Jihad is a global “struggle,” by all necessary means—physical violence included—against the non-Muslim world. Its origins can be found in the foundational texts of Islam, namely the Qur’an, the Hadith (the oral traditions preserving Muhammad’s sayings and actions), and the Sirah (Muhammad’s sacred biography). Relevant Qur’an verses include 2:216, 2:244, 3:151, 4:56, 4:74, 4:76, 4:89, 8:12, 8:39, 8:57, 8:60, 9:33, 47:4, 48:28, and 61:9.
2. Was jihad how Islam spread?
Islam did not generally spread peacefully. Between Muhammad’s death in 632 and the year 750 C.E., Muslim armies conquered (colonized) much of the known world, from Spain in the west to the borders of China in the east. North Africa, the Middle East, and northwestern India—now Afghanistan and Pakistan—became Islamic through brutal military campaigns. By 1683, the Muslim Ottoman Empire had come to rule all of southeastern Europe, with its expansion reversed only at a besieged Vienna’s gates.
3. Is the Islamist war against Israel an example of jihad?
Islamist inability to accept Jewish sovereignty over the Jewish people’s ancient homeland has nothing to do with “land” and everything to do with the doctrine of jihad. By tradition, non-Muslims who have wrested land Islam has conquered from its colonizers must be fought via jihad, a jihad for Islam’s honor and political supremacy.
4. Was the massacre of October 7, 2023, an example of jihad?
Hamas terrorists’ murder, rape, and abduction of Jews is modeled upon the example of Muhammad during the Battle of Khaibar (628 C.E.), in which a Jewish tribe was besieged, slaughtered, and enslaved, with its women carried off as sexual trophies of war.
5. Is Israel jihad’s main target?
Jihad is a war against non-Muslims worldwide, including (especially) in America and Europe. Qur’an 9:33 says that the “religion of truth [Islam]” should “prevail over all others,” meaning that all the world must accept Islam. Or, as the Ayatollah Khomeini famously said, Israel is the “Little Satan,” but America is the “Great Satan.”
How will the acts of October 7, 2023, be remembered years from now? The question means to ask not only what will people know of the 1,200 people killed, 5,400 injured, or the 240 hostages taken by Islamist terrorists in southern Israel. These are statistics, quantifying bodies.
But the question of how to remember, or more precisely, to memorialize the acts perpetrated and not just the statistics, we—architects and artists—must decide: is this to be a dry documentation? Or is it to be an honoring and acknowledgement of all the modes, manners, and intentions, and the resulting victims—dead or alive—of mass murder? And of whom? Of Jewish people—the Jewish People—who are defined not like any mere geographically bordered state or monolithic set of beliefs, but by our collective experience as acceptors to an ancient covenant. Such a defining feature that transcends all the ones that we’re erroneously blamed for—as a race of usurers, blood drinkers, and (European!) “colonizers” inter alia.
To the tortures, the murders, the kidnappings, and the defilements of bodies on that Sabbath morning that we memorialize, we would do well, too, to add the experiences of Jews that transpired beginning the very next day and have continued in all the weeks that followed until now. By this I refer to the rallies and “protests” that were seen in capital cities across Europe and North America.
Were they crowds protesting the rape and slaughter by ununiformed terrorists crossing furtively in the night across their border to lay waste to families in their beds, in their homes, in their kindergarten classrooms? No, these were crowds—hundreds of thousands—rallying in solidarity with “the resistance” to “free Palestine” from the “occupiers” of their “open air prison.” (Never mind that Israel hasn’t governed over Gaza since 2005 and built fences at their own border only to keep out the resulting infiltration of suicide bombers and other terrorists whose now self-governance was purchased by “land for peace.”)
They were mobs calling for “Global Intifada” posing the massacre of Israelis as a deserved “retaliation” against enforcers of “apartheid” and “genocide” (with tragic irony considering it’s Gaza, not Israel, that is forcibly devoid of any ethnic diversity and therefore closer to anything like “apartheid”; and that the killing of babies, toddlers, and unarmed, non-military adults purely because of who they are and not because of anything they’ve done is exactly what is meant by “genocide.”)
This is the what Jews in the rest of the world outside of Israel—and what the rest of the world, not just Jews or Israelis—have woken up to since October 8th.
But have we woken up? Do Jews or non-Jews—from Australia to London to Toronto—see what the object of the Global Intifada is? When the clerics and leaders of Iran—the paterfamilias of modern Jihad—call for death and the end of Israel, it is always in tandem with the call for the same for America. To be deaf to those calls, and to the proximity of the liberties and freedom-derived successes of America with those of Israel—the only free, multicultural, and progressive democracy in the Middle East—is to be asleep to the threat to all of Western civilization. This is what the massacres of October 7, 2023, laid bare, or should have.
It will no doubt fall to the success or failure of any memorial to these events to say whether we have awakened from our slumber or not. Such must be the “what” we refer to in any effective memorial being created in response to the as yet still live threat to ourselves, not merely as Jews, but—as these increasingly frightening mob demonstrations prove—to all of humanity.
Along with and as part of the questions of what?, we must also ask, by what means is this memorial? With what kind of structure will the answers be framed? Is such a construction an archive? Or is it a device for archiving, like a microscope or a card catalogue? Is it a graveyard for the antiquated and obsolete beliefs of civility? Is it a diorama with mannequins simulating a living if lost world? Is it a bronze warrior on a horse on a pedestal evoking a platonic ideal or the faux-heroism of Social Realist statuary to exalt and archtypify our personal victimhood? Or is it a reliquary full of abandoned artifacts—the swords and helmets removed from their fields of battle to reside, without context, in velvet-swagged limestone niches?
Is it lifted upon a plinth that requires effort and humility to access by climbing steps like the Lincoln Memorial? Or does it force our descent by being partially buried by bermed earth to wag a finger at our complicity like the Vietnam Memorial? Or is it an anti-monument that commends our commonality as a built-in mnemonic for our remembering lives like the folk anthems of Pete Seeger? Is it an app—downloadable for Apple or Android—like Google Calendar or Outlook—to remind us, “Tuesday: ‘Make Peace Not War’”? Will we be invited to share our feedback to improve our user experience? Such are the questions now incumbent on anyone imagining a memorial to October 7 to address.
In the written word we have the easiest job of telling the story. Immediately after the massacres of October 7, our best agreed way to characterize in words its historical significance was to say it’s “the worst thing to happen since the Holocaust.” And by the proportion of civilians to the general Israeli population killed on a single day it was called “Israel’s 9/11.” And to express both the intentionality of the perpetrators in destroying whole communities, as well to convey the coloration of its historical repetition against Jews, it’s been usefully referred to using the Yiddish-derived “pogrom.”
As we learn more about what happened by uncovering facts and writing histories, the texts can be easily (if not necessarily always reliably) updated to reflect the statistics counted and the statements issued. But in addition to the written word, and much because of its inherent inadequacy in conveying the emotional-spiritual-psychological-visceral experience of the living survivors or to prepare for future apprehension of those aspects, there is a need for a non-verbal form of accounting of the experience. And of such a non-verbal document there is perhaps a greater demand for creativity.
In a tragic irony of the Jewish People’s history, we both have much experience in the creation of similar models to look to—in story, in song, or in stone—and at the same time we lack any suitable emblem to rely upon. By virtue of each new catastrophe’s effect of compounding our reception and memory of the previous ones, no existing model seems up to the task of conveying the breadth, the effects, or the meaning of the most recent calamitous loss of life by the hands of those who seek to destroy us en masse.
In the case of terror, an attack that has as its goal not only the ending of life, but also the spreading of fear among the living, as well as the aim of eventual eradication of a whole people from their land, the event to be remembered includes the declaration of an organization’s unscrupulous will to power. How can we add this to the equation without overloading the mandate of our testimonial?
These questions are posed as a preface not to any single answer, but to suggest something of the scope of the problem at hand: when infants, the handicapped, and the elderly are murdered, how to fathom the incomprehensible? If the taking of a single life is to destroy a whole world, how to concretize what is immeasurable? When nihilism draws power to itself in order to destroy, what positive form can be given to the resulting vacuum?
To such a dilemma and instead of resolutions, I cite below only a few illustrations of attempted propositions—previously designed or implemented under different circumstances on the one hand or offered as original designs here on the other—to evoke the magnitude of the problem: The problem of how to remember and one’s susceptibility to reducing calamity to kitsch in the process.
The builders of memorials—or of any architectural solution to a programmatic brief—has no choice but to (re)define the brief, the problem that is attempted to be solved. The client may think he knows the reason for his building project. But until a constructed solution is designed and then completed, the questions it sets out to answer will not be known. Memory and how to remember are two different things. Their mutual and combined formulation are yet another. If by “client” we mean the inheritors of the legacy of this history, the challenge we face in memorializing it is formidable. Akira Kurosawa said, “To be an artist means never to avert one’s eyes.” May these examples serve as a mere foothold to be transcended, without looking away.
Memorial to Niklas Graf Salm, imperial senior military commander, defender of Vienna during the first siege by the Turks in 1529, Vienna, Austria Mathias Purkarthofer 1867 | marble
Memorial to those killed in March 1919 putsch in Weimar Germany Walter Gropius, 1922 | concrete, granite
Design for monument to concentration camp victims in Mauthausen Austria Agamemmnon Makris, 1960 | bronze, granite
Reproduced ties of former railroad spur at Treblinka extermination camp, Poland, 1962 | cast concrete
Memorial to murdered jews of Europe, Berlin, Germany Peter Eisenman 1997 | cast concrete
Proposed design by the author for a memorial to the jihadic massacre of innocents in Israel October 7 2023 | actual site relocated to full scale glass enclosed vitrine, track lighting, melamine frame
Proposed design by the author for a memorial to the jihadic massacre of innocents in Israel October 7 2023 | actual site relocated to full scale glass enclosed vitrine, track lighting, melamine frame
Proposed design by the author for a memorial to the jihadic massacre of innocents in Israel October 7 2023 | actual site relocated to backlit pedestal, quartz, acrylic sheet, fluorescent tube lights
Proposed design by the author for a memorial to the jihadic massacre of innocents in Israel October 7 2023 | actual site relocated to backlit pedestal, quartz, acrylic sheet, fluorescent tube lights
Proposed design by the author for a memorial to the jihadic massacre of innocents in Israel October 7 2023 | portion of actual site mounted to damask covered wall
I had a conversation a few days ago with a man who is a very well-known businessman here in Houston, Texas. He is a Jew, like I am. He is a loyal and dedicated American, as I am. We discussed the horrific acts of anti-Semitism being exhibited on American college campuses and protests in our big cities, not only here in United States, but around the globe. The protests themselves are not what is offensive. People have a right to protest for a cause they believe in. However, based on the signs in the crowds and the interviews with many of the protesters, it is apparent that these are not pro-Palestinian protests alone. What they are calling for, and the people that are protesting are in favor of, is the massacre of the Jews.
And in this light, first I am a Jew.
I am a proud American. My maternal grandfather was one of the early leaders of the United Auto Workers. His parents immigrated as children from Russia. He grew up in extreme poverty in the slums of Bayonne, New Jersey. His father took his own life when my grandfather was only 13 years old. He was forced to go to work at the dairy where my great-grandfather was employed to help support his mother and younger siblings. The older workers in the dairy took an interest in my grandfather, because, unlike many of them, he was very tall. In fact, my grandfather was 6‘5.” Like today, sports was one way for impoverished people to get ahead in life. My grandfather trained as a boxer, and at the age of 21, he won the Golden Gloves in the state of New Jersey. He wore his satin blue trunks with a Star of David emboldened on them. At that time Jews of the Diaspora would frequently wear the Star of David as a symbol of pride and identity.
My grandfather was a dedicated American who cared deeply about the lives of the poor. He was the man in charge on the ground of the violent Bell aircraft strike in Buffalo, New York in 1947. He suffered a cracked skull and was refused medical care by the local Sheriff until Eleanor Roosevelt herself got involved. He was the man who took the lead in the UAW over the civil rights movement. The UAW provided significant funding in the 1950s and the 1960s to promote and support civil rights. My grandfather was there with his UAW paper hat sitting behind Dr. King during his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. He embodied what I defined as the Jewish soul. To give those less fortunate a helping hand. Provide for them an equal opportunity. This was the environment in which I was raised. But my grandfather was also an avid Zionist. He grew up in a world where there was no safe place for the Jews of Europe to go. They were refused by the U.S. in large numbers and refused by many other countries. Thousands ended up back in Europe only to be exterminated in the concentration camps. America was the closest thing the Jewish people had ever had to a country where they can practice their religion freely and they could show their identity over time just as every other group has the right to do.
That is what made the United States unique until 1948.
The underlying theme of identity politics is to identify as something—black, Hispanic, Native American, etc.—that one can take pride in. Children need to know that they come from a culture of strength and pride. It is supposed to create a higher self-esteem and is generally a very good thing. I am writing this from the perspective of the people who don’t respect me or my history. They have no respect for the hardships, discrimination, and true genocide that my ancestors endured. They “choose” to choose my identity for me.
They say “First, you are a Jew.”
The first Jew arrived in England during the Norman conquest of 1066. Early on Jews were given a special dispensation by the king of England. The vast majority of English citizens lived in a feudal system, where the lands they lived on were owned by the local Lord. These peasants and merchants were required to pay taxes to their Lord, who was required to pay tribute to the king. Jews were excluded from this system. The Jews of England were granted a status as direct subjects of the king. They paid their taxes directly to the king. Their role in English society was necessary, because at the time, the Christian church outlawed earning interest on loaned money. The Jewish religion allowed it, and that was a loophole that the King of England was able to exploit. Almost 200 years later, King Edward the 1st was engaged in many foreign wars that was bankrupting his kingdom. In 1287 he expelled the Jews from England and seized their property. A few special Jews were allowed to sell their homes and keep the money, but the vast majority were thrown out with a little to nothing. For 223 years the Jews in England thought of themselves as subjects of the king first. They were valued members of society in their own minds. “I am English” was the prevalent attitude among many. However, history has since taught: first, you were a Jew.
In the 15th century under the reign of Isabel and Ferdinand, the Jews of Spain learned the same lesson from a similar experience. They were members of Spanish society. They were a valuable part of the Spanish economy. But due to the Spanish sovereigns’ insatiable desire for conquest and trade, Ferdinand and Isabel, bankrupted Spain. One solution to the problem resulted in what became known as the Spanish Inquisition. Because, of course, sovereigns could not possibly make the errors in judgment that were made. Therefore, it must be the fault of the Jews. As in England, two centuries earlier, the Jews of Spain thought of themselves as “I am a Spaniard first.” No. First you were a Jew.
During the 1700s and 1800s, the Jews of Eastern Europe in what today is Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, etc., lived as members of their communities. Krakow was the Jewish center of Europe for centuries. Many lived in segregated shtetls on the outskirts of towns and cities. Even those Jews interacted with their non-Jewish neighbors and provided services and goods. They were completely peaceful neighbors. That didn’t prevent the Passion Plays from being performed that identified them as those that crucified Christ and whipped the ignorant hordes of Cossacks into a frenzy. The pogroms of Eastern Europe were the main cause of Jewish immigration into the U.S. during this time. These people were attacked, killed, and raped because “First, you are a Jew.”
To the Jews that stayed in Germany, thousands served as brave and honorable soldiers for the Kaiser during WWI. They served because, “First, I am German.” Despite their gallant service, despite their unwavering support for Germany, when Hitler’s popularity was rising it was because “those dirty Jews” betrayed us. Most Jews of the time were blind to the situation in Germany at the time. “I served the Kaiser in war!! They are just radicals!! I am safe!!!”
Then Hitler came to power.
First came the protests and speeches. Then came the anti-Jewish rules. Then came the identifications. Then came everything else…by that point it was too late. “First, you are a Jew.”
We know what happened. Most of the Jews were savagely murdered after torture, slave labor, and humiliation. Rape was common as were summary executions. It was one the most barbaric periods in modern human history.
Hitler told us what he intended to do, yet the intellectuals and the community leaders didn’t believe him.
We know the result.
We also know that Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, and many other radical elements in that part of the world and ours deny the Holocaust ever happened.
Hamas and Hezbollah have told us what they want to do. It is written in their “constitution.”
“From the river to the sea” means the complete annihilation of the Jews of Israel. Hamas has now shown us how they intend to accomplish their goal. There is extensive video evidence that Hamas recorded and uploaded how “from the river to the sea” will be imposed. When college kids and other protesters chant this “slogan” and carry their signs we ALL know what they mean. Yet, once again, many Jews (let alone other groups) don’t believe them. They refuse to see what is plainly in front of them.
Not only have they declared in favor of the annihilation of the Jews of Israel, they have also promised the annihilation of “ALL JEWS—everywhere!” I am using their words, not mine. I, for one, believe them.
I have one thing to say to those who don’t. As they execute their plan to accomplish their goal, they won’t care that you protested FOR them. They won’t care that you supported them. What they care about is: “First, you are a Jew.”
So this is where I am. The descendant of immigrants that came to the U.S. before and shortly after the U.S. Civil War. The descendant of a man who dedicated his entire life to fighting for “the little guy” and the civil rights movement.
Yet, in the eyes of the protesters, the eyes of many in the media, the eyes of many in the DC bureaucracy: “First, you are a Jew.”
For centuries this phrase has been used against us. But now many of us state it proudly, with all the pride Herzl envisioned. And those Jews who haven’t yet gotten there should now understand the tremendous gift it is to finally define ourselves, proudly.
I have been blessed with an interest and knowledge of history. I have also been blessed with a natural ability to be insightful and to see trends.
What I see concerns me.
It scares me.
Yet I stand resolute as a proud American, an American who sees the threat to me and my people. I proudly state without reservation, “First, I am Jew.”
The language of Jihad is confined to the spreading of terror. It is not an invitation to a debate or civil discourse of any kind. It forsakes the presentation of ideas in favor of mob veto, the silence of intimidation.
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HonestReporting, an Israeli media watchdog group, was founded in October of 2000 in response to the infamous AP-New York Timesscandal in which an Israeli border guard defending a bloodied American yeshiva student from a mob of Palestinian assailants was as identified as “An Israeli policeman and a Palestinian [sic] on the Temple Mount [sic].” On November 8, 2023, they published an investigative piece entitled “Photographers Without Borders: AP & Reuters Pictures of Hamas Atrocities Raise Ethical Questions.” In it they document at least six Arab photographers whose photos from that day were published by Western news agencies: Hassan Eslayeh (CNN), Yousef Masoud (New York Times), Ali Mahmud (AP), Hatem Ali (AP), Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa (Reuters), and Yasser Qudih (Reuters). All based in Gaza, these photographers accompanied the Hamas incursion into southern Israel on October 7, and, in addition to taking pictures of themselves in front of burning Israeli tanks, also rode with them in their vehicles, and took photos of the atrocities Hamas committed.
HonestReporting wonders whether their presence that early on a sleepy Saturday morning at precisely the place Hamas breached the fence was mere coincidence; or, were they “embedded” with Hamas troops? Moreover, vis-à-vis the news agencies that used their pictures—including one in Reuters’ “In pictures: Seven days in Israel and Gaza” montage (number 43 of 46) of a dozen men mobbing the body of a dead soldier (à la the infamous 2000 Ramallah lynching)—did they realize what was happening in order for them to get these photos? Or, if they did, did they wonder how their photographers got these shots? Did they say to themselves they were “doing what photojournalists always do during major news events, documenting the tragedy as it unfolded”? War correspondents embed with troops all the time; what’s wrong with photographers ready to accompany forces on a mission?
Of course, the answer is—at least for those who claim to care about humanitarian laws of warfare and journalistic ethics—that this was not a military mission, but a mass murder. Were there Hutu photographers who coordinated with Hutu genociders when they went out on their missions to slaughter 800,000 Tutsis? There may have been photographers then who filmed the massacres because they had the (mis)fortune to be there as it happened, but… embedded with the Hutus? As Jonathan Tobin put it: “legitimate journalists don’t tag along with criminals in the commission of their crimes and take pictures of them as if they were paid to record a wedding for posterity.”
Who are these people? And why have they become a mainstay of news from Gaza?
Here’s one of the photographers whom CNN and the AP used as a stringer taking pictures of Palestinian suffering.
And now, ask yourself: how many of the other photographers listed in the article, when they look at this photo, feel disgust, and how many envy?
The news agencies involved have all insisted that they had no foreknowledge of the attack and that the photos they used were published 45 minutes after the attack (Reuters) and 90 minutes later (New York Times). Of course, we need to know when the photos were taken, not published. We need to know what photos these “journalists” took that the agencies did not publish. We need not denial but transparency.
They also warn against such accusations which endanger the journalists. Of course, one has to ask here: Have not these photographers, some of whom are riding along with the “fighters,” purchased their “safety” by siding with the people who would not hesitate to kill them if they thought they were not supporting the cause? What would have happened to any reporter who was not pre-approved by Hamas? When the AP claims that “No AP staff were at the border at the time of the attacks, nor did any AP staffer cross the border at any time,” are they just covering their rears (they’re using photos from “free-lancers,” not staff)? Or do they realize whom they are paying for these photos? (For more on the media response, see also my conclusion.)
Right at the beginning of the Oslo Jihad (so far, a 23-year long war), a BBC correspondent, Fayad abu Shamala, proclaimed at a Hamas rally in Gaza on May 6, 2001—that is five months into the horrific suicide terror campaign—that “journalists and media organizations [are] waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people.” When the Israeli government showed the tape to the BBC, they responded: “Fayad’s remarks were made in a private capacity. His reports have always matched the best standards of balance required by the BBC.” Some years later, evidence emerged that abu Shamala was a member of Hamas. Were the BBC aware of the humiliating irony in their statement, a reflection not of abu Shamala’s high standards but their abysmally low ones? Or did they believe their own PR?
