In the course of explaining how the “disconnection between the international left and its counterparts in Israel has become near total, to the detriment of the causes that both espouse” at Democracy Now, Keith Kahn-Harris and Joel Schalit write:

In an article published . . . in Ha’aretz, the paper’s defence correspondent Amos Harel argued that international NGOs are now being utilised by Israel’s enemies as tools in a global campaign to delegitimise the Jewish state. [And] that a new global left has become duped by the “asymmetrical-warfare” strategies of Israel’s Islamist foes. The effective alliance between militant Islamism and international leftism lies behind much of the criticism of Israel today.

What’s wrong with this picture? To begin with, equating advocacy for Palestinian statehood with sympathy for jihadis and support for their murderous violence is, to say the least, simplistic. Later in the piece, the authors cite “an Islamist government’s [Hamas] deep opposition to many progressive values.”

Islamists are the antithesis of progressives and/or leftists. Humanitarian concerns aside, to whatever extent international leftism still reflects socialism, Islamists, in fact (the social services provided by the likes of Hezbollah and Taliban notwithstanding), want nothing to do with socialism. Robert Dreyfuss provided some background in his 2005 book Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Islamic Fundamentalism. (I couldn’t resist the emphasis added.):

Mohammad, the Prophet, was a capitalist and profit-seeking trader who believed in free markets, low taxes, private enterprise, and the absence of regulations . . . or at least that is the portrait painted by Islamic fundamentalists [not to mention] by free-market ideologues in the West . . .

. . . who were seeking to open the Middle East to development and/or exploitation. Economically, anyway, the right is more aligned with Islamism than the left.

Get more news like this, directly in your inbox.

Subscribe to our newsletter.