Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 11, 2007 / 23 Iyar, 5767

Strange bedfellows

By Jonah Goldberg


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | At the annual Cairo Anti-War Conference in Egypt, the hot panel discussion this year was "Bridge-Building Between the Left and Islam." John Rees, a British Trotskyite, observed: "Where else can you sit down in a single evening and listen to senior people from Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, people from the revolutionary left and the antiwar movement from around the globe?"


Gosh, it sounds great. I'm just sorry I missed the rollicking game of Pictionary between the Castroites and the Jihadis afterwards.


Steven Stalinsky, executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute, recently reported in The New York Sun on the growing alliance between elements of the hard left and the Islamist extremists. "The roster of Islamist-left alliances quietly grows every day," Stalinsky writes. For example, "Massachusetts Institute of Technology linguistics professor Noam Chomsky praises Hamas and denounces America on Hezbollah's Al-Manar television. London Mayor Ken Livingstone invites a leading Islamist, Sheikh Yosef Al-Qaradawi, who is known for supporting suicide attacks, to visit his city. And Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "calls for a world without America even as he plays host to a Tehran peace conference" well attended by American members of the religious left. The aim of those "bridge-building" sessions in Cairo was, according to literature at the event, to address "the challenges and prospects facing the international anti-war and pro-intifada movements" and planning "strategy and tactics for bridging the gap and uniting Islamist and leftist ranks in the face of U.S. imperialism and Zionism."


Now, it's way too early to start talking about the "Taliban wing of the Democratic Party" or anything like that, but this is a fascinating and largely ignored phenomenon.


Of course, if you've followed the anti-Israel movements on college campuses, you already know there's a strong alliance — both ideological and strategic — between Islamic and leftist radicals. Indeed, anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism are often inextricably linked dogmas.


I'm a big believer in the importance of ideas and the notion that ideology matters. But I can't help but think ideology isn't everything. Something else is going on. For example, I recently participated in a debate at the Oxford Union (the subject of the debate: "This House regrets the founding of the United States of America"). Two of my opponents were British Islamists. One was the head of the moribund Islamic Party of Britain, the other the head of the British branch of the radical Hizb ut-Tahrir organization. Both men were more interested in spouting ancient socialist chestnuts about America's greedy individualism than in saying anything particularly interesting about Islam itself.


Undoubtedly, selling their vision of a World Caliphate where Jews and Christians would be thrown into official ghettos and homosexuals executed wouldn't have been a smart strategy in appealing to an audience that tends to think America is too oppressive already. But I got the distinct impression that something else explained their run-of-the-mill socialist twaddle. Both men seemed to be Muslims because that's where the action is for lefty radicals today. Indeed, the Islamic Party of Britain's Web site reads like a 1920s socialist pamphlet with Muslim buzz phrases penciled into the margins.


In the 1960s, every would-be revolutionary called himself a Marxist, usually without any serious regard to what Marx wrote, said or believed. The specifics of the ideology didn't matter, because Marxism was the oogah-boogah word radicals used to scare the fat, lazy bourgeoisie. In 1969, Stuart Schram, a specialist on Chinese communism, wrote that "never in the course of the past century has the name Marx been so widely invoked; never has this name served to justify so many ideas and actions totally foreign to the genius of Marx."


Today, Marxism has lost its oomph. Yuppies drinking five-dollar lattes put Che Guevara T-shirts on their private-school toddlers.


And because nobody thinks Marxists are scary anymore, radicals consumed with hatred for the status quo — for America, for Western civilization or for the plain old dreariness of their boring lives — don't bother calling themselves Marxists anymore. It's not that they're any more or less Marxist then they were before. It's just that Marxism won't get a rise out of your in-laws the way it used to.


But Islamic radicalism? Hooboy, that's where the action is. Of course, not everybody follows the John Walker Lindh route and actually converts to Islam, just as not every Black Panther supporter became a bank robber. But who can deny that this post-colonial, anti-imperialism, indigenous-peoples-and-the-suburban-revolutionaries-who-love-them-unite! stuff is in many respects just a magnet for the same riffraff and rabble rouses of yesteryear?


Sure, there's much to fear in Jihadism. But there's also something deeply pathetic about it, too. And that's worth pointing out.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


To comment on JWR contributor Jonah Goldberg's column click here.

Jonah Goldberg Archives

© 2006 TMS

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles