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“The left that never learns”

November 13, 2007

Read this, by Mitchell Cohen. It’s brilliant.

HISTORY MAY not progress but sometimes it regurgitates. Over the last decade, a lot of the old junk has come back. The space for it opened for many reasons. They range from the sad failures of the social-democratic imagination in the era of globalization to the postmodern and postcolonial influence in universities to George W. Bush’s ascendancy with its many, many miserable consequences (not only in Iraq). The left that never learns often became the superego of the twentieth century’s left. Its attempt to play that same role in the twenty-first century needs to be frustrated.

Nothing exemplifies the return of old junk more than the ‘new’ anti-Semitism and the bad faith that often finds expression in the statement: “I am anti-Zionist but not anti-Semitic.” The fixation on Israel/Palestine within parts of the left, often to the exclusion of all other suffering on the globe, ought to leave any balanced observer wondering: What is going on here? This fixation needs demystification.

Hat tip: Norm Geras.

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