The cost of Islamophobia

I’ve struggled to explain why I think the anti-Islamism/Islamophobia of Pamela Geller, Bruce Bawer, Andy McCarthy, and others is counterproductive, where not also despicable, by addressing it on its own terms, but a couple of recent articles by much more knolwedgeable observers than I – historian Walter Russell Mead and ex-CIA analyst/Iran expert Reuel Marc Gerecht, both recently linked under Recommended Browsing – may make my point much better than I can.

Focusing first on Turkey’s vote with Iran and Brazil against everyone else in the recent UN Security Council sanctions decision, and then on the confrontation with Israel on the “flotilla incident,” Mead deftly analyzes the theory under which Turkey’s ruling AKP appears to be operating – an attempt to move the country’s focus from the West to the South and East.  As Mead explains, strategically indulging in misty water-color memories of the way things were before Kemal Ataturk comes at an increasing, potentially very high cost to Turkey, among other things by putting the country at odds with the rich and powerful friends it needs:

Choosing Iran over the rest of the world is not smart policy for Turkey.  Whether the question is economic growth, the Armenian question or settling the Kurdish problem, a deepening relationship with Iran drives wedges between Turkey and the partners it urgently needs.  Brazil can probably afford a few ill-considered ventures into Middle Eastern politics; for Turkey the costs are much higher.

Ataturk’s western orientation was partly about cementing Turkey’s place in the richer and more technologically advanced west; it was also about sealing Turkey off from the divisive conflicts in the east.  Frustration with the west is understandably leading some Turks to look east; the results are more likely to vindicate Ataturk’s view of Turkish national strategy than to refute it.

There is, to say the least, much more in Mead’s analysis – but it’s impossible to appreciate its implications and the opportunities for the U.S., Israel, and others that it outlines if you remain committed to fanatical “clash of civilizations” anti-Islamism.

The same is true for any attempt to understand and apply Gerecht’s take on the seemingly quiescent Green Revolution in Iran.  How does an anti-Islam/anti-Muslim ideologue even make sense of passages like the following?

[M]any of the intellectual heavyweights who’ve driven Iran’s ever-growing pro-democracy Green Movement also love [Austrian philosopher Karl] Popper and his defense of liberal democracy. The former reformist president, Mohammad Khatami, who is fascinated by (and a little fearful of) Western philosophy and the economic dynamism of liberal democracy, can’t stop writing about Popper. And the much more influential Abdolkarim Soroush, an Iranian philosopher of religion who may be the most important Muslim thinker since the 11th-century theologian al-Ghazali, also pays his respects to the Austrian in his efforts to create a faith that can thrive in a more open, democratic society.

Similarly:

The movement is unique in Islamic history: an intellectual revolution that aims to solve peacefully and democratically the great Muslim torment over religious authenticity and cultural collaboration. How does a proud people adopt the best (and the worst) from the West and remain true to its much-loved historical identity?

What could possibly be the point of aiding Iran’s democrats if the thing Pamela Geller (and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Robert Spencer, and unanimous rightwing bloggers and HotAir commenters…) call “Islam,” the people they call “Muslims,” constitute an unsalvageable, monolithic enemy ideology/movement that must be excluded from the sacred national community and fought remorselessly worldwide?


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98 comments on “The cost of Islamophobia

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  1. And Taheri points out Moussavi is a fan of Heidegger, doesn’t really get around the point that he employed Reyshiri, one of the hanging
    judges for various positions, this goes in the same category of Andropov’s love of Jazz

  2. Khattami, was probably a Kruschev type figure, better than Stalin
    (Khemeini) or Rafsanjani (Malenkov), rather than a AHMADINEJAD
    (bREZHNEV) type but not a real open society advocate

  3. I don’t know have any of the three attacked Sistani, who is the pillar
    of civilian sectarian relations in Iraq, Sadr probably, I forgot about
    the BAdr/SCIRI. Rejai and Mohashtemi-pur, who the godfather of Hezbollah, was on Moussavi’s side

  4. Turkey has a very large national interest in talking with the folks in the south and the east and exploring stronger relations with.

    As long as the EU keeps them out by imposing conditions for membership that Turkey doesn’t wish to meet, why not look elsewhere, maybe soften those conditions.

    Iran is bidding for power in the ME and Turkey is in position to expect favors from the Israelis instead of insults from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    This seems to be a time where Turkey is in position to flirt around and see what’s available.

  5. @ fertiziling treefrog:
    Considering the way that Turkey has been handling itself, that’s an incredibly one-sided view of the relationship with Israel.

    It seems to me that otherwise Mead addresses the EU relationship directly, both in the excerpt I quoted and throughout the piece.

    I don’t know if you’ve yet read the Lee Smith piece that was RecBrowd – a well-informed but jaundiced view of the regional situation and American policy, difficult to square with Gerecht’s and Mead’s perspectives, but coherent as an explanation of Obama policy to this point as we’ve seen it.

  6. First of all anti-Islamism is different from anti-Muslims just as anti-Zionism is different from anti-Semitism or anti-Judaism. There are plenty of anti-Catholics,but that is different from anti-Catholicism. It is possible to distinguish the religion/organization from the individuals that belong to that organization.
    I don’t respect The Catholic Church,The Protestant Churches,The Jewish Church,The Islamic Church,but I respect individual Catholics,Protestants,Jews,and Moslems. I guess I just don’t like Isms. One Ism always thinks it is better than other Isms,like American Exceptionalism,which I find offensive.
    So what does Spenser,Mccarthy et al want?,do they insist that we prefer certain Isms over other Isms,or certain individuals above other
    individuals based on what Ism they belong to?

  7. Fidel Castro has apparently come out of retirement. As a good member of the Marxist-Islamic Alliance, he now accuses Israel of being Nazi.
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/israel-blasts-castro-for-calling-swastika-new-israeli-banner-1.296140
    What will Khatami say now? Maybe he won’t know or won’t care. But maybe he’ll feel that he should no longer admire a Jew like Popper.
    Perhaps leftists all around the world are a major force that has been effectively working against moderate Islam.

