My Kampf: The Islamic Mein Kampf and A Mea Culpa
* Update (2/18) * Welcome Israpundit readers! Thanks, Ted, for the mention. Your feedback on this, or any “Second Thoughts” post, is welcome.
Arriving in this morning’s email from my friend, David Horowitz, was this ten-minute audiovisual primer on the Iranian and Palestinian Holocaust threat, The Islamic Mein Kampf.
I watched it. The didactic advantage of The Islamic Mein Kampf is that it boils down into words and images the precise, deadly, and implacable intentions of radical Islam — issuing primarily from Iran and Palestine — vis-à-vis Israel and the United States.
Simply put: They will come for you. They will come for you. They will come for you.
This generation, it won’t be a knock on the door or a round up at the train station. Instead it’ll be a dirty nuke or a poisoned water supply or more hijacked airplanes or missiles over Tel Aviv.Learn more about The Terrorism Awareness Project..
* * *It’s been a long intellectual road over the past ten years, and doing my part to inform people about The Islamic Mein Kampf is the latest step in what hopefully will be a long road to come — a long road in a different direction. Here are a few words that begin to tell how I got from there to here.
Through the 1990s I dragged with me the remnants of the radical fantasies I’d imbibed while suckling, as a political babe, on the sour milk of Marxism. I actually used to believe that the imposition of a “Palestine” over all the territory of what’s now Israel and Judea and Samaria was not only possible but the most humane and egalitarian resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. I projected my own, American creeds of fairness and republican egalitarianism onto Arabs (without ever travelling in Arab lands or undertaking to learn, seriously, its history and culture). I studied the die-hard American apologists for anti-Zionism of the 1980s and 1990s, Paul Findley and Noam Chomsky — and of course Edward Said.
In addition I read very closely Jean Genet (left), the most celebrated French partisan of Arab “resistance” to Israel (and also a partisan of black American “resistance” to “Amerika”). In his last productive writing period he attempted to elevate the PLO to the status of ancient Greek warriors. I translated into English “Violence and Brutality,” Genet’s passionate but intellectually indefensible 1977 essay in which he gave his poetic blessing to terrorism. Not stopping there, I took this sentiment to its logical extreme by writing poetry modeled after Genet’s — and also East German Heiner Müller’s (above, right) — fascination with the subject, poetry that effectively endorsed the left-wing, pro-PLO terrorism of that era.
That was my “revolutionary” intellectual project: 1) enlist my native American progressive populism to building an intellectual bridge between European terrorism of the 1970s and Palestinian terrorism of the 1990s; and thus 2) making and penetrating a breach in liberal Western letters and forcing the reading public to accomodate itself to this new radical reality. I flattered myself that I would be the avant-garde in print while groups like Hamas would be the avant-garde on the ground.
How did I accommodate myself to the murder of Israeli innocents, you might ask? Simple. I would just mull an occasional phrase from Genet, Violence alone can put an end to the brutality of man…. or from Müller, When she walks through your bedrooms carrying butcher knives, you’ll know the truth…. Like some little intellectual lozenge, it would reduce the irritation. For a little while.
* * *
So, what happened? Well, I didn’t exactly “go native”; I didn’t, for example, join the International Solidarity Movement or start a family with a Palestinian woman (although the opportunities presented themselves). More modestly, I became conversant in a fair amount of Arab literature and film. I subscribed to Al-Jadid magazine. I bought and read the Koran. More practically, I became acquainted with certain Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists here in America.
By coincidence (and later by cultivation) I became chummy with relatives of a former director of the Arab Film Festival, and frequently attended AFF programs. Through a mutual friend I met (and briefly worked for) the radical National Lawyers’ Guild and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee activist Nancy Hormachea. In her practice she often represents asylum seekers fleeing persecution in Iran and Pakistan, although in her political activism she’s a staunch opponent of Israeli policies towards Palestinians. By coincidence I was a classmate of Fadia Issam Rafeedie, the author of “An ‘Apologia of Radicalism’” who turned her 2000 UC Berkeley valedictorian speech into a most egregious breach of academic decorum when she served as the figurehead of a mass protest, speaking “from her heart” in defiance against the commencement speaker, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
In case you’re wondering, there aren’t any terribly racy tales of idealism and disillusionment to confess. I think I grew weary, then wary, then scared. I grew weary of hearing simplistic comparisons of the Israeli occupation to Nazism. Can’t you do any better than that? I thought, eventually thinking, You know, you need to do better than that…. I grew wary when one of my Arab buddies “apologized” to me in the aftermath of a Hamas suicide (homicide) bombing. Do I really represent Jewry and Israel? For starters, I never, ever claimed to…. Does he represent Hamas(!)? He never claimed to, but — beyond this being an obvious instance of a young man’s conceit — it seemed to reveal a continuity of opinion among Arabs. It seemed to reveal that possibly there was a divide (or at minimum, some vital difference) between me and them that I ought to not gloss over … that I ought to work harder at figuring out … that he also ought to work harder at figuring out….