In the meantime, the Western press corps, especially in coverage of what was narrowly declared the “Israel-Palestine conflict,” took in large numbers of journalists whose Arab or Islamic media agenda overruled any commitment to ethical or professional standards. Even minimal ones. For them, as for their apologists in the West, this is all “a means of communication… the weapons of the weak.”
Al Jazeera embodies this combination of high technical production standards and “patriotic” war-propaganda-as-news. Despite Al Jazeera’s strong agenda in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch Hamas, the watchdog Media Bias/Fact Check described them having a “slight to moderate liberal [sic] bias… [their] straight news reporting… a minimal bias.” And yet, in 2008, when Israel released Samir Kuntar, imprisoned in 1985 for the Nahariya massacre in which he smashed the head of a four-year-old Israeli girl against a rock, he not only received a hero’s welcome in Lebanon, but Al Jazeera “journalists” in their Beirut office held a birthday party for him. Hamas gave them an award for their “highly professional coverage of Gaza,” for “demonstrat[ing] their belonging to the cause of the oppressed Palestinian people” and their “high level of nationalism.” When Israel threatened to expel Al Jazeera for their widely known violations of professional journalism, the guardians of press freedom objected.
Indeed, in the early years of the Oslo Jihad (2000–2002), there was a systemic partisanship in Palestinian journalism that insiders knew about but kept from their audiences—a “public secret.” Everyone in the news media world knew it, but they would never say it publicly. I was let in on this secret for a moment, sitting with Charles Enderlin and watching the uncut rushes that he got from his cameraman of 12 years, Talal abu Rahmah, that ended with the 59 seconds capturing the “death” sequence of Muhammad al-Durah (“le petit Mohamed”) on September 30, 2000. Enderlin, a French-Israeli senior correspondent for France2, had edited those last 59 seconds to put together his famous broadcast: “the child, target of fire coming from the Israeli position… is dead.”
What we saw were repeated efforts to stage plausible scenes that the Western news agencies could use as background to the tale of Palestinian valiance and victimhood they tirelessly recited. At one particularly obvious fake (which Enderlin later cut before showing the footage to the court), I asked Enderlin, “Why so much faking?” “Oh, they do that all the time. It’s a cultural thing.” When I asked him then, how did he know they didn’t fake the al-Durah story, he responded, “Oh, they couldn’t fool me.” It was this experience that inspired the term “Pallywood.”
This off-the-record confession of the complete unreliability of Palestinian news sources was repeated a while later when three French journalists got a chance to view the same footage that I saw. The non-stop staging they saw “troubled them deeply.” When confronted with the obvious fakes, the France2 senior staff responded as had Enderlin:
And when we said to them, “You can see it’s staged,” one of them [Didier Eppelbaum] said, smiling, “Yes, but you know well that it’s always like that.” [We replied:] “You may know that, but your viewer doesn’t know it’s always like that.”
At least at the time of their interview on Jewish radio, the two distinguished journalists still got indignant at these “outrageous” violations of their code. But a word from higher up (reportedly Jacques Attali) sufficed to kill the story. Instead, the guild of journalists gathered around to save Enderlin from having his “honor” impugned by mere citizens.
So, in public, at least, the position of the media must be the exact opposite of the public secret: in his 2010 book of self-justification, A Child is Dead [sic], Enderlin sings abu Rahmah’s praise: “Never failing in his professionalism, Talal is a most credible source, and has been employed by France2 since 1988.” Enderlin assured Esther Schapira, “Talal abu Rahmah is a journalist like me; he’s a prima facie witness. He told me what happened. I’ve no reason not to believe him.” Like the BBC about abu Shamala, Enderlin doesn’t seem to understand the devastating irony when he states: “he’s a journalist like me.”
No, actually, in this and many cases, Enderlin is a journalist like Talal. When asked by an Israeli journalist why he made the most explosive accusation about “the target of fire from the Israeli position,” Enderlin replied, “If I hadn’t said that the child and father were victims of shooting coming from the direction of the IDF position, they’d say in Gaza ‘How come Enderlin does not say it’s the IDF?’” So he not only accepts uncritically the work of his cameraman, he also takes crucial instructions from the Palestinians!
The Western media have played this dishonest game for a long time. In his co-authored book on his years working as the head of the Israeli Press Office, Israel and the Foreign Media, Daniel Seaman recounts multiple examples of agents of Hamas being paid by Western press services. As Talal promised his audience in his thank you speech to the Arab Media Awards gala ceremony (Dubai, September 2001): “I will continue to fight with my camera.”
When Esther Shapira asked the head of PATV why they inserted a picture of an Israeli soldier from three days later, firing rubber bullets at crowds, into the footage of the al-Durah scene—so that their viewers saw an IDF soldier aiming at and shooting the boy—he answered:
These are forms of artistic expression, but all of this serves to convey the truth…. We never forget our higher journalistic principles to which we are committed of relating the truth and nothing but the truth.
Like Hamas rewarding Al Jazeera for their “highly professional coverage,” this is modern language used in a profoundly anti-modern context.
Nor is this aberrant behavior. On the contrary, it is prescribed: the Arab and Muslim formal “journalism” codes explicitly demand partisan behavior—support my side, right or wrong—especially when it comes to Israel:
To combat Zionism and its colonialist policy of creating settlements as well as its ruthless suppression of the Palestinian people… Islamic Media-Men should censor all material that is either broadcast or published, in order to protect the Ummah from influences that are harmful to Islamic character and values, and in order to forestall all dangers.
And yet, somehow, the German scholar and “Islamophobia” specialist Kai Hafez insists: “there is a broad intercultural consensus that standards of truth and objectivity should be central values of journalism.”
On the contrary, as one honest Jordanian editor noted, “fake news has a long and distinguished pedigree in the Arab world.” And when, on rare occasions, self-censorship fails and Muslims begin to publicly criticize Muslims, an “honor-brigade” steps in to save Muslim face. Western journalists, who depend on these media-men, who trust them and “have no reason to doubt” them, thus pump unfiltered (enemy) war propaganda into the public sphere.
This partisan journalism does not stop at aiding and abetting terrorism. On August 9, 2001, college student and TV newsreader Ahlam Tamimi, a Jordanian, used her press credentials as a journalism student to accomplish one of the most heinous of the suicide terror attacks, deliberately targeting religious children at a kosher Sbarro pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem. Sixteen innocents, among them three American women, were murdered. Tamimi subsequently made clear that she has no regrets and that, given the opportunity, she would do it again. And, in honor of her efforts, Palestinian students erected an papier-mâchéexhibition where people could come and savor the moment of the blast.
Tamimi, released in the same 2011 exchange that freed Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, was greeted joyfully in Jordan where she hosted her own television program (2012–2016). The U.S. Department of Justice repeatedly called on Jordan to hand her over for extradition under the 1995 U.S.-Jordan treaty, which Jordan has refused. And U.S. diplomats worry that, given her broad popularity among Jordanians, her extradition might destabilize the monarchy. Few phenomena speak more eloquently to the broad support in Arab countries allied with the U.S. for the merciless targeting of Israelis and Jewish children.
This is, we must admit, despite our fondest hopes for a world at peace, another world.
Does this mean all Arab journalists are terrorists, or terror supporters, abettors, sympathizers? Not necessarily, but those questions need to be legitimately raised about the work of any Arab journalist, especially when his or her product is highly compliant with Palestinian media protocols.
We were all witnesses to the power of this alliance between post-fact “narrative” journalism and pre-fact, propaganda journalism. The consequences were and continue to be devastating on a global scale. On October 17, 2023, just before 7 P.M., an explosion occurred in the parking lot of the al-Ahli hospital in Gaza City. The explosion, by military standards, was minimal, and the fire ball that followed, though briefly impressive, only burned a half dozen cars, with structural damage to three. The hospital had some windows blown out by the blast, but remained intact. Informed estimates put the death toll at a high of 50, and probably fewer. (The only two photos showing multiple bodies have around 20.) The most impressive one in the courtyard of the hospital is surrounded by people with no sign of further bodies anywhere.
Hamas decided to play this one for all it’s worth. They claimed that an Israeli airstrike bombed the hospital itself in a “horrific” and “criminal” attack. With thousands crowded around the hospital seeking safety from the savage Israeli bombing, it led to over 500 of them being killed, and the death count would probably rise as bodies were dug out from the rubble. What proof did they offer for these claims? Pictures of hundreds of bodies? Pictures of the destroyed hospital and the workers digging victims from the rubble? Pictures of the giant crater and the belongings of the thousands of people who had taken shelter there? Shrapnel and other fragments of the missile that struck?
Nothing of the sort. The fragments had mysteriously vanished from the site, “making it impossible to assess its provenance,” according to the New York Times. Actually, not impossible at all. The removal of the shrapnel from their own rockets is a standard Hamas operating procedure in cases of shortfall, a tell-tale proof of provenance.
Instead, what the stations showed was a medley of short, jerky, un-focussed pictures of bodies being removed in the chaotic darkness. It’s not clear whether this is how the footage came, or—in time-honored Pallywood style—CNN’s editors strung together the most striking sight-bytes to give the impression of a massive catastrophe. CNN’s reporters certainly were convinced, referring repeatedly to the “horrific images,” warning that the pictures viewers were about to see were “horrendous… sickening… heart-wrenching… graphic scenes of utter destruction.”
And yet, these actual shots that CNN used over and over to illustrate their claims, they don’t add up to much at all. Looked at dispassionately, these photos offer no evidence for any of Hamas’ accusations—nothing showing damage to the hospital, nothing indicating the presence of hundreds of deaths, or thousands of people gathered there to seek shelter, no picture of the huge crater caused by the “massive” blast that killed so many.
And yet, so mesmerized were the entire pack of CNN journalists, that for the next 17 hours (at least)— hours after the IDF had presented the evidence to them—CNN played the same medley of videos, each time with a somber warning, each time accompanying the narratives about a horrific catastrophe that had killed hundreds, “with a rising toll expected as bodies are pulled from the rubble.” Over and again CNN recited the tale (for which they had no photographic evidence) that the ceiling of the hospital’s operating room caved in during surgery.
So convinced were these shrewd journalists of the massive nature of the blast, that when the Israelis claimed it was a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) rocket, the response was incredulity: “that is a lot of damage for one rocket.” Clarissa Ward, claiming expertise based on her experience, but reading from Hamas talking points, expressed doubts about Israel’s case: “I will say, based on seeing these rocket attacks, that they don’t usually have an impact like that in terms of the size of the blast, the number of the death toll.” Narrative over evidence.
It was a common response: BBC correspondent Jon Donnison told viewers on the evening of the explosion: “It’s hard to see what else this could be, really, given the size of the explosion, other than an Israeli air strike, or several air strikes,” adding, “When we’ve seen rockets being fired out of Gaza, we never see explosions of that scale.” You still haven’t. Later, Jeremy Bowen noted that investigators would question whether Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the group Israel accused of causing the devastation with a misfired rocket, had the firepower to flatten an entire building. Long after pictures of the parking lot were available, Mustafa Barghouti and Khaled Elgindy could still claim on CNN that the number of dead—500, 600 “instantly”—was way too high to be a rocket shortfall… and they received no pushback.
The New York Times wrote extensive articles quoting witnesses who spoke of bodies overflowing from morgues and bodies piled up in the area reserved for journalists—and yet not one cell-phone photo from any of those journalists to corroborate? Chief correspondent Patrick Kingsley even seriously quoted an allegedly professional photographer claiming that “[t]here were so many bodies I couldn’t even photograph them!” And Anderson Cooper, with an equally grave face, repeated these statements as evidence of the “the massive explosion” that caused this “human tragedy on a terrible scale.” Of course, relying on the reporting of their very own “video journalist” in Cairo, Yousur Al-Hlou, even after it was clear the hospital wasn’t touched, the Timescontinued to get information that confirmed the Hamas narrative.
In other words, for hours on end, CNN (and many other reporters) informed their viewers of an event that never happened, for which they had no evidence, describing bodies pulled from rubble that never existed, from the collapse of a hospital that was entirely intact, and wringing their hands over the damage this has done to both Israeli and American interests. And all that folly, because they trusted their Palestinian sources—from Hamas, to the staff at the hospital, to the stringers whose camera work they used for their Pallywood medley, to the human rights workers who habitually see no terrorism and, here, repeated the lies as authoritative. When asked how the New York Times could have believed a terror group like Hamas so soon after they had shown the world their true self, Helene Cooper responded, “It was not only Hamas who said it. There were other Palestinians who said it as well. We had reporters who were there who spoke with Palestinians, spoke with Hamas, and spoke with other groups.” QED.
When at last, dawn broke some twelve hours after the blast, and photos of the parking lot with the damaged cars and the intact hospital, and the tiny crater, finally emerged in the light of day, it took CNN another six hours to show this evidence to their audience, meanwhile playing the “he-said-she-said” game:
At no time in the lengthy discussions (some 80% of news time given to this) did any CNN anchor or correspondent ask what these pictures meant for the Hamas narrative they had been conveying as news all night. No thoughts about non-existent rubble, intact hospitals, lack of evidence of thousands of Gazans sheltering, of hundreds dead. On the contrary, as the presidential plane landed, Becky Anderson noted how President Biden’s mission had been turned upside down by this event:
…[G]iven what we saw [sic] here at 7:00 yesterday, the enormous loss of life [sic] by an explosion at the hospital… and now you see [sic] this incredible loss of life [sic], at a hospital, I mean this is just the sort of thing that nobody hoped to see [sic] and what is unfolding on the ground is very, very devastating [sic].
Long hours after she had ample evidence to the contrary, she repeated with her own heart-felt emphasis what Hamas claimed. As for the “sort of thing that nobody hoped to see…” aside from the fact that some in Gaza, and without, welcomed such a catastrophe that they could blame on Israel—a game changer!—what does it mean about what Becky Anderson wants, that she still sees this“awful catastrophe” that didn’t happen?
When just before noon, Israeli Army spokesman Peter Lerner challenged Anderson to stop playing the two-sides narrative and pay attention to the evidence (which she had still studiously avoided analyzing), she cut him off indignantly:
PETER LERNER: If you’re asking for proof, you don’t really want the proof, you just want to make sure you have a story, and unfortunately there’s so much premature reporting…
BECKY ANDERSON: [Interrupts] I don’t want you to suggest… Hang on Peter that is unfair. I don’t want you to suggest that we are not seeking the truth. Peter Lerner, we are trying to seek the proof… please don’t suggest that we are not trying to identify the truth because that is exactly what we are doing.
LERNER: You’ll never be content with whatever I share because you’ll ask for more and more and more…
ANDERSON: [Interrupts] I am reporting what other people, what the Palestinians are asking for.
LERNER: But it’s not the Palestinians, you are parroting what Hamas is saying.
ANDERSON: [Interrupts] Okay I’m going to leave it there. It’s good to have you, Peter Lerner, it’s good to have you…
LERNER: …They have been manipulating you.
ANDERSON: Understood. We are trying to nail down the facts. Good to have you with us.
Let’s just try an alternative universe of possibility. When the Western news agencies received the claims of the Hamas-run Health Ministry and the Pallywood footage from their cameramen, if they had, before running the story, demanded shots of the hospital damage, of the crater, of the hundreds of bodies strewn everywhere… if they had had real journalists working for them, prepared, with all precautions, to interview people who were there about Hamas activity after the strike (removing shrapnel)… if they had awaited Israeli response and intelligence… if their first headline had been “HAMAS OFFICIALS BLAME ISRAEL FOR PALESTINIAN ROCKET THAT, ACCORDING TO THEM, KILLED 500 GAZANS”… then maybe our “allies” in Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq (not Iran), threatened by their angry “street,” could have used this information to undermine the anger. After all, it’s pretty humiliating when your own side kills your own people in front of the world.
And even if it had only a limited effect on the Arab and Muslim world—where, as the Western reporters, in full Orientalist mode, admit that evidence will have no impact on the rage-inducing belief that Israel did it—certainly in the West, where there are still people for whom evidence matters (or at least, like the CNN pack of reporters, claim that evidence matters), this could have had a major impact on taking the air out of the tires of the brutal, intrusive, violent protests in favor of Palestinian “resistance” after Hamas showed what that meant.
Maybe if the media had behaved professionally, rather than like “stenographers” for Hamas; if Agence France-Presse had behaved like a serious operation, rather than as “Agence France-Palestine”; maybe if they reported on the evidence that Hamas will fire on its own people, to keep them from fleeing from Israeli fire and that Gazans are arming themselves to fight Hamas’ predatory greed; maybe if the Washington Post didn’t remove a bitingly accurate political cartoon because “it was seen by many readers as racist,” and then publish a long list of complaints about the unflattering caricature (as if that is not the very stuff of political cartoons); then maybe the media and the politicians who take them seriously wouldn’t wring their hands over Israel killing Gazan babies and women, and using figures from the very people who will kill them to prevent them from not being killed by Israel and who, on principle, label all casualties civilian, preferably children.
Then, maybe, Hamas would not be able to brag, as they did in 2014, that their propaganda “constituted the river from which the global media quenched its thirst for information about what was happening.”
Perhaps the best way to close the circle of this discussion is to bring in the New Yok Times’ reaction to the HonestReporting article about, among others,Times photographer Youssef Masoud (emphasis mine):
The accusation that anyone at The New York Times had advance knowledge of the Hamas attacks or accompanied Hamas terrorists during the attacks is untrue and outrageous. It is reckless to make such allegations, putting our journalists on the ground in Israel and Gaza at risk. The Times has extensively covered the Oct. 7 attacks and the war with fairness, impartiality, and an abiding understanding of the complexities of the conflict [sic].
The advocacy group Honest Reporting has made vague allegations about several freelance photojournalists working in Gaza, including Yousef Masoud. Though Yousef was not working for The Times on the day of the attack, he has since done important work for us. There is no evidence for Honest Reporting’s insinuations. Our review of his work shows that he was doing what photojournalists always do during major news events, documenting the tragedy as it unfolded.
Aye, there’s the rub. In its self-confident, defensive, cognitive egocentrism, the New York Times arrogantly assumes that its cameraman also saw these events as a “tragedy,” not a glorious victory to which he contributed by “fighting with his camera.” And, not to pile on the humiliating ironies, an organization dedicated to press freedom, weighed in on the side of the news media in denial. Good to know that the media’s honor trumps any professional commitments to what Becky Anderson so quaintly calls “the truth.” And even as they insist on their self-righteous denial, the legacy media continue to feature the work of the most flagrantly pro-terror reporters.
As Schiller noted: Mit Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens (“With stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain”).
It has been over a month since Hamas unilaterally launched its offensive pogrom of terror and savagery against the Jewish people of Israel, as more than 1,400 Israelis perished and 240 were taken hostage into Gaza from their homes in Israel. These acts of terror were no doubt intended to strike fear into the hearts of Jews and all free people allied with the state of Israel across the planet. After 9/11 when Al Qaeda attacked our homeland in a surprise terror attack against civilians, I wrote in the opening sentences of my 2012 book, A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save his Faith:
In many ways, I believe that history will view the 9/11 attacks as far worse than Pearl Harbor, as terrible as it was, it was military in nature and largely targeted our U.S. Navy, those whose duty it is to serve and protect their country. While 9/11 was an attack by terrorists upon civilians and it was executed by men who claimed to do so in the name of God. As a Muslim it is hard for me to put into words just how horrific this is, how deeply I believe it betrays my faith and the depth of sorrow I feel for the victims. Like all Americans, I feel that that day will always be with me, and as a Muslim it forced me to confront certain realities. Once the shock of the attack wore off, my next response was pure rage. I wanted to get even with the bastards who had done this, and what added to my fury was that they had done this in the name of my faith of Islam…
On October 7, 2023, as proportionally far more Israelis lost their lives than Americans on 9/11, my emotions were even more amplified by orders of magnitude as this happened to the Jewish community 22 years later, “eyes wide open” for all of us. The Red-Green alliance of progressivists (neo-Marxists) and Islamists on social and traditional media were now put on steroids spewing the Islamist and nauseating apologia and lies about the unspeakable horrors that actually happened on October 7. To see the magnitude of such genocidal atrocities inflicted door-to-door upon a people because of their faith by militant savages from another faith, supposedly my faith again, only to be followed by denials rather than unwavering resolve, highlights just how vital the defeat of anti-Semitism in all its forms is as a priority for all mankind from the Islamist to the neo-Marxist to the fascists.
To whatever extent there is a collective legacy for Muslims across the world it should now be painfully clear to all those of conscience that if “Never Again” is to be truly “Never Again” for the Jewish community, it is vital that our legacy as Muslims of conscience be the indisputable defeat of Islamism (political Islam) into the dustbin of history. As I have written and spoken about extensively, and many of us have dedicated our lives in the Muslim Reform Movement and the Clarity Coalition we recognize the priority of reforming all the ideas that underpin Islamism and its Sharia supremacism.
Twenty-two years after 9/11, a lot has actually changed in the public discourse, which now more readily recognizes Islamism as the problem and root cause of all Jihad from the savagely violent to the non-violent, owing in no small part to the tireless work of many Muslims and non-Muslims alike in the counter-Islamism and counter-Jihad space. Many have finally begun to understand the root conflict between Islamism (Sharia supremacism or theocracy) and Western secular liberal democracy. But, alas, convincing most in the West of the actual urgency of developing an offense for liberty and against Islamism and its Jihad has been anemic to say the least. Now, it could never be more clear that for the sake of the Jewish people and for all of humanity, these small victories are nowhere near enough. The forces of Jihadi evil are gaining ground exponentially because the forces of good refuse to go on offense against Jihad.
