Comments on The cost of Islamophobia by CK MacLeod

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.

@ fuster:
Thank you for saying it shorter... except it's worse than that.

@ 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.

@ 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.

@ 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.

@ 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.

fertiziling treefrog wrote:

moving many thousands of Jewish Israeli citizens westward.

did you mean eastward?

@ 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.

@ 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.

@ 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.

Here are two news articles (AP and LA Times) that quote different versions of the same statement:,1438934

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.

Do I still qualify for a reward? (You can keep the 72-y-o virgin)

Found it.

It was a statement attributed to Islamic Jihad (considered a front group of Hezbollah's, but not the same thing as Hezbollah) issued after the Argentina embassy bombing in 1992.

Page 26 of the document at

Cited to UPI March 24, 1992


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:

@ 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.

@ 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.

@ 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...

@ 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.

@ 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.

@ narciso:
Or maybe such analogies are misleading.

narciso wrote:

this goes in the same category of Andropov’s love of Jazz

That's silly.