ISIS as a fascist movement

Middle East
on 49 Comments

It is time for us to use the term “fascism” when referring to al-Dawlah al-islamiyah fil-‘Iraq wal-Suriya (al-Dawlah al-Islamiyah or IS). Fascism, when used in the contexts of Muslims and Islamic movements, elicits “Islamofascism,” a loaded term, associating Islam with fascism, deployed with the specific intention to defame all Muslims, and Muslim religious practices. Islamofascism has been used to discredit an array of diverse political parties in the Middle East such as Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hizbullah. After the recent attacks in Paris, the term will provide an easy-short handed reference to justify further institutionalizing surveillance and targeting of Muslim Europeans, legally prosecuting domestic political opposition to Britain, France, and America’s policies in the Middle East (particularly those related to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement), and, as we have seen recently, limiting immigration from the Middle East and Africa.

With this in mind, I am proposing to consciously deploy the term “fascism” to understand IS as a fascist organization. To categorize “ISIS” as fascist allows us to understand it within a political lineage of Western fascist ideologies and locate it within a trend of militant, extremist right wing organizations rather than misidentifying it as an outgrowth of political Islam and legitimate political “Islamist” parties.

Al-Dawlah al-Islamiyah may share some pedigree with the most pernicious of Wahhabi, salafi social and political practices, which originated in a reaction against Arab and Ottoman generated modernity in the 19th and 20th century. While reactionary, salafi and Wahhabi movements are not fascist. They deploy a methodical array of juridical and theological practices based on traditional methodologies, canonical sources, and scholarly protocols within Sunni Islam that have been involved in debate with other forms of Sunnism (especially in regards to jurisprudence) for centuries. In addition to numerous salafi scholars who otherwise advocate for militant jihad, a recent study has show that the large amount of defectors from the ranks of IS leave precisely because of the “un-Islamic” practices of al-Dawlah al-Islamiyah.

Deploying “fascism” as an analytic concept allows us to acknowledge a number of fascist political, social, and militaristic practices that are particular to the Islamic State. The Kurdish media in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey have already identified IS as fascist offering us an anti-reactionary analytical term to fathom the political, ideological, and territorial battle in which they are embroiled.

A number of specific political characteristics distinguish IS as a fascist organization in contrast to other militant salafi groups including al-Qa’idah; the first of which is its territorial claims and the second is state-corporatism. Fascist ideology is inextricable from statism and territorialism and IS goals have been to institutionalize and regularize their fascist perversion of political Islam within Iraq and Syria. What we know of state building of al-Dawlah al-Islamiyah seems clearly based on corporatist, capitalist mechanisms, where the “state” and its war machine monopolize revenue through the oil infrastructure, extorted taxes, and tariffs. This corporatism is enforced by a security apparatuses and “Islamic” courts that administer a severe penal (not legal) system in order to coerce compliance.

The forced “marriage” (i.e., rape and abduction) of Muslim and non-Muslim women (whether they be Christians, Kurds, Druze, Sunni Arabs, Assyrian, or Yazidis), taken as “brides” or war “booty” is hardly inspired by pre-modern Muslim armies. The IS’s practices of abducting, forcibly “marrying,” and raping underage girls and women are more akin to Nazi “joy divisions” and the Imperial Japanese Army’s brigade of “comfort women.”

The accusation of “anti-Semitism” has been used far too liberally in the recent decade to dismiss genuine criticism of Zionism and the policies of the State of Israel. However, the fascist Islamic State is truly anti-Semitic. Its call for death of Jews in France and their use of “Jews” as a trope in their political speeches unambiguously places anti-Semitism as central to their ideological worldview.

Their hate for Jews is transnational and indiscriminate, completely divorced from the issue of Israel/Palestine. The public execution of the young Palestinian Muhammad Said Ismail Musallam inaugurated the Islamic State into a brotherhood with other truly fascist paramilitary groups in the Middle East (from Judeofascist settlers in the Occupied West Bank who burn Palestinians alive and Avigdor Lieberman who called for the beheading of disloyal Palestinian Israelis, to the Christiofascist Lebanese Forces’ massacres of Palestinians).

The execution of Musallam, in March 2015, embodies a number of fascist practices of IS. It confirms the conscription, militarization, and indoctrination of children into paramilitary groups. The intense ideological indoctrination used with children in military brigades distinguishes from other forms of child slavery and forced child conscription and is consistent with the Hitler Youth. This is not to mention the reports of enlisting children to commit acts of execution. The IS youth groups demonstrate the Islamic States’ intent is not “home guard” but, rather, to reengineer Syrian and Iraqi society, just as it was the desire of the Nazis.

The public executions of Musallam, Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, and Jordanians, as well as Americans, British, and Japanese, are examples of the Islamic State’s mastery of fascist spectacle. Spectacles are arranged around executions, demolition, and book burnings. Their chain-sawing a three-thousand year old monumental Assyrian lamassu in the Mosul Museum and the bulldozing of Nimrud and Palmyra clearly demonstrate that, for all the claimed iconoclasm of the group, they have as full command of the power of spectacle as did any fascist regime. Their public executions of Sunni and Shiite Arabs and foreigners are carefully scripted, choreographed and staged. Likewise, the Caliphate itself is another perfect example where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi speeches and rare public appearances carefully manage and craft the cult of a personality that is more ideology than theology.

