Hard-left Democrats are apoplectic about Israeli attacks on Hamas, but they don’t have a thing to say when Islamic militants murder school girls.
Last week in Afghanistan, dozens of school girls were killed in an attack that targeted them for the offense of getting an education. You could hear crickets on the left. Later in the week, Israel responded to missile attacks from Hamas. The American hard-left exploded in outrage.
What’s going on?
First some background. Since Pres. Joe Biden has announced the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban and other fundamentalist Islamic terrorist groups have stepped up their violence and oppression. In areas of the country controlled by the Taliban, girls over 12-years old are prohibited from going to school. When the Taliban takes over a region it shuts down schools for girls and fires the teachers. It says that teachers who have taught older girls are violating Islamic law. What education remains for boys and younger girls is heavy on fundamentalist Islamic teaching, which includes the rule that women should remain in the home.
To underscore its point, one fundamentalist Islamic group or another (none has stepped forward to claim the crime) set off three bombs last week at a school in Kabul where teenage girls were allowed to attend. The bombs killed 80, including dozens of girls.
I have searched in vain for any statements condemning this from the hard-left in the Democratic Party. All that I can find are statements praising Biden for his decision to withdraw the U.S. troops whose presence was preventing some of this violence, murder and oppression of women.
But the left is beside itself about Israel’s response to Hamas. In that case, the militant Islamic group launched thousands of missiles into Israel. So far, they’ve killed 11 and it would be many more if it weren’t for Israel’s “iron dome” defense system.
Thus provoked, Israel responded with air strikes targeting Hamas leaders and a warren of tunnels in Gaza used to move people and materials for Hamas’ attacks on Israel. In truth, these attacks have been harsh and disproportionate. About 200 people in Gaza have been killed so far and about half have been women and children.
While calling for a cease fire and negotiations, Pres. Biden has also said that Israel “has a right to defend itself.” That seemed like a reasonable statement based on what had happened, but the left erupted at Biden.
My own Congressman, Mark Pocan, challenged Biden. “We cannot just condemn rockets fired by Hamas and ignore Israel’s state-sanctioned police violence against Palestinians — including unlawful evictions, violent attacks on protestors and the murder of Palestinian children. U.S. aid should not be funding this violence,” he said.
I cannot find any statement from Pocan on the murder of the school girls in Kabul.
Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota accused a State Department spokesperson of being “devoid of empathy and concern for human suffering” after he declined to state that Palestinians, too, have a right to “self-defense.”
Omar made no such statement about empathy or human suffering with regard to murdered school girls in Afghanistan.
Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rep. Rashida Tlaib from Michigan have referred to Israel as “an apartheid state.” Again, neither has said a word that I’ve been able to dig up about the Kabul murders or the repression of women and liberal democracy by Islamic fundamentalists.
Why the double standard?
There’s no obvious answer. I suppose you could argue that America is responsible for Israel since we send them about $3 billion in military aid. But the flip side of that is that we’ve invested billions in Afghanistan to prevent and reduce murder and oppression in that country. If the argument is that it’s wrong to aid Israel in its self-defense because it sometimes goes too far and violates human rights, then wouldn’t it also make sense to support the defense of a government that is preventing human rights abuses in Afghanistan?
And, of course, regardless of whether or not there is U.S. aid involved, isn’t a human rights abuse wrong regardless? Maybe not. It’s not just Afghanistan. The hard-left has been pretty much silent about the military coup in Myanmar where over 700 have been killed. We haven’t heard much from them about China’s whittling away at democracy and repression of protesters in Hong Kong (though, in fairness, Ocasio-Cortez has Tweeted her support for protesters there). There hasn’t been a lot of outrage over Vladimir Putin’s assassination attempt and imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. At best, any criticism of these things from the far left has been muted.
But, for reasons that aren’t clear to me, the American hard-left, which is more or less isolationist and understated when it comes to human rights violations in most parts of the world, has long been rabidly on the side of the Palestinians. They seem to see it as a clear cut case of right and wrong, without any nuance (which is just the way they see many things in domestic politics as well). The Palestinians have been wronged because they were shoved aside for the creation of Israel in the first place. Never mind the history of the Jewish people, never mind the Holocaust. And as for anything Hamas or other radical Islamist terrorists groups do to provoke Israel, well, any Israeli response is wrong.
Look, the moral clarity is in Afghanistan. The Taliban and other fundamentalist groups are wrong to murder innocent people, repress women and oppose liberal democracy. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is much less clear. I agree that Israel may have gone too far in its own self-defense, but I also agree with Biden that it has a right to act when it is attacked.
And yet, the hard-left is certain where there should be doubt and silent where there is certainty.