n the month since the horrific jihadist attacks on Israeli civilians, worldwide protests and antisemitic rallies, replete with Nazi-era slogans and tropes, began even before Israel launched its war against Hamas. In the U.S., these demonstrations include unprecedented coalitions of Muslims and “woke” leftists, a seemingly oxymoronic alliance, given that everything else Islam and leftism stand for are mutually exclusive.
Yet there is a deeper connection between Islam and the Left, one that goes beyond tactical alliances––an inveterate hatred of the modern West and its defining goods like tolerance, political equality, unalienable individual rights, separation of church and state, and especially freedom as the birthright of every human being. And, most troubling, both Islam and the communist left endorse and have practiced brutal, indiscriminate violence in order to punish infidels and apostates.
Even before the rise of communism, its precursors, the radical Jacobins of the French Revolution, bespoke a “passionate intensity” redolent of Islam. Alexis de Tocqueville in his 1856 The Old Regime and the French Revolution described the revolution as “a new kind of religion, an incomplete religion, it is true, without God, without religion, and without life after death, but one which nevertheless, like Islam, flooded the earth with its soldiers, apostles, and martyrs.” Moreover, the French Revolution legitimized violence as the tool for regenerating mankind, as does Islam today.
Nor did it take long for Marxism also to be recognized as a political religion, a secular substitute for Christianity, which since the Enlightenment has been weakened among the Western cognitive and cultural elites. Historian Michael Burleigh has catalogued communism’s “cultural appropriations” of Christianity: ‘“consciousness’ (soul), ‘comrades’ (faithful), ‘capitalist’ (sinner), ‘devil’ (counterrevolutionary), ‘proletarian’ (chosen people), and ‘classless society’ (paradise),” to name only a few.
Likewise, the memoirs of former communists collected in The God That Failed (1949) contain striking resemblances to Christian descriptions of the experience of conversion. French novelist André Gide said that his “conversion is like a faith,” one he would gladly become a martyr to. Arthur Koestler describes his conversion to Marxism as a reprise of St. Paul’s on the road to Damascus:
“The new light seemed to pour from all directions across the skull; the whole universe falls into pattern . . . There is now an answer to every question, doubt and conflicts are a matter of the tortured past.”
Modern “woke” leftism performs the same functions for a generation of Americans who have repudiated religion, and have been badly educated as well. Of course, social and cultural fashions, spread by “social contagion,” account for much of their spurious moral preening and virtue-signaling, which provide badges of their superiority to “fascists, racists,” and “Islamophobes.” But the need for meaning and a justifying narrative is real and urgent enough to endorse publicly the Holocaust and to celebrate the inhuman violence against Israeli children and babies.
And to ignore the incoherence and fundamental contradictions of their shouted chants and slogans, which echo the “useful idiots” of the Twenties and Thirties, those Western apologists and press-agents for the Soviet butchers. Not even Stalin’s treaty with Hitler in August 1939 could wake up thousands of Western fellow-travelers, who had lobbied against joining the war against Nazism, until Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union a few years later, when suddenly they they became passionate supporters and cheerleaders for fighting side-by-side with the capitalist running-dogs.
What else other than a similar rote fealty to a black-market cult can explain today’s protestors decrying Israel’s alleged “genocide” of Palestinian Arabs who, except for Gazans misruled by Hamas, comprise some of the freest and most prosperous Arabs in the region? Or their ignoring Islam’s brutality against homosexuals and transexuals, the woke left’s secular saints and martyrs? Or Islam’s retrograde beliefs about women’s inferiority, which these Western poseurs celebrate by sporting hijabs that signify their sex’s debased status? Or indulging vicious antisemitic lies and slurs redolent of Der Stürmer, at the same time they decry an alleged epidemic of “Islamophobia.” In fact, half of U.S. hate-crimes against ethnic and religious minorities––like those committed over the last month during the protests––are against Jews, and have increased 388% over the same period in 2022?
Next, both Islam and leftism dehumanize whole categories of human beings into enemies worthy of extermination. In Islam, “infidels”––IOW, anyone not a Muslim––must be eliminated if they refuse the “call” to convert to Islam. The aim of the faithful mandated by Allah is that the whole world must be conquered and subjected to the Koran and Sharia Law. The faithful must continually wage jihad to fulfill this command.
And like communism, the greatest infidel enemy of Islam is the West, the civilization that ended 1400 years of Muslim success and dominance. The U.S.––the richest, freest, and most powerful country in history––is especially hated. In 1991, the Muslim Brotherhood, the most consequential organization for modern jihadism, promulgated An Explanatory Memorandum On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America:
“The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and by the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
Soviet Communism had a similar global ambition regarding the capitalists and bourgeoise, regardless of any individual guilt or innocence. In November 1918, Felix Dzerzhinsky, head of the secret police, wrote:
“We are not waging war against individual persons. We are exterminating the bourgeoisie as a class. During the investigation, do not look for evidence that the accused acted in deed or word against Soviet power. The first questions that you ought to put are: To what class does he belong? What is his origin? What is his education or profession? And it is these questions that ought to determine the fate of the accused.”
Finally, both beliefs legitimize ruthless violence and torture in fulfilling their mandates to bring down the West, and both endorse the amoral principle “by any means necessary,” including terrorism, a weapon of the left since the French Revolution. Karl Marx himself in 1843 threatened the Prussian government, “We are ruthless and ask no quarter from you. When our turn comes, we shall not disguise our terrorism.” Indeed, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot and every communist leader since have made good on that threat.
Our “woke” fellow-travelers of jihad haven’t descended to the levels of the gruesome violence of Hamas or the Soviet regime––not yet. But the acceptance and celebration of the savage violence Hamas inflicted on Israelis, and the once-forbidden public celebration of the Holocaust do not bode well for the future. Who knows what sequence of events will, as happened in Germany in the Thirties, create an environment in which such rhetoric will become reality, and the flaunting of brutal antisemitic tropes become a call to action. We may yet see today’s bougie day-trippers turn into tomorrow’s rabid storm troopers.
As for now, these demonstrations are inflicting damage by pressuring the weak and cowardly Biden Administration into escalating its bullying of Israel to take a “humanitarian pause” in its campaign, an obvious euphemism for a cease-fire that would leave the Hamas butchers time to regroup, rearm, and return to murdering Israelis––as promised already by a Hamas official who has threatened endless 10/7s until Israel is no more.
That is, unless the West recovers its civilizational nerve, and once again takes its stand for freedom against its enemies. ✪