The Small Kindness (Qur’an 107): A Magnanimous Solution to the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Positive-sum westerners see “two states” as the obvious solution to the conflict on the land between the river and the sea. But analyzed in terms of honor-shame reasoning and the players involved, not only More »

Glossary List for Medievalist’s Guide to 21st Century

The following is a glossary list of terms I (and others) have developed to help describe the civilizational dynamics of the 21st century. I welcome suggestions for my definitions and for others More »

Caliphate Cogwar, Lethal, Own-Goal Journalism, and BDS

The Place of BDS and the Caliphate Cogwar BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) is part and parcel of a wider cognitive war (cogwar) offensive against both Israel and the West. Cogwar is the main More »

From Ilan to Sarah Halimi: Shameful France

French public intellectual, Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine, has written an open letter to Gerard Collomb, the new French Minister of the Interior about the stunning silence in the French public sphere about the terrible murder More »

Further thoughts on Yom Yerushalayim in dialogue:

My Yom Yerushalayim post engendered an exchange with the author of the article I fisked. I asked permission to post one of my long answers and he agreed with this request: Ok. More »

The Small Kindness (Qur’an 107): A Magnanimous Solution to the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Positive-sum westerners see “two states” as the obvious solution to the conflict on the land between the river and the sea. But analyzed in terms of honor-shame reasoning and the players involved, not only is that solution not going to work, but it’s actually designed by “two-stage” Palestinian strategists, to pursue the zero-sum dream: “Palestine from the river to the sea.” When we understand that the problem is not “how much” territory is Israel willing to concede to satisfy the Palestinians?” but “how do Arab Muslims overcome the humiliation that is Israel, and find their dignity in the global community without subjecting infidels,” different landscapes and alternatives arise.

First it becomes crystal clear that resolving this contest in a way that convinces Islamist supremacists to stand down becomes imperative not only for Israel, but for the West and all other peoples around the world, who, in the early decades of the third (global) millennium, are also the target of this zero-sum, honor-driven, imperialist version of monotheism: one God, one rule, one religion. The idea that “land for peace” is an option (much less the only true option), has progressives, Jewish and not, convinced that if only they cram this solution down Israel’s throat (for its own good of course, à la J-Street), they’ll solve the problem. They seem oblivious to the possibility that such a solution only pours oil on the Jihadi fire.

The alternative perspective, however, by considering real causes, opens up new thinking and new solutions. This means viewing the specific conflict not, as the Palestinians would insist, between the Israeli Goliath and the Palestinian David, but as the very term intifada means, the “shaking off” of a bug (Israel) by a great beast.

Who is the great beast? Obviously not the Palestinians. They may be that small part of the great beast’s skin that shudders off the bug. But they are proxies for a much greater and more powerful creature. In other words the conflict in Arab and Muslim eyes is not between mighty Israelis and poor Palestinians: if it were that alone, the humiliation of losing to the Jews might be less painful. It’s between Israel, the only state of the Jews in the world (and a democracy thriving in very difficult conditions), fighting off 22 Arab and 57 Muslim authoritarian states, and beyond them, a wide range of Jihadi and Da’wa non-state actors, all driven by a triumphalist, hard zero-sum vision of Islam, one that cannot tolerate the very existence of an infidel state in the midst of Dar al Islam. In short, it is a battle front in a war between Muslim theocratic, authoritarian political culture and the democratic West. And for the West not only not to understand that, but side with the triumphalist Palestinians (for whom no Jewish state is tolerable), against Israel, is more than foolish, it’s self-destructive.

In that framework, I’d like to suggest a Qur’an-inspired alternative, also an obvious solution, but one that addresses the heart of the dilemma, not only of the “local” Arab-Israeli conflict, but the global “Muslim-infidel” conflict, namely, the difficulty so many Muslims have in living peaceably with their neighbors, whether Muslim or infidel. The greatest challenge of this global generation – whether viewed as the first generation of the 21st century or the second of the 15th century) is to Muslims to effect major changes in the hard zero-sum way they have historically related to kuffar (infidels), and women, and anyone less powerful than they. Everyone’s life, on this increasingly connected planet at the beginning third millennium, depends on Muslims and infidels rising to this challenge.

In this sense, Israel is the Muslim’s Dreyfus Affair, their test of modernity. Can they shift moral paradigms and leave behind triumphalist religiosity? Can they live at peace with the rest of the world without trying to subject them? The test case, is how they get along with the Jews in their region, esp since these sovereign Jews have proven considerably more peaceful towards Arab Muslims (even the most belligerent), than these have even towards each other, mu

To those of Allah’s faithful who would like Islam to stand in a place of honor among the nations of a peaceful and peace-loving world, I make this suggestion that, I think, will set you on a fruitful path. In the Qur’an, Surah 107 explains to people that, at the Last Judgment, Allah will not smile on those who “would be seen (i.e., admired) yet refuse the small kindness.” And yet this is precisely what Arab and Muslims have done to the Jews for the last 66 years.

There are 1.x billion Muslims in the world, or about a fifth of the global population; there are 12 million, Jews, or about a fifth of a percent of the world population. Of the entire area occupied by Arab-speaking majorities in the world, greater Israel constitutes a fifth of a percent of that total. Given all that Islam shares with Judaism (dare one say, adopted from Judaism), do you Muslims really think that on the Day of Judgment, Allah will forgive you if they refuse us the “small kindness” of being allowed to prosper on this tiny sliver of land? For the sake of world peace – literally – do not refuse us this “small kindness.”

 

Glossary List for Medievalist’s Guide to 21st Century

The following is a glossary list of terms I (and others) have developed to help describe the civilizational dynamics of the 21st century. I welcome suggestions for my definitions and for others I haven’t included.

Accuracy: best approximation one can make describing reality/actuality.

Journalistic Accuracy: best effort to describe what actually happened.

Al Yahud: Arabic for “the Jew,” a pervasively derogatory phrase, sons of apes and pigs.

Analogic dyslexia: wild and inappropriate historical analogies. See: Cultural relativity/Equivalence

Chronologic dyslexia: putting cart before horse. See Cult of Occupation

Apocalypticism: urgent sense that time for the Final Events is now

Active cataclysmic apocalyptic: agents of apocalyptic destruction
Passive cataclysmic apocalyptic: outside force destroys.
Transformative apocalyptic: voluntary transformation into new world

Apocalyptic narrative: cosmic/global story/scenario: how good will soon defeat evil.

Augean Stables: bad practices accumulated over long periods. My blog on WMSNM

Caliphate: rule of Islam, of Shari’a applicable to all including infidel dhimmi

Global caliphate: world submitted to Sharia, triumphalist millennial goal.
See: Muslim Triumphalism, Global Jihad, Da’wa.
Global Caliphater:
Muslim believing the time for global Caliphate is now.
Caliphater’s three choices: conversion to Islam, death, or dhimmitude.

Civil/Demotic polity: substitutes fairness discourse for violence in settling disputes.

Cognitive Egocentrism: projecting one’s own mentality onto others.

Liberal CE (LCE): projecting good faith/positive-sum motives on others.
Dominating EC (DCE): projecting bad faith/0-sum, rule or be ruled.
Moebius strip of CE: interaction of LCE-DCE to the advantage of DCE.

Cognitive Warfare (Cogwar): convince a more powerful foe not to use his force.

Cult of “Occupation”: attributing world-salvific results to ending Israeli Occupation.

Dar al Islam/Dar al Harb: world divided into realm of submission, and realm of war. See: Triumphalist Islam, Jihad, Global Jihad.

Da’wa: “summons”, call to infidel to convert and Muslims intensify their devotion;

Da-i Caliphaters: those waging global Jihad non-violently, by Cogwar.

Demopaths: using human rights to protect enemies of human rights. See: Da-i Caliphaters, Cogwar, DCE.

Dupes of demopaths: people who cede to the demopathic argument. See HRNGOs, Halo Effect, LCE.

Demotic: of/for the people (demos), aimed at empowering commoners.

