The Democratic Socialists of America want to eliminate Israel

February 8, 2019 • 10:00 am

I became acquainted with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) when two candidates who were DSA members, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, were elected to Congress as Democratic Representatives.  In general, I endorse many of the group’s aims, though not its call for untrammeled socialism. (I tend to favor a capitalistic system with socialistic modifications, similar to what obtains in Scandinavia. And yes, I do favor universal single-payer healthcare.)

But what I didn’t realize was how anti-Israel the DSA was, and, in particular, how antisemitic it is in endorsing the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement. I say “antisemitic” because the BDS, in both its founding and in present policy, is not only critical of Israel, but is also “anti-Zionist” in wanting Israel to disappear as a country. And that I consider antisemitic. (For other people’s claims that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism, see here, here, and here).

There’s no doubt that the BDS chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is a call for a “one state” solution, with that state being Palestine. A mixed state, of course, will result in the massacre of Jews and the elimination of Israel as a secularly-based democracy—something that BDS supporters know but pretend they don’t when they make “kumbaya” noises.

I learned about the history of the DSA from reading this Daily Beast article from December (click on screenshot):

The long article talks about the transmogrification of the DSA, which went from a Leftist organization that was heavily Jewish and pro-Israel to an organization in which even the Jewish members want Israel gone. Here’s an excerpt about their vote on BSD (almost unanimously approved) and then a video showing what the the article describes:

The moment of decision is fascinating to watch. “All of those in favor of the resolution, raise your voting cards,” intones a DSAer presiding over the proceedings. A fluttering forest of red slips swings into the air. Many of those holding them grin with anticipation. “Thank you,” the emcee says. “All of those opposed?” A gray-haired man who looks profoundly out of place in the youthful room raises his card. “The motion carries,” comes the announcement, as the crowd explodes.

“There was jubilation,” recalls Chip Gibbons, the Washington, D.C.-based DSAer who wrote the first draft of the BDS resolution. “As a general rule, we tried to avoid applause at the convention for a number of reasons, but there was a spontaneous outburst of applause and an eruption of cheering.”

“It was electric,” says Olivia Katbi Smith, a Portland DSA member who had lobbied hard for the resolution. “The room was on fire. It was amazing. We had a Palestinian flag that we waved as soon as it passed. We started chanting.”

Here is what they chanted: From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free. The river in this formulation is the Jordan, the naturally occurring eastern border of Israel and of the West Bank; the sea is the Mediterranean to the west. Uttered by advocates of the Palestinian cause for decades, the pithy slogan very pointedly makes no place for Israel. It evokes a strip of Middle Eastern land where Israel is no more, replaced by a unified Palestinian entity in the space it once occupied. It could be that this entity would welcome and protect a Jewish population. But when supporters of the Jewish state hear those 10 words, they worry about their potentially violent implications.

(It’s no secret that the phrase is highly charged these days. After professor and pundit Marc Lamont Hill this week called for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea” in a speech at the UN in which he also spoke in support of the BDS movement, CNN dropped its long-time contributor. Lamont responded at length on Twitter, saying he had not called for violence and contesting the idea that the phrase belonged to Hamas.)

The video:

This change is not only reprehensible, for it shows the DSA supporting a regressive territory that is homophobic, misogynistic, and intolerant, but also a call for the elimination of Israel. (That would take place through genocide and war, but I’m not saying that the DSA favors genocide.) I can no longer be friendly toward the DSA, nor support any of the candidates who march under its banner.

It’s not just the DSA who favors eliminating Israel, of course, but much of the Progressive Left. That includes not just Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib, but the newest Muslim member of Congress, Ilhan Omar, who not only supports BSD but wants a “one-state solution”. None of these candidates favor a two-state solution (my ideal, though its realization looks very distant now), and all either favor the BSD or won’t comment on it. Here, for example, is Ocasio-Cortez, the newest darling of the Left, waffling or being duplicitous about her views.  In the interview below, Ocasio-Cortez could simply say “yes” if she did favor a two-state solution, but she just answers, when asked about it “this is a conversation.” Translation: she means “no, I don’t.”

Here she is on Firing Line, either deeply confused about Israel or waffling again. She refers to the “occupation of Palestine,” but doesn’t seem to know what it means.

As lagniappe, here’s Ocasio-Cortz’s endorsement of the antisemite Linda Sarsour:

Israel isn’t perfect, though one of its supposed faults, courting conservative dummkopfs like Trump, comes from liberals’ failure to support Israel, which, as the Beast notes, began long before Trump. This has forced Israel to turn for support to more conservative leaders.

