PLO & Jihadists Adopt "Leftist," Popular Front, Demo-Stalinist Slogans -- Where Does the West Stand on Lebanon?
During the civil war the Palestinian guerrillas put forward a clearly defined concept of psychological warfare. Their propaganda principles can be summarized as follows:Since the 1950s, Arab nationalists and later Jihadists have adopted the rhetoric, slogans, and nomenclature of the European Popular Front, the WW2 Resistance movements, and the various breeds of Communists. The Stalinists [pro-Moscow Communists] of the 1930s were masters of this sort of rhetoric which deserves to be called Demo-Stalinist. Democratic and pacifist slogans were given unique twists by the Stalinist Communists in behalf of the anti-democratic Soviet regime which in fact allied with the German Nazis in 1939 in the Nazi-Soviet Pact. This treaty began the Second World War. Both German and Soviet troops invaded Poland, for instance, in the fall of 1939. Both Nazi and Soviet polticians declared a joint "struggle for peace" at that time, as the fires burned in Poland.
1. In Lebanon, Left or 'progressive' Muslims fight against Right or 'reactionary' or even 'fascist' Christians.
2. In the traditional distribution of power in Lebanon, the Muslims were at a disadvantage, since the Christians --especially the Maronites-- ensured for themselves too large a share in parliamentary representation and in the government.
3. In Lebanon the Christians are rich, the Muslims are poor, and the Palestinians live in miserable camps at a bare subsistence level.
4. The Lebanese Christians are 'isolationist' and 'separatist.' In order to preserve their privileges they strive for a division of the country.
5. The Lebanese Christians are modern Crusaders. They fight under the sign of the Cross and thus prevent a reconciliation between Christendom and Islam.
6. The Lebanese Christians committed grave crimes in the civil war. The Lebanese Left and their allies, on the other hand, fourght a just revolutionary people's war.
7. The civil war was an 'imperialist, Zionist and reactionary plot.' The 'imperialist United States' worked closely with the Zionist Jewish state of Israel, and with Syria as an agent of imperialism, in order to assist the reactionary Lebanese Christians to obtain victory.[Vocke, pp 63-64]
Vocke presents the slogans used in behalf of the PLO mass murderers during the first two years of civil war in Lebanon, which Vocke, writing in 1978, did not realize was going to go on until 1990. Bear in mind that before and during WW2, most of the Arab nationalist movement was pro-Nazi. Nasser and Sadat were both pro-Nazi and did not hide their sympathies even after the war. On this, see books by Sadat published while he was part of the Egyptian government after the Nasserite ["Free Officers"] coup d'etat in 1952. As late as 1964, while Nasser's Egypt was getting huge monetary amounts of aid from the Communist Soviet Union, he told a Neo-Nazi German editor of the Deutsche National Zeitung und Soldaten Zeitung [May 1, 1964] that during WW2, he and the other Arabs had been pro-German.
The Arab nationalist Ba`ath party, rival factions of which have ruled Iraq and Syria [until 2003 in Iraq, still today in Syria] was formed under the inspiration of Nazi practice and ideology. Likewise, the Syrian Social Nationalist [or National Socialist] Party was very consciously modelled on the Nazi party.
The Syrian National Socialist Party was founded in 1934 by the Greek Orthodox Lebanese Antoun Saade. Its model was the national socialism of Hitler with whose ideology Saade, who was a teacher of German at the American University of Beirut, had been well acquainted. [Vocke, p 29]During the civil war, this party, also called, in French --le Parti Populaire Syrien-- fought alongside, in the same ranks as, the PLO forces. Compare this fact with the first item in the above list. Arafat as a youth had supported the pro-Nazi Mufti of Jerusalem, British-appointed by the way, who spent most of WW2 in the Nazi-fascist domain in Europe and encouraged the Holocaust. Arafat was also a militant in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. He had been born in Cairo in fact. Now, just how Arafat's background made him a "progressive" I don't know, yet the French press --particularly Le Monde-- referred consistently to the PLO and its allies as "les forces palestino-progressistes." So much for item # 1. The American press and media provided, if anything, much less information than the French press and media did about the Lebanese war, making it all the more difficult for Americans to know or understand what was going on. Just incidentally, atrocities perpetrated by PLO forces against Lebanese Christians were overlooked or misrepresented by the American press [i.e., Damour, etc.].
