The defenders of Western values are always bold and brave: Israeli Soldiers Raid Homes, Question Kids as Young as 9 (NBC). Yes, it takes enormous courage for a gang of armed and body-armored men to barge into private homes in the middle of the night, haul children out of bed, point their weapons at them and batter them with threats and questions. We are indeed fortunate that such a bastion of our precious Western ideals exists in the Middle East, which is otherwise filled with brutal barbarians. And now that King Bibi has been re-anointed, the beat — and the batterings — will go on. To be fair, had his “liberal” opponents won, this would still be the case, as Yonatan Medel notes in the LRB. Here is a quote from an ad for the great progressive hope, Isaac Herzog:
“Herzog grew up in military intelligence, which means he knows the Arab mentality. He saw Arabs on different occasions; he saw them on the other side of the gun-sight, and behind the gun-sight … The most important man in this business is the person who knows what the state of Israel needs to do with a piece of information. Whether this means firing a rocket, or sending troops forward, or wiping out these people.”
“Wiping out these people.” There is your modern progressivism in a nutshell. Pamper the rich, screw the poor, and “wipe out these people” — whoever “these people” happen to be at the moment. Knock down their doors, drone bomb their villages, kidnap, kill and terrorize them without mercy, without respite. This is what our “progressives” stand for, in Israel, in Britain, in the United States. It is, in every essential, the same program of the neocon, neoliberal, nationalistic, militaristic right-wing parties that dominate these countries. It’s just “sicklied o’er with the pale cast” of hand-wringing PR and arrant hypocrisy. (“Yes, we bomb and murder and subvert and repress and support dictators and degrade our own country to give more spoils to the rich — but we do it more in sorrow than in anger, don’t you see? We do it with Hollywood celebrities yukking it up at our side. Doesn’t that make us so much better?”)
With no other choice, electorates keep choosing the real deal — the unashamed, unabashed right-wingers — over this simpering, pandering copy. Conviction trumps callowness every time, especially in societies where the discourse is controlled almost entirely by rich elites, and genuinely dissenting views are rarely heard. And so the darkness keeps growing — and the nightmares of the brutalized, terrorized children go on and on.