Those observing the events of October 7th and its aftermath with alarm (rather than joy), may find themselves in a situation described by millennial scholars as “cognitive dissonance.” In their reading of reality, what was now happening could not happen. Hamas had shown a level of savagery that surely would repel any decent human being. Surely the more moderate Palestinian Authority, would condemn this, and if not they, surely the pro-Palestinian camp, the non-violent, civil-society BDS, the “human rights” groups like CAIR, would recoil in horror. But no, across the Palestinian movement one could see excitement, mobilization, pride. Surely, then the progressives who had so long supported the movement for Palestinian rights would recoil. No, many of them joined the parade. Surely, the women’s movement, would shriek their horror at the treatment of Israeli women. No, they were tongue-tied. Surely those Jews who had worked so hard to cooperate with the progressive agenda would find comfort and support among their fellows in the movement.

But no. Some now realized they were “October 8 Jews,” and that all Jews were now fair game.

How could this have happened? How could a Jihadi death cult have captured the imagination of so many good-hearted westerners upset at micro-aggressions and embracing everything. How could progressives, at such a display of brutality, forge forward in an alliance with such inhumane savagery? None of this compute with how October 8th Jews had seen the world only short moments before. In the gap between expectations and reality lies an uncomfortable world of cognitive dissonance, in which one must absorb the (previously) unthinkable.

To understand this dissonance, I offer a millennial analysis, which looks at the Middle East conflict not from a “liberal” or “realist” framework common in the West, but from the perspective of the apocalyptic dynamics of two current global millennial movements interacting. These dynamics characterize the way in which dreamers of a perfected and just world produce movements that set the realization of those dreams in motion, how they “take off,” how they use power, how they handle the inevitable disappointment of their extravagant expectations, how they “re-enter” the normal time they thought had disappeared. In the case of the early 21st century, we deal with two very different global millennial movements that, on the face of it, could not have been more opposed in every aspect.

I define the following terms and categories in the following analysis:

  • Millennialism: The belief that at some time in the future, this world will be transformed into one of justice, peace, abundance, generosity, and joy for all mankind (messianic age). The ideal may be top-down and hierarchical (world conquest and salvific Empire) or bottom up and egalitarian (holy anarchy); it may be a restoration of an idyllic past lost (Golden Age), or a new heaven and a new earth. Millennialism is a redemptive discourse that promises a collective salvation to its faithful and (in most cases), punishment to their oppressors.
  • Apocalyptic: Most of the time, millennial beliefs are dormant. When believers come to believe that now this world, permeated by evil, suffering and sin, will be transformed into the messianic age, the millennial kingdom. Apocalyptic scenarios can differ between two extremes (cataclysmic disasters and destruction, or peaceful transformation), between active and passive (we are the agents that enact that scenario, or the passive participants in a cosmically driven process). Apocalyptic time is urgent; it cancels the rules of normal time and the concerns about future-consequences that inhibit so much of our behavior. It is both exhilarating and terrifying; and it can be addictive: once in apocalyptic time, believers will do almost anything to stay there, including switching scenarios.
  • The Apocalyptic Curve: Traces the rise and fall of such movements into and out of apocalyptic time, from the moment they reveal themselves to the public and spread their enthusiasm about Redemption Now!, to their seizure of power (in the most consequential cases), to their (inevitable) disappointment when the promise fails, to their efforts to remain in apocalyptic time by readjusting the scenario (in totalitarian cases by carving the perfect society into the body social), to their painful, sometimes disastrous re-entry into normal time.
  • Demotic Transformational Apocalyptic Scenario: Swords into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks, the weapons of dominion voluntarily transformed into the tools of honest labor. Of all apocalyptic beliefs, this is the most constructive, the one most likely to re-enter normal time productively, in large part because of its commitment to the dignity of manual labor and the technology to ease their burden. One could argue that the modern West is the unintended product of this demotic millennialism with productive capitalism as the means of re-entry.
  • Active Cataclysmic Apocalyptic: In this scenario, the forces of evil (Antichrist/Dajjal) and his allies (the apocalyptic “other”) must be annihilated, and the “true believers” are the agents, the weapons, of that destruction. Of all apocalyptic beliefs, this is the deadliest. Active cataclysmic movements are most likely to re-enter normal time by crashing and burning and destroying anything in their suicidal path. In the last two centuries, some of the movements who thought that the destruction of evil on earth was their cosmic duty have ended up killing millions and tens of millions of people (Taiping, Bolshevism, Nazism, Maoism, Khmer Rouge).

