[Authors’ note: This is the first in a series of articles and visual maps describing the unholy alliances that have been formed between American leftists and radical Islam, unlikely allies who have joined efforts to oppose America’s defensive War on Terror and its war of liberation in Iraq. These are mainly (but not exclusively) de facto alliances, much as the Hitler-Stalin Pact was an alliance of convenience based on a common interest: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. This article is accompanied by a "visual map" which displays the actual alliance between the so-called American "peace left" and organizations that are part of, or supportive of, the radical Islamic jihad against the United States. This map is one of the hundreds of similar maps we have devised for DiscoverTheNetwork.org, our encyclopedic guide to the political left.]
The present article focuses on the so-called "peace left" – so called because most of the individuals participating in it are not pacifists and are not really interested in peace as such, but in radical agendas that are served by opposing America’s war on terror. (Thus there were no "peace" demonstrations at the Iraqi embassy calling on the government of Saddam Hussein to comply with seventeen U.N. resolutions which the war was undertaken to enforce.)
The peace left’s core consists of the ideological descendents of the communist/progressive left that wanted the West to lose the Cold War to the Soviet Union. This no mere motley crew of inconsequential fringe extremists, but is in fact the well-organized, militant, and immensely influential driving force behind the contemporary peace movement and the enormous anti-war rallies it has recently staged. Upon the foundation of its hatred for the United States, the peace left has forged its alliance with radical Islam, whose wellspring of anti-American hatred runs just as deep.
In word and deed, both of these allies make it plain that they consider everything about the United States to be evil and unworthy of preservation; that they wish to see American society and its way of life crushed by any means necessary, including violent revolution. Their position was well summarized by the now-infamous professor Ward Churchill, who asserted that terrorist violence directed against the United States is a morally justifiable response to what he characterizes as the U.S. government’s "rape" and "murder" of other peoples. "If we want an end to violence," says Churchill, "especially that perpetrated against civilians, we must take the responsibility for halting the slaughter perpetrated by the United States around the world." Churchill does not, however, harbor any hopes that America might mend its alleged flaws; rather, he advocates the country’s destruction: "I want the state gone: transform the situation to U.S. out of North America. U.S. off the planet. Out of existence altogether." Toward this end, Churchill candidly endorses further acts of anti-American terror. "One of the things I’ve suggested," he says, "is that it may be that more 9/11s are necessary." Lamenting that the terrorism of 9/11 had proved "insufficient to accomplish its purpose" of eviscerating the United States, Churchill wrote, "What the hell? It was worth a try."
These sentiments are echoed by no less a figure than Osama bin Laden, who in 1998 issued the following edict: "We—with God’s help—call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God’s order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan’s U.S. troops and the devil’s supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson. The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies—civilians and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it."
By drawing attention to the alliances between (and the common objectives of) the radical left and radical Islam, DiscoverTheNetwork (DTN) has hit a raw nerve for some. Critics have accused DTN of lumping together all leftists as traitors who sympathize with America’s jihadist enemies. In an effort to make clear the distinctions between the most radical and the more moderate gradations of leftism, DTN has refined the photo grid that was the source of much indignation. Yet the source of the criticism – the self-described patriotic left – has failed to draw any similar distinctions between itself and the radical, anti-American left that in fact does endorse the permanent evisceration of American society. Nowhere is this failure to dissociate from America’s enemies more evident than in the peace movement, where teeming masses of people have participated in demonstrations organized by hard-line Communists whose most fervent wish is not to bring about the establishment of a lasting peace, but rather to see the United States toppled by an attack from without or a revolution from within.
The Workers World Party
Islamic jihadist organizations such as al Qaeda openly advocate the destruction of the United States, on grounds that it is allegedly a land of infidels that has badly mistreated the Muslim world. Their contempt for America – the so-called "Great Satan" – is invariably accompanied by a desire to destroy its ally Israel – the "Little Satan." This baneful agenda is shared by those American radical groups that are the major players in the contemporary anti-war movement, on grounds that the U.S. is allegedly an aggressive, imperialistic nation that seeks to impose the evils of capitalism on the rest of the world. Some of these radical groups actually want to be part of the jihad against the United States; they identify with its objectives much as the old communist movement identified with the Soviet Union and its aims. This is a small and somewhat despised minority on the left but remarkably effective nonetheless.
Among the most important groups to openly espouse the jihadist ideal of destroying the United States is the Workers World Party (WWP), a Marxist-Leninist sect that uses the anti-war movement as the vehicle by which it promotes Communist objectives and condemns American society, American foreign policy, and capitalism. This organization was a chief organizer of the major national demonstrations against the current war in Iraq. It was founded in 1959 by Sam Marcy, who in the 1960s led demonstrations against America’s involvement in the Vietnam War and openly rooted for a Viet Cong victory. Under Marcy’s leadership, the WWP even coordinated some of its activities with those of the North Vietnamese Communist forces. For example, an April 8, 1972 internal letter "To All Branches" of the party exhorted members to participate in "antiwar" demonstrations that would give encouragement and moral support to a Viet Cong offensive in South Vietnam. The man who authored that letter, John Catalinotto, is today the managing editor of the WWP’s weekly newspaper, Workers World.
The WWP continues to idolize the former Soviet dictator and mass murderer Joseph Stalin, and regards Fidel Castro as a hero of the common man. WWP members who joined the Venceremos Brigades in the 1960s and early 1970s were trained in revolutionary tactics by Castro’s intelligence agency. It was during that era that the party also developed a close ideological bond with Communist North Korea and its then-President Kim Il Sung. Moreover, the WWP supported the Soviet invasions of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan, as well as the regime of Slobodan Milocevic in the former Yugoslavia. To this day, the party is a faithful backer of North Korean President Kim Jong Il – notwithstanding the barbarous atrocities and human rights violations he has engineered.
