In a 2011 blog post titled “A Few Notes on WHAT IS LEFT (or Toward a Manifesto for Revolutionary Emancipation),” the prominent radical intellectual Richard Falk endeavored to distill “what remains of the historic left” into a program of contemporary relevance. The starting point he proposed? “Support for the Palestinian Solidarity Movement.”
This is not surprising, as Falk is the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Palestine and a ferocious supporter of the Palestinian cause. But his views are not unusual. Falk was simply expressing what has been implicit among progressive academic associations, unions, churches, and human rights groups that single out Israel for censure or punishment. Championing the Palestinians and opposing Israel has become a touchstone, perhaps the touchstone, of the contemporary Left.
This reflects a larger transformation of Leftist concepts from that of the working class versus the bourgeoisie to that of the Third World versus the First World, or “the rest against the West,” an idea that grew out of the struggle against Western colonialism. It places Israeli irredeemably in the wrong and bathes the Palestinian cause in nobility. [...]
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