21st Century Apocalyptic Millennial Movements: Caliphators and Woke

By these definitions, both the Caliphators and the Global Progressive Left/Woke are millennial movements that have entered an apocalyptic stage of expectation. Although they seemingly differ radically in their goals (how they imagine collective redemption), their means (violent vs transformative), and values, they nevertheless platform together often, especially after 2000.

The Progressives: The Demotic Embrace the “Other”

Secular Western millennial thought appears most vigorously in the latter part of the 20th century and, with greater intensity in the 21st century, among “post-modern” thinkers. Ironically, post-modernity launched its intellectual program on an explicitly “anti-apocalyptic” ideology that opposed all “Grand Narratives” including and especially those of totalitarian thinkers. Wrote Lyotard: “I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives.”

In millennial terms, however, postmodernism was (merely) an extension of the modern (millennial) experiment in freedom and equality. Pushing exegesis to the limits of iconoclasm and beyond (a capital crime in pre-modern cultures), post-modern exegetes reveled in their freedom, seemingly unmindful that no one had even tasted such a freedom to publicly exegete before the late 18th-century appearance of democracies. After all, in the longue durée of the history, there was no exegetical freedom, much less when subversive.

But there was more to postmodernism than the rejection of what (they took to be) modernity. In their enthusiasm, radical post-moderns pursued with fervor the efforts at empathy for the “other” (Alterity), that had marked the very emergence of democratic thought. This alterity became, for some, synonymous with “reality,” even as they jettisoned all the (modern) rules tying thinking to empirical reality. If Derrida offered a secular Augustinian solution to apocalyptic time – active waiting for the patterns of redemption to unfold, others offered ways in which to perform alternative, redemptive realities. In such a volatile mix of exegetical desires it is hard not to see the return of apocalyptic time.

Even as the post-modern discourse may have flown high over the head of most people, it resonated powerfully with more popular attitudes, including many of those launched during the apocalyptic wave of the late 1960s. The dominant political memes of the 21st century, “war is not the answer… violence never solved anything… imagine all the people… I-thou” are all millennial memes about a world free of powerful oppressors who exploit weaker “others,” a world without war and violence and divisiveness. One of its anthems the biblical song of millennial redemption: “I ain’t a gonna study war no more.”

The 1970s and 80s in the West (post-modernity’s flourishing), witnessed an extensive increase in commitment to NGO versions of the peace corps. The Western world filled with young people, inspired by an egalitarian vision of human interaction, eager to help the rest of the world, not by imposing their superior knowledge, but by understanding those they wished to interact with and help.

The noble endeavor was animated by ever-deeper wells of empathy. Mankind was on the cusp of a transformation into an empathic civilization. Progressives, shorn of their “modern” arrogance, became a fellowship, a global tribe, working to transform the world. It included humanitarian NGOs and UN aid workers, activist journalists, radical cybernauts, and progressive intellectuals, all adherents to some version of demotic, transformational, millennialism.

This description of the progressive left as a millennial movement may not carry much weight on its own, may seem to stretch the definition beyond any meaningful distinction. Where the Progressive Left does show the characteristic marks of a millennial movement, however, can be seen in its interaction with a much more obviously apocalyptic millennial movement, namely Caliphators. Here, certainly, apocalyptic dynamics can explain the transformation of progressive thinking in the 21st century.

Caliphators: Global Caliphate in Our Days!

Islam began as an apocalyptic movement anticipating the Last Judgment. There is nothing in the Qur’an that speaks of millennium on earth; if anything the “carnal” aspect gets transferred to heaven. The Muslim millennial dream of world conquest arose after Muhammad’s day, taking shape during the astonishing military successes of Islam in its first century, when it spread through conquest as far as Spain to the West and India in the East, a global empire of faith never before seen on such a scale. At the time of these conquests, Muslims called the realm they ruled and governed with Shari’a, Dar al Islam (the realm of Submission [to Allah]) and the world where infidels ruled, Dar al Harb (the realm of the sword, of warfare).

