Review: The Black Book of the American Left, Volume IV – Islamo-Fascism and the War Against the Jews
By Andrew C. McCarthy
In 1956, Nikita Krushchev, then the leader of world communism, gave what was supposed to be a secret speech about the crimes of Josef Stalin, including millions upon millions murdered. As David Horowitz has often recounted, the page-one publication of that speech byThe New York Times shook American communists to the core. These included such self-styled “Progressives” as Horowitz’s own parents, who were devastated by the news that validated claims long posited by anti-communists of the political right.
Yet, the discredited movement for “social justice” – which Horowitz defines as “equality enforced by government” – did not perish. The next generation, the “destructive generation,” launched a “new left,” fatuously believing its adherents would be untainted by the Soviet legacy of totalitarian repression and unlikely to repeat such crimes. Later, the Soviet empire’s collapse spawned predictions of the movement’s death that have proved greatly exaggerated. Instead, as Horowitz has observed, the collapse proved liberating (perhaps the only thing about social justice that can be said to be liberating) “because the utopian vision is no longer anchored in the reality of an existing socialist state,” enabling the modern left to “indulge its nihilistic agendas without restraint.”
The result has been predictable: The new left, Horowitz explains, is “no different from the old – embracing Communists in Vietnam and Central America and, eventually, Islamic totalitarians in Gaza and the Middle East.”
The last of this group, the vanguard of sharia supremacism, is the focus ofIslamofascism and the War Against the Jews, the recently released fourth volume of Horowitz’s conservative oeuvre, the collection called The Black Book of the American Left.
In it, the author expertly diagnoses Islamo-fascism, a term he undertook to popularize in 2007, amid the remarkably successful campaign by the Islamist-Leftist alliance to suppress examination of the scriptural moorings of jihadist terror. He also relates counter-offensives executed by the indispensible David Horowitz Freedom Center, taking the battle to the alliance’s home turf, America’s universities. The author also explores the alliance’s war of anti-Semitism – not of anti-Zionism, but an unremitting war of hatred for the Jewish people – the top agenda item of modern Islamo-fascism and the fuel for much of its agitation on campuses across the nation.
The neologism “Islamo-fascism” was made necessary by the United States government’s obtuse determination not to acknowledge, much less examine, the ideological basis of Muslim terrorism. This willful blindness has hardened into unbending policy – indeed, into farce – during the Obama years. Horowitz, however, correctly traces its origins to the George W. Bush administration’s preternatural indulgence of Muslim sensibilities even after jihadists killed nearly 3,000 Americans in the atrocities of September 11, 2001. Of course, it was not Muslim sensibilities the administration was seeking to placate; it was the cleverly orchestrated grievance-mongering ofthe Muslim Brotherhood.
Since its founding in Egypt in 1928, Horowitz relates that the Brotherhood has been the world’s most influential font of sharia supremacism, sharia being classical Islam’s repressive societal framework and legal code, rooted in Muslim scripture – the Koran, as well as sacralized accounts of the prophet Mohammed’s life, words and deeds. Since the middle of the twentieth century, the Brotherhood has methodically built an infrastructure of satellite organizations in the United States, much of which was laid bare in the Justice Department’s 2007-08 prosecution of a Hamas financing operation, the Holy Land Foundation case. Hamas self-identifies as the Brotherhood’s Palestinian jihadist wing, and support for its war to eradicate the Jewish state has been a top priority of the Brotherhood’s American network since the late 1980s.
Among the most significant of the Brotherhood satellites have been the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The MSA, which now boasts hundreds of chapters in universities throughout North America, is a Brotherhood breeding ground, indoctrinating students in organizational protocols as well as the virulently anti-Western, pro-jihadist writings of Islamist thinkers. Several top MSA leaders have gone on to become prominent members of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Chiefly, though, the MSA colludes with the left to undermine support for policies that promote American interests in the world and security at home.
