The Monitor’s most recent undertaking, interrupted by unavoidable circumstances last week, involved a look at some of the early left-wing reaction to the terrorist attacks on America. That our friends on the left would adopt a blame America and/or Israel party line should have been obvious from the get-go, and was exemplified by essays written by Robert Fisk in The Nation and Gary Kamiya on Salon.com.
Fisk, for years one of England’s most notoriously anti-Israel journalists (no mean feat, given the animus toward Israel that permeates the British media), droned on and on about “the Israeli occupation of Arab land, the dispossession of Palestinians, the bombardments and the state-sponsored executions,” and for good measure complained ‘for probably the thousandth time in his career – that “America has bankrolled Israel’s wars for so many years.”
Kamiya, meanwhile, in addition to savaging Israel in a piece that fairly shouted its author’s historical illiteracy, managed to squeeze off a shot at the left’s newest straw man, the alleged persecution of American Muslims, as he wrote worriedly of “the horrifying spasm of mindless anti-Arab sentiment that is gripping the country.”
Kamiya’s phraseology, suggesting scores of innocents being strung up on lampposts from sea to shining sea, is on a par with what his compatriots on the left have been churning out since September 11, despite the fact that, as New York Daily News columnist Zev Chafets and others have noted, bias crimes against Arabs and Muslims have in fact been few and far between.
For those who in their naivete thought that even the most hard-bitten leftists would rally to their country’s side in the event of an unprovoked attack on American shores, there can be no comfort in what has transpired over the past three weeks.
The list of anti-American remarks by prominent leftists has grown to book-length proportions, from Susan Sontag’s already infamous piece in The New Yorker (“it takes a real intellectual to be this stupifyingly dumb,” The Washington Post’s Peter Carlson wrote of Sontag’s hysterics) to University of Texas professor Robert Jensen’s Orwellian ravings (“For more than five decades throughout the Third World,” Jensen wrote, “the United States has deliberately targeted civilians or engaged in violence so indiscriminate that there is no other way to understand it except as terrorism”) to Noam Chomsky’s preposterous equivocations in an MSNBC chat-room interview.
And then there was Norman Solomon, of the far-left media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, who complained in the aftermath of the attacks on America that “Media scrutiny of the atrocities committed by the U.S. government is rare.”
Multiply the examples listed above several hundred times over and you get an idea of the barrage of anti-American sentiment issuing from the precincts of the left. Nor is it only the left-wing pundit class making itself heard; the conservative activist David Horowitz treated visitors to his website, Frontpagemag.com, to some of the postings on Internet message boards popular with leftists and other self-described “progressives.” A sampling of the idiocies he found:
“Not only have we caused these events with our monstrous foreign policies but also with our compete disregard of our environment causing mortal damage to the earth (Earth is a living being) and other species that co-exist with us.” (Susan Yost, Cumberland, VA.)
“…It is U.S. policies of terror in other countries that have brought this down on us.” (Matthew Peckham, Eugene, OR.)
“For fifty-six years Washington has successfully conducted mass murders…” (William Mandel, Oakland, CA.)
“The United States conducts itself as a terrorist organization throughout the world.” (Lance Del Goebel, Manhattan, IL.)
“We will now have the dreaded opportunity to live in the same fear that our financial policies and military assistance have inflicted on others.” (Harold Parkey, Fort Worth, TX.)
(Continued Next Week)
Jason Maoz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org