- Sunday, May 5, 2024

I spent the 1960s fighting the New Left on the college campus as a leader of Young Americans for Freedom. For me, the pro-Hamas mobs are deja vu all over again.

The poisonous seeds of the current crisis were sown in anti-Vietnam War agitation. Who knows what the next bumper crop will bring.

Chants of “Ho, ho. Ho Chi Minh, the NLF [National Liberation Front] is sure to win” have become “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

In the ’60s, the vanguard of the revolution was Students for a Democratic Society and the Weathermen. Today, it’s Students for Justice in Palestine — with over 200 college chapters in the U.S. and Canada — supported by the far-left philanthropist George Soros, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and money from the Middle East.

The American withdrawal from Southeast Asia was followed by a bloodbath, including the Cambodian killing fields where an estimated 2 million died. If Hamas ever gets its terrorist state, the Oct. 7 genocide will be endlessly repeated.

Like Vietnam War protesters, the pro-Hamas youth are composed of hard-core communists and useful idiots. Now, add a contingent of Islamists, many here on student visas.

The fifth columnists of today have their counterparts in every war we’ve fought in the last hundred years.

In the 1930s, they were the America First isolationists. During the Cold War, they called for peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union. After 9/11, when we went to war with the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, they mobilized as ANSWER — Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. Jane Fonda went to Hanoi in 1972. Sean Penn went to Baghdad in 2002.

At the time of the 1967 Six-Day War, I predicted that one day the left would go after Israel. The Jewish state fits perfectly into its worldview, where everyone is either a victim or an oppressor.

Israel is seen as an outpost of Western colonialism. Since the Palestinians have a darker complexion and are poorer than Israelis (who are historically U.S. allies, another mark against them), they must be victims and the Jews occupiers.

The Arabs who are called Palestinians are the real occupiers. They are squatting on land that was part of biblical Israel almost 2,000 years before the birth of Muhammad.

How do the downtrodden manage to murder 1,200 in a single day? These are “victims” with Iranian arms and Qatari money behind them.

Compare the way gutless — and largely compliant — administrators of the 1960s treated the anti-Vietnam mob to the way gutless and largely compliant administrators of today treat the anti-Israel bund.

During the Vietnam War, an administration building was occupied almost weekly. Officials wrung their hands and did nothing.

Nothing has changed. While colleges in states such as Florida and Texas won’t put up with this thuggery, encampments with look-alike tents and expensive equipment dot blue state campuses.

At Columbia, protesters upped the ante, occupying an administration building, breaking windows and taking custodians hostage. The same building, Hamilton Hall, ironically named for one of the founding fathers of American conservatism, was occupied in 1968.

New York City police were finally allowed to clear them out. But those arrested were charged with misdemeanors and were back on the street within hours of being booked.

With both insurrections, the real target was America. By destroying our allies (first South Vietnam, now Israel), the left moves one step closer to annihilating what the reds have always seen as their ultimate foe — us.

Like Vietnam War protesters, the depredations of today’s anti-Israel goons will have electoral repercussions. Riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago contributed to the defeat of its standard-bearer, then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey, ihat November.

In a nice bit of symmetry, the Democrats will have their nominating convention in the Windy City again this year.

Unless public opinion changes radically, like Hubert Humphrey 56 years ago, President Biden — who proposes to fight antisemitism by bringing Palestinian refugees here — will go down in ignominious defeat.

If inflation, taxes, a crime wave and open borders aren’t enough, now voters can blame the Democrats for campus chaos and the ugly specter of antisemitism.

Harvard, Columbia, UCLA and their counterparts were lost a generation ago. The pro-Hamas movement is a continuation of ’60s radicalism. It’s not just a war for academia, but part of the struggle for the survival of America and the soul of the West.

• Don Feder is a columnist with The Washington Times.

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