Demotic Values: egalitarian, dignity of manual labor.
Demotic Religiosity: egalitarian religious style of being in society.
Demotic Polity: based on equality before the law, voluntary, contractual relations. See: Civil Polity

Dignity-guilt culture (DGC): dignity from mutual respect not dominion, d. of labor.
See: Demotic Values, Demotic/Civil Polity; cf: Honor-Shame Culture

Dhimmi: status of favored infidels in Dar al Islam, protected as long as degraded. See: Triumphalist Religioisty

Proleptic Dhimmitude: submitting in anticipation of conquest.
Dhimmi Leaders: charged with suppressing criticism of Muslims in their communities. See: Islamophobia

Dominating Imperative: Rule or be ruled.

Empathic Imperative: judge others as favorably as possible.

Eisogesis: aggressively reading outside meaning into a given text, imposition.

Exegesis: deriving implied meaning from a given text, interpretation.

Global Jihad: Mujahedeen’s purifying destruction brings on the Global Caliphate.
       Global Jihadi Right (GJR): hierarchal movement of conquest and dominion.

Global Progressive Left (GPL): leader of humanity’s evolution to global civil society.

Halo Effect: HRNGO’s good reputation because of their mission’s moral nature.

Honor-shame culture (HSC): shedding blood preserves or restores honor. See: Zero-Sum Games, Prime Divider Society; Cf: DGC, Civil Society

Honor Killings: (see Shame Murders)

Hopium: addiction to misplaced hope in decision-making.  See LCE, .

Human-Rights NGOs (HRNGO): NGOs dedicated to global human rights.  See: Halo Effect, Moral Equivalence

Human Rights Complex (HRC): ignore victimizers of color; obsess about “whites.”
Humanitarian Racism: people of color as force of nature; make no moral demands. See: Victim Studies, Intersectionality

Icons of Hatred: visual embodiments of lethal narratives, powerful war propaganda. See: Own Goal Lethal War Journalism

Information Professionals: charged by public to inform accurately on relevant issues (academics, researchers, journalists, public intellectuals).

Intifada: “shaking off,” as in mighty beast of Islam shakes off Zionist fly.

Al Aqsa Intifada: first campaign of 21st century global Jihad. See: Intifada, Trojan Horse Intifada, Oslo Jihad, Y2KMind, Oslo Logic

Jihad: literally, “to struggle” (German, kampfen), also holy war to spread Islam.

Kalam Alnass: Arabic term for fear of others judging you negatively. See: Oneidophobia 

Lethal Narratives: false atrocity-charges hard to disprove, poisoned war propaganda.

Lethal Journalism: passing on lethal narratives about the enemy as news.
Own-goal war journalism: reporting the enemy’s war propaganda as news.
Patriotic war journalism: reporting one’s own war propaganda as news.

Livingston Formulation: complaints of anti-Semitism are merely efforts to stop legitimate criticism of Israel. Cf: Islamophobia

Mainstream News Media MSNM: major print, video news outlets, news agencies.

WesternMSNM (WMSNM): world’s most professional news production services. See: Augean Stables

Masochistic Omnipotence Syndrome MOS: everything our fault; if we do better, we fix everything.

Marriage of Pre-Modern Sadism and Post-Modern Masochism (MPreMoS&PomoM): Colonial Victim: “it’s all your fault!” Westerner: “How can I atone?”

Millennialism: an age of justice, abundance, peace and mutual love is coming (soon).

Progressive vs Restorative: past perfect golden age lost vs. brave new world.
Demotic vs Triumphalist: bottom-up, egalitarian vs. top-down hierarchical.

Moderate Muslim: one who exchanges triumphalism for religious freedom. See: Y2KCompliant

Moral Relativism/Equivalence: equating very different levels of moral behavior. See: Dupes and Demopaths, HRNGOs

Moral Schadenfreude: taking pleasure in the moral degradation of another.

Nakba: 1948 “catastrophe” in Arab-Muslim world, among refugees, when Israel won.

Naksa: “setback” of 1967, Nakba 2.0.
Naksba: mentality of those who scapegoat Israel while abusing own people. See: Prime Divider Society, Negative-Sum Games, Strong Horse Politics

Oneidophobia: dread of public disgrace, can paralyze, can galvinize to violence.

Oslo Intifada: war begun by Palestinians who treated Oslo Process as Trojan Horse.

Oslo Jihad: first major successful campaign of Caliphater global Jihad in 21st century.
Oslo Logic: positive-sum logic of “Oslo peace process;” Land for Peace. See: 2SS

Palestinian Media Protocols Compliance (PMPC): measures MSNM’s adherence

Pallywood/Hizbollywood/Fauxtography: staged lethal narratives for WMSNM use purveying Israel-Goliath/Palestinian-Victim frame.

Paradigms: conceptual frameworks to understand Islam/West, Arab/Israeli conflicts.

Honor-Shame Jihad P (HSJP): triumphalist, honor through global conquest.
Politically Correct P (PCP1): underdogma, Palestinian/Muslim as victim.
Post-colonial P (PCP2): Whites worst imperialists; must atone. Israel is white

Peace Journalism: emphasize the positive about foe, encourage own side to trust.

PoMo-PoCo: Post-modern, post-colonial; combination weaponized against West. See GPL, Active Transformative/Cataclysmic apocalyptic, MOC.

Prime Divider Societies: fundamental cultural divide between elite and commoners. See: Zero-Sum Honor-Shame; Cf: Demotic/Civil Polities, DGP

Propaganda: manipulate opinion to accept what, better informed, one would reject.

Public sphere: arena for discussion of matters of public interest. See: MSNM, WMSNM, Information Professionals

rekaB Street (“Baker” backwards): analysts who ignore clues, dismiss key evidence.
See: Proleptic Dhimmi, ASSO21C, Own-Goal War Journalism

Religiosity: a style of living one’s religious beliefs in the social world.

Demotic Religiosity: egalitarian, treats all with dignity.
Triumphalist Religiosity: hierarchical, treats infidels with contempt

Replacement Theology: monotheist claim to replace predecessors as chosen.

Secular Replacement Theology (SRC): GPL values have replaced religion.
Supersessionism: claim to sit on top (supersedeo) of predecessor. See: Triumphalist Religiosity, Zero-Sum Games, Dhimmitude

Schadenfreude: The pleasure one takes in the suffering of another, malevolent envy.

Moral Schadenfreude: pleasure in another’s loss of moral “high ground.”

Self-criticism: ability to both generate self-criticism and hear criticism from others. See: MOS.

Semiotic Arousal: readily seeing signs and meaningful patterns in data/events.

Semiotic Promiscuity: anything means anything, connect with abandon. See also: Eisogesis, Moral Equivalence

Shame Murders: murder of family member (women) driven by peer-enforced shame.

Social Game theory: emotional aspects of zero-sum and positive-sum game-playing.

Zero-Sum games: one side wins, other loses; one only wins if other side loses.
See: Lethal Narratives, Triumphalism, HSJP, Schadenfreude
Positive-Sum games: win-win; voluntaristic; based on trust/trustworthiness
Negative-Sum games: lose-lose; losing 0-sum… make everyone miserable.

Strong-Horse Politics: actors seek out the strong horse, participating in his dominion. See: Prime Divider Society, HSJP, Zero-Sum Games

Triumphalist religiosity: “Our God True God because we rule.” Our dominion proves our Religion the True one. See: Replacement Theology, Supersessionism, Dominating Imperative

Muslim triumphalism: Destiny of Islam to rule over mankind.

Two-State Solution (2SS): positive-sum resolution to Palestinian-Israeli conflict. See: Oslo Logic, Y2KMind

Verbal Vegetarians: speech of conflict-averse Westerners avoiding confrontations
See: Muslim Triumphalism. Proleptic Dhimmitide.

Victimology: study of victims, impact of victim experience on their behavior. See: Demopaths and their Dupes, MOS, MoPreMoS&PoMoM,

Y2K: Year 2000, computer bug problem.

Y2KCompliant: capable of handling switch to 2000 (computers); capable of tolerating others in global millennium (religion)
Y2KMind: insisting Palestinians ready for Oslo Logic no matter how they behave.
Y2K Logic: Since 2SS only fair solution, Palestinians/Muslims will, under right circumstances, accept a deal. See: LCE, Demopaths and their Dupes, Oslo Jihad, PCP1.