The WWP website proclaims, "We’re independent Marxists who respect the struggles for self-determination and progress of oppressed nations. We try to understand their problems in a world dominated by Western imperialism. We don’t jump on the bandwagon when Third World leaders are demonized. Our goal is solidarity of all the workers and oppressed against this criminal imperialist system. . . . We fight hard for a better life right now, but we know that nothing is secure - not our jobs, our homes, our health care, our pensions, our civil rights and liberties - as long as capitalism exists. So our goal is a society run by the workers, not just as pawns in a capitalist political game but as collective owners of the social wealth." The WWP seeks to destroy the U.S. so as to rid the world of what it deems the evils of capitalism, much as the Islamic jihadists seek to avenge the alleged transgressions of America’s religious infidels.
Though it currently has only about 2,000 members, the WWP has been extremely effective in organizing the massive anti-war rallies of recent years, some of which have drawn hundreds of thousands of participants. To achieve its objectives, the WWP uses a number of front groups, all of which are run by WWP members and spokesmen. Among the most important of these groups is International ANSWER, whose name is an acronym for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. In ANSWER’s view, the U.S. is the world’s foremost terrorist nation and, as such, has no right to respond militarily to any act of war committed against it. This was the message that ANSWER, through its leaders and other guest speakers, communicated to the cheering throngs attending its demonstrations in 2002-03. It is impossible to estimate how many of the ostensibly well-meaning attendees at such rallies concluded, from the rhetoric they heard there, that being on the side of "peace" required them to also embrace all of ANSWER’s scurrilous assertions about the United States.
Well represented in the ANSWER steering committee are Muslim organizations that embrace the anti-American and anti-Israel ideals of the jihadists. These include the following:
· Free Palestine Alliance (FPA): Advocating "justice and liberation" for the people of "Palestine," this group depicts Israel as an oppressor nation that tramples on the civil and human rights of Palestinians, though in fact Palestinians in Israel enjoy more freedoms and civil rights protections than their Muslim counterparts in any Islamic nation on earth. FPA also opposes the post-9/11 anti-terrorism legislation known as the Patriot Act, on grounds that it allegedly violates the civil liberties of Americans.
· Muslim Students Association (MSA): This is a key lobbying organization for the Wahhabi sect of Islam. From its inception, MSA had close links with the extremist Muslim World League. Various MSA chapters’ websites have featured not only Osama bin Laden’s propaganda, but also publicity and recruiting campaigns for Wahhabi subversion of the Chechen struggle in Russia. In recent years, MSA solicited donations for the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, whose assets the U.S. government seized in December 2001 because that organization was giving financial support to the terrorist group Hamas. MSA also maintains strong ties to the Virginia-based World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), established in 1972 and directed from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. WAMY’s Virginia offices have been a central target of the U.S. government’s post-9/11 investigation of Islamist groups suspected of funding terrorism. Opposed to the American military incursions into both Afghanistan and Iraq, MSA maintains a large presence at ANSWER-sponsored demonstrations. At a March 15, 2003 rally in San Francisco, MSA representatives displayed and distributed anti-Israel publications, banners, and placards – many of which replaced the letter "s" in "Israel" with a swastika, while others likened the Star of David to a swastika.
· Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA): Founded in 1988 by Barbara Lubin, this group combines humanitarian aid to the Middle East (primarily to Palestinians and Lebanon) with a consistently pro-Palestinian militant, anti-Israeli political message. Lubin and fellow MECA representative Penny Rosenwasser are both allied with the WWP and occasionally speak at ANSWER rallies and press conferences. MECA opposes Israel’s construction of the anti-terrorist security fence in the West Bank, characterizing it as an illegal "apartheid wall" that violates the civil and human rights of Palestinians.
As evidenced by the presence of these groups on ANSWER’s steering committee, the theoretical affinities between the American left and radical Islam have actual, practical consequences. The Palestinian jihadists are well represented in ANSWER, as they are in other major anti-war organizations.
In ANSWER’s post-9/11 anti-war demonstrations, acknowledgment that the U.S. had been attacked on its own soil was all but absent from the speeches denouncing America’s consideration, and ultimate implementation, of military reprisal. The featured speakers at these events condemned the U.S. for making a "rush to war" in alleged pursuit of a global empire and control of Middle Eastern oil. From the podiums of these rallies, America was impugned as a "rogue state" and a "terrorist state"; President Bush was likened to Adolph Hitler; the CIA was equated with al Qaeda; and countless calls were issued for "regime change" in America rather than in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
Many of those attending these rallies were undoubtedly well-meaning individuals who sincerely wished to express their personal disapproval of America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or of the larger War on Terror. Surely many were drawn to such demonstrations by a desire to avoid the bloodshed and loss of innocent life that, however unintended, all wars necessarily bring. In our democracy, the right to dissent is sacrosanct, and there is no implication here than all Americans who do not fall in lockstep with Bush administration policies necessarily sympathize with America’s jihadist enemies and wish to see the United States brought to ruin.
But neither can those dissenters be excused for being utterly uninformed about the nature of the allies whose anti-war chorus they have chosen to join. Virtually without exception, the major peace rallies attended by Americans nationwide have been organized by hard-line communists – representing ANSWER as well as other organizations that are discussed in the remainder of this essay – with long track-records of uniformly opposing all U.S. foreign and domestic policies, and siding with America’s enemies in the Cold War and in every other international conflict of the past 50 years. This is not an insignificant detail.
