Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shelby Steele's Must Read Article on Israel & The West

Shelby Steele has written a must read article on the surrender of the West to anti-Israel sentiment in Monday's online edition of The Wall Street Journal:

This is now - figuratively in some quarters and literally in others - the moral template through which Israel is seen. It doesn't matter that much of the world may actually know better. This template has become propriety itself, a form of good manners, a political correctness. Thus it is good manners to be outraged at Israel's blockade of Gaza, and it is bad manners to be outraged at Hamas's recent attack on a school because it educated girls, or at the thousands of rockets Hamas had fired into Israeli towns - or even at the fact that Hamas is armed and funded by Iran. The world wants independent investigations of Israel, not of Hamas.

One reason for this is that the entire Western world has suffered from a deficit of moral authority for decades now. Today we in the West are reluctant to use our full military might in war lest we seem imperialistic; we hesitate to enforce our borders lest we seem racist; we are reluctant to ask for assimilation from new immigrants lest we seem xenophobic; and we are pained to give Western Civilization primacy in our educational curricula lest we seem supremacist. Today, the West lives on the defensive; the very legitimacy of our modern societies requiring constant dissociation from the sins of the Western past - racism, economic exploitation, imperialism and so on.

Steele is spot on here. Of course, there are exceptions within the Western world. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper comes to mind. Not only with the flotilla incident but his evisceration of Libby Davies, an MP who is the Deputy Leader of the New Democratic Party (my old political home). Harper lambasted Davies for her suggestion that Israeli occupation commenced in 1948 and thus questioning Israel's very legitimacy and also took NDP leader Jack Layton to task for not removing her from her post. The Prime Minister went as far as to liken Davies to disgraced former White House correspondent Helen Thomas.

Nonetheless, Harper is an exception. Mix in white liberal guilt with an old hatred and you have a potent poison too many in the West are not only happy to drink but are prepared to give to others. Steele's article represents a drop of reason in a sea of irrationality.

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