Pallywood 2017: The meaning of the Becky Anderson-UNRWA gaffes

Those paying attention to matters of Pallywood, or the faking of news in order to target a given population with lethal narratives, had a double feast yesterday and today. First UNRWA, the UN agency for helping the Palestinian refugees, used a picture of a forlorn Syrian girl, living in ruins caused by the wars of rule and resistance in that part of the Arab political world, to relay a lethal narrative about Israel, all for the benefit of fundraising for the work of UNRWA.

Imagine being cut off from the world – for your whole life. That’s reality for children like Aya. The blockade of Gaza began when she was a baby, the occupation in the West Bank before her parents were born. Now she is eleven, and the blockade goes on.
Aya’s childhood memories are of conflict and hardship, walls she cannot escape, and the fear that the only home she knows, however tiny, could be gone when she returns from school.
This Ramadan, please help support children like Aya who have known nothing but conflict and hardship. Donate here:

Even those unaware of how much UNRWA employees are either Hamas agents or their dhimmis, can appreciate the moral degradation involved here. Appealing dishonestly to people’s pitying concern for Palestinians, by providing a heavy dollop of moral Schadenfreude about Israel, in order to raise money to prolong the victimization of Gazans.

For a German article on this issue, see Stefan Frank’s take.

Caliphate Cogwar, Lethal, Own-Goal Journalism, and BDS

The Place of BDS and the Caliphate Cogwar

BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) is part and parcel of a wider cognitive war (cogwar) offensive against both Israel and the West. Cogwar is the main resort of the weak side in an asymmetrical conflict, whose task is to convince the enemy not to use its superior forces to resist attacks from the weaker side. While most asymmetric cogwar conflicts are defensive (chase out the imperialists), the Caliphate cogwar (see below), is an imperialist effort to invade and subject the far more powerful enemy, the modern, democratic West.

BDS pursues two major goals: stigmatizing Israel in the world community, and undermining the workings of a free academy in the West. This two goals strike at both major targets of Caliphate cogwar, Israel and Western democracies. It is based on weaponized false information (Pallywood), and its surprising success in enrolling Western “progressives,” illustrates the degree of disorientation current among Western thought leaders.

How disoriented must one be to look at the ME, where “human rights” don’t even exist in the Muslim-majority world, and blame Israel for the region’s woes because they have failed to provide more protection and human rights to a sworn enemy of both Israel and human rights. Without the disturbing receptivity of liberals and progressives in the West to the absurd portrayal of Israel as a particularly nasty case of human rights violations, BDS would rapidly fade.

This essay is less concerned with understanding BDS – a secondary phenomenon – than understanding from where BDS draws its strength by placing it within the larger context of a cogwar conducted against the West by Muslims who believe that Islam should replace the US/West as global hegemon. It describes the Caliphaters, and the invasive cogwar they wage against the West, and their strategy of using of anti-Zionism, assisted by Western lethal, own-goal journalism, to hit the West in its “soft underbelly.”

Caliphaters: Their Aims, Targets, and Means

It has proven remarkably difficult for the West, Europe in particular, to understand the nature of their most dangerous 21st century enemy: the Caliphaters. Caliphaters are Muslims who believe that this generation will see the revival and spread of the Caliphate to the entire world: Where there was Dar al Harb, (world of war), there shall be Dar al Islam (world of submission). They see globalization as a praeparatio caliphatae, a (largely unconscious) vehicle for the final spread of Islam. For the impatient it’s this generation; for those with more patience, it’s this century (1400-1500 AH/ 1979-2076 CE).

Caliphater is a “lumping” term that includes both “violent extremists” and more “moderate” activists who operate within the parameters of Western democracy. Such believers not only strive for this Islamist victory through violent jihad (Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas, Hizbullah, Iranian Revolutionary Guard), but also through verbal, non-violent, da’wa, or “summons to the faith” (Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Jamaat e-Islami). As Yussuf al Qaradawi, one of the most popular Muslim Brotherhood preachers put it:

The US and Europe will be conquered not by Jihad, but by Da’wa.

Thus not all Caliphaters are alike (just like not all democrats are alike), and specialists can enumerate the differences between various groups at will; indeed some insist that the “moderates” and the extremists have little or nothing to do with each other. Identifying Muslims as a Caliphaters by means signifies that they are all the same. But it does identify a critical belief in a common destiny.

And often enough, it’s not really an either-or. Historically, da’wa and jihad go together: first summons, then jihad; with Bin Laden it went the other way: declare war and strike first (Bin Laden, 1996, 2001), then issue a summons (2002). After a jihadi attack, da’wa steps in as the “nice cop.” Among Caliphaters, the use of violence, is more a matter of timing than principle: like the treaty of Hudaybiyya, Arafat’s model for his participation in the “Oslo Peace Process“: pro-peace when weak, pro-war when strong. In any case, wherever they happen to fall along the gamut from non-violent to beserker, Caliphaters all agree that the supreme goal, for which it is an honor to sacrifice one’s life, is the dominion of Islam over the whole earth.

Caliphaters are ferociously dedicated, adaptable, creative, quick learners, and, in the jihadi version, antinomian: “Allah wills it, everything is permitted.” They, like all millennial believers, have enormous appeal, since they call on people to fulfill a cosmic destiny. For caliphaters of all kinds, life, indeed everything they do, is filled with  meaning.

Caliphaters hate Israel above all other infidels. These autonomous Jews have invaded (what was and should be) Dar al Islam, and despite how few in number, they resist all Arab efforts to wipe them out. For Caliphaters, Israel’s blasphemous existence brings shame to their triumphalist Islam, which must dominate in order to be true.

Israel’s a problem for all triumphalist Muslims, whether they think that this is the generation that will spread Islam to the rest of the world (Caliphaters), or just restore Dar al Islam to its former borders (including Spain, the Balkans and India). Caliphaters, however, consider all unsubjected infidels an insult to them, and to their religion. Hence their greater hostility to America than to Europeans with whom Muslims have many and much more serious scores to settle. Since the Caliphate aims to replace the US as the global hegemon, the US, by its very prominence is hated most in the West. Thus, Caliphaters consider the West (US) and Israel as the high priority targets: great and little Satans.

The Strategy of Caliphater Cogwar against the West

Caliphaters undertake a deeply asymmetrical war when they seek to conquer the earth: both culturally and militarily, they are at an immense disadvantage (and the idea that they have numbers on their side suggests that they believe that most of the 1.x million Muslims on the planet secretly side with them). Indeed, the asymmetry is so great that most Westerners, informed of Caliphater goals, either laugh in scorn at so foolish a notion, or view those who persist in pressing the point as “Islamophobes.” As a result, no matter how spectacular their military attacks on infidel civilians might be, at least for the time being, that terror campaign remains a adjunct to the main battlefield, the cogwar.

Caliphaters, planning the far more massive task of invading and subjecting the West, discovered that Westerners had a “soft-underbelly,” a point of easiest invasion: namely, their susceptibility to anti-Zionism. In this Caliphaters could appeal to supersessionist Christians and post-Christians who do not like – indeed deeply fear – autonomous Jews (Israel). By feeding what has proven to be an astonishingly strong Western appetite for stories about Jews behaving badly, Caliphaters could win a triple strategic victory over Western infidel dupes:

  • Get one infidel target (the West) to side with the Caliphaters against another infidel target (Israel).
  • Disorient the duped infidels into so misreading the situation in Israel, that they make policy choices that play into the Caliphaters’ hand.
  • Take over Western activist projects and turn them towards violent opposition to Israel; invade their universities both academically and through student groups, and bully the “human rights” community.

In principle, it seemed like a pretty tall order way back in the late 20th century. Would the West be so stupid, both empirically and strategically? Would pacifist progressives embrace misogynist jihadis?

Palestinian Cogwar against Israel and Lethal Journalism

Alas, the news in the 21st century is not good. This improbable cogwar, with its outrageous expectations of cooperation from targeted victims, has been going spectacularly well for the Caliphaters for 16 years at least. And this sudden turn of the tide in their favor, their first global victory, came with the “Al Aqsa Intifada” (late 2000). At that point, the Western mainstream news media (WMSNM) turned fully against Israel, adopted the Israeli Goliath/Palestinian David frame as their “nut,” and began presenting the lethal narratives of Palestinian war propaganda as news, starting with the al Durah blood libel (2000) and the Jenin “Massacre” (2002). Fifteen years later, and they’re still doing it.