The International Action Center
ANSWER is an appendage of the International Action Center (IAC), a Stalinist organization with a long history of supporting authoritarian regimes and communist dictatorships. Professing to stand for "Information, Activism, and Resistance to U.S. Militarism, War, and Corporate Greed," the IAC is an umbrella foundation for a host of anti-war radical groups; it is staffed by members who share a dual responsibility for the WWP. Believing that the United States can do nothing right, the IAC has indicted every American president since Harry Truman for alleged war crimes against the people of North and South Korea, and has charged the U.S. with war crimes in Iraq. By contrast, it has turned a blind eye to the barbarities of socialist dictators like the late Yasser Arafat, North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, and Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic. The IAC has represented Milosevic at the International Court and charged the Court itself – rather than Milosevic – with war crimes. The IAC has also condemned U.S. involvement in Central and South America, but holds Cuba in high esteem and never criticizes Cuban military involvement anywhere.
The founder and current leader of the IAC is Ramsey Clark, who was the U.S. Attorney General during President Lyndon Johnson’s administration. Now a defense attorney, Clark has built a career representing and counseling individuals and groups he characterizes as victims of U.S. political repression and human rights violations. In his estimation, Saddam Hussein was not the brutal tyrant of popular depiction; the real tyrant, said Clark, was George W. Bush, and the real terrorist nation was America. In an open letter to President Bush in 2003, Clark stated angrily, "A huge, all-powerful nation has assaulted a small prostrate, defenseless people [Iraqis] half way around the world with ‘Shock and Awe’ terror." After Saddam’s capture in December 2003, Clark eagerly volunteered to join the legal defense team of the ousted Iraqi dictator accused of thirty years of war crimes. Retained by Serbia as U.S. counsel, Clark has also been involved in the defense of Slobodan Milosevic. His other clients have included Communist North Vietnam, the theocratic Islamic regime of Iran, and the Communist dictatorship of North Korea.
Moreover, Clark is a staunch defender of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, leader of the Islamic Group, an Egypt-based terrorist organization with close links to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network. Rahman was convicted of helping engineer the 1993 World Trade Center bombing as well as a failed Islamic Group plan (known as "The Day of Terror") to destroy other Manhattan landmarks including the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, the United Nations building, and the George Washington Bridge. While Rahman’s ideals on civil liberties and human rights may differ markedly from Clark’s, their shared hatred for the U.S. is a common bond that serves as the basis of their alliance.
Not In Our Name
Joining ANSWER and the IAC as a major force in the anti-war movement is the group Not In Our Name (NION), a self-described "peace" organization that denounces the post-9/11 "injustices done by our government" in its pursuit of "endless war"; America’s greed-driven "transfusions of blood for oil"; its determination to "erode [our] freedoms"; and its eagerness to "invade countries, bomb civilians, kill more children, [and annihilate] families on foreign soil." ANSWER and NION organized all of the major antiwar demonstrations prior to February 2003.
NION was founded by the longtime Maoist activist C. Clark Kissinger, a member of America’s premier Maoist organization, the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). Kissinger began his public activism in the early 1960s when he was the national secretary of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the leading radical organization of its day. In 1969 SDS became the Weather Underground, America’s first terrorist cult. Kissinger also worked closely with the Black Panther Party and supported Mao Tse-tung’s Communist regime in China, responsible for the deaths of at least 50 million people. Kissinger founded the U.S.-China People’s Friendship Association in 1971, traveled extensively in China during the Cultural Revolution, and supported the 1979 Khomeini-led revolution in Iran. In 1987 Kissinger founded the radical group Refuse & Resist to serve as a recruiting office for the RCP. He remains a contributing writer to the RCP publication Revolutionary Worker.
Kissinger continues to enjoy strong support from the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM), which, in its own words, "upholds the revolutionary communist ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism," and views the Chinese Cultural Revolution as "the farthest advance of communism in human history." Chief among MIM’s objectives is to foment "revolution [in] North America." Consistent with that aim, Kissinger and the RCP enthusiastically cheered the 1992 rioting (ostensibly triggered by the court verdict in the Rodney King case) in Los Angeles, deeming it a justified "rebellion" against American racism and oppression. On the ten-year anniversary of the rioting, RCP member Joseph Veale fondly recalled the violence as "the most beautiful, the most heroic civil action in the history of the United States." Former LAPD Police Chief Robert Vernon recounts how the RCP helped instigate the riots: "The RCP and other people tried to get a riot started [in the Foothill Precinct, where the Rodney King beating had taken place], because of the symbolism of having it start at the location of the King arrest. In the late afternoon on April 29th, over 400 of them stormed the Foothill [police] station, tried to set fires, and at one point even fired some shots into the air, we think. . . . It was unbelievable. The RCP people were there in force. They were allowed to burn the guard shack and then actually charge the doors at Parker Center and break the windows."
Kissinger similarly applauded the 2001 Cincinnati riots – which he called "spirited and righteous protest" – that erupted following a police shooting of a young black man in that city. He views the U.S. as a nation where "white supremacy" and "xenophobic attacks" carry the day. True to his Marxist ideals, he craves the destruction of America and all its institutions. "The problem in this country," says Kissinger, is "the oppressive system of capitalism that exploits people all over the world, that destroys our planet, that oppresses minority people, that sends people to the death chambers in droves. That is a problem that has to be done away with. . . . Revolution is the solution."
Like the WWP and ANSWER, the RCP shares the jihadist goal of destroying the U.S. The RCP set up terrorist training camps in Colorado, drawing people from the Iranian Student Association and the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) – the latter of which is known for its involvement in heroin trafficking. Police have also linked the RCP to heavy-weapons-trafficking endeavors carried out in unison with the Ohio-based Outlaws motorcycle gang. In October 1983, the RCP collaborated with the European terrorist underground to sabotage American efforts to deploy Pershing and cruise missiles in Germany. Kissinger led an eight-week tour of Germany to lay the framework for those efforts. RCP members penetrated Mutlangen U.S. military base in West Germany, where Pershing II intermediate-range missiles were stored. In November 1983, RCP members were involved, along with Red Cells and other German anarchist-terrorists, in an assault against Vice President George Bush's caravan during the latter’s visit to Krefeld, Germany. In its January 18, 1984 issue, Revolutionary Worker called for the assassination of President Reagan. The RCP has ties to both Peru’s Marxist guerrilla group known as the Shining Path and the Communist Party of Nepal.
