When I was a college radical and anti-war activist forty years ago, I was quite the intellectual and (in my estimation) cautious and sober. Though I became an editor and then co-editor of the leading radical magazine of the Sixties, Ramparts, I never threw a rock during the entire era. I never joined a radical sect and never went to Communist Cuba or North Vietnam, which were then the meccas of the radical faith. Although I was a founder of an organization called the “Vietnam Solidarity Campaign,” I never fooled myself that the Communist state that would result from an American defeat would be a “rice roots democracy,” the way Tom Hayden and other leaders of the “New Left” movement proclaimed.
Nonetheless, before the era was over, I was lured by my desire to do humanitarian good and to further the cause of social justice into working with the Black Panthers, a group of radical gangsters who in 1974 murdered a friend of mine (the mother of three children) and a dozen other individualss besides. The project I had become involved in with the Panthers was building an elementary school.
From the vantage of the political and cultural left, my activities with the Black Panthers were neither marginal or extreme. At the time, the Panthers were icons of the progressive intellectuals, symbolizing strong black leaders who were standing up for their “oppressed” community. The entire liberal culture supported them. Leading cultural figures like Garry Wills and Murray Kempton were writing praises of the Panthers in the New York Times Sunday magazine Kempton even compared their leader Huey Newton to Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther in the Times’ august pages. To this day The New York Times, The Washington Post and other pillars of the American political culture, celebrate the Panthers – the murderers of my friend and a dozen others – as icons of the “social struggle.”
Fortunately, the Panthers disintegrated in the early Seventies, dragged down by their criminal activities, internecine battles and the sordid brutality of their leaders, Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver. Before he died, Cleaver told a Sixty Minutes audience, “If people had listened to Huey Newton and me in the Sixties, there would have been a holocaust in this country.” Many radicals, among them Cleaver’s most prominent promoter – Los Angles Times columnist Robert Scheer -- looked forward to that holocaust and actively encouraged it. The Panthers were the “noble savages” of liberal compassion, symbols of the injustice that America was said to be inflicting on American blacks.
What would have happened if the Panthers had remained intact to the present? What if they had been the arm of an international terror network whose goal was the destruction of the United States? There are such groups in America today. They are radical groups who identify with the violent jihad of Islamacist terror organizations like al-Qaeda, Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas. And they have the support of a radical culture that regards America as the Great Satan, and Muslims and Arabs as the people whom America oppresses.
On campuses across this country, embedded in the leadership of every radical “anti-war” protest group, are organizations that promote the culture of Islamic terrorism and its anti-Western, anti-Israeli and anti-American agendas. One that will serve as an example for the others is the radical Muslim Student Association (MSA). The Muslim Student Association is an organization financed by the Saudis and also by student funds at every university where it operates. The ideas and enthusiasms that it promotes among impressionable college students should give every American cause for concern.
On October 22, 2000, Ahmed Shama, president of the UCLA Muslim Students Association led a crowd of demonstrators at the Israeli consulate in chants of “Death to Israel!” and “Death to the Jews!” Shama declared that Ehud Barak, Yassir Arafat and Bill Clinton were all “racist zionists.” “When we see that a peace process is being negotiated between Zionists, mediated by Zionists, controlled by Zionists, and being portrayed in the media by Zionists, we come and we condemn all of you,” Shama said.
One of the invited speakers at the event was Hamid Ayloush, a member of the Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR), which was also an event sponsor. In his speech, Ayloush solicited contributions for the Holy Land Foundation, an organization that the Justice Department has shut down as funder of al-Qaeda.
On May 26, 2001 the UCLA Muslim Student Association held a conference of Islamic radicals on the UCLA campus. The conference featured speakers from CAIR whose founder is a supporter of the terrorist organization Hamas, and the Muslim Public Affairs council, a radical group whose executive director has justified the terrorist killing of 243 U.S. marines in Lebanon in 1983 by Hizbollah suicide bombers: “This attack, for all the pain it caused, was not in a strict sense, a terrorist operation. It was a military operation, producing no civilian casualties -- exactly the kind of attack that Americans might have lauded had it been directed against Washington's enemies.”