Thinking that they sided with the scrappy Palestinian David, fighting for the freedom and independence of their “yearned for” state, these lethal journalists pumped Jihadi war propaganda into the Western sphere as real events. This “lethal journalism” played a critical role in convincing the world to see the Israelis as Palestinian war propaganda wanted: the Israeli Goliath oppressing the Palestinian victim (underdogma). In its most malicious supersessionist avatar, the Palestinians “are” the “new Jews,” victims of genocide, and the Israelis, the new Nazis, committing it. Indeed, Al Durah specifically opened the portals of the public sphere to their claims: after 2000, comparing Israel to Nazis went mainstream.

Picture from International ANSWER, Quote from Catherine Nay

Picture from International ANSWER, Quote from Catherine Nay

This first, sudden, violent, often hysterical wave of hostility to Israel in the West, what Sharansky called the 3Ds (2000-2003), operated as a cultural buzz-saw whose effects we see today in BDS: outrage trumps discussion; defending Israel is unconscionable; no peace without justice (revenge). With the help of lethal journalists, the Al Durah icon of hatred – IDF targets children – became a dominant Western meme, both emotionally (in hostility to Israel) and cognitively (in receptivity to further slander).

And so each time Israel fought back – Jenin and Bethlehem (2002), Lebanon (2006), Cast Lead (2008/9), Mavi Marmara (2010), Pillar of defense (2012), Protective Edge (2014) – the WMSNM complied extensively with the demands of the “Palestinians” to tell their story: the “vast majority” of victims of Israeli bombing were innocent civilians. If an Gazan cameraman came up with a fourth-rate job of “filming the IDF murder of an innocent child,” then true it must be. If Saeb Erekat says the IDF massacred hundreds of innocent civilians in Jenin and buried them in mass graves, true it must be.

Thus, for the last 16 years, every time Israel defended itself against the Jihad declared against it, the lethal school of journalists dominated coverage: Palestinian suffering and Israeli aggression 24/7. The world saw what Palestinian leadership wished it to see, and sided with them against the bully Israeli Goliath… actually siding with the Caliphaters against the infidels resisting subjection.

The Palestinian cogwar strategy in their asymmetrical conflict with the IDF: get world outrage to stop Israel from fighting, so we can recover and start another round. The Jihadi cogwar strategy: use the newswashed propaganda about Israel to rouse Jihad – show the Muslim world how Israel/the West are trying to exterminate Muslims and destroy Islam.

Journalists who did not seem to mind damaging to Israel, showed no sign of understanding that their lethal journalism, was also own-goal journalism, in which they “newswashed” enemy propaganda in their own public sphere, poisoning their own societies, disorienting their consumers, and electrifying the forces of the Caliphate the world over.

The Caliphater Cogwar against the West

The rest of the world, not knowing that their media was systematically misinforming them according to the instructions of Caliphaters, believed these things. Indeed, the West was one of the target audiences for this performance, and progressive “outrage” – played out in public venues like Durban (2001) and the anti-war rallies of the early aughts (2002, 2003) – united post-colonial progressives and Caliphaters, who joined in angry protests shouting “Death to the Jews!”

And for over a decade, the same journals that newswashed jihadi lethal narratives about Israel, fell silent on the genocidal discourse that war propaganda provoked. By 2014, the cry became so widespread, even the journalists mentioned it. Whatever the calculus on who won in Israel’s military “operations” against her neighbors, every such clash in the 21st century has meant a tenfold victory for the global Caliphaters.

The success of the Caliphater attack on Israel in the West has been immense, and the impact of its disorientation has been extensive on the West’s ability to recognize and deal with developments both in the Middle East (where more Caliphaters are open Jihadis), and in dealing with domestic Caliphaters (largely cogwarriors doing Da’wa). In France, any suggestion that Jihadi terrorists shared traits with wider circles of Muslims gets shouted down, “surtout pas d’amalgames.”

Even Western policy and intelligence circles (James Clapper during the badly misnamed “Arab Spring”, 2011), use the language of moderation for the ur-Caliphater group, Muslim Brotherhood which believes that “the US and Europe will be conquered not by Jihad but by Da’wa.” So Caliphaters, people working for the dominion of Muslims over infidels, the world over, go undetected by Westerners disoriented, in significant part, because they are blinded by the wildly successful, anti-Zionist cogwar campaign Caliphaters conduct against them. In 2015, after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, and again after those on the Bataclan, the French radically underinformed about Caliphaters, asked “Why.”

pourquoi

Place de la République, January 2015

One “high” point in this anti-Zionist cogwar strategy of disorientating the West came in 2002, when Europeans openly cheered on the Jihadi use of suicide terror (against Israel), a weapons soon to be trained on them. In the Spring of 2002, lethal journalists pumped Palestinian war propaganda into the West as news: Israel had massacred hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the “Jenin Massacre” and buried them in mass graves – i.e. just like the Nazis in the Holocaust. Consumers of this lethal narrative came out in the streets to protest, some wearing suicide belts to celebrate the plucky Palestinians, who “had no choice,” but to blow themselves up among Israeli civilians in their desperation (to get a state).

Thus did the global progressive Left completely misread the Jihadi war declared on Israel (and them) and instead treat it as a national liberation movement, and thus did she eagerly greet the first appearance of the most potent weapon of Jihad’s apocalyptic death cult – suicide terror/shahida – a weapon that haunts the 21st century. Had you told the signers of the Hamas Charter that in two decades, infidels would be cheering on shahids and shouting “we are Hamas” in the streets of European capitals, they would have said, “Only Allah can make a people that stupid.”

Jeremy Corbyn, useful infidel and head of Labour Party in England

How much easier to believe that if only Israel weren’t so mean (so Goliathish), then we’d have peace. Those who took the easy path – criticize Israel, shield Palestinians from criticism – dominate the Western public sphere, from the NYT, Le Monde, HaAretz, and the BBC, across the major agencies (Reuters, AP, AFP, Al Jazeera). It’s always easier to criticize those who won’t retaliate than those who will. As a result, own-goal war journalism – running enemy propaganda as news – has dominated news coverage and poisoned the global public sphere for at least 16 years.

BDS represents the most elaborately weaponized form of this cogwar. It mobilizes lethal narratives, especially those newswashed, and displays them on campuses (Israel Apartheid Week), before attempting to get student and scholarly organizations to vote boycotts against the Israel. Like Palestinian war campaigns, they don’t have to win the actual battle, in order to win; even when they lose, they both to stigmatize Israel as a global pariah, and bully academic standards into abandoning their intellectual integrity. Win-win for the losers.

Another Review of Heaven on Earth

[I recently got another review of my book on millennialism, this time in an Indian journal. It’s quite favorable, but my favorite part is what he says about my footnotes, which were in many cases, my favorite part of writing the book.]

Subhashis Chattopadhyay, “Review of Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience, by Richard Landes,” (Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX Prabuddha Bharata, May 2017, pp. 480-82.

White supremacists including the historian Niall Ferguson (b.1964), the singer Steve Hofmeyr (b.1964) want the African continent to be a failed democracy. [?] Afrikaners are readying for the day when whites in South Africa’s metropolises will run to the hinterlands of South Africa for shelter. Many Afrikaners are convinced that doomsday is at hand, albeit, to be brought about by South Africa’s black majority. (See Benjamin Zand, ‘Afrikaners on the Edge’, Our World, BBC, 17 September 2016). In early 2016 Turkey witnessed one of its goriest coup attempts fuelled by Fethullah Gülen (b.1941). And India is reeling from suicide as explained in ‘Suicide Terrorism’ in the book under review (462-3) and other terrorist attacks including the one in Uri, Kashmir in September 2016. The ISIS shows no signs of letting up. All of these extremist movements are fuelled by millennialist ideologies. From the paranoid Afrikaner in his hinterland hideout to Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the present leader of Boko Haram, now incorporated into the ISIS, to the ISIS lone-wolves throughout the globe as discussed in ‘Internet Jihad’ (464),the popularity of ‘execution videos’ and to Pakistan’s ISIS, handlers controlling suicide bombers in India; each of them believes that their actions will finally win them heaven (430-7).

