When Islamists Go Woke

In the U.S., writes Ayaan Hirsi Ali, proponents of radical Islam have “recognized the alluring power of ‘woke,’ and . . . started to adopt the language of civil rights and multiculturalism.” Progressives, meanwhile, tend to remain oblivious to the unprogressive aspects of Islamism, focused instead on finding common cause with “people of color” or Muslims. The resulting alliance has allowed Islamists to embark on a long march through progressive institutions, to borrow the phrase used by German Communists in the 1960s.

[T]he internal tension between “wokeism” and Islamism is never far away. Just look at Al Jazeera, which uploads documentaries about transgender rights on to its social-media channel, while broadcasting sermons suggesting husbands should beat their wives on its Arabic station.

Nevertheless, the two movements do share objectives. Both are anti-Western and anti-American. Both have a critical attitude towards “capitalism” based on individualism. True, the Islamists have been around for much longer. But Islamist ideologues are willing to co-operate with non-Muslim leftists so long as it serves their purposes.

Indeed, at the 2019 Netroots Nation conference—America’s “largest annual conference for progressives”—multiple panel discussions and training sessions reflected the Islamist agenda, frequently coalescing around a critique of Israel while neglecting the toxic role played by Hamas in perpetuating the conflict.

In government, too, Islamism’s capture of progressivism has become increasingly clear. Turkey’s Islamist President Erdogan might lead one of the world’s most brutal and repressive regimes, but that hasn’t stopped Ilhan Omar, the Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota, from expressing support for him. No doubt she was inspired by Erdogan last year when he proclaimed that “social justice is in our book,” and that “Turkey is the biggest opportunity for Western countries in the fight against xenophobia, Islamophobia, cultural racism, and extremism.”

Read more at UnHerd

More about: Ilhan Omar, Islamism, Israel, Progressivism, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, U.S. Politics

Iran’s Calculations and America’s Mistake

There is little doubt that if Hizballah had participated more intensively in Saturday’s attack, Israeli air defenses would have been pushed past their limits, and far more damage would have been done. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, trying to look at things from Tehran’s perspective, see this as an important sign of caution—but caution that shouldn’t be exaggerated:

Iran is well aware of the extent and capability of Israel’s air defenses. The scale of the strike was almost certainly designed to enable at least some of the attacking munitions to penetrate those defenses and cause some degree of damage. Their inability to do so was doubtless a disappointment to Tehran, but the Iranians can probably still console themselves that the attack was frightening for the Israeli people and alarming to their government. Iran probably hopes that it was unpleasant enough to give Israeli leaders pause the next time they consider an operation like the embassy strike.

Hizballah is Iran’s ace in the hole. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles, the Lebanese militant group could overwhelm Israeli air defenses. . . . All of this reinforces the strategic assessment that Iran is not looking to escalate with Israel and is, in fact, working very hard to avoid escalation. . . . Still, Iran has crossed a Rubicon, although it may not recognize it. Iran had never struck Israel directly from its own territory before Saturday.

Byman and Pollack see here an important lesson for America:

What Saturday’s fireworks hopefully also illustrated is the danger of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East. . . . The latest round of violence shows why it is important for the United States to take the lead on pushing back on Iran and its proxies and bolstering U.S. allies.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy