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March 21, 2003 - Image 39

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-03-21

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The Left's Dream

as anyone noticed an indif-
ference in the precincts of
the far Left to the fatalities
of 9-11 and the horrors of
Saddam Hussein?
Right after the 9-11 attack, German
composer Karlheinz Stockhausen
called it "the greatest work of art for
the whole cosmos." Eric Foner, an
ornament of Columbia University's
Marxist firmament, trivialized it by
announcing himself unsure "which is
more frightening: the horror that
engulfed New York City or the apoca-
lyptic rhetoric emanating daily from
the White House." Norman Mailer
called the suicide hijackers "brilliant."
More recently, it appears that none
of the millions of anti-war demonstra-
tors have a bad word to say about
Saddam Hussein nor an iota of sympa-
thy for those oppressed, tortured, and
murdered by his regime. Instead, they
vent fury against the American presi-
dent and British prime minister.
Why is the Left nonchalant about
the outrages committed by Al Qaida
and Baghdad?
Lee Harris, an Atlanta writer, offers an

explanation in a recent issue of the
Hoover Institution's journal Policy
Review. He does so by stepping way back
and recalling Karl Marx's central thesis
about the demise of capitalism resulting
from an inevitable sequence of events:
• Business profits decline in the
industrial countries;
• Bosses squeeze their workers;
• Workers become impoverished;
• Workers rebel against their bosses; and
• Workers establish a socialist order.
Everything here hangs on workers
growing poorer over time — which, of
course, did not happen. In fact,
Western workers became richer (and
increasingly un-revolutionary). By the
roaring 1950s, most of the Left real-
ized that Marx got it wrong. But
rather than give up on cherished
expectations of socialist revolution,
Harris notes, Marxists tweaked their
theory. Abandoning the workers of
advanced industrial countries, they
looked instead to the entire popula-
tions of poor countries to carry out
the revolution. Class analysis went out
the window, replaced by geography.

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle

This new approach, known as "depen-
dencia theory," holds that the First
World (and the United States above
all) profits by forcefully exploiting the

Third World. The Left theo-
tices — such as its imposing
rizes that the United States
religious law, excluding women
oppresses poor countries; thus
from the workplace, banning
Noam Chomsky's formulation
the payment of interest,
that America is a "leading ter-
encouraging private property
rorist state."
and persecuting atheists.
To substantiate this claim,
This admiring spirit explains
Marxists impatiently await the
the Left's nonchalant response
Third World's rising up against
to 9-11. Sure, it rued the loss
the West. Sadly for them, the
of life, but not too much.
only true revolution since the
Dario Fo, the Italian Marxist
Spe ci al
1950s was Iran's in 1978-79. It
won the 1997 Nobel Prize
Comm entary
ended with militant Islam in
for literature, explains: "The
power and the Left in hiding.
great [Wall Street] speculators wallow
Then came 9-11, which Marxists
in an economy that every year kills tens
interpreted as the Third World (finally!)
of millions of people with poverty so
striking back at its American oppressor.
what is 20,000 dead in New York?"
In the Left's imagination, Harris
The same goes for Saddam Hussein,
explains, this attack was nothing less
whose gruesome qualities matter less
than "world-historical in its significance: to the Left than the fact of his con-
the dawn of a new revolutionary era."
fronting and defying the United
Only a pedant would point out that
States. In its view, anyone who does
the suicide hijackers hardly represented
that can't be too bad — never mind
the wretched of the earth; and that their that he brutalizes his subjects and
objectives had nothing at all to do with
invades his neighbors. The Left takes
socialism and everything to do with —
to the streets to assure his survival,
no, not again! — militant Islam.
indifferent both to the fate of Iraqis
So desperate is the Left for some
and even to their own safety, clutching
sign of true socialism, it overlooks
instead at the hope that this monster
such pesky details.
will somehow bring socialism closer.
Instead, it warily admires Al Qaida,
In sum: 9-11 and the prospect of
the Taliban and militant Islam in gener- war against Saddam Hussein have
al for doing battle with the United
exposed the Left's political self-delu-
States. The Left tries to overlook mili-
sion, intellectual bankruptcy and
tant Islam's slightly un-socialist prac-
moral turpitude.

and Protestants — who have displayed
an infuriating bias against Israel over
the years — have been largely aban-
doned by Jewish outreach workers.
But these Christians are hearing
plenty from Muslim and Arab groups,
a perspective that's likely to only fur-
ther skew their view of the Middle
The decline in outreach accelerated
just when it was needed most, with
the revival of widespread violence in
2000, which the mainstreamers mostly
see as Israel's fault.
Many Jewish groups and Israeli
diplomats now focus their coalition-
building efforts with the zealously pro-
Israel Evangelicals. That marriage of
convenience may please single-issue
pro-Israel groups, but it is deeply trou-
bling to many Jews. And it just
widens the rift between Jews and the
mainstream Christians, who have a lot
more in common with Jews — aside
from Israel — than the Evangelicals.
"It's easier to embrace the
Evangelicals than to do the hard work

necessary to work with the
mainstream churches," said
These days, the mainstream
Reva Price, Washington repre-
Christians hear mostly from
sentative for the Jewish
outreach-minded Moslems,
Council for Public Affairs.
whose pleas over recent civil
Mainstream Protestant
liberties infringements res-
groups and the Catholic
onate in liberal churches,
Church have for decades dis-
along with complaints about
played a one-sidedness on
Israel. They also hear from
Mideast matters, invoking bib-
church leaders who have insti-
lical wrath against Israel for its
tutional reasons to curry favor
occupation policies, forgiving
Commentary with the Palestinians.
every Palestinian sin.
That is the context in which
The bias is the greater
Jim Moran apparently thought
because many of the church groups
he would get a sympathetic hearing
have Arab and Palestinian followers, or when he blamed the Jews for a war his
churches and property in Palestinian
audience clearly opposed. That audi-
territories. They also have a worldview
ence, according to news accounts, saw
that seeks clear-cut oppressors and vic-
nothing wrong with his comments,
tims; a powerful Israel and a poor,
mostly because of ignorance, not anti-
besieged Palestinian population fit
neatly into those preconceptions.
The mainstream churches know
Rather than rise to the challenge,
every last nuance of Arab and Moslem
Jewish groups have generally just
concern, but less and less about their
opted out of the dialogue. Jewish out-
Jewish neighbors and about a pro-
reach to these groups has slowed to a
Israel community that is far more
trickle, especially at the national level.
diverse than the handful of big groups.
Coalitions on domestic issues are
That's a problem because despite the
strained by Jewish anger over the posi-
loud voices from the Christian right,
tions of old coalition partners on
BESSER on page 40


First-World Politics

East Forum and author of Militant Islam
Reaches America (WW Norton). His e-
mail address is pipes@MEForum.org

The Outreach Gap


Washington, D.C.
ommentators were busy last
week drawing lessons from
the travails of U.S. Rep. Jim
Moran, D-Va., whose reputa-
tion as a responsible lawmaker, never
high, plunged to new depths recently
when he stood before a church audi-
ence and blamed the Jews for leading
the nation into a tragic war in Iraq.
But there was one lesson that
escaped notice: the venue for Moran's
comments. It reflects a major failure of
the outreach-minded Jewish commu-
nity. Moran, who has rebuffed
demands for his resignation by Jewish
constituents, was speaking at an
Episcopal church, the very definition
of "mainstream" in the Christian
While some Jewish groups are newly
enamored of fiercely pro-Israel,
Evangelicals, the mainstream Catholics

James D. Besser is Washington corre-

spondent for the Jewish News. His -
e-mail address is jbesser@att.net




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