Alinsky, The Soviet Union, Left-Wing NGOs, and The Human Rights Movement

What do all of the above have in common?

Answer: They are united by a paradigm of emotional manipulation, disinformation, and distraction which are used as the classical weapons where truthfulness and substance fail to provide necessary support for making cogent logical arguments.

Saul Alinsky, directly inspired by the classic tactics of the Soviet intelligence (see Ion Pacepa’s Disinformation for a much more detailed account of the way the Soviet Union moved its international agenda forward by defaming its political adversaries at home and abroad), produced a handbook for left-wing community organizers, Rules for Radicals  “A revolutionary organizer – writes Alinsky – must shake the prevailing patterns of their [men’s] lives = agitate, create disenchantment and discontent with the current values,…”. The spirit of this handbook is the same spirit that the Soviet intelligence used to inspire revolutionary movements around the world – in particular, the left-wing radical nationalist movement PLO, which has come to engage in a number of terrorist attacks against Israel, creating the persona of Yasser Arafat and the idea of the Palestinian identity not in complement but in opposition to Israel, not to mention countless other such movements in Latin America, Africa, Asia…. One needs not look very far to see that similar principles were used to overwhelm and disenfranchise any possibility of opposition inside the Soviet block. Any party that was considered a threat was immediately isolated, ridiculed, and personally destroyed in front of school and work committees, party officials, kangaroo courts.

There was no possibility of debating on merits; anyone seen disagreeing with the Party (or, to be more precise, with the leadership) was dismissed and mocked. There were no debates, no substantive discussions.  Bombastic speeches passed for arguments; appeals to emotion were used to peddle international interventions in assorted far-away conflicts for nations no one really cared about, even as Soviet population on the ground suffered from economic troubles, bought cheaply made furniture from Soviet bloc neighbors, stood in lengthy queues for bread, and fought over the last stick of bologna in empty stores. In its ultimate hypocrisy, the Soviet leadership sold pity for the African-Americans languishing in the United States, and called for the Soviet nations to stand in unity with the racial minorities in the WEst – even as it discriminated against its own Jews, and enforced ethnic quotas in the universities, think tanks, and elsewhere.

To see what the Soviet Union stood against, just examine what it stood for. Usually, it was actually one and same thing. The more it cracked down on religions and national groups in its own lands, the louder the Soviet leadership called for support of groups and organizations in the Middle East and Africa, allegedly for the sake of their right to self-determination, in reality, cynically manipulating both its own citizens and those of smaller countries for the sake of distracting from economic sluggishness, and throwing the sand in the eyes of the West by appearing needed and influential abroad. The support for assorted nationalist struggles was never about self-determination for those groups; it always was about fighting proxy conflicts, ruffling the West’s feathers, and using whatever means in the Soviet Union’s possession to assert the appearance of strength and importance. There was no consideration of minimizing civilian casualties during these proxy conflicts – or saving the precious money that should have gone towards improving lives of USSR’s own citizens. Instead,  collateral damage played into the hands of the cynical manipulators at the top. For how else to keep the locals disillusioned and dependent on their supporters from abroad than by having them constantly embroiled in conflict they could not otherwise sustain, preferably with a Western power far better armed and prepared?

If anything about this seems vaguely familiar, you may be right. Because such mindset replayed itself again and again for generations to come. It spread itself through the Middle East through noxious propaganda, including dissemination of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other such conspiracy theories, through Latin America, and even made its way into the United States – the political circles, the academe, the media, Hollywood. To see how that happened, you  need to look no further than to The Mitrokhin Archives, smuggled out by a  KGB defector, and translated with Christopher Andrew  into what became known as The Sword and The Shield, as well as Whittaker Chambers’ timeless masterpieces “Witness“, where this AMerican-born author recounts his own entanglement with the US Communist party, sold heart and soul to the Soviet Union, and what happens when he breaks away and decides to expose the network of spies and agents of influence which have managed to infiltrate every imaginable level of the US social circles – from the State Department to major magazines.

