Horowitz vs. Marshall

Why is the “Center-Left” AWOL in the war with Islamofascism?

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It's more than interesting that while there have been over 470,000 views of the exchange between David Horowitz and the Muslim Students Association officer at UC San Diego which revealed an appalling support for a genocide of the Jews, and it has been featured on many, many websites as chilling evidence of the jihadists among us, not a single "liberal" website has posted it, including Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo. And while Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity have both played the video, not a single "liberal" cable news show has mentioned it. Not Keith Olbermann, not Rachel Maddow, and not Chris Matthews who are too busy skewering inept Republican candidates who want to argue the fine points of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964-5. Not Anderson Cooper nor Larry King. Nor is this just a passive denial of the jihadist threat at home.

Joshua Micah Marshall, the editor of Talking Points Memo went out of his way three years ago to attack Horowitz when he spoke at Columbia about the oppression of women in Islam as part of the first Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. Islamo-Fascism was evidently a problem less pressing than the threat posed by Horowitz's attempt to raise campus awareness of the widespread campus support for Islamo-Fascism. Although Islamo-Fascism Awareness week was supported by conservative students on 100 campuses -- a fact noteworthy in itself - not a single article appeared on liberal/left websites to engage the issues that it raised. Instead, the event was greeted with ridicule and smears in a concerted attempt by the Left to discredit and dismiss it, and not incidentally lend support to the jihadist forces at home and abroad.

Recently Horowitz emailed Marshall expressing curiosity about his intentions, and specifically an interest should he be planning another effort around the San Diego incident to ridicule the idea that it might indicate a serious problem with which all Americans should be concerned. Marshall responded in high dudgeon at the thought that anyone might suspect the center-left of not taking the jihadist threat seriously. So Horowitz asked him for evidence of his own website's concern. Marshall retorted the very idea that there was not such concern was preposterous, then ended the exchange.

This is the headline at the lead story from May 28 at Talking Points Memo, Marshall's journal and one of the leading online publications of the center-left:

Planned Muslim Cultural Center Near Ground Zero Prompts Massive Right-Wing Freakout

The article then goes on to defend the construction of a mosque in the shadow of Ground Zero and infer that its opponents (like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer) are racist Islamophobes. Cover is given to the project's leader Feisal Abdul Rauf who is cast as a moderate antidote to Al Qaeda:

The effort is being spearheaded by a longtime local imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf, who has said the center would "bridge and heal a divide" and has said it's his mission to fight radicalism.

But this is a fantasy. At Pajamas Media Walid Shoebat revealed that the reality is that Rauf actually does not believe in inter-faith dialogue, supports Shariah law, and argues that America brought 9/11 on itself.

But perhaps this is an anomaly among Talking Points Memo’s coverage of the war with genocidal, Islamic fascists. With the events of last week – the attempt by Hamas’ “humanitarian wing” to break the legal blockade which keeps rockets from killing Israeli children – the ultimate test of TPM’s allegiances was presented.

At TPM Café on June 1:

Here is a better analogy from the civil rights era, offered by a young friend and colleague.

"Israel's defenders," he says, "are arguing that Israel had the right to attack the people on the ships because the flotillas' goal was not really to supply the Gazans but to break the blockade. Supplying the Gazans was only a pretense for their larger political goal.

He continues:

"So does that mean it was okay to beat and brutalize kids who were sitting-in at Woolworth counters throughout the south in the 1950's and 1960's because their real goal was not being served lunch but ending segregation."


In other words: the flotilla Nazis seeking to break a naval blockade for a terrorist army whose official goal is the “obliteration” of the Jewish state are akin to Civil Rights activists fighting against racist policies.

TPM Café on June 2:

The bottom line is that the men and women of the flotilla had every right to attempt to destroy an illegal blockade that Israel had no legal standing to impose and which was designed to inflict collective punishment on the people of Gaza. (There is no truth to the story that Israel would have delivered the goods on the ships to Gaza if asked; the Israelis never made that offer and, judging by years of precedent, would have blocked any delivery).

As for the Israeli argument that its soldiers were attacked, that is ridiculous. Israeli commandos were ordered to board a civilian ship in international waters and the government that sent them claims that the resisting passengers attacked them without provocation. This is like a carjacker complaining to the police that the driver bashed him with a crowbar that was under the seat. Neither carjackers nor hijackers should expect their victims to acquiesce peacefully.

In other words: Israel is a criminal state. The IDF was attacked because of the “illegal action” it engaged in.

Israel brought this on itself. Forget that the blockade was a perfectly legal response to 7,000 unprovoked rocket attacks on Israeli towns and schoolyards. Forget that the blockade inflicted no punishment illegal or otherwise on the people of Gaza since all foods and medicines are granted passage – it’s just weapons that are targeted by the blockade. Israel is by definition the culprit.

Marshall himself on June 3:

This is why, to me, the precise circumstances of the raid on this flotilla aren't really the issue. It seems to me murkier than a lot of the accounts suggest. But again, that's not the point. The whole policy that it is a part of is simply flawed and deeply damaging to Israel's security, just as the continuation of the occupation itself is the biggest threat to Israel's security, bigger even than an Iranian bomb, I would say.

This is the strategic decision that Livni's Kadima party has made -- that Israel's security is threatened fundamentally by the occupation and the mounting international isolation that it brings in its wake. (It's in some ways also the decision Labor has made, though they've perhaps unmade it contingently to be part of Netanyahu's coalition.) Getting caught up on the details of this raid misses the point. It's simply part of this larger story. Netanyahu's policies are on their way to creating the world he imagines to be living in. It's very sad for all involved.

What occupation is Marshall talking about? Israel withdrew from Gaza and its unilateral act of peace was greeted by thousands of rocket attacks on civilian targets and preparations for a much larger war. What kind of approach can one take with people dedicated to killing you (which Hamas openly proclaims) as the only “solution” to its imagined grievances. But then by definition Israel brought this on itself and will bring even worse if it continues to defend itself from Islamofascism. The primary source of global unrest is not a cult of Islamists who want to kill Jews and impose Shariah law on the entire planet. It’s the Israelis and Americans who dare to resist them.

This would seem to confirm Horowitz's characterization of Marshall and the Center-left as somewhat less than focused on the Islamic jihad against free societies. Here is the exchange between them:

May 15, 2010 at 1:26 PM, David Horowitz wrote:

I'm looking forward to your next video making fun of the concerns many of us have about the Islamo-fascist threat, while lending aid, comfort and camouflage to the efforts of the Muslim fanatics in our midst. Here's some raw material, if you haven't already seen it. (Forgive me for being struck by how universally people who call themselves liberal have ignored this illuminating incident.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fSvyv0urTE&feature=player_embedded

From: Josh Marshall
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2010 5:44 PM
To: David Horowitz
Subject: Re: your next video

David -- When your assistant asked for my email, I was intrigued. It did not occur to me that you'd send an email that was the equivalent of a comment thread flame. As for the next video, I'm not sure which other video you're referring to since we haven't made any original videos in a long time. I assume you're talking about the one we did a couple years ago about your appearance at Columbia. David, there's big difference between making fun of you and making fun of Islamic terrorism. And I'm sorry you can't grasp that distinction.

Here's the deal, David. I live about 20 blocks from the Time Sqaure incident -- with my wife and two kids. My wife was right outside the trade center complex on 9/11. So to say that I don't take Islamic terrorism seriously isn't only offensive, it's belied by really everything I've ever written on the subject. To say I'm giving aid and comfort is obscene. Particularly rich for someone sitting in Los Angeles.

This video is pretty horrifying, if not that surprising. And it is illuminating about some of what's going on in the UC school system. As for why I've 'ignored' it, I haven't seen it before, David.

I know you see and pride yourself as being part of a controversialist tradition, whether on the left or the right. That's not really my thing. If there's something I've written you'd like to take issue with I'd be happy to discuss it with you. And if there's information you'd like to show that might lead us to some common ground on one of these issues, I'd welcome that even more. But I'm really not interested in trading insults with you.


From: David Horowitz

Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2010 7:21 PM

To: Josh Marshall

Subject: Re: your next video

Well this is unexpected -- and welcome, and I will take you up on your offer. I have always been puzzled and frustrated by the antipathy that intelligent, democratic leftists have for me, your video included and have actually attempted on many occasions to achieve the breakthrough -- the common ground particularly on national security issues but also on the general opposition to totalitarianisms -- you say you are interested in. For example, I have invited many leftists of what I presume is your persuasion into the pages of my magazine, and praised writers such as Paul Berman and Leon Wieseltier (both of whom have attacked me pretty viciously) when we're on the same page on Islamic terrorism etc. But without much reciprocal result.

My Islamo-Fascism Awareness campaign was an attempt to name what should be a common enemy for both of us. I received no support however from -- let me call it the liberal left -- which responded pretty much the way you did. Perhaps this was my fault, but since you actually "covered" my Columbia event (or did you?) and thus were able to see that 1) I didn't attack all Muslims; 2) I focused on the oppression of women in Islam and 3) my purpose was to give support to students to express the view that jihadists were totalitarians without being called Islamophobes and racists; I was taken aback by the lengths to which you went to ridicule me and yes lend aid and comfort to those who were identifying any critics of Islamic totalitarianism in those terms.

