Friday, September 21, 2007

Ahmadinejad going to Columbia University [1]

Seems that Ahmadinejad is going to speak at Columbia University. I find it galling. I just listened to some Columbia faculty and students talking about how universities are places for "dialogue" and for people to talk "with one another."

True. But this is a man who has called for the destruction of Israel [wipe off the face of the map] and who has denied the Holocaust.

If he had denied American slavery or the Armenian Genocide would these same students be saying we should "dialogue" with him?

I think not.

The people at Columbia who invited him have minds that are so open their brains fell out.

11 comments:

stacy said...

If he denied the Genocide of Native American People they would certainly welcome him to talk at their university, they'd give him lots of money to deny what happened, maybe even a tenured position on their staff. You really think any history the government allows them to teach is any different? Why? History isn't about truth, it's about politics. And politics is about war. And war is about making money, but only for a very few people, while the rest of us pay the price in blood.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

I teach at a university and have taught at 3 others previously. We were allowed to teach whatever we want. So your claims about government control are really ridiculous.

And I doubt that anyone who denied the horrendous treatment of the Native Americans would be given a position.

In fact, Ward Churchill, who falsely claimed to be a Native American, was given a position at the University of Colorado precisely because of his supposed heritage.z

stacy said...

I meant no disrespect. I only know the two (state) universities that I attended personally, and the one (ivy league) my father attended for graduate studies when I was a child. Surely not a big enough sample for me to make such broad generalizations. I do sincerely apologize.

The American History I was taught in college has very little in common with what I learned from researching my own family's colorful past. It shook me to the core to first hear about what really happened to the indigenous inhabitants of this continent. It stupefied me, the immensity of the lies I had always taken as truth. For any people to suffer that sort of treatment by any other people is inexcusable. I don't care who they pray to, or where they live, we all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

Blogger said...

Deborah, this is what they call "Free Speech". And in fact, in many cases, "Free Speech" is garbage coming from the mouths of irrelevant, uneducated people who deny scientific facts such as global warming, not to mention holocaust, and numerous well documented genocides, including Srebrenica genocide.

Hume's Ghost said...

I have mixed feelings. I don't think Holocaust denial should be legitimized, but I'm guessing that's not going to be the subject of his speech.

Regardless, the opportunity to hear the president of a nation we seem to be on the brink of war with speak might help send a message to the world that the US still stands for the freedom of speech (I know you hate that argument, sorry) And I also believe it provides an opportunity to spark a dialogue (not necessarily with him, but with ourselves and the world) that is sorely missing.

It's the same reason I wish we had a President who had the mental capacity to answer the letter that he sent earlier ... I'd rather battle with the pen than with the sword.

"I hold that orthodoxy is the death of knowledge, since the growth of knowledge depends entirely on the existence of disagreement. Admittedly, disagreement may lead to strife, and even to violence. And this, I think, is very bad indeed, for I abhor violence. Yet disagreement may also lead to discussion, to argument and to mutual criticism. And these, I think, are of paramount importance, I suggest that the greatest step towards a better and more peaceful world was taken when the war of swords was first supported, and later sometimes even replaced, by a war of words." - Karl Popper

I think we should see having him speak as an opportunity to rebut sentiments that - like it or not - need rebutting in a portion of the world where anti-Semitism is rampant.

I could be wrong, of course. I don't know.

Hume's Ghost said...

Oops, I meant to add ... I think him hypothetically denying the Armenian genocide would have no effect on them since I'm guessing the majority of students are unaware in the first place that there is such a thing as an Armendian genocide.

On second thought, if he was coming to give some kind of denial speech I would decline him. But if the topic were more general I'd let him speak. I'm still iffy on this ... I'd need to hear more pro and con arguments before I made up my mind.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Muslims Against Sharia condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the decision of Columbia University to provide a speaking venue for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Apparently letting Akbar Rafsanjani speak at the National Cathedral was not the height of American Dhimmitude, because providing a venue for the world's foremost anti-Semite, whose proclaimed goal is the destruction of the USA and Israel, definitely takes the cake. What is surprising is that we don't hear any complaints from Columbia alumni who should be ashamed of their silence.

More on the subject: Why Does Columbia host Ahmadinejad?

Aryeh Amihay said...

Hi,

I liked the "Mind so open that the brains fall out" :-)

As for the issue itself, I disagree. I don't think that dialogue here is in sense of "maybe we should listen to why he wants to distruct Israel, because he might have a point there".

I think it's more like "this guy is talking about destructing in Israel, and within a couple of years he might just have the power to do so. Maybe if we talk to him we'll figure out the best way to stop him".

If someone had the power, or was getting close to having the power, of restoring slavery, I think it would be irresponsible of CU not to invite him. Not in order to endorse slavery, but in order to understand him and stop him.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

I fully agree with you about "knowing" your enemy but I don't think he has to be invited to Columbia for us to "know" him.

hockey hound said...