But, given Israel’s faults, it’s a damn sight better than Palestine, and if there were to be two states, I know which one liberals would want to live in if given a choice. To suppose that a Palestinian state will be a liberal state, giving rights to women, gays, and those of other faiths, is to ignore history and believe in nonsense. Palestine is, and would be, a repressive theocracy. And that is neither democratic nor socialistic.

59 thoughts on “The Democratic Socialists of America want to eliminate Israel

  1. This why we need to be careful about wishing for a complete takeover by AOC and her ilk. A sane, *minority* conservative counter-balance to radical leftists is a useful thing.

    1. I’d like to see a sane, moderate minority conservative counterbalance, too.

      Unfortunately, the sane, moderate conservatives have been banished to the outskirts and back alleys of today’s Republican Party, the way the heterodox Gnostics were in third-century Christendom.

            1. Here is his initial comment where he condemned the actions on campuses of the BDS movement in a speech apologizing to Jewish refugees who Canada did not take in 1939. His comment that I linked to in my previous post references this one.

              He also says this: “And out of our entire community of nations, it is Israel whose right to exist is most widely and wrongly questioned.”

  2. How did the so called “progressive” left become so anti-semitic?
    I think of myself as “liberal”, much along the line of you Jerry.
    These day I feel very estranged from the left.
    I remember being told when I was 20 or so by a family friend of my parents generation- “The Greatest Generation”- “If at 20 you aren’t liberal there is something wrong with you heart, and if at 50 you are not conservative, there is something wrong with your mind”.
    Horrors!
    Old Guy aged 78

    1. Because they don’t see themselves as anti-Semitic. It’s not anti-Semitic to be opposed to the actions of the state of Israel. They wouldn’t even see it as anti-Semitic to be in favour of a one state solution to the Palestinian problem because they are too naive to understand that such a solution will result in a blood bath.

      One of the inherent contradictions of the Left is that they assume that the groups of people they are fighting for hold the same views as they do. For example, the Labour Party in the UK was set up to fight for the rights of workers. The people in the party are generally in favour of progressive rights for minorities and women, but the workers they are there to fight for often hold much more right wing views.

      They assume that, because the Palestinians are an oppressed minority (at least in their perception), when they take power over all the land in Palestine, they will set up a liberal democracy, because that is what the Left in Europe or the USA would do and they are all on the same side.

  3. That dummkopf Trump you refer to could hardly be any less serious about pursuing peace in the Levant. If he cared, he’d’ve never made that momzer David Friedman (who calls Jews favoring a two-state solution “worse than [the] kapos” who cooperated with the Nazis at the concentration camps) his ambassador to Israel, nor put the project in the portfolio of his dilettante son-in-law, dauphin prince Jared, who’s in the tank for MBS and the Saudis.

      1. Nope. But if unseriousness, unprincipledness, and unfitness for office constituted constitutional “high crimes,” there’d’ve been articles of impeachment against your boy Donald on Day One.

  4. The recent growth of the DSA reflects a pop-Left fashion trend, a revival of magic connotations around the word “Socialist”. One might wonder whether this really reflects nostalgia for the Socialist Republic of Romania under the Ceausescus; the delights which Erich Honecker’s Socialist Unity Party created in East Germany; the humanitarian advances which the Arab Socialist Baath Party has provided to Syria; the sterling economic management which Nicolas Maduro’s Unified Socialist Party has brought to Venezuela, once (but no longer) the wealthiest Latin American nation; or the classic innovations in public affairs, jurisprudence, prison management, Genetics, agricultural production, music and art in the late-lamented Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

    But I forget: all these exemplars weren’t REAL Socialism—the DSAers will say they were unreal. What our DSA enthusiasts take instead as real is a vision dancing in their heads—much like the visions of sugarplums dancing in the heads of other children at Christmas. Maybe mistaking sugarplum visions for reality is exactly how Socialism came to be distorted in the cases cited above—if they were distortions.

    1. Yes, indeed. Socialism = Stalinism. It’s why the U.S. will never have universal healthcare. What, you want Stalin choosing your doctor for you?!?

      Meanwhile, Denmark can have a government led by social democrats. And no concentration camps that we know about — although Fox News maybe hasn’t looked hard enough.

      1. During Bernie Sanders’ campaign, Danish officials specifically stated that Denmark was not a socialist country.
        Sanders, AOC and their ilk advertise socialism by citing achievements of capitalist countries.

        1. I’ve heard the Nordic countries called: compassionate capitalism. Democrats should start saying that instead of socialism. Socialism in all its myriad forms has far too many negative connotations in the US.

      2. Democratic Socialism ≠ Social Democracy. The two terms are not only different, they are not even on the same spectrum.

        Socialism is a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

        Democracy is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.

        Socialism does not always end up as Stalinism. Sometimes you get Maoism. Sometimes you get the Angkar, or the Juche idea. But socialism is the beginning of a process.

