Martin Kramer, Fiamma Nirenstein and Jonathan Spyer
Anyone have questions for these people? I’ll try to get them later. pic.twitter.com/FOv5t40mSf
— Brian of London (@brianoflondon) March 15, 2015
Martin Kramer, Fiamma Nirenstein and Jonathan Spyer
Anyone have questions for these people? I’ll try to get them later. pic.twitter.com/FOv5t40mSf
— Brian of London (@brianoflondon) March 15, 2015
h/t: Dennis Mitzner
Barry Rubin was one of a few thinkers who could intuitively connect the dots of a variety of political and social events both in the West and in the Middle East and arrive at an insightful and fascinating theory. But theorizing aside, more often than not, he was right. Rubin’s vast knowledge of the Middle East coupled with razor-sharp incisiveness was a potent combination, unmatched by most of his contemporaries.
His blog, the RubinReport was a handbook for those interested in understanding the Middle East in a larger political and sociological context – a context often ignored by mainstream pundits. Indeed, Rubin had the ability to foresee events before they would take place, whether Turkish PM Erdogan’s hostility towards Israel or the success of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, before Morsi’s eventual ousting.
I had the opportunity to meet with Barry a few times for coffee. Barry was serious man with an obvious eccentric side and a sense of humor. He seemed to enjoy my reading of the peculiar predicament of modern day education and especially young American Jews with whom I studied at the time. I mentioned that it was impossible to engage in a serious debate with American Jews of the more progressive persuasion because their fear of argument and love of consent forced them to act as if they were all running for president. To this Rubin responded with a rather loud laughter and a nod indicating agreement.
I remember that he once referred to himself as an Israeli realist. This obviously meant an arduous and unabashed wish for Israel to succeed and defeat those who wanted it destroyed. A lover of Israel and Judaism, Rubin wanted Israel to survive. He also loved the truth, and whether his writings, TV performances or private conversations, with Barry, truth always prevailed.
I sat with him several times in one of the many cafes by Habima in Tel Aviv (The national theater of Israel). Having had the opportunity to exchange ideas with one of the most insightful thinkers of our time was something I will never forget. A two hour caffeine-laden conversation with Barry was a hoot. After one such Friday afternoon he invited me over to give me a copy of his book on Syria.
As we arrived to his two-floor apartment, Barry noticed that one of the family’s cats was missing as someone had left the porch door open. What followed was a frantic half hour search for the missing cat.
While we were crawling under parked cars in search of the cat, I thought to myself that the day had been one of the most intellectually fulfilling afternoons of my life. After spending an afternoon discussing topics such as the dangers of Obama’s foreign policy or Israel’s lack of one, the cat searching seemed banal. But of course it wasn’t. It was an indication of Barry’s intense dedication to things he held dear, whether a cat or the future of the Jewish people.
1950 – 2014
Rest in peace dear friend.
Middle East expert and analyst, Barry Rubin, was a decent and kind man who had the gift of cutting through the dross of an argument and shine a light with facts and truth, and do so without offending an opponent. He was also a man who should have been given a wider platform for his ideas and points of view. There are many, including myself, who mourn this great man’s passing, and if the media was not as corrupt as it is, the number of those mourning right now would be increased exponentially.
Here is Barry’s last blog entry, from January 21, 2014
While we see few occasions of consciousness–and certainly few publicly expressed–from Arab and Muslim intellectuals of what is really going on, they still do take place. For example, in a December 30, 2013, interview that aired on CBC TV, Egyptian novelist Youssef Ziedan said:
“We should reconsider our notions regarding the Jewish question. We are not even aware how much this affects us. [Antisemitism] has become a common trade, benefiting all our politicians. Any politician who wants to gain popularity curses Israel, but when he comes to power, he has no problem with Israel.
That’s stupidity. That’s stupidity which is connected to the ignorance of the people. We should reconsider this. Nobody looks out for our interests. We should be aware of this.”
In other words, Ziedan shows keen consciousness of political movements and how leaders manipulate them.
Basically, the Zionism question is manipulative. The interviewer asked Zeidan, “What did you mean when you talked about ‘Jewish issues’?”
Ziedan replies, “Anything that has to do with the Jewish question: the hadiths adopted from Jewish and Christian traditions, our shared history, the so-called Middle East problem, which I do not consider to be a problem at all.
The Nasserists have been oppressing the people for 60 years under the pretext of the Middle East problem… Wars were fought, and people were killed.
Where does the problem lie? The Jews settled in Palestine and declared their state in 1947. Why did the Jews do that? After all, they had lived in Arab countries. They say that this land was promised to them. They say it appears in the Old Testament, which the Christians also believe in.”
The interviewer responds, “There was also Balfour.”
Ziedan then continues, “Forget about Balfour and his declaration for a moment. We were indoctrinated at school: ‘What do you think about the Balfour Declaration?’ According to the system of ready-made answers, we were expected to respond: ‘He gave what he did not own to those who did not deserve it.’ That’s it. There could be no other answer.”
There are, however, three powerful forces that block this admission.
1. The way this society works, one of dictatorship
2. The repression
3. The way the leadership works
Leaders, systems, rule of the masses, and demagoguery.
A cadre of hardened Leftist ideologues, an uninterested media….. and lots and lots of money.
The problem with today’s class of leaders in politics, in academia and in the media, is that the radicals of the 60’s and 70’s have heavily infiltrated these once valued institutions, and funded by big money.
Whether the funding is by leftist billionaires or Gulf state sharia/jihad supporting sheiks, the end result is the same, the subversion of traditional US institutions of higher learning with highly concentrated propaganda, with the aim of turning the republic against itself.
NOTE: It’s the main reason why people in the U.S. are seeing Leftists abashedly marching in the streets with signs calling for Communism/socialism, many of whom maintain personal contact with government officials in high public, and the media failing to report on it.
September 27th, 2013 – 11:22 am
If you want to understand how the far left controls campuses, consider this story.
There is no university more supportive of the Arab nationalist (historically), Islamist, and anti-Israel line in the United States than Georgetown’s programs on Middle East studies. Every conference it holds on the Middle East is ridiculously one-sided. The university has received millions of dollars in funds from Arab states, and it houses the most important center in the United States that has advocated support for a pro-Islamist policy.
One day in 1975, not long before he died, the great Professor Carroll Quigley walked up to me when I was sitting in the Georgetown University library. Everyone was in awe of this brilliant lecturer (remind me to write him a tribute explaining why he was so great). I thought he might have remembered me from my extended explanation of why I was late for class one day because I had rescued a sparrow and taken it to a veterinarian (true). I vividly recall that detail, because I couldn’t think otherwise why he would want to talk to such a lowly person.
“May I sit down?” he asked.
“Of course!” I said, stopping myself from adding that it was an honor. Without any small talk, he launched into a subject that clearly weighed on his conscience. “There are many who don’t like your people.”
What was he talking about? I thought, is he talking about Jews?
He explained that he had just come from a meeting where it was made clear that the university had a problem. They were getting Arab money, but on the secret condition that it was for teaching about the Middle East but none of it could be used to teach about Israel. How was this problem to be solved?
Simple. They would call the institution to be created the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. It was explicitly expressed that this was how the problem would be dealt with. Quigley was disgusted. Ever since then, I have referred to that institution as the Center for Contemporary Arab Money.
Again, my only disagreement with Barry is the referencing of the word ‘Islamism’, which I deem a western concocted construct meant to distance Islam in general from the mayhem and intolerance of Islam 101.
That said, he’s spot on with his analysis of the region, who’s is fighting who and for what reasons, who are the victims and what the West should do in light of a very bleak forecast for the next several decades.
NOTE: Please do note that Israel’s relations vis-a-vis the Palestinian Arabs has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the Sunni-Shiite bloodfest raging around the world and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.
Yes, that is the fruit of the “Arab Spring.” Not as the Western sorcerer’s apprentices’ expected love, peace, and democracy but the rise of Islamism and the Sunni-Shia war.
This is not merely coincidental violence. True, the currently self-flagellating West used to have scenes like this but no more. Today, the West is an island of tolerance despite the orgy within it of self-blame and criticism. Meanwhile, other places daily show orgies of violence but neither self-criticism.
Let’s take one little example from the daily situation of places from daily life in that vast expanse between Nigeria and Indonesia that coincides with Muslim-majority countries. Yet Muslims are also the main victim from the violence, due to the horror of radical Islamism and whipped-up-into-a-frenzy fanaticism which characterizes Arab World War Two.
In early June, Salafists stirred up hatred at the purported threat from a tiny minority of 30 Shia Muslims living in the village of Zawiyat Abu Muslim near Cairo. Shias are a microscopic portion of Egypt’s population, far less than one percent. Until recently one was barely aware they existed at all. But then until recently the same was true of that 1 percent minority of real Shia Muslims in Syria (along the Lebanese border, the Alawites are about as Shia Muslim as the Catholic pope is Mormon) which has done so much to prompt the Hizballah offensive in the Syrian civil war.
I still disagree with my friend Barry (a man of great integrity and knowledge) on this point, I maintain that the term ‘Islamism’ is a highly flawed construct, something invented by the West to present an Islam of ‘many shades’, when in fact there is only one Islam, and a host of others who choose to sideline some or much of Islamic texts for a host of many reasons. Rubin is dead on right here, ”the West’s inability to grasp that it’s dealing with a region which has a different history and culture”.
