One of the strangest and, at first blush, inexplicable aspects of the current social and political scene, remarked upon by many writers, is the “unholy alliance” that has been forged between the proponents of Western secularism and the armies of Islam ranged against it.
Various reasons have been suggested for this bizarre collaboration between ostensible foes: the inability of many public intellectuals to temper what Paul Hollander in Political Pilgrims has described as a species of “moral indignation and compassion set and guided by their ideologies and partisan commitments”; the liberal delusion of multicultural equivalencies; the shared contempt for the doctrines, practices and symbols of the Christian faith and its supposedly crusading instinct; and, as Jamie Glazov argues in his new book, United in Hate, the Left’s misprision of Western civilization and its consequent “romance with tyranny and terror.”
Making sense of the liberal-left communion with an implacable theological adversary seems nevertheless a puzzling proposition. Worse, we do not seem to be overly concerned that we may one day find ourselves living in a Press-1-for-English world. Although it is moot whether the liberal-left has been taken in by Muslim window-dressing or is, in fact, fully aware of the Islamic commitment against the weal of the democratic West, there is little question that it has come to behave like the cadet branch of Islam, assuming the proper qibla line (direction of prayer).
A glaring and most disturbing feature of this growing entente is the rising swell of anti-Semitism in the West, particularly in Europe but increasingly on this side of the Atlantic as well. This phenomenon is especially baffling when one considers that almost everything Islam stands for, certainly in its present embodiment, is inimical to the welfare of the liberal West, while Judaism with its emphasis on the concept of a universal moral law, the exercise of skeptical inquiry into the claims of arbitrary authority, and the importance of individual choice and judgment in taking responsibility for personal salvation would appear to be our natural confederate.
But upon reflection, perhaps the Western tendency to come to the defense of Islam, under the sign of combating a non-existent “Islamophobia,” while simultaneously countenancing Jew- and Israel-hatred, accusing Jews in the West but not Muslims of “double loyalty,” targeting a presumably nefarious “Israel lobby” for condemnation, regarding Zionism as a form of racism and falsely castigating Israel as an “apartheid state” is not all that difficult to account for.
To begin with, there’s the census. Muslims weigh in at one and half billion people, Jews at a paltry 12 million, many of them lapsed and many of them frankly self-hating. What we are observing is a conflict between an ever bigger Goliath and an ever smaller David. But of course, like the caricature of the proverbial dumb blonde, the world goes where the muscle is.
Then there is the fear factor. Jews do not issue fatwas, attend violent protests, scream obscenities and threats, outfit suicide bombers, hijack airliners, kidnap foreigners, launch terrorist raids and blow up buildings. This obviously puts them at a distinct disadvantage with the Western media, political classes and large segments of the general public who cringe before the menace of Muslim reprisals for perceived offenses.
Allied to this faintheartedness is a corresponding element that is nothing less than admiration for and envy of a world-historical force convinced of its own righteousness and unafraid to stampede the public square.
Then we have the petroleum factor, which is so obvious as to scarcely require comment. An Arab/Muslim embargo would have a disastrous effect on Western economies.
At the same time, we fail or refuse to understand that should Israel, the national incarnation of the Jew, ever decide to boycott the world rather than vice versa, our cell phones would stop ringing, our computers would shut down, and many people with serious illnesses would be deprived of their medications. (The Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva is the world’s foremost supplier of antibiotic drugs.) But Arabs are conspicuous in the power of their oil cartels. Israelis, like the Intel microchips, Pentium microprocessors and Google search algorithms developed in the country, are hidden inside their technology.
Yet another issue involves the spectacle of Western venality. Universities and their Middle East Studies departments, practicing academics, “peace” centers, former diplomats, ex-presidents and many other individuals and institutions are the grateful recipients of Arab largesse – mainly Saudi Arabian, but the Emirates have ponied up as well.