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Ron Radosh

Monthly Archives: March 2010

Pilar Rahola is a Spanish left-wing journalist most Americans have probably never heard of. It is time, however, to acquaint oneself with her work. Her website is largely written in Spanish, although there are some English translations on it. Fortunately, an American blogger has taken the time to translate and post one of her most important recent articles, a strong editorial calling upon her compatriots- especially those on the political left- to stand in solidarity with both Israel and the United States.

It is important, given the close identification throughout Europe of the left-wing with Islamic radicals- the kind of alliance that prevails in Britain and is spearheaded by the likes of George Galloway- that a few brave voices on the left can be found who are not afraid to speak out. In Spain, we learn from Rohola, the situation is almost as bad as it is in Britain. She writes boldly:

Why is the left in Europe and around the world obsessed with the two most solid democracies, the United States and Israel, and not with the worst dictatorships on the planet? The two most solid democracies, who have suffered the bloodiest attacks of terrorism, and the left doesn’t care.

It is one thing when someone like David Horowitz, who has made this valid point time and time again, says it. It is another when a writer from the same left-wing precincts as her audience makes the case.  Rahola goes on to expose in detail the hypocrisy of the European’s left’s arguments. They claim that they stand for freedom. Rohola responds: “Not true. They are never concerned with the freedom for the people of Syria or Yemen or Iran or Sudan…And they are never preoccupied when Hamas destroys freedom for the Palestinians. They are only concerned with using the concept of Palestinian freedom as a weapon against Israeli freedom.” She terms such logic “ideological pathologies.”

These are, indeed, very strong words. Try to imagine the anger and hostility of her comrades on the left when they read this column. As for the press, she writes, “any Israeli act of self-defense becomes a massacre, and any confrontation, genocide.”  And at the same time, they never pause to condemn any violence propagated against Israel from nations like Iran and Syria.

As for the left in her own country- which she inexplicably considers herself a part-she accuses them of subscribing to both “anti-Americanism and anti-Israeli sentiments” that virtually define them politically.  One left-wing group in Spain, she informs us, just expelled a pro-Israeli member, because they inform their members, “our friends are the people of Iran, Libya and Venezuela, oppressed by imperialism, and not a Nazi state like Israel.”  In Campozuelos, the leftist mayor of that town changed Shoah Day, meant to commemorate victims of the Holocaust to the Palestinian Nakba Day, mourning the creation of Israel. They compounded that act by inviting one of the first 1970’s Palestinian terrorists, Leila Khaled, to come and speak.

Most horrible is that the current President of Spain has a foreign policy, she writes, that “falls with the lunatic left…[and] is unequivocally pro Arab,” and that privately, President Zapatero places on Israel the blame for the conflict in the Middle East.”  She calls this policy “madness,” and concludes by trying to explain to her leftist friends why she, not even a Jew, is not opposed to Israel. The reason, she writes, is thus:

Because as a non-Jew I have the historical responsibility to fight against Jewish hatred and currently against the hatred for their historic homeland, Israel. To fight against anti-Semitism is not the duty of the Jews, it is the duty of the non-Jews.
As a journalist it is my duty to search for the truth beyond prejudice, lies and manipulations. The truth about Israel is not told. As a person from the left who loves progress, I am obligated to defend liberty, culture, civic education for children, coexistence and the laws that the Tablets of the Covenant made into universal principles. Principles that Islamic fundamentalism systematically destroys. That is to say that as a non-Jew, journalist and lefty I have a triple moral duty with Israel, because if Israel is destroyed, liberty, modernity and culture will be destroyed too.

Her final words are equally strong: “The struggle of Israel,” she writes, “even if the world doesn’t want to accept it, is the struggle of the world.”

Ms. Rahola, I predict, will soon not be able to define herself as a person of the political left. She will be vilified, (and probably has already been in Spain) attacked, smeared and called both a renegade and traitor. As many of my readers already know, I received that treatment decades ago, when I first concluded that Julius Rosenberg was a Soviet spy. Like Ms. Rahola, at the time I too saw myself as a man of the left. Indeed, in the introduction I wrote to The Rosenberg File, I explained that “as a man of the democratic Left, I certainly had no interest in serving the cause of domestic reaction or in justifying the actions of the new Cold Warriors.” That tactic did not work. I was immediately attacked by Victor Navasky in the pages of The Nation, for serving the interests of the Reagan administration in fomenting the Cold War.

I went on to argue that the truth has its own claims, and that to deny the truth, would mean to “concede that the Left stands for falsehood” and perpetuation of myth. What I learned- truly a hard lesson that did not occur right away- was the truth that in fact, the left did stand for falsehood. What was important was simply to write whatever served the cause at the moment- truth be damned.

Pilar Rahola is daring to tell the truth today, and stand up in her own country against the fanatic radicals, leftist extremists, and the pro-Arab government currently in power. I, for one, welcome her outspoken voice, however she defines herself politically. Salud!

He’s back. In fact, he never went away. The Center for American Progress, John Podesta’s left/liberal think tank in Washington, D.C., announced that Van Jones has been appointed Senior Fellow working on Green policy initiatives. And then Princeton University announced that Jones has been appointed as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, as well as the Center for African-American Studies.  Jones has scored a “two-fer,” two appointments — two big salaries — all because of his outspoken left-wing views, and the notoriety he obtained largely due to Glenn Beck’s expose of his background before he was appointed to his former White House job as Obama’s Green Czar.  No wonder Jones keeps thanking Beck!

Princeton is particularly excited about their appointment: “We’re looking forward,” Princeton said, “to a year of intense engagement with Van. We hope to model the give-and-take that is a hallmark of a genuine learning environment.” Perhaps Van will start with a seminar on how 9/11 was a set-up orchestrated by the Bush administration. Oh yes, on a TV talk show last week, Jones explained how he has no idea how his name got on that “truther” petition, because of course, he does not hold such nutty ideas.

Immediately, the organizers replied that he had signed the petition in full knowledge of what he was signing. Of course they are right. The ideas behind it were perfectly consistent with the left-wing milieu that Jones was part of at that time. And what about Jones’ now well known espousal of ultra-left communist ideas, and his active work from1992 until 2002 in the small West Coast Marxist-Leninist organization STORM (Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement)? Jones has never been asked to repudiate those views, nor has he in the recent past disavowed them or even commented on them.

These ideas too are most welcome in the academy, especially in the ranks of some of our most elite schools. In other words, Jones should feel very much at home at Princeton and in their  Center for African-American Studies.  Eddie Glaude, the Chair of the African-American Studies Department and the William S. Tod Professor of Religion, stated that “for close to two decades, he has been addressing the complex issues of environment, poverty, race and politics.  His tenure at Princeton will bring to the Center for African American Studies and its students a nuanced understanding of these issues.”

What Glaude’s statement makes clear is a hidden truth about our universities today. They are, of course, private institutions that are free to make any appointments they choose. This is not the White House, where the public at large has or should have a say in the type of figure hired to represent the nation.

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