In April, a long-haired flower child on the campus of Princeton University was captured on camera. The picture, posted on social media, shows him sitting on his guitar case, guitar in hand, ready to play. Spread on the grass before him, completing this otherwise faithful portrait of hippiedom, is not a peace sign or a tie-dyed bedsheet but the flag of the terrorist organization Hezbollah. Look closer, and you’ll spot the keffiyeh around his neck. But what is incongruous about the picture—the pairing of hippie garb and jihadist imagery—is nothing of the sort in real life. This tree-hugging terrorist supporter is the moronic face of a harmonious marriage.

In the first decade of the 21st century, the United States was attacked by jihadists who drew the country into a yearslong, multifront war. At the start of the third decade, we were attacked in a far different fashion, from within. Left-wing radicals embarked on a violent campaign to upend the cultural and political order of the nation. Both attacks changed us in significant ways, but neither one broke us. In 2023, seizing on Hamas’s October 7 massacre of Israelis, the jihadists and the left-wing radicals explicitly joined forces. They first launched a street campaign against Israel and in support of jihadist terror. Then they occupied university campuses, where they began harassing Jewish students, continued calling for death to Israel and America, and amplified their praise for jihad. All, naturally, in the name of peace.

We don’t know what this hybrid enemy of the West will do next. But we know that it won’t stop soon, as it is well funded and impressively organized. Moreover, its two halves enjoy a valuable symbiotic relationship. They need each other.

First, a sampling of the movement’s fruits so far.

Khymani James, a leading figure of Columbia University’s pro-Hamas encampment, and a gay African American in exquisite standing with the social-justice left, says, “Zionists don’t deserve to live.” At UCLA, Eli Tsives, a Jewish student wearing a Magen David necklace, is physically blocked on his way to class by keffiyeh-clad protesters. At Stanford University, a protester is photographed wearing a Hamas headband and face covering while he scrolls through his phone. At George Washington University, a statue of Washington himself is draped in a keffiyeh and a Palestinian flag. Elsewhere on the campus, students hold a “people’s tribunal” and sentence the school’s president and others to death amid cheers of “Guillotine, guillotine!” On campus after campus, left-wing activists call for “intifada revolution” or proclaim, “We are Hamas” under banners bearing the jihadist rallying cry for Jewish extermination, “From the river to the sea,” or the Islamist paean to holy suicide bombers, “Glory to all our martyrs.”

A vandalized statue of George Washington in GWU’s University Yard. (REUTERS/Craig Hudson/File Photo)

The union of radical leftism and jihadism on display across American campuses is a marriage born of necessity—and of love. The necessity is reciprocal. Three-plus years after the George Floyd revolution, the left had found itself adrift. With the liberal rank and file no longer interested in police-defunding, the public turning against DEI schemes, whistleblowers revealing the horrors of “gender-affirming care” for trans kids, and the term woke a source of liberal embarrassment, what was there to constitute the vital work of social justice? A revolutionary cannot live on microaggressions alone. The left needed a new animating theme, and jihadist fury would prove more than bracing enough.

For their part, the jihadists needed the American left for tactical purposes: to propagandize for their cause and fit anti-Semitic terrorists—alongside gays, the transgendered, and African Americans—into the intersectional left’s pantheon of victims. As one coordinator of a Vancouver-based “pro-Palestinian” organization counseled Columbia University students in March: “There is nothing wrong with being a member of Hamas, being a leader of Hamas, being a fighter in Hamas. These are the people that are on the front lines defending Palestine.” If average Americans are shocked at how ardently the woke took to Islamist thinking, it’s because they don’t know the left as well as jihadists do.

The love between the two camps, however, is not reciprocal. Leftists love the jihadists. They love them for their ferocity and exoticism as much as for their bottomless self-pity. Those are the constituent elements of social justice. It’s why we see protesters trying to shape-shift into war-ravaged Palestinians, asking for humanitarian aid, claiming chemical attacks on students, grasping to bask in the reflective glow of the nobly oppressed. But no properly chauvinistic jihadist could feel anything but disgust for the unchecked females, sexual libertines, heathens, and even Jews he’s been forced to instrumentalize in the cause of Islamist domination.