Banned Islamicist Expert's Lecture on 'Hitler's Legacy: Islamic Antisemitism
in the Middle East'


German academic, Dr. Matthias Kuentzel's, lecture, given to an audience of
well over one hundred people tonight at Leeds University. According to the
organisers it met with a great deal of acclaim and evoked concern about the
espousal by much of the British Left of Islamic fascist tendencies - the
legacy of Hitler and Nazism - surely a contradiction in terms?

University of Leeds, October 10, 2007
Hitler’s Legacy: Islamic Antisemitism in the Middle East
The impact of the Muslim Brotherhood
by Matthias Küntzel

Today I will be laying special emphasis on the antisemitism of the ancestor
of all forms of Islamism, the Muslim Brotherhood. Why? Because it seems to
me that this organization has a particularly strong presence in Britain.
Because – as far as I can tell - only in Britain has it succeeded in forging
an alliance with certain sections of the left – the Socialist Workers Party
and Ken Livingstone spring to mind here. This alliance might also partly
explain why one hears proposals being voiced in Britain that leave us in
Germany, mindful of what happened in 1933, simply stunned. I am referring
here to proposals for a boycott of Israel and I appreciate the British
government’s response to the “Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry
into Antisemitism” which states that “such selective boycotts … are
anti-Jewish in practice” and are “an assult on academic freedom and
intellectual exchange.”
Islamic antisemitism does not of course only affect Britain. In some circles
in Germany too antisemitism has increasingly become a part of Muslim
identity. We hear “Jew” being used as a term of abuse, we witness the
adulation of rappers who call for attacks on Jews, and we hear the term
“Nazi” used as a compliment.
In Berlin a Muslim schoolboy called for “all the Jews to be gassed”. A gang
of school students trapped one of their fellow pupils in a chemistry lab,
telling him “now we will turn on the gas taps”, while during a visit to the
Museum of German History a group of Muslim students gathered round a replica
of an Auschwitz gas chamber and applauded. You see, they did not view the
Holocaust as a warning, nor were they denying that it happened; it was being
taken as an inspiration, as proof that it is possible, that millions of Jews
can be killed. But are things any better in Britain?
“In Hampstead Garden Suburb, swastikas and the words ‘Kill all Jews’ and
‘Allah’ were daubed on the house and car of Justin Stebbing” reports the
Times. “Dr Stebbing, who works at a hospital, said: ‘I felt violated. It’s
horrible.’” Swastika, “kill all Jews” and “Allah” – the very topic of my
talk today.
According to journalist Richard Littlejohn, “I met a Jack the Ripper tour
guide in East London who was beaten up by a group of Muslim youths, who took
one look at his period costume – long black coat and black hat – and assumed
he was an Orthodox Jew and therefore deserving of a kicking. They didn’t
want a ‘dirty Jew’ in ‘their’ neighbourhood”.
Finally an opinion poll of 2006 – according to the Times - “revealed that a
horrifying 37 per cent of Muslims polled believed that the Jewish community
in Britain was a legitimate target; …and no fewer than 46 % thought the
Jewish community was in league with Freemasons to control the media and
politics.’”
This is not merely the ‘normal’ anti-Semitism of racial prejudice or
religious and social discrimination. This is also not the kind of hostility
to Jews found in the Koran. We are dealing here with a hardcore antisemitism
which dehumanises and demonises Jews and which has a great deal in common
with Nazi ideology. In Islamism this hatred of Jews is given a further
radical edge by its association with the idea of religious war – with a
global religious mission, a belief in Paradise and the rewards of martyrdom.
This makes it at the same time suicidal and genocidal.
Let’s take the example of Mohammed Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the
London tube bombings, who lived in Leeds and had worked as a youth worker in
Beeston. What drove him to blow himself up amidst innocent people?
The testamentary video of Sidique Khan is very clear. It shows no sign of
desperation but a soldier’s determination. Let me quote Sidique Khan: “Our
driving motivation doesn’t come from tangible commodities that this world
has to offer… We are at war, and I am an soldier.”
The testamentary video of Shehzad Tenweer, another 7/7 perpetrator who lived
in Leeds and studied at Leeds Metropolitan University, is very clear as
well. Let me quote him: “We are 100 % committed to the cause of Islam. We
love death the way you love life.”
This culture of death which extinguishes the instinct that normally unites
all human beings – the survival instinct – is something beyond imagination.
It is something George Orwell was not able to write about. The shocking
malice of such messages leads people who wish to keep a firm hold on normal
patterns of reason to suppress them or block them out. “We instinctively
look away, as we do whenever we are confronted with monstrous deformity,”
writes David Gelernter. “Nothing is harder or more frightening to look at
than a fellow human who is bent out of shape.” But while this may to some
extent excuse the attitude of the ordinary citizen, it cannot justify the
way the media, the academia and the politicians have been behaving. Our task
is to do the opposite. We must not look away, but instead look inside the
fantasy world of the perpetrators and seek to grasp the immanent logic
behind their actions. If one wants to combat and repel the Islamist
ideology, one must first take it seriously as a specific outlook with its
own principles and history.
And indeed, contemporary Islamism can only be explained in the context of
its 80-year old history.
This is shown by the example of Shehzad Tenweer. With his “We love death the
way you love life” he was placing himself in the direct tradition of Hassan
al-Banna, who founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928. Ten years later, in
1938, Hassan al-Banna published his concept of jihad in an article entitled
"The Industry of Death" which was to become famous. Here, the term “Industry
of Death” denotes not something horrible but an ideal. Al-Banna wrote: "Only
to a nation that perfects the industry of death and which knows how to die
nobly, God gives proud life in this world and eternal grace in the life to
come." This slogan was enthusiastically taken up by the "Troops of God," as
the Muslim Brothers called themselves. As their battalions marched down
Cairo's boulevards in semi-fascist formation they would burst into song: "We
are not afraid of death, we desire it. . . . Let us die to redeem the
Muslims!"
The approach I intend to take today is a historical one. My talk centres on
three excursions into history. The first takes us in greater detail back to
the roots of Islamism in the Muslim Brotherhood.
The roots of Islamism
Despite common misconceptions, Islamism was born not during the 1960s but
