The Enemy of My Enemy: The Alarming Convergence of Militant Islam and the Extreme Right

By Lerner, Saul | Shofar, Fall 2008 | Go to article overview

The Enemy of My Enemy: The Alarming Convergence of Militant Islam and the Extreme Right


Lerner, Saul, Shofar


The Enemy of My Enemy: The Alarming Convergence of Militant Islam and the Extreme Right, by George Michael. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006. 397 pp. $34.95.

George Michael has written a very important book in The Enemy of My Enemy: The Alarming Convergence of Militant Islam and the Extreme Right. Not only has he effectively described the historic background of both U.S. and non-US. extremist and hate groups and militant Islamic groups, but he has effectively shown how such groups share goals and objectives and, therefore, are likely to develop and encourage future cooperative efforts. The book describes the nature, political objectives, and historical backgrounds of such groups as Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, white supremacists, Holocaust deniers, the American and the European extreme right, neo-Nazis, radical Christians, and others. Michael makes clear that although "virtually all terrorists come from the ranks of extremists, most extremists are not terrorists," but "political extremism often serves as an incubator for future terrorism" (p. 13).

Opposition between militant Islamists and American extremists over religious belief, racial/ethnic background, cultural differences, and other important distinctions has not undermined the goals that the two groups hold in common, and both continue to oppose modernity, democracy, aspects of capitalism and globalization, the United States, nation -states, and other such phenomena. Moreover, both militant Islamists and the extreme right are angered by U.S. involvement in the Middle East, participation of the United States in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. support of Israel, and the influence of Israel on U.S. politics and political decision making. These groups are strongly motivated by support of the Palestinian cause, a deep commitment to antisemitism, and demonization of the Jew.

In his analysis of the American extreme right, Michael indicates that two major changes have taken place since the 1980s: the ultimate demise of communism turned this group away from extreme patriotism and, as the nonwhite population of the United States grew, this group became increasingly nihilistic (p. 23), viewed the United States as controlled by a "Zionist Occupation Government" (ZOG), and grew ever-more obsessed with Jews. The result has been that the extreme right has sought destruction of the old order. Terrorism has been seen as a means of shocking the masses into overthrowing Zionist domination (pp. 28-9). Citing the study of Daniel Pipes, Militant Islam Comes to America (New York: W. W Norton, 2002), the Islamic militants have shared some views with American extremists, for they have been: "[r]adical [u]topian," "[t]otalitarian," "[a]ntidemocratic," "[a]ntimoderate," "[a]nti-Semitic,""[a]nti-[w]estern," and "[u]nwilling to coexist" (pp. 33-34). Militant Islamists view the United States and "Israel - along with a putative international Zionist cabal - ""as the main threat to and oppressor of Islam" (p. 45). Hence, in the same way that the extreme right sees overthrow of the government of the United States as key to the resolution of all American problems, Islamic militants seek to resolve modern problems and the problems of all humanity by overthrowing U.S. /Zionist domination and restoring "the universalistic fervor of early Islam" (p. 34).

Based on such works as those of Daniel Pipes, Yossef Bodansky, Islamic Anti-Semitism as a Political Instrument (Houston, TX.: Ariel Center for Policy Studies, 1999), and others, circulation in the Middle East of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, widespread Arab belief that an Israel lobby dominates American Middle Eastern policy, and support of the destruction of Israel, Michael has built an effective case describing militant Islamist antisemitism. Moreover, he has traced the development of such antisemitism from the years prior to the World War II, including Arab support of the Nazis during World War II, collaboration with neo-Nazis in the post-war period, and opposition to both Israel and Jews throughout the decades since the end of World War II. …

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