Yet, even those of us steeped in this work against Islamism and its Jihadi byproduct and who warned tirelessly now for decades about how deep this cancer went into Muslim populations domestically and abroad along with their progressivist sympathizers, are still also in shock to see how actually unhinged, how frighteningly normalized, and how pervasive is the anti-Semitism and, make no mistake, actual sympathies for Hamas’ savagery are across the West, let alone among Muslim tyrannies. So-called institutions of higher learning are now parroting the conspiracy theories and bigoted lies about Israel and Jews previously thought to be only the domain of radical Islamists. With this on full display in the streets and campuses is proof that the Islamist problem of hate is a rampant ideological virus that has infected not only the minds of Muslim theocrats and supremacists but has been coinfected by the virulent toxin of progressivist/leftist anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, and anti-freedom collectivists across the planet.
No more can there ever be an excuse for ignorance regarding the pervasiveness of Islamist apologia. It is incumbent upon every sentient human being to understand the real cancer that creates the Hamas’s, Al Qaedas, ISISs, and Hezbollahs of the Islamic world. Let us make it painfully clear. These are all natural outgrowths of Islamism.
No matter the pain and suffering of a human being, there is no divorce of their being from their own moral agency and being individually held accountable to themselves, their families, communities, and especially to God of what is right and wrong. The Red-Green alliance denies this and their woke mentors blame America, the West and Israel for their so-called pepetual victimization. There is no divorcing oneself from individual moral agency.
The implicit and explicit defense of Hamas actions on October 7 and pathetic condemnation of Israel’s right to defend itself from any future attacks by Hamas embedded in Gaza portends an inhuman divorce of that moral agency. It belies the fact that there can ever be a “just war,” which no other nation has been subject to, after an attack of such scale and horror. The only explanation is that at its core, Jihad is fueled by an unhinged and unvarnished anti-Semitism and Islamist supremacism and fascism.
It is all about the Jihad. Full stop. This is about a global religious war waged by Islamists with ambitions not just for a Palestinian state but for Islamic states and their blunt legal instruments of Sharia law. The generational global goal is to recreate the Caliphate. These Islamists divide the world into the “Land of Islam” (Dar-Al-Islam) and “Land of War” (Dar Al-Harb).
There is no easier, more viral, and toxic way to define the non-Muslim world of war than by demonizing Jews and weaving in cancerous, pervasive, and deeply anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that brainwash Muslims about the “evil Jew.” This gives Palestinian Hamas, Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Al Qaeda, Iranian Hezbollah, Afghani Taliban, and Pakistani Jammat Islamiya the fuel to radicalize and target an easy foreign minority so they can rally the faithful Jihadi troops against the Jewish state of Israel. Jihad is central now especially after the Islamist failures of the Arab Awakening. Not only did the Palestinian cause get taken off most public discourse agendas, but they also lost or are on the verge of losing major elections, movements, coups, and wars from Tunisia to Egypt, Syria, and Iran, to name a few.
So they reopened and redeclared the regional and global triangular battle between Islamist movements, Arab dictators, and the West, which hatched in 2011. Chaos, death, and disruption are the kindling for Jihadi global growth as they seek realization of the Caliphate and Dar-Al-Islam.
Defining the term “Islamist” is critical. This term does not define every adherent to the Islamic faith. Islamists are specifically theocrats whose movements, violent and non-violent, demand the establishment of Islamic states based in Sharia law (Islamic jurisprudence). Islamists, like the Muslim Brotherhood and Khomeinist types, hatched Hamas, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and ISIS to name a few of the thousands of terror groups. Make no mistake. Among the more than 1.8 billion Muslims in the world, there is a brewing civil war within the House of Islam.
Unfortunately, the Islamists (violent or non-violent) are the dominant side due to their unity as a plurality but also due to the petro-Islamist establishment’s massive financing, media propaganda, and control of Islamic education. Hamas’ fueling by Iran, Qatar, and Turkey to name a few highlights why they were able to maintain control of all Palestinian civil and military institutions. The rest of the world’s Muslims divide up into many more secular political movements some of which, like the women’s revolution in Iran, demand a modern Western separation of mosque and state.
So why would the Islamist terror group Hamas, fueled by the Iranian Islamist regime, launch these Jihadi terror attacks and commit these heinous atrocities now in late 2023? The fecklessness and weakness of the Biden administration’s appeasement policies across the region from Hamas to Iran and Afghanistan gave Jihadis the green light they needed to make their global religious war relevant again. They see America as no longer having the will to defend our ally Israel or defend freedom.
But the overarching question remains: why? Why the mission against Israel risking certain destruction by Israeli power? The answer is that Palestinian Islamists were becoming increasingly irrelevant and have, with these evil acts of war, aggression, and terror, brought themselves back to the forefront and center of global Islamist leadership. They have resurrected the Jihad.
And this time they are joined by the growing victim-mongering movement of the woke on the streets that came to fruition during the pandemic led by the likes of BLM. Their corrupt confidence has made them feel invincible that they will win in the jury of world opinion no matter what they do against the Jewish community and Israel in the name of Islam.
They sought wide transmission of their inhuman war crimes. The more terrorizing and horrifying to humanity the better for their brand of fear and jihadi brethren. This conflict at its core is about the civilized against the uncivilized. But for Muslims like me, it is obviously about the Jihad. Until we divorce predominant interpretations of God’s scripture as we see it from any and all interpretations that are anti-Semitic and Jihadist, this evil will keep coming back.
Previously, the Islamist movements were rendered irrelevant by the Abraham Accords Declaration, by populist revolutions in many Muslim majority nations, and their populist rejection of Islamism.
Islamists waited for the right opportunity to light a fuse knowing that other Islamists and their sympathizers will answer their call for terror and asynchronous warfare against civilians amplifying their anti-Semitism and terror as just seen in the airport of Dagistan. The West became so defensive, so lost from its own identity, and with but a year left in the Biden appeasement programs, as billions were set to return to Iran’s Mullahs, the time was ripe for evil to strike.
The West must understand and finally develop a generational strategy against this, joining forces with the likes of our Muslim Reform Movement and our CLARITy Coalition to counter their global Jihad and wokists from within. Islamists and Marxists have joined forces to try and destroy us from within, why shouldn’t we deploy the same against them? This is as much an ideological war as it is a kinetic one or should be.
Jihad must be confronted frontally and at its core. Defeat the idea of the Islamic state (Sharia state) and the idea of the Islamic military goes away. If the “Islamic” legitimacy of the state’s military goes away so too does the idea of Jihad. Thus, we must redefine ummah. We must de-ummahtize the Islamic ummah—removing the idea of the nation-state from the idea of faith community. Thus, Americanism is the only idea that can defeat Islamism and its Jihad from within the Muslim consciousness. Therefore, dispense with an exclusivist “Muslim ummah” (community or state), and Muslims can then redefine the need for a more modern, more inclusive “Human Ummah” based in a united legal construct (like our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights) where our faiths are ‘a’ source of law and not ‘the’ source.
While we must first militarily defeat Hamas once and for all, if we do not have an active, offensive, and frontal anti-Islamist counter-information arm to combat Islamist supremacy and Jihad from within, it will come back again and again and grow even stronger like a hydra with or without Hamas. It is not just Hamas or ISIS or Al Qaeda that we are fighting but an entire Marxist-Jihadi anti-Western ideology of evil.
Like it or not, the new Cold (come Warm) War across the planet is against the global Jihad to be waged by all those of conscience against the jihadis of Islamism. The state of Israel and the Jewish people are at the head of the spear. We can finally plan an offense ideologically or surrender to future losses of our national sovereignty.
As I wrote on these pages just over a year ago:
The link between Islamism and anti-Semitism is rather simple. It is self-evident that supremacists from within a particular faith community will create and exploit hatred toward another faith community in order to collectively rally their own followers against a common enemy. Islamists utilize anti-Semitic imagery as a tool for their own ascension into power among Muslim-majority communities and nations. Islamists often exploit both the Muslim Ummah and the Jewish minority in order to create a groupthink against the “other.” The demonization of Jews by Islamists is a key signal to all of us, not only because of its imminent threat to all Jews across the world from Islamists who may become violent or oppressive, but also because beneath that hatred lies a more global supremacism that treats all minorities from within the faith and outside the same, as obstacles to their own ascension. These theo-fascists use the demonization of minorities as populist tools to rally populations to their fascism.
The hardest work against all of this is not only the hard power defeat of its byproducts militarily as targets of just war like Hamas and ISIS, but also the reinterpretation of deeply anti-Semitic interpretations of our scripture. It is high time for Muslims to finally be pushed to take a side about certain scriptures and stop ignoring the fact that they reside on the shelves of the vast majority of mosques.
When will Muslims pervasively declare certain toxic Hadith fraudulent? For example, in the Hamas Charter it says that the Prophet Muhammad declared, “Kill a Jew behind every stone”. This must be declared to be a fabrication by the faithful and removed into history as inauthentic and never said by the Prophet. So much of the Hadith is used to radicalize Muslims since it was often wholesale verified by corrupted oral traditions and transmission and never directly written. The Qur’anic translations are not spared some anti-Semitism as the Saudis have finally begun cleaning up much of that poisonous interpretation.
For example, Chapter 5 of the Qur’an (Al-Ma’idah, The Table) similarly needs reinterpretation regarding its implications to Jews. Similarly, an ideological offense for reformists may include finally not just the secular and realistic recognition of the state of Israel but the actual scriptural recognition by Muslims of the state of Israel since it is the only state mentioned in the Qur’an and it is mentioned as a Jewish state. The Islamist jihad will never be defeated without Muslims being held directly accountable for this and so much more when it comes to deep seated anti-Semitism bolstered daily across the planet by thousands of clerics.
Locally in Gaza, the only viable pathway forward for Palestinians will come when the Palestinians themselves marginalize and defeat the global Islamist movement’s stranglehold on their communities vis-à-vis Hamas, PIJ, and Iran, Qatar, Turkey, and their tentacles. Palestinianism as a national movement is just an incubator for Islamists. It is a natural front for Islamists to work hand-in-glove with Palestinianists who may even be Christian like Hanan Ashrawi for example. Yet, it matters little to any of them that the Islamists do not have a care in the world about the actual grievances of Palestinians as they, instead, simply create more grievances and then blame it all on “the Jews.” Islamists hijack the consciousness of Palestinians, use it for their own global purposes in Jihad and caliphism, and dismiss their own crimes against humanity and the radicalization of coming generations.
Reformist Muslims, with our eyes on the target of the only cure, modern reform-based counter-Islamism, are harboring no illusions. The struggle against Islamism is generational but must be realized.
Peace and real self-determination for Palestinians can only come after they have shed their Islamist masters. By destroying Hamas militarily once and for all, the IDF is actually doing Palestinians a favor, understanding full well that this comes with the unavoidable collateral deaths of innocents seen in all wars no matter what attempts are made to minimize.
With the Arab Awakening that marched across the Arab world, many hoped that it would come to Gaza in protests against Hamas as well as Fatah. But unfortunately, the battle for the soul of Palestinians has yet to be realized.
It is long overdue for us to develop a lasting strategy against global Jihad and global Islamism domestically and abroad. Jihadis wait out our fickle quixotic election cycles and return again and again to slaughter innocents and rekindle their mass hysteria.
So, yes, Israel should execute and win this just war right away, in the short term, against Hamas and against the Jihadi enemies of civilization and free the hostages with as low a loss of non-combatant innocent life as humanly possible. But, for the love of God and civilization, we must finally develop a potent strategy against Islamism and its red-green axis of neo-Marxism and political Islam.
It is time to anchor the West, from America to Israel, against all forms of political Islamism and its Jihad, and defeat this toxic ideology once and for all.
Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man His enemies say he’s on their land They got him outnumbered about a million to one He got no place to escape to, no place to run He’s the neighborhood bully.
The neighborhood bully he just lives to survive He’s criticized and condemned for being alive He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in He’s the neighborhood bully.
The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land He’s wandered the earth an exiled man Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn He’s always on trial for just being born He’s the neighborhood bully.
Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized Old women condemned him, said he should apologize Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel bad He’s the neighborhood bully.
Well, the chances are against it, and the odds are slim That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him ‘Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac He’s the neighborhood bully.
Well, he got no allies to really speak of What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side He’s the neighborhood bully.
Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly. To hurt one they would weep They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep He’s the neighborhood bully.
Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand In bed with nobody, under no one’s command He’s the neighborhood bully.
Now his holiest books have been trampled upon No contract that he signed was worth that what it was written on He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health He’s the neighborhood bully.
What’s anybody indebted to him for? Nothing, they say. He just likes to cause war Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed They wait for this bully like a dog waits for feed He’s the neighborhood bully.
What has he done to wear so many scars? Does he change the course of rivers? Does he pollute the moon and stars? Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill Running out the clock, time standing still Neighborhood bully.
Jihad: The Genocidal Force Threatening the Free World
October 7, some 3,000 Hamas terrorists invaded southern Israel and massacred 1,200 Israeli men, women, and children in the most lethal pogrom against the Jewish people since the Holocaust. The Hamas killer squads ruthlessly wiped out entire Israeli families, including babies and Holocaust survivors. Hamas also took some 240 hostages from Israel and several other countries including women, children, and the elderly. U.S. President Joe Biden noted that Hamas’s barbarism was so extreme that it made ISIS terrorists look “somewhat rational.” What was the driving force behind the unprecedented Hamas atrocities?
U.N. Chief Guterres: Hamas attack did not happen in a vacuum
In late October, at which point Israel had barely managed to identify all the victims because of their gruesome state, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres caused controversy by stating that the massacre was motivated by grievances, and that it, therefore, “did not happen in a vacuum.”
“It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” Guterres said. The U.N. chief went on to selectively recycle old Arab accusations against Israel. “The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished.”
Critics understandably slammed Guterres for his attempt to whitewash the Nazi-style slaughter by Hamas of innocent civilians.
The U.N. chief’s lack of moral clarity, however, is unsurprising. The United Nations was established after the Second World War to prevent future wars and atrocities. However, the U.N. quickly abandoned its original mission and became a political weapon at the hands of the world’s most oppressive and bigoted regimes, such as China, Russia, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and Syria.
However, Guterres unintentionally got one thing right: Hamas’ mass murder definitely did not happen in a vacuum—but not for the reasons Guterres presented.
Hamas did not perpetrate its atrocities against Israeli civilians because of the “occupation,” Israeli “settlements,” or poverty. The Gaza Strip, where Hamas rules unopposed, is a territory from which Israel withdrew completely in 2005, when it uprooted 8,000 Israeli residents and even dug up its dead to rebury them inside Israel.
On October 6, the day before the Hamas massacre, not a single Israeli soldier occupied even an inch of the Judenrein Gaza Strip, which, if Hamas had been so inclined, could have developed into a Middle Eastern Singapore. However, Hamas has no interest in progress and freedom. The terror group decided to wipe out entire Jewish families shortly after Israel had greenlighted a larger inflow of Gazan workers to make a living in Israel.
Jihad against Israel + the Jewish people
The Hamas killers chose their victims solely based on who they were: Jews. The driving force behind that choice was not the grievances that Guterres regurgitated, but the millennium-old idea of jihad or “holy war” against Jews and other “infidels” who are considered enemies of Islam.
Since its rebirth in May of 1948, Israel has not experienced a single day of genuine peace and is still surrounded by enemies—like Hamas—who openly call for the Jewish state’s destruction. While the Western world tends to view the dispute between Muslim Arabs and Israel as a territorial conflict, it is an existential conflict. From an Islamist perspective, an independent Jewish state, no matter how tiny, constitutes an abomination that challenges Islam’s traditional view of Jews as dhimmis, a non-Muslim minority that can periodically enjoy “protection” but only as subservient subjects under Islamic domination—never as an independent and equal nation. The genocidal, racist core of jihad is reflected in the popular slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” This phrase constitutes a total rejection of the internationally proposed two-state solution. In practice it means the destruction of the Jewish state and the establishment of a Muslim Arab entity on the entire territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
Anti-Zionist Arabists have constructed a false narrative of seemingly idyllic Muslim-Jewish coexistence prior to the establishment of modern Israel. While there were periods when Jewish existence was comparatively less precarious among Muslims than among Christians, Jews were never treated like equals in the Islamic world. Just like in Medieval Christian Europe, humiliating ghettos and anti-Jewish pogroms were integral components of the Jewish experience in Muslim-majority societies over the centuries.
Unlike the Christian West, the Muslim world never underwent a modern cultural and religious renaissance. Islam still views Jews with contempt and the anti-Jewish impulse originates in the Muslim Koran. A popular chant among contemporary Islamists is “Khaybar, Khaybar, oh, Jews, the army of Mohammed will return!” While this phrase means nothing to most Westerners, it constitutes a chilling threat of genocide against Jews. Khaybar is the name of a historic oasis in the Arabian Peninsula in present-day Saudi Arabia. The biography of Mohammed describes how, in the year 628, his forces expelled and slaughtered “treasonous” Jewish communities who lived in the oasis. In other words, contemporary Islamists celebrate this genocidal story as a Muslim victory against Jews to be replicated in modern times against Jews in Israel and the Diaspora.
Hamas—a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot with Nazi roots
Hamas was formally established in 1987 during the First Intifada in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. However, Hamas’s ideological roots predate the modern State of Israel and can be traced to Egypt in the late 1920s. In 1928, the Egyptian Imam Hassan al-Banna established the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical Islamist organization that blended traditional Islamist concepts of jihad with Nazi trends imported from Europe. Mr. al-Banna admired Adolf Hitler and had the Nazi leader’s work Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”) translated into Arabic with the altered title My Jihad. The founder of the Muslim Brotherhood embraced an intense hatred of Jews and called for the elimination of Jews living in the Middle East and the wider Muslim world.
Hamas is a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot that has fully embraced the ideologically toxic cocktail blend of Islamo-fascism and Nazism. Unsurprisingly, Hamas became one of the most anti-Semitic organizations to emerge on the world scene since the Holocaust’s industrial murder of six million Jews.
A popular modern anti-Jewish narrative argues that Arabs in the British Palestine Mandate paid the price of Nazi atrocities against Jews during the Holocaust by becoming homeless through the reestablishment of a Jewish state in 1948. However, this false narrative ignores the historical fact that only the Hebrew nation established a homeland in the Land of Israel. No Arab and certainly no “Palestinian” state existed prior to modern Israel’s establishment in May 1948. The Holy Land was for centuries a backwater in the crumbling Ottoman empire until the British took control after the First World War.
In November 1947, the United Nations voted in favor of partitioning the British Palestine Mandate into one Jewish state and one Arab state. The Jewish side accepted the proposal. By contrast, the Arab side rejected it and initiated a jihad against the nascent Jewish state.
Furthermore, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was the leader of the Arab population in British Palestine, was an ardent Nazi Jew-hater who cultivated personal relations with Adolf Hitler. Al-Husseini praised the Nazi slaughter of European Jewry and advocated the same Final Solution for the Jews in the Land of Israel and the wider Middle East.
While many Palestinian Jews volunteered to serve in the British military during the Second World War, the Muslim Arab world enthusiastically embraced pro-German and pro-Nazi sentiments in the 1940s. After the collapse of Nazi Germany in 1945, several Nazi war criminals found refuge in Arab states such as Egypt and Syria, where they were welcomed as heroes and served as senior advisors to Arab despots.
Hamas openly calls for Israel’s destruction
Many modern Westerners find the Islamo-fascist ideology of Hamas difficult to comprehend. However, outside observers like U.N. chief Guterres should pay attention to what Hamas leaders say. In an interview with Lebanese TV on October 27, senior Hamas terrorist Ghazi Hamad defended the October 7 massacre, vowing that Hamas will perpetrate future massacres of Jews “again and again” with “full force” until Israel is destroyed.
“The al-Aqsa Flood [Hamas name for the massacre] is just the first time and there will be a second, a third, a fourth because we have the determination, the resolve and the capabilities to fight,” Hamad stated. The senior Hamas official ruled out any prospects for potential compromise and peaceful coexistence with the Jewish state within any borders. “Israel is a country that has no place on our land. We must remove that country because it constitutes a security, military, and political catastrophe to the Arab and Islamic nations, and must be finished,” Hamad said. “We are not ashamed to say this, with full force. We must teach Israel a lesson and we will do this again and again,” he threatened.
The White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby condemned the Hamas official for his “chilling comments” about wiping Israel off the map. “That’s what Israel faces,” added the senior Biden administration official as if he had just experienced the moon landing for the first time.
Hamas’s Nazi-style charter
Many left-wing pundits have previously frequently dismissed Hamas’s deeply anti-Semitic statements as empty slogans meant for internal Muslim Arab consumption. In a similar fashion, many observers dismissed the Nazi genocidal threats in the 1930s. However, Hamas’s October 7 massacre truly shocked many naïve but well-meaning people in the world and even in Israel.
Some noted the irony that many of the murdered and kidnapped Israeli civilians from the border kibbutzim were ardent peace champions who had spent years advocating coexistence with Gazans as their neighbors. Some had even assisted sick Gazan children in receiving advanced medical care in Israeli hospitals. However, none of this is relevant to Hamas and its many supporters, who hate all Jews regardless of their political affiliation and level of religious observance. Hamas is not interested in living in peace with Israel. Hamas wants Israel’s 7 million Jews to rest in peace and establish an Islamic state on the ruins of the Jewish state.
While horrifying in its complete disregard for human life, the October 7 atrocities should not have surprised anyone who is vaguely familiar with the Hamas Charter, which was adopted in 1988. It is beyond any doubt one of the most anti-Semitic documents in the post-Holocaust era. The genocidal charter openly calls for the destruction of Israel: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
The Hamas extremist ideology therefore leaves no room for any compromise or peaceful coexistence with the Jewish state within any boundaries. In this context, Hamas only seeks ceasefires to regroup and rearm for its next aggression against the Jewish nation.