Muslim rulers traditionally saw the Christian West as a major target in Dar al Harb, up until the later 17th century. Then from the time the modern West emerged, with its weaponry and social organization, Islam was on the retreat, its destiny disrupted. Triumphalist European imperialism eventually destroyed the Caliphate (Nakbah I), even more humiliatingly, in 1948 Jewish armies – thing not seen for over a millennium – defeated the Arabs and established an autonomous entity in what should be Dar al Islam (Nakbah II). Today, or since 1400 AH / 1979 CE, a new movement has arisen, that believes that now (the quintessential apocalyptic adverb) is the time for Islam to fulfill its salvific destiny for mankind: time to turn Dar al Harb into Dar al Islam. The term “Caliphator,” then, designates those Muslims who strive to accomplish this millennial goal, this global victory in our own days.

The path to this global victory of Islam differs among Caliphators. In the more peaceful scenarios, infidels willingly see the superiority of Islam and convert. Under Islamic rule, the global community sees a golden age.

In others, far more detailed, we find some of the most ferocious, paranoid, genocidal hatreds extant in apocalyptic literature. In technical terms, global Jihad is a classic form of an “active cataclysmic apocalyptic scenario” (Jihad) aiming at an imperial millennium (exercising power over infidels, now dhimmi). Like its apocalyptic millennial predecessors, the global Caliphator movement has a full constellation of traits characteristic of the active cataclysmic apocalyptic scenario:

  • Desire for Global Conquest and Dominion –Jihadis and other Islamists are open about the religious destiny of Islam to subject the entire world to Islam, either as believers (Muslim means submission) or as infidels (dhimmi laws are systematic apartheid against non-Muslims).
  • Violent Manichean apocalyptic scenarios – Virtually every apocalyptic scenario articulated by Muslim writers has mankind entering a global war that brings massive destruction and the annihilation of the forces of evil (often associated with the Dajjal or Muslim version of the Antichrist).
  • Radical Us-Them Dichotomies – Radical Muslims (e.g., Salafis) invoke the principle of al wala’ wa’l bara’ (love [fellow Muslims] and hate [infidels]).[1] For them, there are no “innocent” infidels. The non-Muslim in apocalyptic time is the enemy.
  • Genocidal Antisemitism – For virtually all variants of Caliphator ideology, the Jews are the apocalyptic enemy that must be exterminated for Islam to triumph. This is perhaps the most widely held apocalyptic meme in the Muslim world, even among those who do not embrace the full apocalyptic package. Thus the teaching of contempt (Sons of Apes and Pigs), and the genocidal summons (Hadith of the Rocks and Trees) appear often in non-apocalyptic settings.
  • The Worship of Death shahada (martyrdom for the cause), and the holiness of killing the enemy – has been a prominent feature of modern, global Jihadism in its various forms (Muslim Brotherhood, Khoumeinism, Hizbullah, Hamas, al Qaeda, ISIS). The glorification of death, both that of believers and infidels, features as prominently in these as in Western 19th-century death cults.
  • Paranoid Conspiracy theory – the Protocols of the Elders of Zion plays a central role in Jihadi attitudes towards Jews and Israel. These are widespread tropes in the Arab and Muslim public sphere: replicants of medieval blood libels, depicting Jews conspiring to kill Muslim children and live off their blood. Like earlier believers in the Protocols, especially the Nazis, those who accuse Jews of wanting to enslave mankind project their own desires on the Jews.
  • The Modern West as Messiah’s Donkey: Caliphators view the process of globalization in the current period as a vehicle for their own global Caliphate: Allah used the infidel to create the technology of global unification that would make possible, at long last, the full triumph of Islam. Western imperial hegemony as preparatio Califatae.

Caliphators, inspired by just such an apocalyptic narrative, with Jihad as its armed wing, constitute the most intense breeding pool of millennial violence in the world today.