The most effective gambit of the Islamist alliance with the left has been the promotion of an illusion, “Islamophobia.” As Horowitz illustrates, this contrivance was born in Islamist think-tanks for the specific purpose of smearing as racists commentators who engage in negative criticism of Islam – in particular, any effort to demonstrate Islamic doctrine’s straight-line nexus not only to jihadist terror but to the repression of women, the killing of homosexuals and apostates, and deep-seated animus against non-Muslims, especially Jews and Christians. Because these are undeniable features of their scripturally-rooted ideology, Islamists knew it was imperative to discourage public examination of their principles. The “Islamophobia” canard, exploiting the founding American tradition of religious tolerance, was an ingenious strategy to discredit and thus silence the messengers.
It worked to a fare thee well. Not only was the examination of our enemy’s ideology vilified on campus and in the media; the government – even as it fought jihadists on the battlefield and prosecuted them in the courts – accepted the fraudulent premises of Islamophobia. Turning for guidance to “Muslim community leaders” (i.e., Brotherhood-connected organizations like CAIR), law-enforcement and intelligence agencies suppressed mention of such terms “Islam” and “jihad” in connection with, well, Islamic jihad.
Moreover, as Horowitz shows in various contexts, nothing serves the Islamist-leftist alliance like a vacuum. With examination and discussion of the actual cause of jihadist terror – sharia supremacist ideology – muzzled, Islamists and leftists had an open field to offer their competing version of terrorism’s causes: American support for Israel, American counterterrorism policies, American aggression, American support of pro-Western dictators in Muslim countries, and the lack of social justice, which, of course, we are to believe is the beating heart of Islam.
Horowitz’s promotion of the term “Islamo-fascism” was a vital pushback against this onslaught. As he posits, the term “properly identified the religious nature of the jihadist threat along with its totalitarian implications – two hitherto-suppressed realities that were vital to understanding the enemy we faced.” The government retreated from the effort when a single utterance of the term by President Bush produced uproar from the Islamist-leftist alliance. Horowitz decided the best response was to take the fight to the source: the universities where the MSA was succeeding in banning scrutiny of the Islamists’ tyrannical creed.
Much of the book details these efforts and the unvarnished anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism they were met with on campuses across the country. At Columbia University, which happily played host to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – the then-president of Iran with decades of American blood on his hands, Islamists and leftists rabidly protested against Horowitz’s “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.” Making space for “Islamophobic” arguments in the marketplace of ideas, they fretted, would prompt “hate crimes” against innocent Muslims and justify America’s wars of “aggression” and “occupation” – not liberation – in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At the University of California at San Diego, which has made an academic icon of Angela Davis (a lifelong communist, Soviet apologist, Black Panther confederate, and spewer of anti-white, anti-Jew and anti-American bile), Horowitz appeared during the libelous “Israeli Apartheid” week. In a post-speech question-and-answer session, he engaged a Muslim student with whom, following her commonplace refusal to condemn Hamas’s genocidal aspirations, he had the following exchange:
Horowitz: … I am a Jew. The head of Hezbollah has said that he hopes that we will gather in Israel so he doesn’t have to hunt us down globally. For it or against it?
Student: For it.
Horowitz thanked the student for showing anyone who cared to see exactly what is really going on in America’s universities. He could equally well have thanked her for clarifying what the jihad in Israel is really about: not the vindication of Palestinian human rights but the extermination of Jews.
For decades, and with singular clarity, Horowitz has exposed what is popularly rendered as “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” In reality, it is a continuation of the jihad seeking the Jewish state’s destruction begun in 1948. From the start, Arab Muslim states sought Israel’s annihilation, and the failure to achieve it in a war of naked aggression was considered the nakba – the catastrophe. With the help of the American left, Islamists have falsely portrayed the ceaseless jihad as a political conflict over disputed territory and a struggle against “occupation.” In point of fact, Islamists will be satisfied with nothing less than Israel’s destruction – and leftists with nothing left than the eradication of a liberty success story where Arabs live with more freedom and dignity than in any Islamic state.
Israel, Horowitz underscores, is the canary in America’s coalmine. Islamists and leftists seamlessly confederate in the West, notwithstanding significant differences (on, e.g., women’s rights, gay rights, and abortion), because our liberty culture is the chief obstacle to their totalitarian designs.