While Hamas is a dangerous terrorist organization with genocidal intentions, it is merely a tentacle of the main threat to Israel’s existence—the jihad octopus of the Ayatollah’s Iran. Prior to the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Israel and Iran enjoyed close commercial and security ties. However, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, quickly demonized Israel as the “Little Satan” and the United States as the “Great Satan.”
The Iranian ayatollah regime remains committed to a messianic ideology that awaits the arrival of the Mahdi, a future final Islamic leader who is supposed to arrive at the end of times and rid the world of injustice. By falsely branding Israel and the Jewish people as “enemies of Islam,” the ayatollah regime’s fanatical apocalyptic ideology demands the destruction of Israel as a precondition for the arrival of the Mahdi. Iran’s current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamene’i, has continued this genocidal jihad ideology against the Jewish state. In 2020, Khamenei called Israel a “cancerous tumor” that “will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed.” This is the central message that the supreme leader and other senior Iranian leaders have stated repeatedly over the years.
The Iranian regime’s genocidal threats are not limited to mere words. The ayatollahs are also advancing the means to implement this strategic goal of wiping the Jewish state off the map.
Iran has invested heavily in developing a vast and diverse arsenal of missiles, including long-range missiles that can reach all of the Middle East including Israel and parts of Europe. Tehran also seeks to develop long-range intercontinental missiles that could one day reach the eastern coast of the United States.
While officially denying it, the Iranian ayatollah regime has invested vast resources into developing an advanced covert nuclear program with the strategic goal of acquiring nuclear bombs. Since Israel is believed to possess at least dozens of nuclear warheads, some pundits have argued that this would deter Iran in a similar fashion as the American-Soviet nuclear stand-off during the Cold War.
However, the comparison is misleading because the ayatollahs believe in an apocalyptic death cult with a modus operandi that differs greatly from the Russians. In 2002, the former “reformist” Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani argued that Tehran views Israel as a one-nuclear-bomb country due to its tiny size, whereas the vast Muslim world could sustain a nuclear exchange.
“The use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything,” Rafsanjani said. Nuclear weapons at the hands of the ayatollahs therefore constitute an existential threat to the Jewish state’s future.
Finally, the ayatollahs have invested considerable resources in building a vast network of terror proxies across the Middle East region. The purpose is to enhance Tehran’s regional power and encircle the Jewish state with pro-Iranian terror militaries along its borders. Iranian terror proxies include Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, the Houthis in Yemen, and pro-Iranian terror militias in Syria and Iraq. Hezbollah is undoubtedly the most powerful Iranian terror proxy with an arsenal of around 150,000 rockets that can reach any point inside the Jewish state.
While Hamas carried out the October 7 massacre against Israeli civilians, Iran’s footprints are all over the atrocities. The Iranian regime provides funding, training, and military equipment for Hamas and the smaller Gaza-based terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Attacking Israel and American targets in the Middle East through terror proxies has so far offered the Iranian regime a convenient veneer of plausible deniability that lowers the risk of direct military confrontations with the American and Israeli militaries. The Iranian regime praised the Hamas massacre but denied that it had been involved in it. However, The Wall Street Journalreported that hundreds of Gaza-based terrorists underwent “specialized combat training” in the Islamic Republic of Iran merely weeks before October 7. Hamas officials have also thanked Iran for its considerable assistance.
It starts with the Jews; it doesn’t end with the Jews
The Islamic Republic of Iran and Nazi Germany share several chilling characteristics. The ayatollahs share Hitler’s ambition of world domination. A strategic goal for the ayatollahs is to export their toxic Islamic revolution worldwide through jihad, terror, and propaganda. The ayatollahs share Hitler’s paranoia and anti-Semitic conspiracy-based worldview that the Jews are responsible for all ills in the world. The elimination of the Jews is therefore a top priority for the Iranian ayatollahs just like it was for Nazi Germany. Like Nazi Germany, the Iranian ayatollahs use demonization of Jews as a propaganda tool to lay the groundwork for their elimination.
However, what starts with the Jews does not end with the Jews. Nazi Germany murdered six million Jews but also unleashed a global war that claimed the lives of around 60 million people. The Islamo-fascist ayatollahs and their minions have made it clear that Israel is merely the “Little Satan” while America is the “Great Satan.” The ayatollahs’ ultimate goal is Islamist world domination through the establishment of a global Caliphate. The West long viewed Islamist terrorism as a Middle Eastern and Jewish problem. However, 9/11 made jihad terrorism a Western and global problem.
French President Emannuel Macron recently stressed that Israel’s fight against terrorism is, in fact, the entire free world’s fight against terrorism. “This fight against terrorism is obviously a matter of existence for Israel, but it’s a matter of existence for all of us,” Macron stated during his solidarity visit to Israel.
In his seminal bookA Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad, the late, prominent anti-Semitism expert Professor Robert Wistrich warned of potentially devastating global consequences unless the Iranian ayatollah regime is stopped and neutralized.
“Unless it is checked in time the lethal triad of anti-Semitism, terror, and jihad is capable of universal conflagration,” he wrote. “A deadly strain of genocidal anti-Semitism brings the nightmare of a nuclear Armageddon one step closer and with it the need for more resolute preventive action.”
One week after the barbaric terror attack by Hamas, a group of more than 800 “legal scholars” from universities around the world signed a public statement accusing Israel of genocide in the Gaza Strip, calling upon the International Criminal Court to intervene. A perusal of the names of the signatories reveals many are not legal scholars but tenured professors who are longtime anti-Zionist activists. So, their “moral” outrage over Israel’s response to the brutal inhumanity of Hamas’s atrocities is not surprising. That modern-day scholars would protest against Jews is so, well, yesterday. Even more so is the fact that one anti-Israel outlet which shared the petition—the British-based site “Shoah: The Palestinian Holocaust”—appropriated the pre-Enlightenment Christian tradition of placing a fake quotation from the Talmud, claiming that Jews believe “Murdering Goyim is like killing a wild animal,” below its headline.
Yet, academics from around the world joining in support of fascism and tyranny is nothing new. Out of the hundreds of universities represented by these “legal scholars,” five institutions—Harvard, Cornell, Illinois, Yale, and Columbia—have a surreal connection to another time and place.
In the summer of 1936—three years after Jewish scholars were banned from teaching in German universities, Jewish lawyers were disbarred from practicing law in German courts, and Jewish doctors were prevented from practicing medicine in German hospitals—academic scholars from South Africa, Peru, Portugal, Argentina, and twenty-five other nations dressed in their regal academic robes and walked in a processional across the main plaza at the University of Heidelberg in Nazi Germany. The plaza was adorned with an enormous golden swastika and lit with foreboding cauldrons of smoke and flame perched on pillars. Mingling with the group of international scholars were Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, and SS chief Heinrich Himmler. Professors from five great universities in America were in the processional as well. Scholars from—you guessed it—Harvard, Cornell, Illinois, Yale, and Columbia, the five schools mentioned above whose professors signed the statement condemning Israel.
By attending the Nazi-organized event, these American academics were revealing their admiration for Nazi tyranny. Great Britain banned their universities from sending professors to Heidelberg because of the obvious: Heidelberg and all German institutions of higher education had rejected academic freedom to become bastions of fascist ideology. Beginning in 1933, German professors began and ended their lectures with Heil Hitler! Intellectuals who salivated over National Socialism were fast-tracked to leadership positions. Books that were blacklisted as “un-German” were burned. Classic fiction, poetry, and political science books were banned from university libraries.
By 1936, at the time of the international scholars gala at the University of Heidelberg, the new philosophy of education perpetrated by Goebbels had taken root in the lecture halls of German schools: “The era of extreme Jewish intellectualism,” said Goebbels, “is now at an end. The breakthrough of the German revolution has cleared the way on the German path. The future German man will not just be a man of books but a man of character. It is to this end that we want to educate you.” So much for academic intellectual inquiry.
Keep in mind the international gala supporting Nazism at the University of Heidelberg in 1936 was three years after Nobel Peace Prize physicist Albert Einstein was forced out of his teaching position at the University of Berlin because he was Jewish. After Einstein’s dismissal, the University of Heidelberg renamed its physics institute in honor of Philipp Lenard—an anti-Semite who labeled the contribution of Einstein to science as “Jewish physics.” The legal scholar whom the Nazis placed as the new rector of the University of Heidelberg in 1933 was Wilhelm Groh, who immediately terminated without severance pay “Jews and those married to Jews.” So much for legal scholarship.
German philosopher Martin Heidegger, a professor at the University of Freiburg, proclaimed to his students that the soul of Germany needed to breathe the fresh air National Socialism was bringing to education and that academic freedom of expression and inquiry offered no hope. In April of 1933, he became the head of the university, and in May of the same year, he joined the Nazi Party. Afterward, Heidegger instructed his students: “The Führer himself and he alone is the German reality, present and future, and its law. From now on, all things demand decision, action, and responsibility. Heil Hitler!”
By embracing the anti-Semitism, racism, and fascism of the Third Reich, this great German philosopher Martin Heidegger was following in the path of the anti-Semitic philosopher from the Enlightenment—Voltaire—who cursed Jews in his 1771 “Letter of Memmius to Cicero”: “They are all of them born with raging fanaticism in their hearts. I would not be the least bit surprised if these people would not someday become deadly to the human race.” In his essay on metaphysics “One Must Take Sides; or, The Principal of Action” (1772), the philosopher wrote of the Jews: “You have surpassed all nations in impertinent fables, in bad conduct and in barbarism. You deserve to be punished, for this is your destiny.” The public statement of the 800 legal minds—published ten days after the bloodiest day in Jewish history since 1945—does not stray from the scholar Voltaire’s perception of Jews. It seems that being an ostensibly enlightened scholar does not prevent one from being an anti-Semite.
It was not just German philosophers like Martin Heidegger who had a moral collapse of conscience. Let’s not forget the post-war Nuremberg Doctor’s Trial that found sixteen German doctors guilty of crimes against humanity. These medical scholars performed grotesque experiments on concentration camp prisoners and euthanized those whom they deemed as physically handicapped or mentally challenged. Seven of the sixteen medical scholars were executed for their gruesome and monstrous deeds after evidence was presented against them in a court of law over the course of 140 days. We should also remember that there were hundreds of legal, scientific, biological, and theological scholars who justified and participated in the mass murder of over twelve million people—six million of them Jews. Scholarship is not necessarily a sign of moral intelligence.
Presently, Arab states are pouring billions of dollars into Western universities in order to control and reshape the narrative about the Middle East conflict—making Israel the aggressor, the colonizer, the illegal occupant, and the apartheid dictatorship. It’s little wonder, then, that anti-Semitic activists are awarded faculty positions in these universities. Radical Islamist countries understand that to defeat Western democracy, they must first conquer the academy. The Nazis knew this early on, and they had more than enough scholars—useful idiots—who were willing to embrace racism and bigotry and reject intellectual freedom and inquiry in exchange for power and position.
There is nothing novel or noble, for that matter, about 800 scholars signing a public statement against Jews. It’s rather unoriginal. Banal. They join the ranks of the obsequious academics who marched in the plaza in Heidelberg with Goebbels and Himmler in the summer of 1936.
First they came for the Jews, and almost everyone on campus celebrated. The rest—were silent.
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. —Martin Luther King, Jr.
No need here to rehearse the details of the brutal, sadistic, terrorist slaughter perpetrated by Hamas against 1,200 mostly Jewish civilians, though every decent person owes it to humanity to study the footage out there, to understand the depth of the depravity and the brutality of the barbarity, and to bear witness.
Incredibly, the massacre was still ongoing when the coalition of three dozen Harvard student groups posted their heinous justification of it, hence rightly deserve their privileged place of opprobrium. But they were soon joined by hundreds of organizations across many dozens of campuses. The National Review has kept an ongoing log of many of these, including Columbia, Northwestern, University of Michigan, Swarthmore, NYU, Georgetown, George Washington University, ad nauseum. Many statements have been signed by coalitions of dozens of campus groups, not just Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim and Arab groups but all the “progressive” groups, the ethnic studies groups, the radical left-wing political groups. Black Lives Matter went all in with the murderers and rapists, one chapter even illustrating its “I Stand With Palestine” with an image of a homicidal hang glider. Women’s and Gender Studies Departments sided with those who rape elderly women and girls, cut off their breasts, and cut open a pregnant woman’s belly, stabbed her baby, then shot the woman. Something called the “Sex Workers Union” came out for the murderers as a stand “against violence,” even though they would be subject to plenty were they in Gaza, and let’s not even start with the lesbians and “Queers for Palestine” who might well be murdered by the people they were proud to stand with.
It felt (and feels) like almost everyone is on board.
Lest anyone think that this is all about “free speech,” what we have now seen are endless open justifications of a mass terror attack, and worse, celebration of it, jubilation, a bacchanalian bloodlust. In fact even worse still: National SJP immediately proclaimed that “decolonization is a call to … actions that go beyond … rhetoric,” including “resistance … in all forms,” including “armed struggle,” and that they “are PART of this movement, not [merely] in solidarity”—part of the movement, that is, that guns down unarmed dancing teenagers. They did this in a social media campaign to “bring the resistance” to every campus they could, in order to “dismantle” Zionism on every campus. Lovely words—except when “resistance” openly means “slaughter every Jew,” when “dismantling Zionism” means removing, “by any means necessary,” anyone who believes that Jews have human rights too, and when they illustrate their campaign with a celebratory image of the hang glider armed with automatic weapons about to embark on gunning down every unarmed dancing teenager in his sight.
This is not “free speech.” It is open endorsement of, and incitement to, mass homicidal violence—occurring on, and directed toward, not only Israel and Israelis but our very campuses.
And apparently an awful lot of campus members agree. Just look at the rallies the first week after the massacre at Harvard, at Yale, at Princeton, at Columbia, at Georgetown, and at the University of North Carolina, where one very excited young woman screamed exuberantly, “We are all of us Hamas!”
Hamas, which openly calls for, and acts to bring about, the death of every Jew on the planet.
Hamas, and these folks who are or are “part of” Hamas, are an evil that have no place on any campus. But one thing to their “credit,” I suppose: they at least tell you who they are, they are open about it, so you know at least who you are dealing with.
For this essay I want to focus on the rest, the silent ones.
Four days in, after explicit images of the slaughter had been blasting around the Internet nonstop for days, my college administration, the DEI office (like most others), and my faculty colleagues had remained entirely silent. In contrast, this past spring when the school president scheduled an event at a venue that 40 years earlier had racist admissions policies there were weeks of outrage, departmental statements of condemnation, the canceling of classes, and then of the president who was forced to resign.
But when 1,200 mostly Jews were slaughtered in cold blood, live on camera, there was—silence.
Actually worse: business as usual. Chatter about upcoming events, department business, the usual weekly newsletters, announcements of upcoming meetings. Nothing to talk about, folks, it’s just Jews being slaughtered on the largest scale since the Holocaust.
“We must take care of our students”—a wonderful rallying cry that fills up our airwaves whenever any identity group is perceived to have received a harm, however abstract that harm is, however removed that harm might be from them directly and personally.
Except for Jews—whose family members, friends, and acquaintances were literally just gunned down, raped, burned alive, decapitated, all livestreamed.
Did this community truly have no care or concern for its Jewish members?
I didn’t want to believe it.
But this isn’t just about my institution. Apart from a small handful of university presidents who responded appropriately, most were either silent like mine or (eventually) expressed tepid general words of dismay without truly acknowledging what had just happened before our very eyes. That’s obviously better than joining the campus mobs openly calling for Jewish blood, but only marginally so: the silence, and the tepidness, convey the same message, if less explicitly.
The problem is nearly—everywhere.
And it is now clear.
Many, many people in our universities don’t merely really hate the Jews, but actually—want them dead.
In 2023 America, not to mention around the globe.
“We are all Hamas!” the young woman screamed.
At the University of Washington rally “for Palestine,” a young Jewish student was filmed sobbing in front of a seemingly indifferent administrator, “Why are you allowing this to happen here? They want us dead!”
How, how, how did this come to pass?
This may be the United States of America in 2023, but what we’re seeing is an old story, dressed up fresh for the 21st century Western world.
Years of lies, fertilizing the soil, all deliberately designed to delegitimize and dehumanize the Jew, to label the Jew as inhuman, demonic, pure evil. Once you are convinced that the Jew represents evil, then killing Jews becomes not only acceptable but even obligatory. If the Jew is evil, then you in turn must be a very good person in killing him. The Christians did this for centuries, portraying the Jew as the fleshly embodiment of evil in their rejection and crucifixion of Jesus. The Germans and the Nazis did this for decades in racial terms, inspired by the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion, even developing a whole academic discipline to document and thus demonstrate the evils of the Jews. After some decades of this program, killing Jews isn’t merely easier but becomes an act of virtue.
The newer lies, now also several decades old, are merely superficial variations on the older lies, aiming to better reflect the specific evils of today. The charges of “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing,” “settler colonialism,” “apartheid,” and more recently “Jewish supremacy,” not to mention probably every single thing most people believe about Gaza—all of theseare lies, in fact easily documentable and demonstrable lies for anyone who takes a few minutes to honestly evaluate them. (Maybe people don’t know that rather unlike most “open air prisons” or “concentration camps” Gaza has four-star hotels and restaurants, luxury cars, ritzy malls, mansions and affluent neighborhoods, fancy beach resorts, and an obesity problem, not to mention a massive military infrastructure.) These charges don’t have to be true; they just have to be widely circulated, widely repeated, and widely believed, so that the Jew becomes the embodiment of whatever is considered most evil today.
And this is what the “pro-Palestinian” movement, along with its numerous “progressive” allies, has successfully accomplished.
After twenty years of the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” (BDS) movement against Israel, orchestrated on campus by the now more than 200 chapters of SJP, their short-term goal, that of damaging Israel economically, was a bust; but the long-term goal, the real goal, has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Whether or not a particular BDS resolution passes or fails on a given campus, the campaign itself soaks the campus in all the lies above for weeks on end, year after year. Most students don’t really follow the details, but come away thinking, man, those Jews with their genocide, apartheid, and supremacy, must really be pretty evil.
And now in 2023 no one blinks an eye when SJP asserts boldly, baldly, as if factually, on their recent social media celebrating the slaughter of 1,400 Jews, that every single Israeli Jew is a “settler.” In today’s campus vernacular, the slur “settler” rivals in evilness the slur “Nazi,” which they also sling against Israelis. If every Israeli Jew is a settler, then every Israeli Jew is evil, and therefore legitimately murdered. That includes the babies, and the grandmothers, and the unarmed dancing teenagers, and by the way it also justifies torturing them and raping the women before you murder them.
Every Israeli Jew is guilty. And if every Israeli Jew is guilty, is evil, then so is every other Jew in the world—almost all of whom support Israeli Jews and may even be related to them.
Even the wee ones. The latest outrage spreading across cities is no longer ripping down the posters of the 225+ hostages but replacing the large word “Kidnapped” with the word “Occupier.” Put that above the face of a sweet three year old and you might as well just put a target on her.
There are no innocent Jews.
The actual Nazis couldn’t have orchestrated it better.
Those administrators, those faculty members, those students who say nothing while 1,400 Jews are slaughtered—livestreamed, with the most horrific recordings circulating the globe getting millions of views and shares and likes and celebratory comments—do they remain silent because they too believe these Jews actually deserve this?
One liberated kibbutz included the bodies of 40 babies.
Are there no innocent Jews, who don’t deserve this fate?
If they can’t condemn this—if they remain silent—then they must believe these Jews deserve it. I can draw no other conclusion. Is it possible that these academic colleagues, sophisticated, educated, refined, “experts” in values—for do they not daily proclaim their expertise in values, in their anti-racism, their anti-hate, their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion?—is it possible that the people we work with, share offices with, who teach our children, share the belief and value system of the ancient and medieval Christians, the modern Nazis?
And of the contemporary Islamic Resistance Movement, otherwise known as Hamas?
Hamas has made no secrets of its views. From its founding charter—which literally openly endorses the murder of every Jew on earth, and quotes repeatedly, and “factually,” from the anti-Semitic Nazi-worshipped forgery Protocols in order to support its view that every Jew deserves to be murdered—to literally every action, every behavior, and every statement in the 40 years since, it has been telling you exactly what it thinks.
They tell us this openly, and have been telling us this openly for decades. A week after the massacre their leaders called on every Muslim on earth to bring the jihad to everywhere on earth, which prompted attacks in several European countries and had the FBI on alert here.
This isn’t hard to figure out. This movement is not about peace, about negotiation, not about “two states,” not about “justice,” not about Palestinian self-determination, not even about bettering the lives of Palestinians, all the things that should rightly matter to genuine progressives.
It is about murdering every Jew on earth, starting with the ones in Israel. (They also are interested in removing Christians, for the record, but the Jews are the first priority.)
That the animus is not restricted to Israeli Jews is also clear by the global reaction. Mass rallies in major cities around the globe, celebrating the slaughter and attacking local Jews and Jewish institutions. And back to campuses: SJP is all in, “part of” of the program, yes that program, in bringing the “resistance” to campuses.
“We are all Hamas!” the young woman in North Carolina screamed.
When an openly genocidal Jew-hating group declares, and then perpetrates, their intention to slaughter Jews, is it not advisable to #BelieveThem?
And when a campus group does the same?
Is there any other identity group about which it would be acceptable to celebrate their mass slaughter, and campaign to bring that slaughter to your campus? What exactly are all those diversity and inclusion administrators paid to do, if not to prevent this?
Or at least condemn it?
But silence is what we got on my campus and on many campuses. Is that because people—our administrators, our colleagues, our students—agree? That every Jew is guilty, that every Jew is evil, that every Jew must be eliminated?
Is that what they are thinking, when they look at their Jewish colleagues, students—at you—even if they are good enough not to say it aloud?