The Marriage of Premodern Sadism and Postmodern Masochism

The Caliphator’s millennial goal reflects a distinctly medieval notion of theocratic rule through imperial conquest, that is, the exact opposite of modern progressive and democratic values: freedom of speech, self-criticism, tolerance of, and empathy with the “other.” As for their apocalyptic scenario, its dedication to war and violence contradicted all the peace-Zeitgeist memes of the Left. Furthermore, were these ideological and strategic commitments not regressive enough, as a social movement, those Caliphators pressing these goals most energetically engaged in nearly everything that progressives loathe when expressed by their own culture: theocratic suppression of dissidents and “blasphemers,” violent misogyny, authoritarianism, violent even savage forms of vengeance.

It’s hard to imagine how so open and caring a movement could align with Caliphators. Here were progressives who pushed every kind of tolerance, sensitivity to microaggression, and iconoclastic transgression (especially in matters of gender), who searched for diversity, abhorred empire, and gave voice to the most marginalized and underrepresented, who nodded approvingly at Zeitgeist memes that imagined all the people… How could they find common ground with a movement that was so misogynistic, theocratic, hostile to marginal voices and diversity, warmongering and genocidally antisemitic?

And yet, by 2000, there was a very consequential alignment of the global progressive Left and the Caliphators (including the Jihadis), an alignment that continues to dominate progressive discourse, no more notably than in the aftermath of 7/10.

How could, how did this come about?

From Active Transformational to Cataclysmic Apocalyptic: Post-Modernism and Post-Colonialism

On one level, post-modernism is a kind of heartfelt apology to the rest of the world for the kind of self-centered, supremacist arrogance that produced Western technological power and its imperialist impulses, embodied in the craze for empire in the 19th century, and the totalitarian madness of the 20th. And yet, a half-century later, post-moderns embraced the most ferocious imperialism on the planet, and one profoundly hostile to their own progressive culture.

Over the last two decades of the 20th century, increasingly, a narrative took hold that the great forces oppressing mankind are embodied in the hegemony of the “modern” (imperialist, capitalist) West, and that the fall of that hegemony would usher in a new age. (If you will, disappointed by 1968, just like Marx and Engels after 1848, the academics of the 1970s and 80s rewrote the apocalyptic timetable and scenario but kept the millennial vision. In these years, across the academic world whose subject was people (History, Sociology, Anthropology, Political “Science,” Literature, Art) the critical mass of “post-moderns” chose the most self-loathing attitudes towards their own culture, what Roger Scruton, in 2005, called oikophobia.

The master of this post-colonial turn was Edward Saïd, who systematically exploited the penitential openness of the West, insisting that his colleagues adopt the narratives of the colonized “other.” Criticism was a form of racist “othering” that reveled in “invidious superiority” and denied our “common humanity.” One can argue that in doing so, Saïd was preserving Arab “honor.” But whatever his intentions, they played right into the Caliphator narrative by shaming the West into “same-ing” the Caliphator’s radical and hostile otherness. With the multiple insults of “racism,” “Orientalism,” and “Islamophobia,” post-colonialists insisted on a kind of deliberate credulity with which Westerners must accept the victim narratives of the cruelly “othered” post-colonials. Any doubt meant a lack of compassion. We must believe the victim’s testimony, no matter how dishonest or malevolent it might be.

In terms of the apocalyptic curve, this oikophobic scenario (the exact opposite of nativist millennial movements that seek to reassert their cultural inheritance), became increasingly dominant in the closing decades of the century. It accepted revolutionary violence including terror as legitimate arms in the battle against (its own culture’s) evil empire. This alliance between the oikophobic progressive West and xenophobic Caliphators first appeared on the global scene at Durban in 2001. 

Durban and 9-11 (August/September 2001): The Two Satans

At the conference against Racism at Durban in August 2001, “human rights” organizations marched together with Muslims carrying images of their heroes, Arafat, Saddam, and Osama. As opposed to its relative insignificance and the previous “global progressive protest” in Seattle in 1999, now the Palestinian cause had become the standard bearer of the Global Left. Here, with the newly-minted Muhammad Al Durah icon of hatred as the patron saint of the gathering, the Palestinian cries of hatred for Zionism (and Jews) drowned out every other voice of suffering, including that of the Tutsis who had just undergone a real genocide.

