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Once upon a time, “progressives” struggled for progress. Workers demanded an eight-hour workday from their employers. Suffragettes fought to obtain the right for women to vote. Civil rights activists marched on Washington for racial equality. The list goes on and on.


In December 2023, “progressives” are obsessed with freeing “Palestine” from “the river to the sea” by “globalizing the intifada.”


Intifada is the Arabic word for “shaking off.” It refers to two violent Palestinian uprisings against Israel.


The first of these rebellions saw the birth of Hamas. The second resulted in half a decade of terror attacks, including suicide bombings that killed and injured thousands of civilians.


The only thing “progressives” should want to globalize is liberal democracy. This political system is most amenable to peaceful coexistence between states. Rule of law, individual liberty and economic prosperity also thrive in liberal democracies.


Human beings are predisposed to tribalism and group think. Our actions are driven more by preconceived notions and self-preservation than they are by seeking the truth and serving the collective good.


Yet an integral part of the human experience revolves around confronting uncomfortable truths. For example: Debunking the claim made by “progressives” that Israel is not a democracy, but an apartheid state.


While discrimination persists in Israel as it does in the West, and Israeli communities often self-segregate as many of their Canadian counterparts also do, the rights of minorities are nonetheless protected by law in both countries.


20 percent of Israel’s citizens are not Jewish. Yet all Israelis, irrespective of ethnic or religious background, could serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), join the foreign service, and hold public office.


In 2015, Israeli-Arab judge Salim Joubran sat on Israel’s Supreme Court when it sentenced former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a Jew, to jail on corruption charges.


In 2021, the United Arab List, an Israeli political party that includes Islamists, joined Yamina and Yesh Atid to form a coalition government.


“Oppressed” minorities don’t hold this type of power in apartheid states. In fact, no ethnic, religious, or sexual minorities anywhere in the Middle East enjoy the same democratic rights, procedural safeguards, and legal protections as their neighbors in Israel do.


“Progressives” must engage in introspection. After looking in the mirror, they should change the channel and gaze outside of their windows. The truth is that more than half of the world’s population resides in failed, authoritarian, or totalitarian states – and Israel is not one of them.


Freedom House’s most recent annual report rated a mere 84 of 195 countries as “free” in 2023. Naturally, Israel is one of the 84 and the only “free” country in the Middle East.


Unfortunately, the world’s preeminent human rights organization also determined that global freedom declined for a 17th consecutive year.


From the gender apartheid regimes in Iran and Afghanistan to China’s transnational repression and Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, there is no shortage of “progressive” causes to champion in 2023 – and few greater than those of rule of law and individual liberty.


Liberal democracy is the reason “progressives” can chant “globalize the intifada” on Canada’s streets and university campuses in the first place. Yet there is nothing “liberal” about “intifada” nor “democratic” about the Palestinian leadership that promotes it.


Hamas would rather see Gaza reduced to rubble and write thousands of non-combatants off as “martyrs” instead of releasing the hostages it kidnapped from Israel and recognizing the Jewish State’s right to exist.


The terror group hasn’t held elections in Gaza since it mercilessly massacred members of Fatah to seize control of the Strip in 2007. Likewise, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, is entering the 19th year of his four-year term.


Gazans depend on international aid to survive. While they suffer the consequences of Israel’s response to Hamas’ terrorism for the umpteenth time, the terror group’s leaders Ismael Haniyeh, Moussa Abu Marzouk, and Khaled Meshaal are billionaires living luxuriously in Qatar.


Like President Abbas traveling the world in a multi-million-dollar private jet, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat also ran an elaborate financial empire decades ago.


So how did the leaders of millions of impoverished and stateless refugees accumulate such absurd levels of wealth? While your guesses are as good as mine, it surely isn’t because they were “liberal” or “democratic.”


The evidence suggests that the upper echelons of the Palestinian leadership, whether Fatah or Hamas, have always been more motivated by their personal financial and political interests than the collective good of the people they represent.


Palestinian leaders and their Arab partners could’ve secured a State of Palestine in 1948. They chose war over peace and attempted to annihilate the State of Israel instead. To say that they failed miserably is an understatement.


The next best opportunity to establish a State of Palestine arose in the year 2000, when PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat rejected the deal offered by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.


Instead of retorting with a counteroffer, Arafat withdrew from negotiations, launched the Second Intifada that “progressives” intend to globalize, was confined to his compound in Ramallah, and eventually died a billionaire in France.


Rest assured: Palestinian leaders haven’t been alone in preventing the creation of a State of Palestine. There is more than enough blame to go around.


Before Israel’s occupation, Jordan also occupied the West Bank from 1948 until 1967. Amman could’ve given the Palestinians a state but claimed the disputed territory for itself.


Despite attempts to rewrite history and perpetuate the lie of unconditional Arab “solidarity” with Palestinians, the PLO also fought against Jordan. It assassinated Jordanian Prime Minister Wasfi al-Tel in Cairo and attempted to kill King Hussein on multiple occasions.


Amman expelled the PLO from Jordan to Lebanon in 1971, where Palestinian terrorism culminated in the Lebanese Civil War. Jordan only renounced its claims over the West Bank in 1988, the same year that Palestinians residing in the disputed territory lost their Jordanian nationality and became stateless – again.


This much is certain: History is more complicated than slogans, and there is nothing “progressive” about freeing "Palestine" from "the river to the sea" by “globalizing the intifada.” In fact, violence perpetrated against Israelis has always stalled “progress” by deferring Palestinian statehood to a later date.


Endless war only prolongs the status quo that enables Palestinian leaders to accumulate wealth and remain in power until they die while millions of people suffer as stateless refugees.


Forget intifada and the violence it connotes, the only thing “progressives” should globalize is liberal democracy.

Originally published by Toronto Sun on December 20, 2023.

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