That the answer is yes is supported by what, of course, predictably, happened next.
Jews began to defend themselves. And the world, including campuses, promptly erupted and continues to erupt in outrage at every single measure Jews take in so doing. There isn’t a single nation on earth that wouldn’t respond massively to such an attack, but when Jews do it, every measure is labeled an aggression, an atrocity, a war crime, there will be international tribunals, etc. That is because in their eyes Jews do not have the right to defend themselves, the right that all other human beings have—because after a generation of the program academics and their students now apparently believe that Jews are so demonic they are not even endowed with the “human rights” championed by all the anti-Israel “human rights” NGOs, whose condemnations of Israeli self-defense are as loud as anyone else’s.
One other thing also happened next. The more decent did have some words of concern about the massacre but couldn’t resist even a nanosecond before appending to those words their “explanations,” their “context,” the “nuance,” the “what choice did they have” rhetoric—invoking, after all, the “blockade,” the “occupation,” the “apartheid,” etc. The lies, the damned lies, doing all the work, obscuring the fact that the Palestinians, even Hamas, did and do have many other choices available besides slaughtering Jews, including that of actually making peace with Israel.
One colleague at another institution actually said the following to me. The reason he was silent to that point wasn’t that he hated Jews, but that he was trying to understand the conflict from multiple sides because it is after all extremely complicated. When this person was confronted with the mass sadistic slaughter of 1,400 mostly civilian Jews including babies, in other words, his response was “I need to hear more perspectives.” Imagine saying on a campus today that you were suspending judgment on the George Floyd case, and on the general phenomenon of anti-black racism, and while you’re at it on slavery too because the situation is “complicated” and there are other “sides,” including the side that held that all blacks are evil and deserve to be enslaved or eliminated.
Is there any other identity group about which it would be acceptable to justify their mass slaughter by providing “context,” insisting on “nuance,” wanting to see the “other side”?
Academics are supposed to be in the subtlety and nuance business, and indeed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complex, but that is not what’s going on here. The issue at hand really is simple: either those raped and murdered babies and families and grandmothers deserved that fate, or they did not. Any “but,” any “explanation,” any “context,” any “complication,” any “both sides,” any “all lives matter” (as many of those tepid university statements exhibited) blames the victim for their slaughter and amounts to saying they deserved it—because, in the end, because no other explanation is possible, they must believe that every Jew is evil, and that the medieval Christians and modern Nazis and contemporary Hamasniks have it right.
Anything less than outright unqualified condemnation of this act is a signal to your Jewish colleagues, peers, and students, that in fact their lives do not matter. The tepidity and the silence may be marginally better than the “Intifada!” and “Resistance by any means necessary!” and “Death to the Jews!” chants heard on all too many campuses, but they signify exactly the same thing.
Here is one other neat trick, pointing again to the same conclusion. Many instantly responded to the onset of the Israeli response by calling for de-escalation and ceasefire, by condemning genocide. Beautiful, but here’s the problem. Wasn’t Hamas’s mass sadistic slaughter just a little bit of an escalation? And part of an explicit campaign of genocide? How does one come out for de-escalation and ceasefire only after the Jew-slaughterers have finished their slaughter, and without even acknowledging that slaughter? How does one come out against genocide only after the openly genocidal group has finished its round of genocidal activity, and do so without even acknowledging that genocidal activity? Think about the message that sends to Jewish community members: we have no objection when you are attacked, but we condemn you when you respond. Or maybe: genocide is dreadful, except when it’s perpetrated against Jews.
Not to mention that there is a whole other mode of de-escalation and genocide prevention that these folks entirely overlook. They could demand that Hamas return all the hostages immediately and surrender, and then the war is over, instantly.
Make that condemnation of the Hamas slaughter, full stop, unconditional—anything else and the conclusion is inescapable: they just want Jews dead.
Hamas and their fans, I obviously believe, are profoundly evil, but again they at least tell you who they are. But the academics—the professors, the administrators, now a full generation of students and young alumni—the people who justify that violence, who create entire ideologies that fertilize the ground by painting the victim as the evil one, deserving of this extermination, are at least equally evil. They may not pull the trigger but they create the conditions that make the trigger pulling justifiable and therefore feasible, and do so in a massively deceptive way. The entire “Anti-Zionism” campaign of the past two decades was just that, a wolf in sheep’s clothing: take the eternal hatred of the Jew and wrap it up as “political critique,” or “human rights activism,” so that it will be allowed to enter the academic arena, where it will seep into the brains of unsuspecting students. In the past decade the “wokeness” and “diversity” program added fuel to this fire, turning Western Jews into privileged white supremacist oppressors of people of color while their Israeli Jewish siblings oppress the Palestinians of color, so that in the name of all the higher virtues it became acceptable and then obligatory to hate the Jews, all of the Jews, who now represent the ultimate evil in their 21st-century eyes. That is precisely what the medieval Christians and the modern Nazis did, and what those academic “progressives” and “Anti-Zionists” who have been propagating these vicious lies for many years under their various jargony names have been doing.
There is no evil like the academic who provides the ideological foundation for the extermination of a people and insists that you call that program “virtue.”
“Death to the Jews!” at least has the decency to be explicit.
But the tepidity, and the silence from administration, from the diversity administrators, from the faculty, on so many other campuses—says the same thing.
They really want us dead.
This is a heavily revised version of an article that originally appeared here.
A popular conventional Indian folksong goes along the lines of:
O Traveller, Keep Vigil.
There are thieves eyeing your belongings.”
Conventional wisdom usually has layers of meaning.
In its most sublime and subtle form, this song exhorts a human being to be wary of temptations which are constantly trying to steal away our awareness.
At face value, it just means: watch out, the evil is around you, trying its best to harm you.
Tragically, conventional wisdom often encounters ridicule from individuals obsessed with showing off their moral uprightness and one-upmanship over others.
It is not uncommon in the world today for someone who is given the above advice, to say, “Why would anyone take somebody else’s belongs? It’s not logical.”
Or, “It is disrespectful to suspect a person before he has done anything.”
Or, “Are you teaching me to hate others?”
Since no thief goes around with a “I am here to rob you” sign, lame arguments like the ones above often go uncontested and the evil finds its way to its targets unopposed.
It is this precise sentiment that has helped evil thrive all over the world for centuries.
It is this precise sentiment that has caused Jihad to expand from being a local plague to a global pandemic.
The ticking time bomb
It would only be to our peril to shut our eyes to this ticking time bomb.
In the past several centuries, India has experienced extreme forms of the violence of Jihad. The list is endless, but to quote a specific event that illustrates something very important at the core of this menace:
In the 1920s, the region of Malabar in coastal South India saw one of the most horrifying genocides of Hindus.
When asked his views on these incidents, the Supreme Leader of the Indians at that point of time—who is hailed all over the world as a “saint”—said that he could not blame those brave people for “practicing their religion in the form their religion prescribes them.”
When the situation spiralled out of control, the “saint” eventually sent out a plea to the Jihadis to give up violence.
The Jihadis responded: “Why should we listen to a non-believer”?
That pretty much sums up the state of affairs, the reason and the consequences of everything related to Jihad in India, and the rest of the world.
The “mysterious” phenomena of Jihad
Jihad is one of the most mysterious psychological phenomena. Having thrived for one and a half millennium now, it is a mystery on how a faith that has an explicitly open declaration of intent that “no body on the Earth has a right to exist unless he subscribes to our systems,” a faith which has no hesitation in declaring its intent of annihilating everyone who doesn’t come within their fold, manages to garner a huge amount of support from a large quarter of the world, including the ones who are the worst victims of their monstrosity.
It would be very simplistic to dismiss these as cases of “Stockholm Syndrome.” It is important for us to understand the distinct psychological mechanism at work, if we intend to come up with a definitive strategy to combat this menace.
In this article, we will look at four prominent causes of why this terror phenomenon has been thriving all these centuries and only grown both in its scale of terror as well as the monstrosity of it.
Here are the four pretty masks that hide the grotesqueness of Jihad and allows it to flourish.
The impact of permanent pain and persistent trauma.
Human beings cannot exist in a state of cognitive dissonance. We cannot be in a state that is out of sync between our internal and external world. We are wired to dissolve all dissonance and reach a state of internal equilibrium, either changing our external circumstances to match our inner world, or changing our internal world to match the outside.
If the “external” refuses to change, the internal state is bound to alter to match with the external reality.
We are wired for “normalization.” If I wear shoes weighing five pounds all the time, that would become the normal feel for feet and footwear. When I take off those shoes, I would feel awkward and may go back to put on that weighty shoe.
If we are exposed to a situation that contradicts our internal state of mind for a long period of time, two things could potentially happen:
If we can, we would move out of that state causing the dissonance and find a more resonant existence.
If we cannot, we would finally align with the state around us.
The whole psychology of Jihad has been to stand doggedly to its explicit agenda of annihilating everyone who does not subscribe to their faith, severe consequences for practitioners who do not follow the mandates of the religion, and extreme consequences for those who abandon the faith.
Even if one feels abhorrent toward and disgusted with this perennial state of fear, we cannot live in a state of abhorrence and disgust for long. Our emotions seek a neutral and positive existence, and when we are assured that this is how the world around is going to be, we tend to get neutral and eventually positive about what is.
All conversions to this religion take place through a mix of two extreme emotions – extreme fear and extreme greed. It is common to come across individuals, who within days of their conversion, display extremely hateful behaviour against their family and friends and treat them with the same disdain as they would treat any other disbeliever.
Humans are normally wired to move away from pain and toward pleasure, but if the consequences of moving away from pain are horrifying, that pain becomes normalized.
The Subconscious Defence Mechanisms
Psychology states that we have several automatic defence mechanisms that our subconscious mind resorts to in order to protect ourselves from various crises.
One of these is a mechanism called displacement, which causes one to substitute their original target and aim, masking it with a safer option.
In India, even when a person feels disgusted with the brutalities of Jihad, he is aware that is not safe to express this disgust in its original form. The defence mechanism of displacement triggers into action, causing him to direct his disgust to the safest option in India – Hinduism.
In India, all atheists, rationalists, sceptics, and wokes vent their angst against the monstrosity of Jihad and its foundational faith by ridiculing and criticizing Hinduism. They get to express their emotions, directed through a safe channel.
An extremely absurd instance of this was seen a few years ago, when PETA (People For Ethical Treatment of Animals), which incessantly campaigns against the killing of animals, put out billboards during Id-ul-Azha, the Muslim festival of goat sacrifice, to appeal to people to avoid the killing of animals.
No, the billboards were not intended to request for non-killing of goats during Id-ul-Azha. The campaign was an appeal to Hindus to not gift leather goods during the upcoming Hindu festival at the same time.
The safety valves in place ensure that the religion gets away with all acts of terror with no opposition either physically or ideologically.
2. ‘Universal Brotherhood’ vs. ‘Self-Centredness.’
It is popularly believed that this entire faith functions as a universal family, and they stand by in unison as a family would.
Anybody who looks beyond the surface knows the lie that this is. They are driven into factions. Each faction asserts its own superiority and dismisses all other sects as “disbelievers.”
How is it that they always appear to be speaking in one voice?
Why, then, do they stand together on every matter in the world that pertains to them?
Ten photocopies of a document look all the same, not because there is a sense of unanimity between the photocopies.
They all look the same because they are copies of one original.
The faith has played the masterstroke of appealing to the foundational emotion that drives every aspect of our existence: self-centredness.
Every practitioner of the religion works for his own highest good in the afterlife. When they appear to be one, they are not standing by each other or fighting for a common cause.
Each individual just stands by the triad of the Almighty, his representative, and the Book. Each of them is actually salvaging his position in the afterlife by defending this triad and hence, they all appear to be speaking the same voice and doing the same things, but they are all doing it for exactly their own selfish end.
Faith as the only virtue
In Islam, the one and only virtue that counts is the Faith in their Almighty and his words. There are many videos of preachers from all over the world who say that the one who believes in their Almighty could do the most grotesque of acts, but he is still more virtuous than somebody who lives ethically.
Any act carried out in the name of their Almighty, and to establish his might on earth, is the highest of all virtues.
One could rape and kill in his Name, and that makes him even more pious. He could tell lies, cheat, deceive, give fall perceptions, and it earns him an even better afterlife.
A believer would normally be thrown into hellfire for visiting temples of other faiths, but if it is done to serenade a girl of the other faith into marriage and turn her into a believer, it’s the highest virtue.
It is even okay to pretend to condemn certain aspects of the religion itself, if it helps in the overall propagation of the faith, and for their own well-being, e.g., to save their job.
This is what makes them go to any extent to commit horrific acts with a sense of pride, and either brazen it out, disguise it with masks, or come across as an apologist, as the situation demands. Those who cannot do it themselves live in a bigger guilt, and compensate for it by hailing and hero-worshipping those who do.
This behaviour is not random, but fully institutionalized in the doctrine of the three doors of Islam –
Dar-ul-Aman: door of peace – regions where they exist in extreme minority. They live in peace and champion equality of religions and respect for all religions.
Dar-ul-Harb: door of struggle – when in significant size, they fight for control and establishment of an Islamic rule.
Dar-ul-Islam: door of Islam – when they have seized the power, the region acts as per Sharia, with no rights to non-Muslims.
This is a documented philosophy, and being in denial about well-documented strategies of terror is what has helped them expand unrestricted.
The social strata, level of education, accomplishments of an individual do not matter a bit. Terrorism is NOT an outcome of lack of education, as apologists often seem to suggest. The highly educated ones, the most intelligent ones, the extremely accomplished ones find better means to execute their intentions on larger scale.
3. The Power of “Narrative”—They win as a victor, they win as a victim.
In India, a statement along the lines of “I respect other religions as much as they respect ours” is classified as a communal, hateful statement.
The right to practice, profess, and propagate a religion, as guaranteed by the Constitution of India, assumes ridiculous proportions when applied to certain religions. To them, this includes the right to annihilate other religions and exterminate followers of other religions.
Furthermore, any attempt to stand against it is deemed as hateful and communal.
The biggest factor that has led to their success is the ability to play both the victor and the victim with equal ease.
They initiate trouble, with a strong belief that they are invincible because their Almighty is on their side.
Then, after a few days they realize that their Almighty has abandoned them once again.
Then, they play victim and call for considerations of humanity.
The skill of “roar when winning, whine when losing” earns them admirers for their bravado as well as sympathizers for their wounds, and whatever be the context, they emerge as a winner.
When the world was signing the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the entire Islamic world rejected it as being un-Islamic.
Eventually, in 1990, they brought in their own Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam.
They invoke the latter when they want to destroy other religions and nations, and invoke the former when they get thumped in the process.
They have explicit intention of annihilating all those who do not believe in their faith, but are the quickest to demand “respect for other religions” from other faiths.
In India, they label every practicing Hindu as “communal” and a “bigot.” Any condemnation of any of their acts of monstrosity is instantly branded as “Islamophobic.”
In India, the invaders and rules of the faith have demolished hundreds of thousands of temples and a mosque erected there.
Some of these places have been given names that translate to “The Might of Islam.” When attempts are made to reclaim some of the most prominent ones which have extreme historical and religious significance to Hindus, it is projected as an atrocity against Islam.
They brag about having ruled the country for a thousand years and lament how they live in perpetual fear in the same breath. They openly express their dream of establishing an Islamic rule in India, but cry foul against any talk of any consolidation of Hindus.
They very well know the power of what I refer to as “The Spotlight Effect.” They have mastered the skill of putting the spotlight on their might and power as long as they are winning, and turn the wounds (including the made-up ones) when they fail to get through their murderous way.
They assert they cannot be blamed for what their ancestors did, but they support and defend every act of the past invaders and partake in the glory of their conquests of “Kaffirs.”
They complain that their patriotism is often under question, but unfailingly turn out in millions in the funeral of every terrorist.
The control of narrative
In India, you could use a general rule of thumb that any individual or organization with names that include “Peace,” “Justice,” “Progressive,” “Human,” etc. and speak endlessly on these topics is very likely to have a Jihadi connection.
They have learnt the art of using generics and rhetoric with great finesse to create pretty masks that are deceptive.
Through the use of the right generics and rhetoric, they manage to garner support from those individuals and organizations who they are possibly conspiring to demolish. The religion is dead against any form of unnatural sex, but you will find gay organizations all over the world standing by them with totally solidarity.
It is ironic that the most regressive minds end up gaining the empathy of everyone who wants to show themselves off as “woke” and “progressive.”
They pass every crime of theirs, however gruesome, as a “law and order problem,” and magnify even an ordinary crime that involves a Muslim as a victim as Islamophobia.
Heck, even a clash between two of their own communities gets passed off as Islamophobia, because the ones suffering in such clashes are Muslims.
The mastery of rhetoric and a complete control of the narrative has yet another dangerous side effect: the right choice of words and the inherent wokism in their narratives are very appealing to the next generation. This is something that definitely needs to be watched out for and taken care of.
4. A self-sufficient system takes care of all boundary conditions.
Recently, I came across an interesting statistic about the growing number of atheists in Pakistan. A Pakistani YouTuber revealed that there is an overall resentment against the religion across all of Pakistan. What keeps people from speaking out are the two-fold safety valves of the “blasphemy laws” and the “punishment for apostasy.”
These are masterstrokes that allow anyone to cause serious damage to anybody they do not like in the pretext of saving the religion.
Death for apostates is one other factor that keeps everyone from speaking out. It may force disgruntled individuals to sulk endlessly, but it ensures that there is no public narrative set against them.
The need for a strategic counter to Jihad
The movie “Glory Road” is based on a true story and events that lead to University of Texas at El Paso fielding an all-black lineup in a game for the first time in university basketball.
When coach Dan Haskins goes around recruiting players, he encounters raw talent. One student, when challenged to pass through Haskins with the ball, said: “I can pass through you, over you, under you, around you, I can spin you like a top.”
The student player tries to get past coach Haskins, expecting to deceive him with extra body movement. Haskins doesn’t react to his individual movements. He stands centred and focused on the ball, moves only as required and proves impossible to pass through.
Haskins tells him: “You expect me to react to all that head-shake and body gyration? It’s activity without accomplishment. You got the ball in front of you. You ain’t going anywhere without it.“
The primary reason why we have so far been ineffective in tackling this menace is because we have been involved excessively in “activity without accomplishment,” as Haskins put it.
Since a lot of them speak in multiple tones, reacting to all of those ends up in situations allowing each of them to walk away with victory easily.
They put forth the red herrings of real Islam vs Islamism, terrorism has no religion, good terror vs bad terror, etc. We need to know it beyond doubt that there is only one Islam, and it seeks annihilation of every other faith.
Those who do not pick up a gun or tie a suicide vest on themselves regard the ones who do as the soldiers of Almighty and provide them every possible tangible and intangible support.
We need to have a single front of this battle, and not get distracted by the fake narratives they set.
What we need to strike at is their dismissal of every other faith as false, and their explicit agenda of establishing their religion over the entire world as one unique faith.
Any other unrelated conversation or activity, e.g., mocking the faith, casting aspersion on their icons, burning their books, calling for their annihilation, end up getting them more empathizers and dilute the fight against their inherent terror. They put those against Jihad on the same moral footing as the Jihadis, taking away the bite and sting from all campaigns against them.
We need to stay away from emotional ramblings, provocative statements, and immature declarations. We need to be more strategic and brave rather than indulging in mindless bravado.
We need to demand humane behaviour from them in return for the humane behaviour they demand to be meted out to them. We need to end this toxic practice of unilateral appeasement.
We, Indians, believe in the ubiquity of God. We have absolutely no resistance to any faith in the world.
They do not have to agree with us. They do not have to support us. They do not have to do what we do.
But they got to let us live.
O Traveller, Keep Vigil
When it is more than obvious that there are thieves eyeing our belongings, we have no choice but to wake up and take vigil.
We need to be absolutely clear about their intent, and counter and demolish every narrative they present in the name of high philosophy.
“How far would you go back into history and correct the wrongs?” As far we know and have evidence for.
“We should not be like them, we should be who we are.” Why should we not be like them? Why should we not do what they do? Are they that bad?
We need to counter and dismantle all their fake narratives.
We need to stay focussed and directed at their open agenda to exterminate or subjugate everyone who is not with them.
We need to turn the spotlight to their genocides and atrocities when they are in control and to their reality of being a paper tiger when they are shown their place.
We need to distinguish between butchery and bravery and call it out explicitly.
There cannot be any camaraderie, fraternity, brotherhood, or co-existence with one who has an explicit intent of annihilating you. The eligibility for receiving humane treatment is to be human.
Wanting to protect one’s life, existence, culture, and heritage is not “phobia.”
The Iranian Islamofascist oppressive regime craves for nothing less than a Global Jihad.
Our planet is home to two billion Muslims, comprising 25 percent of the world’s population. In the eyes of the ayatollahs, the rest of us are infidels whose existence is problematic. Even within the borders of Iran, Muslims who do not subscribe to their Islamic theocratic interpretation of Islam are imprisoned, tortured, or simply eliminated.
Before the Slaughter on the Seventh, when the only democracy in the Middle East was brutally assaulted by blood-thirsty savages, America tried “playing nice” with the ayatollahs. During our attempts at kumbaya, Tikun Olam, and a naïve peace-seeking agenda, the ayatollahs were laughing and scheming.
Iran, together with Russia and China, form a Triad of Terror. Western Civilization is the common enemy that strengthens their malleable but unbreakable bonds.
In 2021, Iran and China signed a 25-year cooperation agreement to strengthen the two countries’ “political, strategic, and economic” components.
Iran and Russia are military allies in Syria and Iraq, partners in Afghanistan, and Russia is the chief supplier of arms and weaponry to Iran.