Legal judgments, which are carried out publically, violate procedures of even the strictest school of Islamic jurisprudence, any of which provide an equivalence to due process and protection against hearsay evidence and false-accusations. Al-Dawlah al-Islamiyah creates these fascist spectacles to establish power, fear, and order within their territory while simultaneously using them as psychological operations against their domestic and foreign enemies. The Islamic State is fascist because it intentionally misapplies Islamic hudud codes, shar’iah and holy script in order to establish its social and political order. In the process, it has collapsed religiosity into the trappings of a hyper-exaggerated, even Orientalist, and Islamophobic, parody of political Islam.

The Islamic State, like the Nazi racial program, is intent on eradicating any and all vestiges of impurity and heterodoxy, even within Sunnism. It sees itself not as Muslim, but as the only Muslims. Their emphasis on purity is a fascist trope, instrumentalizing the desire to wipe out Sunnis and Christian Arabs along with all Shiites, especially Hizbullah, who, along with the Kurds, have dealt the IS its soundest defeats in Syria.

I am arguing that we use fascism to address IS, in order to transform it into an imperative analytical concept. The affinity between fascism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism is already recognized by those communities fighting them as expressed by those Muslim Norwegians who circled a synagogue in Oslo in February, chanting “No to anti-Semitism, no to Islamophobia.” In the wake of the Paris and Beirut bombings of innocent civilians, such an analysis and chant seem ever more relevant.

About Stephen Sheehi

Stephen Sheehi is the Sultan Qaboos bin Said Professor of Middle East Studies at the College of William and Mary. He is the author of Imago: A Social History of Indigenous Photography 1860-1910 (forthcoming, 2016), Islamophobia: The Ideological Campaign Against Muslims (2011) and Foundations of Modern Arab Identity (2004).

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49 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    November 18, 2015, 11:12 am

    So, ISIS is (I approve the analysis) “actually fascist” but not “actually Islamic” (except by false claims), whereas many other Islamic movements are “actually Islamic” but not “actually fascist”. It’s good to learn that Kurds have made these distinctions.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      November 18, 2015, 5:05 pm

      I don’t know enough about Islamic State to assess whether it is fascist. However, it is inconsistent to oppose use of the term Islamo-fascist because it might be interpreted as condemnatory of Islam but then to use the terms Judeo-fascist and Christio-fascist, which could similarly be interpreted as condemnatory of Judaism and Christianity.

  2. Bandolero
    November 18, 2015, 11:35 am

    Stephen

    While I completely agree with you that ISIS is a truely fascist movement in islamic garb, I think you are wrong about the Wahhabi movement. The Wahhabi movement has the very same ideology as ISIS has and it’s just as fascism in Islamic garb as ISIS is. In fact ISIS just copied it’s ideology from the classical teachings of the Saudi wahhabi movement as it’s taught common children in Saudi wahhabi schools.

    By the way: ISIS is not al-Dawlah al-islamiyah fil-‘Iraq wal-Suriya, but al-Dawlah al-islamiyah fil-‘Iraq wa-sh Sham, therefore the arabic acronym Daesh.

    • diasp0ra
      November 18, 2015, 11:54 am

      I have to agree here, much of the militant terrorist groups today are inspired by Wahhabism and its takfiri approach to those who differ in opinion. It’s the same school of thought that incubated Al-Qaeda, which ISIS is a break off of.

      Also, the correction to the name is also correct. Al-Sham is basically not just Syria as we understand it today, the national state of Syria, but Syria in Arabic used to refer to all of the Levant, i.e. greater Syria.

  3. YoniFalic
    November 18, 2015, 12:39 pm

    Below is The Doctrine of Fascism by Mussolini. Does it really correlate with the ISIS program, which seems to represent no more than the anger of a lot of people, who know Islamic terminology better than they know Western political terminology?

    https://ia600407.us.archive.org/7/items/DoctrineOfFascism/doc.pdf

    Fascism had a genuine economic program and represented a response to Marxism, but neither the program nor the response make any sense today. The Doctrine is explicitly anti-racist and corresponds very closely to the ideology of the Strasser faction of the German Nazi Party.

    Below is der jüdische Volkssozialismus written by Arlosoroff and published by Hapoel Hatzair (The Young Worker). It is an explicit statement of racist fascism to which Ben-Gurion and his colleagues subscribed. Because of the racist nature of Arlosoroff’s ideology, the Zionist left worker movement was far closer to German Nazism than Mussolini was.

    http://booksnow1.scholarsportal.info/ebooks/oca2/3/derjdischevolk00arlouoft/derjdischevolk00arlouoft.pdf

    I read it last year, but while it is helpful in understanding Zionist history, it is less helpful in explaining current Israeli politics because followers of Jabotinsky dominate Israel’s politics today, and Jabotinsky’s politics was Hitlerian as Ben-Gurion forcefully pointed out.

    Calling ISIS fascist explains nothing. Calling modern Israel Nazi explains a lot.

  4. JLewisDickerson
    November 18, 2015, 1:00 pm

    RE: “l-Dawlah al-Islamiyah may share some pedigree with the most pernicious of Wahhabi, salafi social and political practices, which originated in a reaction against Arab and Ottoman generated modernity in the 19th and 20th century.” ~ Stephen Sheehi

    MY COMMENT: Now is a great time to read “Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam” (by Robert Dreyfuss) if you have not already done so.
    I’m currently reading it, and it is truly sickening. England/Britain and the U.S. greatly encouraged fundamentalist Islam to undermine secular Arab states!

    Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (American Empire Project)
    Hardcover – October 13, 2005
    by Robert Dreyfuss (Author)

    The first complete account of America’s most dangerous foreign policy miscalculation: sixty years of support for Islamic fundamentalism.

    Devil’s Game is the gripping story of America’s misguided efforts, stretching across decades, to dominate the strategically vital Middle East by courting and cultivating Islamic fundamentalism. Among all the books about Islam, this is the first comprehensive inquiry into the touchiest issue: How and why did the United States encourage and finance the spread of radical political Islam?

    Backed by extensive archival research and interviews with dozens of policy makers and CIA, Pentagon, and foreign service officials, Robert Dreyfuss argues that this largely hidden relationship is greatly to blame for the global explosion of terrorism. He follows the trail of American collusion from support for the Muslim Brotherhood in 1950s Egypt to links with Khomeini and Afghani jihadists to cooperation with Hamas and Saudi Wahhabism. Dreyfuss also uncovers long-standing ties between radical Islamists and the leading banks of the West. The result is as tragic as it is paradoxical: originally deployed as pawns to foil nationalism and communism, extremist mullahs and ayatollahs now dominate the region, thundering against freedom of thought, science, women’s rights, secularism–and their former patron.

    Wide-ranging and deeply informed, Devil’s Game reveals a history of double-dealing, cynical exploitation, and humiliating embarrassment. What emerges is a pattern that, far from furthering democracy or security, ensures a future of blunders and blowback.

    LINK – http://www.amazon.com/Devils-Game-Unleash-Fundamentalist-American/dp/0805076522

    • Keith
      November 18, 2015, 1:23 pm

      JLEWISDICKERSON- “England/Britain and the U.S. greatly encouraged fundamentalist Islam to undermine secular Arab states!”

      Include Israel as well. US/Israel have consistently worked to promote fundamentalist Islam at the expense of secular regimes, then to “lament” the rise of religious fundamentalism and lack of secular democracy, a consequence of their policies. The Middle East is a mess because of us. However, I seriously doubt that this is some sort of mistake, the current internal conflicts seem to me much too beneficial to imperial hegemonic stratagems.

      • Antidote
        November 18, 2015, 5:03 pm

        unlike the US, Israel did not in any way support the fundamentalist Islamic state of Saudi Arabia. In fact, the last great schism between Israel and the US, prior to the more recent fallout over Iran, involved Israeli opposition to US arms sales toSA.

        and prior to the US, GB and France did everthing they could to lay the foundations of the current mess.

        I am not sure at all there was a grand plan behind is. Stupidity and great power arrogance and racism, more likely.

        has anyone actually read the lyrics of the Marsaillaise ? If this militaristic, racist and revolutionary garbage was sung in a language more people outside France understood people woul be shocked.

        we keep hearing that the recent attacks were the worst since WW Ii.

        not so. twice as many french algerians protesting against the hideous colonial regime were tortured and thrown into the Seine in the early 1960s

        but french algerians do not count . impure blood?

        the worst massacres in french history were the slaughter of protestant huguenots in the early modern period by catholic france

        and more frenchmen, rich and poor, were beheaded and massacred during the great struggle for liberty blah blah

        just as more people were killed by the idiots who launched operation iraqi freedom than by isis or any other terrorist group

      • MHughes976
        November 18, 2015, 5:22 pm

        I share your disquiet about the Marseillaise, a hymn of hate if ever there was one. If the Germsns had that sort of affection for the Hymn of Hate against England I would shudder a bit.

      • Keith
        November 18, 2015, 6:58 pm

        ANTIDOTE- “unlike the US, Israel did not in any way support the fundamentalist Islamic state of Saudi Arabia.”

        Israel and Saudi Arabia have been de facto allies for at least several years, probably longer. This alliance gained visibility due to their mutual efforts to get the US to attack Iran, and their current efforts to destroy Syria.

      • RoHa
        November 18, 2015, 7:19 pm

        “If this militaristic, racist and revolutionary garbage was sung in a language more people outside France understood people woul be shocked. ”

        Actually, quite a few people outside France understand that language. Yes, it is a bit fierce, though I can’t see anything particularly racist about it.

        Great tune, though.

        Quite a few national anthems get a bit enthusiastic about fighting the enemies of the country. God Save The King/Queen used to include the verse

        Lord grant that Marshal Wade
        May by thy mighty aid
        Victory bring
        May he sedition hush
        And like a torrent rush
        Rebellious Scots to crush
        God save the King.

        Not often sung, nowadays. Perhaps it should be.

        But it also include the contradictory verse:

        Not in this land alone
        But be God’s mercies known
        From shore to shore
        Lord make the nations see
        That men should brothers be
        And form one family
        The wide world over.

        And my favourite:

        O Lord our God arise
        Scatter her enemies
        And make them fall
        Confound their politics
        Frustrate their knavish tricks
        On Thee our hopes we fix
        God save us all.

        God save us all indeed.

