by Bruce Thronton
The most depressing thing about the Obama administration’s foreign policy debacle unfolding in the Middle East is that for sixty years we’ve repeatedly experienced the same Islamist game plan for defeating us that is being employed today. There is no tactic currently being used by the Muslim Brothers and other jihadist groups that wasn’t perfected by the Palestinian Arabs in their fight to destroy Israel.
Selling the West a Specious Pretext
Thucydides first taught us that states pursue their interests under the cover of “justice” or some other pretext when they can’t achieve their aims and interests by force. Three military defeats at the hands of the Israelis convinced the Arabs to pursue their aims by employing deceptive pretexts designed to appeal to the West and erode support for Israel. Thus arose the goal of a “Palestinian state” and “Palestinian self-determination,” even though no such distinct people as “Palestinians” ever existed. That’s why before 1967 the other Arab nations did not make the creation of a Palestinian state their reason for attacking Israel. So too with the “illegal occupation of the West Bank.” The Jewish regions of Galilee and Samaria since antiquity had never been an internationally recognized sovereign state, and so could not be “occupied.” Those territories are disputed, their final disposition and borders to be settled in a formal treaty.
Yet shrewdly appealing to Western political sensibilities, the Arabs have offered the pretext of nationalism, a concept alien to Islam and forced upon Muslims by the West after its defeat of the Ottoman Empire. So successful has been the selling of this pretext that most people today believe that there is a historical reality called the Palestinians, whose homeland is the “occupied West Bank,” and that giving them that sovereign state will bring peace to the region. Yet the reality this pretext obscures is that a critical mass of Arabs wants to destroy Israel, as the charter of Hamas and the still unrevised Palestinian National Covenant make clear. You can measure the power of the pretext over the truth by looking at the media’s outraged reaction to Mitt Romney’s statement that Palestinians are “committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel” and “have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace.”
Over the years Islamists have similarly ginned up pretexts for violence in order to bully Western governments into serving the jihadists’ long-term goal — the establishment of a global Islamic super-state founded on Sharia law. The most successful pretext has been the canard that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is the cause of Muslim anger and violence against the West, even though more Palestinians have died at the hands of other Arabs than have been killed by Israel in its wars of self-defense and attempts to prevent the terrorist murder of its citizens. Numerous other pretexts are regularly produced by the Islamists, from novels and cartoons to comments by the Pope. In each case, the West has uncritically accepted the pretext, agreeing with the aggrieved Muslims that something or other has “insulted” their prophet or Islam and that they are justified in their anger.
The 14-minute video that surfaced on 9/11 is just the latest example. The Obama administration and its media shills immediately validated the pretext as an explanation for the violence, most recently UN Ambassador Susan Rice, who said that the violence was sparked by “a very hateful, very offensive video that has offended many people around the world.” Yet within hours this assertion was exploded, as evidence piled up that the murder of our ambassador was a carefully planned act of vengeance for the drone killing of a Libyan al-Qaeda leader, and the assaults on our other embassies were planned and executed as a celebration of the 9/11 attacks. That’s why rioters in Cairo chanted, “We are all Osama!”
The larger point of the violence is to demonstrate power and influence over the US and its foreign policy by compelling our government spokesmen to validate the pretext, no matter how preposterous, and admit that Muslims are justly aggrieved by the West’s depredations. And the violence is used to change US behavior, which the most recent attacks and murders seem to have achieved, if the reports of State Department negotiations to release the mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing, the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman, are true. In the end such appeasing behavior confirms the superiority of Islam. After all, even the infidel affirms that Islam, unlike all other faiths, deserves special treatment and deference, and that the sensibilities and feelings of the faithful are more important than the feelings and lives of the infidels routinely insulted, attacked, and murdered by Muslims without a peep of protest from Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama. The ensuing apologies, never reciprocated by Muslims, likewise confirm the superiority of Muslims.
All this anxious obsessing over the feelings of Muslims proves to the jihadists that Islam’s spiritual power trumps the greater material power of the infidel, whose submissive, apologetic behavior and willingness to compromise its own core belief of free speech confirm that Islam is the true faith destined to rule the world. Indeed, the Obama administration has colluded with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to make Sharia blasphemy laws part of international law, thus weakening our First Amendment, merely the latest example of Obama’s groveling “outreach” to the Muslim world. In a long war of morale, such incidents hearten and strengthen the jihadists to continue and intensify the fight against what bin Laden called the “weak horse” whose civilization rests on “foundations of straw.”