In my article “How to Understand Islamism: Read What Its Leaders Actually Say,” I wrote about Sunni Islamist leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi:
[He] does not talk about the need for urbanization, the equality of women, modern education, and greater freedom as the solution. Indeed, his view is totally contrary to a leftist or liberal or nationalist Muslim who would stress the need to borrow any ideas and methods other than purely technological ones, from the West in order to gain equality and even superiority. Think of how Asia has succeeded — Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and now even China — through eagerness to blend borrowings, adaptation, and its own historic culture. No, for al-Qaradawi the issue [of why the Muslim world hasn’t done better] is completely one of the abandonment of Islam.
A reader pointed out that in the West, it is assumed to be obvious that Arabs understand material advancement is necessary for progress and power. For example, Tom Friedman talked about the UN Arab Human Development Report written by Arab liberals. In other words: the Arabic-speaking world is shaped by the failure of leaders to understand that Western pundits know far more about their society than they do.
Understanding that Friedman doesn’t understand the Middle East — though he has persuaded a big audience otherwise — is the beginning of wisdom on the region.
Read the U.N.’s 2002 Arab Human Development Report about what deficits of freedom, women’s empowerment and knowledge did to Arab peoples over the last 50 years. Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Syria are not falling apart today because their leaders were toppled. Their leaders were toppled because for too many years they failed too many of their people. Half the women in Egypt still can’t read. That’s what the stability of the last 50 years bought.
But this is not the real issue. As happened in the USSR, Nazi Germany, and elsewhere in history, the real problem is radical ideology in command of both the leaders and the masses. As a result, the masses of the Middle East don’t care about deficits, but mainly about conformity, hatred of the “other,” killing, revenge, and — to borrow a term — what is politically correct, not factually correct. As for the rulers, they know how devastating in terms of stability the kinds of policies naive Westerners support would be.
Remember, the West saw the fall of communism as the blooming of democracy, whereas the Middle Eastern leaders saw it as the wilting of empires. The West remembers the passing of the Soviet bloc as the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Middle East leaders saw it as the fall of their counterparts, and the placing of Romania’s dictatorial Ceausescus in front of a firing squad. Now, 20 years later, Mubarak is in prison and Qadhafi is dead, murdered.
Tyranny is tyranny.
Looking at the Islamic fundamentalist AKP’s takeover of Turkey, I conclude that any hope for a modern Middle East to be nothing more than wishful thinking. With Islam, it could only be that way.
NOTE: The Soviets played on the ignorance of many concerning ”democratic rule”, so to the Muslims as well, it’s called process over substance.
Note that his claiming the opposition seeks to seize power by force authorizes “regime defenders” to attack them by force. In fact, Marzouki threatened that opposition members who were trying to overthrow the government would be hung. He has threatened anyone criticizing Qatar — al-Nahda’s financier — with prison.
Unlike other Arab countries, however, the moderate democratic opposition is well-organized and has not been intimidated. Not yet, anyway.
On March 31, 2013, Marzouki’s own party — the National Council of the Congress for the Republic — appointed the president’s chief of staff Imed Daimi as secretary-general. He was soon forced to resign, however, when it was pointed out that it was strange to have a “center-left” and “secular” party led by a man with a long record of having been an Islamist militant. He was also a featured speaker for the Turkish Islamist front group, Union of Good, which has connections with terrorist groups.
Whatever Daimi’s current views, the idea that the president’s party and one of the governing coalition’s two “liberal” members would have been headed by an Islamist fellow traveler stirred up strong objections.
Like the Communists historically, Islamist groups have been adept at creating front groups, fellow travelers, and massive disinformation campaigns (see the creation of the “Islamophobia” theme in the West).
Meanwhile, the main Salafist group in Tunisia — Ansar al-Sharia, which has periodically engaged in low-level violence – has now threatened to launch a war of terrorism against the ruling party, which it says is only pretending to be Islamist.
Only a nuance of difference in tyranny.
Not real braking news, we all know its process over substance, but Barry offers insight on the different players in the shell game of Iranian politics They’re all Khameniacs as far as I’m concerned.
By Barry Rubin
The names have now been announced of who will be allowed to run for president of Iran by the regime in the June 14 elections. Six of eight are supporters of the current ruling faction; the rest are two weaker candidates of the other two factions. he outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s tumultuous time in office has left many dissatisfied especially since he has mismanaged the economy and made Iran’s international situation worse by his provocative behavior.
With less than a month to go before the elections–the campaign is only three weeks long to make things harder for the opposition–it is now clear who the candidates are and all those disagreeing with the dominant faction have been vetoed by the six-member Council of Guardian. This council is controlled by the country’s real ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But the complex maneuvers leading up to the election have given him a huge political headache.
The core of the problem is that there are three factions. Khamenei doesn’t want two of the factions– the super-hardliners and the reformists—to win but only the third group, his hardliners.
