Hawkish and Dovish Denialist Left on Syria, or How to Mirror Hawkish and Dovish Zionism on Palestine

By SERGIO PÉREZ    September 7, 2016   –  Source: SyriainText

hawk-and-dove

In the last weeks, while Syrians continue losing their lives and their whole country, a heated exchange of indictments has taken place in the stormy arena of the social media. Especially among leftists, or those who consider themselves progressive people.

The hardest quarrels have unfolded about the stance of some very prominent –and mostly Western– figures of the pro-Palestinian activism, who have been charged with blatant denialism and/or accused of displaying a deafening silence on the Syrian uprising and the brutal repression which is actually facing.

When carefully analyzed, the arguments wielded by many of those figures in defense of their position on the Syria issue seem to reveal, oddly enough, striking similarities with the trite allegations that Zionists make in defense of Israel. In fact, the former seem to mirror the latter.

To be precise, we must distinguish two principal trends in the so-called denialist Left: the hawkish and the dovish, in resemblance to the two foremost political and moral standpoints of Zionism regarding the question of Palestine and the Palestinians.

To elaborate our point, here is a comparative depiction of the main features behind apparently –and just apparently– different approaches to the Syrian question.

Hawkish and Dovish

Totally detached from reality, hawkish Zionism will virtually deny any evil inflicted by Israel on the Palestinians. When acknowledged, the evil will be justified as a collateral damage or a necessary step in the name of security and counterterrorism. Their denialism will frequently lead them to claims of forgery and fake (Pallywood) even in the face of insurmountable evidences to the contrary.

Similarly, a totally detached from reality hawkish denialist Left (aka Geo-Stalinist anti-Imperialist Left) will virtually deny any evil inflicted by Assad and his allies on the Syrian people. When acknowledged, the evil will be justified as a collateral damage or a necessary step in the name of security and counterterrorism. Their denialism will frequently lead them to claims of forgery and fake (Syrian soap opera, just to force NATO to intervene) even in the face of insurmountable evidences to the contrary.

Partially detached from reality, dovish Zionism will acknowledge many evils inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian people, but they all will be rationalized in the name of the lesser evil, that is, the preservation of the Zionist regime and his allegedly more progressive cause (a modern, secular, supportive of minorities regime).

Moreover, dovish Zionism adopts the discourse of the “moral equivalence”, that is, the idea that both Palestinian and Israeli sides share a similarly criminal record of wrongdoings and abuses. The idea that everything is to be solved by sitting at the same table to negotiate the terms of an agreement between two sides equally powerful, legitimate and guilty.

But most of the time, dovish Zionism remains silent.

Partially detached from reality, dovish denialist Left will acknowledge many evils inflicted by Assad and his allies on the Syrian people, but they all will be rationalized in the name of the lesser evil, that is, the preservation of the Assad’s regime and his allegedly more progressive cause (a modern, secular, supportive of minorities regime).

Moreover, dovish denialist Left adopts the discourse of the “moral equivalence”, that is, the idea that both pro-regime and anti-regime sides share a similarly criminal record of wrongdoings and abuses. The idea that everything is to be solved by sitting at the same table to negotiate the terms of an agreement between two sides equally powerful, legitimate and guilty.

But most of the time, dovish denialist Left remains silent.

Common denominators

At the end of the day, hawkish and dovish Zionists share a number of common denominators:

Denialism, detachment from reality, false objectivity. – No matter the amount of evidences, all Zionists, hawkish and dovish alike, will distort the reality on the ground by diminishing, to a greater or lesser extent, the responsibility of Israel and its policies in the origin and perpetuation of the “conflict”.

Exclusion of the Palestinian voices. – In a paradigm of Orientalism, hawkish and dovish Zionists will converge to keep out of focus the voices and stories of Palestinians, who in spite of being the overwhelming majority of the victims, are not seen as entitled agents of a narrative which is always narrated by others.

Maintenance of the statu quo by act or omission. – By totally or partially exonerating Israel, the maintenance becomes indeed an act of deepening and consolidation of the oppression and grim realities Palestinians are living under.

Similarly, at the end of the day hawkish and dovish denialist leftists share a number of common denominators:

Denialism, detachment from reality, false objectivity. – No matter the amount of evidences, all denialist leftists, hawkish and dovish alike, will distort the reality on the ground by diminishing, to a greater or lesser extent, the responsibility of Assad’s regime and its policies in the origin and perpetuation of the bloodbath.

Exclusion of the Syrian voices. – In a paradigm of Orientalism, hawkish and dovish denialist leftists will converge to keep out of focus the voices and stories of Syrians, who in spite of being the victims, are not seen as entitled agents of a narrative which is always narrated by others, preferentially from the West.

Maintenance of the statu quo by act or omission. – By totally or partially exonerating Assad’s regime, the maintenance becomes indeed an act of deepening and consolidation of the savagery and bloody realities Syrians are living under.

Conclusion

These telling similitudes between the Leftist denialism on Syria and the Zionist denialism in Palestine should not come as a total surprise. The denialist Left’s ideological and moral mirroring of highly reactionary movements as Zionism, or even totalitarian ones as Stalinism, must be understood in the light of an extreme recusal of popular voices when they do not confirm the guidelines of the perfect anti-imperialist’s bedside book. There are many signs to suspect that, far from being driven by a genuine concern for human rights and welfare of the masses, much of the denialist leftists’ selective solidarity with Palestinians seems indeed to flow from the very same source that irrigates its categorical opposition to the uprising in Syria; namely, an unshakeable loyalty to geopolitics and high decision-making.

Thus, as long as a popular uprising does not compromise the geopolitical balance, it will be rewarded with approval, perhaps with enthusiastic advocacy. However, when a popular uprising does contradict the script or cannot be used as a spearhead against geopolitical foes, the whole spectrum of infuriated denialist leftists will make common cause against it, maybe to remind us, once again, that ordinary people are and should always be mere pawns on the chessboard of History.

This is nothing new to the Left. Virtually throughout its entire existence, and especially since the rise of the Soviet Union, it has been a movement dramatically split by a radical, profound schism. As a result, two irreconcilable, ferociously antagonistic sides have emerged: on one side, those who pledge allegiance to geopolitical calculations and axes of power; on the other, those who join their voices to the clamor of the masses’ longing for freedom.

Nearly half a century ago, a radical and fiercely independent Marxist thinker, Hal Draper, wrote a piece which lucidly illustrates the huge gap between these two moral and political standpoints:

“The first need is very simple: we need maximum manifestations of solidarity and support for the Czechoslovak people, against their foreign oppressors (…) We [in the Left] have a special duty to make our protest heard; and also, there is a special meaning for those who fail to do so. World protest is just getting underway, after the shock, and silence on this international crime is just as significant as silence on the American crime in Vietnam”.

                     – Hal Draper, “The Russian Invasion of Czechoslovakia” (August, 1968).

As for the actual case of Syria, and judging by numbers, it seems the denialist Left has gained the upper hand over the Left.

But immolating ordinary Syrians on the altar of Geopolitics is, and always be, an evil who will meet fierce opposition. Firstly by the Syrians themselves, who will hardly forget all the contempt and treachery displayed by those who like to be called anti-Imperialists.

They, Syrians, cannot be blamed for that.

. . .

Sergio Pérez is Editor of Bósforo Libros, a publishing house mainly focusing on the Question of Palestine.

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