  8. Rex,
    It is certainly true that anti-Zionism, antii-Semitism, and anti-Judaism are different from each other. Nevertheless, they overlap. As I wrote on June 1 in “Hamas Defeats Palestine,” the Hamas Charter refers to Jews as “the enemy” and accuses them of creating the Masons and the Rotarians, in addition to starting World War I.
    The late. lamented New York Sun wrote on March 11, 2005, that a Hezbollah statement of 1992 included the following words: “It is an open war until the elimination of Israel and until the death of every last Jew on earth.”

  9. @ Rex Caruthers:
    I use the term anti-Islamism with the recognition that it can be taken in different ways. I think the main meanings end up in the same place anyway.

    The anti-Islamists define themselves by their opposition to all manifestations of Islamism, which properly stands for politicized Islam generally, including AKP as well as the governments we installed and are allied with in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by extension any all political engagement on behalf of Islam.

    In addition, the anti-Islamists are openly anti-Islam: They insist that Islam itself is the problem, and not a religion like other religions. They adopt the same definitions of Islam that radical Islamists adopt, including a fundamentalist/literalist interpretation of the Koran and a concept of what it means to be authentically Islamic. In other words, they are themselves completely Islamist, with one key difference: They think it’s all bad. But they happily comply with propagating the same definitions and seeking to identify the Islamists as the legitimate spokesmen for all Muslims. Both sides want and need Islam and Islamism to stand for the same thing.

    I don’t see the distinction between being anti-Islam and anti-Muslim as very useful, since Muslim is not an ethnicity or nationality, and since the anti-Islamists themselves seek to erase any distinction.

    I’m not a big fan of ‘isms either, but anismism is a self-contradictory stance.

    I think I might have to stick with Islamophobia, and I think I’ll change the title of the piece.

  10. You leave no room to criticize radical Sunni Islam of the Hambali (Deobandi & Wahhabi), Salafi or Twelver Shiasm, we are supposed
    to accept Erdogan’s embrace of Gazan nihilism, why is that, when
    they practice Shariah law from Baghdad to Birmingham, are we supposed to accept that

  11. @ CK MacLeod: Of course, it’s one-sided CK. I was presenting Turkey’s side. Always a good thing to do, when you’re considering why nations act as they do.

  12. @ George Jochnowitz:

    That was a Hezbollah statement, not just something a guy from Hezbollah said?

    I would love to see it if you think that it was “official”, George.

    I’d like to rub it in the snout of some folks.

  13. n 1992, Hezbollah decided to participate in election and Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of Iran, endorsed it. Former Hezbollah secretary general, Subhi al-Tufayli, contested this decision which led to schism in Hezbollah. Then Hezbollah published its political program which contains liberation of Lebanese land from Zionist occupation, abolishment of political sectarianism, ensuring political and media freedom, amending in electoral law to make it more representative of the populace. This program led to the victory of all of twelve seats which were on its electoral list. At the end of that year Hezbollah began to dialog with Lebanese Christians. Hezbollah regards cultural, political and religious freedoms in Lebanon as sanctified. This dialog expands to other groups except those who have relation with Israel.[36]

  14. they practice Shariah law from Baghdad to Birmingham, are we supposed to accept that

    I accept their right to practice Shariah Law until they break American Law,
    Should we amend the Constitution to Forbid the Practice of Shariah Law in America?,good luck with that one.

  15. @ fertiziling treefrog:
    If you search around, the statement George quoted has been variously attributed to Hezbollah and to Nasrallah himself, although Nasrallah may himself have been quoting a “statement.” So far, I haven’t found a source other than the usual mutually quoting suspects – Chesler, Phillips, and various sources apparently quoting them or the Sun article – but I wouldn’t put it past them. Unfortunately, 1992 is virtually ancient history internet-wise.

    …still searching…

  16. @ CK MacLeod:

    There’s no need to find the original statement. Simply look for a more recent official statement by Hezbollah that unequivocally condemns the meaning of the original statement.

  17. This is from their 1985 statement;

    We see in Israel the vanguard of the United States in our Islamic world. It is the hated enemy that must be fought until the hated ones get what they deserve. This enemy is the greatest danger to our future generations and to the destiny of our lands, particularly as it glorifies the ideas of settlement and expansion, initiated in Palestine, and yearning outward to the extension of the Great Israel, from the Euphrates to the Nile.

    Our primary assumption in our fight against Israel states that the Zionist entity is aggressive from its inception, and built on lands wrested from their owners, at the expense of the rights of the Muslim people. Therefore our struggle will end only when this entity is obliterated. We recognize no treaty with it, no cease fire, and no peace agreements, whether separate or consolidated.

    We vigorously condemn all plans for negotiation with Israel, and regard all negotiators as enemies, for the reason that such negotiation is nothing but the recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist occupation of Palestine. Therefore we oppose and reject the Camp David Agreements, the proposals of King Fahd, the Fez and Reagan plan, Brezhnev’s and the French-Egyptian proposals, and all other programs that include the recognition (even the implied recognition) of the Zionist entity

  18. @ narciso:
    That’s a political statement, not a racist-eliminationist one. You do understand the difference, right?

    The first part bears on the discussion we were having the other day about whether the hatred of Israel is political or “irrational.” Sully wrote:

    Simply look for a more recent official statement by Hezbollah that unequivocally condemns the meaning of the original statement.

    We have yet to verify the statement, its context, or its standing, so how can we ask today’s Hezbollah to condemn it? Da Frog wants to hit a Hezbollah-defender on the nose with it – he can’t do that if he has only some dismissable Islamophobe as a source.

  19. Counting the angels on the head of a pin,
    May be quite silly, but it isn’t a sin,
    Parsing the intentions of Islamist thugs,
    May not be a sin, but it won’t get you hugs,
    Among other things it may get you wings,
    And a harp you can play when the fat lady sings.

  20. @ narciso:
    The Confederate States of America is also an “entity” that was destroyed – it was also treated as a “aggressive since its inception” and an expropriation of lands that properly belonged to the United States. By the time the war was over, there wasn’t a single Confederate left.