during the 1930s. Its rise was inspired not by the failure of Nasserism but
by the rise of Fascism and of Nazism.
It was the Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928 in Egypt,
that established Islamism as a mass movement. The significance of the
Brotherhood to Islamism is comparable to that of the Bolshevik party to
communism: It was and remains to this day the ideological reference point
and organizational core for all later Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda
and Hamas or the group around Sidique Khan.
It is true that British colonial policy produced Islamism, insofar as
Islamism viewed itself as a resistance movement against "cultural
modernity." Their “liberation struggle”, however, had more in common with
the “liberation struggle” of the Nazis than with any kind of progressive
movement.
Thus, the Brotherhood advocated the replacement of Parliamentarianism by an
“organic” state order based on the Caliphate. It demanded the abolition of
interest and profit in favour of a forcibly imposed community of interests
between capital and labour.
At the forefront of the Brotherhood's efforts lay the struggle against all
the sensual and "materialistic" temptations of the capitalist and communist
world. At the tender age of 13, the pubescent al-Banna had founded a
"Society for the Prevention of the Forbidden" and this is in essence what
the Brothers were and are - a community of male zealots, whose primary
concern is to prevent all the sensual and sexual sins forbidden according to
their interpretation of the Koran. Their signature was most clearly apparent
when they periodically reduced their local night clubs, brothels and cinemas
- constantly identified with Jewish influence - to ashes.
Gripped by this phobia, the Society of Muslim Brothers, from the day of its
foundation, provided a haven for any man dedicated to the restoration of
male supremacy. At the very time when the liberation of women from the
inferiority decreed by Islam was gradually getting under way the Muslim
Brotherhood set itself up as the rallying point for the restoration of
patriarchal domination.
It was on the one hand a conservative religious movement: For al-Banna, only
a return to orthodox Islam could pave the way for an end to the intolerable
conditions and humiliations of Muslims and newly establish the righteous
Islamic order. It was at the same time a revolutionary political movement
and as such in many respects a trailblazer. The Brotherhood was the first
Islamic organization to put down roots in the cities and to organize a mass
movement able in 1948 to muster one million people in Egypt alone. It was a
populist and activist, not an elitist movement and it was the first movement
that systematically set about building a kind of "Islamist international."
The Islamists' answer to everything was the call for a new order based on
sharia. But the Brotherhood's jihad was not directed primarily against the
British. Rather, it focused almost exclusively on Zionism and the Jews.
Membership in the Brotherhood shot up from 800 to 200,000 between 1936 and
1938. In those two years the Brotherhood conducted only one major campaign
in Egypt, a campaign directed against Zionism and the Jews.
The starting shot for this campaign, which established the Brotherhood as an
antisemitic mass movement, was fired by a rebellion in Palestine directed
against Jewish immigration and initiated by the notorious Grand Mufti of
Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini. The Brotherhood organized mass demonstrations
in Egyptian cities under the slogans "Down With the Jews!" and "Jews Get Out
of Egypt and Palestine!" Their Jew-hatred drew on the one hand on Islamic
sources. First, Islamists considered, and still consider, Palestine an
Islamic territory, Dar al-Islam, where Jews must not run a single village,
let alone a state. Second, Islamists justify their aspiration to eliminate
the Jews of Palestine by invoking the example of Muhammad, who in the 7th
century not only expelled two Jewish tribes from Medina, but also beheaded
the entire male population of a third Jewish tribe, before proceeding to
sell all the women and children into slavery. Third, they find support and
encouragement for their actions and plans in the Koranic dictum that Jews
are to be considered the worst enemy of the believers.
Their Jew-hatred was also inspired by Nazi influences: Leaflets called for a
boycott of Jewish goods and Jewish shops, and the Brotherhood's newspaper,
al-Nadhir, carried a regular column on "The Danger of the Jews of Egypt,"
which published the names and addresses of Jewish businessmen and allegedly
Jewish newspaper publishers all over the world, attributing every evil, from
communism to brothels, to the "Jewish danger."
The Brotherhood's campaign used not only Nazi-like patterns of action and
slogans but also German funding. As the historian Brynjar Lia recounts in
his monograph on the Brotherhood, "Documents seized in the flat of Wilhelm
Stellbogen, the Director of the German News Agency affiliated to the German
Legation in Cairo, show that prior to October 1939 the Muslim Brothers
received subsidies from this organization. Stellbogen was instrumental in
transferring these funds to the Brothers, which were considerably larger
than the subsidies offered to other anti-British activists. These transfers
appear to have been coordinated by Hajj Amin al-Husseini and some of his
Palestinian contacts in Cairo.”
To summarize our first trip into history: We saw that the rise of Nazism and
Islamism took place in the same period. This was no accident, for both
movements represented attempts to answer the world economic crisis of 1929
and the crisis of liberal capitalism. However different their answers may
have been, they shared a crucial central feature: in both cases the sense of
belonging to a homogeneous community was created through mobilizing against
the Jews.
Initially, however, European anti-Semitism had proved to be an ineffective
tool in the Arab world. Why? Because the European fantasy of the Jewish
world conspiracy was foreign to the original Islamic view of the Jews. Only
in the legend of Jesus Christ did the Jews appear as a deadly and powerful
force who allegedly went so far as to kill God's only son. Islam was quite a
different story. Here it was not the Jews who murdered the Prophet, but the
Prophet who in Medina murdered the Jews. As a result, the characteristic
features of Christian antisemitism did not develop in the Muslim world.
There were no fears of Jewish conspiracy and domination, no charges of
diabolic evil. Instead, the Jews were treated with contempt or condescending
tolerance. This cultural inheritance made the idea that the Jews of all
people could represent a permanent danger for the Muslims and might control
the media and politics in league with Freemasons seem absurd. This brings us
to our second point: The transfer of European anti-Semitism to the Muslim
world between 1937 and 1945 under the impact of Nazi Propaganda.

