Opinion: By dangling red herrings such as same-sex kisses in cartoons and gender pronouns, a fanatical, religious minority has managed to divert attention from core issues at heart of West’s culture war

The ongoing culture war in the West has been focusing lately on such trifles as same-sex kisses in Disney movies and gender pronouns, along with more serious ones issues like nontraditional family gender roles and the inclusion of slavery in school curricula.

Based on the recent flurry of extreme rulings in America – primarily the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade that would block access to abortion for many women – it is evident the conservative camp in the U.S., but also in Israel, has been getting the upper hand in the ongoing culture war.

הפגנה מפגינים נגד ביטול פסק הדין שהתיר לבצע הפלה הפלות ברחבי ארה"ב ב וושינגטון 26 ביוני
A protest in the U.S. against overturning of Roe v. Wade ruling (Photo: Getty Images)


The conservatives take minor issues, like how to celebrate Christmas or how appropriate it is to wave the Pride flag in public spaces, and turn them into a debate on the future of Western culture.

There is no other word more common in political discourse than the term “woke” – an adjective describing a person alert to racial prejudice and discrimination. It’s a conservative phrase meant to malign the “wacko progressive” who tries to force everyone to “wake up” and see reality through their point of view.

In Israel, where the term has already become quite common among right-wing media personalities on Twitter, the phrase “progressive insanity” is much more prevalent. Pregnant male emoji, Arab party in the coalition, or sex-ed classes are no longer just points of debate, but a testament to the other side’s insanity. And who wants to be affiliated with insane people?

People in Oklahoma City, Okla., take part in a Black Lives Matter protest during nationwide unrest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis
People in Oklahoma City, Okla., take part in a Black Lives Matter protest during nationwide unrest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis (Photo: Reuters)


In the meantime, while people tease and mock one another online, a few radical judges in Washington, appointed by a president and Congress representing a clear minority, shifted the character of an entire nation on fundamental issues in one fell swoop, affecting the welfare of hundreds of millions of people — especially women.

This is the result of a lopsided political system created by a bunch of slave owners almost 250 years ago, buttressed by a contemporaneous document that has taken the stature of holy scripture.

In both the U.S. and Israel, a minority forces its positions on the majority. A fanatical, religious right that aspires to restore order from time immemorial. That is to say, the order that suits it.

Their successful cultural war is the perfect diversion with a touch of classic projection: accuse the other side of which you are guilty before they get the chance.

מחאה בוושינגטון
Pro-life rally in Washington celebrating overturning of Roe v. Wade (Photo: AP)


One might wonder where is America’s non-religious, liberal majority in all this? Why do they fall time and again into the same culture war honeytraps, like whether Spanish-speaking Americans should be called Latino or LatinX, instead of asking themselves why aren’t the values of the majority represented and how we can change that.

Like in the U.S., seasoned Israeli politicians have a penchant for talking about “the people” and what they supposedly want. These debates are mostly an outgrowth of power structures deeply rooted in local politics that provide disproportionate representation to smaller groups in Israeli society, like the West Bank settler lobby or ultra-Orthodox parties.

Once again, this is the result of a culture war waged successfully that turned a majority into a minority and legitimate ideas into insanity.

Maybe it’s about time we stop this mad train.

As reported by Ynetnews