[Editor’s Note: The following is a speech delivered by Dr. Jamie Glazov, author of "United in Hate: The Left's Romance With Tyranny and Terror," at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s book club event
on May 14 in Los Angeles.]
I would like to thank everyone for coming out tonight. I feel very privileged and honored this evening just to have made it here. This book has been on my mind almost my entire life.
I’m going to begin on a personal angle because it’s my story, my family’s story, that serves as the foundation of why I wrote this book.
Because the Left sacrifices human life on the altar of ideals, for the Left ideas come first and people come second -- and often times when they come second it means that they’re killed or they’re in prison of they’re found in a Gulag and we know that reality exists today in Iran or in any other dictatorship.
If you noticed, my book was dedicated to a person named Gregory Rafalsky and that was my granddad, my mother’s dad. In many respects I want to start and I want to end today’s discussion with saying: one life. I want to begin with saying that one life influenced the psychology of my family. My granddad was a doctor in the Soviet Army and he went missing in action; he never came home and we thought that he was lost to the Nazis but we later discovered that he had been killed by his own side, by the NKVD.
Gregory Rafalsky is in our family’s consciousness and, of course, my mom’s consciousness in the sense that this is one life that was sacrificed for that totalitarian dream. And whether my granddad had been killed by the Soviets or by the Nazis, it would have ultimately been for the same reason. Those two ideologies believe that life can ultimately be sacrificed for the sake of utopian ideals and we have the same thing today with Islamism; it’s just another mutated carbon copy of those totalitarian systems, although I don’t, obviously, negate that there is a large Islamic influence as well.
So, I want to start today by saying that it is our different conceptions of life that is at the center of our war today. My book began and is dedicated to one life. And I believe and I think what we all believe in here tonight is that life is sacred and that every individual life is sacred and there is no future political dream or romantic fantasy world that justifies the killing of one human being.
So let me say this. I grew up in an atmosphere of terror. And it wasn’t because my parents didn’t love me. My mom and my dad were both dissidents. My father more introduced this to my mother. My dad, from the time he was born, from his earliest memory, he knew he lived in a slave camp. He felt that he was a slave and he didn’t want to be a slave. I’ve been fascinated with this my whole life because when I came to America I smelled something as well and I didn’t understand what freedom was intellectually but I could smell it as a young boy. And my dad used to look at maps when he was a young boy and he used to be trying to figure out what body of water he could swim across to escape the Soviet Union because he did not want to be a slave.
My mom and dad ended up being young people who were signing petitions on behalf of dissidents. My mother was just a young girl in her twenties who secretly typed underground literature on a typewriter and she risked her life for doing so. She could have ended up in a psychiatric hospital or in the Gulag as we well know and so this is what my parents stood for and they stood for freedom. They stood up for human rights and they lived under a barbaric regime that we all know massacred millions of people.
My father signed a famous letter, the Letter of Twelve, on behalf of human rights people that were suffering in the prison in the Gulag. We were being persecuted and we were being hunted down. We had a strange “loving” couple that used to sit in front of our apartment complex and they were always kissing and very romantically involved with each other. But there were two hints that they gave them away very quickly. One, a romantic liaison, as we know, lasts about only about several months until the electricity dies down. Yet their romance went on for a very long period on the same park bench. And they were always within thirty meters of my father whenever he was walking around the streets of Moscow. And there were also these strange men in suits always in front of our apartment complex and my dad would wave to them even with a sense of humor, not as brazenly as Robert DeNiro in Good Fellas would do to the FBI following him, but there was this sense of humor my dad had under these crazy and horrifying circumstances.
Then one day my mother said “I’m going to go visit our neighbor now because I have to.” And my mom has a certain talent and sixth sense that perhaps is not an issue of discussion tonight, but it’s a powerful story in our family and my mom had heard that our neighbor was going to commit suicide and so she came to her door and knocked on it and said: “I have to come in now if you don’t mind because I know you’re going to kill yourself and I know that you’re going to kill yourself because of my family. So before you kill yourself it’s very important for you to tell me why you’re going to kill yourself, because it’s connected to my family’s fate and I need to know.”
o the lady led her in and they sat down and she explained things to my mom. The KGB had discovered that she had had an affair on her husband and they were always monitoring people to find their weaknesses. And they had blackmailed her and told her that they were going to divulge this information to her husband unless she could do them a favor by informing them about the Glazovs. And it’s a very long story but they were going to put an operation together to plant documents and drugs into our apartment and my father was going to be arrested for spying and drug dealing.