    The Third Reich is an entity that was obliterated. In our war against it we demanded “unconditional surrender.”

    None of this is to say that Hezbollah had or has a good case, or that its aims don’t imply death and destruction on a massive scale – but it wouldn’t be the same as seeking genocide of the Jewish people, not in the same way that the statement George quoted seems to.

  21. Wikipedia:

    From the inception of Hezbollah to the present,[9][10][41][42][43] the elimination of the State of Israel has been one of Hezbollah’s primary goals. Some translations of Hezbollah’s 1985 Arabic-language manifesto state that “our struggle will end only when this entity [Israel] is obliterated”.[10] However neither the original publication of the manifesto, nor those found on Hezbollah’s website, include the statement.[10] In an interview with the Washington Post, Nasrallah said “I am against any reconciliation with Israel. I do not even recognize the presence of a state that is called ‘Israel'”.[44] In March 2009, in a speech marking the birthday of Muhammad, Nasrallah said, “As long as Hezbollah exists, it will never recognize Israel.” rejecting a US precondition for dialogue.[45][46][47]

    ***

    More of the usual stew of contradictory attitudes, acts, and statements on Jews, Israel, Zionism or Israel the problem not Judaism, etc., but none confirming the “every last Jew on Earth” statement:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideology_of_Hezbollah#Attitudes.2C_statements.2C_and_actions_concerning_Jews_and_Judaism

  22. Der Frosch thanks y’all and clarifies:

    “It is an open war until the elimination of Israel and until the death of every last Jew on earth.”

    George’s statement says two very distinct things. Hezbollah (and its’ pals) calling for the elimination of Israel is interesting, and maybe an eye-opener, but

    ‘the death of every Jew on earth’ is the jaw-dropper.

    If George or anyone can back that one up, and I gotta admit I tend to think that George may well be working with a memory here that ain’t quite narciso-style supercharged, I want it!!!

    I ain’t gonna just bust noses with it, I’m agonna crack crania…

    I’m gonna offer a reward, I want it so bad !!

    Anyone brings me that gets a 72 year-old virgin!
    Before they die!!

  23. You think it metaphorical, I wouldn’t want to take that chance, the same with Ahmadinejad’s statements. Just like with the Arrow Cross,
    the Iron Guard, the Ustachi, the Golden Square in Iraq, the Ukrainian
    OUN

  24. @ CK MacLeod:

    No. You found some dude quoting a UPI story saying something.
    Too shaky, especially if you read the rest of what the dude follows that with.
    The whole thing that follows is talking about zionist Israelis, even where the statement says Jews…..look to the top of p27… it’s the “usurping Jews” that got to get killed….

    T’ain’t nothing to match Jews as Jews.

    I can’t get to that UPI story, but my digging skills are fingernail deep.

    You want a grail, keep questing.

    (but it was still damned impressive….don’t doubt that)

  25. Here are two news articles (AP and LA Times) that quote different versions of the same statement:

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=266&dat=19920317&id=i9orAAAAIBAJ&sjid=WGQFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1215,1438934

    http://articles.latimes.com/1992-03-19/news/mn-5905_1_islamic-jihad

    I still haven’t turned up a complete copy with full context of the 1992 IJ statement (or statement attributed to IJ), so it’s impossible to determine who’s zooming who here and how much, but the versions of the statement that appear in committed anti-Hezbollah/pro-Israeli/Islamophobe sources use a version similar to George’s. Mainstream sources, and even the version that cites UPI – for the reasons you specify – fall short of any anti-Jewish eliminationist intent. There has also been some dispute on whether the 1992 bombing really was the work of IJ. Hezbollah denies responsibility, FWIW.

    It also stands to reason, and is also more in keeping with Islamic tradition and even radical Islamism, that remotely sane Islamists wouldn’t go around pretending it was within their power or interests actually to kill or commit to killing every Jew on Earth. A single IJ-attributed statement can’t qualify as a clear statement of Hezbollah intent to kill all Israelis, either. In other words, it’s more an Hezbollah-associated emotion or terroristic threat than a policy. Formal Hezbollah policy is much different.

    It’s clear that Hezbollah is not, strictly speaking, a genocidally anti-Jewish organization. I think it’s also clear that some people find it simpler and more convenient to treat them as though they were. If the writers are aware that they’re being manipulative and possibly dishonest, they probably tell themselves that shading the truth a little in the service of demonizing some very bad people isn’t much of a sin. But, years later, it turns into yet another excuse for a whole series of further truth-shadings that eventually construct an artificial enemy image, perhaps excused as “fake but accurate” – i.e., propaganda. I don’t see why that should be good enough for us.

    I’ll keep looking for a complete version of the IJ-attributed statement.

  26. @ CK MacLeod:
    Excellent digging. You get to choose a prize from the second tier….
    unless you’d like to keep playing and go for the big one.

    On other “fronts”, I don’t much care who wants credit for the bombing, the responsibility belongs to Iran.

  27. @ fuster:
    I’m losing faith that the full text of the announcement/communique/claim is available on the web, or, if it is, that it’s available to JQ Publique. If you know anyone who specializes in this kind of thing, or if you or someone you know has access to newspaper archives – possibly Argentinian – you might have better luck. If you’re successful, you’ll get to claim the top tier prize for yourself.

  28. They are a wholy owned subsidiary of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, of which Ahmadinejad is a proud former member, having been a party to the Vienna hit on Quassemlou, in 1989, I knew that sometime
    ago

  29. The July 18, 1994, bombing of the Jewish Center in Buenos Aires was not directed against Israel or Israelis–unlike the March 17, 1992, bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires.

  30. It was worse, George, it was just directed at Jews, who just happen to live in Argentina, akin to the White Citizens Council’s bombing of
    that schoolhouse in Birmingham in ’63, just to terrorize

  31. Counting the angels on the head of a pin,
    Tends to be silly, but it isn’t a sin,
    Parsing the intentions of Islamist thugs,
    May not be a sin, but it won’t get you hugs,
    Among other things it may get you wings,
    And a harp you can play when the fat lady sings.

