Back in the 70s it was common to come across workers fighting hard and long for rises to their wages & the overthrow of capitalism who were completely convinced that all issues of women's liberation were a distraction. They thought women should shut up and get behind the 'real' issue and that everything would be sorted out for them after the revolution. Many still do in their heart of hearts.
I have also come across quite a lot of excellent red hot feminists who didn't give a stuff about poverty so long as women get an equal chance to climb the ladder to success. I find that unimpressive.
I could say much the same about black rights campaigners who stay silent about the rights of homosexuals and think vile attacks on them in rap lyrics is not really an issue but would be horrified if a gay person used the "n" word.
For me the issues of equality, freedom and community are each as important as the other. The overall picture is that everyone deserves a chance to live their lives as they choose to do so with a fair chance to earn a decent living and to live in a secure and strong community. That includes a secure and strong environment of course. Anyone who can't see that their own fight for justice needs to be put in the context of justice for all goes down a very dangerous route. They start to define themselves as special and to see their own rights as superior to everyone else's.
Curiously the worst offenders at this tend to be people from Israel. I say this with great sadness as one of the first issues that got me interested in politics were the images of the Nazi death camps. It horrified me that an entire nation could become convinced that another part of humanity was less than fully human. It seemed to me that this had started because too many people in Germany adopted a small-minded and rather petty hatred of those who were different. Because that wasn't properly challenged and faced down by the German people themselves it ended up with people who thought they were cultured pushing children into gas ovens.
Like many on the radical left I didn't take a lot of persuading that the Jewish people needed a secure homeland and I watched jealously as several of my friends went off to work on a Kibbutz and came back glowing about the idealism.
How times change! Now it is a Jewish state that is institutionally defining those from another race as not fully human, seizing their most valuable possession (their land) and denying them the right to live prosperous lives in secure communities. You would have thought that living with the shared knowledge of the most awful oppression would have taught the entire Jewish people that oppression has to be fought tooth and nail whoever is suffering from it. Plenty of Jewish people do believe that and act that way but day by day more and more are starting to believe that the Palestinians and all other Arabs aren't really fully human. Too many Israeli's seem to have decided that the only issue that matters is Jewish rights and other people don't have any.
An ugly side has emerged to the Israeli nation and when you listen to its defenders talk it isn't long before you get a dreadful sense that they have gone down the route of believing the Palestinian's are untermenschen who don't matter. When a Palestinian bombs a bus it is quite rightly denounced as a dreadful atrocity. When Jewish bombs and shells destroy the whole of Gaza city and set fire to children then that is less important. Merely necessary collateral damage. The lives of the other aren't really of any significance. It is only the one race that matters. Adolf would have understood.
Too many Palestinians seem to think the same about the Jews. They can see the depth of their own misery but have ceased to recognise any sign of tolerance and understanding from the other side and have given up on treating Jews as anything other than the enemy. The critical difference is that just at the moment they have weaker weapons or else the boot might well be on the other foot.
With each passing week the situation seems to get worse. Each side is building up a fund of resentment and starting to think that it is necessary to inflict pain on the enemy and to make no connection with the pain that they feel themselves. Anyone who denounces the appalling behaviour of Israel gets a viciously over defensive attack that tries to make out that they must be somehow anti-Jewish. Being honest with people you like is not betraying them it is helping to save them from turning themselves into what they are most horrified by. Israel is in danger of becoming a Nazi society and Jews need to hear that honestly and face up to it.
Anyone who denounces a dreadful atrocity committed by Palestinians gets told that they are a weak livered liberal who doesn't understand that the oppression of a whole people has to find an outlet. It isn't true. Killing people at random who are catching a bus is not freedom fighting. It is giving up on your humanity.
When people that you care about start to lose their humanity and to believe that only their own oppression is of any importance then silent toleration is not the right way forward. The only thing that helps is honesty. We all have a responsibility to stand up to the nonsense being spouted by Israeli apologists and say it clearly and honestly. Day after day they are becoming more like what they profess to most despise. Their racism is getting worse and they are heading for a very dark place. It is time to think long and hard about where it can possibly end and to take a strong step backwards. Do they want a proper peace process or genocide? It is also time to be brutally honest with Palestinian campaigners. They also need to think out the consequences of some of the actions committed in their name. Do they really think terrorism is a necessary evil? And when it comes to the USA, UK & France it is also time to be straight. At what point does sending arms into a horrible conflict zone make us every bit as responsible as the killers?