Throughout most of humanity's tenure on the planet, societies have been organized primarily along tribal lines. Tribes are by their nature based on shared ethnicity and shared religious beliefs. They also tend to have a very limited number of leaders who have first choice of assets with the rest, essentially shared communally. Furthermore, before the very recent past, most societies lived on the edge of subsistence, with very little left over for accumulating material goods. The disparity between those with the most and those with the least was actually fairly small, though this did not keep "envy" from being a significant issue and a great many tribal rules were developed in order to manage such envy. This all began to change when man began his slow march to technology.
For the first time, societies were able to provide a surplus of material goods (including food) for its people. The basic tribal template still held, however. A small group of leaders monopolized the newly created wealth and continued to wield their power over the lives of their members. As time went on this template continued to be the model for most social orders. In the middle ages a small middle class grew up based on new technologies creating increasing wealth. Wherever one looks, the model of a society with a small, often hereditary, ruling class, a small intermediary (middle) class whose position depended on their facility utilizing cutting edge technology, and a vast lower class with relatively even levels of deprivation has been the rule, rather than the exception.
Monotheism, the scientific method (and its attendant industrial revolution), and the American Revolution began the process of overturning a system that has worked for billions of people for a hundred thousand years.
When Jesus came to the ancient Jews, among his messages was a time bomb which took almost 2000 years to fully explode. The separation of church and state ("render unto Caesar...") was a death blow to the divine right of Kings. In fact, it was an idea that fatally undermined the notion of an hereditary aristocracy. The American Revolution, a fundamentally Judeo-Christian revolution, enshrined the principle of man's Rights emerging from their individual relationship with God. While the new nation did not fully live up to its own principles, the damage to the tribal organization of society was fatal.
Tribal societies manage envy in two ways.
1) They maintain a small elite which is insulated from the masses (by religious or social convention and control of organized violence, ie power) and the masses are maintained at relatively similar levels of poverty. This diminishes the disparities which fuel envy.
2) They direct the envy outward toward other tribes. This is one of the reasons the fantasy of the noble savage who lives in peaceful harmony with the environment and with others, is such nonsense. Tribes cannot be pacifistic; they must be war-like since their internal cohesion relies on externalizing their aggression.
From almost the time Abraham entered into the Covenant with God, the Jew has functioned as the ideal "other" tribe upon which to project one's envy. The Jews have maintained a strong cultural and religious identity despite spending two millennia in the diaspora, and have been fairly successful in most nations which have allowed (tolerated) them to flourish. Calling themselves "the Chosen People", a concept conveniently misunderstood by those who hate the Jews, has been an intolerable provocation to those who hate the Jews. Periodically, spasms of envious hatred have been unleashed against the Jews, culminating in the Holocaust, which included not only an attempted genocide, but a not so coincidental confiscation of Jewish assets by the Nazis.
Using Jews as a way to manage envy has continued to be the modus operandi of the Arab world. If anything, the problem had become exponentially more difficult with the founding of the state of Israel. Since the founding of Israel, the disparity between the accomplishments of the tiny Jewish minority in their midst, and the enormous mass of Arab and Islamic peoples surrounding them, has grown by leaps and bounds. This despite the Muslim world being blessed with the possession of a large percentage of the world's energy reserves.
When people are convinced, and behave as if, they are unable to compete, the alternatives are quite limited. They can either accept their failures (often felt as inferiority) or project their failures onto a convenient object which can then serve to rationalize and explain their failures. This preserves their self-esteem while it also ensures their continued failings. The Islamic world has made their choice. Rather than address their own failures, they have turned their envious eye upon the Jews in their midst, whose very existence is a constant insult, and deceived themselves into believing that the Jew has caused all their problems. The most glaring recent example of this has been the Palestinian sacking of the Gazan greenhouses left to them when Israel abandoned their settlements; greenhouses which were financed by American and Jewish money and given as a gift to the people of Gaza. Instead of using the greenhouses to help jump-start the economy of their nascent state, they looted them and destroyed them. They sit, unused, a testament to the Palestinian need to maintain their own deprivation; in this way they can then continue to direct their energy toward hatred and murder of Jews rather than to build a Nation of their own and risk the breakdown of their tribal order.
In the West, communism was an attempt to rescue the tribal system from the growing disparities of unconstrained capitalism, which threatened to increase envy to such a degree as to threaten the existing order. Communism would have worked if it did not have the capitalist success by which to compare itself. After all, what was communism, in practice, except the establishment of a new tribal society based on a small cadre of elites monopolizing assets while enabling shared deprivation for the masses (with the Utopian promise of abundant goods and services for everyone just as soon as the system could become established and start to work properly.) The purest form of communism arguably was the Khmer Rouge, who were so committed to equality for everyone that anyone with any special skills was put to death. Death certainly puts an end to envy; everyone is exactly equal once dead.
The Welfare State, Socialism-lite, has been the democratic compromise response to the tendency of unbridled capitalism to lead to new elites with monopolies of power and goods; by offering a safety net to all, all could be encouraged to strive for riches. This allowed "normal" envy to be managed by the possibility of achieving success for most people. As a corollary, wealthy liberals often feel the need to pursue class based policies in order to minimize the imagined envy of the poor for what they have. If they feel they are not truly deserving of their wealth (because it was inherited, or because they were privileged or lucky) it makes them even more fearful and determined.
This is precisely where the left and the Islamists intersect. They both believe in managing envy by using the tribal template. They are both terrified of a future in which they cannot compete and in which they may lose their privileges. They have differing, and mutually exclusive, ideologies, but they agree on the basic problem and the basic solution, which is why so many on the far left have found a home in alliance with radical Islam.
The genius of America has been to allow everyone to feel they can make the most of themselves and can potentially achieve success. That is the American dream. America attracts just those people who desire to work hard and achieve success. No one who comes to America thinks they are a loser.
Yet even in a successful country, there have to be losers. While the economy is not the zero-sum game that the tribalist mentality rests upon, there will still be those who do not have the abilities required to succeed in the American, and by extension, the global economy. Even in the most dynamic and wealthy economy, there are always going to be people at the bottom 5%. This is a statistical fact and managing the envy of the most unfortunate remains a difficult job.
[It is also important to recognize that being wealthy does not resolve one's feelings of envy; after all, there is always going to be someone else with more money, more brains, more beauty, more athletic ability; there is always someone to envy. Resolving envy is a difficult, and developmentally late, psychological task, above and beyond the social dimensions.]
Today, it is the Jew and the American both who are the objects of envious hatred. Americans (and Australians, and some Europeans) are all Jews now.
The suicide bomber is the epitome of the tribal system gone into nihilism: If I cannot have what you have, you will not have it either. We will all be equal in death!