The Neocon-Islamist Dynamic


Andrew Sprung reflects on a dangerous development in the last decade:

Well, yes, hardened jihadists' enmity toward the U.S. and Israel is unappeasable. Israelis and Palestinians could be as good neighbors as Swedes and Danes and jihad hatred would not relent. But the question is not what moves confirmed jihadists but what moves angry young men into hardened jihadism, and what moves millions of people who would never pick up a gun or strap on a bomb to varying degrees of sympathy with preachers of hatred. Throughout the Muslim world, the entrenched antisemitism and attendant assumption that the US is largely controlled by Israel are powerful stimulants.  Evidence that the U.S. meaningfully opposes some Israeli actions would drain some of that poison.

A two-state settlement would drain more -- as Wieseltier acknowledges. As for the impact of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib on Muslim perceptions of the U.S. -- the evidence is everywhere that U.S. detainee abuse has shaped and dominated perceptions of the U.S. throughout most of the Muslim world  The fact that committed jihadists will never be appeased by U.S. or Israeli actions is beside the point. In fact they relish and try to provoke U.S. actions that feed their "crusader" narrative.  Neocons also try to provoke such actions. By their rhetoric and by their late influence in the Bush Administration they play into jihadists' hands.

(Photo: An unidentified relative of Hamas fighter Mohammed al-Kintani mourns during his funeral in Gaza City on January 14, 2009. Israel bombed smuggling tunnels and battled fighters in Gaza as UN chief Ban Ki-moon arrived in the region seeking to end the war on Hamas that has killed nearly 1,000 Palestinians. By Mahmud Hams/Getty.)