The super-hardline faction’s candidate was Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Ahmadinejad’s son-in-law and man widely seen as a puppet for him. Khamenei hates Mashaei and Mashaei was disqualified.
All of the valid points raised by Barry need to considered and factored into any future policy making by the State Department and future incoming administrations. The current one occupying the WH is beyond help, nor would they seek it.
For a long and detailed radio interview in which I analyze just about everything in the current Middle East go here.
By Barry Rubin
There is something terribly and tragically and importantly symbolic about the Benghazi attack that may be lost in the tidal wave of details about what happened on September 11, 2012, in an incident where four American officials were murdered in a terrorist attack. This point stands at the heart of everything that has happened in American society and intellectual life during the last decade.
And that point is this:
America was attacked once again on that September 11, attacked by al-Qaida in an attempt to destroy the United States—as ridiculous as that goal might seem. Yet the U.S. government blamed the attack on America itself.
Other reasons can be adduced for the official position that what happened that day was due to a video insulting Islam rather than to a terrorist attack, but this is the factor of overwhelming importance. It transformed the situation in the following ways:
–Muslims were the victims of American misbehavior, a point emerging from the administration’s wider worldview of U.S. aggression and Third World suffering, as in the lectures of all those left-wing anti-American academics and the sermons of Jeremiah Wright.
–“Hate speech” and racism (as “Islamophobia” is often reconfigured) was the cause of troubles.
–While freedom of speech and such liberties should be defended they must be limited in some ways to prevent further trouble.
–America’s proper posture should be one of apology, as in the advertisements that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton made for the Pakistani and other media.
–The misblaming, to coin a word, on the video showed terrorist groups that not only can they attack Americans but they can do so without fear of punishment or even of blame! As the House of Representatives’ hearings show, the misattribution of responsibility also delayed the FBI’s investigation, perhaps conclusively so.
The fake media is desperately trying to fold the recent terrorist bombings in Boston into the narrative of ”America is always to blame first”, while obfuscating the real motives behind the attack. Perhaps to a much lesser degree America is indeed responsible, the Leftist half that is, for its insistence on eviscerating the country’s institutions while it heaps scorn and vitriol upon its more than tolerant civil society.
The American people are an inclusive lot, and short on revenge. There were no mobs with pitchforks and clubs searching the streets for Muslims in the wake of the Boston terror attacks, yet they have to listen to their own public officials talk down to them about ”possible outbreaks of racism and intolerance” resulting in the wake of their society having been attacked.
Since such bombastic statements have no basis in reality, but there has to be something else behind them. The victims are made out to be the villains while the actual perpetrators are over analyzed by Leftist ideologues in search of reasons in order to blame America, then publicized 24/7 with ”rape victim had it coming” headlines. This is but a part of an overall concerted effort in the systematic breakdown of the civil society by some really sick people.
NOTE: This is an excellent article.
For many years they have made it clear that they seek a total Islamic (in their interpretation) state. It is the precise equivalent of describing Chinese Communists more than sixty years ago, as they approached victory in their country’s civil war, as “agrarian reformers.”
By Barry Rubin
The current conventional wisdom about terrorism, Islamism, and the Middle East is being bent, but not broken, by two events. On one hand, there is the Boston bombing; on the other hand, developments in Syria and to a lesser extent Egypt. What’s happening?
In the Middle East, the misbehavior of Islamist movements is becoming more apparent. In Egypt, there is the repression of the Muslim Brotherhood regime, which may actually intend to create a non-democratic Sharia state! Parallel behavior in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Turkey is under-reported but occasionally surfaces.
The most important single story at the moment, though, is Syria. Basically, the Obama Administration has woken up and recognized what was easily apparent two years ago: They are helping to put radical, anti-American Islamists into power! They are helping to provide them with advanced weapons which might be used for activities other than what is intended!
When the government wakes up it nudges the media to get up also. What is quite startling is the extent to which the mass media is responsive to government policy, at least this government’s policy. I want to explain this carefully in order to be fair.
Take this article in the New York Times, which can be summarized as saying that Islamist rebels’ gains in Syria create a dilemma for the United States. Now this is an article about U.S. policy so naturally it describes how that policy is changing.
Yet at the same time, one wants to ask: Why haven’t the policy consequences of this situation been described continuously in the past? If a big truck is headed straight at you on the highway, might not the media sitting in the front passenger seat shout out a warning? Does it have to wait for the driver to notice and then it can say something?
And even so the diffidence is astonishing. It is good that the newspaper notices that the rebels are largely comprised of, “Political Islamists inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood and others who want an Islamic-influenced legal code.” But why even now one can say “Islamic-influenced?”
That’s the mental straitjacket we’ve put ourselves into.
