Liberal politician loves the only liberal society in the Middle East. Why is that a problem?
Now I come to praise Elizabeth Warren.
Warren long has made sense when it comes to the Middle East, in her strong support of Israel and her understanding of the neighborhood in which Israel lives. Whatever her other positions, we should at least acknowledge when she is right.
But when the man in the green Hawaiian shirt stood up, Warren went from voicing her support for those local causes to defending her vote to send $225 million to Israel in its ongoing conflict with Hamas.
“We are disagreeing with Israel using their guns against innocents. It’s true in Ferguson, Missouri, and it’s true in Israel,” said Harwich resident John Bangert, who identified himself as a Warren supporter but said the $225 million could have been spent on infrastructure or helping immigrants fleeing Central America.
“The vote was wrong, I believe,” he added, drawing applause from several in the crowd.
Warren told Bangert she appreciated his comments, but “we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one.”
“I think the vote was right, and I’ll tell you why I think the vote was right,” she said. “America has a very special relationship with Israel. Israel lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren’t many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law. And we very much need an ally in that part of the world.”
Warren said Hamas has attacked Israel “indiscriminately,” but with the Iron Dome defense system, the missiles have “not had the terrorist effect Hamas hoped for.” When pressed by another member of the crowd about civilian casualties from Israel’s attacks, Warren said she believes those casualties are the “last thing Israel wants.”
“But when Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they’re using their civilian population to protect their military assets. And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself,” Warren said, drawing applause.
Noreen Thompsen, of Eastham, proposed that Israel should be prevented from building any more settlements as a condition of future U.S. funding, but Warren said, “I think there’s a question of whether we should go that far.”
For that perfectly logical and appropriate statement, Warren incurred the wrath of Glenn Greenwald.
Before Edward Snowden bestowed fame on Greenwald by selecting Greenwald to receive stolen documents, Greenwald was just a run-of-the mill Israel basher who liked to call those who disagreed with him, particlarly Jews, “Israel Firsters.” That suggestion of disloyalty was invidious.
So it was not suprising that Greenwald was among the first to lash out at Warren, saying she “sounds like Netanyahu” (which Greenwald apparently meant as an insult):
Echoing Benjamin Nentayahu (and Hillary Clinton), Elizabeth Warren’s clear position is that Israel bears none of the blame for any of this. Or, to use her words, “when Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they’re using their civilian population to protect their military assets. And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself.” Such carnage is the ”last thing Israel wants.” The last thing. That, ladies and gentlemen, is your inspiring left-wing icon of the Democratic Party.
Israel should, of course, be a liberal and progressive cause. A nation that, while not perfect, has a far better human rights record than those around it, which has been under religious fanatical attack since its creation creation by groups which hate Western concepts of liberty, and which treats women and gays with equality.
But because of a decades-long propaganda campaign of demonization, some (but certainly not most or all) “progressives” are all too happy to team up with Islamists and secular Israel haters like Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek:
Progressive hero Sen. Elizabeth Warren echoes Netanyahu, says civilians killed in Gaza were all human shields: https://t.co/V3jqXpbvgX
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) August 28, 2014
Progressive champion Elizabeth Warren echoes Netanyahu's racism to blame Palestinians for their own slaughter https://t.co/XSUloc3aqu
— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) August 28, 2014
Dave Weigel, who gave no indication of his personal opinion, titled his article about the reactions in a curious way: Elizabeth Warren Sides With Israel, Not With the Liberals Who Keep Daydreaming About Her. Why wouldn’t liberals be daydreaming about a liberal candidate supporting the only liberal society in the Middle East?
Paul Waldman at the liberal American Prospect said Warren’s statement made her an “just an ordinary politician” as if that were a bad thing in this context:
For now though, and at least on this one issue, Warren doesn’t seem like the brave crusader challenging the consensus of the powers that be and forcing change; she seems more like an ordinary risk-averse politician. You might want to adjust your expectations accordingly.
Warren’s strong support for Israel, and the reaction from some “progressives” says more about the “progressives” than about Warren.DONATE
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