Ask those on the Left what values they champion and they will say equality, tolerance, women's rights, gay rights, workers rights and human rights. Militant Islamists oppose all that, not infrequently through the application of lethal force. So how does one explain the burgeoning Left-Islamist alliance?
I know: There are principled individuals on the Left who do not condone terrorism or minimize the Islamist threat. The author Paul Berman, unambiguously and unashamedly a man of the Left, has been more incisive on these issues than just about anyone else. Left-of-center publications such as The New Republic have not been apologists for radical jihadists.
But The Nation magazine has been soft on Islamism for decades. Back in 1979, editorial board member Richard Falk welcomed the Iranian revolution, saying it "may yet provide us with a desperately-needed model of humane governance for a third-world country." Immediately after Sept. 11, 2001, longtime Nation contributor Robert Fisk complained that "terrorism" is a "racist" term.
It is no exaggeration to call groups such as MoveOn.org pro-appeasement. Further left on the political spectrum, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition sympathizes with both Islamists and the Stalinist regime in North Korea - which is in league with Islamist Iran and its client state, Syria. Meanwhile, Hugo Chavez, the Bolivarian socialist Venezuelan strongman, is developing a strategic alliance with Iran's ruling mullahs and with Hezbollah, Iran's terrorist proxy.
In a new book, "United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror," Jamie Glazov takes a hard look at this unholy alliance. A historian by training, Glazov is the son of dissidents who fled the Soviet Union only to find that, on American campuses, they were not welcomed by the liberal/Left lumpen professoriate.
Glazov's book indicts Left artists and intellectuals - e.g. George Bernard Shaw, Bertolt Brecht and Susan Sontag -- for having "venerated mass murderers such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, and Ho Chi Minh, habitually excusing their atrocities while blaming Americans and even the victims for their crimes."
Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Left spent several years wandering in the wilderness. Many of them, Glazov suggests, looked upon the terrorist attacks of 9/11 less as an atrocity than as an opportunity to revive a moribund revolutionary movement.
Jimmy Carter, Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark, Lynne Stewart and Stanley Cohen are among the luminaries of the Left Glazov accuses of having found common ground with Islamists.