Logical contortions

 

NICK CATER

The Australian, December 8, 2015

 

The National Women’s Studies Association has become the latest bunch of turkeys to vote for Christmas, rising to the defence of the misogynist, homophobic, theocratic thugs waging holy war in Gaza. 

The NWSA last week joined other American academic associations in venting its disgust towards Israel by joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Feminists for Justice in Palestine and the women-hating Hamas regime in Gaza are unlikely allies. Gender equality has been guaranteed in Israel since its creation in 1948. In Gaza discrimination is part of every day life.

What, one wonders, did the feminist academics think about the ban on women entrants in the Gaza Marathon two years ago? “We don’t want any women running uncovered,” insisted Gaza’s Cabinet secretary Abdul-Salam Siam. Marriage equality might be another bone of contention. Marriage equality for widows, that is, who are legally obliged to live single, stigmatised lives.

Same-sex marriage? Don’t even think about it. Gay people, says senior Hamas leader Dr Mahmoud Zahar, represent “a minority of perverts and the mentally and morally sick.” Nevertheless, the Palestinian Queers for BDS insist that turn a blind eye. “Our main struggle is one against Israel’s colonization, occupation and apartheid,” they say on their website. Queer is putting it mildly.

Seldom have the warped priorities of the Left been so apparent as in their framing of Middle-Eastern geopolitics generally and theocratic Islam in particular. The Islamic State’s sadistic rule in Syria and Iraq and indiscriminate acts of terrorism abroad are trivialised or denied while the BDS brigade takes up the cudgels against Max Brenner chocolate shops and Israeli-designed Soda Stream devices. Catholic bishops in Tasmania are accused of homophobia for stating their honest views on gay marriage, yet homosexuals are ritually slaughtered by ISIS without a murmur of complaint.

Never let it be said that Islam has a problem with gays, insist the intellectual thought police. To do so would “render invisible the role that fundamentalist Christians, the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Jews play in perpetuating fear and even hatred,” writes Sarah Shulman in the New York Times. Israel’s claim to be a gay friendly nation is mere “pinkwashing,” Shulman insists, part of a “messaging tool” to win over the global gay community.

It is worth dwelling on Shulman’s contorted argument to understand the modern Left’s thinking. It is against all forms of homophobia unless the homophobes are Islamic, when it would be Islamophobic to point it out. Israel, we are told, has introduced liberal, gay-friendly laws, including same-sex marriage, purely as a marketing exercise.

Buy that if you will, but conspiracy theories about Israel and a corresponding disregard for the Islamic threat are no longer confined to the fruitcake Left. Former Labor foreign minister Bob Carr claimed recently that parliamentarians “are being seduced and bribed … with paid overseas trips to Israel.” When he appeared on the ABC’s 7.30 last year, Carr was not content to merely disagree with the pro-Israel views of his former leader Julia Gillard. He went further to claim that “extremely conservative instincts of the pro-Israel lobby in Melbourne (were) exercised through the then-Prime Minister’s office.”

There is a simpler explanation for Gillard’s approach to Israel. She may have been abiding by a bipartisan foreign policy position that insists on Israel’s right to exist. Yet Carr falls back on an account that bears the hallmarks of a classic conspiracy theory. He blames sinister individuals driven by dark forces who possess the power to manipulate the people who run the country. His mission, he told the ABC last year, is to “shine light on areas of government that are otherwise in darkness.”

It is hardly surprising that Carr must resort to voodoo logic. No argument that sees Israel as the problem and a Hamas as the solution could be anything other than tortuous. The intellectual Left is loath write off its investment in post-colonial theory. They want to tell us that it is our fault; that the West is paying the price for its imperial follies; that Islamism is the oppressed fighting back and that if Israel would only end the occupation normal life will resume.

The rise of tyrannical Islamism has destroyed the last threads of this improbable narrative. Keeping it alive requires denying the evidence of one’s own eyes. Hence the Left’s disinterest towards human rights atrocities in the Middle East anywhere other than the state of Israel; the elevation of domestic gay marriage above concern for jihad against homosexuals and the determination to seek out convoluted explanations for terrorist attacks.

More than 24 hours after Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik’s shooting spree in San Bernardino, California last week, the ABC’s Stephanie March insisted “it’s still unclear exactly why they went on this rampage.” Perhaps, after all, it was merely a “workplace incident,” as President Obama had suggested.

“All we know is that they were a seemingly normal, seemingly happy couple living in America with their young daughter,” March told listeners to The World Today. Just an ordinary couple in an ordinary SUV loaded with handguns, rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and military clothing. They lived in an ordinary home stashed with thousands more rounds of ammunition and pipe bombs.

“Neighbours say they appeared to be a happy, normal couple,” March reported. “Devout Muslims but in no way fanatical or suspicious.” It was so ordinary, in fact, that ABC’s PM that evening chose not to cover it the story. After all, it had been a busy news day, what with the child abuse commission, the Paris climate conference and all.

Perhaps the Left will wake up one morning and realise it has missed the big story for the past 15 years; that radical Islam poses a real and present threat; and those hurt of killed in Paris, San Bernardino and Sydney’s Lindt Café were not the victims of random acts of violence.

In the meantime the Left clutches at straws and stretches the presumption of innocence to breaking point. Anything but confront the cold, ugly truth.