Civilization and its Enemies

We must align against radical leftists who threaten both Israel and America

Israel has divided the New Right in recent years. Having rejected the neo-conservative case for Israel—that it deserves support because it conforms to global democratic norms—Americans on the right have debated everything from its influence over American foreign policy to its place in Christian eschatology. But in the context of major contemporary conflicts, we propose a simple frame: civilization versus radical ideologues who hate civilization.  

Since October 7, pockets of American society have been roiled by debates over Israel. In some circles—especially on college campuses—radicals have openly defended and even praised the Palestinian terrorists. The refusal to condemn calls for genocide against Jews contributed to the resignation of Harvard’s president.

In more moderate circles, we see a wide range of reasonable discussions involving Israel. Some focus on the proportionality or necessity of Israel’s actions in Gaza, and on concerns these may drive waves of refugees to the West. Many are debating American foreign policy toward Israel and the scope of our support. In Christian circles, we’ve seen discussion of dispensationalism and the proper place of contemporary Israel in Christian theology. A few note that Israel has supported Azerbaijan in its war with Christian Armenia. These topics deserve consideration.

But we must not lose sight of the fundamental fact that Israel’s primary enemies are driven by the same ideology as the enemies of American and Christian civilization.

Leftism comes in many flavors. French Revolutionary Jacobinism, Soviet Leninism, Maoism, Christian liberation theology, national liberation movements such as the Palestinian cause, and American campus radicalism are distinct yet recognizably left. They share a consistent theme: resentment, the demand to purify tainted history, and a desire to tear down any civilized society.

The underlying ideology must be opposed wherever it is found.

Make no mistake: the same sort of leftists who stormed into Israel on October 7 and shot more than 1,000 civilians want to destroy stable, well-functioning American communities—especially those inhabited by whites and Christians they identify as enemies of their cause. Such revolution can be advanced extrajudicially, as it was in Israel on October 7 and in American cities during the BLM riots, and it can be done under the color of law, as the arbitrary legal actions against pro-lifers and the secret dispersion of “refugees” across the country show. The academy has always been explicit about the unity of anti-American and anti-Israeli revolutionary projects: Columbia’s pro-Palestinian critical theorist Edward Said referred to James Baldwin and Malcom X as his soulmates.

To be sure, Christians and Jews have significant theological disagreements. There are vigorous philosophical discussions within Christianity, and between Christians and Jews, about the ideal regime. There are debates about the prudence of labels like “Christian nationalism” and their relevance to the American way of life. There are practical political debates. Questions about tactics are always live and lively. Good men can disagree on many questions involving Israel—as they may disagree about questions regarding America.

But no good person can support or tolerate revolutionary leftism.

In all these fights, the radicals are clear about their goals. But others fixate—in both the Israel-Palestine conflict and in contemporary America—on procedural complaints or alleged historical wrongs, and thus undermine any stand against this civilization-level enemy. These critics range from individual “concern trolls” to US/EU/UN officials demanding conformity to globalist liberal norms, and while they may not explicitly endorse the agenda of the Left, they direct their firepower at those fighting the real threats. They play the same historical role of the Mensheviks in the Russian Civil War, “useful idiots,” in the words of Lenin, more concerned with observing legalisms than in confronting the obviously nefarious goals of the Bolsheviks. We have seen what happened in Russia as a result. The same could happen in Israel, and it could happen here.

Ultimately, politics is about practical cooperation toward shared aims—especially protection against common threats. The highest questions of prudence center on recognizing the greatest threats, and forging alliances against them in order to preserve one’s core aims. Such alliances need not be ideological. They are practical, and specific to particular circumstances and shared objectives. 

The greatest threat to Western civilization is revolutionary leftism. Palestinian leftists seek to delegitimize and destroy Israel, an outpost of Western civilization. Their ideological cousins seek to do the same in America, by undermining our borders, our family norms, our legal traditions, our churches, and more. The factions are openly allied and celebrate their joint cause.

The Left’s defining hatred of Western civilization is illustrated by its repeated alliances with another enemy of the West, radical Islam. Despite Islam’s seemingly regressive values, the Left has granted it protected-class status both at home and abroad. Democrats widely defended a sitting congresswoman who publicly voiced pro-Islamic, anti-American sentiments, and elite lawyers lined up to offer pro bono support for detainees involved in the 9/11 attacks. It is no coincidence that the Left likewise stands up for the most violent factions in Gaza, as it has for other Islamic liberation fronts. This pattern of leftist-Islamic collaboration highlights how both treat Western civilization as their true enemy. 

American Christians should recognize the Israeli state as a co-belligerent in these fights. With the revolutionary Left committed to the destruction of any civilized society, we should appreciate the threat posed by this shared enemy and should support—or at least, not sabotage—actions taken against that enemy.