Something else that added to my wariness was my attendance at a handful of sessions of a Jewish-Palestinian “dialogue group” that met in the Berkeley Hills. A derivative format of the feminist “consciousness-raising” group of the 1970s (which, as Andrea Dworkin states unapologetically in Heartbreak, was itself inspired by Communist China’s Cultural Revolution) this “dialogue group” was overwhelmingly attended by Jews who endlessly professed their good intentions towards Palestinians. Typically a woman would make a somewhat strident speech about men being to blame for the escalation of violence (which, though partly true, is not the whole truth). One time a native-born Israeli woman tried to put into words her dread that Israel would no longer exist. One of the very few Palestinian attendees would affirm the need to understand how hard life under occupation was, and then make a pitch for the rest of us to purchase Palestinian olive oil. No one, however, (including me) dared ask perhaps the most pertinent question, How come so few Palestinians attended the “dialogue group”? The answer, as a Palestinian confidant told me, is that nearly all Palestinians she knew — for the most part the secular Palestinian Left, the ostensible “partners in peace” — nearly all of them despise such “dialogue groups.” The “dialogue groups” don’t accomplish anything. They’re much ado about nothing. Or rather, they’re very little ado about a whole hell of a lot.
What demonstrated definitively where my anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian sympathy was leading was a telephone conversation I had with Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh (right). Shortly after he founded Al-Awda, “The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition,” I contacted him to suggest offering some outside support to his effort to secure for the surviving Palestinian refugees of 1948 and all their living descendants the right to patriate within the State of Israel. After confiding to Qumsiyeh my idealistic hope for a “secular, democratic Palestine” he in turn confided that indeed this one-state, not a two-state, solution was his ultimate aim. Here was a meeting of minds I had long hoped for, but it also served as a real (albeit puny) “little drummer girl” moment. There, clear as a bell, was the looking glass. However, I decided not to go through it, and shied away from any further involvement or contact with Al-Awda.
* * *
Most of what I just described happened before 9/11.
Precisely how that day added to the mix I’m not going to get into in this post. By way of beginning to build an intellectual bridge, however, from Palestinian terrorism of the 1990s to neoconservative counter-jihadism of the 21st Century, here are select readings that have made a difference.
In alphabetical order (and, for that matter, in no particular political order):
Berlinski, Claire. Menace In Europe: Why the Continent’s Crisis Is America’s, Too.
Berman, Paul. Terror and Liberalism.
Hanson, Victor. An Autumn of War: What America Learned from September 11 and the War on Terrorism.
Hitchens, Christopher. Love, Poverty, and War.
Horowitz, David. Unholy Alliance.
Nafisi, Azar. Reading Lolita in Tehran.
Rashid, Ahmed. Taliban.
Scheuer, Mark. Imperial Hubris.
Steyn, Mark. America Alone.
Wright, Lawrence. The Looming Tower.
* * *
So here we are.
If you’re already informed on the Iranian and Palestinian threat, then most of what’s presented in The Islamic Mein Kampf will already be familiar. No sweat. Please then just take a minute and forward The Islamic Mein Kampf to all your contacts.
And if you believe that Iran, Palestine, and Islamic war against the West are not real, imminent threats, then I hope you watch The Islamic Mein Kampf. Watch it, consider it, and pursue its implications to their logical and moral ends. May it bring you into a Vast, Classically Liberal Consensus — which, by dispensing once and for all with left-wing apologies for terrorist tactics and terrorist ideologies — is the only way the West will ever thwart Palestinian and, as Alexandra reminds, Iranian genocidal designs.When Ronald Reagan quipped, “We begin bombing in five minutes,” he was joking. Ahmedinejad, Nasrallah, Haniyeh — they’re not joking..
* * *Related: David Gartenstein-Ross’s interview today in FrontPage Magazine, “My Year Inside Radical Islam.”