A Catholic friend sent me the link to an article with this description:
The editor-in-chief of the Times of Oman, that country's paper of record, published an above-the-fold justification of the Holocaust. Since I don't have a permanent link, I'm reproducing the whole article. At the moment the link is: http://www.timesofoman.com/viewpoint.aspUpdate note-
two readers have sent me the permanent link.
And yes, as you would expect, it is an excrescence- but one that is so blunt, clear and unsophisticated in its expression of the underlying lunacy of how the Arab world’s “elite” view of the world that it is an invaluable tool for understanding not just the Arab’s problem with Israel (and culture in general) but also the reason that the western left is so firmly on their side. If you choose not to read it in its entirety, I'll understand. Just skip the indented stuff in italics but, please, meet me down below it and follow with me where it leads.
How Israel became a terrorist state
Essa bin Mohammed Al Zedjali
I HAVE been following the shameful and painful events in our Arab region ever since the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948. Thanks to my readings, I am aware of the aims of the West in choosing Palestine as a homeland for the Jews through what is known as the Balfour Declaration of 1917, crafted by the then British foreign minister, Arthur James Balfour, to fulfil his so-called promise. I have also come to know the fundamental objectives behind the establishment of the Jewish state.
We the Arabs know and, in fact, the entire world knows, the historical truth that the Jewish people had been a scattered lot with no homeland of their own as they had been living in other people’s lands. Some of the Jewish people used to live in Arab countries. There they lived like Arab citizens enjoying all the rights and duties. In fairness, however, we should say that the Arab Jews were far more polite, well-behaved and good-hearted than the European Jews.
But as it happened, the Europeans, the Russians and the Americans had a different attitude towards the Jews. They must have had their own reasons or justifications for expelling the Jews out of their countries and looking for an alternative homeland for them. The Jews were found to be harmful, racial, hateful and hypocritical and that was why they were hated by the governments and the peoples of their host countries and why those countries, especially Britain, agreed to find, as quickly as possible, a homeland for the Jewish people outside Europe. Unfortunately, Palestine was the place they chose to be the homeland for the Jews as it seemed an easy proposition because it was under the British mandate. As we all know, Palestine is a God-made land whereas Israel is a man-made land.
When the Western countries agreed to make Palestine the land where the Jews could converge from all over the world, the former had two clear objectives. The first was, of course, to get rid of the Jews along with their problems, once and for all. The second was to use the Jews in the Arab region as an agent to realise the Western interests and to be a permanent thorn in the side of the Arab world.
It is illustrative to browse through the relevant pages of history to know the real history of the Jews in Germany. You would then come to know why Hitler had taken harsh measures against them. The entire economy of Germany, including banks, publishing houses, jewellery stores, light and heavy industries and almost all economic organisations of consequence, was under the total control of the Jews.
They muddied every aspect of the economy by perpetrating fraud after fraud on common people. This unprepossessing situation annoyed the German citizens no end and impelled Hitler to punish the Jews for their bad deeds.
The United States today finds itself in the same predicament as Germany back then. Now in the US, the Jews wield enormous control over all important decisions, whether they relate to politics, economy or media. No American citizen is free today to utter a single word about international or even national issues. This is the reason the American views on various issues being relayed to the world through the media are in fact the views of the Jews.
No wonder, we witness American media relentlessly broadcasting false reports portraying Israel to the world as a state oppressed by the Arabs who are trying to uproot Israel. On the other hand, when Israel perpetrates unabashed massacres against the Arabs in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria or Egypt, they would be justified as acts carried out in self-defence to fend off uprooting threats. Israel manages to escape international punishment because it has the full support of some big powers led by superpower America who invariably reject the majority decisions of the UN Security Council if and when they condemn the inhuman practices of Israel against the Arabs.
Now, it is the turn of the European Union to support the US stance that always favours Israel. Therefore the EU can do nothing to stop the ongoing Israeli massacres in Palestine. The EU feels it has done its duty by condemning the brutal massacres and has politely asked the Israelis not to use force against the civilians. It is as if the Israelis have the right to kill those who are not civilians, especially the Palestinians who are fighting to regain their looted land and fundamental rights!
This was how Israel became a terrorist state and why the Arabs fear Israel. If the superpowers and the international community as a whole, do not change their positions with regard to the facts of the conflict between Israel and the Arabs, Israel will gleefully continue with its arrogance and terror, the Arabs will continue to wallow in their weakness and the American/Jewish media will go on depicting Arabs as terrorists and Israel as a puny state surrounded by many enemies.