The moral debate is a central front in this fight. Co-belligerence does not require agreement on every policy or philosophical ideal. But moral delegitimization plays a key role in leftist attacks, something evident in leftist rhetoric about both America and Israel. It is thus prudent, when possible, to align key public moral arguments that effectively challenge these efforts—especially the fundamental good of protecting a civilized society from anti-civilizational forces that would destroy it.

The reaction to the Hamas invasion has awakened many Americans, Christian and Jewish alike, to the extent to which the same ideology driving radical Palestinian violence also pervades American institutions. An alliance to reform our universities is developing. Good. That alliance can be extended to a defense of the fundamental necessity—if America or Israel is to survive—of sound borders, and the need to protect culture, norms, and institutions within those borders against pervasive leftist attacks. We must defeat an ideology that poses an existential threat to both our society and Israel’s. 

Image Credit: Unsplash

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Nate Fischer

Nate Fischer is the Chairman of American Reformer. He is also the founder and CEO of New Founding, a venture firm focused on the American right. He lives in Dallas with his wife and four children.

Scott Yenor

Scott Yenor is Director of State Coalition at the Claremont Institute’s Center for the American Way of Life and a professor of political science at Boise State University. His Recovery of Family Life (Baylor, 2020) is now out in paperback.

8 thoughts on “Civilization and its Enemies

  1. What has become an integral part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are the siren calls of the binary-thinking and tribalism traps. While the former limits our ability to think, the latter takes away our ability to be objective. And we should note that these traps also exist outside of the confines of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and excludes no ideological side.

    The binary-thinking trap can only see 2 sides in a conflict. In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the binary-thinking trap limits our perception into seeing only victims and terrorists/oppressors. And that these two groups have permanently disjoint memberships so that as one side perceives Israel as a victim first, it can never see Israel as an oppressor. Likewise, as the other side view Palestinians as victimst, it can never see any Palestinians who attack Israeli civilians as terrorists. However, the problem is that victims can also become victimizers while victimizers can also become victims.

    The allurement of the binary-thinking trap is that is simplifies what can be a very complex situation for the casual observer. And that simplicity comforts the casual observer and drives the emotions of those who are invested. That is because for the latter group, it is easier to be enraged by those who have no redeeming qualities and to feel deep compassion and love for those who are innocent victims.

    The tribalism trap revolves around loyalty gone wild. That is as one becomes more loyal to a given group, one loses the ability to be objective and fair when judging sides. As loyalty to a group grows, so does partisanship. And as partisanship grows, so does the embracing of moral relativity so that eventually what is right and wrong is judged more by who does what to whom rather than by the violation of principles and absolute values. The allurement of tribalism is found in the belief that loyalty is a valued character trait. And thus the more loyal one becomes to an ideology or group, the better one can feel about oneself.

    Both traps are found, without having to point them out, in the above article in both the stands taken by Fischer and Yenor, as well as their perceptions of Western Civilization and Leftist groups. For Fisher and Yenor, Western Civilization is good and the Leftists who are challenging Western Civilization are evil. And both descriptions apply in both the domestic and international settings.

    Though Fischer and Yenor appear to speak as if they are taking the high road of rationality, but their labeling of the George Floyd protests as BLM riots ignores some important research. For example, over 90% of BLM protests have been peaceful (see AND ). We should note that other groups besides BLM were involved in the protests. According to VOA, the groups suspected of the violence in the protests were white supremacists, the Boogaloo Boys, Antifa, and anarchists (see ). But none of that was mentioned in the above article. BTW, according to my personal experiences with BLM, Antifa, and anarchists, what is mentioned in this paragraph is consistent with my experiences.

    The point of the above article was to condemn the Left by describing it as being monolithic, such as when BLM and Hamas were described as belonging to one movement determined to overthrow Western Civilization. The problem with that claim is that it is not supported by the facts. BLM has no interest in establishing either an Islamic Republic or an alternative system to Democracy. What BLM wants are revisions to our Democratic system in order to relieve the systemic racism suffered by many blacks as well as strengthen our Democratic system by giving blacks a more influential voice in our government. In addition, BLM wants some alternative choices to that of having a traditional family. Hamas wants its own Republic.

    And yet, Fischer and Yenor still make it sound as if BLM and Hamas are Leftist counterparts in their respective locations. And so Fischer and Yenor draw the battle lines between the Left and Western Civilization. In addition, Fischer and Yenor make it sound as if the missions of Hamas and BLM have not been provoked by the respective status quos in which they existed. For example, there is no context provided for the Hamas atrocities of Oct 7. It is this context that draws some sympathy to Hamas by some on the Left. Why? It is because of how Palestinians are treated under the Occupation in both the West Bank and Gaza. And so Fischer and Yenor neglected to mention the plight of the Palestinians.