Islamists and Leftists see the war clearly and understand the imperative of keeping us blind, or at least silent. David Horowitz has made a career of unmasking our enemies, who cannot be defeated absent recognition of who and what they are.
Introduction to Volume IV
By David Horowitz
Like the previous installments of The Black Book of the American Left, this volume addresses the role progressives played in undermining the defense of Western civilization against the totalitarian forces determined to destroy it. The present volume focuses on the holy war or jihad waged by totalitarian Islamists in their quest for a global empire. It is divided into three sections, the first and third of which contain narratives of campaigns I organized to confront the growing Islamist presence on American college campuses. While these accounts describe a cultural conflict in university communities, they have implications for a parallel culture war in the society at large.
The Achilles’ heel of democratic societies, as the Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski once observed, is also their moral foundation—the principle of tolerance, which they extend even to those who want to destroy them. The Islamists understand this vulnerability and therefore have exploited it as a central strategy along with the intimidation they conduct through terror. By deploying defamatory expressions like “bigotry” and “Islamophobia,” they seek to stigmatize their opponents, namely anyone who attempts to draw attention to the political nature of their movement, its imperialistic ambitions, its support for terrorism, its oppression of women, its hostility to other religions, and its virulent hatred of Christians and Jews. By casting themselves as the victims of religious persecution, Islamists have succeeded to a remarkable extent in censoring and marginalizing these critics. The narratives included in this volume illustrate these strategies and their agents in action.
The Islamists’ success in the wider society is evidenced in the censorship that even government agencies have imposed on their own utterances, and on the institutional guides they have developed for dealing with national security threats. For example, the 9/11 Commission Report on the Islamic attacks of September 2001 referred to “Islam” 322 times, used the word “Muslim” 145 times and ”jihad” (holy war) 126 times. But even though Osama bin Laden called his jihad a religious war against “the Jews and Crusaders,” the Bush administration described its response to the 9/11 attacks as a “War on Terror” without any reference to Islam. By using the neutered term “terror” to describe the Islamist threat, the administration obscured not only the religious nature of the attacks but the fact that the Islamists did not confine their tactics to military strikes but also pursued their goals through sophisticated political movements designed to infiltrate and subvert non-Muslim societies.
By the end of more than a decade of pressure from domestic Islamists and the political left, the religious nature of the war had become practically invisible, even to American counter-terrorism organizations. In the words of one member of the House subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security, “The current FBI counterterrorism lexicon, [which describes] the language they can use, does not include ’jihad,’ does not include ‘Muslim,’ does not include ‘Islam.’ It includes ‘violent extremism’ many times, but it does not include ’sharia’ [the Islamic law jihadists are seeking to impose globally]. It does not even include ‘Al-Qaeda,’ ‘Hezbollah,’ or ‘Hamas.’ Even the National Intelligence Strategy 2009 does not include references to ’jihad,’, ‘Muslim,’ or ‘Islam.’”
When the Obama administration took office in 2009, even more changes were instituted to shield not only the public but also the Department of Homeland Security and counter-intelligence agencies from the fact that the war against the West was based on an ideology shared by millions (probably hundreds of millions) of devout Muslims and sponsored by heavily armed Islamic regimes; or from the fact that it was a war at all. Under Obama, even the denatured term “War on Terror” was dropped from official pronouncements and replaced by the meaningless subterfuge, “overseas contingency operations.” The Obama administration designated the largest post-9/11 attack on American soil, the 2009 massacre of 13 American soldiers by a jihadist screaming ”Allahu Akbar,”as “workplace violence,” denying the 39 soldiers wounded in the attack the Purple Hearts they had earned.
