Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
Ten years ago, Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week came to Columbia University.
A month earlier, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian leader who had called for the destruction of Israel and denied the Holocaust, had been invited to speak at Columbia. After that shameful event, Columbia University’s College Republicans invited David Horowitz to counter the anti-Semitic hatred and lies.
“I can’t talk about Columbia without mentioning that it is a center of Jew hatred,” Horowitz said.
Opposing David Horowitz’s condemnation of anti-Semitism at Columbia was the Progressive Jewish Alliance composed of a group that included Alana Krivo-Kaufman and Shlomo Bolts. The “Alliance” announced plans to make armbands and t-shirts protesting Horowitz.
They also wanted to invite the Columbia professors listed by Horowitz in his “101 Most Dangerous Academics in America” book to speak.
These would have included Nicholas De Genova, who had said, “The only true heroes are those who would find ways that help defeat the U.S. military. I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus.” And Joseph Massad, who had declared that the, “Jewish state is a racist state that does not have the right to exist.”
A decade later, Alana Krivo-Kaufman is the Senior Regional Organizer for the radical JVP hate group which pushes BDS and the destruction of Israel. Kaufman’s resume follows a radical activist pipeline from Social Justice Coordinator at Beit Simchat Torah, to Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and Jewish Funds for Justice. Despite their misleading names, behind the camouflage is the anti-Semitic left.
But it’s Shlomo Bolts who has made a strange and horrifying journey.
Bolts got started protesting David Horowitz after the Ahmadinejad visit. “I was not a fan of Ahmadinejad, but I thought the backlash was a bit much,” he has said. “Horowitz says lots of bigoted things against Arabs. I don’t think his views have any place in the Jewish community.”
But these days, Shlomo Bolts attacks Iran as the Jewish advance man for the Syrian American Council.
The Syrian American Council is a Brotherhood-linked lobby pushing for American intervention on behalf of the Jihadists in Syria. It has been linked to anti-Semitism as ugly as anything from Ahmadinejad.
California Imam Mahmoud Harmoush recently made headlines for a video calling for terrorism against Jews. Harmoush has been described as the president of the San Diego chapter of SAC.
The SAC cosponsored a tour by Sheikh Mohammad Rateb al-Nabulsi who had written that all Jews could be killed because “all the Jewish people are combatants”. The Sheikh quoted a fatwa denouncing “the wicked Jews”. He declared that Allah “has made it a duty to fight them and wage Jihad against them so that the word of Allah will be supreme.” Did that include the SAC’s Jewish collaborators?
The Sheikh had also defended the death penalty for gays. It doesn’t get more “progressive” than that.
Mohammed Alla Ghanem, the government relations director for SAC, had praised Qaradawi, the Brotherhood figure who had approvingly described Hitler’s Holocaust and called for the extermination of the Jews. Ghanem had defended the Al-Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Having run short of Jews; the Jihadist group was forced to settle for destroying Jewish graves in Aleppo.
The leftist-Islamist alliance is not a new phenomenon. But the SAC and other similar lobbies for pro-Sunni military intervention in the civil war targeted American Jews for political outreach. Despite Bolts’ old history during the Ahmadinejad visit, he had to make the case for a common front against Iran.
Considering that the Muslim Brotherhood, was not only the sum of all the alphabet soup of Islamist front groups, but also of Hamas, which was funded by Iran, it was a confusing case to make.
But Ghanem and Bolts showed up at the Candles Holocaust Museum to discuss Syria. The admirer of an Islamist monster who had called for another Holocaust got to make his pitch at a Holocaust museum.
With the collaboration of Shlomo Bolts.
It was a disgraceful display that made the utter moral failure of leftist Jewish leadership painfully clear.
Ghanem and Bolts appeared at the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County. Bolts made the case for SAC at the Sephardic Heritage IN DC with mandatory donations going to SAC. Never mind that large numbers of Sephardic Jews are living here because they were ethnically cleansed by Muslims.
The two men co-authored a piece indicting Iran’s war crimes in Syria. Bolts had been unwilling to denounce Iran in support of America or Israel. But was happy to do it for Islamist Jihadists. The Progressive Jewish Alliance had condemned David Horowitz for invoking the memory of the Holocaust to oppose the Islamic murder of Jews. But Bolts was happy to invoke the Holocaust in support of the aspiring murderers of Jews. And so his abominable political history closed its full despicable circle.
Shlomo Bolts finally did become an Iran hawk. But on behalf of his anti-Semitic Islamist masters. It wasn’t that Bolts was averse to denouncing Iran. He was just drawn away from Jews and to Islamists.
SAC’s investment in Shlomo Bolts paid off when he helped arrange for a shameful letter calling for air strikes on Syria as “descendants of Holocaust survivors and refugees, whose ancestors were gassed to death in concentration camps.” The signatories included Eric Yoffie, who had claimed that the Jewish scriptures of the Torah cause terrorism, along with Orthodox clergy who should have known better. The letter had been guided by Shmuly Yanklowitz, the head of Uri L’Tzedek, a pressure group that got famous by harassing Jews in support of left-wing causes. Bolts had worked for Uri L’Tzedek.
The Holocaust was invoked for the Muslim Brotherhood: an organization that had drawn on the support of the Nazis, whose leaders advocate for another Holocaust and whose Hamas terrorists kill Jews.
This was done through SAC which had co-sponsored a tour by a Islamic leader who had declared that “all the Jewish people are combatants”. And could be murdered.
Shlomo Bolts rarely addresses the Islamist elephant in the room. He claims that, “with respect to the Islamic opposition brigades such as the Islamic Front, I definitely do not agree with their political views. But I know that they protect the Syrian people from Assad’s massacres, so I rejoice in their successes.”
The Islamic Front was lined with groups either linked to the Muslim Brotherhood or Al Qaeda. Sometimes both. Their goal is an Islamic theocracy run by Islamic law under which women will have no rights, gays will be killed and anyone who isn’t a Sunni Muslim had better run for their lives.
Much as Bolts’ ancestors once did.
Shlomo Bolts had gone from a campus progressive to rejoicing in the successes of Islamic terrorists. He had rejected awareness of Islamo-fascism and certain that there was no such thing, came to serve it.
Why is this story worth telling? Why must we be dragged through the sordid ugliness of Islamofascist propaganda at Holocaust museums and Jewish clergy invoking the Holocaust for Hamas? Is there anything to be gained from wallowing in the abominable betrayal and despicable perversity?
This is a story about corruption. Moral corruption. It is about how easy it is. How the road to evil can begin with some left-wing campus politics and end with the propagandist for Islamic mass murderers.
Bolts joined the Amnesty International college chapter and started a Muslim-Jewish dialogue group. Then it was on to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, funded by Soros and the Ploughshares Fund, which pushed the Iran nuke deal. And on to the other side of the Sunni-Shiite religious war trying to enlist Jews to aid the agendas of his Islamist masters.
We think of evil as one precipitous act. But it’s an accumulation of evils. A steady corruption of choices. That corruption drives one to corrupt others to justify the evils already committed. That is the left.
Evil isn’t a scowling man in a shadowy room. It’s there on the sunlit campus quad. It’s a colorful flyer on a bulletin board. It’s the protest that feels good. It’s the self-righteous slogan. The evil isn’t obvious.
Most of the Columbia PJA protesters seem to have moved on with their lives. Two never did. For some student radicals, campus politics is a phase. In others, it devours whatever good was in them and transforms it into evil. It defines their lives and destroys their souls.
That was true a generation ago. It’s just as true today.