by Piero Bernocchi

Frankly, some themes and issues in today’s national and international debate regarding the Israeli-Palestinian war do not captivate me. I find them entirely “inextricable” and consider their hypothetical resolution unnecessary: for example, the fierce dispute over what Zionism has been and currently is. It’s certainly a complex discussion, academically fertile, given that there are dozens of books, more or less interesting or “decisive,” on the subject. However, it is utterly unproductive, as it should be common knowledge that there was a “left-wing” Zionism (summarized by the “socialist” kibbutzim) and an opposite, fascist-like one, particularly highlighted in recent months by Netanyahu and the thugs even to his right. Neither variant can claim the copyright on the term. Likewise, it seems unprofitable to discuss the opposite term, anti-Zionism, as it is equally evident from global events that there are “genuine” anti-Zionists who are not anti-Jewish, and fake anti-Zionists (of which there are many in the world recently, often unsuspected until recently) who use the term to mask their outright anti-Jewish hatred.

Another discussion that seems entirely academic and resolves nothing is the one about the “historical right of return” of Jews to Palestine. If approached on the level of epochal discourse, the problem appears intricate and complex: historical excursions attempted on this topic in recent months have only demonstrated the elusiveness and fundamental “non-decisiveness” of any argument. However, in my humble opinion, it is mainly a useless debate because Israel’s legitimacy as a State did not come from “past historical merits,” i.e., based on what happened a couple of thousand years ago, but from a United Nations resolution that overwhelmingly decided that part of Palestine should become the State of Israel. To exemplify the level of universal consensus obtained on this decision, the first two countries to recognize the Israeli State were the USA and the USSR, despite being globally hostile to each other: the Soviet Union even sent weapons when, in 1948, the Arab states that did not accept the UN decision waged war against Israel. The UN and almost all the nations of the time did not do this because they were inspired by the Old Testament but because not only the West but almost the entire world knew that the Holocaust was perpetrated by the Germans, but anti-Judaism had infected almost every country for many centuries, and the Holocaust was ultimately the sum and horrendous “apotheosis” of this. Thus, assigning a nation to the Jews, who never had one (and were historically accused of not identifying with any nation), was an attempt to erase a centuries-old and universal sense of guilt: and they certainly could not place a Jewish nation in Bavaria or the Rhineland or Saxony, i.e., in the home of their greatest massacres. In short, the choice of Palestine was not due to the collective acceptance of the Old Testament as historical truth but simply because there was no Palestinian State at the time, the Arabs in those areas were divided into small communities with different ethnicities or customs, and the neighboring Arab States had no intention of allowing the creation of a Palestinian State, each intending to take a piece of that land: so much so that in 1948 they opened hostilities against the newborn State.

But beyond these general considerations, the further and predominant reason why I dedicate little or no interest to all this is that what concerns me most here and now is what can be effectively intervened upon, particularly the issue that currently seems the real wound on the left (which is certainly not the lack of pro-Palestinian mobilization, which is indeed decidedly adequate, unprecedented, and unmatched for the Kurds, Syrians, against Erdogan, or the Iranian executioners, etc.): that is, the progressive penetration of Jihadist Islamism (which, simplifying, we can translate as “Islamism of the Holy War”) on the left (no matter how you mean it) internationally, starting from the United States and its most prestigious and wealthiest universities. I have already written several articles on this topic recently, and the most recent and comprehensive one was published a few days ago on my website (Islamist Propaganda in Universities and Islamophilia:

However, enhancing these concerns of mine in the past week and motivating this new writing, were the words (published on his X, formerly Twitter, account) of Ali Khamenei, the self-declared Supreme Leader of Iran, addressed to the students of the most famous and wealthy US universities last week: “Dear university students in the United States of America, this message is an expression of our empathy and solidarity with you. You are on the right side of history, you have formed a new branch of the Resistance Front, you have started an honorable struggle against the ruthless repression of your government that openly supports the Zionists… My advice to you is to become familiar with the Quran.” Plain and simple: clearer than that?! Imagine how much this commonality of intent between the number one Iranian executioner and the US students cheering for Hamas and its sponsors could have pleased an Iranian student hearing about “ruthless repression” on US campuses after seeing the truly ruthless and horrifying repression of hundreds of his colleagues massacred, tortured, and hanged from cranes for peacefully protesting against the monstrous dictatorship of the ayatollahs; or a young woman who saw many of her peers meet the same fate for not wearing the veil or not wearing it correctly; or a gay, lesbian, or trans person who remembers how many from their communities were literally torn to pieces in recent years for their sexual and affectionate preferences. Yet, from the Ivy League universities, there has been not a line or a breath to send back the “solidarity and empathy” of such a global executioner, almost as if, indeed, the students in struggle received encouragement and appreciation from a world political leader of high and universally recognized political, intellectual, and moral stature. Thus, he can legitimately hope that the “familiarity with the Quran” by the future leadership of US society will provide even greater satisfaction to the monstrous Iranian theocracy and its “subordinates” around the world.