The ascendancy of both the libertarian wing and the so-called paleoconservative wing of the American right has meant that the traditionally left-wing anti-war movement in the United States has gained alleged allies on the right. The popularity of Alex Jones and Infowars, as well as the veteran right-wing US talk show host Michael Savage brought to the centre of attention, a conservative American movement that was always suspicious of foreign interventionism and whose opposition to allegedly ideologically driven wars became hardened by the objective disaster that was the 2003 war on Iraq.
Throughout the Syrian conflict, Alex Jones, Michael Savage, Paul Joseph Watson and similar characters have generally taken the position that any US intervention to undermine the legitimate Syrian governent is wrong. Their case has been laid out in the following manner:
1. Syria is fighting Daesh (ISIS)
2. Syria protects and cherishes its Christian population
3. Syria is secular rather than a Wahhabi/Takfiri state
4. Syria is opposed to the wider regional ‘jihadist’ movement
5. Syria does not fund international terrorism
All of these characterisations about Syria are true. However, such individuals consistently fail to mention that one of the central elements of the secular Ba’athist Arab Nationalist ideology which is the foundation of the Syrian Arab Republic, is an opposition to Zionism and a commitment to never recognise an “Israeli state”. Such supposedly anti-war personalities also neglect to mention that “Israel” has illegally occupied part of Syria, the Gloan Heights since 1967 and that “Israeli” arms are frequently found in areas of Syria that had been under terrorist control. It goes without saying that such hosts always fail to mention that “Israel” has publicly touted the fact that it aids anti-Syrian militants in its hospitals.
The reasons for this are not complicated. These western hosts virtually never criticise “Israel” and therefore conveniently omit that anti-“Israel” elements which comprise the heart and soul of Syria’s foreign policy. While “Israel” and Syria have been in a state of war (both hot and cold) for most of the 20th century, the hosts and writers of outlets like Infowars are happy to exploit the apparent ignorance of some in their audience by taking a contradictory position which supports both the Syrian government and “Israel”.
While “Israeli” politicians and media personalities are never shy about criticising things that happen in the west whether it be a Roger Waters concert or a speech by a pro-Palestinian politician like George Galloway, they rarely if ever criticise right-wing hosts for their contradictory support of President al-Assad’s Syrian government, even though this is a position that among the intellectually honest would be a necessarily anti-“Israel” position.
Why then are “Israeli” personalities shy when it comes to criticising the de-facto support of Infowars or Michael Savage for President al-Assad’s government in its war against state sponsored terrorism (including from “Israel”)? The answer can be easily deduced. “Israel” is aware that in the age of social media and 24 hour international news, it cannot completely censor the anti-war movement and “Israel” will also be fully aware that no genuine anti-war movement could exist in the 21st century without openly discussing “Israel’s” brutality against the occupied Palestinians, its illegal occupation of part of Syria and its history of invading and occupying its neighbours.
Because “Israel” cannot shut down the genuine anti-war movement, it is all the better to allow a disingenuous and intellectually dishonest anti-war movement to flourish, one like the kind that counts among its ranks those who awkwardly support both Syria and its enemy/occupier “Israel”. Ironically, today it was “Israel’s” own military operation that has exposed the vacuousness of its useful idiots on the American right – individuals who are only anti-war when they can blame their domestic opponents rather than the “Israeli” aggressor.
Today, things got all the more awkward for this right-wing pseudo-anti-war movement. A few hours ago, it was widely assumed that the United States and/or one of its European allies conducted the missile strike on Syria. Now it has emerged that it was “Israel” that conducted the strike. Because of this, the criticism that Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson and Michael Savage levelled at the United States during last April’s missile strike against Syria will likely be muted or even non-existent this time around.
While the American “deep state”, “western globalists”, “interventionists”, “war mongers”, “neo-cons”, “RINOS (Republicans in name only) and Democrats are fair game for the likes of Jones, Savage and others on that end of the political spectrum, criticism of “Israel” remains taboo and this is unlikely to change even though “Israel” has done the very thing they were waiting to condemn the United States for.
Thus one sees the intellectual vacancy of the so-called anti-war movement on this end of the American right. Of course, I am happy to be proved wrong if people like Jones, Savage or Watson decided to criticise “Israel” for doing what America was presumed to have done, but I am not holding my breath and nor should anyone who is genuinely anti-war, whether right wing or left wing.