How the left has changed -- once a bastion of principle, now a supporter of thugs

The mask has slipped

During these last few weeks of grief and bloodshed in the Middle East, I have read at least five contributions to the Daily Camera that vehemently criticize Israel's response to Hamas' and Hezbollah's cross-border attacks - attacks which not only led to the kidnapping of three and the killing of 10 Israeli soldiers but also to the firing of rockets from Gaza and Lebanon into Israel.

All five writers, well-known local Left activists, justified the Arab attacks as valid responses to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory; and all five promised us that if only Israel withdrew completely from its occupied territory, peace inevitably would follow. I have become very skeptical, however, of such rosy promises - and especially when offered with glib assurance in the face of much contradictory evidence and by parties who reside in peaceful Boulder rather than Haifa or Beirut.

As for the contradictory evidence, what better place to discover Hamas' and Hezbollah's avowed intentions than their founding documents promulgated only 20 years ago - Hamas' 1988 Covenant, and Hezbollah's 1985 Program. The first thing one notices is that these are not ordinary political programs, like the Republican or Democratic Party platforms - rather, these are passionate religious proclamations written by and for committed Muslim believers. The quasi-religious nature of both documents implies that their provisions will be obeyed without questions or hesitation by their adherents. Consider now some of these provisions. To begin, both documents affirm the inadmissibility of permanently abandoning to infidels any territory that had ever been in Muslim hands - an injunction which applies most particularly to Palestine, home of the third most sacred Muslim site. As the Covenant states:

"The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up." From this principle, the Covenant draws the following conclusion: "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. "

Hezbollah's Program takes the identical position: "We vigorously condemn all plans for negotiation with Israel, and regard all negotiators as enemies, for the reason that such negotiation is nothing but the recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist occupation of Palestine." There is clearly only one conclusion to this religiously ordained command - Israel's destruction. Here is Hezbollah's Program: "Therefore our struggle will end only when this (Zionist) entity is obliterated. We recognize no treaty with it, no cease fire, and no peace agreements, whether separate or consolidated."

It should also be noted that neither document mentions "occupation," that word so cherished by our Left activists, nor is there any hint that either movement might ever consider peaceful coexistence with Israel. In fact, the Covenant declares that "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."

Finally, what is the position of Hamas towards Jews as a people? As we discover from the Covenant, Hamas propounds an anti-Semitic creed as virulent as anything ever disseminated by Nazi Germany. Just like its Nazi teachers, Hamas holds international Jewry responsible for all the evil features of this modern age - i.e., for Capitalism, Imperialism and Communism. According to its Covenant, the Jews have been "behind" all significant, presumably unhappy, events of the last 200 years, beginning with the French Revolution and ending with the creation of the United Nations Security Council....

Many years ago, when I was young, the Left was an honorable antifascist movement. It fought racism, anti-Semitism, clerical obscurantism; it supported modernity, science, humanism. Today's Left defends fascist thugs like Saddam Hussein and Islamo-fascist parties like Hamas and Hezbollah - parties that advocate returning to the Seventh century, and preach the most virulent form of anti-Semitism. When I was young, men of the Left fought Fascism in Spanish trenches and on the beaches of Normandy; they would have been ashamed to shake a Nazi killer's hand. Today's Left activists preach Chamberlain's gospel of appeasement, and Left guru Chomsky joins Hezbollah leader Nasrallah on Lebanese TV, shakes his hand and voices approval of his 12,000-rocket arsenal donated to Hezbollah by Iran's mullahs for Israel's destruction. How low the Left has sunk since I was young.

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