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Leftists For a Second Holocaust Paul Bogdanor,
The Jewish Press,
October 11, 2006 "Before Israel dies, it must be humiliated and degraded. Allah willing, before they die, they will experience humiliation and degradation every day... Allah willing, we will make them lose their eyesight, we will make them lose their brains."
- Khaled Mashal, Hamas leader "... the vote for Hamas was actually a vote for peace."
- John Pilger, far-left journalist and filmmaker It would be difficult to imagine a clearer expression of genocidal hatred than the ideology of today's jihadist armies. What is even harder to accept is that these bloodthirsty killers, with their graphic incitement to the massacre of millions of Jews, are admired and defended by legions of intellectuals, journalists, agitators and demonstrators on the anti-Zionist left. All sane observers understand that the official program of Hamas, if implemented, would result in an epoch-making bloodbath. One broadcast by Hamas activists announced: "My message to the loathed Jews is that there is no god but Allah, we will chase you everywhere! We are a nation that drinks blood, and we know that there is no blood better than the blood of Jews." But in the organs of the Israel-hating left, we read that the Hamas election victory is "the best news from the Middle East for a long time" (The Guardian). We read that it is time "to reinforce Hamas resistance [to Zionist ideology]" and its "ethical cry to the world" (CounterPunch). The goal of "reinforcing Hamas resistance" is quite widely shared in the anti-Zionist camp. Left-wing American activists in the International Solidarity Movement openly admit to collaborating with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. In the Israeli communist journal News From Within, Jennifer Loewenstein, who is currently ensconced in Oxford University, urges that "Hamas, its allies and solidarity activists abroad genuinely attempt to make a difference." Editor Michel Warschawski anticipates that the Hamas regime will bring about "Palestinian unity in fighting the Occupation... It may provide new hopes and new confidence." As these writers know very well, the "resistance" that is to be "reinforced" entails the calculated murder of small children, pregnant women, the elderly, and the disabled; the bombing of buses, cafes, and restaurants; and occasional attempts to demolish whole skyscrapers. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah's Hezbollah is another jihadist faction much admired by today's left-wing anti-Zionists. Claiming responsibility for massacres of Jewish civilians as far afield as South America, a Hezbollah statement pledged "an open war until the elimination of Israel and until the death of the last Jew on earth." Yet Norman Finkelstein - best-selling author of The Holocaust Industry and other classics in the field of Jewish antisemitism - can hardly find the words to express his enthusiasm. "I truly honor [Hezbollah] for having inflicted an exceptional and deserving defeat on their foreign occupiers," he once exclaimed. "It's another wonderful chapter in the long and painful struggle for human emancipation and even liberty and certainly one that every human being can take inspiration from." During the recent war, he echoed the sentiments of countless leftists who marched to the slogan: "We are all Hezbollah." In his visit to Lebanon earlier this year, Noam Chomsky justified Hezbollah's military arsenal as a "deterrent to potential aggression." Lebanese commentators were quick to express their disgust, warning that failure to disarm Hezbollah would lead to war - a prophecy that was fulfilled shortly afterward. Was it in spite of this prospect, or because of it, that Chomsky allowed himself to be filmed greeting the terrorist commanders as long-lost friends? Could any parodist capture the scene of the taxpayer-financed American Jewish professor >advising these murderers of Americans and Jews that instead of surrendering their weapons they should "inform the public and get them to understand your position" so that "they will put pressure on the politicians" to capitulate? Writing in the London Review of Books, Charles Glass was impressed by Hezbollah's ability to use rockets and suicide bombers "intelligently, in conjunction with an uncompromising political programme." Critics promptly drew his attention to the words of Sheikh Nasrallah: "If they [Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide." Such statements, replied Glass, "are in all likelihood fabrications." Surely the "intelligent" masterminds of rocket barrages and suicide bombings could not possibly embrace such an "uncompromising political programme." After all, the editors of the Lebanese Daily Star were anxious to distance themselves from the journalist who had originally recorded Nasrallah's outburst. If true, that would be a