Even after the recent war in Gaza – and in spite of the dangers posed by ISIS and other Islamist forces – many American Jews still do not fully comprehend the risk to Israel and the West of a rejectionist ideology that promotes jihad and genocide. But the threat is real and arises from a doctrine that demands total submission from the vanquished. In failing to recognize the scope of the threat, western progressives – Jews and Gentiles alike – view the world as they believe it should be, not the way it actually is. The reality, however, is that liberal ideals are irrelevant in regions where politics have no existence independent of religion and religion is unforgivingly totalitarian.
This failure is as much political as intellectual. Moreover, it engenders complacency with the foreign policy of an administration that has not only failed to respond adequately to the Islamist threat, but whose actions have bolstered fundamentalism across the Mideast and undercut the interests of Israel – America’s only stable and dependable ally in the region.
These points were articulated at a security panel conference entitled, “Israel and the US: The Fight to Save Western Civilization from Global Jihad,” which took place in Massachusetts recently. The program featured retired Generals Jerry Boykin and Tom McInerney, former CIA Station Chief Gary Berntsen, and retired Lt. Colonel (and former congressman) Allen West. The program focused on the need to recognize the threat of jihadist extremism, as well as the myriad foreign policy failures that have helped destabilize the Mideast.
Secular progressives have become unwitting foils for Islamist radicalism by their failure to acknowledge its supremacist aspirations and their perception of Muslims as a vulnerable minority despite a global population of approximately 1.6 billion. This view is a little ironic considering the progressive tendency to disparage Jewish national claims and values and to condemn any perceived Christian intrusion into American politics, but nevertheless to discourage speech that criticizes Islam or mentions any Muslim involvement in terrorism.
Secular progressives often support anti-blasphemy laws and are quick to label as racists those who criticize Muslims on political grounds, although Islam is a religion and is not defined by race or ethnicity. Moreover, while they often rationalize Islamist extremism as an indigenous voice of protest against western chauvinism, its ubiquity is the result of conquest, colonialism, and the subjugation of “infidel” minorities. It is the height of cognitive dissonance when feminists, gay rights activists and other social progressives express support for religious extremists who persecute and kill based on gender, sexuality, and dissenting religious belief or political opinion, but condemn Israel – the only country in the Mideast where minorities have equal rights and protections under the law.
Over the last six years, the administration has sought rapprochement with the Islamic world through a series of questionable policies. Domestically, it has discouraged official use of terms such as “Islamic terrorism,” instead referring to terror incidents involving Muslims as criminal acts, workplace violence or violent extremism. On the foreign stage, it enabled the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, provided funding in areas governed by Hamas despite that organization’s stated goals of jihad and genocide, and failed to honor strategic commitments to Israel during the Gaza war.
Perhaps most troubling, the administration has used the pretense of negotiations to allow Iran to continue its quest for nuclear weapons – to the consternation not only of Israel, but of Saudi Arabia and all Sunni states in the region. Though it rationalizes that Iran should be permitted to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, critics point out that 55 percent of Iran’s domestic energy comes from natural gas, 42 percent from oil and two percent from hydroelectricity, such that it has no apparent consumer need for nuclear power. Its true intentions are reflected in the statements of its leaders, including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who recently tweeted that Israel “… has no cure but to be annihilated.”
Whether promoting Islamists, enabling Iran’s nuclear ambitions, or chastising the way Israel defended herself in Gaza, the administration has pursued policies that have empowered America’s enemies and imperiled its allies. Furthermore, by drawing meaningless redlines that it refuses to enforce and unilaterally disarming in Europe, it has signaled to the world that it is no longer willing to defend its own interests or those of its allies, but instead will stand aside while Russia, China and other geopolitical rivals assert themselves within traditional U.S. spheres of influence.
Speaking to a packed house at Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton, Massachusetts, Generals Boykin and McInerney, Colonel West, and Agent Berntsen discussed the weakening of American strength and prestige under the current administration, and how this has enhanced Islamist resolve, endangered the safety of Israel, and compromised American interests around the globe.
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