It's not my purpose to re-visit an old argument or re-open old wounds. So let me first apologize for the note I sent you if I mistook your intentions. And let us instead address the current issue. Yes, the video is horrifying. But the phenomenon -- the Muslim Student Association support for Hamas -- is not confined to UC, and was present at that Columbia event where during the question and answer period I asked the vice president of the MSA who had suggested that jihad was merely a spiritual struggle to condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization. I did so five times and she evaded the question five times. I believe my critics attacked me at the time for even posing the question -- why should the MSA have to jump through my hoops, etc.

Here is my immediate concern about the current incident and why I emailed you. There have been nearly 300,000 YouTube views of the exchange at UC San Diego. But not a single "liberal" website has mentioned it, posted it, commented on it. Is that because they all don't particularly like me? Or are they uncomfortable with the fact that a member of the Muslim Student Association has genocidal views and would prefer that people didn't know that -- or what?

My second concern is that Israel Apartheid Week, which is a thinly veiled attempt to justify a genocide of the Jews is supported by academic departments and student governments ($40,000 at UC San Diego to spread blatant lies about Jews) and is not being condemned by the liberal constituencies which dominate university communities. I would like to work with you to arouse these communities to take a more realistic view of the Muslim Students Association and its pro-jihadist allies and activities. What say you?

On Thu, May 20, 2010 at 12:59 PM, David Horowitz wrote:

Dear Josh,

You haven't replied to my email or posted the video of the Muslim Students' Association officer (or former officer) endorsing the extermination of the Jews worldwide, nor have I seen it on any website to the left. How come?


From: Josh Marshall

Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2010 10:09 AM

To: David Horowitz

Subject: Re: Silence of the left on the next Holocaust

David -- I haven't responded yet because I've been busy and I will respond. But I also don't get goaded into posting things. As for any website of "the left", I don't think I'm involved with any websites "of the left" and I'm certainly not responsible for what other sites do or don't do. Josh

On Fri, May 21, 2010 at 9:58 AM, David Horowitz wrote:

I quite understand being over-loaded. I'm not trying to goad you into posting anything. The video has had a good run. I'm interested in the larger issue of why the left or if you prefer "liberals" can't put aside domestic differences to join conservatives when they oppose the jihadist threat. What happened to Cold War liberalism?

From: Josh Marshall

Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 5:46 PM

To: David Horowitz

Subject: Re: Silence of the left on the next Holocaust

Hi David, it's hard for me to get my head around the question since the premise makes no sense to me. The idea that people on the center-left are sitting out the fight against jihadism while conservatives have to fight the battle on their own strikes me as preposterous. Josh

On Wed, May 26, 2010 at 11:22 AM, David Horowitz wrote:

So kindly send me a link or two to the articles on your website expressing concern for the support for the jihad on our campuses -- which is an area I focus on.

From: Josh Marshall

Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 8:41 AM

To: David Horowitz

Subject: Re: Silence of the left on the next Holocaust

David, I don't think your lecture series on college campuses is synonymous with the war on terror. Josh

From: David Horowitz

Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2010 7:43 AM

To: Josh Marshall

Subject: Re: Silence of the left on the next Holocaust

It's not a lecture series; it's an attempt to counter an anti-Israel, anti-America, pro-jihad on campus for which I have been attacked by the center-left, including yourself. Since this attack is not coupled with an effort to counter these malign influences and since you seem to concede that your own center-left publication has not conducted its own campaign against these influences you have undercut your "preposterous" charge. Here's two more indications of what's really going on. Glenn Greenwald's attack on Andrew McCarthy's new book Grand Jihad, which he has not read but nonetheless labels "McCarthyite" (now which foot is that shoe on?) http://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/14798372704 and Lee Siegel's nasty attack on Paul Berman in the Observer.


Marshall has yet to respond to Horowitz.

The answer to the question posed in the headline is simple: the "center-left" regards the patriotic Right (both American and Israeli) as a greater threat than Islamo-fascism. Thus in virtually every intellectual conflict between these two entities, the Left, which smugly identifies itself as "democratic" and even "patriotic," refuses to join hands with conservatives in raising alarm about the threats to free societies from the Islamic jihad. It cannot stomach the idea of standing alongside evil conservatives like Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, Benjamin Netanyahu, Horowitz, and Glenn Beck. We see again how with communism's fall, leftism has devolved into nihilism: Just as the Palestinians want to destroy Israel more than they want their own state, leftists despise conservatives more than they care about protecting themselves and their families from Islamofascists. Marshall can say whatever he wants about his views on the subject but the number of articles at TPM bashing Israel and conservatives compared to the number highlighting Islamofascism's brutality tells the real story about what his priorities are.

Thus, though there may be intellectual differences between the "mainstream," "respectable" Josh Marshall Center-Left and the radical, neo-communist Noam Chomsky Hard-Left, perhaps the distance between the two is not as great as Marshall imagines, at least not when it comes to presenting a united front against the enemies of this country.