    When people avow that their God has said,
    And further attest that their Prophet has writ,
    That they may not rest until you are dead,
    Unless you bow, and scrape and submit. . .
    Believe them.

  32. When people avow that their God has said,
    And further attest that their Prophet has writ,
    That they should not rest until you are dead,
    Unless you bow, and scrape and submit. . .
    Believe them.

    Jennifer Believes,
    “There are two existential threats to Israel — a nuclear one and a political one. The first (1)may be solved only by an Israeli military action and at great human and economic cost to the Jewish state. And if Israel is (2)forced to go it alone, the (3)damage to American credibility and prestige will be immense.

    The political threat will only be solved when a new occupant arrives in the White House or there is a widespread, forceful, and effective efforts to confront the actions of the current one. As to the former, I don’t know that Israel can hold out until January 2013. As to the latter, I wish there were reason for optimism.

    I want to point out how assumptions are built into Jennifer’s opinion that create the appearance of credibility,but are deeply disingenuous.
    (1)MAY be solved,not CAN ONLY be solved????
    (2)FORCED??? Who’s Forcing Israel with their 200 Nukes
    (3)DAMAGE??? HOW?
    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/rubin/315756

  33. @ Rex Caruthers:

    (2)FORCED??? Who’s Forcing Israel with their 200 Nukes

    Iran will probably only have a few kiloton range nuclear weapons for some time; but Israel is small enough and has few enough concentrated population centers for its very existence to be endangered by that number. So, of necessity, Israel will have to go to a counterforce first strike policy if Iran fields deliverable nuclear weapons. Disarming Iran would be very hard and perhaps impossible for Israel with conventional weapons. Disarming Iran with the megaton range nuclear weapons Israel probably has would not be a challenge.

    Plus, it’s not inconceivable that the existence of a nuclear threat from Iran would both hollow out Israel and make its polity less moderate by prompting the emigration of those Israelis who can most easily emigrate. I suspect those Israelis (dual citizenship holders, technical elites, the wealthy, etc.) tend to be thse most likely to be influenced by world opinion.

    So, down the road not very far from Iranian nuclear capability you have a besieged Israel whose leaders know that a hair trigger nuclear offense is the only (semi)guarantee of national survival answering to a polity dominated by holdouts.

  34. Plus, the only “defense” against nuclear weapons is dispersal of population and shelter building. Following Iranian acquisition of those weapons I would expect Israel to be very tempted by a greater Israel option including the entire West Bank and Gaza and the Sinai so as to disperse the Jewish population and put more of it in smaller centers with good shelters close to Muslim populations without the means to build shelters or perhaps even forbidden to build shelters.

  35. So, down the road not very far from Iranian nuclear capability you have a besieged Israel whose leaders know that a hair trigger nuclear offense is the only (semi)guarantee of national survival answering to a polity dominated by holdouts.

    Israel’s national survival is not in the slightest guarenteed by action that could result in WW3. In fact,an Israeli Nuke attack on Iran would force the US to prevent Israel from this action simply because WW3 is an existential threat to the US. There are a number of better options that guarantee the survival of the Jewish people. There is no government on Earth that is so important that its survival requires a Nuclear War. Period

  36. @ Sully:

    That’s a good theory. Some of the Israelis are already testing that “dispersal” deployment by moving many thousands of Jewish Israeli citizens westward.
    I suspect that the Iranians are going to force the Israelis to make further adjustments and that safety for Israel, entirely due to Iranian malignity, will make occupation of Syria and Jordan an imperative.

  37. Macleod

    “It’s clear that Hezbollah is not, strictly speaking, a genocidally anti-Jewish organization.”

    I’ve never heard anything so naive in my entire life.

    Do you really think the only people who want to murder all Jews, come out and say so explicitly? And do you think by denying the obvious, you encourage Israelis to listen?

    Fully half of Jewish Israelis are of Mizrahi descent, and have learnt over centuries that the least challenge to Islamic dominance brought restrictions, pogroms, or even death.

    Now the Jews have challenged Islamic dominance big-time, and know quite well the response will be genocidal. Or are they supposed to ignore the long history of statements like Azzam Pasha’s (“a momentous massacre”) or the thousands in Muslim capitals over the past half-century chanting, “Itbach al yahud”?

    By splitting hairs you marginalise yourself; Israel would, and should, ignore those who take your line.

  38. From Israel to Afghanistan:

    “Equally damaging to the credibility of McChrystal’s strategy was the Washington Post report published Thursday documenting in depth the failure of February’s offensive in Marja.
    The basic theme underlined in both stories – that the Afghan population in the Taliban heartland is not cooperating with U.S. and NATO forces – is likely to be repeated over and over again in media coverage in the coming months.
    The Kandahar operation, which McChrystal’s staff has touted as the pivotal campaign of the war, had previously been announced as beginning in June. But it is now clear that McChrystal has understood for weeks that the most basic premise of the operation turned out to be false.
    http://www.counterpunch.org/porter06172010.html
    “When you go to protect people, the people have to want you to protect them,” said McChrystal, who was in Brussels for a NATO conference.
    He didn’t have to spell out the obvious implication: the people of Kandahar don’t want the protection of foreign troops.”

  39. Sully #43 @8.14am

    You make very good points. Also, consider that Iran’s intent may be to use nuclear not as such, but as an intimidation factor to limit Israeli conventional self-defense and render it vulnerable to a “final solution” by Iran’s proxies (Hizbullah, Hamas).

    That’s why the concerted Iranian-Syrian-Turkish effort to get heavy arms to Hizbullah and Hamas.

  40. @ Sully:
    I guess it’s a brand new concept for you that bearing false witness or passing on lies is wrong, and leads to trouble for all concerned.

    @ George Jochnowitz:
    Apparently, the investigation of the AMIA bombing has been a total fiasco. Motivations appear to have to do with some variation on tit-for-tat relating to actions in the Middle East, and there was no statement claiming responsibility. Horrendous, circumstantially attributed to Iran or elements and Hezbollah or elements – and absolutely nothing to do with the question of whether Hezbollah (or Iran) has genocidal intentions.

