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The Moral Insensitivity of the Left

2023-10-17T04:28:59.098Z

Highlights: The Moral Insensitivity of the Left. More than ever, we need the solidarity of progressives around the world, says the group. We are deeply concerned about the unbecoming response of some American and European progressives to Hamas' attacks on Israeli civilians. We urge our counterparts on the left to return to a policy based on humanist and universal principles, take a stance against human rights abuse and help us in the struggle to break the cycle of violence and abuse. We never imagined that people on theleft, defenders of equality, freedom, justice and social welfare, would display such extreme moral insensitivity and political recklessness.


More than ever, we need the solidarity of progressives around the world, in the form of an unequivocal call against indiscriminate violence against the civilian population of Israel and Palestine


With regard to the discussions on recent developments in our region:

We, progressive scholars, thought leaders and activists based in Israel and committed to peace, equality, justice and human rights, are deeply saddened and shocked by the recent events in our region. We are also deeply concerned about the unbecoming response of some American and European progressives to Hamas' attacks on Israeli civilians, a response that reflects a troubling trend in the political culture of the global left.

On October 7, Hamas launched an unprecedented attack that included the mass murder of innocent civilians in their homes, indiscriminate violence against women, the elderly and children, and mass abductions of Israeli citizens. In this carnage, entire families were annihilated, corpses mutilated, children massacred, and entire communities were reduced to ashes. It is impossible to overstate the damage caused by these events, both personally and collectively. The traumatic events of that October Saturday will leave an indelible mark on our hearts and memories.

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Unsurprisingly, in response to Hamas' actions, the State of Israel has launched a massive military operation in Gaza. We cannot yet estimate the death toll from these attacks, but it is likely to be higher than anything we have witnessed so far. This cycle of aggression seriously undermines our long struggle against oppression and violence and the pursuit of full rights and equality for all residents of Israel-Palestine. At this time, more than ever, we need the support and solidarity of the global left, in the form of an unequivocal call against indiscriminate violence against civilians on both sides.

Many of our counterparts around the world have expressed their strong opposition to Hamas' attack and have offered unequivocal support to its victims. Prominent voices in the Arab world have also made it clear that there is no justification for the sadistic killing of innocent people. To our dismay, however, some on the global left, individuals who until now were our political partners, have reacted with indifference to these horrific events and have even justified Hamas' actions at times. Some have refused to condemn the violence, claiming that foreigners have no right to judge the actions of the oppressed. Others have downplayed the suffering and trauma, arguing that Israeli society has brought this tragedy upon itself. Many have protected themselves from moral turmoil through rationalization and historical comparisons. There are even some—not a few—for whom the darkest day in our society's history was cause for celebration.

This variety of responses has surprised us. We never imagined that people on the left, defenders of equality, freedom, justice and social welfare, would display such extreme moral insensitivity and political recklessness. Let's be clear: Hamas is a theocratic and repressive organization that vehemently opposes the attempt to promote peace and equality in the Middle East. Their basic commitments are incompatible with progressive principles, so the predisposition of some leftists to react positively to their actions is utterly absurd. Moreover, there is nothing that justifies the killing of civilians in their homes; There is nothing to rationalize the killing of children in front of their parents; Nothing that normalizes the persecution and execution of young people who go out partying.

To legitimize or excuse these acts is tantamount to betraying the fundamental principles of left-wing politics.

We insist: there is no contradiction between firmly opposing Israel's subjugation and occupation of the Palestinians and unequivocally condemning the brutal acts of violence against innocent civilians. In fact, every consistent leftist must hold both positions simultaneously.

October 7 is a dark day in the history of Israel-Palestine and in the lives of the peoples of this region. Those who refuse to condemn Hamas' actions cause immense damage to the prospects for peace becoming a viable and relevant political option. They weaken the left's ability to offer a positive social and political horizon, turning it into an extreme, narrow-minded and alienating political force. We urge our counterparts on the left to return to a policy based on humanist and universal principles, take a clear stance against human rights abuse of any kind, and help us in the struggle to break the cycle of violence and destruction.

Eva Illouz is a sociologist and writer; Aviad Kleinberg is president of the Ruppin Academic Center and David Grossman is a writer.

Also signing this manifesto are Avirama Golan, writer and journalist; Ibtisam Mara'ana, former Labour MP; Adam Raz, historian and human rights activist; Ofek Birnholtz, Bar Ilan University; Ortal Ben Dayan, social activist; Ori Ben Dov, social activist; Uri Weltmann, National Field Organizer, Standing Together; Ori Kol, social entrepreneur; Orit Sônia Waisman, from the David Yellin Academic School of Education in Jerusalem; Eilon Tohar, social activist; Iris Leal, writer; Alon-Lee Green, national co-director of Standing Together; Eli Cook, head of the Department of General History at the University of Haifa; Almog Kasher, Bar Ilan University; Orna Ben-Naftali of the Faculty of Law of the Higher School of Business Administration and the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem; Josh Drill, social activist; Ghadir Hani, peace activist with Standing Together; Gila Stopler, School of Law, School of Law and Business Administration; Galia Sabar, from Tel Aviv University and former president of Ruppin College; Dov Khenin, former MP; Dorit Hadar Persky, professor at the David Yellin Academic College of Education in Jerusalem; Danny Gutwein, University of Haifa; Dani Filc, from Standing Together; Hagar Gal of the David Yellin Academic College of Education in Jerusalem; Vered Livne, former director general of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and director of Standing Together; Taleb el-Sana, former member of parliament of the Arab Democratic Party and head of the High Committee for Arab Citizens of the Negev; Yoav Hareven, director of Standing Together; Yoav Goldberg of Bar-Ilan University; Jonathan Rubin of Bar Ilan University;
Yossi Sucary, writer; Yofi Tirosh, Tel Aviv University; Yael Hashiloni-Dolev of Ben-Gurion University; Yael Sternhell of Tel Aviv University; Yiftah Goldman, David Yellin Academic College of Education in Jerusalem; Carmel Shalev of Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law; Lisa Kainan of the David Yellin Academic College of Education in Jerusalem; Meir Yaish, University of Haifa; Mossi Raz, former Meretz deputy; Meital Pinto, from the Zefat Academic High School; Meital Peleg Mizrachi, a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University; Mickey Gitzin of the New Israel Fund; Miri Lavi Neeman, from the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies; Nadav Bigelman, social activist and member of Standing Together; Noam Zohar of Bar-Ilan University; Niv Meyerson, social and environmental justice activist; Sally Abed, board member of Standing Together; Adi Makmal, Bar-Ilan University; Odeh Bisharat, writer; They were Dorfman, from the Department of Literature at Tel Aviv University; Amit Schejter, prechairman of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel; Anat Herbst-Debby, Bar-Ilan University; Ofri Ilany, historian and journalist; They were Nissan, CEO of Mehazkim; Tzlil Rubinshtein, social activist; Ran Heilbrunn, writer; Ronit Donyets Kedar, from the Higher School of Law and Business;
Ruth Halperin-Kaddari of Bar-Ilan University; Raphael Zagury-Orly, of the Institut Catholique de Paris; Shlomit Aharoni Lir of Bar Ilan University; Sharon Armon-Lotem, Bar-Ilan University; Tom Yagil, social and environmental justice activist; Tamar Ascher Shai, David Yellin Academic Education High School in Jerusalem.

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Source: elparis

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