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Short answer – on top of nearly constant anti-Semitic propaganda, much of the Muslim world hasn’t even heard of it. No, I don’t blame all Muslims, nor even Islam per se in contrast to some others who have posted here. But the anti-war movement isn’t doing anybody any favors by trying to downplay, ignore, or gloss-over these very harsh realities. The recent Holocaust denial donference in Iran should be a serious issue of discussion within anti-war movement circles. Some are taking it on. Others are in denial.
By Ayaan Hirsi Ali
AYAAN HIRSI ALI, a Somali immigrant who served in the parliament of the Netherlands until earlier this year, is the author of “Infidel,” an autobiography to be published in February.
December 16 2006
ONE DAY IN 1994, when I was living in Ede, a small town in Holland, I got a visit from my half-sister. She and I were both immigrants fromand had both applied for asylum in Holland. I was granted it; she was denied. The fact that I got asylum gave me the opportunity to study. My half-sister couldn’t.
The complete article can be viewed at:
http://www.latimes. com/news/ opinion/la- oe-ali16dec16, 0,4520813. story
Some key passages:
I saw pictures of masses of skeletons, even of kids. I heard horrifying accounts of some of the people who had survived the terror of Auschwitz and Sobibor. I told my half-sister all this and showed her the pictures in my history book. What she said was as awful as the information in my book.
With great conviction, my half-sister cried: “It’s a lie! Jews have a way of blinding people. They were not killed, gassed or massacred. But I pray to Allah that one day all the Jews in the world will be destroyed.”
Western leaders today who say they are shocked by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s conference this week denying the Holocaust need to wake up to that reality. For the majority of Muslims in the world, the Holocaust is not a major historical event that they deny. We simply do not know it ever happened because we were never informed of it.
What’s striking about Ahmadinejad’s conference is the (silent) acquiescence of mainstream Muslims. I cannot help but wonder: Why is there no counter-conference in Riyadh, Cairo, Lahore, Khartoum or Jakarta condemning Ahmadinejad? Why are the 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference silent on this?
Could the answer be as simple as it is horrifying: For generations, the leaders of these so-called Muslim countries have been spoon-feeding their populations a constant diet of propaganda similar to the one that generations of Germans (and other Europeans) were fed — that Jews are vermin and should be dealt with as such? In Europe, the logical conclusion was the Holocaust. If Ahmadinejad has his way, he shall not want for compliant Muslims ready to act on his wish.
The ER is reporting that we have little to fear from Nazis who have recently moved into the county. Apparently they aren’t much of a problem because they’ve been in prison and they don’t do drugs – or so goes the explanation. This quote from FBI agent Christopher Langer bothers me however:
“What we set out to do (after publication of the newspaper article) was to identify any organizations, any organizational structure, any members that might be involved,” Langer said. “We also wanted to see if we could identify any groups or individuals we had not identified beforehand. It was our goal to disrupt and dismantle any of these organizations.“ (emphasis added)
My inner-ACLU extremist is chiming up again. Unless such an organization has actually broken the law, is it the role of a law enforcement organization to “disrupt and dismantle” an organization based on its ideology? I would hope that the job is to monitor such organizations and intervene if they plan to break the law. Tharkenskens back to the whole issue with Cointelpro – law enforcement is charged with preventing crime, not pushing or suppressing a particular ideological perspective, whether the ideology is prone to criminal activity. And no, I don’t believe the interests of being “pro-active” warrant such a flagrviolationtoin of the right to assemble and associate.
Call me a “liberal.”
We’ve discussed at great length the “new anti-semitism,” (here and here, among other posts, and as I’m thinking about it I have to follow up with Michael Lerner for the radio show on the same). Barbara Ehrenreich’s latest blog entry, which got me thinking, brings up some recent manifestations of the old version.
I don’t always find anti-Semitism hilarious, especially when it’s not being satirized by someone surnamed Cohen. When I was researching Bait and Switch, I got a taste of good-ole-boy anti-Jewish prejudice at a Christian businessmen’s [sic] lunch in the suburbs of Atlanta. I had gone to “network,” not realizing I would have to sit through a rambling 20-minute “testimony” on how the Lord had intervened to boost the profits of a local realtor. At some point in the story, the loquacious realtor receives an email from someone named Finkelstein. At the mere utterance of the name, the “Christians” around me cracked up.