  41. @ Christian Zionist:

    Can you point out any group, other than Christians, that actually has attempted to murder all of the Jews?

    I’m thinking that if Hezbollah says, dishonestly, that it isn’t out to kill all the Jews…. and the members of Hezbollah don’t actually go out and attempt to kill all Jews, then we might just do well, absent much evidence by word or deed, to be real suspicious instead of real sure that we have the power to look into their hearts and know their minds.

  42. @ Christian Zionist:
    You think you’re saying something I haven’t heard before? Are you really “Christian”? Have you ever heard of the “poisonous tree”? “Father of Lies” ring a bell for you?

    If you’re willing to lie and prevaricate on this one, or excuse lies and prevarications, what else are you willing to lie and prevaricate about? Why should I trust a single thing you say?

    So far, all I know about you is that you appear well-practiced in coming up with self-righteous excuses for lying. Why should I believe any of the other things you’re now coming up with, since you’ve dramatically demonstrated your lack of interest in the truth? I can safely assume that you’re perfectly willing to be selective, one-sided, and fundamentally dishonest.

  43. @ CK MacLeod:

    I’m puzzled. When you say the Buenos Aires bombing was “some variation on tit-for-tat relating to actions in the Middle East,” doesn’t that suggest that if there’s a problem in the Middle East, one responds by targeting Jews anywhere or everywhere?

  44. @ George Jochnowitz:
    Not “just because” they’re Jews, but because someone – unknown, on the basis of unknown calculations – determined that extending the war in that way would serve his purposes. If I recall correctly, the 1992 bombing was supposedly retaliation for the Israeli assassination of a Hezbollah leader. It’s believed by some that the 1994 action was similarly motivated.

    I’m not arguing that Hezbollah or elements of Hezbollah haven’t shown themselves willing to target “any Jew,” though I believe it’s historically much more typical of them and their actual and avowed policy to target “any Israeli.” The AMIA bombing appears to be a peculiar exception.

    There’s a difference between a genocide and unconventional warfare or war crimes. Blurring the difference is a cheapening, dangerously self-undermining self-betrayal for Jews and friends of the Jews.

  45. @ Rex Caruthers:

    Israel’s national survival is not in the slightest guarenteed by action that could result in WW3. In fact,an Israeli Nuke attack on Iran would force the US to prevent Israel from this action simply because WW3 is an existential threat to the US. There are a number of better options that guarantee the survival of the Jewish people. There is no government on Earth that is so important that its survival requires a Nuclear War. Period

    1. I never said Israel’s survival could be “guaranteed.” The survival of none of us can be “guaranteed.”
    2. The U.S. could tell Israel not to attack, and it could apply harsh sanctions after an attack; but it could not stop Israel from attacking by surprise – except by attacking by surprise. . .
    3. I suspect that in such a situation Israelis would be less concerned about “the survival of the Jewish people” than they would be about the survival of the people in Israel.
    4. There is indeed “no government on Earth that is so important that its survival requires a Nuclear War” except when it’s the only government with the power to stand between you and annihilation.

    And, I think you make a wrong assumption when you suppose that any and all nuclear wars must escalate into “WW3.” Herman Kahn certainly thought so and he thought pretty deeply about the subject.

  46. CK MacLeod wrote:

    There’s a difference between a genocide and unconventional warfare or war crimes. Blurring the difference is a cheapening, dangerously self-undermining self-betrayal for Jews and friends of the Jews.

    Good, MacLeod, but one would do well to throw in mention, gratuitous though it should be, that there are far too many amongst the murderers who don’t understand there to be much of a distinction.
    The error is one of gross, gross exaggeration, and not entirely fantastic and delusional.

  47. Yes, the Pol Pot apologist, Porter, and one of Saddam’s favorite reporters, Chandriksevan (sic), what McGuirk, the Taliban tool and
    Haditha fraudster wasn’t available.

    As to the AMIA bombing, there was been some indication that local
    security services might have been involved, knowing Argentina’s
    unique history of welcoming German expatriates, but there seems to
    a be more than a touch of naivete here, just like when the flotilla
    folks yelled “Khaybar ill Allah” it’s not a soccer chant:

  48. @ CK MacLeod:

    I guess it’s a brand new concept for you that bearing false witness or passing on lies is wrong, and leads to trouble for all concerned.

    What false witness and lies to you believe I have borne or passed on?

  49. Hence it took 14 years, but they returned the favor in Damascus, with Mugniyeh. So the next retaliation, might be NY, LA, things to consider,

  50. @ Sully:

    Sully, mock we must, because, with Iran/Israel, both sides are attempting to defend home territory and projects with offensive ops and threats of same.

    The game is working to no one’s advantage and certainly to the world’s detriment.

  51. @ narciso:

    Mughniyeh was one person. He was an important and dangerous person. There were 85 deaths in the IMIA bombing, and many more injuries. None of the victims was considered dangerous.

  52. @ fertiziling treefrog:

    The game is working to no one’s advantage and certainly to the world’s detriment.

    Your assertion then is that the game will not be played our because it is working to no one’s advantage and to the world’s detriment. The playing out of WW1 and any number of other “games” argues that the assertion is questionable.

  53. @ George Jochnowitz:

    I was responding to:
    @ Christian Zionist

    @ Sully
    On the basis of all available evidence, it appears to be a lie to claim that in 1992 Hezbollah announced an intention to continue fighting “an open war .. until the death of every last Jew on earth.”

    The accurate statement appears to be that in 1992 Islamic Jihad verifiably declared itself committed to the destruction of Israel. This would hardly be news. It doesn’t have the same propaganda value to Islamophobes, and reporting the truth rather than the lie has the inconvenient aspect of focusing on the actual conflict, between Zionists and rejectionists – a conflict with two sides and two arguable cases – as opposed to a conflict between all morally sound human beings on one side and monsters on the other. Which is of course how propagandists and demagogues usually operate. Every genocidaire that I know of has justified his actions as racial/collective self-defense. “We have to wipe ‘them’ out because they’re all monsters and anyone who doesn’t understand that is ‘naive’ or indulging in weakness and intellectually decadent ‘hair-splitting’ and ‘moral relativism.’ It’s a tough job, but the time for talk and second thoughts is over, and history will thank us for it.”