The pattern of defamation of opposition, as well as every dirty trick in the arsenal that the dictatorial Soviet system could magick up, translated itself neatly into Alinsky’s composition of the underlying essences for American radicals. To sum up, what it all comes down to is a simple, Machiavellian principle – the end justifies the means. It matters not who is sacrificed on the altar of the revolution. It matters not that the revolution may destroy its own. The end goal of converting the public to one’s own sentiments through brainwashing, spreading of discontent, extreme political correctness, emotional manipulation, and other such machinations justifies whatever lives end up being destroyed. It justifies cynical ploys, dishonorable actions, divide-and-conquer strategies, and most importantly – mockery of one’s opponents and shutting up of critical voices. Even if the beneficiaries of this scheme end up being its victims, it’s all good as long as the revolutionary transformation of society is moving forward.

I instantly recognized this pattern of activity while reading Tuvia Tenenbom’s satire “Catch the Jew!” Mr. Tenenbom is commissioned to go undercover and explore various layers of Israeli society. He does so successfully, managing to infiltrate all conceivable circles, not the least of which includes left-wing allegedly human-rights oriented organizations such as B’Tselem and the Red Cross. B’Tselem, which alleges to monitor Israeli abuses against Palestinians, showed no such interest in monitoring Palestinian abuses, and in fact, was shown to be complete deceptive and laughably incredible. The Red Cross was shown to engage in the level of obfuscation that no legitimate humanitarian organization should ever have the right to entertain; and in fact, engaged in outright fabrications of human rights cases against Palestinians for the sake of painting Israel as an apartheid or at the very least, abusive state.

Mr. Tenenbom uncovers that many of the so-called human rights organizations in Israel are funded by an assortment of European States, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy, which even send groups of students to go on anti-Semitic tours of Yad Vashem and Israel, and are taught nothing but loathing for the ISraeli state. They likewise fund films of similar character, and stop short of outright Holocaust denial, instead, favoring, an anti-Zionist sway that, in some particularly horrific instances, depicts Israelis as the new Nazis.  B’Tselem was a prominent recipient of such funding and acted accordingly. That left-wing human rights NGOs did not so much love Palestinians as they hated Israel’s Jewish character came as no surprise to me. I see similar attitude among the BDS proponents the world over. They care not how much Palestinians stand to benefit from developing peaceful, successful business relations or that they will suffer economically should they cease to be employed by Israeli factories as a result of boycotts. Rather, they prefer to sink Israel even if it hurts their alleged intended beneficiaries – Palestinians.

That comes straight from good Alinsky followers. Shut up your adversaries, mock them, use emotional language to obfuscate the real issues. Worse than BDS, even,  B’Tselem tainted itself by harboring supporters of truly heinous strategies – entrapping Palestinians who favor selling land to Israel (which makes them potential subjects to death penalty) – and defending such scum. Fortunately, one would-be murderer was arrested in his attempt to flee the country – and save his own skin that even in the worst case scenario of imprisonment would still be better than what may happen to his intended victims. Worse still is the fact that the ISraeli newspaper Ha’aretz exposed the name of the person who infiltrated B’tselem and revealed this atrocious, shameless scheme. Some may argue that no such death penalty has officially implemented since 2005 – but not everything is subject to public scrutiny. Sources on the ground allege that there have been actual murders of Palestinians who sold land to Israelis in more recent years, and at the very least their lives remain in danger, or lesser yet harmful penalties may still be implemented. Clearly, when you are ready to sacrifice lives for the sake of political agenda, this is no longer about any pretense of human rights, but your own revolutionary zeal, in keeping with Mr. Alinsky’s best traditions and following the old Soviet line. B’tselem showed care neither for ISraelis nor for Palestinians, but for its own ideological vision – regardless of costs.

