October 23, 2010
by Ronald Radosh
Despite his apparent good will in refusing the pleas of the far Left anti-Israeli activists, Pete Seeger’s decision to participate via the Internet on a world-wide Peace in the Middle East Rally emanating in
As the JTA story reports, “Seeger has rejected calls by individuals and organizations demanding that he cancel his participation in “With Earth and Each Other: A Virtual Rally for a Better Middle East,” an online event promoting peace through cross-border cooperation and scheduled for a Nov. 14 global broadcast at www.withearthandeachother.org.” OK, some mild kudos to Pete for doing that.
But, as Seeger is anxious to make clear, “That doesn’t mean that he supports Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, Seeger says; quite the contrary. He is a longtime donor to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, an organization that became so critical of Israel that it was dropped by the New Israel Fund years ago, and readily decries what he calls ‘monstrous’ Israeli military actions against Palestinian civilians.”
If the group Seeger supports is too far Left for the very far left New Israel Fund, that in itself says a great deal. Evidently, Seeger thinks that calling for peace is good- but naming the real enemies of peace is wrong. Here’s how he sees things:
“My religion is that the world will not survive without dialogue,” Seeger told JTA in an interview from his home in Beacon, N.Y. “I would say to the Israelis and the Palestinians, if you think it’s terrible now, just think ahead 50 years to when the world blows itself up. It will get worse unless you learn how to turn the world around peacefully.” In other words, talk instead of make war; engage in continual dialogue, and eventually you’ll both work it out. No need to examine which side really wants peace and which side does not.
He supported the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the Civil Right’s movements early days, he says, and therefore, Seeger says, “he does not oppose nonviolent efforts, including an economic boycott, to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and
Let’s take a moment and look at this ridiculous moral equivalence. He wants an economic boycott of
So he agrees with boycotting
Seeger says he does not want to “abandon the world to those who believe in violence.” But if he bothered to look at evidence, instead of uttering his useless platitudes, he would soon learn that
Why should we be surprised? Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, Seeger called for peace, peaceful co-existence between the United States and the Soviet Union, singing songs like “Put My Name Down, Brother, Where Do I Sign?” a ballad in favor of the Soviet Union’s phony international peace petition that favored unilateral disarmament by the West while leaving the Soviet atomic stockpile intact. He would sing and give his support to peace rallies and marches covertly sponsored by the Soviet Union and its Western front groups and dupes—-while leaving his political criticism only for the United States and its defensive actions during the Cold War.
That the Western and international Left sees Seeger as some kind of traitor speaks only to its own complete extremism. Seeger should pause and ask himself whether these are the people he sees as misguided allies, and instead of his meaningless vague calls for peace, do something really brave—sing and speak out on behalf of Israel’s right to exist freely as a Jewish state in the Middle East, without having to constantly face the threats of its destruction by the Jihadists and their western left-wing allies.
Ronald Radosh is an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute; Prof. Emeritus of History at the City University of New York, and the author of many books, including "The Rosenberg File;" "Divided They Fell: The Demise of the Democratic Party, 1964-1996," and most recently, "Commies: A Journey Through the Old Left, the New Left and the Leftover Left."
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