Yet while the love is not reciprocal, it is in other aspects mutual, or shared. The leftists and jihadists both love violence and victimhood. They both love destroying the good things of the West. And they both love anti-Semitism. Up until recently, most of the anti-Semitic left was inclined to costume its Jew-hatred in anti-Zionism. Their alliance with plainly exterminationist jihadists has changed that. This shift can be heard in the common protest chant “We don’t want no two states. We want all of it.”

In pursuit of these shared passions, the protesters have been known to find guidance in a pamphlet titled “De-arrest Primer,” which encourages them to assault police officers and create their own “micro-intifada which can spread and inspire others until we may finally shake off this noxious ruling order all together.”

Maybe you’re not convinced. Perhaps you’re inclined to agree with former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who tweeted in May, “Hamas has nothing in common at all with liberal or progressive values.” If you think he has a point, look more closely at  those protesting in sympathy with Hamas. You’ll find every color in the identity rainbow. Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ groups, intersectional feminist organizations, and others salute October 7 as righteous resistance and condemn the Israeli response as genocide. If you still find it strange that people nominally committed to the defense of minorities, women, and the transgendered are supporting a racist, male-supremacist, anti-gay terrorist regime, you’ve missed the purpose of social justice: to “finally shake off this noxious ruling order all together.” This necessarily means destroying the Jewish state, laying waste to the U.S. as we know it, and deifying the enemies of both.

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The first thing to understand about any left-wing protest movement is that its nominal cause is irrelevant. Black Lives Matter isn’t about saving black lives. Trans activism isn’t about protecting trans children. And intersectionality isn’t about the suffering of the diverse disaffected. Never were, never will be. Underneath their particular brands, social-justice movements are assorted fronts in a radical war against the good. And so it is for the “pro-Palestinian” encampments.

Would a group trying to save black lives have seized on a statistically tiny number of police killings as justification to rid black neighborhoods of police? That’s what Black Lives Matter did. And by the time the cops were hobbled, and violent crime spiked precisely where police were most needed, the movement’s leaders were using corporate donations to buy safe suburban palaces. BLM was an attack on law enforcement, because law enforcement maintains the good working order of the United States. Undermine that and you’re left with chaos, which is the objective.

And celebratory chaos is precisely the goal of the radical trans movement. Consider Rose Montoya, the trans activist who went topless on the South Lawn of the White House during a Pride Month celebration. How does that viral stunt protect trans kids or evoke empathy for an outcast demographic? Every aspect of the movement is designed to undo our common appreciation for a safe and sane way of life. Denying solid biological reality, throwing kids into emotional disarray, scaring the hell out of parents, endorsing ruinous medical procedures for minors, and trolling everyone who’s not convinced—that’s the game. And just as BLM leaders got rich, trans stars are furnished with endorsements and media deals once they’ve done their part to tear down the edifice of stability.

Intersectional ideology has infiltrated our lives mostly through the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training programs at work and school. To conquer, you must first divide. That’s the DEI trainer’s remit—splitting formerly cohesive groups into racial, ethnic, and gender camps, highlighting their differences and coaxing out ugly resentments. Not surprisingly, DEI work increases bigotry. As one DEI theorist recently admitted to the Wall Street Journal, “People often leave diversity training feeling angry and with greater animosity toward other groups.” Because that’s what it’s supposed to do, especially regarding Jews. Soon after October 7, Tabia Lee, the disenchanted former head of DEI at California’s De Anza College, told the New York Post that she was called a “dirty Zionist” for bringing Jewish speakers to campus. And school administrators refused her request to issue a condemnation of anti-Semitism. Lee says, “I was told in no uncertain terms that Jews are ‘white oppressors’ and our job as faculty and staff members was to ‘decenter whiteness.’” Of the left’s post–October 7 bigotry, she writes, “This outpouring of antisemitic hatred is the direct result of DEI’s insistence that Jews are oppressors.”

Yes, there are well-meaning individuals who support civil rights, gay rights, and gender equality. And if these well-meaning people are still supporting social-justice campaigns because they believe their stated aims, then they’ll support anyone.

But the performative lunatics who turned identity fanaticism into a national pastime are enemies of Israel, the Jews, the United States, and human decency itself. That makes them natural allies of terrorists, whatever their do-good cover stories.