“Islamophobia,” the opening chapter of this volume, is an essay co-authored with Robert Spencer, one of the foremost scholars of Islam and a valued colleague. It describes the international campaign to marginalize and ultimately silence critics of the jihad through the passage of what would amount to anti-blasphemy laws. Anti-blasphemy laws are the cornerstones of totalitarian states, outlawing speech that challenges their rule. Such laws have already been adopted by several Islamic governments. The agenda of the Islamophobia campaign is to make them universal—a goal reflected in resolutions the Islamic states have been able to push through the UN. Until such time as Islamists are able to establish these laws in the western democracies, the strategy of the jihadists is to use the principle of tolerance to justify suppressing criticism of Islam-inspired terror or Islam-mandated oppression by characterizing it as an attack on all Muslims, and therefore as “racist” and “bigoted” hate speech.
The first half of this volume contains a running account of the campaign I organized in the fall of 2007 to publicize the term “Islamo-Fascism,” and make it part of the national debate. The idea crystallized during an evening event I held on March 2, 2007 at a Conservative Pac Conference (CPAC) attended by 500 college students. One of the attendees, Michael Abdurakhmanov, a student from Pace University had attempted to screen the film Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West on his campus. Because Obsession documented the jihadist agendas of Islamist organizations like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, the film became the target of a nationwide campaign led by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Hamas-linked Muslim Brotherhood front group. The campaign claimed the film was Islamophobic, racist, and an attack on all Muslims, although it was nothing of the kind. Another Brotherhood front, the Muslim Students Association, complained to the Pace administration, prompting the president of the university to issue an order that the film not be shown, a blatant violation of the First Amendment that was reversed months later.
Our speaker for the CPAC evening, former senator Rick Santorum, related how during a White House visit he attempted to persuade President Bush to use the term “Islamo-Fascist” to describe America’s global enemy. He said Bush did use it but only one time because of the immediate uproar from Islamist groups like CAIR and the political left, which claimed it was “offensive” to Muslims. Santorum’s words prompted me to do something about the suppression of the film and the term. Taking the microphone, I announced that I was declaring April 4 “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Day” and would show Obsession simultaneously on 100 college campuses on that date. There had never been such a coordinated conservative event, and, as the words left my lips, I realized that I had stepped out on a very long limb. There was little time to organize such a demonstration, but when the day came we were able to put together showings of the film on 96 college campuses and at four other locations. When it was over, I thought, “If we can do this with a day, we can do it with a week,” and began planning to do just that in the fall.
From the attacks of September 2001 until the fall of 2007, the term “Islamo-Fascism” had been all but banned from public discourse—most incomprehensibly in the university community, the center of the nation’s intellectual discourse, where presumably every idea exists to be examined. Aside from a handful of conservatives and Christopher Hitchens, a radical chastened by the attacks of 9/11, virtually no one was using this term. Or, more precisely, no one was willing to take the risk of using this term, given the kind of slander that CAIR and its supporters on the left were ready to direct at them. I called our campaign “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week,” which effectively introduced the words and concept to the university public.
The term “Islamo-Fascism” properly identified the religious nature of the jihadist threat along with its totalitarian implications—two hitherto-suppressed realities that were vital to understanding the enemy we faced. Beginning October 22, 2007, we held events on over 100 college campuses and were able to organize repeat campaigns, with new themes added, through three semesters. By the fourth semester, the novelty had worn off and we were obliged to come up with a new but related effort, which is described in Part II of this volume.
The most interesting revelations of the Islamo-Fascism campaign were the tacit alliances revealed between the campus Islamists and a broad spectrum of the progressive left. Those on the left who did not actively protest against our events were still not ready to welcome a debate over the appropriateness of the term, or to stand up for our right to express such a view without being subject to vilification; nor were “liberal” faculty members willing to invite us to university platforms to discuss our case. We were universally treated as unwanted intruders in the academic environment. Unlike the Israel-hating “apartheid” weeks organized by the Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine, our events received no support from campus administrators or faculty. Instead, the academic community tolerated vicious personal attacks, reckless slanders and even physical threats—all of which violated the “principles of community” and “diversity” it claimed to honor—against the students who organized our events. In any other case, such behavior would have called forth stern admonitions and disciplinary actions from university authorities; but in this case they elicited none. No university or faculty spokesman or organization came to the defense of the students who held the events, or spoke up for their right to express opinions without being subjected to malicious slanders and threats. The campus press also showed itself to be a one-party affair, printing one-sided misrepresentations of what transpired, providing a platform for smears of speakers and student organizers alike, and denying a platform to the targets of this malice when they sought to defend themselves and set the record straight. These attacks were common to every event our students organized, despite the fact that our Islamo-Fascism Awareness Weeks focused on the oppression of women and other minority groups in Islam as their official themes.