What’s fascinating here is the connection to the believer that I discuss in my book, the psychology of the leftist, whether he’s in power or out of power. But we have the documents now and we have the document of Yuri Andropov studying my father’s case and we study it now and Yuri Andropov is discussing the operation to put the drugs and the documents into the apartment and then five pages later is discussing my father being a drug trafficker and a spy. You see, there’s a self-intoxication here. You create the lie and then somewhere along the process you begin to believe that lie that you yourself have created and this is a very fascinating phenomenon. It is at the heart of this fantasy, of this totalitarian dream and it’s connected to why the believer holds the Rosenbergs to be innocent but then when they’re proven guilty, he creates a justification for them or whatever because there’s always deeper reasons. There is a pattern here. There’s a book called “The Solzhenitsyn Files” and it examines the KGB writings about Solzhenitsyn and there is this long process of the KGB is lying about Solzhenitsyn but then repeating and believing their own lies about him. So it’s a very important theme I want to return to afterwards in terms of what the leftist believes.
o my parents understood that they had to get out of the Soviet Union right away – since an arrest was imminent. It was 1972, it was during détente, so things were relaxing a little bit and during that moment, that moment of opportunity, the regime wanted to throw some dissidents out rather than putting them in the gulag. And so we were one of the lucky ones that got out during that split second of opportunity.
hen we came to America, I was five and a-half years old. I did not know what freedom was intellectually but I knew it when I breathed it, even as a little boy. I think that there are people in this room who can relate to this. I fell in love with America. I could never explain it but it was magical. I knew freedom from the moment I breathed it and smelled it and I loved it and my parents weren’t afraid anymore and we weren’t waiting for a knock at the door. We weren’t scared anymore. So I grew up loving the United States and after a while I began to run into these really strange species. They came from the universities, they would yell at my dad. They would call him a fascist and a racist. They would explain to us that where we came from was a great place. And that where we were was a horrible place. They explained to us that the United States was evil.
nd so I grew up with this my whole life. There was so much anger in my heart and confusion because I couldn’t understand it. I couldn’t understand people that were explaining away Stalin and explaining away Castro and explaining away Mao Tse Tung and worshiping these tyrants. They cheered for the Soviet Union during the Cold War. And they can deny it and they can say that they didn’t and they can say lots of things but they knew what was in their hearts, they knew what side they wanted to win.
e have, for instance, the revisionist historians. This was is interest as well. I studied the Cold War and during my doctorate years this was my specialty. In dealing with the Left for so many years you cold smell something very putrid there, there’s something very wrong there because there’s never a concern for the truth. For ten years or twenty years I had argued with these people, my colleagues, and we argued about the Berlin Wall, the beginning of the Korean War, Vietnam, about the bomb and we argued about everything. And then the archives came out and the Venona transcripts came out. The declassified documents proved the conservative position right. It was always common sense, of course, that the United States was the good guy in the Cold War. I mean, all you had to do was read The Gulag Archipelago to know which side was good and which side was bad. But the Left never really got that.
So when I came to my colleagues finally and said, “Look, look at this, look at this document and these transcripts here. Look at this declassified document here. This proves such and such.” And instead of saying, “Mea Culpa,” instead they exclaimed: “Oh, Glazov. Glazov is engaged in necrophilia. Glazov is chasing old ghosts.” And these were historians. Historians were ridiculing me studying the past, for chasing old ghosts. This is only one story out of a million but I knew something was wrong -- that historians were ridiculing a person for digging up declassified documents from the archives. As if a historian was supposed to be doing something else but researching the past.
So, it was personal for me. You can understand that we lived our life worrying about Vladimir Bukovsky and about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and about Alexander Ginsberg and about Armando Valladares in Cuba. We lived with our hearts with these people and worrying about them and fighting for them and the Left didn’t care and they knew they didn’t care. Just like here today they don’t care about the Nonie Darwishes that have been left behind and about the Hirsi Alis that have been left behind. They don’t care about those people behind Islamist Curtain.
