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Domestic anti-Americanism is most prevalent among intellectuals and elites. As such, it is commonplace on university campuses – among faculty and students alike.

Anti Americanism became a mass phenomenon in the U.S. in the protest movements of the 1960s when anti-war fervor blossomed rapidly into a comprehensive rejection of American society at large.

A major source of domestic anti-Americanism today is bitterness over the perceived failure of American society to fully realize its highest ideals and promises. Typically, the more hostile critics of U.S. policies, people, and customs hold America to a much higher standard than they apply to other nations.

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), for example, was in the forefront of the domestic effort to indict, via a German tribunal, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials for “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity.” Their transgressions, according to CCR, included “spying” on calls from terrorists to sleeper cells, and allowing conditions at the Guantanamo Bay detention center to reach a point where terrorist inmates complained of discomfort. By contrast, CCR was (and remains) silent regarding the atrocities committed by Islamic terrorists around the world.

Contrary to what the CCR and other, likeminded organizations claim, however, they are not animated by a generalized concern for "human rights," but by a desire to make America look bad internationally. So deep is their hatred,  that they blame the United States for the worldwide scourge of Islamic terrorism, despite the fact that: (a) in many places where such terrorism occurs there is no American presence, and (b) Islamic jihad is a tradition that long predates the very existence of the United States.

Even 9/11 became a new opportunity for these critics to reaffirm their anti-American sentiments. The moral indignation (if any) which they felt regarding the terrorist attacks was greatly overshadowed by their condemnation of the U.S. policies and actions that allegedly had provoked the attacks. For instance:

  •  Author Gore Vidal used the occasion of 9/11 to observe that “the USA is the most corrupt political system on the earth,” and to suggest that America's highest authorities had foreknowledge about the impending attacks but had chosen not to intercede – so as to gain a pretext for thereafter invading Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Professor Noam Chomsky, who has long held that the United States is the foremost terrorist nation on earth, suggested that the 1998 American bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was a far more hideous act than the attacks of 9/11, and that the U.S. was exploiting 9/11 as an excuse for trying to “destroy the hunger-stricken country of Afghanistan.”
  • The late literary scholar Edward Said declared that the United States was a genocidal power with “a history of reducing whole peoples, countries, and even continents to room ruined by nothing short of Holocaust.”
  • Filmmaker Oliver Stone called 9/11 “a revolt” and equated the subsequent street celebrations by Palestinians with the public rejoicings occasioned by the French and Russian Revolutions.

Adapted from: Understanding Anti-Americanism, by Paul Hollander (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2004), pp. 23-28; "Hating America," by Jamie Glazov (August 12, 2004); and "The America-Haters Among Us," by Rabbi Aryeh Spero (November 27, 2006).



Varieties of Anti-Americanism
By Peter J. Katzenstein and Robert O. Keohane
November 10, 2006

Hating America
By Jamie Glazov
August 12, 2004

Question to Left: If You Love America, Why “Transform” It?
By Dennis Prager
May 5, 2009

White Guilt and the American Way of War
By Shelby Steele
July 30, 2006

Obama and the Burden of Exceptionalism: Post-'60s Liberals, with the President as Their Standard Bearer, Seek to Make a Virtue of Decline
By Shelby Steele
September 1, 2011


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