Islamism and National Socialism
Amin al-Husseini, the infamous Mufti of Jerusalem, who was closely connected
to the Muslim Brotherhood, was already seeking an alliance with Nazi Germany
as early as spring 1933. At first, however, Berlin was dismissive. On the
one hand, Hitler had already stated his belief in the "racial inferiority"
of the Arabs in Mein Kampf while, on the other, the Nazis were extremely
anxious not to jeopardise British appeasement.
In June 1937, however, the Nazis changed course. The trigger was the Peel
Plan’s two-state solution. Berlin wanted at all costs to prevent the birth
of a Jewish state and thus welcomed the Mufti’s advances. Arab antisemitism
would now get a powerful new promoter.
A central role in the propaganda offensive was played by a Nazi wireless
station, now almost totally forgotten. Since the 1936 Berlin Olympics a
village called Zeesen, located to the south of Berlin, had been home to what
was at the time the world’s most powerful short-wave radio transmitter.
Between April 1939 and April 1945, Radio Zeesen reached out to the
illiterate Muslim masses through daily Arabic programmes, which also went
out in Persian and Turkish. At that time listening to the radio in the Arab
world took place primarily in public squares or bazaars and coffee houses.
No other station was more popular than this Nazi Zeesen service, which
skilfully mingled antisemitic propaganda with quotations from the Koran and
Arabic music. The Second World War allies were presented as lackeys of the
Jews and the picture of the "United Jewish Nations" drummed into the
audience. At the same time, the Jews were attacked as the worst enemies of
Islam: "The Jew since the time of Muhammad has never been a friend of the
Muslim, the Jew is the enemy and it pleases Allah to kill him".
Since 1941, Zeesen’s Arabic programming had been directed by the Mufti of
Jerusalem who had emigrated to Berlin. The Mufti’s aim was to “unite all the
Arab lands in a common hatred of the British and Jews”, as he wrote in a
letter to Adolf Hitler. Antisemitism, based on the notion of a Jewish world
conspiracy, however, was not rooted in Islamic tradition but, rather, in
European ideological models.
The Mufti therefore seized on the only instrument that really moved the Arab
masses: Islam. He invented a new form of Jew-hatred by recasting it in an
Islamic mould. He was the first to translate Christian antisemitism into
Islamic language, thus creating an “Islamic antisemitism”. His first major
manifesto bore the title “Islam-Judaism. Appeal of the Grand Mufti to the
Islamic World in the Year 1937”. This 31-page pamphlet reached the entire
Arab world and there are indications that Nazi agents helped draw it up.
Let me quote at least a short passage from it:
“The struggle between the Jews and Islam began when Muhammad fled from Mecca
to Medina… The Jewish methods were, even in those days, the same as now. As
always, their weapon was slander… They said that Muhammad was a swindler…
they began to ask Muhammad senseless and insoluble questions… and they
endeavoured to destroy the Muslims… If the Jews could betray Muhammad in
this way, how will they betray Muslims today? The verses from the Koran and
hadith prove to you that the Jews were the fiercest opponents of Islam and
are still trying to destroy it.”
What we have here is a new popularized form of Jew-hatred, based on the
oriental folk tale tradition, which moves constantly back and forth between
the seventh and twentieth centuries. This kind of Jew-hatred is used today
by the British group Hizb ut-Tahir. In 2002 this organization reproduced a
leaflet in its website saying: “The Jews are a people of slander …a
treacherous people …they fabricate lies and twist words from their right
context…Kill them wherever you find them.”
Classical Islamic literature had as a rule treated Muhammad’s clash with the
Jews of Medina as a minor episode in the Prophet’s life. The anti-Jewish
passages in the Koran and hadith had lain dormant or were considered of
little significance during previous centuries.
These elements were now invested with new life and vigour. Now the Mufti
began to ascribe a truly cosmic significance to the allegedly hostile
attitude of the Jewish tribes of Medina to the Prophet. Now he picked out
the occasional outbursts of hatred found in the Koran and hadith and drummed
them relentlessly into the minds of Muslims at every available opportunity –
including via the Arabic short-wave radio station in Berlin.
Radio Zeesen was a success not only in Cairo; it made an impact in Tehran as
well. One of its regular listeners was a certain Ruhollah Khomeini. When in
the winter of 1938 the 36-year-old Khomeini returned to the Iranian city of
Qom from Iraq he “had brought with him a radio receiver set made by the
British company Pye ... The radio proved a good buy… Many mullahs would
gather at his home, often on the terrace, in the evenings to listen to Radio
Berlin and the BBC”, writes his biographer Amir Taheri. Even the German
consulate in Tehran was surprised by the success of this propaganda.
“Throughout the country spiritual leaders are coming out and saying ‘that
the twelfth Imam has been sent into the world by God in the form of Adolf
Hitler’” we learn from a report to Berlin in February 1941.
So, “without any legation involvement, an increasingly effective form of
propaganda has arisen, which sees the Führer and Germany as the answer to
every prayer… One way to promote this trend is sharply to emphasize
Muhammad’s struggle against the Jews in the olden days and that of the
Führer today.“ While Khomeini was not a follower of Hitler, those years may
well have shaped his anti-Jewish attitudes which in turn would later shape
the attitudes of his most ardent follower Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
To summarize: The historical record gives the lie to the assumption that
Islamic anti-Semitism was triggered by Zionist or Israeli policies. In 1937
– eleven years before the founding of Israel! - Germany began to
disseminate an Islamic antisemitism that fuses together the traditional
Islamic view that the Jews are inferior with the European notion that they
are deviously powerful. At one and the same time we find the Jews being
derided as “pigs” and “apes”, while simultaneously being demonised as the
puppet masters of world politics. This specific form of antisemitism was
broadcast to the Islamic world by Radio Zeesen. At the same time the
Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was being subsidized by Nazi Germany and its
anti-Jewish agitation promoted. Radio Zeesen ceased operation in April 1945.
But why, sixty-two years later, do we find the combination of the swastika
and the words “Kill all Jews” and “Allah” in Hampstead and elsewhere? This
brings me on to my third and final point.