Someone has to come up with a Latin word for ”fear of being called a racist”. That’s the world we now live in, evil is allowed to flourish because we’re afraid to call it by name lest we be labeled as ”Islamofauxbe, racist or bigot. The case is constantly made that we can’t name a racial, ethnic or religious group as containing some dangerous elements, for in doing so we smear the group as a whole.
If that’s the case, then for an example, radical white supremacists (Ayran Brothers, KKK), radical black supremacists (Black Panthers, Nation of Islam) shouldn’t be mentioned either, for fear of stigmatizing those racial groups. All this tip toeing through the tulips comes at a cost, if you can’t name your enemy, you’ve just increased the likelihood of their eventual success.
NOTE: Read the entire piece by Lowenthal Marcus, she quotes Barry Rubin extensively.
Rubin was talking about the reluctance to name Islam – Rubin calls this the “mysterious motivation,” and he refuses to be cowed into playing that avoidance game.
Rubin wrote a very important article about this after he watched the mainstream media and western politicos twist themselves into pretzels in an effort to avoid the obvious. Rubin explains that the West seems to believe that if we admit radical ideological Islam threatens Western society, that will have radical implications for our worldview.
As a result, Rubin points out, most current policy makers and opinion shapers prefer to avoid any policy that considering Islam as the motive for terrorism would necessitate. The fear of short term pain is indulged at the expense of preventing the real danger that will follow. And we are being lied to – “albeit for virtuous reasons” – by the politicians and the mainstream press.
What is the fear that is so great “doing nothing has become better than doing anything”? The fear is that speaking the truth: that the Tsarnaev brothers acted in accordance with their (or at least the older brother’s) understanding of what Islam requires, will lead to disaster. It will cause widespread hatred of Muslims to be unleashed, the specter of Islamophobia to spread, racism will again become rampant, and all the things that a hoped-for post-racist America tried to put behind it will again spread throughout the land.
But the failure to take Islam into consideration might be the very reason why, despite the warning the U.S. was given by Russia that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was “a radical Muslim and a strong believer” the U.S. nonetheless watched Tsarnaev leave the country for Russia and allowed the case file on him to expire during the time Tsarnaev was in a heavily radicalized Muslim territory of Russia.
In a telephone interview from his home in Tel Aviv, The Jewish Pressspoke with Rubin, the director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. Rubin is the author of more than a dozen books on topics including terrorism, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, the PLO, Israel, the Middle East and Islam, which have been published by the most esteemed publishing houses including the Oxford, Yale and Harvard University presses.
First Rubin lists off and explains the many ways the Tsarnaev brothers’ “mysterious motive” to maim and murder Americans has been and continues to be aggressively obfuscated. The list includes fingers pointed at a troubled youth; the Chechen code of honor; immigrants’ malaise; and unemployment. Read his article, it is well worth seeing how he lays it out.
This piece however is by Barry Rubin, who nails it shut as far as I’m concerned.
Barry Rubin: Then there will a frantic search for the “blame ourselves” theme. If the issue wasn’t such a tragic one, this would be humorous. Could America have acted more kindly toward these two brothers? Don’t underestimate how well this theme will play with those citizens who drink other flavors of Kool-Aid. In this pursuit no idiocy is unthinkable. Canadian Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, who is trying to be an Obama clone, explained:
“There is no question that this happened because of someone who feels completely excluded, someone who feels completely at war…with society.” The solution, then, is not to “marginalize people even further who already feel like they are enemies of society rather than people who have hope for the future.”
In other words, doing anything is more dangerous than doing nothing. To combat radical Islam is to hurt people’s feelings and that will produce more terrorism.
By Barry Rubin
Now that the two (main at least) terrorists from the Boston Marathon attack have been killed or captured we enter a new phase, the phase in which the dominant Politically Correct (but Factually Incorrect) forces try to explain away the attack.
Can this be done? Will they really try? Well, yes. True, as one of my correspondents remarked it is much easier to obfuscate far distant Benghazi than the total shutdown and horror in the middle of a major American city. Yet the spin-masters are already at work.
The first step must be, in part, a stalling technique but it sets the pattern for what is to come. As, in the words of a Reuters story, the “Boston Marathon bombing investigation turns to motive,” the motive must be obfuscated.
The Reuters piece is a good start. The article spends seven paragraphs discussing the parents claim that the two brothers were framed. This suggests that the mass media and politicians will not shrink from suggesting—perhaps I should say, gives fair hearing—to bizarre conspiracy theories and doubts. People shouldn’t believe these completely, is the theme, but you just can’t be too sure that two young Muslims would have any reason to harm Americans.
Indeed, there are now witnesses who heard the two terrorists’ mother claiming that September 11 was a U.S. plot to make people hate Muslims. That’s where playing with that kind of fire leads.
In the article, the word “Islam” is not mentioned, except to say that they once lived in one predominantly Muslim country and another place they lived, Dagestan, is “a southern Russian province that lies at the heart of a violent Islamist insurgency.” Here, we have another technique, minimize Islam as a factor and turn it into background noise.