    Israel’s Occupation of the West Bank allows settlers to, with the passive and active help of the IDF, to harass Palestinians, attack Palestinians, destroy Palestinian crops, and confiscate Palestinian land. And none of that includes how Israel has divided Palestinian land on the West Bank so that there can be no contiguous Palestinian land. The people in Gaza have it much worse. Israel controls the borders with Gaza in order to control all that enters and leaves the territory. And with that, Gazans suffer great deprivation in essential goods and resources like electricity. In addition, Gazans are subject to attacks by the IDF in retaliation, in the form of collective punishment, for Palestinian terrorist attacks. In addition, for around a 9 month time period of relatively peaceful protests in Gaza from 2018 to 2019, IDF snipers shot and killed 189 people. Most were adults and IDF snipers killed 183 of those protesters with live ammunition. 35 of those Gazans killed were children. Also, a couple of medics and journalists were also killed.

    And what is BLM responding to? It is responding to the systemic racism that still remains in the US. That racism is seen in employment, the justice system, law enforcement, voting issues such as access to voting and gerrymandering, race-based environmental neglect, among other problems that hit black communities harder that they hit white communities. Remember that BLM started in response to Travon Martin’s murder and the acquittal of his killer.

    And so whatever Fischer and Yenor want to say about Western Civilization, it is has not served people of color as well as it has served those of Europe descent. We should note here that describing Israel as an outpost for Western Civilization is a bit incriminating. That is because in Israel, Jews from other nations, especially those from European nations, have more claim to the land and the nation than indigenous Palestinians do.

    Fischer and Yenor seem to have described situations in a backwards manner when they described the Left as wanting to destroy status quo. For example, the Modern Zionist Movement, which started in the 1800s, sought to replace some of the legal traditions, family norms, and religious practices that existed prior to the immigration of European Jews to what was then called Palestine. Second, with the harsh racism faced by many blacks today, BLM has sought to bring more civilization to America where it concerns how blacks are treated. Here we should note that America was founded on white supremacy. White supremacy is found in The Constitution as well as in the Naturalization Acts of 1790 and 1795. It continued after a brief reprieve that followed the Civil War in what is called the Jim Crow era. And though Jim Crow made its home in the South, that didn’t stop those in the North from practicing strict segregation..

    Fischer and Yenor are sounding an all hands on deck alarm over the changes that BLM and Hamas allegedly want to bring to their respective nations. And by linking them together, they hope that whatever Hamas has done or will do will be associated with or even attributed to BLM. And yet that alarm would serve us better if we realized that that it was meant to warn us of the possible return of the old status quo in our nation. While King criticized the riots of the mid 1960s and would in no doubt condemn the Hamas atrocities of Oct 7, he also spoke against those who rightfully condemned the riots without giving a second thought to the horrific conditions that those riots were responding too. The same can be said today of those who condemned the George Floyd riots without judging the conditions that contributed to those riots. The same applies to those who would rightfully condemn the Hamas atrocities without even thinking about the conditions that contributed to those atrocities.

    It seems to me that the real target of Fischer’s and Yenor’s article is BLM. Hamas is thrown in there to magnify the allegations made against BLM and to pronounce it guilty by association. Neither the facts nor my own experiences with BLM support the allegations made in the above article. Now if the above article targeted anarchists or Antifa, I could easily find more agreement with it. That is because of my personal conversations with and observations of members of both groups. And though BLM is far from perfect, such as it certainly doesn’t support the kind of family life defined by the Scriptures, their alternative approaches to lifestyles do not pose a threat to the West because freedom of choice does not post a threat to anyone except to those who fear change, who fear a lack of conformity.

    As for Western Civilization, it is alleged that Gandhi was asked about what he thought of Western Civilization. He responded with something to the effect that ‘it would be a good idea.’ Both World Wars have much of their beginnings in the West. Then there is imperialism, colonialism, religious wars, ethnic cleansings, racism, classism, slavery, exploitation of others, sexism, and so on that lends support to Gandhi’s alleged answer. Ironically, despite our Western history, many of us in the West regard others as being primitive and even savages. And so perhaps history is telling us that we don’t want to hear about the West, about ourselves. That much of the West needs to undergo quite a few significant changes. And so should consideration of making those changes be regarded as threats to Western Civilization?

  2. What Fischer and Yenor have intended to do in their article is to try to discredit BLM by portraying it as an American version of Hamas. This was done by labeling the George Floyd demonstrations as BLM riots and then making them comparable to the Hamas attack of Oct 7.