And then 9/11 happened. And now I’m reaching the book and why I wrote the book. I was scared to come out of my house because it was so personal for me. When I saw those twin towers burning and I saw those people holding hands and jumping from those buildings and what America meant to me, in my heart, what a beautiful country and those towers represented freedom to me. They represented something so beautiful; they represented progress; they represented multiculturalism, the success of different creeds and different religions and different colors of people all in one building and they represented prosperity and freedom.
Who would want to destroy these towers? I was scared to walk out of my house because it was so personal to me that I have a lot of leftist friends and acquaintances and I could already predict what was going to come out of their mouths. I wasn’t ready for it but I ventured outside and then I got what I expected. You know, “Oh, the United States, you know, they really had this coming to them.” And, you know, “The Americans are really mediaizing this.” I’m not even sure what it even means that the United States was mediaizing 9/11, but you know the different tactics that are used by the Left. And so there was a cheer, there was a glee. There was this feeling amongst the Left that the oppressed and the downtrodden had finally struck back. Finally the United States got its just rewards.
I knew many leftists who were devastated by the fall of the Soviet Union. These people were devastated. I can think of about five of them off the top of my head who, from 1991, walked around like the life had been taken out of them. And a couple of them complained to me, “There’s no alternative to capitalism anymore.” And then 9/11 gave them their lives back. Their chins were up, their chests were out. Finally something was happening again for them and I knew something was very wrong. This wasn’t just something I witnessed in my personal life. If you read United and Hated, you’ll see how it all happened on the international stage. Norman Mailer called the suicide bomber “brilliant,” the German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen call 9/11 “The greatest work of art for the cosmos.” Eric Foner, Susan Sontag, how many people during that time came forward with their comments to blame the U.S. for what happened? We saw many stressing the theme of the just desserts, the civil war, how the time to pay the bill had finally come. Oliver Stone was talking about how the Palestinians celebrating was reminiscent of how the French and the Russians had celebrated after the Revolutions.
here was this thing on the Left that something good had happened. I realized I had to finally put this down on paper because it was something in my soul, in my guts for many, many years. For a lifetime I wanted to explain this psychology. I wanted to explain the psychology of the leftist feminists who I went to university with, that I studied with. One of them was almost sobbing in my arms one time at a table because women had to wear bikinis in the West and then I asked her female genital mutilation. Six thousand girls a day under the Islamic system of gender apartheid. And how about honor killings? How about forced veiling? How about forced marriages? And she just turned ashen white and didn’t want to talk about it. And I knew something was very wrong.
After nine-eleven, I decided to get my head together and to try to discuss this, to try to analyze this mindset because these people’s hands are drenched in human blood and they know it and there’s an alliance there. And we’ve seen that alliance at work in the protests against the Iraqi and Afghan liberations. Naomi Klien, a leading feminist in the United States and in Canada, writes for The Nation magazine. She writes an article called, “Bring Najaf to New York.” This is her title. Najaf was the stronghold of the Mahdi Army lead by al-Sadr in Iraq. They were the killing fields. This is where women, if they weren’t veiled, the way they were supposed to be veiled, would have acid thrown in their face and their eyes gauged out and they would be gang raped, they would be killed. There were torture chambers all over those fields. Naomi Klein wouldn’t survive one second, five seconds upon contact with al-Sadr and his army.
And we know about Noam Chomsky. We know about him traveling to Lebanon and embracing Hezbollah and its leaders. We know about Jimmy Carter writing about Hamas’s “defensive” tunnels. We know about the intellectuals that support all of these horrible regimes that kill and oppress intellectuals. We have seen leftists holding hands with Islamists during those antiwar demonstrations, together screaming “Allahu Akbar!” . That’s the chant of the suicide bomber before he blows himself up. And yet the Left considers itself to be the symbol of democracy and to be on the side of progressive rights and women’s rights and gay rights. And yet this is the side they take in the terror war.