I sent back my immediate reaction to my friend:
It is a textbook-worthy example of the crazy distortion that living in and trying to rationalize an honor-shame culture leads one into. The unspoken, bottom-line issue for the writer of this article is that Arab Muslims are supposed to be the master race and he is trying his best to make sense of why they come off so poorly in comparison with the rest of the world. This is the reason that Israel is such a telling wound to Arab pride. After all, if you owned a farm and it produced nothing but crab grass and cow dung year after year and then a Downs Syndrome patient from the independent living center downtown set up a shack in a tiny corner of your poorest field and started to grow healthy crops and prime beef on it, you'd be humiliated too. The difference is that having been raised as a westerner, you would eventually swallow the shame and learn from your new neighbor and become even more prosperous than they are.
Pity the poor Arab, they are unable to learn from the success of others (or even from their own failures!) because they are trapped in a cycle of honor and shame. As my friend and mentor Richard Landes often points out, shame in the Arab culture requires blood to restore honor.
Something clicked for me when I slapped my pinky on the enter key and sent this off. For the past week I have been spinning my wheels on a broader version of the question I posed in my post “Can Public Broadcasting Really be This Contemptible?”
The real question, and I am not to first one to have posed it, is “Why do so many otherwise intelligent people ignore and deny the obvious savagery and danger of the Islamist Jihad?” What do the intellectual elite and the chattering classes actually have in common with Hamas, al Qaeda, the Taliban and The Saudis that allows them to accept and even applaud the bloody, violent, misogynist fascist behavior and writings while they revile our elected leaders and condemn our democratic government and its allies as oppressors.
I have written a number of speculations on that question in the past and I was resolved not to just go over old ground but to add something substantial if I could. In firing off that snap reply, I opened the new door I had been looking for.
It is fascinating that, at first glance, the Arab Muslims and The Left appear to have even more reasons to fear and distrust each other as they do points of conflict with Israel, western civilization, capitalism, the military and the business community. After all, the Muslim treatment of women, children and gays and their absolute antagonism (surpassing even their hatred of Jews) for atheists, pagans and agnostics would seem to be deal-killers for any leftist and the anarchic bent of the left is completely at odds with the desire of the Islamists to institute authoritarian Sharia law and a World-wide Caliphate.
But these are only problems of doctrine, theory and logic. If the bond between these two camps seems to make no sense, it is because political doctrine, logic and fact have almost nothing to with it. Caliphate Islam and Communism/Socialism/Progressivism are, after all, both utopian fascist movements. I have quoted Louis Menand in two other posts, writing that in a fascist movement…, “…official ideology can be, and usually is, absurd on its face, and known to be absurd by the leaders who preach it.” Given that absurdity, the actual details of ideology are much less important than the strength of the movement to dictate complete allegiance, the rejection and liquidation of counter-fascists and the conquest of any other nation - especially those that might be more successful or more democratic. Clearly, the left and the Islamists do not see each other as threats- at least not nearly on the same level as the threat they see in Israel, The U.S. and Western Civilization.
They are, of course, correct. One of the few things that can draw together common cause between fascist groups with entirely opposed “official ideologies” is the overwhelming shame of knowing that your movement’s goals and tenets are mistaken, embarrassingly counter-productive and contrary to human nature- and that there is a thriving example of the alternative right next door.
This is the disease at the heart of Caliphate Islam. Mr. Al Zedjali inadvertently gives us a glimpse at this when he ends his article this way:
“This is why the Arabs fear Israel. If the superpowers and the international community as a whole, do not change their positions with regard to the facts of the conflict between Israel and the Arabs, Israel will gleefully continue with its arrogance and terror, the Arabs will continue to wallow in their weakness and the American/Jewish media will go on depicting Arabs as terrorists and Israel as a puny state surrounded by many enemies.”
In typical fascist double speak he never actually calls the truth a lie. He does not say Israel is a super power and has no right to self-defense. If he were to do that he knows very well that arguments would be mounted against his veracity that would further humiliate him. Instead, he merely informs the western powers that they must act as though the truth is a lie.
And if they don’t? Here he betrays himself and the shame that drives the fascist Islamic Caliphate movement with breathtaking candor. He writes: “the Arabs will continue to wallow in their weakness”.
It is a variant of this same heart-wounded emotion that drives the fascist imperative in Progressivism, Socialism and Communism in all of their various forms. They are all utopian movements that draw to them people who need to feel superior to other “normal” people. Leftists tend to come from very specific sub-groups of western civilization. These include the leisure-advantaged classes (especially children of the successful like William Ayers, the British communists like Philby, and their ilk), the career “do-gooders” (Dan Rather, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Cindy Sheehan, Ben Wedeman, Charles Enderlin, Bill Moyers) and the safe (tenured) but unsatisfied Academics (Chomsky, Zinn, Churchill). In true elitist fashion, they consider themselves more educated, and of better and more nuanced” judgment than the “normal” people who work at jobs, have sincere religious beliefs and do tangible things.