As with previous left-wing campaigns, the “pro-Palestinian” movement offers nothing in support of its supposed purpose. It sides with Gaza’s governing terrorists, who start wars with the express goal of producing a surplus of dead Gazans. American Hamas supporters chant “Cease-Fire now” as Hamas refuses every cease-fire offer that Israel and the U.S. put on the table. Why? Because a cease-fire means no more dead Gazans, and dead Gazans are Hamas’s chief natural resource and most valuable export. It’s what brings in the billions of aid money that’s used to build tunnels where Hamas hides—while civilians absorb the blows overhead. If Israel were to stop short of eradicating Hamas, as the protesters want, many more Gazans would die in the future wars that Hamas has vowed to instigate.

No, the encampments aren’t pro-Palestinian. They’re the latest expression of the social-justice left’s impulse to destroy the virtuous and raise up the wicked.

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But that’s not all they are. What the jihadists of Hamas and other groups want from the protesters is not to save Palestinian lives but to further rally world opinion against Israel and pressure institutions to boycott, divest from, and sanction it. From their perspective, the encampments are both a psychological operation, or psyop, and a means of economic warfare against the State of Israel. In both respects, the protesters have been dutiful in trying to advance jihadists’ aims. But they are merely the end products of long-running, highly developed propaganda and finance networks developed to press them into service. And even a cursory look at the parties behind these networks gives you a sense of their interest in peace.

Consider the organization American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), founded in 2005. As Commentary contributing editor Jonathan Schanzer testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in April, AMP is “arguably the most important sponsor and organizer for Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which is the most visible arm of the BDS campaign on campuses in the United States.” AMP supplies SJP with “speakers, training, printed materials, a so-called Apartheid Wall, and grants” to activists. Moreover, “AMP even has a campus coordinator on staff whose job is to work directly with SJP and other pro-BDS campus groups across the country.”

Whom does AMP employ? From Schanzer’s testimony: “At least seven individuals who work for or on behalf of AMP have worked for or on behalf of organizations previously shut down or held civilly liable in the United States for providing financial support to Hamas.” One of these individuals, Salah Sarsour, did eight months behind bars in Israel for “Hamas activity.” Little surprise that attendees of AMP’s 2014 annual conference were invited to “come and navigate the fine line between legal activism and material support for terrorism.” AMP has also received donations from businesses and foundations with one or two degrees of separation from terrorist funders.

Schanzer also testified about a pro-BDS group called alternately “The U.S. Coalition to Boycott Israel” or “Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine.” He said, “The organization’s president is Ghassan Barakat, a consular notary for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) who has been identified by the Palestinian Expatriates Affairs Department website as a member of the Palestine National Council (PNC).” Group coordinator Senan Shaqdeh was once, according to the PLO itself, a “‘fighter in the ranks of the mountain brigade’ for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,” a PLO faction designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States. According to Shaqdeh, he is also a co-founder of Students for Justice in Palestine.

The above describes only one stream of support for the protests. Another financial stream comes from well-known, big-money Democratic donors. Over the past five years, according to Politico, the Tides Foundation has given half a million dollars to the anti-Zionist group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). Along with IfNotNow, also a Tides Foundation recipient, JVP is one of the central organizing forces behind pro-Hamas protests at Columbia and beyond. Additionally, Tides contributes to the Adalah Justice Project, another Columbia protest participant, and Palestine Legal, a legal defense fund that claims to help “students mobilizing against genocide.” The Tides Foundation is heavily supported by George Soros, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Susan and Nick Pritzker.

Mega-donors often give to an array of such groups and watch the activism trickle down. The Pritzkers, for example, additionally support Solidaire and the Libra Foundation, which then disperse funds to more specialized organizations such as the Climate Justice Alliance and Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity, both of which have been involved in the protests. Soros also funds Students for Justice in Palestine, which has organized protests at Harvard, Yale, and elsewhere. The New York Post reports that the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) “received at least $300,000 from Soros’s Open Society Foundations since 2017 and also took in $355,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund since 2019.” For an eight-hour organizing shift, USCPR pays its community-based “fellows” as much as $7,800 and its campus-based fellows between $2,880 and $3,660. The fellows are trained, according to USCPR literature, to “rise up, to revolution.”

