The French Revolution
How Pervasive Is the Threat of Political Islam?
It's funny how sometimes the simplest sentences can bring startling clarity.
Late last month, I spent several days in Israel. Unlike most Christians who make pilgrimages to the Holy Land, I wasn't there for the holy sites. I saw the Western Wall, but I didn't go elsewhere—not the Mount of Olives, not the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, not Bethlehem.
I was there for a specific reason: To evaluate potential legal responses to "lawfare" waged against the United States and Israel. "Lawfare" is essentially a weapon of asymmetric warfare, the abuse and misuse of international law and domestic legal systems to accomplish otherwise-unattainable strategic goals.
The second morning of my visit, I was in a meeting with an Israeli official—discussing the Palestinians' much-advertised plan to seek UN recognition as a sovereign state—when he uttered the clarifying sentence: "Our difficulty is that we begin any UN process with the automatic opposition of all 57 members of the OIC."
Catch that? The OIC stands for the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a coalition of 57 Islamic states. Its member states include Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkmenistan, and the Maldives. They are bound together by a common religious identity and, well, not much else.
Why then are they in lockstep opposition to Israel in the UN? What possible interest does Malaysia have in Palestine? Do the people of Turkmenistan, who've never confronted Israel on the battlefield, see the Middle East the same way as Egyptians, who fought Israel multiple times from 1948 until the Camp David Accords in 1978?
Based on the history of conflict between Israel and Egypt, one is hardly surprised when the front-runner for Egypt's post-Mubarak presidency is a shameless anti-Israel demagogue. But why do Malaysian politicians trip all over themselves to accuse their opponents of ties to "Israeli spies"? Malaysia in fact has never recognized Israel and has no diplomatic ties with the nation that was (until Iraq's recent successes) the Middle East's only functioning democracy. But has Israel ever made any hostile moves against Malaysia?
Apologists might argue that Malaysia and other OIC states are simply taking a stand for justice, embodying Muslim virtues as they support the downtrodden Palestinians against their (alleged) Israeli oppressor. But how does this claim square with, for example, the OIC's unified opposition to the International Criminal Court's attempt to arrest Sudan's genocidal (Muslim) dictator? How does that action embody Muslim virtues?
David French is a lawyer, writer, soldier, and veteran of the Iraq war. He is Senior Counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice. Follow him on Facebook.