Robert Avakian is the founder and current "chairman-in-exile" of the RCP. As a result of 1981 criminal indictments issued against him and several other RCP leaders for their break-in to White House grounds during a Presidential ceremony, Avakian and his cohorts fled to Paris, where they have been living in exile ever since. From his French headquarters, Avakian continues to agitate for the violent overthrow of the U.S. government, embracing the concept of an intellectual vanguard leading the proletariat in revolution.
Patriotism As an "Embarrassment"
Such are some of the leading lights of the so-called "peace" movement today. The self-described patriotic left has, for the most part, not bothered to dissociate itself from this socialist, radical, anti-American left whose primary agenda is not to achieve a lasting peace, but rather to discredit the United States in the eyes of the world and to condemn America as a racist, imperialist, aggressor seeking nothing less than world domination and control of the earth’s oil reserves. Similarly, the leftwing media have all but failed to distance themselves from these radical elements, or to bluntly call them what they in fact are: America-hating Communists who want the nation’s Islamist foes to emerge victorious in the War on Terror. To their credit, a few media outlets such as Salon and The Nation have distanced themselves from International ANSWER; but they have not criticized the equally important and equally radical Global Exchange or United for Peace and Justice.
These latter two groups, which are discussed below, share with the Islamists a negative bond of intense anti-American hatred. While they do not share the Islamists’ religious ideals, they fervently wish to see the United States and its capitalist economic system crumble. As Osama bin Laden declared in a fatwa issued on Al-Jazeera Television just before American and British troops entered Iraq in March 2003: "The interests of Muslims and the interests of the socialists coincide in the war against the crusaders." Just as bin Laden characterizes Americans as "crusaders" seeking to expand their empire into Muslim lands, so does the socialist left charge that all American foreign policy is predicated on imperialistic ambition and a lust for oil. Just as Islamic radicals wish to impose their brand of Islam on America and institute strict Islamic law on a global scale, so does the radical left seek to create a socialist ideal state and abolish capitalism from the earth. In the lexicon of Muslim fundamentalists, America is the Great Satan; to the radical left, America is a nation worthy of destruction because it is the embodiment of evil and injustice. The spirit of contempt and the impulse to sow the seeds of destruction is equally intense in both camps.
As Middle East expert Bernard Lewis observes, "the sinfulness and also the degeneracy of America and its consequent threat to Islam and the Muslim peoples [have become] articles of faith in Muslim fundamentalist circles." In The Crisis of Islam, Lewis writes, "By now there is an almost standardized litany of American offenses recited in the lands of Islam, in the media, pamphlets, in sermons, and in public speeches."
The same litany can be found in the writings and oratory of the American peace left, whose mouthpieces regularly impugn every conceivable aspect of U.S. culture and policy. Against the backdrop of their negative view of their country, they consider patriotism to be nothing short of shameful. This mindset is explained by Professor Todd Gitlin, a former president of Students for a Democratic Society and a self-declared "anti-anti Communist" of the 1960s who chose not to support the West during the Cold War against the Communist states. Notably, Gitlin did not feel a positive identification with the Soviet Union, but rather with a utopian ideal that he expected to emerge in Vietnam, Cuba, or some other revolutionary state. His rejection of patriotism as an American did not stem from his love for any particular enemy of the United States, but rather from a negative revulsion he felt toward America as a result of its participation in the Vietnam War.
"The war went on so long and so destructively," says Gitlin, "it felt like more than the consequence of a wrong-headed policy. My country must have been revealing some fundamental core of wrongness by going on, and on, with an indefensible war. . . . The American flag did not feel like my flag, even though I could recognize—in the abstract—that it made sense for others to wave it in the anti-war cause." In the early stages of the war, Gitlin "argued against waving the North Vietnamese flag or burning the Stars and Stripes. . . . But the hatred of a bad war, in what was evidently a pattern of bad wars—though none so bad as Vietnam—turned us inside out. It inflamed our hearts. You can hate your country in such a way that the hatred becomes fundamental. A hatred so clear and intense came to feel like a cleansing flame. By the late ’60s, this is what became of much of the New Left." Adds Gitlin, "For a large bloc of Americans, my age and younger, too young to remember World War II—the generation for whom ‘the war’ meant Vietnam and possibly always would, to the end of our days—the case against patriotism was not an abstraction. There was a powerful experience underlying it: as powerful an eruption of our feelings as the experience of patriotism is supposed to be for patriots. Indeed, it could be said that in the course of our political history we experienced a very odd turn about: The most powerful public emotion in our lives was rejecting patriotism."
This negative view of America, rather than a positive view of America’s Islamist enemies, is what animates much of the contemporary peace movement as well. Many of the movement’s leaders are New Leftists who, like Gitlin, developed their anti-American hatred during the Vietnam era.
One such individual is the lifelong Communist revolutionary Medea Benjamin, a profoundly important player in the anti-war left. Like Ramsey Clark and C. Clark Kissinger, Benjamin detests the United States, whose post-9/11 invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq she sees as evidence of a sinister U.S. plan for global dominance. This hatred stands in stark contrast to her great affection for Fidel Castro’s Cuba, a place she has glowingly described as "heaven." Bitterly anti-capitalist, Benjamin was a principal organizer of the 1999 Seattle riots in which some 50,000 protesters wreaked havoc and tried to shut down the World Trade Organization meetings.