The Second Division of the World
After May 8, 1945, National Socialism was banned virtually throughout the
world. In the Arab world, however, Nazi ideology continued to reverberate.
In her report on the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, Hannah Arendt discussed
the reactions to the trial in the Arab media:
“…newspapers in Damascus and Beirut, in Cairo and Jordan did not hide their
sympathy for Eichmann or their regret that he ‘had not finished the job’; a
broadcast from Cairo on the day the trial opened even injected a slightly
anti-German note into its comments, complaining that there was not ‘a single
incident in which one German plane flew over one Jewish settlement and
dropped one bomb on it throughout the last war.’”
The heartfelt wish to see all Jews eliminated was also expressed in April
2001 by the columnist Ahmad Ragab of Egypt's second largest daily, the
state-controlled Al-Akhbar: "[Give] thanks to Hitler. He took revenge on the
Israelis in advance, on behalf of the Palestinians. Our one complaint
against him was that his revenge was not complete enough."
Manifestly, following 8 May 1945, there occurred a twofold division of the
world. The division in the political and economic system is well known as
the Cold War. The second split – which was obscured by the Cold War –
concerned the acceptance and continuing influence of National Socialist
forms of thought.
In November 1945, just half a year after the end of the Third Reich, the
Muslim Brothers carried out the worst anti-Jewish pogroms in Egypt's
history, when demonstrators penetrated the Jewish quarters of Cairo on the
anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. They ransacked houses and shops,
attacked non-Muslims, and torched the synagogues. Six people were killed,
and some hundred more injured. A few weeks later the Islamists' newspapers
"turned to a frontal attack against the Egyptian Jews, slandering them as
Zionists, Communists, capitalists and bloodsuckers, as pimps and merchants
of war, or in general, as subversive elements within all states and
societies," as Gudrun Krämer wrote in her study The Jews in Egypt 1914-1952.
In 1946, the Brotherhood made sure that Amin al-Husseini, the former grand
mufti was granted asylum and a new lease on political life in Egypt. At that
time, al-Husseini was being sought on war crime charges by, among others,
Britain and the United States. Between 1941 to 1945, he had directed Muslim
SS divisions in the Balkans and had been personally responsible for the fact
that thousands of Jewish children, who might otherwise have been saved, got
killed in the gas chambers. All this was known in 1946. Nonetheless, Britain
and the United States chose to forgo criminal prosecution of al-Husseini in
order to avoid spoiling their relations with the Arab world. France, which
was holding al-Husseini, deliberately let him get away.
The years of Nazi Arabic language propaganda had made the Mufti by far the
best-known political figure in the Arab and Islamic world. But the 1946 de
facto amnesty by the Western powers enhanced the Mufti’s prestige even more.
The Arabs saw in this impunity, wrote Simon Wiesenthal in 1946, "not only a
weakness of the Europeans, but also absolution for past and future
occurrences. A man who is enemy no. 1 of a powerful empire – and this empire
cannot fend him off – seems to the Arabs to be a suitable leader.” Now, the
pro-Nazi past began to become a source of pride, not of shame and Nazi
criminals on the wanted list in Europe now flooded into the Arab world. When
on 10 June 1946 the headlines of the world press announced the Mufti's
“escape” from France "…the Arab quarters of Jerusalem and all the Arab towns
and villages were garlanded and beflagged, and the great man's portrait was
to be seen everywhere", reported a contemporary observer. But the biggest
cheerleaders for the Mufti were the Muslim Brothers, who at that time could
mobilise a million people in Egypt alone. It was they, indeed, who had
organized the Mufti’s return and from the start defended his Nazi activities
from any criticism.
In the following decades, large print-runs of the most infamous libel of the
Jews, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, were published at the behest of
two well-known former members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Gamal Abdel Nasser
and Anwar Sadat. Both the Muslim Brothers' unconditional solidarity with
al-Husseini and their anti-Jewish riots mere months after Auschwitz show
