This week’s peak demonstration of leftist anti-Semitic madness comes to us courtesy of the Oakland City Council, where a resolution endorsing a permanent cease-fire in the Israel-Gaza war was met with this parade of insane people:
Last night the Oakland City Council voted on a resolution to call for a ceasefire.
A city council member tried to insert language condemning Hamas.
This was the reaction… pic.twitter.com/r7aTb2mkrQ
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 28, 2023
“Okay,” you say; “It’s Oakland. The Bay Area. Krazifornia. What do you expect?” All true, but don’t underestimate how widely spread, and supremely vocal, this sentiment is across the country, and it potential for ongoing malignancy in our body politic.
Look no further than Atlanta, where pro-Hamas protestors showed up at First Lady Rosalyn Carter’s memorial service in Atlanta, apparently taking lessons tastelessness from the Westboro Baptists. Keep in mind that Jimmy Carter was the most pro-Palestinian president in our history, and gave a huge boost to the slander that Israel is an “Apartheid nation.”
Pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrate outside the memorial service for former First Lady Rosalynn Carter in Atlanta. pic.twitter.com/Gvxcn0H1uh
— The Recount (@therecount) November 28, 2023
And therein lies the lesson for today. It doesn’t matter that the number of vicious leftist anti-Semites comprise only a tiny portion of the American public. Polls show overwhelming public support for Israel among Americans, while Hamas polls at 1 percent about the only poll that asked. However, opposition to Israel and support of Hamas is much higher among younger Americans (and the elite media), especially among college students. Gee, I wonder why that is?
The point is: the die hard left has one enduring rapturous dream, and that is to recapture the full frisson of the 1960s anti-war protest “Movement” and collateral efforts like the repeated urban riots across several years. There have been several attempts at a sequel over the years, such as on behalf of Communist Nicaragua under Reagan, or the “Code Pinkers” during the Gulf War under President George W. Bush, but that was a tougher sell as the second Gulf War occurred after the 9/11 attack on America, and as such it was hard to get much mass enthusiasm for our enemies beyond certifiable loons like Ward Churchill. Occupy Wall Street gave it a go, but that too was pathetic and unsustainable. The closest the left has come to matching the scale and destructiveness of the 1960s protest left was the BLM riots after George Floyd’s death, but that did not sustain itself as long as the 60s protest movement. But the Israel-Gaza War might provide the fuel for a sustained leftist outburst over the coming year, especially if Israel occupies Gaza after the fighting ends, or if the war spreads to Hezbollah in the north.
To repeat for the umpteenth time the apocryphal Mark Twain remark that “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes,” there are some pretty clear parallels between the 1960s Vietnam War protest and the anti-Israel protests today. First, it divides the Democratic Party. Remember the popular chant—”Hey hey LBJ—How many kids did you kill today?” The rough equivalent is the moniker the pro-Hamas left has devised for President Biden: They are calling him “Genocide Joe.” And guess where Democrats are having their convention next year? That’s right: Chicago. There’s certain to be a platform fight about Israel, which the party establishment will ruthlessly squash. That could well fuel a street riot. (And the whole scene could be even more insane if, come convention time, Democrats are replacing Biden at the top of the ticket. Like Hubert Humphrey in 1968, whoever replaces Biden will be under intense pressure over Israel.)
The second clear parallel is the fact that the left openly sides with the enemy. In the 1960s, the anti-war left didn’t oppose the Vietnam War because of the draft, or because it was a foolish or inept war. Large portions of the “New Left” favored our Communist enemies. Remember their slogan—”Ho-ho-ho/Ho Chi Minh/the NLF [the formal acronym of the Vietcong]/is sure to win.” The suggested parallel in my headline doesn’t quite work, but “From the river to the sea/Palestine shall be free” is the functional equivalent.
It is sometimes noted that in the 1960s, only about 5 percent of the college-age population were participants in the anti-war movement and the large protests they organized. (And I’ve been told by several older Boomer acquaintances that they attended anti-war protests chiefly to meet girls.) My friend John Tamny noted this fact recently, generously citing some of my own work in fact, to suggest the current pro-Hamas protests are unrepresentative and don’t need to be taken that seriously. I disagree; the lesson of the anti-war movement of the 1960s—which by rapid degrees became an anti-American movement (remember “Amerikkka”)—is that it only takes a determined minority to de-range the politics and culture of a nation, with baleful results. Back in the 1960s the liberal establishment was befuddled by the New Left and didn’t know how to respond, so it mostly capitulated. Seems the same thing is happening today after October 7. In the face of a demented, deranged left, our liberal establishment is once again calling for “dialogue.”
Maybe Marx, instead of Mark Twain, is better recalled here: History repeats itself, first as tragedy, and then as farce.