Liberals, as distinguished from leftists, do not think America is a bad country.

Richard Baehr writing in The American Thinker asks Why Does the Left Hate Israel?

I believe there are several reasons:

1. It is an easy way to express one’s hatred for America.

2. Israel is viewed as an outpost of colonialism , and an active practitioner of it.

3. Israel is a western nation, and hence can be judged by the left. Israel is not protected by cultural relativism, as the Arabs are.

4. Leftist Christian churches can escape any lingering guilt about the Holocaust, by turning Israel into a villain. Some leftist churches hate Israel because they think this will help protect their members in the holy land— in other words they feel threatened.

5. Ferocious Muslim hatred of Israel and the Jews reinforces the natural cowardice of many on the left who go along with the Muslims to stay out of their line of fire.

6. Jewish leftists are prominent in the anti-Israel movement. This opens the floodgates for everybody else.

7. Israel is attacked because the secular left is appalled by the influence of religious settlers and their biblical connections to the land of Israel, and by the support for Israel by evangelical Christians, and Christian Zionists.

[..] These views are also mainstream for most Americans, which is why support for Israel routinely runs three to five times the support level for the Palestinians in every public opinion survey that is taken. In the House, the tendency to use the redistricting process after every census for incumbent protection, has led to the creation of a very large number of safe seats, and very few competitive ones (perhaps 10—15% of the total). This has given incumbents the ability to be less mainstream in their views on this issue and others. The growth in the Arab and Muslim population in America, and the creation of more districts with high percentages of African American voters, are both elements that could create more House members sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, since both African Americans, as a group, and Arabs and Muslims, to a much larger extent, are less sympathetic to Israel than the general population. In any case, it would be hard to point to any individual member of Congress today and say that he or she hates Israel.

The left in this country includes large numbers of academics, journalists, human rights activists, environmental and animal rights activists, entertainers, and some church groups, women’s groups, racial advocacy groups and unions. There are also liberals who are members of these same groups. I distinguish between leftists and liberals by one key test: how they feel about the country in which they live. If you tend to regard America as a primarily flawed, evil, unjust, racist country (or at least when Republicans are running it), and most importantly, believe that the US is the primary threat to world peace internationally, then you are a leftist, and not a liberal. Of course, many leftists are perfectly happy to be living here, amidst all their complaints about the country, and regrettably all too few Hollywood artists carried through with their threat to leave the country after the 2000 election.

This does not mean, however, that many liberals, while generally pro—Israel, have been on the right side of many foreign policy debates. From the cold war to both of the Iraq wars, many, though certainly not all liberals, have been on the anti—war side of the foreign policy debate. But liberals, as distinguished from leftists, do not think America is a bad country. Most liberals think America is an improvable country, if only we made the tax system more progressive, spent more money on social services, and worked more through multilateral organizations abroad. Liberals tend to support overseas military missions when our effort supports a human rights concern, and much less so if the military engagement is claimed to be in support of a strategic objective. Liberals, by and large, supported American military involvement in the wars in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Haiti, and now Liberia, while opposing the two wars with Iraq.

One can not generalize about all liberal political leaders, however. Scoop Jackson, President Harry Truman, President Lyndon Johnson, and President John F. Kennedy were all liberals, and so today is Dick Gephardt, and to some extent Joe Lieberman. All of these men, however, supported assertive foreign policies, not much different from today’s neoconservatives. So, among liberals, and certainly within the Democratic Party, there is debate and there are differing views on foreign policy. Among leftists, however, there is a lockstep view of America’s role in the world. You can not be a ‘card carrying’ leftist today, and find any reason to support American military efforts abroad, whether it be to save Kosovo from the Serbs, or to liberate Iraq, or destroy the Taliban in Afghanistan. Certainly, some leftists defend American involvement in World War II, since we were fighting right wing fascists. But even here, many on the left argue that most of the heavy lifting in this war was performed by the Soviet Union, our communist allies.

July 21, 2007 | Comments Off on Liberals, as distinguished from leftists, do not think America is a bad country.

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