So what did United in Hate discover?
hat explains Oslo Professor of Anthropology, Dr. Unni Wikan, a leftist feminist, that says that the way for gang rape to stop in Norway, perpetrated by Muslim immigrants, is not for the rapists and their Islamic theology to be denounced, not for their beliefs about unveiled women to be condemned. No, her solution is that women have to start conducting themselves appropriately in the new “multiculturism” and to start veiling themselves. This is the surrender that is now happening and this is the side that the leftist feminists are on. And how a lot of leftist gays? If they really are for gay rights, where are they to support the persecuted gays in Iran and under Hamas and the Palestinian authority?
The most important issue here is that the Left believes in the possibility of a perfect world. They are looking through the telescope backwards. They are looking into the future and there will be paradise on earth. In this world there will be equality and fraternity and brotherhood. However, there is a little problem and the problem is, well, let’s put it this way: when I was a bartender one time, this lefty bartender that I worked with hated me and he came up to me one time and screamed: “It’s because of people like you that Communism doesn’t work.” And I’ll never forget that. I was thinking, “So, what’s the plus /minus here? What happens when Communism works? Where do I stand?” So in order for this heaven to be built, the old earth has to be destroyed. And so the paradise has to be built on the ashes of the old earth. And the people who are building it see themselves as the redeemers. They are the self-appointed redeemers, they are gods and they get to say who will be the redeemed and who will be damned.
So, if the new earth has to be built, the old earth has to be destroyed. And guess who helps cause destruction? Islamic Jihad. Ground Zero very much represents the old earth.
The destruction of the old earth and that’s why the Left celebrated ground zero. It represented the destruction upon which the new earth could start being built. And this explains why, as I show in the first third of my book, believers went and worshiped Stalin, Mao and Castro. And this is where I differ from many historians and scholars who say, “Well, you know, they were misinformed and they really had good intentions.” No, don’t accept that. Whether you want to say it was manure that attracted flies or a magnet that attracted metal or a virus that attracted certain bacteria, history bears it out that when the believers smell the blood, when the human race begins to get killed in mass numbers, that’s when they begin to magnate towards that blood, because it’s that transformation that’s exciting them.
And there’s a secular religious imagery here. Credit has to be given to David Horowitz who has written about this in “The Politics of Bad Faith.” There’s a carbon copy here of religious imagery. This is a very key ingredient here. In Christianity, for instance, you have Jesus that gives his blood and redeems human beings. Because the Left is anti-spiritual, it’s still engaged in that same religious quest but it’s a mutated evil carbon copy – but it’s the same religious imagery. But in this imitation, it’s the blood of man that redeems the earth. If you take a look at the history of Communism, if you take a look at Islamism, there’s a lot of blood there and I’m telling you today that it’s not a coincidence why the Left is in love and dancing and in a romance with this entity.
So what replaced Communism as a magnet of worship for believers? Is it any surprise or mystery? It does not take a genius to figure out why, when communism fell, what would replace the death cult that the left would worship. Radical Islam, and it’s embodied in the Palestinians, in the Palestinian death cult. And this is no coincidence. It’s totally expected that the Palestinians would take on this new mantel. It’s totally expected that the Palestinians would take on this torch for the Left to worship them and that they earned their right for the Left’s veneration. And it’s not just because of the conflict with Israel, but because of something they did in the seventies and in the eighties.
Let me read a page out of my book, pp.196-197, just to crystallize for you why the Palestinians are the champions, are this new magnet of veneration for the Left today.
In terms of being viscous and sadistic, Palestinian terrorists were not outmatched and so in terms of the Left’s standards for romance, they met every requirement. The PLO’s genocide against Lebanese Christians prior to the Israeli invasion of Southern Lebanon in nineteen-eighty-two serves as a perfect example. One town priest relates atypical atrocities, this is what the Palestinians are doing to the Christians and in Southern Lebanon, and Arafat engaged in this, the Palestinians are engaged in this. Keep in mind that this is who the Left loves:
“An entire family had been killed, four children all dead and the mother, the father and the grandfather. The mother was still hugging one of the children and she was pregnant, the eyes of the children were gone and the limbs were cut off – no legs and no arms. We buried them in the cemetery under the shells of the PLO and while I was burying them more corpses were found in the street. Another typical crime, the PLO men killed Susan’s father and her brother and raped her mother who suffered a hemorrhage and died. They raped Susan many times – they cut off her breasts and shot her. Hours later she was found alive but with all four of her limbs so badly broken and torn with gunshots that they had to be surgically amputated – she now has only the upper part of one arm.”