      • JLewisDickerson
        November 18, 2015, 10:48 pm

        RE: “[A]nd prior to the US, GB and France did everthing they could to lay the foundations of the current mess.” ~ Antidote

        SEE: “Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam”, By Mark Curtis, Reviewed by Kim Sengupta, The Independent, 7/30/10

        [EXCERPTS] For years, violent Islamist groups were allowed to settle in Britain, using the country as a base to carry out attacks abroad. This was tolerated in the belief that they would not bomb the country where they lived and that, as long as they are here, the security service would be able to infiltrate them. At the same time mosque after mosque was taken over through intimidation by the fundamentalists. Police and others in authority refused pleas from moderate Muslims with the excuse that they did not want to interfere.
        There was even a name for this amoral accommodation: the “covenant of security”. We now know that jihadists will indeed blow up their home country and that the security agencies signally failed to infiltrate the terrorist cells while they had the chance.
        The part played by officials in the growth of terrorism in Britain is a relatively small-scale affair compared to what went on abroad. Successive UK governments had nurtured and promoted extremists for reasons of realpolitik often at a terrible cost to the population of those countries. Mark Curtis, in his book on “Britain’s collusion with radical Islam”, charts this liaison. He points out how reactionary and violent Muslim groups were used against secular nationalists at the time of empire and continued afterwards to back UK and Western interests.
        The price for this is now being paid at home and abroad. I am writing this review in Helmand, where a few days ago I went on an operation with British and Afghan troops against insurgents whose paymasters, across the border in Pakistan, have been the beneficiaries of US and British largesse.
        Curtis points out that two of the most active Islamist commanders carrying out attacks in Afghanistan, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalalludin Haqqani, had particularly close contacts with the UK in the past. Hekmatyar met Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street when he was a favourite of MI6 and the CIA in the war against the Russians. Haqqani, while not the “Taliban’s overall military commander fighting the British” as Curtis says (he runs his own network parallel to the Taliban), was viewed as a highly useful tool in that conflict.
        The Western use of the Mujaheddin as proxy fighters is well documented. It resulted in the spawning of al-Qa’ida, the spread of international terrorism, and the empowering of ISI, the Pakistani secret police, who became their sponsors. Curtis examines the lesser known by-products of this jihad: the dispatch of Afghan Islamist veterans, with the connivance of Britain and the US, to the wars in the Balkans and the former Soviet republics in central Asia, and ethnic Muslim areas of China. Vast sums of money from the West’s great ally, Saudi Arabia, helped fund the Reagan administration’s clandestine war in support of repressive military juntas in Latin America while, at the same time, buttressing the aggressive Wahabi faith embraced by many terrorist groups.
        The use of hardline Islam by the West was particularly prevalent at the time of the Cold War. In many instances, however, the targets for destabilisation were not Communist regimes but leaders who had adopted left-wing policies deemed to pose a threat to Western influence and interests.
        The UK attempted to combat “virus of Arab nationalism”, after Gamal Abdel Nasser came to power in Egypt and nationalised the Suez Canal, by forging links with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation involved in terrorism. The nationalisation of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company by the democratically elected Iranian government of Mohammed Mossadeq led to a British-American organised coup which was facilitated by Ayatollah Seyyed Kashani, one of whose followers was the young Ruhollah Khomeini. In Indonesia, the removal of Ahmed Sukarno in another military coup by the UK-US was carried out with the help of Darul Islam. Its followers went on to massacre socialists and trade unionists.
        In each of these cases the clandestine backing of Britain and the US strengthened Islamist groups at the expense of secular bodies and moderate Muslims. These groups then went to form terrorist groups whom the West would later have to confront in the “War on Terror”. . .

        ENTIRE BOOK REVIEW – http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/secret-affairs-by-mark-curtis-2038691.html

        “Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam” by Mark Curtis @ Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Affairs-Britains-Collusion-Radical/dp/1846687640

        “WEB OF DECEIT: BRITAIN’S REAL FOREIGN POLICY: BRITAIN’S REAL ROLE IN THE WORLD” Paperback – Import, 2003
        by MARK CURTIS (Author) – http://www.amazon.com/WEB-DECEIT-BRITAINS-FOREIGN-POLICY/dp/0099448394

      • Marnie
        November 19, 2015, 12:08 am

        “has anyone actually read the lyrics of the Marsaillaise”

        Note: The four stanzas between ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ are no longer sung today.

        Let’s go children of the fatherland,
        The day of glory has arrived!
        Against us tyranny’s
        Bloody flag is raised! (repeat)
        In the countryside, do you hear
        The roaring of these fierce soldiers?
        They come right to our arms
        To slit the throats of our sons, our friends!

        Refrain

        Grab your weapons, citizens!
        Form your batallions!
        Let us march! Let us march!
        May impure blood
        Water our fields!

        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

        This horde of slaves, traitors, plotting kings,
        What do they want?
        For whom these vile shackles,
        These long-prepared irons? (repeat)
        Frenchmen, for us, oh! what an insult!
        What emotions that must excite!
        It is us that they dare to consider
        Returning to ancient slavery!

        What! These foreign troops
        Would make laws in our home!
        What! These mercenary phalanxes
        Would bring down our proud warriors! (repeat)
        Good Lord! By chained hands
        Our brows would bend beneath the yoke!
        Vile despots would become
        The masters of our fate!

        Tremble, tyrants! and you, traitors,
        The disgrace of all groups,
        Tremble! Your parricidal plans
        Will finally pay the price! (repeat)
        Everyone is a soldier to fight you,
        If they fall, our young heros,
        France will make more,
        Ready to battle you!

        Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors,
        Bear or hold back your blows!
        Spare these sad victims,
        Regretfully arming against us. (repeat)
        But not these bloodthirsty despots,
        But not these accomplices of Bouillé,
        All of these animals who, without pity,
        Tear their mother’s breast to pieces!

        ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

        Sacred love of France,
        Lead, support our avenging arms!
        Liberty, beloved Liberty,
        Fight with your defenders! (repeat)
        Under our flags, let victory
        Hasten to your manly tones!
        May your dying enemies
        See your triumph and our glory!

        Refrain

        We will enter the pit
        When our elders are no longer there;
        There, we will find their dust
        And the traces of their virtues. (repeat)
        Much less eager to outlive them
        Than to share their casket,
        We will have the sublime pride
        Of avenging them or following them!

        Refrain

        Translated by Laura K. Lawless

        La Marseillaise
        “La Marseillaise” (Arc de Triomphe)
        The Departure of the Volunteers of 1792

        The 4 stanzas no longer sung is one thing, but the refrain “May impure blood water our fields!” still is.

        Has anyone ever sung the entirety of the Star Spangled Banner? I never realized there was more to it than the first part. It’s not as graphic in its violence, but the same powerful imagery as the Marseillaise.

        The Star-Spangled Banner – Francis Scott Key

        O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
        What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
        Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
        O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
        And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
        Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
        O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
        O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

        On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
        Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
        What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
        As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
        Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
        In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
        ’Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
        O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

        And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
        That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
        A home and a Country should leave us no more?
        Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
        No refuge could save the hireling and slave
        From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
        And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
        O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

        O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
        Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
        Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
        Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
        Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
        And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
        And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
        O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    • JLewisDickerson
      November 18, 2015, 4:53 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas”, By Andrew Higgins, The Wall Street Journal, 01/24/09

      [EXCERPT] Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor’s bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile’s trajectory back to an “enormous, stupid mistake” made 30 years ago.
      “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.
      Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. . .
      . . . When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and ’80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel. The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools. Crucially, Israel often stood aside when the Islamists and their secular left-wing Palestinian rivals battled, sometimes violently, for influence in both Gaza and the West Bank.
      “When I look back at the chain of events I think we made a mistake,” says David Hacham, who worked in Gaza in the late 1980s and early ’90s as an Arab-affairs expert in the Israeli military. “But at the time nobody thought about the possible results.” . . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123275572295011847.html

  5. JLewisDickerson
    November 18, 2015, 2:04 pm

    RE: “The public executions of Musallam, Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, and Jordanians, as well as Americans, British, and Japanese, are examples of the Islamic State’s mastery of fascist spectacle. Spectacles are arranged around executions, demolition, and book burnings.” ~ Stephen Sheehi

    The role of the Brownshirts

    The Blackshirts

    Mussolini in Color – Sneak Peek

  6. HarryLaw
    November 18, 2015, 4:52 pm

    Muslims of whatever sect, Christians and Jews in fact any religion or secular group that does not follow the Islamic States ideology are apostates deserving death. The Wahhabi ideology which Saudi Arabia has been exporting all over the world is closest to the thinking of these fanatics. They are not open to negotiation, they will not compromise, they have to be defeated, thankfully Putin is doing what the US has manifestly refused to do for several years [for geopolitical reasons i.e, regime change] .
    Many thanks JLD for linking ‘Devil’s game’, sounds like a must read.

  7. MHughes976
    November 18, 2015, 5:15 pm

    The BBC reports that a Jewish teacher in Marseille has been stabbed – no doubt in conscious imitation of certain actions in Israel – by three men who claimed to be Islamic State supporters. His life is not, thank God, considered to be in danger. So here we have anti-Semitism in quite intense form.

    • ivri
      November 18, 2015, 6:17 pm

      @MH
      You have touched upon the crux issue here (it is ridiculous, as some above try, to check whether the fascism definition, if one at all exists, applies here – that is the last thing that matter now). The key point is that there is a fundamental asymmetry here, which is simply unsustainable.
      One side accuses others of bigotry, Islamophobia, whereas it feels free to exercise it against others (as, but not only, Jews). One side complains about violence against it, or being subject to collective punishment, yet uses random killing as almost a normal tool: if there are some grievances then the way to vented it out is to go and finding at random people from the opposite group and summarily execute them.
      This cannot work for long and failed throughout the Middle-East – the obvious consequences are all around it – and therefore the real question is: are we witnessing now the actual start of importing that anomaly into the European arena?

      • eljay
        November 19, 2015, 8:10 am

        || ivri: … The key point is that there is a fundamental asymmetry here, which is simply unsustainable. One side accuses others of bigotry, Islamophobia, whereas it feels free to exercise it against others (as, but not only, Jews). … ||

        One side accuses others of bigotry, anti-Semitism, whereas it feels free to exercise it against others (as, but non only, non-Jews). I agree that that is unsustainable.

        || … One side complains about violence against it, or being subject to collective punishment, yet uses random killing as almost a normal tool … ||

        One side complains about violence against it, or being subject to BDS, yet commits mass murder and devastation using high-tech weaponry and banned munitions as a matter of policy.

        All forms of terrorism – including Jewish terrorism – are unjust and immoral and all must be condemned.