The Use of Verbal “Mind-blockers”
Robert Conquest, discussing the imprecise and simplistic use of terms like “imperialism” and “colonialism,” called these words “mind-blockers and thought-extinguishers,” which serve “mainly to confuse, and of course to replace, the complex and needed process of understanding with the simple and unneeded process of inflammation.” The Palestinians early on became masters of using such terms, casting the creation of Israel and Zionism as a neo-colonialist enterprise meant to maintain and advance Western imperialist designs on the Middle East. Of course, such charges are historically false. The creation of Israel was followed in ensuing decades by the precipitate retreat of the West from its former colonial possessions. Nor did the Western nations in 1948 lift a finger to protect its supposed imperialist client when it was attacked by the whole Arab Middle East. And it bespeaks a brazen shamelessness for adherents of one of history’s most successful imperialist and colonial ideologies, Islam, to complain about the practices rejected by the West.
But again, these terms are meant to extinguish such thoughts about historical fact. So too with the word “racist,” which has long been a staple of anti-Israel rhetoric. Just recently, Saeb Erekat, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, responded to Mitt Romney’s comment about Palestinian cultural dysfunction by incoherently saying, “It is a racist statement.” The most brazen example of this use of mind-blocking terms was the UN resolution designating Zionism a racist ideology.
The jihadists have adopted all these leftist tropes. Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini was the master of such rhetoric, using Frantz Fanon’s anti-colonialist Marxist screed The Wretched of the Earth in his sermons and writings. Particularly when speaking to gullible Westerners, modern jihadists skillfully play on Marxist dogma and progressive obsessions. The godfather of modern jihadism, Sayyid Qutb, attacked capitalism “with its monopolies and usury” and its “materialistic attitude which deadens the spirit” with all the fervor of a progressive English professor. Bin Laden laced his missives to Americans with progressive bromides about “capitalists, the lords of usury, and arms and oil dealers,” and chastised America for securing “the profit of your greedy companies and industries” and “spilling [American soldiers’] blood to swell the bank accounts of the White House gang and their fellow arms dealers.” All these dead leftist clichés can be found not just in the works of rabid leftists like Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, but in the editorial pages of the New York Times and the screeds of pundits on MSNBC.
The jihadists use these left-wing clichés in order to exploit an internal weakness of the West: the existence within its civilization of leftists who despise their own culture as the foremost cause of oppression, exploitation, and conflict because of its primal sins of colonialism and imperialism. Such people become natural allies of the jihadists, serving as virtual spokesmen and publicists, eroding from within our morale. Once more, the purpose is to eat away at America’s confidence and persistence in resisting jihadist violence, and to demonstrate once more the superior power of Muslims, who show none of the self-loathing, self-doubt, and fear of their Western progressive apologists.
Confusing Tactical Differences with Ideological Differences
The Palestinians have been the masters of presenting “moderates” to the West who say everything the West wants to hear, and who contrast themselves with violent “radicals.” So today we support with billions of our tax-dollars the “moderate” Palestinian Authority, who tells us that Palestinians want to live “side-by-side in peace” with Israel, and who appears to be the enemy of the terrorist Hamas organization that controls Gaza. But the differences between the PA and Hamas concern tactics. Both want to destroy Israel, but Hamas wants to destroy her now with violence, whereas the PA favors a longer-term destruction by “stages,” in which violence is one of several tactics, like participating in “negotiations” and “summits” and “roadmaps” that keep the flow of Western money coming. Of course, these two factions will slaughter and torture each other with gusto, but that doesn’t mean the PA isn’t our enemy or doesn’t want to destroy Israel.
The same anointing of jihadists as “moderates” because they use more subtle duplicity in attacking the West has been evident in our dealings with the Islamist regimes we laughably anointed as budding democracies. Most recently, the jihadist Muslim Brothers were brought to power with America’s help because they were deemed “moderates” who would hold the more radical Salafists in check. But considering the billions in aid the Brothers stand to gain if they make a pretense of moderation, such deception shouldn’t surprise us. Nor should we be cheered by analysts who tell us that the recent riots are really about internal power struggles or other more practical motives. Like the hostility between Sunni and Shia, such internecine hatred doesn’t lessen one bit the larger, religiously inspired aim to destroy the West and exalt Islam to its rightful global glory and influence. Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi’s recent pilgrimage to Tehran to hobnob with the genocidal anti-Semite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should remind us that we are still the Great Satan whose overthrow every pious Muslim should be fighting for.
The Islamists’ success at turning Israel into an international pariah responsible for all the region’s ills has provided the playbook for the jihadists’ struggle to control the behavior of Western governments to promote jihadist interests, and to demonstrate the power of a superior Islam over a spiritually corrupt infidel civilization. The fight to destroy Israel has been the jihadists’ training for the larger fight to destroy the West.
©2012 Bruce S. Thornton