There is a major disconnect in the minds of many politicians (fed to them by academia and parroted by the legacy/fake media), about the actual reality in the M.E. They hold totally unrealistic views on what can be achieved there, so here’s some startling reminders by Rubin, that hopefully challenges some deeply held convictions.
This is the real Middle East. Not the imagined place of Obama and Kerry, the UN and EU, the classrooms of the West or the columns of the mass media. These are all things that I’ve personally witnessed or known the person who did. Unless one understands this reality one understands nothing.
By Barry Rubin
–The Palestinian Christian man is desperate. Can I help him get out of the country? He’s scared of the Islamists. Can I help him get his son to university in America? The situation is intolerable. Something is worked out with a little help from me.
–The Druze woman is desperate. She has a boyfriend her family doesn’t approve of. With help from some Israelis she is smuggled to a safe place.
–The letter from the Syrian Christian tells of his desperation to get out of the country before the Islamists take over.
–The Egyptian Christian has obtained an apartment abroad and is getting out of the country to America .
–The Syrian Kurdish refugee is stuck in southern Turkey. No Western country will consider offering political asylum because for policy reasons they want the refugees to go back to Syria after it is “liberated,” albeit the liberation will be done by radical, repressive Islamists. He is desperately desiring to live in what he calls a “free, secular society.”
–The Turkish liberals write about how they are afraid to speak out in public, of continual arrests, of media outlets being blackmailed by the government. To curry favor with the Islamists a well-known, ambitious Turkish academic launches a failed take over bid of an academic journal edited by an Israeli professor.
After inviting hundreds of thousands of anti-semites into the country, they now wonder about their anti-semitism problem. Extrapolate the phenomenon from around Europe and you begin to see the magnitude of the problem.
Here’s the bottom line: Given the fact that this hatred is endemic among Dutch Muslims; and given the fact that their proportion and influence in the country is increasing; and given the fact that there are literally no countervailing forces, is this viewpoint going to increase or decrease? Obviously, the former.
By Barry Rubin
A few years ago in Amsterdam I was shown the most popular manual published in the Netherlands, in Dutch, on how to raise one’s children as proper Muslims. The book included virulently anti-Semitic passages, based on Muslim holy texts. After the Jewish community objected, the authorities forced the publisher to put white tape over the offending passages. The tape could easily be peeled off by purchases so that these words could be read.
Or consider what has just happened. A Turkish-Dutch researcher publicized systematic anti-Semitism among other Muslims in the Netherlands, including a dramatic video that showed teenage boys calling for genocide and praising Hitler.
What happened? The researcher, Mehmet Sahin, had to go into hiding after being accused by others of being a Jew and a Zionist.
The growing anti-Semitism in Western Europe is like that. The European Union, governments, and the media paste a white tape over the problem to conceal it or pretend to do something about it. But when one peels back the tape the hatred is revealed as growing and being passed onto the next generation.
While one doesn’t want to exaggerate rising anti-Semitism in Europe – mostly from Muslim immigrants and their children but facilitated and even reflected by the increasingly intellectually hegemonic Left – the growth of anti-Jewish hatred is enormous. Some people view this as fear-mongering, pointing to other developments that show the glass to be half full. Indeed, the hostility of European governments toward Israel has often been exaggerated. The situation is actually better than it was 20 or 30 years ago.
My point would be, that it’s never good to have a president to not like you from ideological reasons, and if he could change the reality on the ground, would really prove just how much he doesn’t like you. This is a wake up call for Israel, that such a person can achieve high office, and radically effect the party he leads, so much so, that their pro-Israel support hangs around 38%.
-What’s significant is not whether or not Obama loves Israel but that he sees support as being in U.S. interests. Reality forced him to move from a policy of distancing himself from Israel to one of embracing Israel.
[…] During 2009, however, I was faced with an important question: Should I be flat-out honest as to what I thought regarding Obama’s policies or would that jeopardize the bilateral relationship. Would supporters of Obama react against Israel because of criticism of their beloved chief executive?
I decided to speak up, partly because the dangers were so great and also since the whole point of criticism is to persuade someone to change course. By 2011 it was already becoming clear that U.S.-Israel relations as such were not the problem, U.S. Middle East policy was.
Let me summarize in this way:
–Arab behavior was the main force showing Obama that he was wrong. That parallels what happened during the Cold War when anti-American actions by radical Arab regimes and their alliance with the USSR persuaded previously unfriendly U.S. policymakers that they benefited from an alignment with Israel.
–The fact that the American people recognized the rightness of Israel’s narrative could not be ignored by leaders, especially if bashing Israel brought no strategic advantage..
–What’s significant is not whether or not Obama loves Israel but that he sees support as being in U.S. interests. Reality forced him to move from a policy of distancing himself from Israel to one of embracing Israel.