From the millennial perspective, the most significant accomplishment of Durban was an open and public embrace by the global progressive left of a key Caliphator apocalyptic meme: the US and Israel are the two “Satans.” Thus did the redemptive apocalyptic narratives of the two greatest global millennial movements come to share an apocalyptic enemy. For both, the looming foe was the unbearable suffocating global hegemon, the US and its colonial agent, Israel. For the more risqué of the postcolonial thinkers, terror was the only resistance possible to the evil Western hegemon. Durban was also, and not incidentally, the first open expression of exterminationist antisemitism in global culture since the Nazis’ ecumenical antisemitism of the 1930s and 40s.

Progressives, especially the leadership, appreciated the energy Caliphators brought to the gatherings, not just their numbers, but their fervor. The organizers of the “Anti-war march” that gathered by the millions in London in February 2003 to protest Bush’s proposed invasion of Iraq, brought together lovers of peace with Jihadi warriors carrying portraits of Saddam and Yassir and the previous year had passed out pamphlets calling for “putting the Jews to the sword.” Convinced that the Muslim Association of Britain was filled with moderates entirely different from and opposed to the tiny number of radical Jihadis, the organizers proudly included them in the march.

On the wings of this enthusiasm, progressive leaders hailed these marches as the expression of a new global superpower, a moral superpower, a voice of peace capable of challenging Western imperial belligerence, so perfectly embodied in Bush’s proposed invasion of Iraq. When, three years later, after the Lebanon War of 2006, the global progressive movement gathered in support of the Palestinians, the pacifist, queen of critical theory, Judith Butler, welcomed Hamas and Hizbullah as part of the global progressive left. Later she explained: they are our allies in the fight against imperialism. Apparently, their imperialism did not count when weighed in the scale with their anti-American imperialism.

Caliphator Cognitive Warfare

How such a massive misreading could have taken place, and how it could spread to a good portion of the educated public sphere, is best understood as the result of a massive victory for Caliphator cognitive warriors over the Western intelligentsia.

All millennialists engage in a wildly asymmetrical war with the vastly superior, established rulers of “normal time.” In some scenarios this unthinkable gap is eliminated by an intervening deity of supernatural force. In more active ones, this becomes a matter of cognitive warfare. In the early stages of the struggle, the weak side fights their major campaigns in the cognitive theater of war, weakening the enemy’s resolve, recruiting believers, positioning themselves inside enemy lines. Although some transformational scenarios are committed to peaceful processes, the “non-violent” Da’wa Caliphators show less commitment to transformational (peaceful) principles, than to serving as an arm of conquest.

Cogwar I: Da’wa, Demopathy, and the Dual Narrative

Many of the key Caliphator “players” in the West who, of necessity practice Da’wa, are specifically conducting a cognitive war campaign that intertwines closely with the more violent, jihadi strands. Like tough-cop nice cop, Jihadi attacks alarm conflict-averse Western infidels, and those practicing Da’wa explain how to behave to avoid more such attacks. And of course, one of the key conditions for avoiding Jihadi wrath, is to not offend Muslims.

Post-modern oikophobia enabled Caliphator cognitive warriors to forge a powerful narrative for infidels that held the Western intelligentsia in its thrall. Frank Herbert, the science fiction writer, outlined the basic principles involved in what might be called the demopath’s strategy: “When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles.” For late-20th, early 21st century Caliphators, the demopaths choice language with which to disguise their intentions, was “human rights and dignity,” “resistance to colonial oppression and freedom.” In the name of these rights, the Caliphator Da-ī demanded the civic rights, protection, and even access to power, of Muslim groups who, were they to take power, had no intention of granting those rights to others.

Caliphator Da’wa, therefore, maintains a two-fold discourse, one for infidels in foreign languages, and one for believers in native languages. In the narrative for infidel consumption, Islam is a religion of peace; the vast majority (99.9%) are moderate and have nothing to do with “medieval” Islam; Muslims in the West merely ask that others respect their human rights and treat them like anyone else; terror attacks on Westerners are the fault of the Westerners who oppress Muslims; and, most important, anyone who argues differently is an Islamophobe who insults over a billion Muslims.

Among Muslims, the discourse is precisely the opposite: Islam is a proud religion of war and conquerors, of lions who rage; commitments to infidels are null and void: when the time comes, infidels must convert, submit, or die; democracies are Dar al Harb, the realm of the sword, targets for terror and conquest; and suicide-terror, is the great weapon of that conquest.