Another caste in point is Breaking the SIlence, which is now being sued for defamation against the IDF. Breaking the Silence has used questionable tactics to expose alleged violations by IDF – using anonymous sources, attacking the IDF long after the alleged incidents occurred, relying on dubious witness accounts, and in some instances, openly fabricating stories. Worse than all of that, however, has been a recent revelation that BtS has been involved in passing of money toward inciting riots among Palestinians in hopes of further attacks on ISrael, in order, in turn, to provoke further confrontations… and give BtS something to talk about. This organization was also involved with Ezra Nawi, the very same character involved in entrapping Palestinians. These events came out in light of the recently proposed Transparency bill, which would expose the funding of all the NGOs (not just left-wing ones), but which was met with stalwart opposition from the “human rights” organizations, some of their European backers, and more interestingly, the United STates, which attempted to contrast this proposed bill as vastly more harsh than the American law – which is actually not the case.. The European Union, which remained strangely silent in light of revelation of the two pet organizations heavily backed by some of its members, as it turned out has been implicated in similarly distasteful activity directly – funding the Dead Sea Road, to help annex the Palestinian Authority. So much for being fair neutral mediators.

A rather odd picture presents itself before us. We have a number of allegedly human rights organization, which are ready to have any number of people defamed in public, or worse still, killed, for the sake of painting the State of Israel in the worst light possible. When caught red-handed, these organizations double down on their methods and back their evil minions rather than doing the decent thing and distancing themselves from such odious figures as far as humanly possible, unequivocally, apologizing to their victims, to the public, and to their supporters at home and abroad, and making amends immediately.  No, we see no such reaction. The NGOs, instead, play victim, allege that they are being unfairly targeted by the proposed bill (which actually does not discriminate by the type of organization and would subject right-wing foreign agents to the same level of scrutiny), and reveal names of the activists who procured this information about their methods – making them easy targets for reprisals.

Their supporters in Europe and the United States fail to show the sufficient level of horror, instead making weak excuses for what appears to be activity central to the organizations themselves, rather than a few zealots gone rogue. And European funders pretend not to have known anything about it, show zero outrage, zero condemnation of the horrific incident – and continue funding both the organizations and other horrific treacherous projects, such as the annexation of territory behind Israel’s back. Alinsky lives, as does classic Soviet methodology. We have destroyed the Soviet Union, but we have lost the Cold War. The ideology and the ruthless take-no-prisoners methods live on under the guise of human rights and the needless funding and perpetuation of the conflict in a region that would otherwise have peacefully shifted towards an eventual entente. And the US government, under the pretense of support of democracy and conflict mediation, is, in reality, supporting the same line of hypocritical “peacemongering” that is leading directly to continuation of violence, anti-Israel sentiment among the Palestinians, and increasing radicalization of Jews and Arabs alike. Violence and enmity is being forcefed to the Palestinians, not just by their own “leaders” but by the West, make no mistake of it. SImilarly, anti-Israel sentiment is being forcefed to young Jewish Israelis, under the guise of peace, hope, human rights, rainbows, and unicorns. Betrayal and murder are being justified and glamourized. And failure to condemn by the overwhelming margin of the so-called civilized society becomes a gesture of support for such methods.

I would expect all the Palestinian supporters, all the alleged defenders of truth, justice, and the American way to rise up and demand accountability from B’tselem, BtS, their ilk, and their funders and supporters. Or else, please do not call yourself peace activists, human rights defenders, good Jews, good Americans, or whatever it is you like to believe yourself to be. Call yourself as you will – radical ideologues, for  whom the end justifies the meanness.

About the Author
Irina Tsukerman graduated with a JD from Fordham University School of Law in 2009 and received her BA in International/Intercultural Studies and Middle East Studies from Fordham University in 2006. Her legal and advocacy work focuses on human rights and security issue, mostly in Muslim countries. She is also involved in diplomatic outreach and relationship-building among different communities.
Related Topics
Related Posts