Ours is an age that places a great deal of emphasis on authenticity. Coupled with the inherent relativism of popular phrases like “my truth” and “lived experience” it is meant to obliterate the idea that there is an objective reality. What really matters in this version of events is how an event is perceived. Feelings trump reason.
Hence the importance of Lenin’s memorable description of the naive Westerners who supported him; he referred to them as useful idiots. Nowhere is that description more apt than when it is used to describe Western supporters of Hamas and other jihadist groups in their war against Israel.
Let us assume absolute sincerity on the part of students at elite universities who support Hamas; politicians like Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib; the leaders of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); various peace organizations, and the rapper Macklemore. They all denounce Israel for exercising its right of self-defense in the wake of the Oct 7 attacks by Hamas. (America is also held responsible for supporting the “Zionist entity.”) The proclamations of Hamas are treated as gospel truth while anything the Israelis or Americans say is attacked as propaganda.
So why don’t we take a look at what Hamas and other Islamist leaders are actually saying, rather than what their apologists claim they are saying. One thing that often happens is that Jihadists say one thing in Arabic, but whitewash it in English for Western audiences. Elliot Kaufman has done a great service by publishing a piece in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) about an organization named the Middle East Media Research Institure (MEMRI) that tracks, publishes and translates into English speeches and articles by these Islamist leaders. The article can be found at the link to the Wall Street Journal, above.
The screen shot below is from a short video on MEMRI’s website. It clearly demonstrates what Israel and the West are really up against. It’s worth visiting the website while pondering the applicability of the phrase “useful idiots.”