To the treacherous trio, the brutal slaughter of innocent civilians is likened to the falling of pawns in a global game of team chess. The Russian king takes Ukraine, China’s queen moves towards Taiwan, and Iran’s rooks and knights mercilessly wreak havoc on the rest of the world.
Hamas is only one of Iran’s armed, trained, and financed paramilitary mercenary groups whose leaders are welcomed in Moscow.
Meanwhile, in China, where Muslims are imprisoned in “re-education” camps, President Xi Jinping somehow sees a moral equivalency between the invasion of Hamas’ drug-crazed demonic assassins, and Israel’s right to defend itself in our ancestral homeland.
Lebanon’s Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, described their eager participation in the assault as, “a message to those seeking normalization with Israel.”
Iraq, where a dozen Iraqi political parties have ties to Iran, commends the massacre, and affirms their “unequivocal support” for the Palestinian factions.
Yemen’s Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, backed by Iran, threatened U.S. intervention with “drones and missiles.”
Giving credit where credit is due, the Abraham Accords paved the way for both Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to condemn Hamas’ invasion and butchery.
Morrocco and Sudan took the road more travelled, together with our new Saudi friends who described the massacre as a battle between “Palestinian factions and the Israeli occupation forces.” Also displaying their true colors, Qatar wined and dined Hamas leadership during the onslaught, while Turkey’s President Erdoğan referred to Hamas’ killers as “freedom fighters” and states, “We will tell the whole world that Israel is a war criminal.”
But what about those adherents to Islam residing in the free world? The good Muslims, benefitting from the freedoms not granted in their countries of origin?
During the Holocaust, the “Good Germans” watched trains packed with men, women, and children enter factories. They watched thick black smoke spew from the buildings and the palpable stench of death blacken the sky. They watched empty trains leave the factories. These “good Germans” said “they didn’t know.” Really? They could not figure it out? Were they really that stupid?
Are today’s “Good Muslims” yesterday’s “Good Germans”?
In 2016, in my quaint South-Texas town of Victoria, the local mosque was burned to the ground. The following morning, five hundred of us gathered in front of the still-smoldering site to show our solidarity and support. I personally shared their grief and presented the president of the Victoria Islamic Society with keys to our synagogue, Temple B’nai Israel. Al Jazeera thanked me, CBS Evening News interviewed me, and CNN rewarded me as an “unsung” hero.
Following the Slaughter on the Seventh, the Victoria imam has refused to speak with local media, and members of the mosque are blaming Israel and claiming that the murderous rampage was justified for the Palestinians to “get a glimpse of freedom.”
Freedom? What they need is freedom from Hamas, which, instead of using their billions of dollars for scholarships, infrastructure, education, farming, research, and the arts, use it for building tunnels, importing rockets, and destroying lives. Yasar Arafat, the first leader of the Palestinians left an estate of twenty billion dollars. Instead of aiding his people who revered him, his widow and daughter are living lives of luxury and are often spotted strolling down the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
Gaza is a 25-mile stretch of land with a magnificent Mediterranean coastline. Jews had lived there for thousands of years before the birth of Muhammed and the introduction of Islam. In biblical times, Samson was seduced and sentenced to death following a trim by the evil Philistine Delilia. Gaza is also where the young David bashed in the head of Goliath, the mighty Philistine Giant. In the Middle Ages and on, rabbis lectured, and Jewish communities flourished in Gaza.
In 2005, by the unilateral decree of Israel, every Jew left Gaza in order for the Palestinians to, once again, begin their journey toward an independent Palestinian state. With the world as their witness, they could have transformed their newly acquired land into a magnificent beach-front resort community. Singapore did it and so did Hong Kong.
The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. We left homes, synagogues, farms, and factories. Instead of taking advantage of these gifts, the Palestinians destroyed them all, simply because they had belonged to Jews.
Today, the Palestinians’ elected leadership lives in luxury and commutes in limos and Lear jets while their young subjects wallow in poverty, believing that their life will be fulfilled only by murdering Jews.
On the Slaughter on the Seventh, a young Palestinian savage bragged to his family on the cell phone of a Jewish woman he had just murdered, how proud he was to have personally killed ten Jews. His family in Gaza was proud as well, I assume.
Last week was the brit milah of my third grandchild.
Must I fear for the future of my grandchildren?
“Jihad is becoming as American as apple pie,” proclaimed Anwar al-Awlaki, a key organizer for Al Qaeda who was born in New Mexico. Of the sixteen lethal jihadist terrorist attacks in America since 9/11, four were homegrown Islamic assassins, nurtured and radicalized in mosques in Texas, New York, Florida, and Virginia. The remaining perpetrators of death hailed from Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Uzbekistan.
In February of 2019, the Islamic Education Center of Houston celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. At the ceremony, children sang: “Khamenei is our leader, we are his soldiers.”
On July 29, 2022, a video was produced by the school’s administration. In the Broadway-quality musical production children are waving Iranian flags, dancing in traditional Islamic dress, and singing a sacred song of praise. While pledging allegiance to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, children chant of child soldiers, martyrdom, and proclaim, “May my father and mother be sacrificed for you.”
The video, initially available on the school’s YouTube and Facebook pages, was shared by the Iranian state-controlled Fars News and lauded by the Iranian government. Attempts to remove the video and deny its existence were superseded by The Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI) making the video readily available.
Iran funds, arms, provides amphetamines, and furnishes plans for their psychopathic international paramilitary mercenary militias. The Hamas terrorists who participated in the slaughter were promised $10,000 and an apartment if they captured Jewish hostages. All they had to do for the reward was kidnap a Jew and go home.
As if guided by the Quranic Malak ul-Maut, the surreal, sickening savagery they unleashed upon Israelis, Germans, Italians, Austrians, Americans, Argentinians, Brazilians, British, Cambodians, Canadians, Chileans, Chinese, Columbians, Filipinos, French, Irish, Mexicans. Italians, Paraguayans, Peruvians, Russians, Tanzanians, Thais, and Ukrainians was done pro bono.
When my grandfather was a child, Cossacks on horseback wielding sabers galloped through his shtetyl. They were more focused. They only chopped the heads off Jewish children.
In a very short time, the media world’s collective amnesia will forget about the bound, burned, beheaded babies and the young women gang-raped until their pounded pelvises fractured.
The media will fail to recall that between 1979 and 2001, there were 48,035 terrorist attacks globally, self-described by the perpetrators as being conducted in the name of Islam. These massacres resulted in 210,138 deaths in Asia, Africa, Australia, North America, South America, Europe, and the Middle East. France was the country most affected in the European Union with 82 Islamist attacks and 332 deaths.
In the most recent onslaught of evil, Hamas took a page from Hitler’s Happy Holocaust Handbook: Torture, mutilate, and murder your victims, then blame the victims. The WWII Japanese playbook describes young pilots volunteering to fly Kamikaze suicide attacks. This seems to have inspired Palestinian teens on their sacrificial final flights on hang-gliding bombers.
When Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower began liberating the camps, he was unprepared for the unprecedented Nazi brutality. Dead, decaying bodies, stripped of their humanity were piled like firewood, living skeletons struggled to stand, and ovens emitted the stench of death. Eisenhower insisted that the press take photographs so future generations could not deny what he saw.
Today, Holocaust deniers flourish, promoting anti-Semitism by spreading their lies despite Eisenhower’s prophetic warning.
Remember this when you awaken one morning and all you see, hear, and read about is the death and destruction in Gaza.
There is a significant difference between the Slaughter on the Seventh and the hellacious Holocaust. The Nazis tried to hide their heinous savagery. The Hamas terrorists proudly streamed, recorded, and bragged about theirs.
This time, the world is watching.
Last week, forty-three minutes of perverse demonic torture, stochastic terrorism, and inhumane savagery, harvested from terrorist’s body cams, dashboard cameras, social media accounts, and cell phones, were shown to two hundred international journalists. Some were sobbing while others gagged in disgust. Many looked away or left the room.
Jew-hating influencers will claim it was fiction, staged by the international Jews who own Hollywood and the media. The Triad of Terror will smirk at these claims.
It always starts with the Jews. It never ends with the Jews.
“On the night Lord Voldemort went to Godric’s Hollow to kill Harry, and Lily Potter cast herself between them, the curse rebounded. When that happened, a part of Voldemort’s soul latched itself onto the only living thing it could find. Harry himself. There’s a reason Harry can speak with snakes. There’s a reason he can look into Lord Voldemort’s mind. A part of Voldemort lives inside him.”
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2
Well before the October 7th massacres (now rightfully referred to in Israel as “Shabbat Shachor” or “The Black Sabbath”), well before Hamas, and even well before the modern state of Israel, the prevailing anti-Israel rhetoric and tactics from Arab dictators and terrorist groups had a familiar ring to it. At least it was familiar to those of us who remember or have studied World War II and the Holocaust.
That’s right, the greatest and most deadly enemies of the Jewish people and Israel in the Middle East still sound and act an awful lot like Nazis. Even when they’re not focusing on Israel and the Jews, groups like Al Qaeda or ISIS spew genocidal philosophies and inhumane tactics that would have made Hitler, Goebbels, and Eichman proud.
It turns out none of this is remotely a coincidence. In fact, while anti-Semites and ignoramuses delight in making ridiculous comparisons between the state of Israel and Nazi Germany, there is a very clear and traceable link between Jihadism and the Third Reich.
The origins of modern Jihadism began in the late 19th century in Egypt. The group that would eventually become known as the Muslim Brotherhood was formed at that time as a radical response to growing Western cultural influences in the country. That same Muslim Brotherhood is the universally accepted predecessor and direct inspiration for today’s Islamist terror groups including Hamas, al Qaeda, and even ISIS.
By contrast, the period of 1880-1920 or so was also the most fruitful time in Egypt for that nation’s Jewish population. Jews in Cairo achieved an essential role in the city’s retail economy, and some were even advisers and official members of the Egyptian royal courts.
But as the Nazi Party began to take root, the fledging Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt caught the eyes of those Nazi leaders all the way in Germany. A partnership began between them in the 1920s that included the translation of the centuries-old anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion into Arabic, the exchange of strategies on how to rile up Arab rejection of the Jewish settlers in then Ottoman-controlled Palestine, and direct funding of the Brotherhood from Berlin.
By the time the Nazis gained control of the German Reichstag in 1933 and Hitler was named Chancellor, the Muslim Brotherhood was operating widely and growing its membership in Egypt and neighboring areas. When Egypt’s King Farouk was still showing favor to the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine and dealing in a friendly way with the Jewish agency, Hitler threatened to end all German purchases of Egyptian cotton. It was a threat the Brotherhood was able to make even more serious with its inherent physical threat against the King if he did not comply. Farouk quickly gave in and Egyptian relations with the Jewish state ceased for another 44 years.
When World War II finally broke out, an acolyte of the Brotherhood, Amin al-Hussein, was operating as the voice of Arab Muslims in the Holy Land under the title of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. By 1941, the Mufti’s steady genocidal messages against the Jews so impressed Hitler that he invited al-Hussein to stay in Berlin, something that he did for the duration of the war. While there, the Nazis arranged for him to have a daily Arabic language radio broadcast that was heard all over the Middle East. In his memoirs, even the future Ayatollah of Iran, Ruhollah Khomeini, noted how much he was influenced by and enjoyed the program regularly. That’s how popular the Mufti’s radio show was.
After the war, the direct Nazi influences did not end. In fact, it was former Wehrmacht officers on the run from war crimes charges and hiding out in Egypt who trained a young Yasser Arafat in military tactics.
Much of the above connections between the Nazis and Muslim Brotherhood have long been known and well-documented. But in the years directly after the 9/11 attacks, German scholar Matthias Kuntzel presented evidence that showed an even more extensive sharing of ideas and resources between the Nazis and the early Islamists. That included the sharing of Hitler’s brief fantasy of flying bomb-loaded airplanes into the Empire State Building in New York, a tactic Kuntzel asserts remained in the Islamist playbook until the similar attack on the World Trade Center occurred in 2001. Kuntzel documents all of this, and some of the more promising aspects in Muslim-Jewish relations before the Nazis in his brief but brilliant book, Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11.
The passing down of Nazi ideology from the Muslim Brotherhood to the more modern-day Islamist organizations truly casts the entire region heavily, and depressingly, under Hitler’s shadow. But it also presents a ray of hope.
Remember that before the Nazi-influenced Jihadism took root, the Arab Muslim world was sometimes not very hospitable to Jews, but never truly genocidal. It was often better to live as a Jew in the Arab world than in the Christian world of Europe. It’s important to recognize that Ashkenazic Jewish life in Europe generally did not become demonstrably better than Sephardic Jewish life in the Arab countries until the 18th or 19th century. Once the industrial advances, coupled with the spread of Jewish citizenship rights brought on by the Napoleonic era, made Europe a safer region for Jews to flourish economically and civically, that began to change.
But for centuries before that, Jews and Arab Muslims often had long periods of peaceful coexistence and economically beneficial partnerships. Jews still had to endure a status akin to second-class citizenship, but they were much more rarely physically threatened than their fellow Jews in Medieval Europe or even places like Russia well into the 20th century. If all it takes is a few powerful Arab national leaders to push back on the past 100 years worth of Nazi influences, perhaps a reset is possible to a time when genocide was not even a remote consideration.
Many of us would argue that is precisely what has happened in countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and a few other Arab nations since the signing of the Abraham Accords in 2020. Even though many of the Abraham Accords signatories have not responded with the most supportive statements in response to the Hamas massacres and Israel’s subsequent responsibility to wipe out Hamas, they also have stepped well back from the kind of unabashed and unbalanced bashing of Israel that we’ve typically seen in the past when Israel has been involved in wars with its terrorist neighbors. These are baby steps, but it’s amazing what’s possible when you don’t have Nazi voices whispering in your ear.
Hitler is thankfully long dead, but one of his most enduring horcruxes lives on inside Hamas, Hezbollah, the mullahs of Iran, and every jihadi. The long-term Nazi investment of money and rhetorical content to what was once a tiny Islamist minority has paid off in ways not even the most sadistic anti-Semite could have dreamed. But perhaps we are coming closer to a day when that investment finally runs its course.
The only surprise: that anyone should be surprised.
Academe, and especially the American ivies, have long had a soft spot for extremist anti-Semitism. Like Hamas’s ideology today, in the 1930s, Nazism penetrated the universities throughout the “civilized” world. Because of the mass firings of Jewish professors, and on-going reports of the perversion of science and learning at German universities, on February 2, 1936, Dr. Hensley Henson, the Anglican Bishop of Durham, wrote a letter to the Times of London. It called for a boycott of the Heidelberg Celebration—an academic parallel to the 1936 Olympics organized by Goebbels—by all British universities and learned societies:
The essential solidarity of academic purpose, the broadly human interest of science, the supreme and universal claim of truth, the indispensableness of liberty in its pursuit – these are the postulates which govern the policy and practice of civilized universities, and, apart from their honest acceptance, no genuine academic fellowship can exist… …Neither the mind nor the conscience of the individual is to stand outside the manipulation and control of the totalitarian national State. The present rulers of Germany would echo the cynical speech of Lenin: “It is true that liberty is precious—so precious that it must be rationed.” This demented nationalism of the Nazis and Fascists endangers not only the peace of the world, but also the ultimate franchises of self-respecting manhood. In the victimized minorities—religious, academic, racial, and political—humanity has its true champions. That is their claim to the homage and assistance of all who value liberty. It cannot be right that the universities of Great Britain, which we treasure as the very citadels of sound learning, because they are the vigilant guardians of intellectual freedom, should openly fraternize with the shameless enemies of both.
Bishop Henson’s call for a boycott initiated a debate deemed so important for consideration by American universities and colleges that it was immediately published in book form by Viking Press with the title Heidelberg and the Universities of America, with a foreword by Samuel Seabury, Charles C. Burlingham, Henry Stimson, and James F. Byrnes. All four men were influential lawyers; Stimson and Byrnes went on to become important members of the Roosevelt administration, Stimson as Secretary of War (1940–1945) and Byrnes as a key advisor to both Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. Stimson supported Roosevelt’s policies of supporting England and France against Germany in 1939–1941 and containing Imperial Japanese expansion. Later, he was responsible for the Manhattan Project—urged by Einstein—to build the atomic bomb, and argued successfully for the Nuremberg War Crimes trials after Germany’s defeat.
Henson’s call for a boycott went “viral.” The administrations at a number of ivies—including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Vassar, and Cornell—had accepted the Heidelberg invitation routinely, only to be confronted with angry protests from some faculty, students, and alumni. An editorial entitled “The Rumor Confirmed” in the Cornell Daily Sun of March 3 typifies the negative responses elicited by news of acceptance of the Heidelberg invitation at that university:
President Farrand has confirmed Cornell’s acceptance of the German invitation to attend the 550th anniversary of Heidelberg. He has further stated that he does not regard an exchange of courtesies between two institutions of learning as involving an expression of judgment as to the policies of the political regime in Germany or as to the attitude of the German government toward the universities of that country. We understand that the President is in a very difficult position. Having accepted the invitation without due consideration, he is, so to speak, between Scylla and Charybdis. He has chosen the course of reaffirming his former position. We feel he would be wiser and better serve the interests of the University by choosing the difficult path of retraction… …It is argued that by being a party to this celebration Cornell will be honoring an institution of learning with a position of the greatest historical importance. We feel that the Heidelberg of the Hitler regime is no longer an institution of learning, and in honoring it we will not be honoring the Heidelberg of President Farrand’s student days, the Heidelberg that has for centuries stood as a prominent center of the best in culture and learning. No amount of sentiment or talk of tradition can excuse Nazi persecution of scholars and students. The Heidelberg of today is an illustration of the exorcism of academic freedom by Nazi censorship and repression.…
But—shamefully—most of the American universities crossed the picket line! Why? Firstly, money; namely financial support for faculty and student exchange programs from both German-American and German sources, such as the Carl Schurz Foundation, the DAAD (Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst, the “German Academic Exchange Service”), and wealthy German-American benefactors. Secondly, pro-Nazi and pro-fascist professors and students. And, thirdly, the influence of some senior administrators who were themselves anti-Semitic, refusing to hire Jewish professors, whether they were “local” Jews or German-Jewish émigrés.
Regarding money—and the influence it could buy—in 1934, the German-based Carl Schurz Verein poured 60,000 RM (a very significant sum at that time)—half from Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry and half from the Nazi Foreign Office—into the effort to influence American academe. Monies flowed from the chemical conglomerate I.G. Farben (both the German parent company and its American subsidiary) to pay for academic exchanges, travel, and awards. I.G. Farben was the same company the Nazis contracted to build a synthetic rubber factory at Monowitz-Buna within the Auschwitz camp complex, staffed mostly by Jewish slave laborers—Elie Wiesel among them. It also developed and, through its subsidiary Degesch, manufactured Zyklon-B, the tinned hydrogen cyanide crystals the SS poured into the gas chambers.
Another channel for funding was the DAAD, Nazified in 1933 under the direction of Ewald von Massow. In addition to serving as president of the DAAD, von Massow had a stellar career in the SS, rising from Untersturmführer (“junior storm leader,” the equivalent of an American second lieutenant) in 1933 to Gruppenführer (“group leader,” a major general) in 1939, only three ranks below Heinrich Himmler himself. Given this level of support, American university and college presidents were loath to break ties with German institutions. Some Vassar alumni saw the promise of scholarships as a form of bribery, writing,
Obviously, the invitation to the Heidelberg celebration is but a transparent ruse to get foreign universities to put their stamp of approval on education in the Third Reich. In the case of Vassar, the offer of six scholarships at Heidelberg cannot, in the circumstances, be regarded as anything but a bribe and as such an insult to the intellectual integrity of the college. In the interest of Vassar’s standing and its liberal tradition we cannot stand by and see the college used as a tool by political forces which deny the very existence of freedom of thought and speech for which Vassar and the American system of education stand in the eyes to the world.
Today, the American campus organization Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) supports the dissemination of Hamas’s anti-Semitic rhetoric on approximately three hundred American campuses. We know this much about its funding: American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)—a Hamas money-laundering operation manned by the old guard from the now-defunct Holy Land Foundation (HLF) and its affiliate KindHearts—funds SJP, which, in turn, organizes pro-Hamas protests on campuses across the U.S. SJP also receives money from organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, J Street, and its mother organization, the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA), a major Muslim Brotherhood front group.
There is much that we still do not know about the funding for the Hamas movement in America; billionaire donors may well include the Hamas leaders themselves.
It was in the climate of anti-Semitism metastasizing onto university campuses—nurtured by identity politics, Black Lives Matter (BLM), critical race theory (CRT), diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and the riots sparked by George Floyd’s death—that in July of 2020, the present writer was cancelled for publishing an opinion piece in the Journal of Schenkerian Studies. The crime was defending the Austrian-Jewish music theorist Heinrich Schenker (1868–1935).
In the article (see pp. 157–166), I had argued that Philip Ewell, a professor at Hunter College, who self-identifies as black, and his allies, tendentiously falsified music history to transform Schenker into a “white oppressor” responsible for the paucity of blacks in the field of music theory. After I pointed out that Schenker was a Jew, with all that entailed in the Austro-German context of the 1920s and ’30s and the rise of Hitler, Ewell and his cohorts pivoted to recasting Schenker as an anti-Semitic Jewish Nazi. Since Jews are “white,” and, as such, must enjoy “white privilege,” Schenkerians must have colluded to eliminate non-whites from the field of academic music theory, just as “white” Jewish Israelis have persecuted non-white Palestinians. Labeling Jews “white” and “white framing” them, as Ewell did to Schenker, is historically false and profoundly inimical to Jews who, like Schenker, value their religion and cultural heritage. Of course, as an Eastern European Jewish “other” in Vienna, Schenker was always an outsider. He and his émigré students fleeing Nazism played no part in preventing the advancement of blacks in music theory in America. Such claims scapegoating Schenker and his mostly Jewish émigré students fall under the broad rubric of the infamous Nazi phrase die Juden sind unser Unglück (“the Jews are our misfortune”). This song from 1931, An allem sind die Juden schuld (“It’s all the fault of the Jews”), explains the anti-Semitic strategy. So it was then for the Nazis, and so it is now for the Islamofascists in Hamas and their fellow travelers who cast Jews as Nazis.