that the Brotherhood did not object, to say the least, to Hitler's attempt
to exterminate the Jews of Europe
The consequences of this attitude, this blindness to the international
impact of the Holocaust, continue to affect the course of the Arab-Jewish
conflict today. We see an expression off this in the continuing refusal of
the Muslim Council of Britain, a British offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood,
to recognise the specific nature of the Holocaust and attend Holocaust
Memorial Day events. How do Islamists explain international support for
Israel in 1947? Ignoring the actual fate of the Jews during World War II,
they revert to conspiracy theories, viewing the creation of the Jewish state
as a Jewish-inspired attack by the United States and the Soviet Union on the
Arab world. Accordingly, the Brotherhood "considered the whole United
Nations intervention to be an international plot carried out by the
Americans, the Russians and the British, under the influence of Zionism."
The mad notion of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy, suppressed in Germany since
May 8, 1945, survived and flourished in the political culture of the Arab
world.
An especially striking example is the charter adopted in 1988 by the Muslim
Brotherhood in Palestine, better known as Hamas. In this charter--which
"sounds as if it were copied from the pages of Der Stürmer," as Sari
Nusseibeh, former PLO representative in Jerusalem, has written -Hamas
defines itself as "the spearhead and the avant-garde" of the struggle
against "world Zionism."
In the Charter, the Jews are accused of being behind all the shocks of
modernity: “They aim at undermining societies, destroying values, corrupting
consciences, deteriorating character and annihilating Islam. (They are)
behind the drug trade and alcoholism in all its kinds so as to facilitate
its control and expansion.” In addition, they are held responsible for every
major catastrophic event in modern history: The Jews "were behind the French
Revolution [and] the Communist Revolution. . . . They were behind World War
I . . . they were behind World War II, through which they made huge
financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the
establishment of their state. . . . There is no war going on anywhere,
without having their finger in it. . . . Their plan," states Article 32 of
the charter, "is embodied in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their
present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying." How can it be that
ardent supporters of Hamas such as Azzam Tamini, who is a regular guest of
the BBC and Channel 4, is never seriously challenged about the antisemitic
content of the charter?
As in the 1930s and 1940s, the sheer absurdity of such claims makes it
difficult for educated people to believe that anyone could take them
seriously. Such claims, nonetheless, triggered Pogroms in Russia, were used
as the textbook for the Holocaust in Germany and motivated the perpetrators
of 9/11. Islamic antisemitism is the reason why Hamas prioritise weapons and
war rather than peace and welfare. Islamic antisemitism is the reason why
Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah recently warned Saudi Arabia and other
Arab countries “not to normalize relations with Israel”. Islamic
Antisemitism is the only reason why Iran – a county that has neither a
territorial dispute with Israel nor a Palestinian refugee problem – calls
for the destruction of Israel again and again.
Some observers claim that political concessions by Israel would be enough to
stop anti-Jewish hatemongering within the Arab-Islamic world. They are
wrong. For Islamists, the issue at stake is not the welfare of individual
Palestinians but the abolition of enlightenment, reason, and individual
freedom – achievements whose spread is attributed primarily to the Jews.
When even today Germans in Beirut, Damascus, and Amman are greeted with
compliments for Adolf Hitler, this can hardly be Israel’s doing. When
graffiti in Hampstead Garden Suburb combine swastikas with the words “kill
all Jews” and “Allah” – what on earth has this to do with Zionism? Our
historical excursion has, however, revealed that this combination is in no
way accidental. The linkage of “kill all Jews”, “Allah” and the swastika
indicates a specific ideology, one that is connected both historically and
ideologically with Nazism and needs to be opposed with equal determination.

