Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Brendan O'Neill: How woke leftists became cheerleaders for Iran

We can now see the anti-Israel bigotry behind their phoney pacifism.

How quickly the ‘Ceasefire Now!’ lobby turned into frothing warmongers. No sooner had Iran began its criminal bombardment of Israel than these phoney peaceniks were leaping up and down with delight. This is ‘true solidarity’, said one ‘pro-Palestine’ group in response to Iran’s raining down of missiles on the Jewish State. We can now glimpse the truth behind their fake pacifism. We can see their yearning for war on Israel that they cynically dress up as a campaign for peace in Palestine. It’s not a ceasefire woke Westerners want – it’s the humiliation and taming of the Jewish nation.

Iran launched its felonious assault on Saturday night. It fired hundreds of cruise missiles and aerial drones at Israel. Mercifully, Israel, with the help of Britain, America and Jordan, was able to intercept the murderous fusillade, meaning very little damage was done. But that should not detract from the seriousness of this act of war. This is the first time Iran has attacked Israel directly. Normally, the theocratic tyrants do their Israelophobic bidding through proxies: Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis. That Tehran has now turned its own war machine in Israel’s direction is profoundly concerning.

And what are our self-styled radicals saying? The kind of people who’ve been clogging up the streets of LA, New York, London and Berlin these past six months to wring their hands over war? They’re not saying ‘Ceasefire Now!’, that’s for sure. In fact, some are saying ‘War Now!’, or at least are making craven excuses for Iran’s attack. A member of the International Committee of the Democratic Socialists of America went so far as to offer ‘full solidarity with Iran as it retaliates against the Zionist entity’. From solidarity with Palestine to solidarity with warmongering Islamists: it’s so clearly hate for Israel, not love for peace, that motors these people.

Asa Winstanley, the oddball who runs Electronic Intifada, described Iran’s attack as a ‘humanitarian intervention’ – it’s like Blairism with a Marxian veneer – and said ‘THANK YOU IRAN’. The Palestinian Youth Movement praised Iran for daring ‘to take action to bring an end to genocide [sic]’. The Palestine Solidarity Alliance at Hunter College in New York City offered Iran ‘solidarity’. A professor at California State University said ‘Iran did what all Arabs could not do’ – that is, teach uppity Israel a stern lesson. The cry for peace has morphed into sympathy for war – if it’s war on the ‘Zionist entity’, that is.

Sympathy with Iran is spreading like a pox through social media. Some of it is coming from the toytown revolutionaries of Gen Z, the kind of people who have the Pride flag in their bios and think men can breastfeed. They seem suicidally unaware that Iran hates them, too. Indeed, in recent months privileged radicals have chanted in support of the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, a movement that recently executed 13 students for ‘spreading homosexuality’. Seven were stoned to death, two were crucified. The activist set is so blinded by hatred for Israel that it is even prepared to turn a blind eye to the crucifixion of gays. So long as the men driving the nails into the hands of these homosexuals are Israel-haters like us, we’ll forgive them.

More moderate voices are not celebrating Iran’s attack on Israel, but they are saying it is Israel’s fault. Even that Israel cleverly engineered this onslaught against itself in order to distract attention from its ‘genocide’ in Gaza. Oh, that wily Jewish State! The Council on American Islamic Relations says the regional escalation is a ‘transparent’ attempt by ‘the far-right Israeli government’ to ‘distract from the Gaza genocide’.

The victim-blaming here is repulsive. Iran fires hundreds of missiles at Israel which, had they not been intercepted, would have killed and maimed untold numbers of mostly Jewish people, and it’s the Jewish State’s fault? Worse, it’s the Jewish State’s own doing? Israelis masterminded this attempted mass murder of their own people? This is a bigoted libel disguised as political critique. The idea that Israel might be prepared to sacrifice the lives of its own citizens if it would help to drag the world’s eyes away from Gaza is the sick invention of minds warped beyond repair by anti-Israel sentiment.

The argument the Israel-blamers make is that Israel attacked Iran first, with its bombing of an Iranian complex in Damascus earlier this month. Seven top Iranian officials were killed in that attack, including Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a leading figure in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. So Israel started it, they say. Iran’s Saturday storm of missiles was mere ‘retaliation’ for Israel’s bombing in Damascus. Even the mainstream media is describing Iran’s onslaught as a ‘retaliatory strike’. The impression we’re left with is that reckless Israel, hell-bent on regional destabilisation, took aim at an Islamic republic that was just minding its own business. This, to be blunt, is a lie. And it is a lie that could have devastating consequences for the people of the Middle East.

