Thursday, May 10, 2007

Israel, the Palestinians, and the Cyber-Donks (Part One)

Yesterday Charles Johnson linked to a Daily Kos diary in which the diarist – an Israeli - calls it quits, with one of the best door-slammer endings ever: “I came to this site with Leftist Zionist Environmentalist Pro-Peace ideology (Meretz style). I leave it with a heavy doubt of the entire ‘Progressive’ ideology, morals and goals.”

I briefly skimmed the comments to this diary and something caught my eye. I don’t usually read the comments at Kos, partly because the signature lines tend to be longer than the comments and it is very annoying to be subjected to the same tag-line slogan over and over. But what caught my eye was this:

“Israel/Palestine is not a germane topic for this site to begin with. The Kos himself has said so many times, and I agree with him. … It's been said here many times - it is a THIRD RAIL that blogsites touch at their peril. Kos blocks diaries that try to bring this topic up … Pro-Israel and Pro-Palestinian arguments HAVE NO PLACE HERE. Most people here, frankly, are not interested in discussing this chronically intractable subject.”

It’s a stunning admission for “progressives” who claim to speak credibly on world events to say that they are not interested in talking about Israel and the Palestinians. Besides being a salient feature of the international landscape, it is a very important part of American political culture – the culture that the progs are trying to harness and ride for a saddle-pony. The comment claims that “The Kos himself” tries to steer Kos away from such discussion, even to the point of deletion. And I found that very strange.

I already knew, as most people who read the blogs know, that one does not turn to the left for detailed discussion of Israel and the Palestinians. As the departing Kos diarist noted, there are an unnerving number of people over there who seem to assume that Noam Chomsky has said the last word on the subject. Still, the left has articulated lots of pro-Israeli - and even pro-Zionist - opinion in the past. For many decades there has been a lot of left and center-left interest in a positive future for Israel, so why does it suddenly and emphatically HAVE NO PLACE HERE? And above all, SAYS WHO?

More to come.