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the role played by conformism (as well as cowardice) in the success of the Left in whitewashing Hamas, et al., in our time

Reader comment on item: How Church Attendance Affects American Attitudes toward Israel

Submitted by Kenneth H. Green (Canada), Aug 11, 2014 at 10:30

Dear Daniel:

I've been meaning to write you ever since I read your column on "Church Attendance," but I've been rather busy, and I'm only now getting around to it.
Of course, you know that I've been one of your great admirers for many, many years.

All of the column was fascinating, but I was most deeply impressed by the highlighted lines below, which I think are very important and original, and which I thank you for saying, although you may consider them only incidental to your larger point.

To me, the key line was: "Perhaps this is their [i.e., elite Jews on the Left in the arts, the universities, the media, etc.] way of fitting into the leftist institutions where they work and hope to succeed?"

I've been thinking about the factor you mentioned for quite a while. Why do so many elite Jews in our time betray their own people by supporting the likes of Hamas, which is nothing but Nazi Islamism or Islamic Nazism (the only difference being that their version of Islam plays the role of Aryanism in the German original)?

Conformism is a powerful force in modern bureaucratic institutions, and in our time on the Left it's become even bigger. Why? Of course, the Left dominates like a single-party state in the arts, the universities, the media, etc. But I also think we're living in a time in which not only the Islamists have learned how to use Western media effectively in their war against Israel, but also the Left has learned to operate as the old Communist Party once operated—but without the actual Party existing. It's just re-labelled itself in the West as " liberal" rather than Marxist; now it just sends out the "correct view" through the channels it controls, and the faithful or half-faithful bend their minds to its will; they don't see with their own eyes anymore.

So now the Left doesn't even have to communicate directly with individuals. Instead it operates by setting the tone and by announcing the party-line in the media (and around the institutions) which are authoritative for the Left, telling followers what right-thinking people must believe. And many of the Jews go along (as do others) and conform for the sake of success in their fields—as well as to be invited to the best parties, and to show themselves ideologically in fashion, and so as not to be thought "reactionary," or even worse, "right-wing," among their friends, which becomes a sort of popularity contest.

Of course, the degree of success of the Left in our time is somewhat due to the Obama effect; and it's also somewhat due to the residual effects of the success in blaming Bush for the need to fight a long war against Islamism; and also Americans grew tired of fighting seemingly ineffective wars against a relentless enemy. But as ISIS shows us, the alternative to fighting such an enemy is much worse and much uglier. Yet it's still easier to pretend they don't exist, or they're no threat to us, and to meanwhile blame Israel for every conceivable sin, just as Moscow in the old 20th century did with "Zionists," whom it blamed as the cause of all the world's troubles.

Even so, I don't think we can afford to discount one other factor which is key in our time to the success of Islamism's cause in the West as advanced by the Left: cowardice (as it was a key to the success of Fascism and Nazism in the 1930s). How else--other than ideological blinders and sheer ignorance--can one explain "decent" and "sophisticated" people who defend Hamas in the media? People don't want to fight; and if it's an evil enemy, you just redefine it, and meanwhile blame those who are fighting it.

In this way, connected with Islamism's more sophisticated media war, we're living in a time really much like the 1930s: the Nazis learned to use the Western mass media to advance their cause, which they supported through fear and which appealed to cowardice, especially in the wake of the bloodbath of World War I. And much of the success of the Leftist-Islamist alliance in our time may be attributed to the effects of fear, which are pretty much behind the cowardice of most people, perhaps in the wake of ineffective Western reactions to 9/11—but which now has a Leftist ideological veneer to cover itself with and to make itself feel better about its cowardice and fear.

I know that this isn't as elegantly written or as clear as it might be, but I hope I've been able to make my point.

Thanks again for your wonderful, heartening, and courageous work during this depressing time (especially since 2008), but really since the 1979, when the war of Islamism against the West gained traction.
Yours sincerely,
Kenneth H. Green, University of Toronto

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