    The problem is that such a comparison does not fit the facts. Data collected and reported by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), which is an international organization, supplies statistics that show that 93% of the BLM demonstrations in protesting the George Floyd murder were peaceful demonstrations. Where there was violence, it was contained to small areas of the protests and was sometimes initiated by provocateurs. In addition, the government response to the demonstrations were inconsistent but grew confrontational as time went on. And the confrontational approach also contributed to violence occurring during the protests. In addition, Voice of America(VOA) reported that other groups were involved in demonstrations that turned violent. The groups that VOA listed were white supremacists, the Boogaloo Boys, Antifa, and anarchists. I myself saw some media attempts to link BLM with Antifa. Such an association is not merited by the facts and by my own experiences, conversations with, and observations of BLM and Antifa.

    I have been involved in protests since 2005 and I can testify to the point that acts of violence in a protest do not necessarily reflect the intentions of the organizers of the protests. When you are in a protest involving anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands of protesters, some of the groups that attend a given protest have their own agenda. And I have seen the result of a provocateur in an OWS protest. One of our own people was maced by security while the provocateur bragged the next day on the internet about having interfered with the protest.

    I was involved in one protest at West Point where a few counterprotestors physically interfered with our protest by standing in front of us and keeping us from walking. Eventually the police ordered them to move out of our way as we just stood there without reacting to them. However, sometimes there are good experiences with counterprotestors. That occurs when they want to rationally discuss the issues involved in a given protest. I loved those experiences.

    My reading of BLM material as well as my conversations and experiences with BLM supports the findings in the above ACLED report. They are generally nonviolent. They empathize with the Palestinian cause but, as far as I have seen, do not support Hamas terrorism perhaps except for some individual members. Here we should note that BLM is horizontally organized rather than vertically organized which means that statements from individuals on issues do not necessarily reflect on the whole organization.

    Certainly BLM is not perfect. Some individual BLM members have engaged in violence and BLM has alternative views on families and couples that are not Biblical. But BLM does not desire to impose those views on others and thus pose no threat to Christian views of marriage and family. unless ones considers nonconformity to be hostility. And having seen their website on multiple occasions, I see no intention on BLM’s part to upend American society. The subjects on their website indicate that they want to provide relief from the systemic racism experienced by many blacks and to strengthen our democracy. If you don’t believe me, visit their website.

    I find it odd though that a website that posts articles that oppose pluralism, that desire to make part of the 1st Table of the 10 Commandments into law, and promote the idea that Christian Magistrates should replace what we have left of a democracy posts an article that complains that BLM is trying to totally change the American way of life.

  3. This kind of sidesteps the major question: why do we care in the first place?

    Can we ask the authors who they think we should be arming in the Ethiopian civil war? Of course, they most likely have no knowledge of the civil war, and quite frankly, nor should they be expected to. It’s a conflict on the other side of the planet between two sides that have very little to do with the US. Why does Israel and its enemies get such a different treatment? Israel plays no special role in our defense or economy. Why do they get so much more attention than the Ethiopians? Why are we expected to “take a side” when it seems fairly clear that Hamas and Israel both are committing atrocities? Why do we arm Israel, and why do we anchor our foreign policy so strongly to their security?

    I haven’t seen any great justification for our involvement from either side. To me, the proper response is an emphatic “who cares…”

    1. Another thought on this: are you really trying to say that Islamic Palestinian nationalists are in the same ideological vein as western marxists? That seems false on its very face.

  4. You’re views on BLM and the riots they incited are completely delusional. These riots and those behind them were violent and aggressive. Most of the people involved belong in prison. Seek help.

    1. Aristides,
      Statistically speaking, at least 93% of the BLM demonstrations involved no violence either against property or persons. Where there was violence, some of it was started by provocateurs, some was started by police or other gov’t employees, some was started by Antifa or anarchists, and some was started by BLM members. Those who started who were violent belong in jail. But over 93% of BLM demonstrations involved no violence.

  5. The dissident right will remain distrustful of conservative leadership as long as it stubbornly avoids issues raised by the likes of Nick Fuentes. These are very serious charges being laid against organized Jewry as a political force in the West — not against the state of Israel per se — and they are not being answered or acknowledged except with dismissal.

    How, for example, can we expect leaders to unite the right around issues like Israel and “sound borders”, when there is a large and growing faction that believes “unsound borders” is a Jewish policy position to begin with? Is anyone going to address such grievances in good faith, steelman them, refute them, and finally put them to bed?

    Unless and until this happens there will remain a lack of moral unity between the leadership and laity, and the erstwhile generals of the right — with all their intellect, organizational acumen and financial resources — will have no army to lead.

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