Chapter 8 from Stuart Green’s thesis. Previous postings available here.
He prefaces it with the following remarks:
Richard, this is chapter eight. I hope it’s not too long, but I sense there are some conceptual problems with it that I can’t quite put my finger on. I’d love to get feedback from your readers and pick their brains. Also, some of your readers were asking about the difference between cognitive warfare and, say political warfare as waged by the Soviets and Chinese. As I continue to read more about political warfare, I do see a great deal of overlap. There are still differences, however. My theory is quite broad, perhaps too broad, as it stretches down to the basic building blocks of the idea, up through culture, ideology, and the pointy parts of PSYOP. I also need to note the importance of psychology itself.
THE MODERATE MEME OFFENSIVE, COGNITIVE PARALYSIS, AND DHIMMITUDE
The last chapter focused a great deal on deception in the Arab-Israeli conflict, but with particular emphasis on its operational applications. Delving a little more into deception, the first half of this chapter moves away from the blunt operational manifestations and toward some of the slight-of-hand, soft rhetoric used by related jihadist groups in other parts of the West, namely the U.S. and Europe. It seeks to demonstrate that jihadists have successfully targeted American and European politicians, academics, and journalists with deceptively moderate memes designed to infiltrate and disarm the Western discourse. They have managed to hide agendas that are not only pernicious to Israel, but to secular Western society as a whole. The second half of this chapter addresses the Western intelligentsia’s reaction to evidence of the uncomfortable truth: cognitive dissonance and paralysis. In the end, it argues that the failure to confront these realities as they become progressively clearer constitutes a form of modern dhimmitude. That is, the failure to confront violence, violent rhetoric, and violent ideology represents unwitting submission to an Arab-Muslim agenda.
USE OF MODERATE MEMES
In times of particularly intense conflict the accepted discourses have naturally shifted toward the extreme. During the World Wars entire enemy populations became associated with rapacious destruction and evil, as were “the Hun” during WWI and the Japanese during WWII for Americans. In the current context, however, only the Arab-Muslim society maintains that it is now (and always has been) at war with Western society. Western society, for its part, continues to think of war in confined, sporadic terms—certainly, war is not perceived as a millennial imperative. Today the accepted Western discourse, with some exceptions, does not allow for the suggestion that it is in a civilizational war—such talk is generally denounced as racist or Islamophobic. Thenceforth, “extreme” rhetoric is permitted within the mainstream, Arab-Muslim discourse, while the Western discourse remains relatively unradicalized.
Professor Anna Geifman of Boston University observes the frequent appearance of a particular question after terrorist attacks: “What did we do to make them hate us?” The emergence of this question demonstrates not only that the Western discourse remains comparatively unmoved by even the violent manifestation of the war—there is little “mobilization” in the Western discourse when compared to WWI, WWII, or the current Arab-Muslim discourse—but also that it is decidedly vulnerable to hostile ideologists and their “moderate” supporters who indulge in answering the question.
Few ask the more relevant question Landes suggests, which holds particular value for our own cognitive warriors: “What are they telling themselves that makes them hate us?” The accepted pattern is to point out a variety of Western policies as the genesis of Arab-Muslim anger and conflict. This kind of thinking—not completely without value—stems from guilt-culture and maintains that we can find out “why they hate us” by opening a “dialogue,” and possibly even improve relations by admitting culpability. For this to be theoretically possible, the Western elite must find a moderate Arab-Muslim cadre to sit across the table, and because universalist memeplexes insist that there is such a cadre, cognitive warriors happily provide them.
Stephen Coughlin suggests that the moderates of respective societies interact with each other to feed temperate, sometimes “soft,” impressions of the other culture back into their own society’s discourse (see chapter 2). There are also influential individuals and groups wholly aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas who use taqiyya to make themselves appear moderate by Western standards, that is, they pass themselves off as the best chance for “mutual understanding” and inter-societal progress. By appropriately aligning their memes for infiltration and infection, these groups and individuals soften Western policy-makers, academics, and journalists, most of whom are neither familiar with taqiyya nor the depth and extremity of the opposing ideology. These deceptively moderate elements are on the front lines of the cognitive war and arguably present the most dangerous, most capable threat to the West.