      • MHughes976
        November 19, 2015, 4:15 pm

        I quite agree that the use of high-tech weaponry, with its from-a-distance, collateral damage inducing nature, against a large mass of people, is violence without discrimination. Those who practise this kind of. violence have some explaining to do when they call for discrimination in other contexts.
        I agree with ivri that the Paris attacks represent the arrival (though it’s not for the first time) of the belief that everyone except for a revolutionary few has lost, or never had,,the right to life: no discrimination. I am not sure that the exponents of this belief are the same people as do call for discrimination in other contexts. Ivri doesn’t make it entirely clear how he identifies the ‘sides’ – is one of them Palestinians plus all or most supporters?

    • Kris
      November 18, 2015, 8:35 pm

      @MHughes976: “So here we have anti-Semitism in quite intense form.”

      Is this really anti-Semitism? Israel claims to act on behalf of all Jews, deliberately conflating Jews and Zionist Israelis.

      Why assume that these men who stabbed the Jewish teacher are acting out of hatred of Jews as a racial, religious, or cultural group, rather than hatred of Zionist Israelis? Wouldn’t that be like assuming that an Iraqi man who attacked a Chinese American was motivated by racial prejudice against Chinese people, rather than by anger at U.S. destruction of Iraq?

      • Bandolero
        November 18, 2015, 11:08 pm

        Kris

        Yes, it is anti-semitism. The ISIS people see the world in a sectarian way. They see their terror as war of true muslims (ie wahhabi-salafis) against heretics (Shia), sahwat (rival wahhabi jihadi groups, apostates, Sunnis not following their Wahhabi perversion of Islam), infidels (eg Yezides), and jews and christians and vice versa. They don’t distinguish between Zionists and non-Zionists. They just wage “war” – terror – against “the jews”. And they neither distinguish between French Christian Imperialists or French Christian Non-Imperialists, they just attack French Crusaders, meaning anyone French, and so on.

      • yonah fredman
        November 19, 2015, 1:02 am

        attention annie robbins- kris’s comment here is precisely what I was referring to when I referred to comments (in the aftermath of the hyper cacher kosher store) that excuse killing Jews in Europe. You are not on the same page as kris- but Kris’s comment here precisely epitomizes the type of comments to which i was referring.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 19, 2015, 10:41 am

        yonah, let’s review:

        Is this really anti-Semitism? Israel claims to act on behalf of all Jews, deliberately conflating Jews and Zionist Israelis.

        Why assume that these men who stabbed the Jewish teacher are acting out of hatred of Jews as a racial, religious, or cultural group, rather than hatred of Zionist Israelis?

        this is a question, it is not “an excuse”. It also provided an opportunity for other commenters to explain to kris why this act (which i have not reviewed) was anti semitic. please find another example to “precisely epitomizes the type of comments to which i was referring.”

        better yet, just use the archives, go to the many threads covering the other paris attacks, and copy a comment matching the description.

      • oldgeezer
        November 19, 2015, 8:19 am

        @Kris

        Even if acting on a hatred of zionist Israeli’s, attacking a Jewish teacher in Marseille, would be a classic case of antisemitism.

        While the GoI might bear some responsibility, by it’s actions and conflation of itself with all Jewish people that doesn’t excuse the perps.

        In Toronto a Muslim woman was targetted and assaulted.
        http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/muslim-woman-allegedly-attacked-toronto-1.3322298

        And in Montreal a 24 year old was arrested after he threatened to kill one Muslim per week.

        http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/montreal-police-arrest-man-mask-joker-muslims-1.3324089

        No shortage of adherents to the blind stupid hatred brigade.

      • MHughes976
        November 19, 2015, 8:22 am

        Thanks for the question, Kris. I thought that it must take an element of prejudice (in this case anti-Jewish) to set upon an individual without knowing him personally, even though it is rational to object to the cruelty of Isrsel and rational to suppose that a Jewish person is more likely than just anyone to give Israel his support. That’s not enough to make the selection of the individual for attack a rational one.
        The question of prejudice in the motive is different from the question of excess or atrocity in the action.
        I do want to acknowledge anti-S in individual cases whilst also arguing, as I did over Mr.Oren’s synagogue, allegedly Kahanist and attacked around 1970, that there is not even the beginning of a rational or statistical argument ‘from insecurity’ for Jewish people to abandon the West. There’s the rather different argument that things are about to change and that we will soon have wars of religion on our streets, but I don’t believe that either.
        Meanwhile, also in Marseille, a young Muslim woman has been punched and cut around the face. Perhaps that should shake my confidence but I’m sure most non-Muslims will react in a ‘not in my name’ manner.

      • Kris
        November 19, 2015, 12:05 pm

        @yonah fredman: “comments (in the aftermath of the hyper cacher kosher store) that excuse killing Jews in Europe.”

        Yonah, instead of making assumptions about what people are saying, try reading more carefully. I did not “excuse” killing Jews or anyone else. I asked why we would assume an attack on a Jew is necessarily because the attacker hates Jews.

        That is, could there be another motive? When a Jew is attacked in any way, is it always because he is a Jew? Are Jews never attacked for any reason other than being Jewish? That is not the same as saying the victim deserved to be attacked. Trying to understand why someone does something is not the same as excusing what he has done.

