Why American Progressivism is a Threat to Israel

Kamala Harris might not have agreed with an anti-Israel university student, but the VP’s response helped legitimize a dangerous position

VP Kamala Harris addressing American students at George Mason University.
VP Kamala Harris addressing American students at George Mason University. Photo: EPA-EFE/KEN CEDENO

Conservative Americans and not a few Israelis were in an uproar this week after US Vice President Kamala Harris appeared worryingly accepting of a university student’s assertion that Israel engages in ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians.

Citing Congress’ decision to help Israel rearm its Iron Dome missile shield, a student at George Mason University in Virginia lamented that “a few days ago there were funds allocated to continue backing Israel, which hurts my heart because it’s an ethnic genocide and a displacement of people.”

The visiting vice president responded: “…your truth should not be suppressed and it must be heard…”

No one expected Harris to be a champion of all things Israel like her predecessor, Mike Pence. Nor should anyone now get it in their heads that Harris is going to join “The Squad,” that small band of loudmouth anti-Israel House representatives trying to pull the Democratic Party ever more to the extremes of liberal politics. She isn’t going to start badmouthing Israel or pushing legislation detrimental to the Jewish state, at least not explicitly so (debate over the Iran nuclear deal aside).

Harris might not even have agreed with the student’s diatribe. And that’s the problem.

It would be easier to oppose a politician who herself held aggressive and blatantly false anti-Israel positions. What’s more dangerous are politicians who encourage and facilitate this new progressive trend in which everyone has their own “truth,” even if it consists of demonstrable lies. This movement is creating a society in which ultimately facts won’t matter in deciding critical policy. In spite of all the “fact checking” going on these days in the mainstream media, we are actually almost there. Narrative already rules over reality as far as public opinion is concerned.

Israeli journalist Matti Bernhardt writing for the religious Zionist news website Srugim explained it thus: “With the extreme progressives there is no such thing as truth, only ‘narratives.’ It does not matter if someone said something bad or wrong, as long as he ‘expressed his inner truth.’ This student ‘feels’ that Israel has committed genocide, so Harris thinks it is important that we listen to her inner voice, and God forbid she criticizes her, even though she knows very well that this is a gross and outright lie.”

Is it too much to ask that our national leaders take a public stand for truth and against slanderous accusations of the type that have in the past resulted in much Jewish blood, even if it might cost them votes? No one is talking about silencing even the most ludicrous of claims. But when lies arise, they should be confronted. After all, that’s what the government does when folks say the COVID vaccine is a means of population control, mind-control, or worse.

The best case scenario here is that Harris’ noncommittal approach will further polarize Americans over this issue by legitimizing an extreme position. And that helps no one, least of all Israel.

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