The chapter titled “Why Islamo-Fascism,” also co-authored with Robert Spencer, is a statement we published to explain our rationale for the use of the term. Unfortunately, given the hysteria of the campaign against us and intimidation of anyone who might speak up in our defense, there was no possibility of stimulating a public discussion of the issue. The conviction that some ideas were too “offensive” to be permitted on a university campus was too prevalent. Despite this, I have no doubt the campaign had a significant impact. While people prudently kept themselves out of the line of fire and did not speak up, privately they could not help being provoked to new thoughts about these issues.
The second half of this volume contains two parts. It is introduced by a summary account of the Middle East conflict, titled, “Why Israel Is the Victim, and the Arabs Are the Indefensible Aggressors in the Middle East.” With the facts of this history known, and the genocidal intentions of the Palestinians understood, it is puzzling that any self-respecting liberal or progressive would not be repelled by the Palestinian cause; or, worse, would actually support it. The other chapters in this section were written during the Second Lebanon War, which was caused by Israel’s unilateral evacuation of Gaza, its occupation by Hamas and by the ensuing terrorist attacks on Israel by Hamas and its Hezbollah allies. Nothing could demonstrate more clearly that the only peace acceptable to the Palestinians and their supporters is one in which the Jewish state no longer exists.
The next section describes the campaign that followed the conclusion of the Islamo-Fascism Awareness weeks. It was organized to counter the anti-Israel propaganda campaigns conducted by two campus fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood—Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Association. The campaigns took the form of “Israeli Apartheid Weeks,” accusing Jews of committing genocide against a defenseless people, stealing their land, imprisoning them behind “apartheid walls,” and forcing millions of “refugees” to live in squalid camps where they remained homeless and oppressed. These campaigns were designed to demonize the Jewish state and mobilize support for its destruction. Based on blatant lies and promoting ethnic hate, they violated established university codes of behavior that no other campus organization would be able to violate with impunity. Yet they were supported by university funds and university departments, and tolerated by university administrators.
On many campuses there was no public opposition to these anti-Israel events,; nor was there official disapproval towards their sponsors on any campus. Moreover, when our students put up an opposition, they were attacked not only by the Muslim Brotherhood groups but by leftists and the liberal organization Hillel, the largest Jewish group on campus. These episodes are described in “Genocidal Acts at U.C. San Diego,” and “Jews Who Stand With Their Enemies,” but the same themes run throughout the campus narratives in this volume. The stories of these encounters with the Islamist fifth column provide a sobering insight into the education of America’s future leaders and thus into political conflicts waiting down the line.
“David Horowitz, a writer of beautiful and accessible prose, knows the Left inside and out—literally. As a red- diaper baby, he saw Communism up close. As a second- thoughts conservative, he stepped back to see the big picture emerge from the small dots. Who better to author a set of volumes called The Black Book of the American Left?”
—Daniel J. Flynn, author of A Conservative History of the American Left
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—The Weekly Standard
“David Horowitz is so powerful a polemicist that it is often forgotten how beautifully he writes. For the same reason, the deeply considered philosophical perspective and the wide-ranging erudition underlying his political passions are just as often overlooked. Horowitz is hated by the left because he is not only an apostate but has been even more relentless and aggressive in attacking his former political allies than some of us who preceded him in what I once called ‘breaking ranks’ with that world. He has also taken the polemical and organizational techniques he learned in his days on the left, and figured out how to use them against the left, whose vulnerabilities he knows in his bones. (That he is such a good writer and speaker doesn’t hurt, either.) In fact, he has done so much, and in so many different ways, that one might be justified in suspecting that ‘David Horowitz’ is actually more than one person.”
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