The most successful area where this double-talk prevails in the East and West concerns the land twixt river and sea. Here in foreign tongues, it is a battle for Palestinian freedom and dignity, for inalienable national and human rights; Arab hostility to Zionism, including targeting civilians, reflects Palestinian desperation at not being free; the PA recognizes Israel; and once Israel ends its occupation of lands taken in 1967 and uproots the settlements there, peace can be achieved (Land for Peace and the Two-State Solution). In Arabic, no document ever accepted the right of Israel to exist; all Jews are the target; all of Israel is “Occupied” and must be utterly destroyed; any “compromise” with Israel is a feint designed to elicit concessions for that permit a continuation of the project of annihilation (Land for War).

The success of this double discourse in convincing the West, especially after 2000, when open war meant high Palestinian casualties, and the media, compliant with Palestinian demands focused almost exclusively on Palestinian suffering, has strengthened the post-colonial variant of this “Narrative for Infidels.” The Israelis are not Goliath beating up David, they are the Nazis committing genocide against their Palestinian victims.

Cognitive Warfare II: Islamophobia

 Alongside this assault on a Western democracy, groomed by Saïd and his school to accept the blame for the apocalyptic hatred it faced, came another key to the Caliphator’s cognitive war on the West, the cry of Islamophobia. Claiming to be the “antisemitism of the 21st century,” Muslim leaders effectively silenced any critic of Islam who might suggest that Islamic terrorism was inspired by authentic Islamic texts, and that a significant number of Muslims shared the millennial dreams, if not the apocalyptic temper, of the Caliphators. Indeed, Western authorities including the Obama administration, citing concern about Islamophobia, refused to use of the term “radical Islam.”

Armed with the accusation and with the full cooperation of Western “human rights” NGOs, Caliphators went after Muslims who criticized the radical currents within their religion. If Islamophobic speech – what Caliphators considered blasphemy – were not yet a criminal offense, it certainly should be. In the meantime, accusations turned the accused into a pariah. Cancel culture cut its teeth on denunciations and ostracizations of those tarred with Islamophobia.

Of all the moral panics that have swept through our culture in the last decades, Islamophobia is one of the more puzzling. Statistically, there is little evidence for aggressive hostility to Muslims, and the compilations of cases offered to document the phenomenon, are paltry in comparison with, say, the aggressive hostility of Muslims towards infidels both in the rest of the world, and in the West, where the Jews are only the favorite target. And yet, despite its poverty of content, the term carries great weight. The fear of such accusations kept parents, teachers, school administrators, police, government officials and journalists silent for over a decade while Pakistani men systematically raped and groomed for sexual slavery, young infidel girls in Britain’s Rotherham school system.

III Demopathy and Preemptive Dhimmitude: Caliphator Cognitive War after 2000

The job of Da’īs is to groom Western leaders in pre-emptive dhimmitude, that is, to show them how to behave like obedient dhimmi, without demanding that they visibly submit to that Islamic legal status. And the key to that silent submission was a four-fold demand on infidels:

  • Do not criticize Islam for terror, do not even call it “terror.”
  • Blame Islam’s hostility on your own deeds so that when Jihadis attack a democracy, blame the democracy.
  • Attack those who do criticize Islam and its Jihadi tendencies as “Islamophobes” and “racists” and drive them from the public sphere.
  • Side with Muslims against their most hated enemy, Israel; when Jihadis attack their civilians, call it “resistance to Israeli Occupation.”

The broad and consistent compliance with these rules by so many of the thought leaders and political elites of the West over the last two decades bears witness to the effectiveness of Caliphator Da’wa, especially our information professionals.

Cogwar IV: The Soft Underbelly of the West

Part of the malevolent genius of this narrative is that, in addition to appealing to a Western compassion, especially for the Palestinians, it played on a major unconscious feature of the West that resonated well with Caliphator sentiments – an abiding fear and resentment towards Jews found among both Christians and, more surprisingly, post-Christians. Using the conflict over the land twixt river and sea as a major beachhead in the invasion of the West, Caliphator cogwarriors appealed to this unconscious – denied – Judeophobia, exploiting a moral Schadenfreude among progressives that was somehow comforted at, indeed showed an unhealthy appetite for, news of Jews behaving badly and Israel “losing the moral high ground.” Journalists transmitted the Palestinian Grievance Narrative, with an enthusiasm to match their credulity.

