Citizen Wald: Islamism, the Betrayal of the Left, and Prospects for Real Coalition-Building and Peace-Work

From Citizen Wald at To Find the Principles:

One of the peculiarities of the contemporary Middle East conflict has been the historically unprecedented willingness of the putative “left” or “progressive” community to make common cause with or condone the behavior of extremist—notably: reactionary, clerical-obscurantist, even terrorist—organizations with whom they have nothing in common and would under any other circumstances have no truck.  Indeed, only the shared visceral opposition to Israel seems capable of generating this sort of cognitive dissonance.

Almost half a decade ago now, the late, brilliant independent leftist Fred Halliday (1, 2, 3, 4warned his erstwhile comrades against the naive belief that radical Islamism represented “a new form of international anti-imperialism that matches – even completes – their own historic project.” To see in it only “a movement aimed against ‘the West’,” he insisted, is inadvertently to recapitulate the argument of “the imperialist right” and willfully or otherwise ignore that “long before the Muslim Brotherhood, the jihadis and other Islamic militants were attacking ‘imperialism,’ they were attacking and killing the left – and acting across Asia and Africa as the accomplices of the west.” (Not the kind of argument you will hear in the “mainstream media”—or even in most leftist discourse, for that matter.)

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