Schleifer demonstrates that their activities represent one of the more “mastered” elements of cognitive warfare. During the first intifada, Palestinian leaders broke down their PSYOP target audiences into several subcategories. Western democratic audiences, for instance, were divided between Arab-American/Europeans, opinion makers, Muslim groups, Jewish liberals, and the general public. Walid Shoebat’s anecdote above gives some clue as to the extent of Fatah’s message tailoring in the U.S., but Schleifer notes that Palestinians also study in Israeli universities. “One notable example is Ibrahim Karaeen, a leading Fatah member who in 1978 opened the Palestinian Press Service in East Jerusalem,” to translate publications and give foreign correspondents a new, Palestinian perspective. 
Steven Emerson highlights some of the activities of the more infamous jihadists in the U.S., including Sami al Arian, a University of South Florida professor with strong ties to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and who has been taped shouting “death to Israel” in Arabic. Arian established two organizations dedicated “exclusively for educational and academic research and analysis, and promotion of international peace and understanding,” which could easily have attracted the interest of unsuspecting students and academics.
There is a multitude of organizations on Western campuses dedicated to boycotting Israeli products and Israeli academics. Their prevalence and several recent events have demonstrated the extent to which the Palestinian narrative has penetrated some campuses. Palestinian “trade unionists,” representing a wide variety of professional, often leftist, associations in the territories, agitate internationally for Palestinian causes (they may do so on behalf of the PA, although this requires additional investigation), most commonly calling for intellectual and commercial boycotts of Israel on humanitarian civil rights grounds.
Recently, they received a significant moral boost when at least two British unions—the British University and College Union (UCU), claiming to speak for 120,000 British educators, and “UNISON,” a union claiming to represent 1.3 million public sector workers—passed similar resolutions calling for anti-Israel intellectual and military boycotts. They pledged support for the Palestinian “people’s right to self-determination and to establish a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with its capital in Jerusalem.” Unions and activists such as these do not generally intend to support the violent activities of Palestinian ideologists, but from the ideologist’s perspective, that type of support is a tertiary concern. By way of international pressure, cognitive warriors seek only to trigger Israel’s self-imposed military restraint, which subsequently allows jihadists more freedom for their own military operations.
Lest the substantive connection between militants and apparently moderate organs like the trade unions mentioned above be doubted, it is important to remember the previous sections of this thesis which established the level of militant control over the Palestinian discourse. Even for genuinely independent groups with specialized causes, only memes that are in line with or beneficial to “radical” ideology may be permitted. Moreover, many jihadist groups have used deception to establish new groups that appear independent and moderate, but remain connected to and work for the benefit of their parent organization.
The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood?
The Muslim American Society (MAS) is one such example. Formed in 1993, its “leadership was instructed to deny their affiliation with the [Muslim] Brotherhood, their strategy was to operate under a different name but promote the same ideological goals: the reformation of society through the spread of Islam, with the ultimate goal of establishing Islamic rule in America.” Like several other organizations claiming to serve as conduits for dialogue with American Muslims, the MAS was in fact established by the global Muslim Brotherhood movement, which, according to an internal memorandum made public at the Holy Land Foundation trial in Texas, wages
a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
Perhaps the best known Brotherhood scion and arguably the most influential American Muslim organization is the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Established in 1994, this organization descended from yet another influential offshoot, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). According to another internal memorandum, the IAP “absorbed most of the [Muslim Brotherhood’s] Palestinian energy at the leadership and grassroots levels in addition to some of the brothers from other countries,” and it developed the Palestine Committee and Hamas, often described as a sister organization by the IAP’s leaders.