Book Review: Emerson Vermaat -Nazi's Communists and Islamists: Remarkable Alliances between Extremists
August 7, 2009
Nazis, Communisten En Islamisten
by Emerson Vermaat
Reviewed by Beila Rabinowitz
Vermaat, a Netherlands-based investigative journalist, analyzes the connections between three seemingly unrelated groups—Nazis, communists, and Islamists—providing key insights into the logic behind their alliances. Despite its scholarly nature, the book offers a fast-paced read.
The author shows how proponents of generally incompatible ideologies look past their specific differences to establish mutually beneficial relationships. He provides examples of each alliance: the Islamist grand mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who embraced the anti-Semitism of Nazism to wage a Nazi-tinged jihad in the Balkans; the Hitler-Stalin 1939 nonaggression pact, which mutually benefited both countries (until Hitler violated the agreement); and the alliance between Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who awarded Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a medal, which the latter reciprocated when Chavez visited Tehran.
Indeed, Vermaat devotes several chapters to the alliance between Chavez and Ahmadinejad, showing how they reconciled their left-wing and Islamist world-views and explaining how aspects of their ideologies complement the other's. Vermaat expertly demonstrates that such alliances are not just a case of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" but rather a merging of ideological purpose. He documents the "points of convergence" of leftist and Islamist ideologies such as demagoguery and dogmatism and shows how a totalitarian mindset connects them. Vermaat meticulously documents the historical events leading up to the alliances of these seeming ideological opposites.
The author concludes with an examination of conspiracy theories, especially those surrounding the 9/11 attacks and the individuals and groups who promote them. This shows that Realpolitik often trumps lesser theoretical concerns, permitting a flexibility and accommodation in areas deemed strategically most important.