shocking indictment of their own professional standards, given that in the space of a year they had published no fewer than 170 reports by the employee whose veracity they supposedly did not trust. But Glass would no more share this consideration with his readers than he would mention the antisemitic bloodlust of Al-Manar, or the Shiite scholar Amal Saad-Ghorayeb's carefully documented conclusion that for Hezbollah, "the Israeli Jew becomes a legitimate target for extermination. And it also legitimizes attacks on non-Israeli Jews." Even so, Charles Glass can hardly compete with his more flamboyant radical colleagues in his enthusiasm for terrorists and suicide bombers. For the widely read columnist and documentary maker John Pilger - who ascribes Britain's Middle East policy to the nefarious machinations of a single Jewish businessman - Hezbollah embodies "resistance to rapacious power... humanity at its noblest." For the political firebrand George Galloway, Hezbollah terrorists are "martyrs and heroes," while Sheikh Nasrallah's "name now rings in joy around the world." The sickening list of far-left apologists for Nazi-style Jew-haters seems almost endless. While the jihadists of Hamas and Hezbollah dream of a second Holocaust, the ayatollahs of Iran are pursuing the means to achieve it. Representative of the "moderates" in the Iranian regime is former President Rafsanjani, who predicts that "the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam." The "extremists," as everyone knows, take their cue from President Ahmadinejad, with his assurance that "the Zionist regime is headed toward annihilation." But few tyrants are so depraved that radical leftists will not leap to their defense. Virginia Tilley, academic proponent of the "one-state solution" to the "problem" of Israel's continued existence, believes that Ahmadinejad's words promise the sort of "profound political change" that is "necessary to creating a just peace." Doubtless relying on her professional knowledge of Iranian dialects, she maintains that Ahmadinejad's threat to "wipe Israel off the map" is correctly translated as a pious hope that the Zionist regime will "vanish from the page of time" - the "just peace" of her imagination. She also contends that Ahmadinejad is not really a Holocaust denier; in her view, "skepticism" about the "Holocaust narrative" arises quite naturally if the "narrative" is used in support of Israel. Noam Chomsky offers further insights: in his mental universe, "Israel and the United States are both threatening Iran with destruction [emphasis added]." The ayatollahs would be "crazy" if they did not develop nuclear weapons to counter the military threat from the West. British communist intellectual Alex Callinicos is equally certain of the correct ideological approach: "If Bush attacks Iran tomorrow, which side are you on?" he asks. "I would be on Iran's but - as Lenin put it - I would refuse to paint Ahmadinejad in communist colours; in other words, I would be for an Iranian victory despite his anti-Semitic rantings..." Perhaps, in the annals of political lunacy, historians will eventually discover a 1930s leftist who was insisting on the duty of all revolutionaries to side with the Nazi regime, while cautioning that Hitler was not a communist and that a Nazi victory would be desirable in spite of his policies towards the Jews - not because of them. If it seems that these are the isolated opinions of a few individuals, albeit figures of some prominence, it is worth pointing out that Britain's Stop the War Coalition has informed Iranian refugees that they will not be permitted to speak at its protests, since the movement "cannot allow any statement against the Islamic regime in Iran from the platform." While left-wing extremists refuse to tolerate Iranian critics of the Iranian regime, respectable universities are quite happy to offer a platform for meetings organized by the most bigoted spokesmen of that very regime. In July I had the memorable experience of attending such a conference at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. The event had two main sponsors. The first was the Islamic Human Rights Commission, described by Melanie Phillips as "the most conspicuous promoter of Khomeini jihadism in the UK." Its advisory board includes the likes of Mohammed al-Massari, a Saudi exile with al-Qaeda sympathies whose website implores Allah to "grant his mujaheddin victory" over "the Jews, the Americans and the apostates." The second sponsor was the NEDA Institute, an Iranian body whose main function seems to be the dissemination of "research" that denies the Holocaust. The theme of the conference was the need to do away with Zionism. A newsletter distributed at the entrance applauded Ayatollah Khomeini's "arguments" for the destruction of Israel. Speakers included three Marxist-Leninist writers (Uri Davis, Michel Warschawski, and John Rose) and a notorious