The First Serious Push-Back on the West-Islamist Battlefield of Ideas

April 7, 2015

3 min read

Phyllis Chesler

“There is an apocalyptic dimension to global Jihad. Jihadists believe they are engaged in a ‘sacred task’ to redeem the world via conquest. We hide our eyes while they do not hide their intentions.”

Please meet Professor Richard Landes, a medieval historian who specializes in apocalyptic movements. He knows what he is talking about. Landes delivered a stellar speech earlier this week for the Institute for Global Anti-Semitism and Policy (ISGAP).

We sat around a table in a well-appointed room which serves as the ISGAP office in New York City. We were an attentive and appreciative audience.

Landes, who maintains several excellent websites (Second Draft and Augean Stables), is astounded by the global progressive Left’s desire to embrace the “Other”; doing so proves their humanity. However, for the Western-embraced Jihadi, the “Other” (all infidels, the “wrong” kind of Muslims, apostates, homosexuals, etc.) must be “annihilated.”

In the name of anti-racism and anti-imperialism, the progressive Left has made common cause with the most imperialist and racist force on earth. Orwell himself would not be surprised by the way in which hate groups have dubbed themselves “peace” groups.

Westerners do not want to appear provincial, tribal, judgmental, exceptional, and have rushed to embrace “other” cultures, especially those which have not evolved, are intensely tribal, and exceedingly barbaric. It’s a case of “It’s their side, right or wrong.” This alliance is precisely what I have called a Perfect Storm.

The capacity of Westerners, including Jews, to proudly embrace and “promote” their enemies is astounding. Landes showed slides of demonstrations in which leftists in the UK wear tee shirts that say: “We are Hamas.” The foolishness of such “useful idiots” would be quite amusing were it not so tragic.

Hamas is not a religious and nationalist movement as so many westerners have misguidedly claimed; it is a terrorist and annihilationist entity, cruel to its own people, and dedicated to the extermination of Jews.

Most westerners assume that to Islamists, America is the Great Satan and Israel the Little Satan. Not so, our lecturer insists:

“Many Jihadis view the United States and the rest of Crusader Christianity (i.e. European West) as mere pawns duped by the Jews…victims of the Jewish conspiracy to degrade and enslave all of humankind. First the Jews got the Christians to take the tendered bait (democracy, progressive values), and now they bow to every Jewish whim…

For Jihadis, few victories could compare in value with the destruction of Israel, a triumph of immense symbolic power. It would change the direction of sacred and global history, revive Arab pride and Muslim confidence that their religion will dominate, it would make them ‘the stronghorse.’ It would also reveal the frailty of the West, sacrificing an ally to curry favor with an enemy: the weak horse.”

Surreal as this all may sound,  it is the prevailing belief of many Jihadists. They envision the Queen of England wearing a burqa and the flag of Islam over the White House.

Anti-Zionism, which is the new anti-Semitism, has spread like a “visceral virus.” Jihadis have used the West’s free press in order to preach submission, intimidation, enslavement. Indeed, we have seen the liberal-Left Western media “mainstream Jihadi propaganda as news.”  We have also seen Jews who claim to be pro-Israel—proving it by being the first criticize to the Jewish state; in Landes’ words “they have an insatiable appetite for stories of Israel behaving badly.” Or as Anthony Julius has said: “They are proud to be ashamed to be Jewish.”

Christian replacement theology and Palestinian propaganda quite effectively turned Mohammed al-Dura into the little Jewish boy in the ghetto with his hands up, facing armed adult Nazis. This new iconography super-ceded Holocaust-era facticity.

According to Landes:

“The only way for the democratic, multi-cultural, tolerant, self-critical, progressive West to survive the Jihadi attack, is to resist those juicy morsels of moral Schadenfreude about Jews behaving badly, and the unconscious racism of moral expectations involved, even (especially) when offered up by Jews… (they should) resist the temptation when the lethal narratives are not only inaccurate, but wrapped up as descriptions of an apocalyptic evil.

“Ironically, to save itself, “the West must genuinely renounce its long romance with Jew-hatred which, right now, constitutes its single greatest vulnerability.”

Landes hopes that the “progressive Left” will engage in some self-criticism before it is too late. (I doubt that this will happen in time.) Landes also views America as far more tolerant than Europe and as still “exceptional.” He suggests a perfectly sane —and therefore radical—solution for Europe if it is to survive as a post-Enlightenment civilization.

In my view, we are now all Israelis. Civilians anywhere, everywhere, are potential targets. Increasingly, at airports, in government buildings, at television stations, the security has grown tight, and resembles the kind of security that Israel alone was first forced to pioneer and that now exists for every Jewish building in Europe and the United States.

I would say that, post 9/11, Jihad is here as well.

ISGAP represents the first serious push-back on the “battlefield of ideas.”

ISGAP now has a foothold at Fordham and Harvard law schools, Stanford and McGill. It’s now at Columbia Law, Sapienza University in Rome, the University of Paris-Sorbonne, and at the University of Chile. In the 2014-2015 academic year, ISGAP presented more than 100 seminars in English, French and Italian.

This coming summer, ISGAP will be training professors at Oxford. Applications have poured in from Canada, the United States, the UK, Russia, China, Brazil and Argentina.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Israel National News

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