One such fellow, Malak Afaneh, co-president of the Berkeley Law Students for Justice in Palestine, rose up and crashed a dinner party thrown by the dean of Berkeley Law School, Erwin Chemerinsky. In Chemerinsky’s backyard, Afaneh took to a smuggled-in microphone to preach against Israel. When Chemerinsky’s wife tried to get her to leave, Afaneh accused the hostess of assault.

There’s another, more insidious, channel of support that bears mentioning: the vast sums of money that foreign governments give to American colleges. The country most relevant here is Hamas’s patron, Qatar. A 2022 study by the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) found that Qatar gave, in the form of “gifts” or “restricted agreements,” $4.7 billion to multiple American colleges and universities between 2001 and 2021. Since 2015, Qatar has given an astounding $1.5 billion just to Cornell, where history professor Russell Rickford was caught on camera telling students that the October 7 attack on Israel was “exhilarating” and “energizing,” and where Jewish students were warned to avoid the kosher dining hall because of anonymous threats to blow up the building.

At Cornell, history professor Russell Rickford tells students that the October 7 attack on Israel was “exhilarating” and “energizing.” (Screenshot from the Cornell Daily Sun, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

There is a statistically robust link between the money and the Jew-hatred. ISGAP’s study found that, between 2015 and 2020, schools that accepted money from Qatar (and other Middle Eastern donors) averaged 300 percent more anti-Semitic incidents than those that did not. And Qatar-funded campuses were also more resistant to traditional democratic norms such as free speech. Qatar’s investment allows it to influence universities by organizing conferences and joint-research projects where Qatari administrators and researchers can indirectly relay Doha’s agenda to their Western counterparts.

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And they could hardly enjoy a more receptive audience. It is on the rotting foundations of Western academia itself that the woke jihad built its home. Dominant academic trends such as intersectionality, critical race theory, anti-racism, and anti-colonialism have turned millions of young minds into a moral fun-house mirror in which racists are reflected back as angels, colorblindness as racism, one sex as the other, democracy as tyranny, tyranny as paradise, freedom as bondage, refugees as colonialists, Jews as white oppressors, and terrorists as saints.

At this late date, it’s no longer profitable to tease out the subtleties of one neo-Marxist theory or another. In their totality, they amount to a categorical inversion of the good and the bad. And without that, no Islamist psyop, donor network, or activist alliance could have delivered the campus Hamasniks and Judenrein quads we see today. By the time those forces got involved, the student acolytes of the identarian left had been hollowed out of anything that might have made them resistant to indoctrination. On a slew of campuses, they now evangelize for terrorism, standing side-by-side with the professors who prepped them for this moment.

Appropriately, it will be the universities that suffer most when the woke jihad winds down. The donor divestment and the drop in student applications that hit schools when the protests began are certain to increase as the full flowering of the encampments’ depravity becomes ever clearer.

Academic thought has been so thoroughly siloed from common experience for so long that it became unaccountable to itself and undetectable to most of the country. Not only was dethroned Harvard president Claudine Gay unaware that the unacceptability of genocidal incitement is not context-dependent; most Americans were unaware that she or any other academic didn’t know that. The past seven months have exposed for all the full catalogue of grotesquery that is American higher education.

Which is why a backlash against the pro-Hamas encampments has come more swiftly than the one that followed the defund-the-police campaign. In the 21st century, there is a predictable arc to a radical movement’s progress. First, a significant segment of the public embraces it. Next, the liberal establishment responds by incorporating its ideas in policy. Then, the policy produces tragic results. And, eventually, the public turns on the movement. Such was the case with police-defunding. But polls indicate that the public is already opposed to the pro-Hamas encampments, just by virtue of their existence. Meanwhile, the fraternity brothers who hoisted an American flag at the center of a pro-Hamas rally at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have received more than half a million dollars from appreciative patriots.

And, really, how could it be otherwise? In joining forces, the woke and the Islamists may have compounded their resources, but they’ve also compounded the disgust that the public already harbored for each group individually. The spectacle of their blended pathologies will be, and already is, their discrediting and their undoing. Not ours.

Photo: AP Photo/Patrick Sison

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