His desire for ‘heaven on earth’ needs to be studied to understand and end genocides. There are two ways to understand this deadly phenomenon of millennialism—one through literature and the other through meticulous historiography. Haruki Murakami in his Underground (2000), and IQ24 (2011) and Stephen King in his The Stand (1978) and Revival (2014) show the disastrous consequences of millennial or fundamentalist movements. Both know that neuroses and the need for certainties—Kantian categorical imperatives—lead to disasters. Haruki Murakami’s texts provide us with the literary perspective required for comprehending millennial frenzy. Murakami has recorded the religious cult Aum Shinrikyo’s 1995 Tokyo subway gas attack in his Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche (2000). The gassing was fuelled by millennialism. Later Murakami studies the millennial, cultic mindset in his IQ84.

Richard Landes’s book is the historical counterpart of Murakami’s literary oeuvre. Landes’s constructs a historical matrix needed to understand our desire for utopias on earth from the ancient Egyptians till date in ‘Imperial Millennialism’ (149-84). Landes’s study of millennial longings is matched only by Richard Slotkin’s work on American exceptionalism. If one studies Murakami, Slotkin, and Landes synoptically then one understands how all utopias have as their inevitable telos, dystopic Orwellian worlds. Landes’s book under review performs its cultural work by making explicit the raison d’être for the existence of all sorts of cults and fanatics who believe that our/their time of reckoning is very near.

Nidra Poller on the Sarah Halimi Case

Nidra Poller was among the first to report in English on the Sarah Halimi atrocity. The following excerpts are from Parts 2, 3 and 6 of her extensive French presidential election coverage.

Part 2, Update:  5 April

French Presidential Campaign Part 2 UPDATE

5 April 2017

I drop in to the Shir Hadash Bookstore on rue des Rosiers at the end of the day. Madame Magnichever comes in, pale and troubled, and whispers to me: “A dear friend… we’ve known her for 40 years…she was assassinated… an Islamist pushed her out the window.”

Reports of the incident came out first in Jewish media, then it was picked up by a few two generalist sites: A Jewish woman in her mid-sixties was pushed out of a third (in U.S. 4th)-floor window by a 27 year-old Muslim neighbor who, according to some accounts, had recently become radicalized. He had frequent run-ins with the police for violence and “petty” crime. According to testimony of a  neighbor who witnessed the crime, the assailant who shouted allahu akhbar as he pushed the victim out the window. He is in police custody, undergoing psychiatric examination. Police sources say he made “incoherent statements” (we’ve heard that before).

Detail will follow in Part 3 of the ongoing series.   

From Ilan to Sarah Halimi: Shameful France

French public intellectual, Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine, has written an open letter to Gerard Collomb, the new French Minister of the Interior about the stunning silence in the French public sphere about the terrible murder of Sarah Halimi, a doctor, who was tortured and murdered by her Muslim Arab neighbor while three armed policemen stood outside her door waiting for backup. Below is a translation of the text by André Unterberger with some changes by me.

An open letter to Gerard Collomb [1]: from Ilan [0] to Sarah Halimi, a shameful France

Source: ATLANTICO
Mr Minister,

A 65-yr old Jewish lady MD, during her sleep, is attacked and atrociously tortured for more than one hour.  She lives in a modest apartment in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, rue Vaucouleurs. The murderer,  who reached her apartment through the balcony, attacks with incredible violence, resulting in about twenty fractures all over her face and body.

He then throws her, dying, out of the window, from the 3rd floor. During all this time, the police (3 men with weapons, present in the building just outside the apartment door) do nothing. The neighbours (several dozen) can hear the victim’s yells:  they do nothing either. The French media are alerted. They make no queries and do not report the murder.

Her name was Sarah … Sarah Halimi.

This atrocious scene did not happen in 1942, before or after the “Rafle du Veld’hiv” [2] but in the night from April 3rd to April 4th, 2017, in a tiny apartment close to the “Bataclan” [3]: Cries of “Allah Akbar” accompanied the scene. The next Sunday, a silent march was organised in the area. Youngsters from the nearby quarters countered it with yells of “Mort aux Juifs” or “We own kalachnikovs”.

The Paris public prosecutor immediately pointed out that one should wait for the result of the enquiry before issuing conclusions about the nature of the crime. Who knows? An elderly Jewish lady savagely massacred by a 27-yr old Islamist with many priors (drug trafficking, assault): this could just be a dispute between neighbours… Never mind that the murderer, Kada Taore, from Mali, insulted the victim on a regular basis, and she had reported to neighbours how frightened she was by him. “We are at war”, Manuel Valls proclaimed [4]: “so that Muslims will not feel ashamed any more and Jews will not be frightened any more.” A smashing success.

Mr Minister, you have just taken your position in a country where it is once again possible to murder Jews without eliciting much concern from our fellow Frenchmen and women. By the way, the men who have been in charge before you, both on the left and the right, preferred not to look any further than the end of the broom with which they swept the problem under the carpet. None were up to this challenge. Will you be? This Sunday May 21. on I24News [5], Sarah Halimi’s brother said with extraordinary dignity; “I have waited 7 weeks before I said anything. The absolute silence about my sister’s assassination has become intolerable.”

Further thoughts on Yom Yerushalayim in dialogue:

My Yom Yerushalayim post engendered an exchange with the author of the article I fisked. I asked permission to post one of my long answers and he agreed with this request:

Ok. BUT. I would want you to add 2 points in my name:
1. I am convinced that no one is immune or protected from messianic excess. We are all human.
2. The delegitmation of the “bleeding heart liberals” troubles me. Our opponents refuse to concede that we care and love Israel even if we reach different conclusions. We may be wrong but we care deeply.

****

You exaggerate our faults (that’s your right as a Jew – it’s what the prophets did all the time), and you minimize theirs (why bother confronting them?). As a result, you feed their worst instincts.
The occupation is running amok. Murderers are being eulogized as heroes. Settlers terrorize Palestinians. These “exceptions” are becoming the rule, with the active encouragement of the government (note the recent event run for school age children on how to make sure that a terrorist is dead).
Every statement here needs to be tempered and contextualized, especially when in comparison with real, run-away, violent messianism (which few nations have resisted). You see this all as signs of imminent outbreak/collapse of the moral fiber of the nation. Given we are a garrison state, i’d say it’s amazing it’s this contained.
If the people who buy into the Zionazi theory were right about us (that we treat the Palestinians as the Nazis did us) we’d have massacred every last Arab we could find in 1948. And outsiders would probably have forgiven us our madness. After all, we had just escaped an inconceivably huge attempt at our systematic destruction, and so our paranoia – exterminate or be exterminated – with enemies who had openly allied with the Nazis, would have been fully justified by any law of nations to that point. Look at what the allies did to the Germans and the Japanese – wholescale slaughter to put an end to the madness.

The Echo Chamber of Dupes: Human Rights Discourse in Service of Demopathy

I came across a recent article by Ron Dudai, “Entryism, mimicry and victimhood work: the adoption of human rights discourse by right-wing groups in Israel,” The International Journal of Human Rights, May, 2017.

His basic claim is that “right-wing” groups imitate, seek to be included in, and exploit “human rights” discourse in order to pursue a “right-wing” agenda whose aims are to hijack the movement from within, defend Israel and undermine the Palestinian struggle for their human rights. It’s a classic product of the PoMo-PoCo-Po-Zi discourse heavily favored at Hebrew U, and especially among Buber Fellows (of which he is one): filled with fashionable jargon – entryism, aggressive, colonial mimicry, mimetic isomorphism, counter-hegemonic strategy, etc. (It’s actually not as bad as it might be; and I shouldn’t complain because I make up terminology all the time.)

What’s striking about the article is the echo chamber effect of current “liberal/progressive” thought. It’s logic (and documentation) are impeccable within that echo chamber, recently criticized by the President of Wesleyan (!). The possibility, however, of anomalous evidence entering this mental universe has been minimized to the point where key questions cannot even arise, alternative perspectives cannot even be imagined.