left-wing American Jewish antisemite (Jeffrey Blankfort). Apparently they were only too happy to offer their intellectual services to the advocates of a second Holocaust. It must be stressed that the genocidal fanaticism of Hamas and Hezbollah and their Iranian sponsors barely differs from that of al-Qaeda. In the words of bin Laden: "We are sure of our victory against the Americans and the Jews as promised by the Prophet: Judgment day shall not come until the Muslim fights the Jew, where the Jew will hide behind trees and stones, and the tree and the stone will speak and say, 'Muslim, behind me is a Jew. Come and kill him.'" What is truly incredible is that some radical leftists are so consumed with hatred that they are prepared to make excuses for these mass murderers as well. Three months after 9/11, CounterPunch published a revealing interview with Norman Finkelstein: "it's payback time for the Americans," he gloated, adding that "we deserve the problem on our hands because some things bin Laden says are true." Finkelstein kept a studied silence about the implication of these thoughts for his fellow Jews. Another line of argument was suggested by Noam Chomsky: "It's entirely possible," he hypothesized, "that bin Laden's telling the truth when he says that he didn't know about the [9/11] operation," and in any case bin Laden was "courageously fighting oppressors, who are quite real," although regrettably his crimes were "extremely harmful" to the Palestinian cause. Not content with these observations, Chomsky traveled to Pakistan, where he hastened to assist al-Qaeda's recruitment efforts by informing his audiences that the Bush Administration was planning to impose mass starvation on the Afghan people. For the gold standard in collaboration with genocidal antisemites, we must look to the radical lawyer Lynne Stewart, convicted last year of providing material support for the terrorism of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. The so-called "Blind Sheikh" was linked to the attempted massacre of 250,000 people in the 1993 World Trade Center attack. The bombers expected that most of the victims would be Jews. Stewart's actions on behalf of her imprisoned client included refusing to disclaim a fatwa inciting Muslims "to fight the Jews and to kill them wherever they are." It is of no small significance that she is acclaimed as a martyr by her comrades at the National Lawyers Guild and the Center for Constitutional Rights, not to mention far-left media such as Z Magazine, CounterPunch and Democracy Now. In Britain, where I live, the anti-Zionist left has broken all records in its promotion of Jew-killers. So deep is the malaise that a major national newspaper, The Guardian, has seen fit to open its opinion pages to the jihadists and their admirers. One fanatic managed to insert a series of columns proclaiming that "Israel simply has no right to exist" and that "martyr-bombers" are "heroes defending the things we hold sacred." Other op-ed contributors have included a well-known Hamas ideologue, official leaders of Hamas and a member of Hezbollah's executive committee. Neither these outrages nor The Guardian's countless libels of Israel and "Zionist" Jews have evoked the slightest dissent from its politically correct readership. The British far left's infatuation with jihadists has even produced a new political party. In 2004, the country's leading Marxist-Leninist and Islamic extremist groups announced the formation of RESPECT: The Unity Coalition, which now functions as a national megaphone for antisemites, Holocaust deniers and would-be destroyers of Israel. But is this development any more surprising than the public political romance between Ken Livingstone, the hard-left Mayor of London, and Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Middle East hatemonger who demands the mass slaughter of Jews? Or the insistence of the world-famous journalist Robert Fisk that the Bush Administration is controlled by "the Perles and the Wolfowitzes and the Cohens," and that "I'm amazed that Muslims have been so restrained"? The enthusiasm of today's radical leftists for the genocidal antisemites of the far right is not without precedent. The opening of communist archives revealed that for decades the Soviet bloc had tried to destabilize West Germany by orchestrating neo-Nazi violence. To embarrass its rivals on the other side of the Berlin Wall, the Stasi created movements such as the "Veterans of the Waffen-SS" and financed a campaign by the "German Imperial Party" to "justify the need for exterminating the Jews." These examples can be multiplied. It is tempting to conclude, with Ecclesiastes, that there is nothing new under the sun. There is, however, an important difference. Yesterday's communists sponsored Nazis in the hope of discrediting their enemies. Today's ultra-leftists think that their alliance with Nazis brings credit to themselves.