Condemning America’s post-9/11 attack on the Taliban, Benjamin said, "We must insist that governments stop taking innocent lives in the name of seeking justice for the loss of other innocent lives." Lamenting that Washington had "responded to the violent attack of 9/11 with the notion of perpetual war," she advised Americans to examine "the root causes of resentment against the United States in the Arab world – from our dependence on Middle Eastern oil to our biased policy towards Israel." The bombings, she said, "made Afghans so upset that some [have] talked about waging a jihad, or holy war, against the United States. . . . If the Muslim world sees the United States as willing to bomb but not feed people, it will deepen the suspicion and mistrust already felt by millions . . . that the United States doesn’t care about the lives of the Muslim people." Benjamin draws no moral distinction between the 9/11 attacks and America’s military response against the Taliban. In the aftermath of the U.S. victory in Afghanistan, she led a delegation of relatives of murdered 9/11 victims — members of the group September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows — to Afghanistan to meet with individuals who had lost loved ones to American artillery.
Deeming America a nation infested with injustice and oppression, Benjamin sees nothing in the United States that is worth fighting for or defending. "When most Americans hear of human rights abuses," she states, "they likely think of atrocities in some far-off country in a forgotten corner of the globe. . . . [But] abuses against individuals’ basic rights also occur regularly here in the United States, and our money-saturated political system hardly deserves the title ‘democracy.’" Like the radical Islamists, Benjamin would welcome a revolutionary overthrow of the U.S. government, American culture, and capitalism.
United For Peace and Justice
Benjamin’s kindred spirit in the peace movement is Leslie Cagan, leader of the anti-war coalition United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ). UFPJ was officially created on October 25, 2002 in the Washington, DC offices of People For the American Way. Prior to UFPJ’s founding, the anti-war movement – led by ANSWER and NION – had earned a reputation as a hodgepodge of extremely radical elements that made many would-be sympathizers uneasy; UFPJ was created for the purpose of putting a milder face on the movement. The distinction between UFPJ and the aforementioned organizations, however, was merely symbolic rather than substantive. From its inception, UFPJ shared with those groups a passionate hatred for the United States, a readiness to condemn any and every American foreign policy decision, and a commitment to anti-American and anti-capitalist agendas. UFPJ’s initial membership consisted of approximately 70 organizations; that number now exceeds 800.
UFPJ’s radical agendas are visible through the transparent lens of Cagan’s longstanding ideals. A strong supporter of Fidel Castro, Cagan is a committed socialist who proudly aligns her politics with those of Communist Cuba. For seven years she directed the Cuba Information Project, demanding that the U.S. end its economic embargo of, and travel ban to, Cuba. She was a 1960s radical who, as a college student, became an activist in the Communist movement; in 1968 she broke American laws to travel to the Communist World Youth Festival in Bulgaria. The following year she joined the First Venceremos Brigade, a project initiated by the Cuban intelligence agency to recruit American leftists to help harvest sugar cane. Throughout the 1960s, Cagan was a key organizer of anti-Vietnam War protests; in the 1970s she continued to participate in the pro-Castro Venceremos Brigades; in the 1980s she supported the Communist movements in Central America while organizing demonstrations demanding an American nuclear freeze; and she was among the earliest supporters of solidarity efforts with Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian terrorists. She opposed the 1991 Gulf War. Six years later, in violation of U.S. law, she coordinated the U.S. delegation to the World Youth Festival in Cuba. Over the past three decades, Cagan has mobilized millions of demonstrators in rallies denouncing America’s foreign policies; its military-related spending; and its purportedly virulent racism, sexism, and homophobia.
In late 2004, Cagan, Benjamin, and a handful of other leftist radicals delivered $600,000 worth of cash and goods to jihadists who were fighting American troops in Fallujah, Iraq. This money was raised jointly by Global Exchange, United For Peace and Justice, Code Pink for Peace (another antiwar group founded by Benjamin), and the Middle East Children’s Alliance (whose advisory board includes Ramsey Clark, Noam Chomsky, and Fathi Arafat – brother of the late Yasser Arafat).
Benjamin and Cagan also united to establish Iraq Occupation Watch, whose express purpose is to persuade American troops to defect en masse as conscientious objectors, thereby weakening U.S. forces and leading, hopefully, to an American defeat in Iraq. "Working with local communities where U.S. troops are based," wrote Benjamin, "let’s start a ‘Bring All the Troops Home’ campaign to stop the expansion of U.S. bases and start dismantling some of the hundreds of existing bases overseas." She also exhorted "grassroots teams" to "link up with appropriate local and regional groups" in terrorist states. To run the Occupation Watch Center in Iraq, Benjamin appointed Nerween al-Mufti, an Iraqi who, for two decades, had been a journalist for Saddam Hussein’s state-controlled press.
UFPJ coalition members include many leftwing and communist groups, as well as a number of organizations sympathetic to the jihadist aims of the Islamists who seek the destruction not only of the United States, but of Israel as well. Among these coalition members are the following national groups or their local chapters:
Al-Awda: Also known as the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC), Al-Awda calls for the right of Arabs (and their families) to return to the homes in Israel which they (for the most part) voluntarily vacated in 1948. They left during the 1948 war that began when five Arab armies declared war against Israel on the very day of its creation. The seemingly benign request for a "right of return" is in fact a veiled attempt to destroy the state of Israel. Palestinian authorities place the number of Arabs who ought to be granted a "right of return" to Israel at 5 million. This is more than ten times the number of Arabs who actually left the Jewish portions of the British Mandate in 1948, most of whom are now deceased. The incorporation of five million Arabs into Israel would render the Jews a permanent minority in their own country, and would thus spell the end of Israel. Al-Awda fully understands this, and that is why it has made this a fundamental demand. Al-Awda sponsors exhibits, film festivals, lectures, and protests and rallies, all of which share the common feature of denouncing Israel. In September and October of 2002, Al-Awda sponsored anti-Israel rallies where its members sold t-shirts adorned with the infamous Hamas quote, "Palestine will be free from the river to the sea."