        For example, when you attack me, are you reacting to what I have written, or do you have an unreasoning hatred of me because I am a Christian, or because you think I am a person of color, or because I’m a woman?

      • YoniFalic
        November 19, 2015, 12:39 pm

        Zionism has given “jewishness” the meaning of “support for racist genocidal 19th century colonialism, invasion, and theft”. Who should we blame that the vast majority of the human race with a good deal of justice view an open expression of Judaism today as not much different from sporting Nazi swastikas or the Confederate Stars and Bars?

        When racist genocide supporters screech anti-Semitism in situations like this latest attack, I always think of this scene from Die Hard with a Vengeance.

      • Mooser
        November 19, 2015, 3:56 pm

        I think the Zionist proclivity for telling people which questions they can and cannot ask, and what conclusions they can and cannot draw, and what judgements they can or cannot make, is very self-defeating. And Zionists are always stressing how persecuted they are, so where do they think they get the power to do those things? I’ll never figure it out.

      • YoniFalic
        November 22, 2015, 12:00 pm

        I saw this cartoon which describes the ongoing effort to control discourse.

        https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1PzrttiPfjMNWZpVmVZTlFVQnM/view?usp=sharing

        There does seem to be something Medieval about this behavior.

        In Medieval seminaries or modern Yeshivas one is only allowed to ask certain questions, and one is only allowed to give certain answers.

        I wonder whether the same situation obtains in a madrasah Islāmīyah (مدرسة إسلامية‎) or Islamic school.

  8. HarryLaw
    November 18, 2015, 5:34 pm

    The US has been supporting so called “moderate’ terrorists in Syria for years, the Free Syrian Army are also Islamist extremists who co operate and sell arms to other not so moderate terrorists, the person who ate the heart/liver of a Syrian soldier was FSA. John McCain wants to arm them with stinger missiles
    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Media reported earlier in October that Syrian rebels asked Washington for Stinger missiles to use them against Russia’s military jets.

    “Absolutely… Absolutely I would,” McCain said when asked whether he would support the delivery of Stinger missiles to the opposition in Syria.

    “We certainly did that in Afghanistan. After the Russians invaded Afghanistan, we provided them with surface-to-air capability. It’d be nice to give people that we train and equip and send them to fight the ability to defend themselves. That’s one of the fundamental principles of warfare as I understand it,” McCain said. http://sputniknews.com/us/20151020/1028835944/us-stingers-missiles-syrian-rebels-mccain.html What if those stingers permanently closed down Ben Gurion airport or other airports in the Arab world? McCain is delusional, he should be arrested as a traitor.

    • RoHa
      November 18, 2015, 7:40 pm

      “he should be arrested as a traitor.”

      People have been saying that ever since he got back from Vietnam.

    • eljay
      November 19, 2015, 7:39 am

      “ … It’d be nice to give people … the ability to defend themselves. That’s one of the fundamental principles of warfare as I understand it,” McCain said …

      Mr. McCain supports arming the Palestinians. Good.

      Or is he just being a hypocrite yet again?

  9. HarryLaw
    November 19, 2015, 4:30 am

    That’s right RoHa, McCain is known to have sung like a canary when given special privileges at the Hanoi Hilton. Not calling him a coward of course, I probably would have done the same thing myself, only difference is, I don’t call myself, or let others call me ‘a war hero’. It is a good job the US passenger airline industry is only a small provincial and internal affair, no chance of them being blown out of the sky in the middle east by one of the groups McCain wants to supply stingers to, absolutely no chance.

    • DaBakr
      November 19, 2015, 8:33 pm

      @hl

      such a deceitful lie and based on the flimsiest scraps of gossip from some unnamed paper. -a stupid offer of a “$5000 [unpaid] bounty”. No tapes and only one nut-job rear-admiral’s quip that it ‘sounded like’ McCain. I don’t even like McCain on most of his US policy though he is a good friend to Israel. But branding him a lier and a traitor is a most vile charge against a prisoner who refused to be released until his prison mates were as well and has had much of his story backed by cellmates and north Vietnamese.
      Only somebody who has never served could spread such garbage and must believe any p.o.c. they read. Without any proof that he brought harm to his fellow inmates and tarnishing a long term severely wounded pow in a prison well known (and not necessarily denied by their Vietnamese captors) for its brutality in war-time (even if you sided with the NVA. Funny we don’t here any NV discerning McC) is as low as sludge in a sewer pipe.

      • HarryLaw
        November 20, 2015, 12:34 pm

        DaBakr, The reason I called him a traitor is because he wants to arm terrorists in Syria, no, there are no ‘good’ terrorists and ‘bad’ terrorists, they are all the same, and when blow back occurs and when US civilian and Israeli aircraft are blown out of the sky by the stinger missiles your hero John McCain wants to supply to terrorists in Syria, you may sing a different tune.

      • RoHa
        November 20, 2015, 7:26 pm

        Perhaps the Vietnam accusations against McCain are not true. I do not know. I know he has been accused of treason.

        But there are what appear to be genuine photos of McCain meeting some very dubious characters in Syria. These characters are prominent figures in the various al-Qaeda anti-Assad militias. The pictures do not show McCain eating part of a Syrian soldier, but he is certainly chummy with Abu Sakkar. (Antacid, anyone?)

        In short, then, McCain, and the U.S. Government, are equipping and supporting barbarous terrorists in order to overthrow an internationally recognized government. Perhaps this does not make him a a traitor to the American people, but he doesn’t seem to be nice man.

