Those who deny that Islamist terror is a grave danger often hold progressive views.
Leaders like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Francois Hollande, Ban-Ki-Moon, Noam Chomsky and Edward Said (the latter two highly influential academics), prefer to sling slogans rather than cite facts, but they really just cling to the tradition of terror-denial.
This is an old tradition that predates the terror attack in Orlando this week, and countless other terror attacks across the world since 9/11.
Indeed, the stale tradition of denying the existence and danger of Arab Islamist terror goes back to well before the first World Trade Center attack in 1993.
Twenty years ago, Professor Richard Bulliet, the head of Columbia’s Middle East Institute, unfairly said that America was attacking Muslims. He claimed that it was “a new antisemitism against Muslims,” driven by attempts “to over-publicize, hype, and sell hostility to Islam.” That was 1994. Other academics have spewed similarly absurd themes after every terror attack since.
Columbia Professor Edward Said, a mentor to Barack Obama and Professor John Esposito, who nursed the minds of future leaders at Georgetown, called Arab-Islamist terror a “myth.” Dr. Said repeatedly insulted anyone who did not agree with him that jihadists or Iranian mullahs were actually “moderate.” Past US leaders like Jimmy Carter agreed with him — and on issues such as Iran, we are seeing the terrifying results now.
Trusting Islamist maniacs (Ayatollah Khomeini or the Muslim Brothers) or belittling the danger (calling them “lone gunmen” or a “junior varsity”) is not new. Obama and Hollande merely expand on the themes of their youth, when they read and heard the “anti-colonialist” or “anti-hegemonist” drivel of communists, socialists and college professors.
Professor Said and later Professor Chomsky dramatically visited Arab-Islamist terrorists like Hezbollah in Lebanon. Said, who actually knew very little Arabic, was hailed as a forward-looking thinker. The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) announced an award in his honor on September 11, 2002. Columbia University gave him special status as “University Professor.”
Professor Chomsky, who once taught linguistics at MIT, has spent most of his life corrupting language and inventing alternative universes, where the United States and Israel are the terrorists and Arab-Islamist terrorists are progressive. Chomsky once wrote a book denying that the Khmer Rouge had committed genocide in Cambodia. Naturally, Chomsky and Said are frequently cited sources on reading lists at Western universities.
President Obama, Secretary Clinton, President Hollande and the “intellectuals” who groomed and still support them are fervent believers in “secular humanism.” They believe a collection of superstitions: that Arab-Islamist terrorists attack the West because the West attacked first, or because the West built prison camps for Muslims, or because the West supports Israel.
Memo to Barack Obama and John Kerry: Said Qutb of the Muslim Brotherhood and Ayatollah Khomeini always thought the West was the enemy, and the West always supported the Arabs more than Israel — witness the British in 1933-48, Charles De Gaulle in 1967, the US State Department from 1948 through 1980, etc.
Another such superstition: there is no Arab-Islamist terror, because the terrorists also attack Arabs and Muslims. Second memo to Obama and Co.: The Nazis began their career by murdering Germans, and Lenin and Stalin began theirs by murdering Russians, even communists. Just ask Leon Trotsky and the other Jews murdered by Stalin.
So if you want to witness a neurotic patient “in denial” of his illness, or if you want to study the superstitions by which Western leaders live, just tune in to the latest press conference of President Obama, President Hollande, the UN secretary general or the foreign minister of the European Union.
Terror-denial is not forward-thinking or progressive. It is just dumb.
Dr. Michael Widlanski is the author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat, long-time lecturer at Bar Ilan and Hebrew University, as well as strategic affairs advisor in Israel ’s Ministry of Public Security.