Alliance for Jewish-Christian-Muslim Understanding: Stating that the Koran generally teaches "love and toleration," this group’s website provides links to the websites of such radical leftwing organizations as the American Friends Service Committee, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Women’s Action for New Directions, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC): The ADC has become a strident voice against what it depicts as the Bush administration’s efforts to curtail the civil liberties of Arab Americans. Characterizing the anti-terrorist measures pursued by the Justice and Treasury Departments as persecution based on ethnic discrimination, the ADC charges that "ethnic profiling" is rampant in official U.S. dealings with Arab and Muslim Americans. After 9/11, the ADC became a leading defender of Palestinian "martyrdom" campaigns inside Israel. It also became a strong defender of Saudi Arabia, whose role in funding Wahhabism, the extreme sect rejected by the majority of Muslims worldwide, had come under scrutiny after disclosure that 15 of the 19 suicide pilots on September 11th were Saudi subjects.
In early 2004 the ADC played a key role in the passage of measures condemning the USA Patriot Act by the New York and Los Angeles City Councils. It was a co-plaintiff in the first major legal challenge to a section of the Patriot Act – specifically Section 215, which allows for government access to such information as medical, educational, and library records pursuant to a terrorism investigation. The Georgia and San Francisco chapters of the ADC were signatories to a February 20, 2002 document, composed by C. Clark Kissinger’s Refuse & Resist, condemning military tribunals and the detention of immigrants apprehended in connection with post-9/11 terrorism investigations.
The ADC's Michigan chapter is headed by Imad Hamad. According to columnist Debbie Schlussel, Hamad is a member of the terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Schlussel has uncovered a number of incriminating facts about Hamad: (a) As of October 2003, Hamad was under investigation on more than a dozen terrorism-related charges. One of those charges centered around his active involvement with a Detroit charity that openly declared on its tax forms that it had given a significant amount of money to the Jordanian operations of the terror group Hamas. (b) Hamad and the leaders of that charity traveled to Lebanon, where they met with their friends from Hezbollah, and to Syria. They are believed to be laundering money to terrorists in those nations. (c) In 2004 Hamad held a celebration for Hezbollah terrorists released from an Israeli jail in a prisoner swap. In his ADC-Michigan newsletter, he referred to the freed convicts, many of whom had murdered Jews and Americans, as "the Heroes."
American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ): This organization is sponsored by six of the most powerful American Islamic institutions, including those that receive the most frequent invitations to the White House and are cited most often by the media. Moreover, AMJ has successfully lobbied such corporate giants as Burger King and the Disney Corporation. The group led a boycott against Burger King in response to the fast-food franchise having built a restaurant in an Israeli settlement community, and pressured Disney not to list Jerusalem as the "Jewish capital" of Israel at a World Expo in Florida.
AMJ frequently publicizes false stories about Christians and Muslims being discriminated against by Israel in Jerusalem, while behind the scenes it works to support the goals of terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. Terrorism expert Steve Emerson has called AMJ an organization that "routinely involves anti-Zionist campaigns and has featured calls at its conferences for the killing of Jews." The group has ties to the American Muslim Council (AMC), whose leader Abdurahman Alamoudi has publicly expressed support for Hamas and Hezbollah, the latter of which has killed more Americans than any other terrorist group, including 241 U.S. military personnel in Beirut in 1983.
At the Third National Student Palestine Solidarity Conference at Ohio State University, AMJ executive director Khalid Turaani lied to the audience by claiming that pogroms against Jews in Palestine never occurred, when the historical record proves otherwise. According to an August 8, 2001 report, Turaani earlier that year attended meetings in Beirut and Tehran where more than 400 representatives of the world’s most extreme Islamic terror groups agreed to aside their differences and unite for jihad against Israel and the United States. The participants included leaders of al Qaeda, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and militants from Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Qatar, Yemen, the Sudan, and Algeria.
American Muslim Society (AMS) of the Tri-State Area: This group’s website presents only the most benign view of Islam, casting it as a religion that tolerates and embraces practitioners of all faiths. "Jihad," AMS explains, "does not mean ‘holy war.’ Literally, jihad in Arabic means to strive, struggle and exert effort. It is a central and broad Islamic concept that includes struggle against evil inclinations within oneself, struggle to improve the quality of life in society, struggle in the battlefield for self-defense or fighting against tyranny or oppression." No mention is made of what the scholar Bat Ye’or points out is Islam’s centuries-old tradition of dealing violently with "infidels." For non-Muslims throughout history, explains Ye’or, jihad has quite clearly meant "war, dispossession, . . . slavery and death." "The fate of Jews in Arabia," Ye’or writes, "foreshadowed that of all the peoples subsequently conquered by the Arabs. The primary guiding principle was to summon the non-Muslims to convert or accept Muslim supremacy, and, if faced with refusal, to attack them until they submitted to Muslim domination. . . . The jihad developed into a war of conquest whose chief aim was the conversion of infidels. Truces were allowed, but never a lasting peace."
Though AMS turns a blind eye to examples of Muslim oppression and brutality, it has no trouble spotting what it characterizes as instances of anti-Muslim discrimination in contemporary America. The AMS website quotes Adrian College political science professor Muqtedar Khan, who says, "Rather than treating American Muslims as assets – using their knowledge of the Muslim world for diplomacy and even for intelligence – the government is treating them as suspects." According to AMS, "America’s new vulnerability [to terrorism] afflicts [Muslims] more intensely than others, since the fears of further terrorist acts are compounded by the suspicion now clouding many of their lives. The domestic antiterrorism campaign that reassures the majority of Americans is having the opposite effect on Muslims."
