All of that changes really after 1968 when liberals abandon Israel. To some degree, it’s the influence of Black Nationalism that was always hostile to Israel. The black nationalists didn’t want any coalition with whites – “You can’t trust whites” – and a way of expressing that view was to say: “The Jews” – whom everyone knew were among those most solidly behind civil rights – “are no different than other whites, or they’re even worse and more racist than other whites.”
And so, that outlook penetrates into the mainstream – that race is everything and people who are non-white are progressives. And somehow, the Arabs are seen as non-whites and the Israelis as white even though half of Israel’s population comes from Africa and Asia.
It’s not like Arabs are black, either.
No, they’re not. And on top of that… when Eldridge Cleaver, the Black Panther leader, went to Algeria, he became very disillusioned, and his views changed radically when he saw a slave market in an Arab country where blacks were being sold as slaves. This goes on in Mauritania, in the Sudan – it’s well documented. Everyone knows that black people are enslaved by Arabs and bought and sold as if they’re animals. The Simon Wiesenthal Center had a big symposium on this [in 1999] at which black people who had been slaves testified about their experiences. It’s a scandal that this is going on and that people aren’t paying very much attention to it.
Israel, in the meantime, has airlifted a significant population of dark-skinned Jews out of Ethiopia. In fact, I think Israel is the only country in the world that has brought black people out of Africa other than as slaves.
Ignorance is one of the big problems here. The propagandists present everything in very simplistic terms: that Arabs are non-whites, that’s good, and Israelis are whites, that’s bad. But it’s mystifying to me because Israeli society is very committed to principles that you would think liberals would admire: like egalitarianism, providing services to people, being committed to civil liberties, etc. That’s not the case anywhere else in the Middle East.
So I’m at a loss to understand why liberals have abandoned the state of Israel. But they have.