    The former view allows for a weighing of arguments and evidence on the way to just and sensible action. The latter would allow only for a fight to the death – unless, of course, it’s only intended for the sake of manipulation of childlike minds.

    I see no reason for, much reason against, any of us needing to support dishonesty. You seem to think the distinctions are small matters. I don’t. Even if you were right, why should it matter to you if we choose to split hairs? You got a train to catch? Is there an enemy detachment closing in on you requiring your immediate attention? What are we here for – I mean at this blog, but I think it’s true more generally – other than to seek and face the truth to the best of our abilities? There are plenty of places we can go (almost everywhere else it sometimes seems) if all we want is a massage of our prejudices.

    Insisting on the convenient lie is bearing false witness on a matter of the highest significance. It’s a sin and it’s also a mistake.

  54. It’s not a fracking game, the first time, they struck in NYC, they had a follow up plot that involved the FBI office, the Diamond District and
    Senator D’aMato. we didn’t know they were AQ at that time, sounds like half a season of ’24

    I didn’t mean to minimize the losses of the AMIA, just that you have to strike back right in their confort zone, just like Salameh, the head of Black September, was nabbed by car bomb in ’79.

  55. Isn’t it rather pointless to be arguing over whether an organization that lacks the means has a completely genocidal intent? And yet shouldn’t we judge ultimate desires – howevermuch they are at the moment grandstanding – in Nasrallah’s most famous statement:

    “if [Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.” (as Wikipedia has it)

    While I agree for various reasons with the general argument of the post that it is foolish and dangerous to think we are in a war against all Muslims, i think the “Islamophobes” do have a point that i would like to see CK address: notwithstanding all the sects and interpretations of Islam that evolved in the agrarian age, all the relatively peaceful local practises mediated by saints, shrines, and the pragmatic needs of Islamic societies, the interaction of Islam and modernity, espcially since the collapse of the cold war imperial order, is one, as many have noted, that is increasingly mediated by a radical Islamism.

    I recently had a conversation with a scholar of Islamic texts who showed me a draft of an article in which he claims that in one of his recent classes at a major Canadian university – in which the students, many of whom are Muslims, read (usually for the first time) passages from the various sacred Muslim texts pertaining to punishments for repeatedly disorderly wives, thieves, apostates, adulterers (while noting discrepancies between Koran and Sunna, and being careful about the meaning of Arabic words) – all the Muslim students, to a man and woman, came out in favour of cutting hands off thieves, stoning adulterers, beating wives, and killing apostates (when the circumstances justified – because that’s what the texts say). And they were not just saying this in the public of the classroom but also in the written work read only by the instructor. The Muslim students were about half the class and half of these were from sects we generally consider the most accomodating of modernity – Ismailis, Ahmadiyya.

    Anyway, just a little anecdote to make of what you will. But so far I think it is fair to say that while it is easy to make the point that the Islamophobes have the same literal reading as the Islamists, this simple-minded return to the texts is the pre-dominant Islamic response to modernity.

  56. Sully Wrote/”Disarming Iran with the megaton range nuclear weapons Israel probably has would not be a challenge.”
    And then Sully wrote/”…I think you make a wrong assumption when you suppose that any and all nuclear wars MUST escalate into “WW3.”

    Not Must,”Might” If the Assasination of a Prince in 1914 can lead to a World War,Why is it so wrong to suggest that a Nuclear attack on Iran in 2010,could accomplish the same.

    Sully/ “The U.S. could tell Israel not to attack, and it could apply harsh sanctions after an attack; but it could not stop Israel from attacking by surprise – except by attacking by surprise. . .”

    And if the US felt that Israel was recklessly jeopardizing its national Security previous to this “Surprise” attack,we would be justified in forming a Defense agreement with Iran.
    Do you want Israel to be in the unenviable position to be the first nation in history to preemptively nuke a nation to prevent the Nukee from having nukes. I feel it’s all too possible that Russia or China would destroy Israel if they Nuked Iran,and there you have it,would the US put its citizens at risk to avenge the destroyed Israel? And Israel would have accomplished what?

  57. @ John:
    A thoughtful comment worthy of careful consideration – and I thank you for your unusual willingness to address the actual point of the post!

    As I think about a more substantial reply, I’m troubled for now by the reliance on the anecdote. It reads too much like a “just-so” story tailored to purpose – yours and the scholar’s – and we’re obviously not in a position to look for and assess any conceivably mitigating contexts and specifics. That doesn’t mean I reject the larger point, but I believe we need to “err” (it’s not erring, to me) on the side of rejecting evidence and testimony against people who cannot respond.

  58. John #68 11:26am very good coment.

    The naive aspect of this article is the intent to treat Islam as a religion. But Islam is not solely a releligion; it is religion amalgamated with an authoritarian, expansionist, aggressive, intolerant, imperialist, triumphalist political philosophy.

    Thus “Islamophobia” as as warranted and necessary as anti-communism, with the caveat that the easiest and perhaps only way to win the war, is to apply maximum pressure to the Islamic world to begin its own internal Englightenment (as did Christianity), for its own good.

  59. Sully wrote:

    Your assertion then is that the game will not be played our because it is working to no one’s advantage and to the world’s detriment.

    I don’t recall making the assertion that the game won’t continue careering down its lunatic way.

    I would prefer that it be suspended on account of stupidity, but the umps aren’t all on the field as of yet.

  60. CK MacLeod

    “There’s a difference between a genocide and unconventional warfare or war crimes. Blurring the difference is a cheapening, dangerously self-undermining self-betrayal for Jews and friends of the Jews.”

    More foolishness.

    I forwarded this link to a circle in Israel. They all – from left-most to right-most, including an Israeli Arab – responded that you are not only naive but dangerously so; one used the term “goo-goo genocidaire.”