Arab Student Union (ASU), University of Michigan-Dearborn: This organization has openly endorsed the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM), which is the student arm of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM); ISM invites Westerners to come to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and disrupt the anti-terrorist activities of the Israeli Defense Forces. PSM, composed of campus groups throughout the United States and Canada, has called on its chapter members to pressure their respective schools "to divest from Israel all financial holdings until Israel ends its system of occupation and apartheid in Palestine." Favoring the elimination of Israel from the face of the earth, PSM approves of violence, including suicide bombings, against Israeli civilians. At PSM’s Second National Conference, held at the University of Michigan in October 2002, delegates chanted "Kill the Jews!" At the following year’s Conference, sponsored by the Rutgers University PSM (a.k.a. New Jersey Solidarity), conference organizer Charlotte Kates asked: "Why is there something particularly horrible about ‘suicide bombing’ - except for the extreme dedication conveyed in the resistance fighter’s willingness to use his or her own body to fight?"
Boston to Palestine: Established in June 2002, Boston to Palestine (B2P) describes itself as "a group of Boston-based activists who work in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their non-violent struggle to resist and end the occupation of Palestine by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). We achieve this by sending delegates to work with International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and other peace and justice groups operating in Palestine." B2P delegates are equipped with still and video cameras "for the purposes of documenting life and events (including direct actions) in Palestine under occupation." It is notable that B2P makes reference to the Palestinians’ "non-violent struggle," which is in fact marked by great violence and many acts of terrorism against Israeli civilians. Boston to Palestine has conducted dozens of what it terms "educational and outreach events" in the Boston area, where returning delegates speak publicly about what they experienced and observed in the Middle East. Seeking to publicize "the horrors that are a feature of [the Palestinians’] daily lives at the hands of the IDF," B2P has organized demonstrations and vigils in and around Boston to protest "the ongoing atrocities conducted against Palestinians by the IDF, and to honor and commemorate ISM activists who have been killed or wounded by the IDF." Boston to Palestine is careful not to use the word "terrorist" – either as a noun or an adjective – to describe any Palestinian individual or deed.
Grassroots International (GRI): Founded in 1983, this NGO states that it "was born out of a commitment to justice for Palestinians." In 2001, GRI formed a partnership with the Advocacy Project (AP), an NGO with a strong political agenda and an anti-Israel ideological emphasis. The AP draws a moral equivalence between Palestinian terrorism and Israeli counter-terror measures, and accuses Israel of practicing "apartheid" and "racism." In 2004, GRI was a signatory – along with more than 200 other leftwing groups – to a letter to the U.S. Senate asserting that Israel’s newly constructed anti-terrorist security fence was an illegal "apartheid wall" that violated the civil and human rights of Palestinians. GRI was also a signatory to a May 30, 2000 document denouncing globalization, big business in general, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) in particular. Members affiliated with some of the signatories actively participated in the November 1999 riots in which some 50,000 protesters did millions of dollars worth of property damage in their effort to shut down the WTO Conference in Seattle.
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA): Founded in 1971, this Queens, New York-based organization is infamous for bringing radicals to speak at its annual conferences. According to the New York Daily News, the group has been "probed by FBI counter-terrorism agents" for suspected "terror ties." In March 1996, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell stated, "One of the groups with Hamas ties is the Dallas-based Islamic Association for Palestine in North America, which, in turn, apparently is allied with the Islamic Circle of North America in New York." ICNA also works closely with the Muslim American Society (MAS), an extremist organization that produces publications describing suicide bombings as "justifiable." In the post-9/11 era, ICNA has taken a stand against the U.S. war on terror, the Patriot Act, and America’ military incursions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Middle East Children's Alliance: (See the discussion of this group in the International ANSWER section earlier in this essay.)
Middle East Crisis Committee (MECC): This organization describes itself as "a group of activists that organized in 1982 in New Haven, Connecticut during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon" – saying nothing to acknowledge that the invasion was in response to several years of attacks launched against Israel by terrorists based in Lebanon. MECC strongly supports the Palestinian "Right of Return," the anti-war activist Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange, and International Solidarity Movement activist Rachel Corrie, who was accidentally killed in 2003 while trying to obstruct Israeli anti-terrorist operations in Gaza.
Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP): This organization ascribes the most recent Intifada to the anger felt by Palestinians as a result of "the daily frustrations and humiliations inflicted upon [them] in the occupied territories."
Muslim Voters of America: Uncompromising in its demand for a Palestinian "Right of Return," this organization was a signatory to an April 2004 document which read, in part: "We, the undersigned affirm the full individual and collective inalienable Right to Return of the Palestinian Arab People to their homes, property and land of origin. We assert in no uncertain terms that such a fundamental right is inviolable as it is based on the unbreakable natural belonging of a people to their property and place of origin, as enshrined in international law. Accordingly, we hold that the Palestinian Right to Return is an indispensable obligatory prerequisite for the achievement of any justice and peace. We consider any attempt to weaken, lessen, or alter such a right in any form through any proclamations or agreements between any parties to be counter to the human, political, civil, and national collective right of the Palestinian Arab People. Hence, such an attempt, along with its implications and ramifications, are null and void in total, regardless of the passage of time and the entities entering into such agreements or issuing such proclamations."
Palestine Activist Forum: This organization condemns what it calls the "ever-escalating assault on the people of Palestine" by "the murderous Israeli government [which] continues to sink to new depths of brutality with the encouragement of the Bush administration.."