The UCLA Muslim Student Association has routinely invited pro-terrorist speakers to the UCLA campus and paid for them with student funds. At a January 21, 2001 event, nine months before 9/11, a speaker called Imam Musa, an African-American Muslim who is a staple of the anti-war rallies staged in Washington DC declared: “If you were to say that the Soviet Union was wiped off the face of the earth . . . people would have thought you were crazy, right? The people of Afghanistan didn’t have the intellect or historical knowledge to know that they wasn’t supposed to wipe out the Soviet Union, is that right? . . . We saw the fall of one so-called superpower, Old Sam is next.”
Prior to 9/11, the UCLA magazine Al-Talib featured a cover story on Osama Bin Laden titled, “The Spirit of Jihad.” The editorial declares:
“When we hear someone refer to the great mujahideen Osama Bin-Ladin as a ‘terrorist’ we should defend our brother and refer to him as a freedom fighter; someone who has forsaken wealth and power to fight in Allah’s cause and speak out against oppressors. We take these stances only to please Allah.”
Two days before 9/11, Al Talib co-sponsored a dinner at UC Irvine to honor then accused (and subsequently convicted) cop-killer (and Imam) Jamil Al-Amin -- aka H. Rap Brown. Another cop-killer favored by Muslim student groups and by the antiwar movement generally is Mumia Abu Jamal. Imam Musa spoke here as well:
"You think Zionism and Palestine is the only dictatorial power in the world. We’re telling you about apartheid right here in America.… When you fight Old Sam, you are fighting someone that is superior in criminality and Nazism. The American criminalizer is the most skillful oppressor that the world has ever known.”
The Palestinian terrorists have become the Black Panthers of the contemporary anti-war movement. The leftwing culture celebrates the suicide bombers of women and children as desperate victims of Jewish oppression. Attackers and destroyers of the Oslo peace process are proclaimed as heroes. Terrorists and totalitarian radicals are lionized as fighters for social justice. Israelis and Americans are condemned as Nazis.
How many American college students and antiwar activists have been seduced by these poisonous elements at work in our society? It is difficult to know. But one who has already paid for it with her life is Rachel Corrie, a 24 year old undergraduate at Evergreen College in Olympia Washington, who has become known as the “Saint of Rafiah,” the name of the West Bank town where she died. Evergreen is one of the many leftwing campuses in America, whose values have been turned so upside down by tenured leftists that it recently featured convicted murderer Mumia Abu Jamal as its commencement speaker. (He spoke via tape).
Rachel Corrie began her activist career as a member of the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, an organization formed directly after the 9/11 attack on America to oppose an American military response. Its members feared that, “America would retaliate by bombing some of the poorest and most oppressed on earth, the Afghan people.” Their Marxist view of the world is captured in one of the Movement’s favored slogans: “Corporate Globalization Equals Imperialist Domination.”
It was not long after she joined the Olympia Movement that Rachel Corrie was burning an American flag in the name of social justice. It was logical step for her to gravitate to an organization that would demonstrate her commitment to the cause. Through her contacts in the antiwar movement she joined the International Solidarity Campaign, whose purpose is to recruit young Americans to become human shields for Palestinian terrorists. The Solidarity Campaign’s ties to terrorism became inescapable eleven days after Rachel Corrie’s death when an elite anti-terror unit of the Israel Defense Forces captured a senior Islamic Jihad terrorist, Shadi Sukiya hiding in its offices in Jenin.
Rachel Corrie was sent by International Solidarity to a town called Rafia in the Gaza Strip to obstruct Israeli Defense Forces conducting anti-terror operations. She sat down in front of an Israeli military bulldozer, and – according to an American eyewitness -- was inadvertently killed when the machine whose driver could not see her, ran over her. This Sunday, the New York Times Magazine – the same magazine that once celebrated the murderer of my friend by the Black Panthers– had a tribute to Rachel Corrie, to her humanitarian goodwill. The article was called “One Last Sit-In,” to wrap the halo of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement around her pro-terrorist activities. The Times article summarized the news reports of Corrie’s death in these words: “23-year-old peace activist from Olympia, Wash., crushed to death by an Israeli Army bulldozer as she tried to block the demolition of a physician’s home in Gaza.”
This story is told in my autobiography, Radical Son, NY 1997. It is independently corroborated in Hugh Pearson, The Shadow of the Panthers, NY 1993 and other texts.