    As I said, half of Jewish Israelis are refugees from 14 centuries of life under Islam, and they have too much first-hand contact to take your assertions seriously.

  61. @ Christian Zionist:
    Excellent thinking Chris. The application from outsiders of “maximal pressure” to the Islamic world will almost certainly in

    its own internal Englightenment

    .

    almost always and almost without a doubt, huge amounts of stress produce an increase in rational pacific thinking.

  62. @ Christian Zionist:
    Care to guess how much I care about what (you say) your “circle” thinks or what fashionable dismissive terms they use for me? I admit I’m flattered by the notion that a short post I put up on my blog about Walter Russell Mead and Reuel Marc Gerecht could be considered “dangerous” by anyone.

    I’ll take either of those gentlemen over you and your circle. You’ve given me no other choice but to presume your dishonesty and selectivity, and to presume further that the members of your circle share your low regard for any merely honest and accurate rendition of the facts, and for any reluctance to deal in self-serving generalizations about the “enemy” and one-sided oversimplifications about the conflict.

    Incidentally, you don’t think the other guys can make a “firsthand experience” case against you and your friends, too?

    Thus “Islamophobia” as as warranted and necessary as anti-communism, with the caveat that the easiest and perhaps only way to win the war, is to apply maximum pressure to the Islamic world to begin its own internal Englightenment (as did Christianity), for its own good.

    The subordinate “caveat” is contradicted by the main statement.

    “Islamophobia” is a word for a form of collective prejudice based on irrationality. “Rational Islamophobia” is an oxymoron. Enlightener, enlighten yourself.

  63. Well, the scholar in question said he is trying to publish his article in a newspaper, so we’ll maybe get a chance to see it in full. He told me that he began the class by telling the students they could discuss the material from any angle and say what they like, including personal confessional expression. This teacher is an open Christian (I wouldn’t deny that he perhaps harbors a private desire to convert) and when he asked for personal responses to the texts, a certain need to express one’s commitments may have been in the air. I don’t know of course. I told him that I thought that if students were expressing the belief that apostates should be killed – but why would anyone want to leave Islam, one student reportedly said – he should have pointed out that this was a belief that could not be expressed in a classroom without ruining the openness the teacher wished to uphold. Our conversation turned in this direction, to the question of what a university can permit and I didn’t get further clarification of the dynamic in that classroom.

    But yes, it’s just one anecdote which leaves me too quite curious about what went on. But it wouldn’t be hard to dig up comments from various informed students of the Islamic world that the dominant trend in Islam now is the rise of Islamist textual “literalism” (not that I think any text can ever just speak for itself).

    I also think another important trend is a movement of Muslims in the West away from any serious interest in religion and a desire for a secular lifestyle. But by its very nature, this is a largely hidden movement that makes very little claim on the future of Islam and Muslims. And it’s difficult for me to see many signs of significant new movements for a liberal Islam, constituting a full religious discipline, that are rooted specifically in the movement of Muslims to the West. This exists to some extent among Ismailis but I’m not sure how far it goes.

  64. Fuster, in several centuries of contact with modernity, change has not arrived to Islam, and won’t without help.

    MacLeod, the language has not changed.

    “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades”. – Azzam Pasha

    “If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide” – Hassan Nasrallah

    “Death to Jews” – Hamas
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWxQS81gXeI

    UCSD student and Hezbollah supporter supports genocide of Jews
    http://mydd.com/users/lakrosse/posts/ucsd

    “Khaibar Khaibar o Jews” – Gaza Flotilla
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3L7OV414Kk

    You’ll have to do better than repeatedly calling me a liar, if you wish to gain any credibility with the people most threatened by Islam; they see you much like the naives the communists termed “useful idiots” in the west.

    Incidentally, there should be more concern about the fact that Islam is gradually cleansing the Mideast of Maronites and Assyrians; there’s more than one way to “eliminate” minorities.

  65. It’s ‘dangerously naive’ CK, ignorant of history in the abstract, of the casualties that have been suffered in the last 30 years; it is not phobia it is justifiable concern

  66. I have just posted a few links to the repeated genocidal statements emanating from Islam. Let’s see if this site has the moral fibre to publish them, or if comment is restricted to a single Weltanschuung.

  67. John wrote:

    “I also think another important trend is a movement of Muslims in the West away from any serious interest in religion and a desire for a secular lifestyle. But by its very nature, this is a largely hidden movement that makes very little claim on the future of Islam and Muslims. And it’s difficult for me to see many signs of significant new movements for a liberal Islam, constituting a full religious discipline, that are rooted specifically in the movement of Muslims to the West. This exists to some extent among Ismailis but I’m not sure how far it goes.”

    John is spot on in all respects.
    In fact the (violent) reaction of Islam to Hirsi Ali or Irshad Manji proves John’s contentions and disproves CK’s.

  68. CK wrote: “Islamophobia” is a word for a form of collective prejudice based on irrationality.

    And what if the “prejudice” is based on rationality?

    Dismissing non-Islamic minorities’ concerns as “Islamophobia” is the same morality as dismissing 1939 Polish concerns as “Germanophobia”.

    Should Taiwan’s concerns be dismissed as “Sinophobia”?

    Should black wariness of whites at any time in the past, be dismissed as “Caucaso-phobia”?

    Finally, ask yourself why Hindu have integrated into the west – and built large temples in multiple western countries – with little friction. Because Hindutva poses no equivalent threat as Islam. And minimsing the Islamic/Islamist threat will not make it go away.

  69. Christian Zionist wrote:
    CK wrote: “Islamophobia” is a word for a form of collective prejudice based on irrationality.

    And what if the “prejudice” is based on rationality

    Well it’s not. It reminds me of the War Rhetoric of the Reformation/CounterReformation. And if you want prejudice,what’s a Christian doing pretending he’s a Zionist. Isn’t your agenda about getting the Jews to Convert? I don’t trust anyone looking to agitate a religious war who waNTS TO BE ON THE WINNING SIDE. Religious zealots are a murderous lot,no matter what side they’re on.

  70. Rex

    “Well it’s not.”