Why- however – is it proving so difficult to mount such an effort –
especially, but not only, here in Britain? Three suggestions as to why this
might be: firstly, this struggle – at least for the time being – has to be
waged in opposition to a political left which has totally lost its moral
compass and political bearings. It is, true that Osama bin Laden has
embedded his strategic goal of talibanizing America and the world in a
language that seeks to connect with Western protest movements and, beyond
that, put Islam in the place of the former Communist system. Thus, in Bin
Laden’s latest message of September 11, 2007, the fight against global
warming is emphasized in order to attract the support of environmentalists,
the anti-capitalist drum is banged (“You should liberate yourselves from the
deception, shackles and attrition of the capitalist system”) and, lastly,
Noam Chomsky, the guru of the leftist anti-globalization struggle, is
applauded.
On the other hand, Osama bin Laden and every other Islamist entity such as
Hamas, Hezbollah and the Iranian regime do not hide their goal –the
destruction of democratic societies and their replacement by a sharia-based
dictatorship. The American way of life, constitutes, according to bin
Laden’s latest message “the greatest form of polytheism and is rebellion
against obedience to Allah.” It has to be replaced instead by Allah’s rule:
“Total obedience must be to the orders and prohibitions of Allah Alone in
all aspects of life.” And this is indeed the heart of the Islamist
programme: the accusation that granting people political and personal
freedom amounts to heresy.
The naivety or malice with which the political left has nevertheless yielded
to the siren songs of Islamism is therefore frightening. Thus, in May 2006
Noam Chomsky met the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, and defended and
praised Hezbollah’s insistence on keeping its arms, in defiance of United
Nations decisions; Tariq Ramadan, an eloquent Islamist, has been given star
treatment at European anti-globalization events; the Muslim Brotherhood’s TV
preacher, Sheikh Qaradawi gets invitations from the left-wing Mayor of
London, Ken Livingstone; while the Socialist Workers Party have made the
strategic decision to ally with a British offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood
– the Muslim Association of Britain – in building the Stop the War
Coalition. Last summer thousands of people were mobilised by this alliance
to march through central London chanting “we are all Hezbollah now”.
Of course, a left which brands Israel as abstractly “evil” is not going to
take Islamic antisemitism seriously. Demonising Israel entails becoming deaf
to antisemitism. Or, as Sigmund Freud put it, “a participant in a delusion
will not of course recognise it as such”.