Barack Obama famously got “too candid” about the smug Progressive attitude of superiority toward working class people at a gathering of elite progressive supporters during the last election when he said, “So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Most leaders of the progressive movement, in spite of its origins in labor activism, look down on honest labor and spend their lives in descending spirals of empty ideology, angry protests and cultural sabotage that may give them transient thrills of victory (or at least vindication) while they sink deeper into the suspicion that they are really unproductive leeches that sap the vitality of the culture and undermine its future. Witness, the lack of surprise (let alone outrage!) about the recent parade of elitist tax cheats that have been nominated as the leadership of the new administration in Washington.
The left and the Islamists, each in their individual ways, share that very same painful dilemma, a cognitive dissonance which I analogized with that fable of the Downs Syndrome Farmers I used in my reply to my friend. Here is how the broader statement of the analogy goes:
"If we are supposed (as we assert) to be better than everybody else, why doesn’t our status and condition reflect that superiority? If we are so good why aren’t we richer, more respected, better loved, more secure than everyone else? Why do we feel so humiliated and unsuccessful? Why aren’t we in charge? Why do we have to answer their questions and listen to their criticisms? Why don’t they recognize how much holier, smarter, nicer and stronger we are and just do what we tell them to do?"
Does this shame, caused by the rupture of delusions of paranoid grandiosity, sound familiar? Last spring I wrote two posts (here
) that explored the striking parallels between the Islamists behavior toward Israel, The U.S., and Western Civilization and the stereotypical cycle of violence between abusive men and the spouses they batter. Abusive men beat and rape women to satisfy those very same feelings of shame. Whether it is played out on a national scale in the little land “between the river and the sea”, on a personal scale in the back bedroom of a fourth-floor walk-up or on a civilizational stage between Islam and Western Civilization, this is the central drama of the honor-shame personality/culture.
Another blogging friend left a comment on my last post (the one about the German police who broke into a Jewish home to take down an Israeli flag rather than discipline the Muslim mob who were threatening violence) that pointed up yet another strong resemblance that I had failed to note. Here is the comment:
My grandmother remembered the Nazi-German occupation. She used to tell me many stories...
This makes me afraid.
This is 'battered wife syndrome' on a national scale.
Really, think about it: telling a woman to 'not do anything that might set off a violent and abusive husband' has been recognized as a way to increase the abuse. How come telling a person to 'not do anything that might set off a violent and abusive religious/nationalist fanatic' is not perceived to be just as destructive???”
Right! Until we see that asking “Why do they hate us” is just as cruel and destructive as asking “What did you do to make your husband hit you?” We will never really understand the trouble we are in.
And that brings me back to our friend Mr. Al Zedjali. If you want to fully grasp the racism, bad faith and supremacist attitude he is (barely) concealing take a look at what this paragraph looks like with only a few words changed…
We men know and, in fact, the entire world knows, the historical truth that the women had been a scattered lot with no homes of their own as they had been living in men’s homes. Some of the women used to live in our homes. There they lived like women everywhere - enjoying all the rights and duties. In fairness, however, we should say that those women were far more polite, well-behaved and good-hearted...
I only changed Arab to “men”, Jew to “woman” and clipped a few other words and just look at how sexist and even misogynist it is. I might just as easily have changed the “Jews” to black people how about that sentence “In fairness, however, we should say that those black people were far more polite, well-behaved and good-hearted...” Oh hell, why not just call them “darkies”. Sadly, many on the left will tolerate such a statement about Jews where they won’t about women and blacks.
And why can’t otherwise rational people in the west see the inherent hypocracy and illogicality of the alliance of the left and Caliphate Islam? Why can’t they, at least, see how mismatched they are?
Richard Landes has written with wonderful clarity on honor/shame culture and so, since I had this realization of the “bond of shame” between the progressive left and Caliphate Islam, I have gone back and reread much of what he has written. One of his most important of his explorations of the subject is his article, Edward Said and the Culture of Honour and Shame: Orientalism and Our Misperceptions of the Arab-Israeli Conflict Published in: Israel Affairs, Volume 13, Issue 4 October 2007 , pages 844 – 858. The following passage was of particular interest this time through.
Said’s underlying point is that all cultures are essentially the same, and if anyone presents the Arabs (his major concern) as significantly different (even in a positive - e.g., Romantic - light), then that is a form of racism. Hence his particular disdain for discussions of honour and shame culture applied to the Arab world.
Such an analysis appeals specifically to a liberal/progressive approach that assumes what Said would have us accept as an unnamed axiom - that people are basically the same everywhere; that it is unacceptable to generalize about the ‘otherness’ of anyone else.