    Well your four-word argument is not only thin, it’s non-existent.

    Islam has carried out over 15,471 religion-motivated terrorist attacks since 9/11 alone:
    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Pages/TheList.htm
    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/index.html#Attacks

    “Isn’t your agenda about getting the Jews to Convert?”

    You’ve just shown your anti-Christian bigotry; I myself am closer to secular than to evangelist. But that doesn’t prevent your making assumptions on the basis of your own prejudice. Nor does it prevent me from thinking Zionism deserves our support and the Jews deserve our protection.

  71. Christian Zionist wrote:

    In fact the (violent) reaction of Islam to Hirsi Ali or Irshad Manji proves John’s contentions and disproves CK’s.

    More salami from the same slicer. The statement applies the typical collective attribution of actions by radical Islamists to a mythical monolithic entity called “Islam” – alongside the familiar adoption of radical Islamist pretensions by those who think of themselves as the radicals’ worst foes, but instead act as sponsors and facilitators, as well as contributors to the larger reactionary trends that John observes.

    The attitude is an affront to any and all Muslims whom, when it’s convenient for sake of argument, or on some foreign battlefield or in some embattled nation or maybe in some American neighborhood, “enlightened” people (like the commenter and perhaps his circle) claim to respect or to want to encourage. And that was a major point of the top post and of the series of posts I’ve written on this general subject since first declining to join the opposition to the so-called “Ground Zero mosque.”

    This isn’t hair-splitting. In my opinion, it’s the whole head, or pretty close.

    Though we’ve been through much of this discussion before, I’m looking forward to responding comprehensively to CZ, John, and others. I expect to be mostly tied up for the rest of the day, however. I invite all participants to return for discussion under a follow-up post, which I expect to have up by this time tomorrow at latest. Everyone is of course welcome to continue without me in the meantime.

  72. @ Rex Caruthers:

    Do you want Israel to be in the unenviable position to be the first nation in history to preemptively nuke a nation to prevent the Nukee from having nukes.

    No. What I said was that after Iran achieves nuclear capability sufficient to destroy Israel, Israel will almost surely go to a launch on warning preemptive posture. I think that once Iran has the capability and disperses launchers and warheads the only option Israel will have will be a very bad one, bad for Iran, bad for Israel, bad for everyone.

  73. @ CK MacLeod:

    I don’t believe I’ve ever said in any venue that Hezbollah made that specific statement. And I’ve never cared. The verse of the sword is sufficient for me. Which is why I wrote the little ditty that seems to have put a twist in your shorts.

    Incidently, I don’t advocate war with all Muslims. I have no problem with any who clearly and forthrightly disavow the verse of the sword and a few other verses in the Koran that trouble me. Failing that they are at war with me if they tolerate among them elements attempting to carry out the intention of the verse of the sword.

  74. Sully/What I said was that after Iran achieves nuclear capability sufficient to destroy Israel

    In that case,why wait?

  75. @ Rex Caruthers:

    In that case,why wait?

    Because many bad things in life that one fears never happen, so you don’t take drastic, dangerous, costly and risky actions on the fear that they will happen. I think Israel is hoping we will eliminate the Iranian bomb threat while our government is maneuvering to put Israel into a position where it will feel forced to eliminate or at least push back the Iranian program.

  76. Sully, as always, good comments.

    I think CK has failed to understand the core point of Hirsi Ali, Spencer and company: Islam is not purely a religion but an amalgam of religion with an authoritarian ideology of expansionist, supra-governmental ambitions. In this, it distinguishes itself from all other religions: Christianity abandoned such ambitions in the centuries since the Englightenment; Judaism, Bahai, Hindutva, Jains, Confucians, and Buddhists never had such world-wide ambitions.

    I do not think the world’s 5 bilion kufr will adapt to the 1 billion Muslims; the adaptation will be the inverse, whether peacefully or not. But terming non-Muslims’ justifiable wariness “Islamophobia” doesn’t help.

  77. If the majority of the world’s leading propagators of Islam were Ahmadiya or Sufi, that would be one thing, but in every country
    it seems the Sunni Hambali strain of Deobandi (Indian) or Wahhabi
    (Arabian) Islam seems to be disseminated. Now one is trying to focus
    on that particular area, but one cannot because it casts doubt on the whole of Islam. One can’t denounce Hezbollah, because they only promised to 75% of the Jews. On this point, CK, I think Frum has a better grasp on things, hard for me to admit

  78. @ Christian Zionist:

    Chris, when you talk about people’s failures in understanding, keep looking at this thing that you wrote…

    Christianity abandoned such ambitions

    think about that.

    Then try to make a case that Islam hasn’t done the same, and that the people attempting to reclaim what they see as Islamic land aren’t a rump attempting to revive a long-discredited thing.

  79. Doth though not have eyes, dear frog, they are building a Mosque in the original Cordoba, not just the project named for in NYC. There are
    sections of the ban lieu’s, where the flics do not dare threat. The British authoritiies have shut down CCTV in certain majority neigborhoods

  80. Christians evangelists are advising Ugandans to slaughter homosexuals,
    Perez Hilton, inexplicably, likes to look up girls’ dresses,
    and sheep are being interfered with in Norway,

  81. Perez Hilton, shows sometimes a Catholic school education, sometimes does no good at all, I don’t think Ugandans whose leadership included
    once upon a time the late cannibalistic murderer Idi Amin, required all that encouragement, and I shudder to even link the sheeo bit

3 Pings/Trackbacks for "The cost of Islamophobia"
  1. […] Mead was one of the two writers I quoted with respect and approval in yesterday’s “The Cost of Islamophobia” post, as I believed his analysis of Turkey’s  predicament supported the insistence on […]

  2. […] John asked for me to address the following point: [N]otwithstanding all the sects and interpretations of Islam that evolved in the agrarian age, all the relatively peaceful local practises mediated by saints, shrines, and the pragmatic needs of Islamic societies, the interaction of Islam and modernity, especially since the collapse of the cold war imperial order, is one, as many have noted, that is increasingly mediated by a radical Islamism. […]

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