Anguish for today.
I have had another encounter with someone professing libertarian sentiments yet exhibiting troubling inconsistency and bias on the question of Israel and the Palestinians. One almost expects it of 'liberals' these days, but not of libertarians who claim to cleave to the principles of private property, freedom of movement, and non-interference in private transactions. It is a quite common manifest hypocrisy.
One example: many libertarians when faced with the atrocities committed around the world by terrorist groups will point to the effect of decades of oppressive, invasive, deceptive American foreign policy that gives the radicals traction in their own countries. They condemn the barbarous acts but urge a careful, dispassionate, examination of the broader context when discussing responses and solutions. But for the missteps of corrupt, overreaching foreign policy, the radicals would not have the appeal and the power they do. Therefore, the fix is in the politics not on the battlefield.
Yet, some of these same people, when pointing to the excesses of the Israeli government responses to Palestinian terrorism apply a different standard. First, they evidence a surprising trust in the pronouncements in English emanating from the Palestinian Authority - an entirely corrupt, brutal, kleptocracy that lies more than it tells the truth and runs two parallel scripts, one for the west in English and one for the Palestinians in Arabic; yet believe nothing that the Israeli government says. Then, if you point out that, even if they are correct in all of the allegations of brutality and atrocities attributed to the Israeli government (which is extremely doubtful) the sensible approach is to ask how such a government got the power and traction that it did, and that, given the high degree of relative democracy in Israel, what kind of changes would cause it to lose that traction, and to bolster a more tolerant, liberal approach. But they don't want to hear that because it leads back directly to the policies of the PA (and Hamas) and the inescapable conclusion that unless Israelis can be convinced that the Palestinian leaders will not continue to try to do what they say in Arabic that they are going to do (destroy and/or expel the Jews) they will continue to elect the type of government they now have. We must understand the terrorist outrages in Europe and America and Africa and elsewhere as the predictable results of deep-seated bad policy, but we must not see the excess of Israeli oppression in the same way as a predictable response to deep-seated, enduring existential threats that give the oppressors their power.
[I am adopting here their narrative. I do not believe the popular accounts of so-called Israeli oppression, though i do not discount the occurrence of very real abuses and horrible mistakes. Such is the situation. Assad in Syria has killed more Arabs (including some Palestinians) in one month than Israel has killed since 1948. I can't help feeling a huge imbalance in the amount of attention that Israel gets.]
So what is it? I don't really know. There is a kind of insidious anti-Semitism, not the thug type, but of a kind with the reflexive leftist denigration of all aspects of western culture. Israel appears to be singled out because of a subtle, maybe even unconscious, resentment at the success against all odds that it has achieved and (what is seen as) the smugness that this has produced. It rankles. And it produces horrible, troubling inconsistencies that I, for one, find difficulty getting my head around. Calmer, more sanguine, people can ignore it. I try and fail.