The core of the problem revolves around two issues. First, the reification of the “right-left” phenomenon, as if (according to the medieval school of realists) when the author says “right-wing” that designates a real entity, and not his effort to organize a reality that his terms cannot possibly comprehend. Thus, the differences between what he identifies as “right-wing” and what he considers “progressive” or “left-wing human rights” movements are so fundamental, that the behavior of one side can only be malevolent, and the other only be beneficent.

Second, having reified the dyad, he cannot see any possibility that his criticism of the “right” for invoking human rights to undermine human rights (ie, demopathy“) has already occurred among the major “left-wing human rights groups,” and has been causing havoc in human rights for decades. As a result, he sees a group like NGO Monitor as essentially attempting to hamper the work of the “good left-wing” HRGs (which it is), because they are tribal, Israel-first, right-wingers (not Ron Dudai!), not because they’re opposing the devastating effects of “left-wing” HRGs that are working hand in hand with some of the worst “right-wing” demopaths on the planet. The damage done by this extensive “left-wing” adoption of the “human rights” discourse of demopathic Caliphaters (CAIR, Linda Sarsour, Marwan Barghouti) not only harms Israel (the only “human rights respecting” nation in the entire region), but the very cause of human rights.

(Not) Celebrating Jerusalem Day: Fisking a friend

A good friend and colleague wrote the following piece in 2013. At the time, I said nothing despite my profound disagreement. Recently he recirculated the piece on Academia.com, and, with the approach of the 50th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem, I find myself, as one historian to another, compelled to fisk.

THE JERUSALEM REPORT

MAY 20, 2013

Since I fear the long-term outcome of the Six Day War victory, and the poison pill of occupation, I do not celebrate Jerusalem Day.
A historian’s nightmare

FOR A number of years I have refused to celebrate Jerusalem Day, which falls on Iyar 28, or May 8 this year [this year, May 24]. Yes, although I lived in New York at the time, I am old enough to remember the fears that gripped us in the weeks preceding the Six Day War, the thrill of the news that enemy air forces had been destroyed on the ground, the capture of the Old City of Jerusalem, and the declaration that the Temple Mount was in “our” hands. Nevertheless, as the consequences of the 1967 war became clearer, I began to view Jerusalem Day as the opening act of a national tragedy. For many years, I was reluctant to publish the piece below; it seemed far too extreme.

Indeed it was, and still is.

The composition of the new coalition government, whose representatives in key places are committed to generous funding of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, has changed my mind. I fear what will come to pass sometime in the future: Israel – a pariah state – about which no one really cares what happens to its Jewish citizens, since they have lost all moral claim to life;

This is a classic case of inverse moral relativism, or maybe moral perfectionism (exceptionally high moral expectations of self) combined with humanitarian racism (no moral expectations of others) that systematically bows to the grotesque attitude of mean-spirited outsiders as some kind of “reality.” We have not by any means lost a moral claim to life. Israel is an (the?) outstanding case of a democracy that, under conditions that have produced totalitarianism in democratic experiments (starting with the French “revolutionary” terror), has remained robust (even if most of its citizens don’t agree with you). To accept the revolting claims of moral idiots like Terje Roed-Larsen, looking at the ruins of five square blocks of Jenin refugee camp in 2002 through the eyes of the news reports of a “Jenin Massacre” declared that “Israel has lost all moral ground in this conflict,” is to in fact abdicate moral responsibility.

Actually, I’d argue the exact opposite. It’s because Israel, in comparison with other nations – and certainly with our neighbors – has such an exceptional moral record (I know, not good enough for you, but, remember, this is a comparative statement), that the reason we are reviled by the “global ‘progressive’ left” is that we are their superior rivals, whom they need desperately to dethrone in order to strut, suicidally, on the global stage as the cutting edge of civilizational values.

Case Study of Lethal Journalism: NYT and Marwan Barghouti

Possibly the single most disorienting aspect of news coverage in the 21st century, was the way the mainstream news media – the main papers and news agencies and TV news studios – presented the “Second Intifada.” For them, the dominant, indeed, the hegemonic, narrative was the Israeli Goliath trying to crush the Palestinian David. Aside from the deep misunderstanding of all the cultural issues in this region that make Arab and Muslim “secular nationalism” and “freedom fighting” inappropriate terms (as was later so spectacularly illustrated by the “Arab Spring”), it completely missed the other narrative, that of global Jihad.

As a result, Western observers were repeatedly exposed by their journalists to a “lethal journalism” that ran Palestinian Jihadi propaganda as news, and portrayed Israel as the murderous, rogue, colonialists running roughshod on Palestinian “civil society.” So when the IDF went after Palestinian mass-murderers, using global Jihad’s most potent new weapon, suicide mass murder of infidels, not only did the press jump all over false reports of an IDF massacre at Jenin, but European “progressives” actually cheered on the monstrous weapon, soon to be aimed at them. In the 21st century, it turns out, lethal journalism against Israel is actually own-goal lethal journalism: running your enemy’s propaganda as news.

If anyone thinks that the long list of scandalous and damaging errors our journalists have made over the last two decades, is in decline, consider the latest. The New York Times, famous for its scrupulous “back and forth” with authors in its op-ed pages, ran the propaganda of a convicted Palestinian terrorist on its op-ed pages, with no fact-checking, and disguising the nature of his crimes. As a result, readers of the Times were treated to a long anti-Israel diatribe by Marwan Barghouti, described by the editors as “a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.” One could excuse Westerners so informed for thinking that a) the Palestinian Parliament is an operative democratic institution, and b) a Palestinian leader struggles for his people’s freedom, not their sacrifice in the goal of destroying another people’s freedom.

This time, however, the Times felt the blowback. Vigorous criticism got them a rebuke from the paper’s public editor, prompting a “correction.”

I asked Jim Dao, editor of the Op-Ed pages, about the decision not to include Barghouti’s crimes. Dao noted that the piece does say the author received multiple life sentences but he acknowledged that it doesn’t state the crimes for which he was convicted. “We are drafting an editors’ note that will provide that information,” he said.

Here’s the note, attached after our exchange:

This article explained the writer’s prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Mr. Barghouti declined to offer a defense at his trial and refused to recognize the Israeli court’s jurisdiction and legitimacy.

[snip]

This isn’t a new issue for the Opinion section. I have written before on the need to more fully identify the biography and credentials of authors, especially details that help people make judgments about the opinions they’re reading. Do the authors of the pieces have any conflicts of interest that could challenge their credibility? Are they who they say they are, and can editors vouch for their fidelity?

I see no reason to skimp on this, while failing to do so risks the credibility of the author and the Op-Ed pages.

In this case, I’m pleased to see the editors responding to the complaints, and moving to correct the issue rather than resist it. Hopefully, it’s a sign that fuller disclosure will become regular practice.

I guess beggars can’t be choosy, but this is half-hearted at the most; and the brave Liz Spayd is too easily mollified.

five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization?

Alex Safian: NPR’s Terror Problem: When Is A Terrorist A Terrorist?

In reading an important article by Kenneth Lasson, “Betraying Truth: The Abuse of Journalistic Ethics in Middle East Reporting, I came across a reference to an important article by CAMERA’s Alex Safian on NPR’s use of the term terrorist in the early aughts (ie opening years of the 21st century). Since I only found it with imbedded commands, and it is neither up at his page at CAMERA, nor available at National Review Online, I publish it here for reference. 

NPR’s Terror Problem: When Is A Terrorist A Terrorist?

Alex Safian, National Review Online, June 10, 2003,

Suicide bombers strike civilian targets in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, and National Public Radio quite reasonably labels the attacks “terror” and the attackers “terrorists,” but when — at almost the same time — Palestinian suicide bombers launch five attacks against Israelis, NPR reporters, and hosts, as they have in the past, virtually banish the word “terror” from their vocabulary.

