Columbia University's President Bollinger accomplished three things by allowing Iran's President Amadinejad a platform. Bollinger modeled the normalization of "dialogue" with our era's Hitler; he gained for himself a world platform in which he indulged his ego (and tried to appease his donor base) by saying many of the "right" things; and he exposed the West's weakest spot, namely our willingness to engage in fruitless and endless debate with evil instead of defeating it on the battlefield.
Last night, on the O'Reilly Factor, Medea Benjamin, of Code Pink, kept urging America to talk to Iran and Hezbollah, rather than "fight" with them militarily. (I am not sure if she includes al-Qaeda here as well).
The days turn into years, the years into centuries. People slowly turn as well from complete, outraged denial to gradual, grudging admission. Of course, no one wants to give up their illusions and the mainstream media still do not print the truth about racism--if it is racism against Jews. As we all know, the western media will go on and on and on about racism against Muslims, Arabs, and all peoples of color whose countries have formerly been colonized.
Four years and two months later, after dumping on my 2002 book "The New Anti-Semitism," the Washington Post has just now allowed at least one voice to rebut the Big Lie that there is no anti-Semitism, that to suggest that Jew-hatred is dangerously rising in the world and that anti-Zionism is also the "new" anti-Semitism, is alarmist, misleading, undocumented, etc. Today's op-ed piece, which tackles only two of the false allegations that Walt-Mearsheimer make in their just published Farrar, Strauss title (for which they received $850,000) is here.
Let me state what is painfully obvious. Despite our most hopeful illusions, people are not really "good" nor do they really practice "peace". While power corrupts, absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely and there is no safe place, neither high nor low, for the most vulnerable of our citizens.
The world is always at war. People fight, it's what we do. We quarrel, often in deadly ways with other family members and we fight bitter, brutal battles with anyone who is "different" in terms of gender, class, race, ethnicity, tribe, religion, and ideology. The planet is perpetually plagued by civil and national wars. Not to be outdone, persecuted peoples internalize the prejudice and hatred leveled against them and unleash it against others like themselves.
Here he is again, Big Brother holding forth, bearing poisoned gifts, giving the infidels a chance--both to convert and to see our own Stalinized image reflected back to us in its Islamist form.
This guy could get a professorship at any allegedly distinguished American university. (Have the Middle East Studies Institutes or anthropology departments at Berkeley, Santa Cruz, or Columbia already approached him?) He certainly has the rap down cold.
Capitalism is evil, the war in Iraq is about corporate profits not about terrorism, America is an oppressor and terrorist nation-state, our presumed loss of prestige is our own fault and known to all. My God, he even quotes Noam Chomsky and echoes countless ideologues who remain bitter about America's failure to wrestle global warming right down to the ground.
What more is there to say?
Here's something. Tarek Heggy is a prominent Egyptian intellectual and dissident. Nonie Darwish, my friend and also an amazing truth-teller, has just introduced us. Recently, according to Heggy, he had lunch with a former Crown Prince of Jordan and a dozen other Egyptians, "none of us without a Ph.D from a world class university." Nevertheless, Heggy, a businessman, a leading liberal political thinker, and the author of fourteen books, was the only one who believed that 9/11 had indeed been perpetrated by Al Qaeda against America. All the others still believed that America either attacked herself or, like so much else (blizzards, earthquakes, poisoned well-water), that the Zionists did it.
Earlier today I committed a dangerous act: I jumped in and, unasked, defended my colleague, the Green Party activist, Lorna Salzman, on a listserv. To do so, I spoke my mind to Reb Arthur Waskow--someone whom I know disagrees with me.
I rather loved Reb Arthur's early work, such as "Godwrestling;" he also loved my early literary and pre-2001 political and religious work. While I may also now disagree with him, this does not mean that he is my "enemy." It does mean that I may have to "wrestle" with him as Jacob once wrestled with both "God and humanity."
Lorna has been exposing the Islamification of the Green Party and I have written about this with her expert guidance. (These articles are posted on my website). Since then, I am one of the people who have been lucky enough to receive her very intelligent, passionate, and, alas, sometimes rather long postings.
Soon after Labor Day, I will be posting my response to a very long and heated attack on my work about anti-Semitism. My response appears in an international feminist academic journal (Feminist Theory) which is based in Britain and published in America. The attacker, Sunera Thobani also critiqued the work of two other American feminist theorists; coincidentally, we were all Jews. I wanted my views to be heard in this journal and made many substantive compromises towards this end. For example, I was not allowed to use the phrase "Islamic imperialism" in response to a paper which describes white and western imperialism. I consider it a triumph that the editorial board worked with me so that my response could be published. Zillah Eisenstein also published a response. Judith Butler did not.
It has been said--and I agree--that it is the better part of wisdom to both understand views with which one strongly disagrees and to support the right of one's political opponents to speak freely. However, these noble sentiments are not exactly useful when one's opponent is a gargantuan liar and engages in evil.
Still, I mourn the loss of civilized dialogue among presumably civilized people who no longer exchange views but only insults masquerading as views for which they are applauded, lauded, and often well-paid. Everyone's mind remains firmly closed. Dialogue is increasingly impossible among people who will only talk to those who agree with them 100% on each and every issue.
In her three part series, Amanpour is far more combative and confrontational with both Jewish and Christian religious leaders than she is with Muslim leaders. She is warmer, softer, more "at home," with even the most extreme of Islamist leaders, perhaps even more respectful, than she is with their allegedly Jewish or Christian counterparts.
Amanpour completely fails to make the distinction between Islamists who teach hatred of infidels and women and who blow infidel and Muslim civilians up (as well as honor-murder their own women); Israelis who are under perpetual terrorist seige and who are trying to defend themselves against Islamist attacks; and conservative Christians who are trying to mobilize votes, change laws, or win hearts and minds with words, not bombs (although she certainly has lots of footage of the bloody bombings at abortion clinics--bombings I personally abhor and mourn--as do many Christians).
Dhabah Almontaser, the nearly anointed principal of Brooklyn's madrassa and CNN's fully anointed Christiane Amanpour both agree that in Arabic, "Intifada" means a "shaking off." Amanpour gave an example of how to use the word by saying that "Palestinian (terrorists) were (merely) shaking off the Israeli Occupation;" Almontaser, when challenged about the infamous tee-shirts, said that "Intifada-NYC" referred to young Muslim girls "shaking off oppression."
In November of 2005, Fox's O'Reilly showed live footage of the French Intifada as it raged in Paris. According to WorldNetDaily, Saudi billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, (aka Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud), who owns 5-6% of the Fox News Channel, personally called Rupert Murdoch and asked him to change the offensive (but accurate) caption: "Muslim Riots" to the less offensive (and less accurate) "Civil Riots." Within thirty minutes, the Prince had his way.
To paraphrase New York Post columnist Cindy Adams: Only in America kids, only in America.
I recommend this book be put on the reading list of every American school.
--Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Author of Infidel and Nomad
This is a bold book, intimate and rich in detail… Chesler is a voice crying out for women. She will never stop
The 2011 Edition of Mothers on Trial
The 2009 Edition of