In 1976, leftist radicals and Arab terrorists hijacked a plane full of Israeli Jews to Uganda. Will the West soon see the revival of this deadly alliance? The current political climate in Europe and the United States suggests that the threat is real, and growing quickly.
As the war in Gaza rages, pro-Hamas rallies are bringing together radical leftists and Islamist terror supporters across the Western world. This alliance between the far left and radical Islam is turning into an increasingly dangerous force.
Ongoing protests in Western capitals are glorifying extremist views and actions. By now, calls for violence against Israelis and Jews are openly promoted in mass demonstrations in many European and American cities. This toxic atmosphere is reviving some old, disturbing memories.
Violent ‘social justice’
In July 1976, Israeli commandos freed more than 100 hostages held in Entebbe, Uganda. The daring rescue mission remains one of the most celebrated anti-terror operations in history. But the story behind the skyjacking is sometimes overlooked.
Hijackers Wilfried Böse and Brigitte Kuhlmann were German far leftists whose background bears troubling resemblance to current-day extremists. They founded the Revolutionary Cells terrorist group, which was fiercely anti-Zionist and committed to a violent brand of “social justice.”
On 27 June 1976, Böse and Kuhlmann teamed up with two Palestinians to hijack the Air France airliner to Entebbe.
Notably, Böse was radicalized during his university studies. Decades later, Western campuses have become even more extreme hubs of far left activism and anti-Israel hate. Moreover, both he and Kuhlmann reportedly harbored strong Antisemitic feelings. Kulmann in particular is known for hurling Antisemitic abuse at the hostages in Entebbe, and for refusing to release Jews when freeing non-Israeli captives.
Training in terror camps
The Entebbe plane hijacking was part of a wider collaboration between Western radicals and Arab terror groups. Far left sympathy for the Palestinian cause led some activists to train in Arab terror camps and play an active role in terror operations.
Following Entebbe, militant far left factions grew weaker. Over time, the security services neutralized groups like the Revolutionary Cells and the Baader Meinhoff gang. While the Anti-Zionist fervor in far left circles persisted, the number of deadly actions against Israeli and Jewish targets subsided.
However, the current atmosphere presents a heightened risk of renewed violent cooperation between leftist and Arab radicals.
The latest generation of “social justice warriors” has been working with Arab terror sympathizers for some time. Former Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn famously referred to members of Hamas and Hezbollah as his friends, and Anti-Zionism is by now a prominent far left cause. But the latest events threaten to push this solidarity to a new level.
Memories of ISIS
While crude antisemitic feelings existed in the left before, such sentiments are now becoming more socially acceptable, widespread and reckless. Shockingly, the brutal murder of Jews in the October 7 massacre did not diminish this dark sentiment. On the contrary, we are witnessing an explosion of mass hatred on a scale unimaginable only a few years ago.
While street violence is gradually spreading in city centers, behind the scenes there may be even darker plans in the works.
The rise of ISIS in the past decade starkly demonstrated the potential for an alliance between Islamists and leftists. Throughout the West, non-Muslim citizens traveled to the Middle East to join Islamic State’s battles against “infidels.”
A terror partnership that targets Jews and Israel now seems even more natural. It is also clear that Islamist-leftist camp is justifying and even glorifying the atrocities committed by Hamas. In this atmosphere, extreme violence is an increasingly likely option.
As this old-new threat develops, it will present a daunting security challenge for Israel and for Jewish communities abroad. Israeli airlines and diplomatic missions could again become a target for attacks, as will Jewish schools, businesses, and places of worship.
As events spiral out of control, Western governments and citizens are quickly discovering that a monster is growing in their own backyards. Without strong action to stop it, the hateful displays will ultimately escalate into organized terror and violence.