        The end of the process is usually old women, digging with garden tools in a mass grave, trying to identify their family members by the scraps of clothing still lying with the bones.

      1. Back in the 1990s conspiracy theorists were calling the DPRK, along with Cuba, Iraq, Iran & Libya one of the ‘five true democracies’, make of that what you will.

  5. Jerry, you site Scandinavia as your ultimate. I don’t know. They are taxed to the hilt. There are better examples imo.

      1. The way Scandinavia pays for their wonderful set of social services is the taxing scheme is quite flat. They don’t especially tax the rich. Everyone takes a hit – which is not so bad since everyone gets the services. Perhaps it ought to be more progressive, but that’s what they do. It seems to me the choice is: would you rather live with more spending money but at risk of bankruptcy, or less affluently but with a large safety net.

        1. My country also has a flat tax, and this increased revenue. Before it, we had a progressive tax and the main burden fell on the middle class, because most of the rich were highly motivated to evade taxation and found ways to pay practically nothing.

        2. Ken och Rickflick: Tack för information om nordiska skattesatser [tax rates]. In fact, I submit that the programs of the Nordic Social Democrat parties could be described better as “reformist” rather than “socialistic”, in keeping with the reformist agenda that Eduard Bernstein of the German SPD put forward around the turn of the 20th century. In Sweden, with which I have some familiarity, the Social Democrats explicitly gave up the goal of socializing the means of production some 90 years ago, when the pragmatic Per Albin Hanson led the party in the Riksdag.

      2. The figures you mention are income taxes as % of GDP. Many of the other figures in that link are simply wrong. For example, the top marginal tax including payroll tax in Sweden is 70%.

        The total tax burden in Scandinavian countries are still around twice of what it is in the U.S.; 50% compared to 25%.

        1. I’m happy to stand corrected if the figures in the link are wrong. But would you provide us with your sources for so claiming?

        1. I wonder how Canada fits in there. I’ve always said that the US could have such a powerful universal health care system if they contributed a small amount more to taxes as they have a big population. Canada manages to maintain a high standard of living and universal health care with a small population (~37 million) that mostly lives along its southern border. We pay more tax but we get a pretty good bang for our buck even if it’s not perfect.

        1. Thanks. I guess our taxes aren’t all that bad after all. And the wait times for health care are always inaccurate – we wait if it’s not important but if it is important, we get the attention right away. I even only waited a week or two for an MRI for migraines. When I had cancer I was diagnosed and operated on within a few weeks and then started radiation right after I healed so there are no deadly waits. It could be better though – in a number of areas – but it varies from province to province because health care is administered by the provinces.

        1. The top marginal rates kick in at a much lower level in Sweden. Taxes of average families is much higher in Sweden than in US. Plus there us the consumption tax.

          You were correct in saying they are taxed to the hilt.

    1. That myth has already been exploded, but all the same, you don’t necessarily come out worse with high taxation as long as the government provided services reflect the taxation.

      For example, in the UK, we would be able to reduce taxes quite considerably by adopting the US model for the healthcare system. Unfortunately, that would mean most of us paying vastly more in insurance premiums than we pay in tax now.

  6. I’ve always been unclear about why and when the Left turned against Israel. The DSA didn’t really clear that up, except for linking it to the Six-Day War. It seems like Israel was a darling of the left for a long time.

    1. My original theory, which I came up with in Africa, is that there is a western tendency to root for the scrappy underdog. When I was in Africa, the underdog was whichever clan or tribe was currently losing. In that case, there was not a good side and a bad side. Both sides were enthusiastic about genociding their opponent, when the opportunity arose to do so. And I saw, repeatedly, a knee-jerk reaction to sympathize with and support the losing side. The end result was prolonging the conflict, and increasing human suffering.
      I think it is understandable to sympathize with the Palestinians, if one takes their propaganda to be the truth. I certainly did, when I was younger.
      But my experiences in Israel completely changed how I see that conflict. What I see in the Israelis is not oppression, but admirable restraint. If they were the oppressors they are made out to be, they would have already eliminated any meaningful opposition from the Palestinian Arabs.
      The founders of the BDS movement are pretty candid about their goals if you care to look, but use very different language in their “recruiting” material.

      I will repeat myself once again in regards to the far left:
      Their agenda is presented like a beautifully wrapped present, covered with words like “equality”, “empowerment”, “tolerance”, and “diversity”. But when you unwrap the package and open the box, the only thing in there is is a filthy, worn-out copy of “We Shall go to Moscow Not With Ten Banners, But With Only One, With the Banner of Marxism-Leninism!”