–But Obama must learn now about the dangers of Islamism or his administration will continue to be a net minus for Israel. It would be better if Obama learned to love the Arabs, Iranians, and Turks fighting for moderation and real democracy in their countries, not the totalitarians in those places.
–By truly protecting U.S. interests, Obama would do more for Israel than by making any number of friendly speeches.
Obama is the poster child of epic fail.
When you look into his domestic agenda, they’re just as miserable as his crash and burn foreign policies.
By Barry Rubin
To put it plainly, the press briefing supposed to indicate how President Barack Obama’s thinks about Israel on the eve of his trip here, is a combination of fantasy and insult. It may well that the Obama Administration did not mean this to be taken seriously, that the statements were made for show, to persuade the Arabic-speaking world that the United States is striving for peace and using its influence to change Israeli policy even as it does nothing of the sort.
Yet the first two premises on which this argument is based can be described as believing that what the Arab public really wants is progress toward peace with Israel and that the United States sees the ball as being in Israel’s–not the Arabs–court. The other is a strange hint that Washington has suddenly realized what Israel has understood since the beginning–that the “Arab Spring” isn’t going well. Now it feels the need to explain to Israeli leaders what they have long known, and give bad advice on what to do about it.
To show how mainstream Israelis who follow these issues closely see these themes, let’s quote how the Ynet reporter who covered the briefing–the respected and nonpartisan Yitzhak Benhorin–summarized what Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said. Here’s his lead:
“U.S. President Barack Obama will not be bringing a peace plan to Israel, but he will try to convince Prime Minister Benjamin and the Israeli public that after the Arab Spring, Israel cannot depend on autocrats holding everything together in the region..”
Here’s a president arriving at a moment when Israelis think the region is falling apart, with old autocrats being replaced by new ones and a more hostile environment, and the message is: You shouldn’t be complacent that everything is great?
Where does this come from? It is the American conception that the “Arab Spring” is a great thing, that old autocrats are falling and will be replaced by more democratic and moderate regimes. That is American; not Israeli thinking.
If that theme is based on fantasy, the second theme is insulting. Here is the second paragraph of Benhorin’s analysis:
“The U.S. believes that Israel must show it is serious about its peace efforts. It must convince the general Arab public, if nothing more than to maintain Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt.”
These are Benhorin’s words, not Rhodes’ exact formulations. But I think Benhorin reads the message properly.
Let’s begin by discussing the idea that Israel must persuade the Arab public:
–The question should be posed as this: When will the Arab public, or Arab governments, show Israel they are serious about peace? In 2009 when Obama sought such assurances and demonstrations he was turned down flat. We know it and he should know it.
–How long a list do you want of the times Israel has shown the Arab public that it wants peace seriously?
–Do you think the Arab public cares or is going to be persuaded by any such behavior?
–Hundreds of Israelis died in the 1993-2000 period in the effort to show the Arab public Israel was serious about peace.
The idea that Israel needs to persuade its neighbors to accept its existence is a line we have heard almost daily since the 1980s or even 1970s. Yet curiously the Arab street pays no attention to the scores of such Israeli gestures and the West soon forgets each one. And indeed Obama has forgotten those that took place during his first term, for example the nine-month-long settlement construction freeze, just as before that the Oslo agreement, Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the 2000 Camp David offer (including the offer to redivide Jerusalem!) and many more. [See Footnote, below]
Head em up, move em out!
Many young people nowadays are indoctrinated to believe that American culture has always been dominated by conservative, racist, and other nasty influences. Understanding this complex history has not been balanced by this new indoctrination and distortion. It’s merely been made biased in the opposite direction far more systematically than it ever was before. Racism against African-Americans and many other things in American history are undeniable–and shouldn’t be.
Consequently there was plenty of room for improvement. But that same history also shows there is no need for endless self-flagellation. I’ve often noticed this but it came to my attention again in rewatching the film that brought a certain man to stardom. So what better way to learn about the true and dominant themes than that classical Western directed by John Ford, “Stagecoach” (1939) [For full script see here.]
Let’s examine the politics of the film. As a traditional Western, it shows the Americans—not whites, Americans—as good guys in a battle with the Apaches. Aside from this, though, are the following plot points:
–The stagecoach driver is married to a Mexican-American woman. No negative aspersions are cast at all. This is totally accepted. Incidentally, all three of John Wayne’s wives were “Hispanics.”
–The heroes of the film are an outlaw, whose motives for killing a man are portrayed sympathetically, and a prostitute.
—-One theme that runs through the film is how the “respectable” people are mean to the prostitute and that’s a terrible thing.
–Although the women are treated by the male characters as delicate, etc., their behavior shows them to be courageous, clear-headed, and as tough as circumstances require.
