Some Thoughts About Islam (And The Israeli-Arab Conflict)

Some Thoughts About Islam (And The Israeli-Arab Conflict) November 10, 2011

These days, it seems that most critiques of the Islamic world come from American and European wingnuts.  Pamela Geller literally makes my skin crawl with her imbecilic bombast about a Sharia takeover of the U.S. and the dangers of a mosque near Ground Zero.  David Horowitz hypocritically names his anti-Islamic organization “The Freedom Center” while he endorses a U.S. constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.  And don’t get me started on the fundamentalist Christian right and their ongoing religious war with Islam.  Up until now it is these folks and their knuckle-dragging followers who have shouted the loudest about the problems with Islam.

And that’s a damn shame.  Because in their own clumsy and inept ways, they are actually circling around the truth.

I say it’s time to wrest this issue away from these cartoon characters and hand it over to more enlightened spokespeople.  Fortunately, there is a reasonable and educated group of thinkers that is also quite critical of the current trends in Islam:  Atheists.

Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens have been particularly vocal about the rising danger of Islam.  For their efforts, they have often been tagged as “Islamaphobic,” a charge of irrational hatred of Islam.

There is no question that Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones and the above-mentioned Ms. Geller can look pretty irrational when they take on Islam.  But as my mom used to say, even a broken clock is right twice a day.  The Islamic world is, indeed, a real threat to peace and progress.

Whether it’s women, Jews, freedom of expression, science, alternative sexualities or pretty much any modern enlightened western value, Muslims around the world are increasingly against it.  Against it in the sense that they’ll burn it down, stone it, repress it and slaughter it.

And yet many of my fellow liberals who are quick to join me in blasting American Christian religious extremists like Pat Robertson or Michele Bachmann, somehow draw the line when it comes to the far scarier, far more incendiary Islamic religious extremists who rule the Muslim world.

This is never more true than in the case of Israel.  On campuses and at protests around the world, pro-Palestinian leftists have no compunctions about making common cause with Hamas.  HAMAS!  If ever there was a repressive, homophobic, misogynist, antisemitic, anti-liberal regime, it is Hamas.  And it’s just one example in a vast and rising Islamic sea that, with very few exceptions, turns its back on human rights.

When it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict, I have long realized that the core of the problem is Arab/Muslim antisemitism.  The Islamic belief that all land that has ever been under Muslim rule is theirs forever and ever and ever is certainly a big part of this.  However, it is grossly aggravated by the fact that in Israel’s case, it is the Jews (“apes and pigs”) who are living there.  I don’t think I overstate the case when I point out that Palestinians, like most Arab (and other) Muslims, really, really, really hate the Jews.  “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” is a still a great bestseller in Arabic and Farsi.  Not too long ago, televised “dramatizations” of that horrid book were produced in Egypt and Lebanon and screened throughout the Arab world.

This is no mere spinoff of the Israeli-Arab conflict.  It is one of its root causes.  The founder of modern Palestinian identity, Haj Amin Al-Husseini was an admirer of Hitler.  When the Nuremberg Laws were passed, the Nazis received thousands of letters of congratulations from Arab Muslim admirers.

Hitler Meets With Al-Husseini

This rabid Jew-hatred continues today.  Consider a tiny handful of examples.  The official press of numerous Islamic nations frequently declare the Holocaust to be a fraud.  This includes Israel’s peace partners in Egypt and Jordan.  Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’ own Ph.D. dissertation was a work of devastating Holocaust denial and anti-Jewish accusations of Nazi collaboration.  A few years ago Raed Salah, head of the “Islamic Movement” in northern Israel, invoked the ancient blood libel accusing Jews of using the blood of non-Jewish children to make matzas.  A Saudi Arabian academic begged to differ.  He said that the blood is for Purim pastries.  I’ve barely scratched the surface.  For more information, see here and here and here and here and even here.

And please don’t compare any of this to the anti-Arab antics of some Israeli extremists.  Israelis have condemned them, arrested them and pulled their writings from circulation.  In cases where officials have not interceded, the Israeli press and public have been up in arms.  That’s because most Israelis possess basic human decency, something rarely displayed by Muslim antisemites.

If the past half decade of Islamic rule in Gaza has taught us anything, it is that Israel is up against a monstrous enemy that wants nothing more than its complete destruction.

I began this post by pointing out how we need to take leadership on this issue away from the histrionic right-wing.  Too many liberals are slaves to political correctness, even when it’s not justified.  In the case of the Islamic world, it most certainly is not.

I’m going to be writing about Islamic hatred and intolerance more frequently.  Another atheist who is already speaking out is famous YouTube monologuist Pat Condell.

Here are two of his best videos.  Both are about Israel and the Palestinians.  I agree with every word.  Like him, I’ll probably also receive a lot of flack about this post.


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