      1. I think that about captures it.

        If I understand right, Israel in the 60s was seen as the underdog, a scrappy start-up country surrounded by much bigger neighbours. I wasn’t around, but I wonder how much of the change was about winning their wars, and how much was a re-focusing from Egypt / Jordan / etc, substantial countries, to the label of Palestinian, not such a substantial country. How did that come about?

        I don’t think this explains the US, but in the UK another factor is that Pakistanis are a solid Labour-voting block.

        In fact there’s a similar switch there I don’t quite understand, in that lefty rooting for the underdog used to mean the working class, and the unemployed… people who are now held to posses white privilege, and possibly even a group identity, and have been dumped in favour of immigrant groups. I’m not sure quite how who gets to be seen as the underdog gets decided.

        1. I think that the “underdogs” regarded as deserving the support of the far left are groups that are perceived as having destructive (“revolutionary”) potential.

          1. Good, that could be it. It did take a while for the Hampstead-herbivores to realise that the cab-driving class read the Daily Mail, not the Socialist Worker… perhaps until mass immigration they had no alternative to pin their hopes on.

            And Israel in the 60s? I guess you could paint kibbutzim as collectivism if you squinted a bit, but that aspect seems to have faded.

      2. My original theory, which I came up with in Africa, is that there is a western tendency to root for the scrappy underdog.

        The formula is even simpler:
        Brown = oppressed = good
        White = oppressor = ungood

  7. I have been thinking Ocasio-Cortez is quite charismatic and could be a very effective governor. She stands a chance to shift toward a more moderate stance as she spends more time in the halls of power. I assume she adopted many of her positions based on her ability to leverage support within a small radical base, and that she could shed some of the more risky positions over time. It still could be the case, but at this point she seems reluctant to reform. Oh, well.

    1. Based on her answer to expand n her comment about the occupation of Palestine I don’t believe she is qualified for any public office. Total failure to provide a coherent answer and defense of her position.

      1. All elected officials are incoherent not just AOC. Getting elected in the first place requires a certain level of manifesto vagueness to appeal to as wide a spectrum of voters as possible. To remain elected requires interview evasion skills & a large dose of compromise.

        In my view she is dangerous because her sets of ideals may make her impervious to change as she ages. She appears to be a fairly free agent & not yet corrupted. My main opinion about her is she’s charismatic [as politicians go], enjoys exposure & is damned entertaining [as politicians go]. More knowledge of history etc would greatly assist her of course.

        In the UK we have too many politicians who aren’t able to change their convictions to match harsh reality – they are part of the Venn diagram that includes… + politicians who put their own survival above national interest + wealthy politicians who are in it to expand their control of money/assets flow & power/influence + politicians who have been bought & paid for from the very beginning of their ‘service’ [the latter not as big a problem as in the US where ‘democracy’ has been thoroughly compromised by lobby groups which are now baked in to your system of ‘democracy’].

  8. “Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacks Israel, calls them the occupiers of Palestine.”

    OK, Alexandria, hand the keys to your New York apartment over to the local representative of the whatever Algonquian tribe formerly occupied that part of North America, buy yourself a one-way ticket back to Spain, and then I’ll listen to your lecture on the evils of Israeli “occupation”. You wouldn’t want anyone to think you’re a hypocrite, after all, would you?

      1. AOCs claims are sort of funny if you look at Hispanic cultures through the lens of actual history. They are as much a European culture as the US is, with rare exceptions. If we could transport a 14th century Aztec to modern day Mexico City, he would find the place completely foreign. The language, food, religion, architecture, clothing styles, and more would be incomprehensible to him.
        A Roman citizen living 1000 years before that Aztec, transported similarly, would be find elements of his own culture reflected strongly in all of those areas.

  9. I think I just heard the other shoe drop regarding the DSA caucus. I wonder what Bernie Sanders has to say about this?

  10. In their anger at Israel the DSA ignores the fact that Islam is incredibly intolerant even towards minority groups of Muslims. For example: Israel is the only place in the middle east where minority groups within Islam such as the Ahmadis can freely practice their slightly different versions of Islam. This particular group, with their own peculiar, slightly different superstitions, split off from Sunni Islam in 1889 when their founder claimed to be a combination of the Mahdi and the Messiah predicted in Islamic end time beliefs. In standard Sunni Islam Jesus, who has been squirreled away in Heaven for 2000 years returns to help the Mahdi conquer the world for Islam. Ahmadis are persecuted and murdered worldwide by other Muslims and banned from Mecca by the Saudis. Even in England, radical Muslims have called for their murder.
    In many ways, Islam is a much more powerful religion than Christianity. Effective, often violent suppression of the proliferation of religious sects is one obvious strength of Islam. Christianity has over 30,000 sects while Islam has less than 100.

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