It reminded me of my interview of journalist and Russia historian Bill Mandel earlier this year in which he described one of the McCarthy hearings he attended. Somebody who had been hauled up was revealed to have altered his name so that it didn’t sound Jewish, the revelation leading members of the audience to gasp. Thing is, the association of Judaism with left wing ideologies isn’t altogether inaccurate. If you were to take all of the names of liberal and socialist intellectuals of merit and drop them into a hat I suspect the likelihood of drawing a Jewish name would be 50-50 if not higher. In this last election, Jewish voters went 87 percent for Democratic senate candidates. Not every aspect of Nazi propaganda is off base.
Most conservatives however are careful about their terminology, often referring to the perhaps conservative PC inclusive term “Judeo-Christian values.” Sometime during the 1990s a Christian activist proposed that a moment of silence in public schools consistant with “Judeo-Christian values,” a Jewish comedian responded that in his home growing up “there was never a moment of silence of any kind.” And when Bill O’Reilly begins his annual rants about the perceived demise of “Merry Christmas” he makes sure to note that his Jewish friends use the appropriate phrase (would they dare do otherwise?) and he showed his magnimity by responding “Happy Hannukah.” It’s all very inclusive when Jews are an abstraction, although the veneer peels away in a heartbeat. In one of his final audience participation shows, Phil Donahue pressed a young Christian woman who dodged the question of where Jews go when they die if they haven’t been converted, and with lips trembling she shrugged, said “Hell” and sat down.
A few years back CSPAN aired a forum of conservative Jews who spoke candidly about their treatment as a political minority within their ethnic community, and also their treatment as an ethnic minority within their political community. I don’t remember the name of the author, but he caused a bit of a stir by arguing that Jews should perhaps remain on the sidelines of the abortion debate because it could only inflame anti-semitism. The same guy had earlier claimed that Christian society had pretty much metabolized anti-semitism and that it was really only a problem in other parts of the world (presumably referring to Islamic nations as nobody else really has a stake in the theological debates that ultimately generate the hate). Basically, Jews have nothing to worry about, but don’t you dare partake in one of the more prevalent social issues of the time.
911 galvanized an alliance between the AIPAC set and the religious right, and for awhile the relative silence of many of the rest of the Jewish political communities as well as the increase of Jewish voters for Bush from 19 to 24 percent between 2000 and 2004 sugrealignmentllignment in the works. Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League soured the honeymoon in 2005, and other Jewish leaders have followed suit. Evangelical leaders haven’t held back in response.
Mel Gibson hasn’t helped either.
As it turns out, old habits die hard and really it’s hard to coalition with people who believe that you are going to Hell if you don’t abandon your faith and take Jesus Christ as “your personal Lord and savior.” If they really believe you’re hellbound, it would be callous from their point of view not to try to talk you from the ledge. The coalition would require that they liberalize their theology, but that would amount to gaining the world and losing the soul. If it is anti-semitic to believe all Jews should convert, then fundamental evangelism is by its very nature anti-semitic. It can’t be anything else. And when theibrethren brethryn fail to see and grasp the light, the facade must fade away. The coalition was doomed from the start. The conservative pragmatists are . Plus, the Jewish contingent of the religious right has other problems. And few in the Jewish community are buying the “When a Hindu or a pagan becomes a Christian, he is converted, but when a Jew becomes a Christian, he is completed” line. The JDL refers to the conversion attempts as “the quiet holocaust.”
This is not to say that all evangelicals are anti-semitic in any practical way, or even all fundamentalists. There are plenty of evangelicals who are not fundamentalists, and there are what could be termed “cultural fundamentalists,” those who believe in their heads that their non-believing loved ones and neighbors are hellbound, but don’t believe it in their hearts. Or they could introduce cognitive dissonance into their faith, like Jerry Falwell who has adopted a “dual covenant” theology, but then Falwell has been regarded as a sell-out theological liberal in some fundy circles.
The graphic above, unfortunately too blurry to read, is of the cover page of a pamphlet by the Reformation’s own hero Martin Luther entitled “On the Jews and their Lies.” It comes courtesy of the Florida Holocaust Museum. Some excerpts may be found via the links.
This comic strip is being circulated, by “Zionists” as the word is so casually thrown around here. And I do believe it grossly oversimplifies the situation, and fails to take into account the very nature of asymmetric warfare. When you have less power in a military confrontation, you tend to be limited to guerrilla tactics, sometimes nasty.
