A Common Thread: Christianity, Islam, Nazism, and the Left

by Nikos Akritas (December 2023)

The Homeless (After the Pogrom)— Maurycy Minkowski, 1906



Let’s be blunt. Recent events in the Middle East, from the October 7 attacks on innocent civilians of all ages to demonstrations around the world to Israel’s response, illustrate one thing very clearly. The lack of sympathy for Israeli casualties (because there are no innocent Jews) is in stark contrast to the outpouring of sympathy for Palestinian ones. The Left’s support for Hamas and other terrorist groups exists, they claim, because they see Israel as an occupying, imperialist power.

Well, let’s take a closer look at this claim. Imperialism is the act of conquering other territories in order to extend one’s own power and influence. Yet, prior to 1948, Jews had no territory of their own to speak of, making them vulnerable to the antisemitism of Christian Europe for two millennia, which found its ultimate expression in the Holocaust.

Vehement Jew-hatred, with tropes of miserliness, greed, dishonesty, depravity and far more sinister canards, is also part of the Muslim cultural inheritance, not Christianity’s alone. But whereas Europe had its Holocaust, the Middle East still looks forward to one. The annihilation of the state of Israel, and of Jews, is a widespread desire, sanctioned by Islam. Even those who pretend this is about Israel, not Jews, are disingenuous. If this were about the illegal occupation of a people’s land, what of Western Sahara, Cyprus, Tibet and Xinjiang? These are but a few lands under foreign occupation. These do not attract the support and passions witnessed against Israel. Why is that?

Those who demand “no Jewish state in the Middle East” are purely antisemites. Jews have existed in the eastern Mediterranean for at least 3000 years, so why are they denied a state? Because they have appropriated others’ lands? Before the creation of Israel, the area referred to as Palestine contained Jews, Christians, Muslims and Druze. Regardless of one’s views of the Zionist movement and any ‘right to return,’ the reason Israel has its present borders is due to Arab aggression, not Jewish.

The Jewish state proposed by the 1937 Peel Commission was just twenty per cent of the Palestine Mandate, and a fraction of the present state of Israel. But even this was not acceptable to the Arabs of the region. For them, there was no place for a Jewish state. Only because of attempts by the tiny state’s neighbours to “drive the Jews into the sea” did the latter, in an act of self-preservation without support from the West, expand beyond the original borders of 1948. This was repeated in 1967. On both occasions, the aim of the invaders was not to establish a Palestinian state (which they explicitly denied legitimacy to) but to expand their own lands at the expense of those already living there—genuine imperialism.

Prior to the creation of the state of Israel, there may have been legitimate reasons for opposing the creation of a Jewish state in Mandatory Palestine, or at least one in the manner proposed by the British and United Nations. But the question remains: what is the solution to the Middle East conflict? For many Muslims, the answer is obvious: annihilation. (Note the democratic election of both Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood in the region. Had democracy come to the Middle East in the wake of the Iraq War, the West would become far more aware of the virulent antisemitism in Muslim countries). Jews can exist for some, but only as second class citizens or somewhere else. They must know their place, which is not as equals of Muslims. And the solution for the Left? The same as that of the two organizations just mentioned.

Given the inherent antisemitism of both Islam and Christianity, what is the realistic option for Jews? As they have known since at least 1942 (and Zionists since the end of the 19th century), the only realistic options are: fight for survival or roll over and die quietly.

The Left’s Marxist rhetoric of the evils of capitalism are imbued with the belief, in common with Nazism and Islam, in a Jewish worldwide conspiracy. As far removed from capitalism and Western imperialism the Left believes itself to be, it shares with them a common European intellectual inheritance and part of that is the antisemitism of their Christian ancestry.

This common theme finds expression in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fake document claiming to provide genuine evidence of a Jewish conspiracy for worldwide domination. The text was popular and widespread throughout Europe in the first half of the twentieth century; the Nazis using it as justification for their beliefs. It is now a best seller, along with Mein Kampf, in the Middle East and until 2017 was cited by Hamas in their Charter as proof of a Jewish cabal.

In order to look beyond the stereotypes and shallow intellect displayed by much of the media, one really needs to understand Islamic doctrine, Nazi beliefs and those of the Left relating to Jews. All three harbour a rabid hatred of Jews, which precludes any rational discussion. In much the same way Christian antisemitism perceived Jews over the last two millennia; these groups carry that torch today. As dangerous as the Nazis were, when one considers the numbers and territorial spread of Islam and the Left, Jews have perfectly valid reason to fear annihilation.

Cultures do not change overnight. Antisemitic stereotypes are widespread in former communist countries. They still exist, especially amongst the Left, in Western countries. In Muslim countries they are just the norm. Jews are the eternal bogeyman of societies of Christian and Islamic heritage – Christian hostility originating with claims of deicide (although it could be argued even this is a legacy of earlier antisemitism); Muslim hostility originating with a belief in the betrayal of their prophet (when in truth, according to Islamic tradition, it arose as a response to Jewish rejection of Muhammad as a prophet). Yet, in both cases, these younger religions twisted the Jewish faith and discriminated against Jews as a result of this cultural appropriation (Wokists take note). Because these first followers of an Abrahamic faith would not, stubbornly, abandon their beliefs in favour of the newer religions, annihilation became the preferred option—given expression in the eschatological beliefs of both Christianity and Islam.