After Israel liberated Beirut from PLO terror in 1982, some Christian woman put forth the idea of putting Susan’s picture on a Lebanese stamp, feeling that her suffering symbolized the suffering of their country – rape and dismemberment by the PLO. But their idea was not actualized. The victims of other grisly crimes were everywhere to be seen – a newspaper editor found with his fingers cut off joint by joint, his eyes gouged out and his limbs hacked off, men castrated during torture sessions, men and women chopped to pieces with axes. A pregnant mother of eleven children murdered for no reason. A dead girl found with both hands severed.
This was all part of the genocide that the PLO perpetrated in Lebanon, where it murdered some one hundred thousand civilians between 1975 and 1981. This is the PLO. Now, I’m sorry for these details, but I think those people suffered a little bit more than our suffering in hearing this.
This is the new romance that the Left is engaged in and what the Palestinians did to the Christians in Lebanon is what Islamic jihad is doing to anyone that stands in its way and today the Left is in alliance with it.
Aside from this veneration of mass bloodshed which will transform the earth, the Left’s alliance with Islamic jihad is also based on an absolute hatred of individuality. And where more do you find the sanctity of human life cherished? Where is there more love of life, more cherishing of the sacredness of life and of individual freedom? Where does this exist more than in the Declaration of Independence and in Israel? That is why the Left and Islamism hate America and Israel so much; they hate the individual and they hate individual freedom.
For Islamism, as for the Left, there is a yearning to lose yourself in the collective whole. They adherents to these ideologies hate themselves so much, they hate man so much, that they want to build paradise on earth with transformed human beings. They hate the fact that man is imperfect and therefore they hate themselves because they hate the ingredients of themselves. So the same way that the Islamist suicide bomber blows himself up because he wants to become pure, because he wants to shed himself of his own unwanted impure self to get to heaven, the same way the leftist is involved in this suicidal impulse. There’s a reason why so many Communists who traveled to Russia to build Communism were exterminated in the thousands by the Stalinist machine. A lot of them went there because they were ready to give their own lives and willing to give their own lives.
Do you think all the leftist Iranians that returned to Khomeini’s revolution to build Islamism there, that a lot of them didn’t know they were going to give their lives? Thousands of them were exterminated by Khomeini. What I’m saying is that there is a death wish that can be found in both the radical left and radical Islam.
As there is a hatred of individuality, so too there is a hatred of happiness. Lenin hated music. Khomeini hated music. Music makes you think, as Lenin said, of nice things. You want to pat a dog on its head instead of shooting a man in the brain for the sake of a revolution. So there’s a hatred of happiness and as Khomeini said, “Islam is not about fun.” It’s obvious that there is a lack of frivolity among these totalisms – they don’t believe in fun and that’s why whether it’s Chomsky or a lot of these leftist theorists, they’re always telling you that sports and entertainment are distractions. In their view, this is the capitalist vehicle to distract people, to make them think they are happy when they are actually not. The Left has this big theory that people under capitalism think they’re happy but that they’re actually not happy. Te Left is against happiness, because when you’re happy, then you don’t want to destroy this earth. And this is also one of the romances and one of the common denominators between the radical Left and radical Islam.
Also, one of the things I try deal with is the reality of love and totalism’s hatred of the couple. There’s a reason why the radical Left is against Valentine’s Day and there’s a reason why Saudi Arabia and Iran are against Valentine’s Day. You see, love threatens to serve itself. When a couple loves each other, things like God might get involved or their own love gets involved, but the worship of the secular deity gets lost in the picture. In order for a totalitarian regime to survive, in order for a dictator to survive, the order doesn’t want a man and a woman loving each other. That’s why whether it was the Weather Underground or Bolshevik Russia, the revolutionaries mandated orgies. A lot of people having sex with each other was ok. That’s why the Weather Underground forbade a couple within the organization. These totalisms don’t want the unity of two people. It’s the war on the individual.
his is all interconnected with the phenomenon of totalitarian puritism. Today when you see the burqa, when you see these nikabs, you see this erasing of the woman. And these systems also see the erasing of men. In Islamism, males are erased with robes. Mao’s unisex clothing was the same thing. This is the effort to erase individuality and to impose sameness. And that’s why the Left is promoting it.