–The main villains are a banker and an ex-Confederate officer who has turned gambler, shot men in the back, and is a social snob.
Thanks Barry for linking to the TT.
By Barry Rubin
Two unarmed Finnish soldiers assigned to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) were observing along the Israel-Syria border from the Syrian side. Armed men stopped their car. While the two Finns didn’t speak Arabic they were quickly made to understand that the men wanted their UN vehicle and their other possessions.
In short, the supposed representatives of the world’s community were being mugged and they could do nothing about it, or at least nothing but to give in.
A Finnish officer explained that the men weren’t in fear of their lives; the gunmen just wanted their property.
Now let me make it clear that I’m not criticizing the two soldiers. What are you going to do when you are unarmed and terrorists with guns hold you up? Yet this little story struck me as incredibly symbolic on several levels.
The world is constantly held up by terrorists and nowadays it tends to give in, if not to the specific operations to the narrative being imposed on it. We do see rescue operations sometimes—as in the Algerian army’s disastrous “rescue” in which all the technicians being held hostage at a gas field were killed—and sometimes we don’t, as in Benghazi while the U.S. government stood by as men it had sent into a dangerous situation were murdered.
Remember, Muslim fundamentalists are just acting upon the very fundamentals of Islam.
The U.S. has been on ill fated trajectory in regards to confronting Islam for a very long time, especially since GWBush decided upon nation building in Iraq and calling Islam a ”religion of peace”. Everyone who reads this blog knows full well I refuse the misleading label of ”Islamism/Islamists”, but I have deep respect for Barry Rubin and his work, and so I turn a blind eye to his usage of the term. We have an agreed, but reasoned, difference of opinions on the subject.
The current administration in the White House is hell bent on giving a veneer of respectability to the various Islamic fundamentalist parties in the Middle East and Maghreb, with the vain hope of moderating them in due course. As we have seen with the Hamas, it’s a fools errand, and history will in fact repeat itself in every single Muslim state headed by any of their fellow fundamentalists.
In other words, put your enemies in power and they are no longer your enemies. Moreover, once Islamists get into power they will get entangled in party politics, paving roads, running schools, and doing all the other things that governments do. They will lose their radicalism and certainly stop using violence.
By Barry Rubin
It’s time, a dozen years after September 11 and following Islamist coups in the Gaza Strip; Islamist electoral revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Turkey; and a probable Islamist victory during the next year in Syria–to rethink completely our view of al-Qaida.
First, al-Qaida wasn’t involved in any of these events and several more big developments we could list. Second, al-Qaida hasn’t disappeared, contrary to the Obama Administration’s claims. And third, the American homeland is now demonstrably well-protected from terrorist attacks so consequently while success on this front remains important it need not be the top U.S. strategic priority.
So let me propose a new way of looking at things:
Aside from being a problem of counter-terrorism—that is, of law enforcement—al-Qaida is no longer important. It certainly isn’t strategically important nor is it important for the biggest and most essential U.S. national interests. That doesn’t mean al-Qaida should be ignored yet combating it is relatively manageable.
This alternative view is especially significant at a moment when the new CIA director is the father—and the president, secretary of state, and secretary of defense the avid fans—of a theory that places al-Qaida at the center of the world stage.
Basically their theory goes like this:
Al-Qaida is terribly evil and a threat to America. It must be fought. But all Islamism—except for al-Qaida—can be moderated and won over by a sympathetic U.S. policy. The Islamists are the best people to handle and defeat al-Qaida and by giving the people what they want–Islam running the society–their desire to commit terrorism or attack America will subside. After all, if the United States shows itself to be Islamism’s best friend, why should Islamists be angry at it? This strategy began with Obama’s Cairo speech which was a profoundly pro-Islamist statement, and that’s why he invited Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders to sit in the front row.
In other words: put your enemies in power, and they are no longer your enemies. Moreover, once Islamists get into power they will get entangled in party politics, paving roads, running schools, and doing all the other things that governments do. They will lose their radicalism and certainly stop using violence.
There’s a lot to say against this theory.
It either hasn’t worked historically on other radical ideologies — Nazism, Fascism, Communism — or at least only after a very long time in power (including millions of victims) often mixed in with military debacles. It can be said to have worked with radical Arab nationalism, but only after 50 years and multiple military defeats. This was also the precise theory that underpinned the 1990′s Oslo peace process and assumptions about Yasir Arafat settling down to become a great and practical statesman. And that didn’t work either.
Moreover, it ignores the fundamental extremism, anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, anti-Christian, and anti-women tenets of Islamist philosophy, which are rooted in reasonable (but not the only possible) interpretations of Islam. And it also leaves out the power gained once radicals take over institutions. Sure, they’ll be running the schools, but that doesn’t mean they will become entangled in planning curricula so much as to persuade people they should grow up to be radical Islamists and jihad warriors.