Like Cassandra forecasting the fall of Troy, in my rebuttal to Ewell, I had explicitly warned against the academic ideological justification for a second Holocaust of Israeli Jews: “The great danger of lending academic imprimatur to these demagogues is that it establishes the requisite ideological foundations for a second Holocaust of Israeli Jews, just as Nazi academic literature in 1920s and 1930s laid the groundwork for the (first) Holocaust” (p. 163, n. 7). I specifically pointed out the true meaning of documented anti-Semite Jasbir Puar’s book Right to Maim (2017),published disgracefully by Duke University Press, which egregiously, and falsely, claims that bodies of Palestinian children were mined for organs by the Israeli military, and that recent conflicts in Gaza were driven by organ harvesting. The teaching of this naked blood libel at Princeton and other universities has subsequently given rise to controversy. Post-October 7, 2023, through a psychotic inversion, the imaginary perpetrator of such mutilation—the Israeli Jew—now becomes the real-life victim of maiming, as realized by Hamas through decapitation, etc.Exactly as I predicted three years ago, it has come to pass that eliminationist anti-Semitism has triumphed at Columbia,at CUNY—which hired similarly well-documented Jew-hater Marc Lamont Hill (who has parroted Hamas slogans and defended Louis Farrakhan)—at Harvard, Yale, Penn, UCLA, Cooper Union, and even at my own public University of North Texas near Dallas.
My alma mater, the CUNY Graduate Center, has been designated the most anti-Semitic university in America—although, in light of recent events, it is unclear whether some other ivy-league schools now surpass it in that distinction. In today’s climate, there is a ubiquitous tendency to view everything in terms of the present, as if anti-Semitism at American universities in general, and at CUNY in particular, arose suddenly, just like Athena, fully formed, out of the head of Zeus without a long gestation period. In fact, the roots of anti-Semitism at CUNY reach back to the 1980s, and probably earlier, to black nationalist discourse in Africana Studies departments at Hunter and City Colleges, and analogous departments at some ivy-leagues. In this context, Professors of Africana Studies Leonard Jeffries and John Henrik Clarke at CUNY and Tony Martin at Wellesley College should be mentioned as influential Afrocentrists who promulgated the anti-Semitic canard that Jews were primarily responsible for the slave trade (in conjunction with Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam), and the “Black Athena” myth that Greeks stole Western culture from Africa. The historical context for Black anti-Semitism at CUNY to which I was alluding in my 2020 journal article is established by many reports, including a 1991 article from The Washington Post, “In New York, A Bigoted Man on Campus,” which describes a speech delivered by Jeffries on July 20, 1991:
Apparently the speech was just about as long as an address by Fidel Castro—two hours!—and even loonier. Ostensibly speaking to the question of Afro-centric education, Jeffries launched into a tirade against whites generally and Jews specifically [my emphasis] But if you doubt that Jeffries possesses a scholarly mind, tell that to the ranking officials of the City University of New York, of which City College is a part. Although Jeffries’ race-baiting harangues have been a familiar part of CUNY life for years, this has not prevented him from gaining both tenure and the chairmanship of his department, not to mention a following at City College as, in the Times’ description, “a popular, flamboyant lecturer.”
Clarketaught his thousands of students at Hunter that, contrary to the Jews’ claims, there was not, and had never been, an historical alliance between Blacks and Jews. From the beginning, the Jews had always betrayed the African peoples who befriended them.Already in the 1980s, Clarke defined the beast as
bicephalous, white America joined with Zionist Jews, together bent on strangling the people of color in the United States, Africa, and the Middle East. The Jews, who, according to the nationalists, had perfected the “modern evil of neo-colonialism,” now conspired with the U.S. government to deploy Zionist-Dollarism to subjugate them. This time the Satanic Jews were not driven to overthrow Christendom, to destroy the Aryan race, or even to undermine Islam and poison its prophet, but to colonize all people of color.
In a speech at Wayne County Community College, Clarke stated that “A mere handful of people [i.e., the Jews] utilized the word ‘Holocaust’ and made the entire world weep for them, making Black people forget that it was this same handful who participated in the African holocaust.” He added that the “evil” genius of Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx and Albert Einstein has “colonized” the minds of the world. We have Ewell and his friends to thank for adding Schenker and his students to this list of demonic Jews.
These claims, based upon egregious falsifications of historical facts, were debunked by scholars in the 1990s; but now, infused with a new lease on life by CRT, they have morphed into new ideological malignancies presenting, for example, in the assault on Schenker. One of the main early critics was Mary Lefkowitz, a Jewish professor of Classics at the same college as Martin. Her book, History Lesson: A Race Odyssey (2008), which Ewell attacks in his recent book, tells the story of her academic and legal battles against Martin. Lefkowitz, too, analyzed the Afrocentrists’ anti-Semitism in some detail (see her chapter “A New Anti-Semitism,” pp. 82–94). Another important critic was the black historian Clarence E. Walker, who argues in his bookWe Can’t Go Home Again (2001) that “Afrocentrism offers not an empowering understanding of black Americans’ past but a pastiche of ‘alien traditions’ held together by simplistic fantasies” (p. xxx).
Let us return to June 1935, where we find Bishop Henson writing in his private diary about the importance of historical truth in the battle against Nazism and Fascism, and the fact that all ideologues must censor the past. “In order to achieve its objects,” Henson observes, “Fascism has been obliged to dismiss the Past, or, when it remembers it, to slander history, which remains a silent but ever mocking observer”:
Happily, it is not entirely possible to destroy the cultural harvest of so many generations. The arts of printing and reading have made “totalitarian” and long-enduring Dictatorships impossible. If the Dictator is a well-read man they weaken even his resolution. The denunciation of democracy, for example, to the children simply arouses their curiosity. For the sake of efficiency Fascists are compelled to honour and admit intellect; and too many of them know that they have themselves not produced enough to justify the repudiation of the past. The libraries are still the organised opposition in the Fascist State. Yet the full effect of literature and history cannot be brought to bear upon the public mind. Only the parts that support the Fascist view can seep through to form the mind of the adult population and the young. Half a brain is worse than none.
If one looks up John Henrik Clarke on his Hunter College website, there is no mention of his anti-Semitism. Indeed CUNY’s “sanitization” of his biography recalls the Persilscheine (“clean bills of health”) given to ex-Nazis in West Germany: no mention of their anti-Semitic Nazi pasts ought to contaminate their biographies either.
I must add a dark post-script to this chilling account of parallelisms between the rise of Nazi ideology in the 1930s and the woke jihad in our own time.
In 1988, I visited Schenker’s grave in Vienna’s New Jewish Cemetery, the Neue Israelitische Friedhof (pictured). At that time, I had just completed my doctoral dissertation in music theory at the CUNY Graduate Center under Prof. Carl Schachter and had won an Austrian Intercountry Exchange Post-Doctoral Fellowship to spend a year studying Bruckner manuscripts in Vienna. On that visit, I recited the traditional prayer (Kaddish)over Schenker’s grave and placed a memorial stone upon it. On November 1, 2023, in the wake of the October 7 massacre and Israel’s war against Hamas, Austrian anti-Semites felt empowered to desecrate the Jewish cemetery where Schenker is buried. The cemetery walls were daubed with swastikas in bright red paint. The small chapel in the cemetery, located not far from Schenker’s grave, was burned a second time, the first by the Nazis in 1938. Valuable books and manuscripts were destroyed. If it were not enough for Ewell to deface Schenker’s spiritual and intellectual legacies with the false attribute of pro-Nazism, now his burial place must also suffer the further indignity of being branded with the swastika. Even his bones are allowed no peace.
The numbing symbolism of the cemetery’s desecration—once by Nazis, now by unknown barbarians in the crimson wake of an Islamic massacre, cheered on (again) by collegiate bigots—is palpable. Diaspora Jews, once secure in their hard-earned prominence in the Western world’s meritocracies, are now hounded out—unwelcome even in their graves.
Could Juden raus, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free [Judenrein],” and the “Jews are white oppressors” all lead to the same abyss? I fear that asking the question in first place reveals the answer.
As he watched the intensifying persecution of the Jews in Germany and Austria in the late 1930s, Bishop Henson recalled the words of Ecclesiastes 4:2–3 in the King James Version. Writing in his forward to the English translation of The Yellow Spot (1938), he lamented that
The bitter words of the Preacher of Israel rise on the memory: “Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive; yea, better than them both did I esteem him which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.” It is no matter for astonishment that among the German Jews suicides are now numerous.
Ominously, he added, “But the Jews are only the first victims of a Calamity—the Ice-age of the human spirit—which is coming on civilized mankind.”
The only surprise: that anyone should be surprised, especially the Jews.
It’s impossible not to be appalled by pro-Hamas demonstrations taking place on college campuses all over the country, but it’s not possible to be surprised. Anti-Israel sentiment has become nearly universal on the Left, and the Left is the dominant faction on the majority of campuses, and not only among the students. Increasingly, both progressive faculty and administrative staff share (and teach) the anti-Semitic tropes that make Israel the villain rather than the victim in every conflict. Diversity/Equity/Inclusion offices are among the worst offenders. It is also clear what is behind this pattern. The Left hates Israel because the Left hates America, and sees Israel as, in effect, the America of the Middle East. Or, as the Ayatollah Khomeini put it, America is the Big Satan and Israel is the Little Satan.
Nor should we imagine that we can talk the Israel-haters out of their delusions. Progressive activists, especially on campus, know nothing about the Arab-Israeli conflict, even though it has been more thoroughly documented than any other. Their view of Israel is not the result of ignorance but of malice. Facts don’t matter. This is what explains the utter indifference to the well-documented atrocities of October 7. For the Left, on campus and off, it is as if these horrors never happened—or worse, that the Israelis had it coming. For the Left the horrors are not the problem. The problem is Israel, and what they object to about Israel is not what it does but that it exists, and this is the same reason that the Left hates America.
This is a new strain of anti-Semitism, which, like actual viruses, appears to mutate in response to its immediate environment. What is new about the environment of anti-Semitism is the post-1947 existence of a Jewish state. This presents a challenge to traditional anti-Semitism, which borrowed from Biblical themes about the Jewish rejection of Christ as the Messiah. No contemporary anti-Semites, and certainly none of those among the campus anti-Semites, care or even know about these traditional libels. What they object to is the existence of an Israeli nation in a part of the world that “belongs” to Arabs.
When I first became involved in pro-Israel activism inside my church (I’m an Episcopalian), I was surprised to discover how little those who disagreed with me actually knew. They knew, of course, about the Holocaust, but they had no sense that Jews had been part of the place that became modern Israel since long before the birth of most modern nations. It puzzled me that they could object to the Jews returning to the very place from which they had been expelled so many centuries earlier, and at such a horrendous cost. What I came to understand is that my critics had somehow absorbed the notion that the entire Middle East belongs, by right, to Muslims, and nobody else can live there without their permission.
The good news is that the campus Left’s disgraceful embrace of anti-Semitism has inspired some clarity in useful places. Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and several other universities have experienced some well-considered pushback from donors and alumni, and there may be more such pressure in the days ahead. Harvard’s new and very progressive president Claudine Gay even managed to stir herself to condemn the harassment of Jewish students in Harvard Yard, although there is no evidence that any of the harassers were punished. And the rot is spreading: at Stanford University, administrators could not even bring themselves to criticize a large student demonstration where the marchers chanted “2, 4, 6, 8, smash the Zionist settler state,” and where an elderly Jewish counter-demonstrator was hit on the head with a megaphone, fell to the sidewalk, and died. At MIT, Jewish students were physically blocked from attending classes, and university officials, instead of punishing the demonstrators, warned Jewish students not to enter MIT’s main lobby. Anti-Semitic demonstrations and threats to murder Zionists proliferate through the U.S., most of Western Europe, and the U.K.
It has become increasingly clear in recent years that administrators at many of our most prestigious institutions of higher learning are lost in a fog of political correctness. Their indulgence of anti-Semitic incitement is not a surprise. It is merely the latest in a long line of politically correct failures. Will their disgraceful conduct help the parents of college-ready students learn a lesson? We already have more colleges than we need; if a few of them went bankrupt, who would weep?
This spring, students at Harvard University will be served a buffet of all-you-can-eat courses in post-colonialism. The English department has offered “Remediating Colonialism,” which “focuses on the public memory of settler colonialism and indigenous dispossession in North America”; in the Native American Program, a class entitled “The Caribbean Crucible: Colonialism, Capitalism and Post-Colonial Mis-development in the Region” examined the “complex and formative role” that Western colonialism and capitalism has had on the development of the Caribbean; there likewise was a class offered through the Department of Anthropology, “Colonial Encounters, Postcolonial Disorder” which will “review issues related to the complex relationships between anthropology and colonialism(s) and their after lives in the postcolonial settings”; “The Matrix: Modern Art and Its Colonials” through the Department of History of Art and Architecture” promised to examine the “exoticization of Asian and Islamic cultures, and the “primitivization” of African and Native American traditions. The preoccupation with colonialism does not just affect the Humanities: “Decolonizing Global Health,” offered through the Department of Global Health and Population” explored how the widening gap of “inequity” and “persistent power imbalances” affects marginalized patients.
That’s just Harvard.
Suffice it to say, there is an impassioned love-affair on college campuses between inquiry and Post-colonial Studies. And it is not recent at all. In the United States, the field of Post-colonial Studies has been gaining prominence since the 1970s. At its core, Post-colonial Studies is anti-Western, anti-American, and anti-Zionist. Proponents of Post-colonialism have concluded that all peoples who have been dispossessed, occupied, and marginalized by white imperialists are forever innocent. Of course, the fourteen centuries of Islamic occupation of the Middle East and North Africa (including Europe temporarily) belies Post-colonial Studies’ myopia.
How Israel, the indigenous land of the Jewish people, found itself at the center of Post-colonial Studies is a wild story involving a nexus between two unlikely bedfellows, Marxism and Islamism, known today as the Red-Green Alliance. Likewise, Edward Said’s 1978 book, Orientalism, a work of historical fantasy, placed Israel center-stage in post-colonial discourse. Said’s revisionist history of Zionism concluded by drawing senseless and dangerous parallels between Israelis and Nazis: “You cannot continue to victimize someone else just because you yourself were a victim once—there has to be a limit.” It is remarkable that Said’s academic work was not only taken seriously but continues to cast a long shadow on college campuses. Orientalism remains the most widely read book in the Humanities.
How did this happen?
While many have been rustled from a protracted slumber after the bloody October 7 pogrom in Israel at the hands of jihadists known as Hamas, a select few have been wide awake to the dangers of a one-size-fits-all approach to understanding the world; put differently, to analyzing historical and contemporary events through a post-colonial lens that divides the world between oppressor and oppressed.
The few who have been warning of the infatuation with post-colonialism do not hold fancy degrees; they are baby boomers with thick Slavic accents hailing from an empire that promised to correct inequity by giving “peace for the people, land for the peasants [and] bread for the workers and all working people.” And though many direct attention to the American civil rights movement in the 1960s as a harbinger of today’s post-colonial cornucopia, the true source of today’s discourse on justice can and should be traced to the Soviet Union, and in particular to a narrative framework fixated on power dynamics shipped to the West alongside the anti-Zionist propaganda campaign.
Indeed, the anti-Zionist campaign launched by the Soviets in the late 1960s was deeply rooted in anti-Western attitudes and, in particular, anti-colonial language. We do not need to look further than a 1961 poster (see below):
Titled “An Answer to Colonialism,” the poster depicts three individuals, united against colonial hegemony represented by a Western soldier. Though the experiences of the African man, the Arab man, and the Slavic man are disparate, they unify under a shared grievance against colonialization (if this reminds you of intersectionality, it most definitely should. This, too, was developed by Marxist-Leninists at the turn of the twentieth century and later reappropriated during the Soviet anti-Zionist campaign). Such posters were widely circulated in the Soviet Union.
For the Soviets, who promised their citizens that they will one day live under communism, colonialism was an evil that must be eradicated. In 1960, at the 15th session of the General Assembly, the Head of the USSR delegation introduced the declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples, urging to put an end to colonial slavery. There, Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, denounced the actioned carried out by colonialists and complimented freedom fighters in Cuba, the Congo, and other countries.
In reality, the discourse around de-colonialization was weaponized by the Soviets in order to obtain power initially on the African continent and, later, the Middle East. Posters such as the one above had very little to do with genuine interest in de-colonizing Africa or the Middle East and much more with securing power in strategic places across the globe in the era of the Cold War. (The Soviets, of course—while calling for global de-colonization—had themselves colonized all of Eastern Europe and much of Central Asia.)
In the late 1960s, Israel found itself at the center of the Soviet de-colonization campaign. By 1970, anti-Zionism was fully operational. In the Soviet Union, anti-Zionism thrived because the de-colonialization framework, used as a weapon against America and the collective West, was an effective fertilizer. Canards such as “Zionism is racism,” “Israel is an apartheid state,” “Israel is guilty of genocide,” were not born on college campuses. They were crafted by KGB operatives.
Of course, calling Israel colonial could not be further from the truth. In fact, to label Israel “colonial” in the Russian context is a mockery of truth as throughout the history of the bloody pogroms that swept the Pale of Settlements, Russians and Ukrainians yelled “go back to Palestine” to the Jews.
It is therefore no wonder that pro-Hamas rallies today parade banners with language deeply entrenched in Soviet rhetoric. It makes one wonder, to what extent do these Hamas operatives know that there is absolutely nothing original here; that they are rehashing a lie crafted in Moscow.
And what’s more, how cognizant are these activists of the iconography they use. Nestled between “Zionism is fascism” and “colonizers out of DC” is a snake. This snake can also be found in a 1968 political cartoon titled “The Israeli Python and the American Barrel” from Pravda Vostoka:
And how about the morally bankrupt statement that “resistance [violence] is justified when people are occupied”? Where exactly does this derelict perspective come from? I have now seen pictures on Instagram of pro-Hamas hooligans ripping American flags in the United States. Accompanying these images is a quote from Marxist philosopher Frantz Fanon, a behemoth of Post-colonial Studies: “Decolonization is always a violent phenomenon.” Similar to Said’s Orientalism, Fanon’s book, Wretched of the Earth, remains canonical in Humanities departments across the United States. Fanon argues that colonialism “is the bringer of violence into the home and into the mind of the native.” The only way to fight it, he insists, is through violence. Through violence, “the native discovers that his life, his breath, his beating heart are the same as those of the settler. He finds out that the settler’s skin is not of any more value than a native’s skin.”
In truth, the pro-Hamas—pro-jihadist—embrace of Fanon, suffers from a serious case of amnesia. The spread of Islam in the seventh century was a not a peaceful hey, let’s discuss Islam over coffee situation. It was colonization in every sense of the word. The remnants of Arab colonization of the Levant, North Africa, and parts of Europe is apparent in today’s flags of Muslim-majority countries:
Ever wonder why the flags of Muslim-majority countries look so similar? Ever wonder why the duplication of blacks, whites, greens, and reds? Black is for the Abbasid and Rashidun Caliphates; white is for the Umayyad Caliphate; the green is the unofficial color of Islam itself; and the red is the Hashemite dynastic color. Caliphates were polities based on Islam which developed into multi-ethnic empires.
But truth is not a virtue for an agent of propaganda; and especially if that truth dislodges your entire worldview in which all white people are guilty. To be sure, in his 1986 book Black Skins, White Masks, Fannon writes “what matters is not to know the world but to change it.” There it is in all its unfiltered glory: the goal is never to seek truth, but to produce it.
The de-colonization narrative in regard to Israel is not only false but dangerous. And just as in the Soviet Union it provided the necessary support for anti-Zionism to become fully operational, it is currently being used to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish people and Israel; to call Jews colonizers of Israel is not just an assault on truth, it is an assault on Jewish identity.
It is sick that three days after the biggest massacre of the Jewish people since the Holocaust, Professor Russel J. Rickford of Princeton University called Hamas’s massacre “exhilarating”; it is sick to watch Western academics embrace the slogan “From the River to the Sea,” a chilling call to annihilate the Jewish state; it is sick to excuse the murder of babies, children, women, and the elderly as a righteous expression of “punching up” to colonialism. But it should not come as a surprise. It has been in the making for decades. What is even more alarming is that the de-colonization narrative continues to be taught at elite universities all across America, infecting the minds of future teachers, lawyers, policy makers, and politicians.
The Jewish people have survived lies viciously spread against them. These rumors, from the blood libel to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, can and should be measured in blood, Jewish blood. Someone asked me once, “How many Jews died because of the spread of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?” Though not impossible to quantify, I can confidently affirm that six million Jews were killed between 1941 and 1945 as a direct result of their dissemination.
We are living through an era of another lie being told about our people: Israel is an occupier. How many lives will this lie take? Never in my nightmares would I ever imagine that the murder of 1,200 Israelis would be celebrated in the West. And then, on my way to work, I passed by a pole dressed in posters calling each Israeli civilian an “occupier” and realized, the Great Occupation Lie has taken 1,200 lives on October 7, 2023.It has also taken 67 Jewish lives in 1929 in the Hebron massacre; the lives of 6,373 Jews defending themselves against Arab aggression in 1948; 776 Jewish lives in 1967 during the Six-Day War; 2,688 Jewish lives in the 1973 Yom Kippur War; 200 Israelis killed during the suicide attacks of the First Intifada; and 8,103 Jews killed in suicide attacks during the Second Intifada.