At the same time the post-war West, especially among liberals and progressives including Jews, bought the “Hitler is Dead” meme. Thus, when outbreaks of Jew-hatred flared in the wake of each campaign of lethal journalism, pundits who considered antisemitism dead and gone, accepted the argument that “anti-Zionism” had no connection to antisemitism. Thus, the ferocious hatreds directed at Israel by the Jihadi “Palestinian Grievance Narrative,” had “nothing to do with Jews,” and freely circulated in the progressive public sphere. The Livingstone formulation nailed it: Jews complaining about comparing Israel to the Nazis, were using accusations of antisemitism to silence those voicing legitimate criticism of Israel. “Good Jews” turned on Israel and avoided pointing the finger at Jihadis.

And even as the anti-Zionist narrative reached delirious heights of hatred, the Islamophobic narrative prohibited even legitimate criticism of Islam. To say that a global empire was an integral part of the Islamic vision was insulting, blasphemous, and demanded rapid punishment of offenders. The earliest targets of the cancel culture of the 21st century were Jews and other critics of Caliphator Islam. On the contrary, to speak of Palestinian genocidal teachings was news not fit to print, no matter how relevant.

Thus, the Caliphators won two key cognitive war victories by exploiting Western unavowed antisemitism. On the one hand, an exterminationist antisemitic meme – the Jews want to commit genocide and enslave humanity – inherited directly from the Nazis and amplified with Islamic genocidal passages like the Hadith of the Rocks and Trees, entered the Western public sphere clothed in a (Soviet-crafted) “progressive” post-colonial garb. Here the Jews, big winners in the civil-society, meritocracy sweepstakes, appear as privileged, supremacist, whites and the Palestinian losers, as colored, innocent, victimized indigenes. And at the same time as this discourse found legitimacy in the Western public sphere, it became, on the other hand, illegitimate – racist! – to point out how this Islamic genocidal discourse, accusing Jews of being genocidal Nazis, was projecting its own malevolent desires on the enemy it wanted to drive from that public sphere.

Today, after October 7, we see the results of this madness. Jews are indeed being driven from the public sphere in democracies, and “pro-Palestinians,” who openly view the Jihadi slaughter as justifiable, even a source of triumph, bully dissidents and regiment and harangue by-standers, insisting that life cannot return to normal while Palestinians suffer. And tongue-tied administrators and officials stand by in cowardice or consent. The news media continues to churn out Pallywood humanitarian-disaster journalism with wildly inflated Hamas statistics to feed a public who show little interest in suffering anywhere else. News outlets have special sections for showing everyone on an ongoing basis the suffering of the Palestinians at the hands of the Jews. Everyone who has a heart, bleeds for Gaza. And no one can question the right of some to accuse Israel of genocide. And all this is choreographed by the very Caliphators whose hearts are hard as stone, even for their own children whom they have killed, whose deaths they engineer.

When the moment of truth arrived for the progressive movement on 7/10, it chose apocalyptic time at any cost over its own ideals, destructive activism over any of the principles with which they began their millennial journey. It is not the first time such apocalyptic folly has occurred; not will it be the last.

Headshot of Robert Landes

Richard Landes was trained as a medievalist at Princeton University (MA 1979, PhD 1984). His work focuses on apocalyptic and millennial beliefs at the turn of the first and second millennium (1000 and 2000 CE). Among Landes many books are The Apocalyptic Year 1000 (2003), Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience (2011), and the forthcoming Can the “Whole World” be Wrong? A Medievalist’s Guide to the 21st Century (Academic Studies Press, 2021). Landes coined the term “Pallywood” while investigating the Muhammad al Durah affair and maintains “The Augean Stables,” a blog critical of western journalism. He recently published two articles: “The Demopath’s Lexicon: A Guide to Western Journalism between the River and the Sea” in Israel Affairs (2020), and “Oslo’s Misreading of an Honor-Shame Culture” in Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs (2019). Since retiring from Boston University in 2015, where he was a Professor in the History Department, he lives happily with his wife in Jerusalem, where he can write free of politically correct pressures.