  10. Kay24
    November 19, 2015, 7:17 am

    So Netanyahu cannot go to Spain or South Africa. He is a war criminal now. He has become a pariah, and the world should shun him.

    Meanwhile he gets the red carpet treatment in the US by Congress.

    http://www.juancole.com/2015/11/warrants-israeli-netanyahu.html

  11. HarryLaw
    November 19, 2015, 8:49 am

    He may well have sang like one.

  12. ivri
    November 19, 2015, 5:11 pm

    I think all that is generally beside the point – ISIS is actually trying a new (or perhaps renewed and amplified) path, namely breaking ALL norms. The peculiar side of it is that there is no clear response to that in Europe given its openness and its mixed ethnic populations (in the big cities). The Eastern hemisphere (as China) is pretty much immune to that while the US and Israel, which are also targets to terror acts, already have a lot in place to fight it and even more critically are fundamentally far more belligerent and forceful in their response attitude (which is likely to be magnified in the US with the president).
    It is intriguing to see what would the Europeans do as this new global drama unfolds – will they sacrifice some of their cherished norms and if so what?

  13. DaBakr
    November 19, 2015, 8:18 pm

    It is very easy to agree that IS is fascist in practice more then it is Muslim but there is no denying that a radical interpretation of Islam is their core belief. They don’t chop heads because of some concept they made up to keep order. They claim to take their laws directly from the Quran as interpreted by scholars embracing a new modern form of jihad.
    It is NOT insulting – and should not be-to the millions and millions of Muslims worldwide who do not embrace such extreme views. The over-reactions by Muslim societies to western media-cum-propaganda (like the ridiculous and disastrous Mohammed cartoons/free-speech exercise. Muslim scholars should have brushed it off as juvenile, crude and meaningless) has done more to inflame fears in the western world that ‘Muslims’ support other Muslims-no matter and this in turn imbitters Muslims. Somebody should grow up-wether christian, jew or muslim.
    Mainstream Muslims (whatever that might be-though all it need be is Islam that doesn’t embrace the ideals of IS, AQ, Boko Haram etc.) should continue to speak out and push for media time. The Muslims in Paris (accompanied by some Jews too?) that went out into the streets with signs claiming:
    ‘I am Muslim. I am not a terrorist. I love France. Come hug me’ has probably done more to improve hyper-sensitive nerves then the tepid condemnations from Islamic leaders. Maybe it was just the western msm picking up on a feel-good story while ignoring Muslim voices in the wider Muslim world but this is how populist media works in changing the gullible masses minds. These few (2? 3?) Frenchmen managed to move more French and possibly Americans then
    much more ‘serious’ attempts to quell fears in the past.

    However-trying to seperate the fascist ideology form the islamic ideology that incorporates IS is futile and pointless. Gullible masses they may be but people are not that stupid. Who is going to buy that IS is ‘not Islamic’. And besides-people on MW as well as many Israelis have no problem identifying right-wing Israeli terror as “Jewish extremists”, Jewish Settler Terrorists and more.

    • Annie Robbins
      November 20, 2015, 11:35 am

      And besides-people on MW as well as many Israelis have no problem identifying right-wing Israeli terror as “Jewish extremists”, Jewish Settler Terrorists and more.

      what about making a new label for judeo extremist philosophy (like conflating extreme islam w/islamist) say judeoist judeoist-extremism. and we could just call them judeoists for short. we could repeat the word ad nauseam and get a late night show host who was obsessed w/the judeoists and reference them all the time. new atheists could go on and on saying it wasn’t anti semitic could obsess on the judeoists. i mean, instead of just calling them zionists or jewish (both having secular connotations). if the discussion around judeoists extremism — the term itself — more closely identified with judaism itself don’t you think it might be more honest at least? since, as you said:

      there is no denying that a radical interpretation of judaism Islam is their core belief.

      so what do you say? are you in for the judeoists extremism label. or judeoists fundamentalism? and even if jews object to this labeling that won’t matter because all the non jewish expert on judaism (which will become sort of an industry of sorts with official think tanks cropping up all over packed w/anti zionist political analysis who are also experts on judaism and judeoists). fun … no?

      or what about just radical judaism?

      or maybe radical judaist-jihadist?

      • DaBakr
        November 21, 2015, 4:30 pm

        @an

        go for it. none of those terms offends me. radical Judaism it is. But Jewish extremists seems to be the most definitive.

  14. Mooser
    November 20, 2015, 12:37 pm

    “what about making a new label for judeo extremist philosophy”

    Annie, as “dabakr” suggests, there’s no need for a new name.

    As he says, we can just call ““Jewish extremists”, Jewish Settler Terrorists and more” well, … simply, “Jewish”.

    He seems to like that idea. I wonder why.

    • Annie Robbins
      November 20, 2015, 4:03 pm

      or settlers is just so benign. what about hilltop youth! let’s go play basketball kids.

  15. YoniFalic
    November 21, 2015, 8:30 am

    In The Jewish Radical Right: Revisionist Zionism and Its Ideological Legacy (Studies on Israel) Eran Kaplan calls the ideology (politicized) ethnic monism, which is just a more extreme version of the (politicized) ethnic fundamentalism that Claudia Koonz describes in The Nazi Conscience.

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