s national executive committee.

As for whether Corbyn is an anti-Semite, his praise for Hamas and Hezbollah makes him one… regardless of what is beating in his dark heart.

You would think that a self-proclaimed Zionist like Cohen would understand that Israel has been abandoned by most of its allies and is surrounded by enemies who want to destroy it. The fault for the occupation lies in the Palestinian death cult. Blaming it on Israel is a grave error.

Those who do so are buying the leftist narrative wherein Israel is an oppressive capitalistic neo-colonialist state and whereby the Palestinian people are the oppressed new proletariat that will rise up to overthrow its capitalist oppressors, thereby to enjoy the peace and prosperity that exist in its Muslim neighbors… like Jordan, Syria and Egypt.

As I said, on these issues Cohen is not thinking straight. Or better, he is not thinking:

Today, it is Palestinians in the West Bank who are dehumanized through Israeli dominion, settlement expansion and violence. The West Bank is the tomb of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Palestinians, in turn, incite against Jews and resort to violence, including random stabbings.

As it happens, Cohen is vaguely aware of the import of his criticisms of Israel. He tries to weasel his way out of his dilemma by saying that criticism and demonization are not the same thing. In the abstract they are not. And yet, when Israelis are being stabbed at random on a daily basis, when Hamas is building terror tunnels and stockpiling rockets, all for the purpose of killing Jews, criticism can only serve to embolden those who hate Israel.

In time of war, when faced with an enemy that will be satisfied with nothing less than your annihilation, criticism feeds demonization. Under such circumstances occupying the moral high ground makes you a target... no more and no less.


David Foster said...

Dancing for the Boa Constrictor:

Sam L. said...

I would not say his mind is divided against itself; seems more like a severely raging case of cognitive dissonance, which he ignores. Cohen is one with the NYT, and does not allow himself to think differently.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

And Jeremiah Wright's protege has been a keen aficionado of "collateral damage." It's basically the Obama Doctrine: "You're useless to me if you don't fit the narrative."

Cohen is divided because he can't get around this idea. Few elites can, whether Left or Right. They've commingled their philosophies of radical tolerance to such an alarming degree that everything is ass-backwards... they have no idea how to think and choose much of anything. This is the cognitive elite, a cognoscenti. Yet "cognoscenti" and "cognitive elite" won't do. We must find some obscure Bantu word so they can self-identify with such a sophisticated moniker at their next NPR interview.

"Paying protection" is exactly what American sophisticates do through political correctness. That's exactly what one gets with self-congratulation.

The international Left is a racket with a solution. Their message: "You're next!"