Let's classify the slogans and labels in the list above, as well some others that do not feature on the list.
Good _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Bad
revolutionary people's war _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _Right
progressive _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Reactionary
resistance [Hizbullah's label for itself] _ _ _ Fascist
front _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _imperialism
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ separatist, isolationist
The two labels "separatist" and "isolationist" meant that the "Christians," especially Maronites, wanted Lebanon to be a separate, independent country, whereas the PLO wanted Lebanon to be part of a pan-Arab state. Reading the PLO charter will make it clear to the reader that the PLO is fundamentally pan-Arabist and does not ultimately want an independent "Palestine." Arafat made it clear many times that the PLO was fighting in Lebanon to save the country for Arabism, that is, pan-Arabism. Of course, when speaking English he did not say this.
On item # 2: the Lebanese census before independence showed a Christian majority in the country. Agreement on an independent national government for Lebanon included fixed quotas of parliamentary seats and designated high offices for mutually distrustful religio-ethnic groups, as part of the National Pact. Further, the Christians --quite reasonably-- did not trust the Muslims from historical experience from the times when the country was under Muslim rule.
On item #3: there were poor Christians and rich Muslims in Lebanon, including rich Palestinian Arab Muslims.
On item #4: See the relevant paragraph above as well as the answer to item #2 above.
On item #5: See answer to item #2. It is typical of the cynical sloganeering of the PLO that it accused Lebanese Christians of being "Crusaders" for wanting to defend themselves in their own country, while the PLO itself operated under thinly veiled Islamic jihadist inspiration.
On item # 6: Here a coalition of jihadists, Palestinian Arab irredentists, fascists, mass murderers, etc., claimed to be fighting a "just revolutionary people's war." Also bear in mind that German neo-Nazi volunteers fought in the ranks of the PLO in Lebanon, particularly from the Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann. Unfortunately, Vocke does not mention the German neo-Nazi involvement. If we want to be charitable to Vocke, maybe the Neo-Nazi involvement began after his book was published.
On item # 7: The PLO claimed to have been opposed by the United States. Yet, American policy was ambiguous at best, if not supportive of the PLO or acquiescent in its deeds. Nor can we say that the USA supported the Lebanese Christians. In 1958, during the incipient pro-Nasserite uprising in Lebanon, which was a pan-Arabist movement meant to subordinate Lebanon to Nasser's aggressive Arab nationalism, the USA had indeed sent troops to stabilize the situation and prevent a Nasserite coup d'etat against Maronite President Chamoun [Sham`un]. However, the US position changed. Consider:
Until the late 1960s, the United States favored the opponents of Chamoun, their former ally, and many important professorial chairs at the American University of Beirut were filled by representatives of the Arab Left.[Vocke, p 21]
The National Liberal Party . . . was founded in 1958 by Camille Chamoun. At that time the American government advised Chamoun to leave Lebanon when his term [as president] expired, together with his closest political friends, but this advice was not followed and instead he founded his new party, Al-Ahrar [= Liberals]. [Vocke, p 27]Hence, on the grounds of the above, the situation in Lebanon from the 1950s till today is exceedingly complex and does not fit the simplistic claims of the PLO or of fashionable Western "leftists," whether those in the media and press, or those in the academic world.
Recommended Book on Lebanese War: Jean-Pierre Péroncel-Hugoz, Une Croix sur le Liban (Paris: Lieu Commun 1984).
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Coming: the follies of peacemaking, Jews in Jerusalem and Hebron, etc.