When I ask Leftists and Muslims for a solution to the plight of the Jewish people, “Where can they go to feel safe?” the response is usually evasive or, more often, there is no response at all. Because, let’s face it, Who cares? So long as they go away. And so, the stereotype of Jews as sub-humans remains, even amongst those crying ‘justice.’


Table of Contents


Nikos Akritas has worked as a teacher in Britain, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


3 Responses

  1. Thanks for this article.
    I also want to observe that Palestinians are mainly Arabs and Arabs are originally from the Arab peninsula. Then they expanded through the entire North Africa, until Morocco, at the expense of local populations. So the Arabs are also occupiers and colonizers (and very violent, BTW).
    So, why the Arab imperialism should be considered good and acceptable, while the Jewish “imperialism” is considered bad?
    The arguments of the anti-Israel people are just a tangle of contradictions.

    1. Arab identity, like that of any ‘ethnicity’, is complicated. The identity you refer to is a Muslim myth that has widespread following. Most Arabs are not descendants of invaders from the Arab peninsula but this is the myth many Muslims choose to believe. They are, rather, a combination of the pre-Arab conquest populations and the peoples that migrated to those areas since (including large numbers of peoples Muslims enslaved from Europe, Africa and Asia.) DNA testing is shedding light on this controversial area.

      Those who refer to themselves as Arabs outside of the Arab peninsula may be Arabic speakers but they are, in large part, not descendants of Arab invaders. The imperialism of the Arab invasions has been spectacularly successful through a conquest of the mind – the adoption of Islam and the myths of ancestry that accompany it. Iranians have not adopted this narrative and so retain their own language and sense of identity. The North African and Middle Eastern Muslims you refer to have, mostly, lost any sense of pre-Islamic identity and so believe they are of peninsular Arab descent. But adoption of a language and religion does not make this so.

      Some Palestinians (which should mean Palestinian Jews as well but is now commonly used to refer to Arab Palestinians only) do use their pre-Islamic roots as claim to the land and some mistakenly think of them as descendants of the Philistines (who actually came from the Greek islands).

      By any reference to history, Arabs and Palestinians have to admit to an ancient Jewish presence on the land. You are correct to say the Arabs were invaders and therefore their claims to the land are imperialist. Any non-imperialist narrative that argues land for non-Jews but not for Jews smacks of racism.

  2. I am in favour of Israel as a Jewish state, endorse its current actions as those I would take myself in response to comparable attacks, and note favourably that the Jews have been, if reasonably reluctantly, in favour of past deals like the Peel Plan and the UN plan which the Arabs rejected in favour of war. The Arabs/Palestinians have been an all or nothing people and they have been unable to win it all by war. I am satisfied that they deserve nothing on that sole account. If they had been willing to deal they could have had 3/4 in 1937, 1/2 in 1948, and WB + Gaza + EJ from Egypt and Jordan had they asked and the latter been bothered to give. It was never good enough. They could probably have had WB + Gaza minus East Jerusalem [I mean, come on] right after the 6 day war if they’d been willing to recognize Israel and make peace right then. Nope. Can’t recognize repeated defeats. All or nothing.

    I also recognize the Palestinians as the people whose terrorist wing took Russian money to terrorize European cities and the aviation industry in the Cold War.

    On the other hand, let’s not go nuts. The fact the Jews had no other state means nothing. Nomads have conquered lands before and it’s been considered imperialism. According to their own account, which may or may not be historical, that’s how Israel claimed the land in the bronze age. If that’s not real history, and it is not supported by archeology as it happens, fine. If it is, and it is Israel’s own account of itself, it was conquest then too.

    I do not in fact object to this. But it was still conquest. In the modern era, the Jews had been for millennia a tiny minority. They expanded their numbers by importation of kin from elsewhere. More accurately, the movement was led and largely comprised those kin from elsewhere. They settled while the land was under Turkish rule and then British rule, which is fine. The Arabs also expanded their local numbers at that time. Each was jockeying for position to form a state when first the Turkish rule [400 years good, and won by conquest from Egypt] and then the British rule ended. The Jews were more willing to compromise especially when in the weaker position, which is to their credit. They won in battle when the Arabs would not.

    I do not object to any of that either.

    That the Jews would otherwise be stateless is nonetheless special pleading. Plenty of peoples are stateless. Kurds, Druze, Alawites, Circassians, and others just in that region. Asia is full of stateless people, some fighting right now. Myanmar is replete with them.

    I hope all this is taken for broad agreement, with disagreement on points. I lack the energy to impose greater coherence.

    N Akritas is also correct- The Arabs have an obligation to recognize the nativity of the Jews, but they are also not aliens. The idea that “Arabs” are all pureblood heirs of peninsular Arab conquerors is a demographic fantasy without foundation. They succeeded in imposing a religion, a language, a culture, and institutions. There were never nearly enough of them to supplant locals. The peoples of Mesopotamia, the Levant, Egypt, and even much of North Africa are heirs of the ancient Mesopotamians, Aramaeans, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Libyans, Berbers and others. Mostly Semitic peoples kindred to the Arabs, but established since the neolithic in these regions. In the heavily populated cores like Egypt, the Levant and Mesopotamia, the peninsular Arab overlay is thin indeed.

    Genetics has backed all that up in the last 20 years.

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