With American Friends Like This, Who Needs Enemies?

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While the AFSC makes a fetish of Quaker values of nonviolence, it has always been an arm of the left. Long ago its political alliances on the left transformed the AFSC into fellow travelers of the Communist Party. When the AFSC appears on posters alongside the Workers World Party, it’s no different than the old ties between the AFSC and the Communist Party of the United States.

The AFSC’s road to legitimizing terrorist violence traveled a convoluted route. What began as y dogmatic pacifism that denied war was ever the answer, leading the AFSC to conduct an anti-war campaign during WW2, became a more nuanced refusal to condemn what the left considered to be the violence of the oppressed.

By the 1970’s, the American Friends Service Committee had legitimized terrorism and discarded the veneer of non-violence. In a pamphlet titled, “Non-Violence: Not First For Export”,  leading AFSC figure, James E. Bristol wrote, “before we deplore terrorism, it is essential for us to recognize whose ‘terrorism’ came first.”

With that the AFSC adopted the position of the far-left, privileging violence depending on its origin, and terminating the moral authority of its pacifism. The program laid out in that pamphlet treated non-violence not as a universal mandate, but as a weapon to be directed against the United States and its allies: “Instead of trying to devise nonviolent strategy and tactics for revolutionaries in other lands, we will bend every effort to defuse militarism in our own land and to secure the withdrawal of American economic investment in oppressive regimes in other parts of the world.”

The AFSC had started out as an anti-war organization, but Bristol used Marxist doctrine to redefine the status quo as a form of violence and terrorism as the survival reflex of people who have no choice but to resist the status quo. The victims of violence had become the perpetrators and the perpetrators had become the victims.

Under this formula, the existence of Israel is a form of violence. Even by passively existing, the Israeli walking down the street is carrying out a violent act. An Israeli girl in a café  in Sderot is guiltier than a Hamas terrorist pulling the trigger, because as part of the status quo, she is an oppressor, while the terrorist is a resistance fighter.

The corruption of Quaker values into left wing radicalism defines the AFSC. Like the radicals who took over its Arab institutions, it is now Quaker in name only. And its commitment to non-violence also exists in name only.  Its dark path from true nonviolence has led it to a war against Israel.

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  • Pathena

    See Gunter Lewy, Peace and Revolution, about how traditional peace groups had become supporters of violent revolution. Also, see H. D. Kirk's monograph, Friendly Perversion.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      yup all worthwhile

  • keoke888

    According to the Truth Prevention Specialists at AFSC, Francois Genoud is an oppressed freedom fighter, and non-Muslims in the Middle East is violence?

  • effemall

    One should welcome such organizations, as AFSC, shedding non-violence because that makes them fair game for counter-violence which is what they deserve and which is what they will eventually meet.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      They still remain behind the camouflage of violence, like most of the Western left, they rely on Muslim and south of the border Marxist terrorists to do the violent part for them.

    • mlcblog

      I was saddened and somewhat shocked in the 1960's to learn up close in meetings that the AFSC was frankly and totally procommunist, more so than many other organizations by far. So it does not surprise me to see them taking up with another anit-American force, terrorists of any type.

      Perhaps their roots were once noble, as in conscientious objection to war and helping victims of war back in WW1 (1917) but they sure strayed, or did they? They are still presenting themselves as the Society of Friends.Ever so objective, ever so innocent and trustworthy. I think not. It may have always been a front.

      • Daniel Greenfield

        Their roots leaned socialist then, they just discarded the pacifism. Like a lot of the religious left, they're just a pro-communist, pro-terrorist group that puts on a self-righteous act.

  • tanstaafl

    "Evil exist because good people do nothing." – Edmund Burke (I think).

    • UCSPanther

      I think it's "Evil only prevails when good men do nothing"

      • Daniel Greenfield

        There are variations all loosely derived from a different Burkean phrase.

  • Brujo Blanco

    His group has been supporting the enemies of our country since Viet Nam. The writer is correct: they are Quakers in name only. When are we going to start taking action against our true enemies?

  • Questions

    At one point in his movie, "Sleeper," Woody Allen's character joked that he was a peaceful man — that he was once beaten up by Quakers. Unfortunately, at the rate the AFSC is going, such violence one day may be real.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Not just one day, I suspect when some of these people show up at rallies they get fairly angry.

  • curmudgeon

    when pennsylvania was under attack by various western tribes, the quakers sided with the tribes, and did everything they could to prevent the pennsylvanian government from defending its citizens from slaughter. however, when misguided but vengeful whites undertook to murder the peaceful christian conestogues, the quakers did nothing to help the victime of genocide. do not place your trust in quakers, history asserts. nonviolence sounds good, until it meets muslims, who will slap that other cheek, and cut the throat for good measure. it would be ok if it was just the quakers getting their throats cut, it might be a learning experience for them. unfortunately, they dont mind watching their friends get their throats cut, or get locked up in a building and burned to death.

    • curmudgeon

      btw, the pennsylvanians who were ostensibly trying to protect the connestogues first disarmed them, before letting the extremists lock them in a building and burn them to death. that disarming thing…………does it sound a little familiar? our benevolent government would love to disarm its peaceful citizens. they dont even have a plan for disarming the criminals.

      • curmudgeon

        first disarm, then murder. it didnt end in pennsylvania. when the mormons beset the wagon train from arkansas at mountain meadows and beseiged them for 5 days, the mormon peace talkers promised them safety, but only if they gave up their arms. then they murdered the disarmed travelers. when someone smooth talks about taking away your arms for your safety, start shooting.

        • mlcblog

          amen, brother

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Yup this is an important piece of history that most don't reference, kudos for mentioning it.

  • tagalog

    What micblog says, and curmudgeon, are absolutely true. The American Friends Service Committee is undoubtedly pro-Communist, or at least they were during the Vietnam War era, as they spent considerable time and resources on a program for Quakers and Quaker sympathizers to donate blood to the North Vietnamese, avoiding donating blood in any organized way to our own soldiers. For a time I worked as a draft counselor at the Boston Draft Resisters' Guild and I had to quit in disgust over that. The Quakers had my respect as committed and courageous pacifists before that blood drive thing, but I lost it at that moment and have never regained it. The Quakers I have known have a quiet way of letting you know that their social ideas are far superior to yours and there's no point in trying to talk to them.