“People Want New Revolution”

Tunisia: Demonstrators chant anti-Islamist slogans


At least 50,000 turn out to honor assassinated secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid in Tunis; Violence erupts near cemetery as police fire teargas at demonstrators setting cars ablaze. ‘People want a new revolution,’ mourners shout


Police and mourners clashed at the mass funeral on Friday of secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid, whose assassination has plunged Tunisia deeper into political crisis.


Braving chilly rain, at least 50,000 people turned out to honor Belaid in his home district of Jebel al-Jaloud in the capital Tunis, chanting anti-Islamist and anti-government slogans…

From Iran to Egypt to Tunisia, Barack Obama and his followers should be supporting the secularists, but they don’t. Out of some entirely misguided notion of  western guilt the Obama administration and its friends support the Islamists.  Almost the entire Middle East is wracked with radical Jihadi upheavals. Country after country has fallen to political Islam, a movement grounded in misogyny, homophobia, genocidal anti-Semitism, and a burning desire to reclaim an Islamic empire through the establishment of a worldwide caliphate.

It is to my mind, at least, almost unimaginable that the American president would support such a movement given the fact that political Islam is also an enemy of the west and, in particular, of the United States and Israel.  What I find even more unimaginable is that western-left progressive Jews support a president who would support a violently anti-Semitic movement.

This would be something akin to western-left American Jews supporting Franklin Roosevelt if Roosevelt had supported the Nazis.  It’s rather difficult to imagine, but we don’t need to imagine it.  All we need to do is read the newspaper.

If there is one place among the “Arab Spring” countries in which the secular democrats have a chance it is Tunisia.  That’s what Barry Rubin says, in any case.  He writes:

[T]he “Arab Spring” has just been murdered with bullets and hijacked amid bloodstains. Here is the list of countries in the Middle East area currently ruled by Islamists: Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Iran, Lebanon, and Turkey. Syria will probably join them soon. Qatar has a pro-Islamist policy. Morocco technically has an Islamist government though the king neutralizes it in practice. Saudi Arabia is ruled by a strict Islamic regime but opposes the revolutionary Islamists though its money often spreads their doctrines elsewhere. Everyone is being forced into Sunni or Shia Islamist camps, backing radical forces in other countries so that their religious allegiance can conquer.


In this situation, only in Tunisia could the non-Islamists win fairly conducted elections. But an election isn’t fair if one side uses violence to ensure its victory and its ability to transform the country into a social-political dictatorship afterward.

Supporting the various riots and murders and rapes that collectively made up the ironically named “Arab Spring” was a mistake from the very beginning, but it was a reasonably understandable mistake among westerners of good will.  We all hoped that what we were seeing was a democratic revolution within Arab-Muslim societies, but that has not turned out to be the case.  Some people were wise enough to withhold approval until we had a clearer idea of just what we were facing, but Barack Obama, sadly, is not among them.

This president of the United States supported, and much to my horror still supports, Islamic fascism in the Middle East.

It seems to me that this is where we should draw the line between liberals and non-liberals.  If you are in vocal support of the liberals, the secularists, and the democrats in the Arab world then you support a liberal agenda.  However, if you support Barack Obama’s foreign policy, and thereby support political Islam, then you cannot, by definition, be considered “liberal” on questions of foreign policy.

The Middle East is crawling with genocidal Islamists, but it also has a goodly number of secular democrats and it is those people who we need to support.  Barack Obama will not support them, but that does not mean that we cannot, even if we made the mistake of voting for Obama a second time around.  Politics is fluid and constantly changing and those of us who are capable of learning from our mistakes do so and alter our opinions and our politics accordingly.

The Jewish people, whether in the diaspora or in Israel, want peace.  Those of us, such as myself, who are fortunate enough to live in the United States, live in peace.  Our brothers and sisters in Israel, however, do not and the behavior of the American president in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and the rise of political Islam assures us that they will not see peace any time in the near future.

This means that we must do what we always do, stand up for social justice.  We need to stand with the secular democrats throughout the Arab world.  We need to stand with them in Tunis and Tehran and Cairo.  The American Jewish left has tended to follow Barack Obama because Obama is a politician that comes out of the American left and thereby makes progressive-left noises.  When he opens his mouth progressive-left noises come out and this makes American Jewish progressives happy.

The truth of the matter, however, is that Barack Obama is anything but “liberal” or “progressive” in his foreign policy because one cannot support violent, theocratic, anti-Semites and still be considered a liberal.

What we need now are liberal Jews who are willing to stand up for universal human rights and that means standing with the secular democrats in opposition to the Islamist theocratic fascists.

It also means, to the discomfort of many, standing against the president of the United States.


Mike Lumish is the editor of the pro-Israel blog, Israel Thrives.

About the Author
Mike Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco. He regularly publishes on the Arab-Israel conflict at the Times of Israel and at his own blog, Israel Thrives (http://israel-thrives.blogspot.com/). He has in recent years given conference papers on American cultural and intellectual history at The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Dublin, Ireland, as well as at the Western Historical Association in Phoenix, Arizona and the American Cultural Association in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lumish is also the founding editor of the scholarly on-line discussion forum H-1960s. He can be contacted at mike.lumish@gmail.com.