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VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The West is sick of the new woke jihadism

What are the mobs in Washington defiling iconic federal statues with impunity and pelting policemen really protesting?

What are the students at Stanford University vandalizing the president’s office really demonstrating against?

What are the throngs in London brazenly swarming parks and rampaging in the streets really angry about?


They could care less that the Islamist Turkish government still stations 40,000 troops in occupied Cyprus. No one is protesting against the Chinese takeover of a once-independent Tibet or the threatened absorption of an autonomous Taiwan.


None of these mobs is agitating on behalf of the nearly 1 million Jews ethnically cleansed since 1947 from the major capitals of the Middle East. Some 200,000 Cypriots displaced by Turks earn not a murmur. Nor does the ethnic cleansing of 99 percent of Nagorno-Karabakh’s ancient Armenian population just last year.

Civilian casualties?

The global protesters are not furious over the 1 million Uighurs brutalized by the communist Chinese government. Neither are they concerned about the Turkish government’s indiscriminate war against the Kurds or its serial threats to attack Armenians and Greeks.

The new woke jihadi movement is instead focused only on Israel and “Palestine.” It is oblivious to the modern gruesome Muslim-on-Muslim exterminations of Bashar el-Assad and Saddam Hussein, the Black September massacres of Palestinians by Jordanian forces, and the 1982 erasure of thousands in Hama, Syria.

So woke jihadism is not an ecumenical concern for the oppressed, the occupied, the collateral damage of war or the fate of refugees. Instead, it is a romanticized and repackaged anti-Western, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic jihadism that supports the murder of civilians, mass rape, torture and hostage-taking.

But what makes it now so insidious is its new tripartite constituency.

First, the old romantic pro-Palestine cause was rebooted in the West by millions of Arab and Muslim immigrants who have flocked to Europe and the United States in the past half-century.

Billions of dollars in oil sheikdom “grant” monies swarmed Western universities to found “Middle Eastern Studies” departments. These are not so much centers for historical or linguistic scholarship as political megaphones focused on “Zionism” and “the Jews.”

Moreover, there may be well more than a half-million affluent Middle Eastern students in Western universities. Given that they pay full tuition, imbibe ideology from endowed Middle Eastern studies faculty and are growing in number, they logically feel that they can do anything with impunity on Western streets and campuses.

Second, the Diversity/Equity/Inclusion movement empowers the new woke jihadis. Claiming to be non-white victims of white Jewish colonialism, they pose as natural kindred victims to blacks, Latinos and any Westerner now claiming oppressed status.

Black radicalism, from Al Sharpton to Louis Farrakhan to Black Lives Matter, has had a long, documented history of antisemitism. It is no wonder that its elite eagerly embraced the anti-Israeli Palestine movement as fellow travelers.

The third leg of woke jihadism is mostly affluent white leftist students at Western universities. Sensing that their faculties are anti-Israel, their administrations are anti-Israel (although more covertly) and the most politically active among the student body are anti-Israel, European and American students find authenticity in virtue-signaling their solidarity with Hamas, Hezbollah and radical Islamists in general.

Given the recent abandonment of standardized tests for admission to universities, the watering-down of curricula and rampant grade inflation, thousands of students at elite campuses feel that they have successfully redefined their universities to suit their own politics, constituencies and demographics.

Insecure about their preparation for college and mostly ignorant of the politics of the Middle East, usefully idiotic students find resonance by screaming antisemitic chants and wearing keffiyehs.

Nurtured in grade school on the Marxist binary of bad, oppressive whites versus good, oppressed nonwhites, they can cheaply shed their boutique guilt by joining the mobs.

The result is a bizarre new antisemitism and overt support for the gruesome terrorists of Hamas by those who usually preach to the middle class about their own exalted morality.

Still, woke jihadism would never have found resonance had Western leaders — vote-conscious heads of state, timid university presidents and radicalized big-city mayors and police chiefs — not ignored blatant violations of laws against illegal immigration, vandalism, assault, illegal occupation and rioting.

Finally, woke jihadism is fueling a radical Western turn to the right, partly because of open borders and the huge influx into the West from non-Western illiberal regimes.

Partly the reaction stems from the ingratitude shown their hosts by indulged Middle-Eastern guest students and green card holders.

Partly, the public is sick of the sense of entitlement shown by pampered, sanctimonious protesters.

And partly the revulsion arises against left-wing governments and universities that will not enforce basic criminal and immigration statutes in fear of offending this strange new blend of wokism and jihadism.

Yet the more violent campuses and streets become, the more clueless the mobs seem about the cascading public antipathy to what they do and what they represent.

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and a classicist and historian at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Contact him at authorvdh@gmail.com.

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