However, it does underscore a key point in the discussion. You can’t explain the willingness to strap bombs to children as a tactic of terror by telling us how oppressed the resisting group is. The blacks in South Africa took harsh action, but they never sent their children on suicide missions. Nor even the Afghan resistance to Soviet occupation. I haven’t even heard of it happening in Iraq. It seems to be uniquely applied against Israelis, and all of the sudden Golda Meir’s quote about Israel’s Arab opponents hating them more than they love their own children makes sense.
It is a very provocative comic strip to be sure, and it’s already causing quite a stir on other forums. I expect no less here.
I received this e-mail recently. I don’t normally pass on chain mail type stuff, but this seems appropriate to pass on. It didn’t happen on a single date, so we don’t have an anniversary to keep reminding us. This is particularly important as holocaust denial is becoming something of an industry, and anti-semitism isn’t just made for right wingers anymore.
Subject: IN MEMORIAM – The event that cannot ever be erased!
The thing to remember is that the six million Jews who were
murdered would, today, be the parents and grandparents of 20 million.
IN MEMORIAM -The event that cannot ever be erased! It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain. It was launched during Passover 2005 “The Jewish Holiday of Freedom” until Holocaust Memorial Day, in memory of the six million Jews who were massacred during the Holocaust.
This e-mail is intended to reach six million people around the world! Join us and be a link in the memorial chain and help us distribute it around the world. Please send this e-mail to 10 people you know and ask them to continuethe memorial chain.
Please don’t just delete it. It will only take you a minute to pass this along – Thanks!
As posted last week, Tom Hanson and I will focus on some of more anti-intellectual moments in American politics, which has led to the demise of politicians in both parties who came across as too scholarly and intellectually aloof. We’ll focus on both history and modern trends. I’ve been accused of picking on the left too much lately, so we’ll pick on the right tonight – as well as the left. In fact, until recently I would say that the right has been producing more intellectual raw material in terms of political thought, although it seems to have degenerated as the Ann Coulters and Michael Hannity’s replace the William Buckleys and Thomas Sowells at the helm of right wing rhetoric. On the other hand, the embracing of emotional appeals to the detriment of critical thinking and reason is also rampant on the left, even when it is right, which is one of the reasons I’m not particularly enamored with most of the programming on Air America nor Pacifica Radio of late. And often, the peace movement in particular has degenerated into borderline anti-semitism (beyond merely criticism of Israel and Zionism) as well as off-the-wall conspiracy theories.
We’re going to be taking a different approach tonight. Tom and I are going to take up the first half sans callers in order to set the subject, so we don’t trail off onto specific topics and lose focus on the topic at hand. I may actually cut callers off who insist on focusing on their pet issues to the detriment of the discussion. I’ll play it by ear.
Calls will be welcome from 7:30 to 8:00, at 923-3911 or 1-800-KMUDRAD. The show is at 7:00 p.m. at 91.1 and of course you can listen in online at KMUD.ORG.
Not much sooner did I set up my link to Michael Bérubé’s blog did I test it this morning to find that he’d plugged my earlier post about anti-semitism in some anti-war demonstrations. Can’t be sure, but I may have left him with the impression that I’m a British citizen.
Be that it may, he acknowledges my points and those of others, but also raises some interesting points about the difficulties of mainstream liberals who express criticism of Israel and some other engaging thoughts about the conflict, including the following points:
But there are two things I’d like to add. The first is that I did not expect Hezbollah’s resistance to be quite so . . . resilient. I thought this would be a political disaster for the region and a humanitarian disaster for Lebanon, but I did not imagine that it would also be a strategic disaster for Israel.The second is that I was probably wrong to say that there is no braking system in place. In one sense that’s true, because the U.S. has clearly green-lighted the “kill them all” option, and the wingnuts have begun to debate whether we made a mistake in not killing enough Sunni men between 15 and 35 in the course of our noble quest to liberate Iraq. A bunch of dead children, bombed in their sleep, and our government can’t even demand a cease-fire. (But let’s not overlook Condi Rice’s very first diplomatic triumph: getting Israel to announce a 48-hour suspension of air strikes. Oops, wait a sec . . . It turns out that “despite Israel’s announcement of 48-hour suspension of aerial strikes, bombs continued to fall across Lebanon, albeit at a slower pace and at more limited targets than earlier in the offensive.” Well, Secretary Rice, congratulations on that much.)
It’s his first post on the topic since the war broke out. He crammed a lot into one post (and you thought I was long winded), but it’s a worthwhile read.