Nakba… Naksa… Naqsba: The Victimization of Palestinian Refugees

Fragments in honor of Naqba Day

  • The original meaning of Nakba: the catastrophe Arab leadership brought on the refugees from their failed war. It was initially voiced by refugees as criticism of the Arab elite.
  • Naksa: (the setback), the term to designate the repeat catastrophe that befell the Arab world under Nasser in 1967: global humiliation, Israel from the river to the sea, Jerusalem in Jewish hands.
  • Current meaning of Nakba (as in Nakba Day): accusation against Israel for treating Palestinians so terribly, sometimes accompanied with comparisons of the Holocaust and the Nakba.
  • This is same scapegoating discourse that created the Nakba in the first place: accusing Israel, erasing criticism of Arab leaders.
  • Naqsba: the mentality of those Arab leaders who scapegoat Israel while abusing their own people, and thereby perpetuate an ongoing catastrophe for Arab people in Arab lands, especially for Palestinians.
  • The way for Palestinians to put an end to the Nakba is to stop blaming Israel and self-criticize. Ouch. A little help here, “western” (ie privileged) progressives? Or is it just too important to you to blame Israel. Ouch.

The term nakba first appeared among refugees to describe the catastrophe that befell them in the failed Arab war to destroy Israel. Told to flee their homes with rumors of Jewish slaughter even cannibalism, to make way for the victorious Arab armies that would defeat this terrible enemy, not only did they get imprisoned in refugee camps, but their neighbors who stayed, not only didn’t get slaughtered, but got treated far better by their Israeli “enemies” than those who fled got treated by their Arab “hosts”. Indeed, one phrase for referring to this catastrophically shameful event was: lammā sharnā wa-tla’nā (“when we blackened our faces and left”).

So one of the original meanings of Nakba was a reproach from “refugees,” the greatest victims of the Arab elite’s irresponsible war, against Arab leaders for their terrible treatment of their own people (lying to them to get them to run, impoverishing them, and imprisoning them in camps to await the day of vengeance). There was even an element of self-reproach for running. In any case, Israel was neither the main culprit, nor even the main target of the criticism. Part of the shame of running, was the Israeli treatment of Arabs who stayed.

Over the last couple of decades, the meaning of Nakba has been completely reversed. It now designates the catastrophe that Israel brought on the “Palestinian refugees,” kicking them out and not letting them back in. The role of the Arab elites in creating the catastrophe, and prolonging it by keeping the refugees in camps, is erased, and its place taken by a loud outrage at Israeli sins and fierce calls for Al Awda – the return.

This reversal of blame rides on the analogy that Palestinians make about how their suffering is somehow equivalent to the Holocaust, and that they are the new Jews, and the Israelis are the new Nazis. It feeds so nicely into the (false) equivalency: what the Nazis did to the Jews, the Israelis did to the Palestinians. How sad! How appalling of the Jews… no sooner do they take power than they do onto others what was done to them.

This switch in meaning is being pushed by the same Arab leadership that brought on the Nakba, with the same strategies of victimizing their own people in pursuit of restoring Arab honor, and scapegoating the Jews as guilty ones. Those outsiders (non-Palestinian progressives, or diaspora Palestinians) who adopt this inverted narrative, thereby support the Arab Nakba-causers, and their descendents who want to prolong the catastrophic policies of Arab forbears, and who benefit from prolonging the suffering of “Palestinians” in pursuit of their irredentist goals.

Naksba: a term to designate the behavior of Arab “leaders” who perpetuate these catastrophes by pursuing the same catastrophic goals and sacrificing their own people in order to attack Israel. Western progressives have no business being Naqsba enablers. It’s almost as if, having taken a time-machine into the middle ages, we were to side with the aristocracy, enabling them to crush their subjects.

From wikipedia:

Initially, the use of the term Nakba among Palestinians was not universal. For example, many years after 1948, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon avoided and even actively resisted using the term, because it lent permanency to a situation they viewed as temporary, and they often insisted on being called “returnees.”[10]

ie: it recognized the naksba logic of turning them into victims, i.e. prolonging their status as refugees.

In the 1950s and 1960s, terms they used to describe the events of 1948 included al-‘ightiṣāb (“the rape”), or were more euphemistic, such as al-‘aḥdāth (“the events”), al-hijra (“the exodus”), and lammā sharnā wa-tla’nā (“when we blackened our faces and left”).[10]

also self-critical or at least a self-reproach. our leaders misled us, but we are shamed for having listened to them and run like cowards.

Nakba narratives were avoided by the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Lebanon in the 1970s, in favor of a narrative of revolution and renewal.

when they have power, they get triumphalist, no more of this victim stuff. we’re headed for victory. result: over a decade of civil war (1975-82) in which 150,000 civilians were killed by various factions, among which the PLO was a major player. (NB: all the Arab-Israeli wars together (1948-present), have produced fewer dead (counting both civilians and soldiers) than ten years of civil war killed of Lebanese civilians).

Interest in the Nakba by organizations representing refugees in Lebanon surged in the 1990s due to the perception that the refugees’ right of return might be negotiated away in exchange for Palestinian statehood, and the desire was to send a clear message to the international community that this right was non-negotiable.[10]

so instead of protesting that Arafat wouldn’t let them into his Palestinian state, the one he’d be creating by (allegedly) giving up this right of return, thus leaving them – even after “independence” – in their brutal Lebanese captivity (naksba policy), the spokesmen for the Lebanese Palestinian refugees (and here i’m guessing a naksba elite, not the refugees whose suffering the world must see and blame on Israel) insist that Arafat not touch “their” right to return to Israel. Everyone show your ancestor’s key. Naqsba thinking all the way.

The Israeli–Palestinian conflict has prompted Palestinians like Mahmoud Darwish to describe the Nakba as “an extended present that promises to continue in the future.”[7]

a stark and pregnant description of the condition of his people. the Naksba mentality – blaming Israel, seeking revenge – is precisely what extends into the ongoing present, the Arab elites’ exploitation of, and sacrifice of, Arab people,especially those they designate “Palestinians,” thus perpetuating this Nakba into the future. 

Napoleon as messianic figure: The Pestiférés de Jaffa and The Letter to the Jews (1799)

I recently discovered a file I had thought was lost on Napoleon. It was an appendix to my book on millennialism. I just found a draft that I sent to an Israeli archeologist and historian, Mordechai Gichon. The focus of the essay is on Napoleon’s messianic pretensions (not specifically biblical, but generic, world-salvific), and his alleged offer to the Jews to come back to the Holy Land and reestablish their sovereignty. The letter only survives in a German translation from the 19th century, and is accordingly of dubious authenticity.

One of the arguments I make for its authenticity, however, concerns the way in which the letter reflects a profound, revolutionary (hence also modern) reversal of notions of honor and shame. Just as Anthony Appiah argues that with modernity key notions that were once considered honorable – slave-owning, dueling, foot-binding – become considered dishonorable/shameful, I argue that what in pre-modern cultures (supersessionist Christian and Muslim cultures) was considered honorable – namely having the Jews live in a degraded status with no sovereignty, become, in Napoleon’s terms: that “which the nations of the world had so shamefully withheld from you.”

Napoleon as messianic figure: The Pestiférés and The Letter to the Jews (1799)

That some contemporaries viewed Napoleon either as the Messiah or the Antichrist is unquestionable.[1] Apparently, at least at certain points in his career, he shared the former view. Certainly, as a consummate master of propaganda, he did not hesitate to encourage others to believe the most of him and his mission.[2]

One of the interesting documents in this dossier is David’s painting of Napoleon and the pest-stricken at Jaffa during his disastrous campaign in the Holy Land. Napoleon himself recalls it as an effort to reassure his soldiers and show no fear. Historians regularly point out the royal pretensions of the act: from the earliest Capetians (and possibly before that), kings of France performed miraculous healings merely by their royal touch.[3] But Napoleon here has no conventional claim to royalty. His act, were it to have succeeded, it would have made a charismatic claim to sovereignty that should not (cannot?) be understood in any traditional monarchical sense.

