I am a Liberal. I am proud to say so. I oppose the Iraq War -- always have. I think George Bush stole the election in 2000, and will never be convinced otherwise. But I have said numerous times on this blog that where Israel is concerned, the left has it all wrong. The negativity and vitriol of the far left (which is not represented by the Democratic Party, thank God) toward Israel is outrageous and completely off base.
The above picture is from a recent anti-war rally in San Francisco (seen on Andrew Sullivan's blog along with another "protester" claiming that "Mel Gibson was right"). The photo is disturbing enough, but what is more disturbing is that many in the crowd probably agree with this whack job!
There is anti-semitism in some of the anti-Israel sentiment on the left. This cannot simply be dismissed. Where is the outrage about the nearly quarter million killed in Darfur? Nowhere. Where is the outrage about the 20,000+ dead Iraqi civilians from the Iraq War or the tens of thousands killed by Sadam Hussein? Nowhere. But when Israel is attacked by an international terrorist militia, responds with force, and civilians caught in the crossfire are killed, the protests begin. Based on the anger of the protesters, you would think that there is violence and war nowhere else in the world except Israel -- that there are no other disputed territories in the world except for Gaza and the West Bank (anyone heard of Kashmir or Cyprus? What about the stateless Kurdish people?).
Israel is singled out for special harassment by groups like ANSWER, Democracy Now!, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International. These groups are left wing groups whose stated goals are ones that I agree with. However, I am forced to turn away from these groups due to their refusal to reign in its overt anti-Israeli positions and the anti-semitism of some of its membership.
It is okay to tell someone (even someone you agree with 95% of the time on other matters) that they are wrong and need to stop doing what they are doing. Democrats are getting lumped together with the lunatics and bigots like the guy in the picture, and we are refusing to do anything to distance ourselves from them. People like him are not helping our cause.
We liberals are right on the issues. We are right to be against Bush's Iraq debacle. We are right to say that the Republican methods are losing the war on terror. But we need to make a distinction between the Iraq War and Israel; and we need to recognize that extremist, Islamic terrorism is real and it is a serious threat. It is not a construct of the Bush Administration, even though Bush & Co. use it for political gain and little else. Just because the GOP has bungled the fight against terrorism and conflated the Iraq War and 9/11, does not mean that terrorism is not worth fighting. We need to be smarter than the Republicans on this issue, show that we are serious, and that people like this protester do not represent us.
If we Democrats want to lead the country, we have to have the courage to dismiss some of the fringes. This is not an endorsement for Republican-lite candidates like Joe Lieberman. Democrats should be Democrats. But fringe leftists like the douchebag in the picture do not represent my views and I am not going to remain silent about it.
Daniel Goldin at Huffington Post has written a column I completely agree with on a related subject. Read it here.