A lot of leftist feminists support the burqa. My book documents this. And you think it’s a contradiction but it’s not because here we see the imposition of sameness. You’re getting rid of individuality and you’re also stopping people being mutually attracted to each other. When two people are attracted to one another, a couple could forming and that’s a threat to the totalitarian order. And so in my book I show that during a lot of these fellow travels, fellow travelers fell in love with the totalitarianism puritism they found in China and North Vietnam where nobody was kissing or holding hands. They love it when romance and love is erased from the human condition.
Obviously Jew hatred is the greatest terrain where the Left finds its common ground with Islamism today. There’s a hatred by the Left of the Jewish people and the Jewish nation for many reasons. We know that Israel has committed the crime of not becoming socialist. It’s an ally of the United States. There’s also a worshipping in Israel of the sacredness of human life, something that both the Left and radical Islam abhor.
And today, these believers are the people in power in the United States. We’ve seen some of the damaging decisions. Even the thought to close Gitmo – the thought to close CIA interrogation centers – even the thought to release these photos. I mean, we know that even under Bush these policies spared the United States, saved the United States from numerous attacks, some of which could have included weapons of mass destruction. The people leading the United States today are trying to blindfold us and tie our hands behind our back and so we’re in very scary times.
We can fight the Left and there’s many fronts that we’re fighting on. We’ve got some brave Iranian dissidents here today that know about the importance of fighting -- fighting for freedom, confronting the regime, etc. The Horowitz Freedom Center, as you know, is on the front lines. But, in closing, I want to stress something and I guess maybe if you noticed a little bit of my tone and my theme today, that I want to close with something on a more spiritual level.
I think of my grandfather. I think about my great uncle that wrote a letter to my great grandmother from the gulag and she couldn’t read the letter because it was smudged with his tears. There’s a human element to this story and this is where the Left is callous and I want to say that in the end this has to be about humanitarianism. Our fight is about not forgetting the victims of totalitarianism. It’s about thinking and fighting for the victims of totalitarianism.
I want to finish with a story about Natan Sharansky today to crystallize what our attitude has to be in fighting this terror war. It’s about where our hearts have to be and not doing what the Left does in terms of sacrificing human life. Natan Sharansky was held in many places, including the KGB’s Lefortovo prison. He was kept in a dark and cold isolation cell for about twelve to fourteen months one time and he endured the most horrible experience you can imagine.
He was ultimately released and he ended up in Israel as you know. He became a minister in the Israeli government. One day, an Israeli delegation was visiting the post-Soviet Union and Natan made his itinerary include Lefortovo. He arrived there with his wife Avital and he said, “Take me to the isolation cells.” And the KGB officers were very confused and nervous, on their walkie-talkies trying to get permission. So they took him to some cells. And he said, “no, no, no. I’ll show you where the isolation cells are. Let’s go down to the basement.” So he took them to the basement and he sees the cell where he was kept. And he asks to be alone with his wife for a minute inside of it. And when he was alone with her in the cell, he said to his wife, “Avital, does this place look familiar to you? Because you were here everyday with me.” And she answered, “Yes, it looks very familiar to me.”
And I remember reading that and I thought: that disposition has to be our disposition in this terror war. We have to think of Hebrews 13:3 in the New Testament. Think about the people in prison everyday as if you were in prison with them. In this war we must never forget our humanitarianism. Our disposition toward the suffering victims of Islmism has to be exactly Avital’s disposition toward her husband in that cell.
nd so, we have to remember: why are we all here today? I started with one life. Why are we all here? We’re here because of one life when you really think about it. It was January 17, 1975 and her waterlogged body drifted ashore on the West Coast of San Francisco Bay. Her head had been caved in by a blunt object. Her name was Betty Van Patter and there’s an individual in this room that was a leftist at that time that couldn’t digest the death of his friend. And there are a lot of people that did digest that and they put his life at risk because they wouldn’t talk about it and they wouldn’t speak about it. There’s a person here tonight that stood up for one life and that has to be our attitude. That one life matters in our fight against the Left and radical Islam.
hank you very much.
To watch Jamie Glazov's video interview on CBN, click here.
To order United in Hate, click here.