This poem is an exposition of an ideology that is often accepted as an embodiment of “universal brotherhood” and “peace,” but if you dig deep into the history, you would find that most exponents of this ideology considered themselves warriors of Jihad, and the primary role it has played in history is to serve as a pretty mask for extremism, terrorism, and Jihad.
Zehady, the wolf, the wicked wolf, Had a blood-thirst but no dare. He could kill with deceit the hapless ones, But cringed, if they gave a glare.
It was a tough tough life in a tough tough world, “This is just not fair, I was promised the moon when I was born a wolf, Now nobody seems to care.
With so much toil, I get my food I live in such hardship. They’d said I was born to rule the world And all that I get is a blip?”
He sought the aid of Zoupy, the fox, His old, wise, mystic friend. “You’re the only one who can save my life, From an almost certain end.”
Zoupy was a kind and loving soul, Ever lost in the cosmic dance. He could twirl around on one hind leg, In a state that he called trance.
He heard his friend, and empathized, “You need to stop being wild. With not a trace of martial skill, You couldn’t even knock a child.
Give up this macho act and hear, Love is the sublime art. It melts all the distances, Fuses a heart to heart.
Your ruthlessness is scaring them, You need to stop being such a jack. Just mellow down and love them dear, And they will love you back.
But it is not in your chromosomes, To charm or lure or woo, So let me go and work my spell, And walk your food to you.”
Off went Zoupy to distant lands, As Zehady got back to whine. There was little around him that he could munch, Nothing to sup or dine.
With Zoupy gone for weeks and months, Though his days all felt so yuck, He trusted, in his heart of hearts, His friend and God and luck!
He was awe-struck, agape, amazed, What he saw that one fine dawn. He rubbed his eyes, rubbed them again, With jaws bigger than his yawn.
Such tender, fluffy, woolly sheep, “O, such a pleasure they’d be to kill!!!” Led by Zoupy, in tens and scores, Scurrying to the den uphill.
Zehady bowed down to Zoupy’s feet, And said – “You are just so good. Which spell did you cast on them, That now walks to me, my food?”
Zoupy bowed, and said, “Look sire, Compassion’s got such a zeal, If I didn’t love them with all my heart, Whence would you find your meal?”
Of the six prominent schools of spiritual philosophy in ancient India, three of them were what would be referred to in today’s parlance as “atheistic.”
Yoga, one of the famous “atheistic” schools, does say that “worship of God is a great tool to facilitate the union between individual and universal consciousness,” but does not need an anthropomorphic form of God as a necessary requirement of a spiritual path.
The Supreme Universal Consciousness is beyond all forms and attributes. The Indian sages—Rishis—were aware that this concept is intangible to the average human mind. You cannot connect to what you cannot conceive. To make it relatable, they identified forms of the manifest consciousness and energies as “gods” and “goddesses,” giving them tangible shapes, forms, names, attributes, and distinct personalities.
For example, when one looks at the personified form of “wealth and prosperity” as Goddess Lakshmi, with an iconography replete with richness, splendour, grandeur, and an endless shower of gold, it evokes a natural reverence for wealth and a spontaneous sense of sacredness, sanctity, and ethics to creating, sustaining, and spending wealth.
The pursuit of knowledge, learning, wisdom, art, and creativity is equivalent to worshipping Goddess Saraswati.
Every King in ancient India considered himself a representative of Lord Rama. This caused the King to perceive his royalty as a responsibility to serve his people rather than an entitlement to waywardness and brutality.
The tradition of thousands of gods and goddesses played an important role in interweaving spirituality with the everyday aspects of our lives.
Moreover, it vastly enriched the Indian spiritual tradition and formed the basis of much of its cultural heritage.
Krishna—the ultimate blend of the “Divine” and the “Human”
One of the foremost icons in the pantheon of Hindu gods is Krishna.
Krishna forms the subject of the bulk of Indian art and literature. Portrayed as an adorable child, a hyper-active teen, a romantic hero, the wise strategist, the ultimate mentor, annihilator of evil, the Supreme yogi, the Supreme God—the persona of Krishna is all-inclusive, versatile, and covers the entire spectrum of human existence.
He is most well-known for extolling the importance of one’s duties and responsibilities and championing an active engagement and involvement with the world.
Krishna made it very clear that you cannot use spirituality and morality as an excuse to circumvent your commitments, nor can you pick up the path of God to abdicate your responsibilities or resort to sublime philosophies to avoid confrontations.
You cannot shut your eyes to evil, play neutral, and let the evil take center stage.
The lore of Krishna forms the most enchanting stories ever told. He plays pranks, sings, plays the flute, dances, romances, advises, mentors, fights, strategizes and wins wars, and shares the most profound spiritual insights.
This leads to compelling stories and portrayals that find a place in art, literature, music, dance, plays, movies, and all other forms of popular culture.
One such art form that has Krishna as its soul is the classical dance form, Kathak.
The sublime art of Story Telling
The word Kathak literally translates to Story Telling. Though, it does have the distinction between pure dance movements, called Nritta, and expressive story telling, called Natya.
It involves elaborate role-plays, where dancers dress themselves in the costume of the character being portrayed and use props ostentatiously.
True story telling is beyond a reporting of events. It uses events merely to trigger an interplay of emotions.
Story telling is predominantly an unfolding of emotions rather than a delineation of events.
The references to “Once upon a time …” are a stimulation of one’s curiosity. The narration of events is used to create an experience of a melange of emotions in real time, and to create a sense of intrigue about the sequence of events that could follow. You feel totally immersed in the emotions of the protagonist, and begin to wonder about all the possibilities that could follow next.
Intrigue is a far more subtle and sublime emotion compared to suspense. Intrigue doesn’t get destroyed on revelation of the course of events. There are no “spoilers” in authentic story telling. A sublime form of story telling is the one where you could experience the same story over and over again, and go through an increasingly deeper emotional journey without a sense of staleness, discovering new layers of feelings and insights every time you revisit the story.
Unlike a utilitarian experience of drinking a glass of water to quench your thirst, great story-telling provides you the experience of drinking from a fountain, where you do not need to take in everything that is presented to you all at once, but continue to relish the joy of drinking in short spurts for an elongated period of time over and over again, depending on your ability to receive. The fountain itself never falls short of its ability to satiate you.
The Story Telling of Kathak
The story telling of Kathak is a perfect example of the interplay of “rasa” (emotions) and “anubhuti” (experience).
A statement, “she was waiting for her beloved,” is merely a reporting of a fact. The statement alone doesn’t convey that “waiting” may constitute a wide spectrum of emotions – longing, yearning, looking forward, anticipation, patience, impatience, surprise, shock, alertness, numbness, frustration, hope, hopelessness, being valued, being ignored, rejection, fear, worry, anxiety, etc.
A Kathak performance often picks up a small snippet of a story and portrays the intricacies of emotions involved in the unfolding of the story. A performance about a character “waiting” for her beloved may take you through the entire roller-coaster of emotions that constitute “waiting.”
Since not everyone “waits” the same way, every dancer who portrays “waiting for her beloved” may do so in her own unique and inimitable way. That makes every Kathak act unique to the performer and to the performance.
Just as Bharatnatyam has its roots in the depiction of Shiva, Kathak owes its evolution to stories from lives of Krishna. Thus, many Kathak performances manage to impart deep philosophical, spiritual, and social messages weaved in the form of story telling.
The story telling of Kathak is not a tell-tale narration of stories. A tale of a god or goddess slaying a demon, for example, is not a show of valour or pride or martial might, e.g., the story of Krishna slaying the snake-demon Kalia, where Krishna performs an exquisite dance on the head of the cobra before bringing it down, is a symbolism of Krishna making the snake aware of its own poison and poisonous acts, and eventually leading it to liberation through that awareness.
This, in turn, illustrates how the light of the divine can bring us face to face with our own shadow selves and take us beyond our own inner darkness.
A Kathak performance enacting this story would be replete with this symbolism of the annihilation of evil when the grace of the divine shines in our lives.
A Kathak performance presents a wide gamut of emotions, but all emotions are portrayed in the overall context of a pursuit of ecstasy. The purpose of expressing and portraying an emotion of pain and agony is to transcend pain.
A Kathak performance aims to provide momentary glimpses of the ultimate spiritual ecstasy – a sort of an experiential satori.
The artists in the Indian classical dance forms, especially Kathak, exude a degree of presence, gracefulness, and elegance, which is highly infectious. The deep immersive portrayal of emotions by a Kathak artist acts like a magnet that induces magnetism even in ordinary iron bars, creates an identical immersive experience for the audience.
A Kathak artist rides through her roller-coaster of emotions with such intensity and vividness that viewers find themselves experiencing the twists, turns, thrills, and spills of being in the same roller-coaster with her.
Through resonance, a Kathak artist influences, inspires, and transforms more effectively than anyone from any pulpit ever could.
The Beloved of the Divine
Indian spirituality is more inclined to being “God-loving” rather than being “God-fearing.”
There is no prescribed form of the love for Divine. The love for Divine need not necessarily be parental in nature. One is free to relate to the Divine in any form of human relationships, including relating to the Divine as a “beloved.”
The tradition of gods and goddesses makes this easy and spontaneous. It is not easy to fall in love with the formless. The adorable persona of the gods and goddesses make it easy to create a personal connect. Since every god and goddess has a unique set of attributes that make them stand out, one could choose the personal deity (“ishta devta”) that one most resonates with, connects with, and falls in love with.
A devotee falls in love with his beloved deity as one would fall in love with another human being. However, this love transcends all wants and needs. This is a love where the beloved feels complete in the relishing of her surrender to her object of love.
A beloved of the divine is not a powerless, hapless devotee trying hard to appease God in hope that one day the divine will be kind and cast a glance at her and make her day.
A beloved of the divine feels being one with the Divine every single moment of her life. She does not only worship her love, she demands, commands, admonishes, rebukes, feels annoyed, as much as one would with a human lover. She knows that love is a two-way street.
You are not the only one seeking God – God is seeking you, too.
You are not the only one in love with God. God is madly in love with you, too.
You are not the only one remembering God. God is remembering you, too.
You are not the only one seeking God’s attention. God is perpetually whispering to you to catch your attention.
The story telling of Kathak is infused with this spirit of love and devotion for the divine.
In this edition, we will speak to the Kathak icon, Simran Godhwani, who is a perfect embodiment of the spirit of the “Beloved of the Divine.”
When she dances as a devotee, you can feel that God would have no choice but to give in to her love.
When she enacts the role of a God, e.g., Krishna, she evokes awe and reverence.
In her performances, she appears so deeply immersed in love and devotion that one just cannot help but fall in love with her persona and the characters she portrays.
Up and Close with Simran Godhwani
Simran was always fascinated by Krishna since her childhood. Inspired by stories of Krishna that she grew up listening to, and charmed by the carvings on temple walls narrating his stories, Simran’s love for Krishna and his enchanted life inspired her to take up Kathak.
She started learning the dance form as a child, and was moulded into excellence by her mentors, Shri Murari Sharan, and the ultimate icon of Kathak, Pandit Birju Maharaj.
The striking aspect of Simran’s dance is the effortlessness in her movements.
Her body moves on its own, driven by its own intelligence, inspired by a source beyond her conscious control or any individual “efforting.”
Elegance is often described as achieving maximum impact with minimum effort, a goal that is often considered elusive but finds itself embodied in Simran’s dance steps in totality. The grace of her ineffable movements is not just awe-evoking in its own sphere, but leaves an equally beautiful impression on the viewers’ minds, just as the graceful movement of swan in water leaves an impression on the surface water that is equally beautiful to look at, long after the movements of the swan have ceased.
Lost in a state of rapture while dancing, she takes you to a world where time doesn’t exist anymore. Her peace and stillness instil an equivalent peace and stillness in the minds of the audience. The movements, the pauses, the twirls, the expressions transport the viewers to a different realm in space and time.
It is a presence that makes the audience forget all concreteness, solidity, and rough edges of their everyday experience and step into a zone of transcendence.
She has played the role of Radha, the divine consort of Krishna in many of her performances. She impersonates Krishna with equal ease. She has also portrayed historical characters, the most prominent one being Amrapali, a courtesan in ancient India who later became an ardent devotee of the Buddha.
Her natural grace and elegance led her to win the Miss Lady Star Universe beauty pageant in 2018. The pageant was also a testimony to her spirit of committing to something and going for it with an unstoppable attitude. It also showcased her ability to carry off diverse and versatile roles, makeovers, and costumes with splendid ease – something she does effectively well in her dance and life, too.
What brings this otherworldly charm and flair to her expressions, her movements, her performances, her productions, her persona, and her life?
NS: What inspired you to choose Kathak from the many Indian classical dance forms?
SG: The first aspect that attracted me to this dance form was the subtlety in which every abhinaya (role-playing) piece had to be portrayed. It had to be real, life like, as if one was living that scene/technique or emotion or that character that one was depicting. It cannot be magnified or amplified. It had to be presented as is – without any masks – as if one was the pivot of that scene, emotion, or character in real life. To arrive at that state, one has to completely immerse in that composition and render in the most natural yet in a poetic way of dance.
The other aspect that I like about this dance form, and is very unique to this dance form, is the constant interaction with the audience in a live music setting. The dancer narrates whatever she or he is going to do, then recites the bols (verbalization of the beats) in a particular rhythm cycle, and then presents it.
So, the audience is aware and is involved in the dance as much as the dancer, one performing and the other observing how the bols are translated into the footwork patterns, expressions, and emotions. Then, in compositions like ladi, jugalbandi, upaj, etc… the audience gets an opportunity to be an active participant by either keeping the time cycle or following the clap patterns etc… The audience can applaud when a composition has concluded at the perfect beat of the time-cycle or whenever the performance touches them or excites them.
So, there is a beautiful exchange of energy between the dancer and the audience. This allows both the dancer and the audience to be cognizant of the anubhava (experience) of the rasa (emotion) of the composition that is being presented. A divine synergy is what I would call it between the performer and the audience throughout the performance.
NS: I have known you for over 17 years as a dancer, and I find you one of the most graceful, elegant, and aesthetic dancers that I have seen.
Yet, if I look on social media, I find very little of you. You never post about your concerts. You never speak about yourself.
You steer away from all the adoration and adulation that is yours for the taking, if you chose to.
What drives you to give yourself entirely to an art form, dedicate your life to it, and not seek anything in return?
SG: Most of my presentations revolve around stories from the Bhagvad Gita and various ancient epics. The joy that I receive by translating these works into performances, choreographies and teaching is so colossal that I don’t feel the need to do anything more.
Social media and other modes of publicity is distracting and takes you away from the path of complete surrender.
The bliss, the joy, the pain, the angst, the confidence… and more I have received so much from this dance form, every day I learn a new aspect of the dance form, a new story, a new dimension within me, the workings of the divine….an entire lifetime is not enough to master this one dance form…
I feel what more than this can I seek, what more can I ask for other than to dedicate myself entirely to this art form! The joy that I experience while dancing is immeasurable.
In all these years of trying to perfect my dance, my yearning was also to be able to completely immerse in the various compositions by not being just performance-oriented but also being aware of what was happening to me internally. With that as my goal, I surrendered completely to the divine. And with that focused awareness engulfing me, I started experiencing bliss, it started becoming more than being just an artist showcasing a piece to an audience for them to enjoy it.
Once you surrender to the divine and experience that bliss, that joy, that pain through your art, then everything else seems very insignificant. So, I don’t feel the need to keep promoting my work, my concerts or performances through social media or any other over the top marketing techniques. These forms were done as a prayer and not as an exhibition.
The divine will open doors and HE always has. I do not want to get preoccupied with promoting myself. All I want to do is keep performing, keep teaching, and sharing whatever knowledge of this dance form my Gurus have shared with me to the future generation with as much purity, sincerity, and humility as I can.
NS: What do “dancing” and “dance performances” mean to you?
SG: When I dance, I completely surrender to my God, My Krishna. It is a prayer, my sadhana that I offer to him in utmost humility, unconditionally devoid of any ego. A devotee offering her skill as a prayer. When I am dancing, I am extremely joyous and immersed in every aspect of performance like my technique, character, emotion and expression. When I dance I feel I become one with myself, every element of me, within me and the being that created me.
Every Indian classical dancer has a very paramount role. Indian Classical Dance is not just about entertainment. We are not just dancers and actors narrating a story or dancing to a composition or a song. We are messengers whose duty through our performances is to share the stories from our historical epics from different texts, languages, and cultures and ensure that our rich history, tradition and culture are passed down in the most appropriate and correct manner to the future generations. Our performances do influence the minds of our audience and they do take back the stories and narratives of our dances with them.
So, for me every presentation that I create, perform, and teach is a responsibility that I undertake to share some very valuable treasures of our country, our culture, beliefs, values, and tradition to my audience and to the future generation. The dance performances are a very powerful process which consists of a spiritual, emotional, and cultural legacy that if not treasured and passed down through the arts our culture will cease to exist.
NS: You have transformed every moment of your involvement with dance – practice or performance – as a prayer. That makes your entire life a process of unbroken devotion.
In your dance performances, you have played the roles of a devotee, you have played the role of Radha, Krishna, divine Goddesses (Devi), and forms of the divine. You have also played historical characters like Amrapali.
What is your state of consciousness and mindset with each of these roles?
How do you prepare differently for each role, and what difference do you feel in each of these expressions?
SG:Every role or character essayed requires the dancer to completely immerse themselves into it. When a dancer after years of Sadhana does a character, we become one with that character and are able to imbibe the most subtle elements of that character into our performance. That is a very subconscious thing that happens. Practice helps one to perfect that.
Every character, be it Radha, Krishna or Amrapali, requires an equal amount of dedication, practice, and involvement. However, playing a Krishna or any male character is more challenging for me as consciously I have to keep the masculinity of the characters in my mind, as a woman dancer. I have to mask the feminine nature of the body’s poise and other features.
Nevertheless, that is where the costumes breathe in that energy to me. Once we wear the costume of a Krishna or Shiva or any other character then it becomes very easy for a performer to then slip into that character. It gives us the impetus to get into the right posture and movement as per the requirement. So, costumes are a very powerful aesthetic when we are performing dances based on characters.
NS: The performances in your dance form, Kathak, including your own performances, have a very surreal element in them, and abound in grace, elegance, and aesthetics, that seems to be far removed from our daily lives.
Is your dance form an escape from reality?
SG: It is not an escape from reality. It is a subtle portrayal of the true nature of the character. Even while portraying a Demon, our intention is for the audience to understand the story and the moral of the story, so an unwarranted over the top portrayal is not the idea. The beauty of Kathak is to weave the stories in a dance performance as is. The visual depiction should be accurate, pleasing, entertaining, yet meaningful to the audience. The message underlying the portrayal while understanding the relevance of the character in character-based compositions is the most critical component in a Kathak dance performance.
There are a lot of performances where we do showcase performances that showcase various aspects of our present-day life, e.g., performances based on how gadgets have dominated our lives or how social media has influenced the society to become more insecure than ever.
I feel every story when performed with an objective of raising awareness in the minds of audiences set to an interesting narrative, music, and compilation definitely adds value to the society as they do reflect on it and sometimes influence them to make some positive amendments.
NS: You are associated with the Lucknow Gharana of Kathak, and you have had the privilege of learning from one of the most iconic artists of the last century, Pandit Birju Maharaj, who was no lesser a Rishi (sage) of our modern times.
How did he help shape you to become the artist that you are today?
SG: I am so grateful to God and my Guru Murari Ji due to whom I was blessed to have such close association with (Birju) Maharaj Ji and learn so much from him and be a part of his productions.
I have to share this incident: There was a dance recital where Maharaj Ji had to perform, due to some reason the organisers had not marketed the event well and as a result only around 50 members were present as an audience in a 500-seat auditorium. I was expecting that maybe Maharaj Ji may not perform or call off the event or just have his students perform. So, I went up to him and said we barely have an audience what do we do? He gave me the most beautiful answer that I can never forget till this date…. He said “Whether there are 5 or 500 I am always dancing for my Lord; then how does it matter” – and what a beautiful performance he gave that day I still cannot forget.
The man he was, the humility he had, and the way he approached dance – I have felt and experienced that he has never let the Lord go away from him even for a second. He was always composing or dancing for the Lord – even till the age of 84, I wonder, maybe even the Lord did not want to leave him. He was always able to remain in a state of consciousness and bliss throughout.
That has been my learning to be humble, to never let the sacred fire extinguish, and to remain in the consciousness plane at all times.
NS: In addition to being an extraordinary performer and choreographer, you are a well-known Kathak guru in your own right, and you run a school of dance called Krshala.
How would you describe the “Style” of the Krshala school of dance?
What factors do you emphasize while working with your protégées? What values do you try to instil in them?
SG: Krshala – the word itself has been derived from the spiritual words ‘Kriya – meaning movement and Shaala – meaning space’ I have created this Gurukul for my students. I tell them it’s their space where they can come and do their sadhana as and when they like not just during class timings. I am not only their teacher; I encourage them to share different aspects of their life with me. Many students who began their learning with me from when they are five are now in their early twenties, some are married but most of them have gone on to become performers, choreographers, and dance teachers. I feel very overwhelmed that this beautiful association has continued over the years and that many budding dancers are being groomed every day at my Gurukul into this beautiful art form.
I teach the Lucknow Gharana of Kathak. And just like how my Gurus have taught me I follow the Guru Shishya Parampara. The methodology is pretty much what has been passed down to me from them. However, one of the unique aspects that I am trying to develop is the Bhakti-based Rasa of the Kathak dance form. That is more in tune to devotional and spiritual aspects that one can derive from this dance form. I believe to enjoy the beauty and bliss of this dance form one has to move toward the realm of one’s inner consciousness, spiritual seeking, and awakening of our primordial instincts of love, peace, and joy.