North American supporters of Hamas embrace the worldview that the world is made up of oppressors and victims

Philip Carl Salzman: Why Hamas supporters feel justified in spreading hate about IsraelAs mobs rampage through American and Canadian streets celebrating and championing Hamas and its genocidal anti-Semitism, disrupting university campuses and blocking access to Jewish-owned stores, restaurants, and houses of worship, most citizens and political figures look on in surprise and dismay.

Some North American pro-Hamas advocates, including some teachers and others in responsible positions, have torn down the posters of the hundreds of Jewish hostages held by Hamas and applauded the torture and murder of 1,200 Israeli Jews and some foreigners in the most brutal ways imaginable, including beheading and burning alive of children and families and gang-raping women to death.

Pro-Hamas mobs chant, “from the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free [of Jews],” and “globalize the intifada,” and although they may not be able to identify which river and which sea, they know full well that these chants mean “destroy Israel” and “annihilate the Jews.”

The justification of this genocidal anti-Semitism differs for North Americans and Middle Easterners. For Middle Easterners, the Arab-Israel conflict is a religious war fought to bring about the victory and dominance of Islam, which is why non-Arab Muslim countries such as Iran are fully engaged in trying to destroy Israel.

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In contrast, North American supporters of Hamas are inspired by the Marxist Manichean theory that the world is made up of oppressors and victims, and that Israeli Jews are oppressors and Palestinians are their victims. North Americans also impose their regional race relations model, in which all whites are oppressors of all blacks and people of colour, imagining that Israelis are white and Palestinian Arabs are people of colour.

This imposition of North American race relations ignores the fact that Jews, like Arabs, originated in the Middle East. The majority of Israeli Jews themselves or their ancestors lived for centuries in modern Arab countries before being expelled when Israel declared independence in 1948, and others originate from Ethiopia, Iran, and India. The imposition of the North American model of race relations on Israel is totally spurious.

The Arab-Israel conflict is another excuse for North American far-leftists to virtue signal by advocating and justifying hatred and violence toward an “oppressor,” more specifically, a “colonial settler” state that engages in “genocide” against an “indigenous” population. In the case of Israel, this is a fairy story, framing the indigenous Jews of Israel as invaders and the historical invading Arabs as “indigenous.”

As for the alleged “genocide,” “Palestinian” Arabs have increased tenfold since the re-establishment of Israel in 1948. Importing another malicious accusation from elsewhere, Israel is accused of “apartheid,” which would mean a separation and exclusion of Israeli Arabs from Israeli society and institutions, which blatantly does not exist.

But all of these accusations that convey hate and recommend death for Israeli Jews seem quite reasonable to North Americans because they parallel the central tenets of a progressive culture – in which all society is divided into oppressors and victims – that dominates the educational system, media, government, and public culture of both the United States and Canada.

How easy it was to slip the Arab-Israel conflict into the progressive model of Jewish oppressor and Arab victim, to make signs, and take to the streets with glib slogans. Absolute ignorance of the history of the Middle East, of Palestinian-Nazi collaboration, and the facts on the ground in Israel is also a big help. As are the old anti-Semitic stereotypes and blood libels. The pro-Hamas mobs managed to combine intense fervour with extreme callousness.

Fortunately, the silent majority of the North American population does not sympathize with these extreme progressive views, as opinion polls clearly show. It seems likely that political parties that advocate these approaches may soon be out of power, and the institutions that have implemented them may be due for a backlash, as has begun in some states and provinces.

But that our highest political office-holders advocate hate and discrimination is an indication of how far we have fallen.

Philip Carl Salzman is an emeritus professor of anthropology at McGill University, a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, a writing fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a past president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

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