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 U.N. 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.
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