There is an Arab adage: “The Enemy of my Enemy is My Friend.” Unfortunately, this is not always so. The enemy of your enemy may be your enemy too! It makes no sense to me that the University world has demonized Israel in favor of the most repressive of Islamic “friends.”
Since the 1970s, the most radical-left factions of activists in universities have been bedfellows of the most radical-right, socially benighted groups. I recently watched a German film: The Baader-Meinhof Faction (the Red Army Faction), in which restless college-educated youth were so unhappy with the bourgeois staidness of their parents’ generation that they decided that only violence could make the world more just. Their notion of justice was the same as that proclaimed—but not practiced--by Soviet Marxism: liquidate the rich and give everything to the poor, who will then live in perfect virtue in this brave new world.
This group found co-conspirators elsewhere in Europe and the Middle East: the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the Basque revolutionaries in Spain, the Red Army Brigade in Rome (who kidnapped and murdered former Prime Minister Aldo Moro), the murderous Tupamoros in Uraguay, and the PLO. All of these groups carried out violence for each other that could not be traced back to them easily. (See Claire Sterling’s The Terror Net, which exposed this symbiotic arrangement).
Incomprehensible to me is the relationship with the PLO, an organization at war with Israel and the world (airline hijackings, murder of athletes at the 1976 Olympics, and violence against other Arab groups). Most European terror groups supported feminism, sexual freedom, economic justice, and opposed what they saw as a police state. Israel shares these modern social values, as does the United States, yet both have become the target of leftist academic hostility. It has become chic to play into Palestinian self-victimization.
In the Baader-Meinhof Faction, the young German radicals got weapons training by the PLO in Jordan. It didn’t go well. The Germans engaged in casual sexual promiscuity, nude sunbathing when they felt like it, and were extremely defiant to military discipline. The Arabs training them were scandalized and ultimately kicked them out.
The Soviet Union clandestinely supported all of these groups with money and weapons—but when they brought Palestinians and Egyptians to the USSR to train, even they had such problems with rape and insubordination that they expelled them.
Now most of these terror groups are gone, except the Islamists: Al Qaeda franchisees, Hamas, and Hezbollah, with new financial godfathers: Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, and the illicit drug industry. I find it difficult to understand how western university communities (faculty and students) can sympathize with such groups. The Muslim Student Association, front group for the Muslim Brotherhood, can, through intimidation and violent demonstrations, shut down free speech at any university. They bully and the university administrations back off.
In Uppsala University in Sweden, the cartoonist who drew the Mohammad cartoons, Lars Vilks, was physically attacked by violent demonstrators (Muslim students and their buddies), so that this invited speaker had to leave. The university says it will not invite him again, violating university freedom of speech. They are intimidated by threat of new violence.
University of California Irvine has had the same intimidations from the Muslim Student Association and their radical left. A group of 40 professors have now signed a petition that they are living in fear at the university. They claim that activities on campus foment hatred against Jews and Israelis go beyond first amendment protections into intimidation and tacit violence.
Why should leftists—presumably idealistic—become bedfellows of groups that disdain women, free speech, religious diversity, and all the other values we supposedly hold dear? And why should Israel permit an obviously provocative Turkish-supported flotilla try to run an Israeli blockade in support of Hamas and Gaza?” Would the US do anything different if such a flotilla tried to provide “humanitarian aid” to Guantanamo? Turkey, once Israel’s (and our own) secular bedfellow, is obviously Islamicizing and rejoining the Muslim world. It is time to rethink our bedfellows.
Laina Farhat-Holzman is a writer, lecturer, and historian. You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.