2. Many Europeans assume that to draw attention to Islamic antisemitism is
to play into the hands of racists. In Britain, multiculturalism has been the
official civic religion for so long that any criticism of any minority group
seems to have become the equivalent of profanity. Obviously, racism,
discriminating against people on the grounds of their origin or skin colour,
must be combated. You can’t be, however, multicultural and preach murderous
loathing of Jews. In my opinion, we mustn’t defend Jew-hatred on spurious
“anti-racist” grounds; we should rather distinguish between antisemites and
non-antisemites within the Muslim communities. We mustn’t advocate a crude
“top” and “bottom” dichotomy, in which the antisemitism of people from
Muslim countries is excused as a kind of “anti-imperialism of fools”. We
should rather insist that the struggle against discrimination is a universal
one.

3. Islamic antisemitism is a taboo subject even in some parts of academia: a
story of intellectual betrayal and the corrupting influence of political
commitment. Professor Pieter von der Horst from the University of Utrecht in
the Netherlands found this out when he proposed to give a lecture on the
topic of the anti-Jewish blood libel. The head of the university asked him
to excise the section of his lecture dealing with Islamic antisemitism. When
he refused to do so, he was invited to appear before a panel of four
professors who insisted he remove these passages. A lecture on Islamic
antisemitism, so the argument went, might lead to violent reactions from
well-organized Muslim student groups.
Similar things have happened to me. When in April 2003 I was invited by Yale
University as keynote speaker on the topic of “Islamic Terrorism and
Antisemitism: The Mission against Modernity”, there was such an outpouring
of protest that the organizers changed the programme. The original title of
one of the panels - “Islamic Jihad. A Case of Global Non-State Terrorism” –
was changed to “Global, Non-State Terrorism”. In addition a speaker was
added to the podium whose sole qualification was that of being President of
the local “Palestine Right to Return Coalition”. At least I was able to give
my talk. Not so in March 2007 at this University. Here too the term “Islamic
antisemitism“ stymied what should have been a lively debate already in
March. Following e-mail protests by some Muslim students, my lecture title
“Hitler’s Legacy: Islamic antisemitism in the Middle East” was changed to
“The Nazi Legacy: Export of Antisemitism into the Middle East”. This proved
to be a futile semantic gesture: On the day of my arrival in Leeds, the
University administration cancelled my talk “on security grounds”. No one,
including the Muslim students, had threatened violence. As before in
Utrecht, freedom of speech was suspended – in my opinion - by an act of
pre-emptive self-censorship. Both university administrations probably
believed they were meeting the wishes of their numerous Muslim students in
suspending a lecture about Islamic antisemitism.
The erroneousness of this approach becomes clear when we realize that
Muslims are criticizing Islamic antisemitism as well. “Why do we hate the
Jews?” asked Saudi columnist Hussein Shubakshi in a London-based Arabic
daily in May 2005. “The extent of the tremendous hatred of the Jews is
baffling. If we know … the true reason why the Jews have become the reason
for every catastrophe, then we will be able to understand the idea of
dividing [human beings] into groups…”
In January 2006, Tunisian Philosopher Mezri Haddad complained that Arab
public opinion “ has found in antisemitism the perfect catalyst for all its
narcissistic wounds and social, economic, and political frustrations.” The
fundamentalists had, he continued, “reduced the Koran to a case of
nauseating antisemitism,” but it must be admitted, “that some Koranic
verses, intentionally isolated from their historical context, have
contributed even more to the anchoring of antisemitic stereotypes in
Arab-Muslim mentalities”. This “petrifaction” of the Arab-Muslim mentality
can be reversed, so Haddad, but this would require “intellectual audacity”
on the part of Islamic scholars. “Since they cannot purge the Koran of its
potentially antisemitic dross, they must closely examine this corpus with
hermeneutical reasoning.”
So while some Muslims support the universal struggle against antisemitism,
other Muslims want to prevent any mention, let along any public discussion,
of Islamic antisemitism. It is the latter group that has profited – at least
in the beginning - from the actions of Utrecht and Leeds Universities.
The British historian Elie Kedourie whom I admire a lot stated that “moral
integrity and scholarly rigor were always complementary” and I subscribe to
this point of view. Today an increasing number of anti-Islamist Muslims are
complaining about the “well-meaning” behaviour of Western academics which
lacks moral integrity and scholarly rigour. “When Westerners make
politically-correct excuses for Islamism”, states, for example, Tawfik
Hamid, a former member of the Egyptian Islamist organization Gama’a
al-Islamiyya, “it actually endangers the lives of reformers and in many
cases has the effect of suppressing their voices”. And he warns that,
“without confronting the ideological roots of Islamism, it will be
impossible to combat it” – a reality that not only governments need to get
into their heads.
Islamism is not motivated by a concept of reason but by a cult of death. It
does not strive for emancipation but for oppression. It uses the flag of
anti-colonialism to promote antisemitism. It is true that today there is no
other anti-capitalist or anti-Western movement that is able to mobilise and
influence so many people. Bin Laden’s latest message builds on this reality.
But it is for this very reason all the more essential for every responsible
person to draw an inseperable line between a concept of change that is
rooted in the traditions of the Enlightenment and emancipation, and a
concept of change that is aimed in a fascist way at destroying the
development of societies and the freedom of the individual. You can be in
favor of or against Islamism and Fascism but you cannot be anti-Fascist and
pro-Islamist at the same time.

hockey hound said...

Prof. Lipstadt, you're going to argue that Islam the religion didn't create this egregious anti-Jewish culture as described above?