The truth is that Iran has been laying violent siege to Israel for decades. Through its proxies, it has slaughtered thousands of Israelis. The fascistic pogrom of 7 October was the bloody handiwork of an anti-Semitic army backed by Iran. Two other Iran-backed militias – Hezbollah and the Houthis – have fired hundreds of missiles at Israel since 7 October. The idea that Israel’s bombing of Iranian military men in Damascus was unprovoked, out of the blue, a cunning ploy to drag poor little Iran into a war, is a grotesque inversion of reality. Iran had already declared war on Israel. And visited war on Israel. And made clear its desire to destroy Israel. It isn’t even coy. ‘Death to Israel!’, Iranians cry at regime-sponsored gatherings. The same words are emblazoned on the literal flag of the Houthis movement that does Iran’s dirty work in Yemen.

Surely, it makes more sense to see Israel’s Damascus attack as a ‘retaliatory strike’? Retaliation for the unspeakable barbarism of 7 October, for Hezbollah’s missiles, for the Houthis’ virulently anti-Semitic warmongering? Those who rage against Israel and make excuses for Iran are about as far from being anti-imperialists as you can get. Rather, they’ve thrown their lot in with Iranian imperialism, with the theocratic tyranny’s deployment of war, terror and political favour to the end of fortifying its regional influence. Whatever their placards might say, these activists are objectively pro-war, objectively pro-domination.

The Western left’s blaming of Israel for everything, and its implicit absolution of Iran, is grimly revealing. These people seem to view Israel as the only true actor in the Middle East, and everyone else as mere respondents to Israel’s actions. Israel is the author of the Middle East’s fate, while the rest of them – Hamas, the Houthis, even Iran – are mere bit-part players with the misfortune to be caught up in Israel’s vast and terrifying web. This is identitarianism, not anti-imperialism. A new generation of radicals educated into the regressive ideology that says ‘white’ people are powerful and ‘brown’ people are oppressed can only understand the Middle East in these terms, too.

The end result is that they demonise Israel and infantilise Iran. The Jewish State comes to be seen as uniquely malevolent while Iran is treated as a kind of wide-eyed child who cannot help but lash out at its ‘Zionist’ oppressor. Israel is damned as a criminal state, while Iran’s crimes against humanity are downplayed, even memory-holed. This is where wokeness leads, then: to sympathy for one of the most backward and repressive states on Earth on the deranged basis that its criminal strikes against Israel represent a blow against the arrogant West itself. In encouraging our young to hate their own societies, we’ve made them moral fodder for a far worse society.

Brendan O’Neill is spiked’s chief political writer and blogs regularly on Spiked where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

The sheer hypocrisy should engender fear ... but seemingly not.

Anonymous said...

This weekend’s event is being broadcast to the world via the mainstream media outlets as “unprecedented,” (same word being repeated over and over by each of them). Make no mistake, it is certainly no coincidence that every single one of these MSM outlets is using the EXACT SAME WORDING AND THE SAME SCRIPT.

This so called “unprecedented” event took place over the skies of Israel, and it certainly did put on a spectacular light show! Arguably Israel’s US funded “Iron Dome” appears to have been a good investment, courtesy of the American people! (From 2011 to 2021, the US contributed a total of US$1.6 billion to the Iron Dome defense system, with another US $1 billion approved by the US Congress in 2022).

The Big Show proved to the world that vast increases in military spending is exceedingly necessary, and if you don’t support it, THEN YOU ARE UNPATRIOTIC! Moreover, if you are against massive increases in military spending then you don’t want to protect children. Remember, the only reported injury of the BIG SHOW was a 7-year-old child of Israel.

Being that no nation on Earth has a war chest, where is all this now critically needed cash going to come from to arm ourselves to protect ourselves and our children from evil nations?

It’s going to come directly from Central Banks, who are going to just create it out of thin air by adding digits to a screen. Specifically, the Federal Reserve for the US, who is ALWAYS more than happy to lend.

Rob Beechey said...

Congratulations Brendan O’Neill, your well crafted narrative is absolutely superb. The blatant hypocrisy practiced by those that try to manipulate the masses is on full display. Israel has justification to unleash vengeance on Hamas and those that get in the way. The recovery of hostages appears doubtful, probably murdered by these animals.
The other criminal that the liberal press is protecting is the imbecile Biden who undid the Abraham Peace accord successfully hatched by Donald Trump. He deserved a Nobel Peace Price but the liberals would rather have shot themselves than suffer this indignity. Biden (I suspect directed by Obama) has essentially removed the American foot from the Iranian throat, lifted the constricting sanctions and given them billions to recreated this Middle Eastern volatility after quite a peaceful period.