That unnamed axiom has a mirror image in the Progressive principle that the individual is not as important as the collective and that with the "right" education all people can be made to believe in the socialist ideals- (from each according to his means to each according to their needs, no culture is superior to any other, etc...,). This goes to the very heart of the humiliating futility and purposelessness of the modern Progressive. On one hand they have declared themselves the definitive authorities of a new “post-modern methodology” to understand the world and at the same time, they declare that there is nothing to investigate or understand.
Landes recently wrote in a recent post
about a notable media misrepresentation from the Gaza War coverage:
Note the careful circumlocutions and the framing of the presentation: the narrator makes it clear this is not France2 footage, that it may be suspicious (although that word is never uttered). He may well know that this is unreliable but wants to use it anyway.
And the reason for that, is that this footage fits into his narrative seamlessly: “Israelis slaughter Palestinian civilians mercilessly.” The preceding scene covered a strike that Palestinian sources claim came from an Israeli naval vessel firing off the coast. Then, to drive home the point, he runs with the toxic footage.
The narrative is clear: Everything we ever read about how Western imperialists engaged in rampant, genocidal slaughter of native populations… is true again, of the Israelis. Think a scene from The Last Samurai, where he feverishly remembers the slaughter of Indian civilians… that’s the Israelis.
(The bitter irony of it all, is that the Arabs are unquestionably frustrated genocides, who openly declare their intentions to anyone who cares to listen.)
What this incident reveals most strikingly is what one might call the irresistible appeal that MSM reporters — especially Europeans like the folks at France2 — have for footage and stories that make Israel look bad, or even worse, like the most ruthless murderers around. Little truffles of moral Schadenfreude that make Europeans feel so superior to the Israelis
Of course, journalists never get tired (or ashamed) of serving up those truffles- and they come in so many combinations and shadings of flavor- fascism, totalitarianism, Jew hatred, moral relativism, anti-Zionism, multiculturalism, anti-Semitism, Communism, Socialism, Progressivism, moral superiority, anarchy, nihilism, jaded intellectualism- they mix and blend so subtly that the individual threads are, at times, inextricable. They blend so easily because they all share one thing.
To understand what that thing is, we have to peel back many layers of deception and justification. This thing that masquerades as virtue, piety and kindness is actually the mirror image of those attributes, it is license, arrogance and malice. The content of each is different. For the Islamists part, they have their belief in the coming of the twelfth Mahdi and the prophesied advent of the world wide Caliphate-a kind of paradise on earth. The progressive left is absolutely convinced that peacefulness, reason, negotiation and breaking down the capitalist system will solve all problems. They agree on nothing intellectually or ideologically but they share the much deeper bond of a towering, homicidal rage at the intransigent world and all the normal people in it who faithfully tend to their jobs, businesses and farms only to be looked on as mental defectives, infidels and “little Eichmanns” as they continue not to fall ecstatically in line with absurd, unworkable, utopian notions of the way things should be. Both the Progressives and the Caliphatists, in their own ways, are victims of honor/shame humiliation and they recognize each other as brothers in arms against human nature, reality and the status quo.
Those who pretend to know what is good for us in academia, the media and politics have somehow convinced us that the status quo is a cursed state, that they will show us the way to a better, more equal, secure and peaceful future. They claim to have a more complex and subtle grasp of reality itself. Never mind that when pressed they are always short on facts and plans and long on emotional appeals to belief in compassion, the common good, elimination of suffering and the achievement of world peace. They cannot understand when we don’t share their enthusiasm for what they want to offer us. They are infuriated by questions and requests for hard answers. There is nothing that enrages an elitist so much as underlings who refuse to submit to the superiority of their “betters”. Their brave new world would work just fine if it weren’t for the fractiousness and self-interest of the people in it.
Like the impotent Arab male who bullies, beats and demeans his wife and then wonders why she despises him and wants to escape, the Islamists and the Progressives are in a rage to liquidate the proof of their impotence. Xanthippa, in her comment above, had referred to Battered Woman Syndrome and I have drawn the same parallel in my two posts (linked above) but this is the proof positive that the left and the Islamists are abusive, hypocritical and dangerous. They are experts in how to use our Western openness, politeness, inclusiveness and sense of fair play to manipulate us into allowing ourselves to be blindfolded, bound, beaten and sabotaged. The media, most of academia and a fast growing contingent of our most powerful political leadership are part of this honor/shame based, subversive drive to destroy western civilization. Their desire is to murder the institutions (and the people in them if necessary) whose continuing vitality and strength exposes the imbecilic utopianism of their “more nuanced and sophisticated” understanding of reality. They are, in fact, conspiring to assassinate Western Civilization in a Cultural Honor Killing.