Stop US Tax-funded Aid to Israel Now (SUSTAIN): Based in Washington, D.C. and presiding over more than a dozen additional chapters throughout the United States, this organization was established in late 2000. It views the United States and Israel as the primary perpetrators of evil in the modern world, stating emphatically: "We are committed to building a campaign against U.S. military and economic aid to Israel." SUSTAIN’s campaigns consist of educating the public about U.S. financial support of Israel on federal Tax-Day; taking action against the CATERPILLAR bulldozer company (to protest the Israeli Defense Force's use of that company’s equipment in the demolition of Palestinian terrorists’ homes); denouncing the construction of Israel’s security fence; and divesting from Israeli interests and corporations.
Just two weeks after the 9/11 attacks, SUSTAIN organized a Global Justice Intifada in Washington, D.C. Condemning what it termed "U.S. imperialism," this event made a call for justice on behalf of "Palestinians resisting Israeli occupation" and "Iraqis fighting genocidal sanctions." Refusing to characterize the 9/11 attacks as acts of war against the United States, SUSTAIN describes them instead as "criminal attacks" warranting a legal rather than a military response. SUSTAIN’s founding member Mark Lance, a Georgetown University professor, refers to the 1948 creation of Israel as "the Nakba," which Palestinians translate as "the Catastrophe." In the Spring of 2002, Lance wrote an article titled "Imperialism and Anti-authoritarian resistance after 9-11: Some Crucial Questions," in which he discussed his desire to organize "solidarity" groups within the Palestinian territories and Lebanon, while at the same time working with the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah. These latter two groups, wrote Lance, "though easy to criticize from a non-authoritarian perspective, must be understood in terms of the role [they play]. Hamas provides the majority of social services to the people of this oppressed and overpopulated strip of land. . . . This applies even more to the role of Hezbollah in the south of Lebanon."
The American peace left is heavily populated by radical and Communist groups whose foremost ambition is to facilitate the downfall of the U.S. – by any means necessary, and through any alliances which may further that cause. And, as evidenced by the foregoing list, well represented among these groups are Muslim organizations with passionately anti-American and anti-Israel agendas. Their ally in the current war against America is radical Islam, the murderous doctrine personified by Mohammed Atta and his fellow 9/11 hijackers, and by the masterminds of 9/11 and other attacks – bin Laden, Omar Abdel Rahman, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and many more.
How is it possible that such a seemingly unlikely alliance has been forged? After all, the Islamic radicals emphatically reject virtually everything for which the peace left claims to stand: the peaceful resolution of international conflict; respect and tolerance for other cultures and faiths; civil liberties; freedom of expression; freedom of thought; human rights; democracy; women’s rights; gay rights; and the separation of church and state. There could be no stranger bedfellows than American leftists and Islamic extremists. Yet they have been brought together by the one overriding trait they do share – their hatred for America; their belief that the U.S. is the very embodiment of evil on earth and must consequently be destroyed.
As Osama bin Laden told a CNN interviewer in 1997, "We declared jihad against America because America is unjust, criminal and tyrannical." This pronouncement does not differ at all, either in substance or tone, from the declarations of the peace left, whose sentiments are similarly detectable in the following excerpt from an al Qaeda manifesto: "America is the head of heresy in our modern world, and it leads an infidel democratic regime that is based upon separation of religion and state and on ruling the people by the people via legislating laws that contradict the way of Allah and permit what Allah has prohibited. This compels the other countries to act in accordance with the same laws in the same ways . . . and punishes any country [that rebels against these laws] by besieging it, and then by boycotting it. By so doing [America] seeks to impose on the world a religion that is not Allah’s." While the peace left makes no similar religious references, its assessments of America are essentially the same – alleging that the United States is determined to overrun other nations and dominate the world.
Radical Islam seeks purification and social justice by means of jihad, or holy war, whose highest ideal is martyrdom achieved while attempting to conquer an evil worldly power such as the United States, the Great Satan (and Israel, the Little Satan). The radical Islamist’s ultimate goal is to subdue the "infidel" nations and therein institute sharia, or Islamic law, so as to redeem the world for Allah. The socialist left, similarly, advocates revolution as the means of achieving its ends – eliminating capitalism and creating a socialist paradise on earth. Whereas Islamic radicals seek to purify the world of heresies and of the infidels who practice them, the radical left seeks to purify society’s collective "soul" of the vices allegedly spawned by capitalism – those being racism, sexism, imperialism, and greed. Just as Islamic radicals seek to impose their religion on the rest of the world in a totalitarian fashion requiring unwavering obedience, so do radical leftists seek to create an omnipotent socialist state that will control every aspect of daily life and will impose a universal brand of "social justice" on all mankind.
Central to both radical Islam and the radical left is an inclination to overthrow the existing order by any means necessary, so as to create a paradise on earth. This end ultimately justifies any means, and any alliance, that leads there. American leftists may find the bigotry and intolerance of Islamic radicals repugnant, but their desire to rid the world of U.S. "imperialism" and capitalism overrides this revulsion and beckons them to forge the unholy alliance. Moreover, radical American leftists practice their own brand of bigotry and intolerance, aiming their wrath and condemnation at all who disagree withthem.
The leftist Australian journalist John Pilger, who denounces "American imperialism" even as he praises Fidel Castro’s dictatorship, has publicly endorsed the killing of American troops in Iraq. "[T]hey’re legitimate targets," he says. "They’re illegally occupying a country." He openly supports the Iraqi resistance on the grounds that "we can’t afford to be choosy" in acquiring much-needed allies. Pilger’s sentiment perfectly expresses the governing principle of the unholy alliance; it is, as stated at the beginning of this essay, akin to the cliche, The enemy of my enemy is my friend [whoever he may be].