He had risen to power as a general in the revolutionary army, and if his claim to sacral sovereignty addressed itself to anyone, it was to a revolutionary audience – the French people and all those oppressed of the world whose cottages he would protect as he destroyed the castles of their oppressors. His gesture, had it cured anyone, would have established his right to rule, not as king of France, but something much larger. In 1805, Emperor Napoleon reminisced about how he thought in the Spring of 1799:

Had I been able to take Acre, I would have put on a turban, I would have made my soldiers wear big Turkish trousers, and I would have exposed them to battle only in case of extreme necessity. I would have made them into a Sacred Battalion — my Immortals. I would have finished the war against the Turks with Arabic, Greek, and Armenian troops. Instead of a battle in Moravia, I would have won a Battle of Issus, I would have made myself emperor of the East, and I would have returned to Paris by way of Constantinople.[4]

Bonaparte aspired to be a revolutionary messiah, to take possession of an imperial glory that would have rewritten the very boundaries of civilization and sovereignty on a global scale. If we read Napoleon’s behavior not ex post facto but rather ex post defectu, material that traditional historians might disregard, take on alternative resonance. They sound like the crowing of a rooster that vesperian historians so dislike and distrust.

Take, for example, the famous and contested letter Napoleon addressed to Jews on the 1st of Floreal, Year 7 of the Revolution, inviting them to come to Jerusalem and “to claim the restoration of civic rights among the population of the universe, which had been shamefully withheld from you for thousands of years.”[5] Surviving only in a roughly contemporary German translation, transmitted to modern scholarship by a Frankist family in Prague, the proclamation of a Jewish capital in Jerusalem strikes many historians as so out of synch with Napoleon’s subsequent dealings with the Jews, that they either declare the text a forgery, or dismiss its significance.[6]

Doyle Quiggle on Limbic Captivity (Oneidophobia)

I have recently been in an email exchange with Doyle Quiggle about my new neologism, oneidophobia (pronounced: onēdophobia), or the dread of public humiliation/blame/disgrace. He has emphasized to me the biological underpinnings of these issues, including the role of the limbic system (a.k.a. the “old mammalian brain” that controls emotions, arousal, smell, social processing). As a result, in one of his legendary “squibs” which he gave me permission to post, he wrote the following. (Bold mine, my comments in italics.)

Recalling Salzman’s insight about honor/shame dynamics — that they are inextricable from their specific tribal/clan context — I would like to speculate this: The primary context for the tribal dynamics of honor/shame is the human limbic system, which is evolved and a “pre-adapted” to respond with “social intelligence” to tribal symbols and identity narratives of honor/shame. In the human marketplace, caveat emptor: There is no culture without biology. What we need now is even deeper investigation into the evolutionary cognitive substrates of symbolic intelligence. We need more and better understanding of the biology of symbols.

The shame-honor dynamic is what Pascal Boyer and other researchers of evolutionary cognition, like Franz de Waal, call an innate moral intuition. EO Wilson, Anthony Stevens, & Company call it a pre-adaptation.

[not sure why it’s a moral intuition. seems to me it often can be an amoral, pro-us anti-them intuition.]

The more we discover about cognitive pre-adaptations, the more I suspect that an honor/shame “archetype” is universally embedded. However, it’s the time-tested tribal forms of socialization (in situ tribal cultural practices) that typically wake up the archetype. They also give it a specific behavioral rule book, as Clifford Geertz might say. Traditional tribal cultures have learned, through eons of trial & error, how to gain the tight congruency with honor/shame “innate intuitions” that is required to activate the honor/shame archetype in tribal members. Indeed, it is by gaining congruency (through ritual, symbol, narrative–synchronized bodily and mental movement together in time) with shame intuitions that tribes make an individual into a limbic captive of the tribe itself, thereby compelling complicity with honor codes for the main (selfishly genetic) purpose of tribal survival.

[and survival of “individuals” within the tribe.]

If this sounds like cultic brainwashing, it should — only, I call it, following Daniel Goleman, limbic captivation — for neo-cults are rediscovering,  reinventing, and redeploying those social technologies that do gain congruency with moral intuitions like shame. ISIS and Santa Muerta Drug Cartel Cults are horrifying examples.

Furthermore, honor tribes practice an agonic mode of hierarchical social organization where, “individuals are concerned with warding off threats to their status and inhibiting overt expressions [within the group] of aggressive conflict.”  (Anthony Stevens, Evolutionary Psychiatry.)

[p[in game theory, this is hard zero-sum take on “us-them”. i ascend because you descend. i stay high by keeping you down. i make myself look bigger by making you look smaller.]

The agonic mode of social interaction is ancient, far older than the interactive mode that is compatible (and normally associated) with democratic societies, the [positive-sum] hedonic mode.  Under stress, human beings tend to revert to cognitive systems that are evolutionarily older, moving, for example, very quickly in situations of extreme threat from the human neo-cortex back down to the lizard-brain hypothalamus/hippocampus in nano-seconds. We need more research about the environmental conditions in which groups revert to the social agonistics that attend honor-coded societies.

I suspect that only traditional, time-tested tribal “social technologies” (like ritual and group narrative) can fully, effectively, and predictably activate the shame/honor archetype. Once activated by tribal symbolizations of honor/shame, these honor/shame dynamics heavily burden limbic captives (tribal members) with hot symbols to which they cannot help but respond.  For example, the honor-burdened father cannot resist responding negatively (even violently) to his daughter’s impurity any more than we might resist the urge to flick a fleck of human feces from our face.

[This illustrates what I tried to get at in my comment on the movie Sandstorm. For another example, see the play Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar, where the protagonist is a fully “assimilated” Muslim speaking honestly about 9-11:

And so, even if you’re one of those lapsed Muslims sipping your after-dinner scotch alongside your beautiful white American wife— and watching the news and seeing folks in the Middle East dying for values you were taught were purer— and stricter— and truer… you can’t help but feel just a little a bit of pride. (p.62)

Alas, his beautiful white American wife and her liberal friends cannot forgive him this honest confession.]

Fisking Rob Bryan on Bassem Eid: A Glimpse inside the “Pre-Occupied Mind”

I recently had coffee with Bassem Eid, and he mentioned the following article by Rob Bryan that denounces him as a suck-up, a token Palestinian, pandering to right-wing Jewish audiences. It struck me as so classic an expression of what one might call the “preoccupied mind” (or the mindset of members of the “Cult of the Occupation“), that it seemed worth a fisking.

Meet Bassem Eid, the Former Palestinian Human Rights Activist Who’s Sucking Up to the Israel Lobby

Eid once monitored Israeli human rights abuses. Now he defends them before right-wing audiences.
Here’s the pitch, elaborated below. Caveat emptor, this is not about to give you an honest appraisal of either information or opinion.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Bassem Eid, a stocky 58-year-old Palestinian political analyst, stood in front of an audience of about 30 people this June 22 in the law offices of Duval & Stachenfeld in midtown Manhattan. The crowd snacked on stuffed grape leaves and drank red wine from the Northern Galilee region of Israel, eager to hear an exuberant man hold court on the plight of his people.

The Israeli-American Council (IAC), a lobbying organization explicitly dedicated to strengthening theing a st of questions sent to his personal email regarding his speaking fees. Yet the depth of Eid’s hostility towards the very notion of justice for Palestinians was genuinely surprising, as was the total fealty he showed towards the state whose abuses are well-documented.

Good illustration of the cult of the Preoccupation: justice is defined only in terms of denouncing Israel. The slogan “No peace without justice,” along with “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea!” means “No peace with Israel.”

The “abuses” are “well documented” by organizations like Btselem, which Eid left because they refused to document any abuses of Palestinian rights by their thuggish leaders, who reflect an Arab political culture that alleged “human rights” groups like HRW treat with great delicacy while reaching out to the for funding to “document” Israeli “abuses.”

“Friends,” said Eid, spreading his arms wide, “if you will look today to the Middle East map and the growing Islamic terror in the Middle East, in my opinion, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict became the most safe place in the Middle East.” Not once did he criticize the occupation of the West Bank, the blockade of Gaza, or the discriminatory laws passed against Arab citizens of Israel. To him, these were minor details.

Well, when you’re faced with someone with a light wound, and someone who’s at death’s door, it may make sense to shift the attention to the latter, the no cost target, Israel. Bryan will have none of this. Israel’s abuses, which have somehow produced one of the Arab world’s higher-ranking HDI (Israel’s Arabs and oil-rich countries excluded).

Here’s Eid’s way of putting it.

His animated diatribes sounded like the inner monologue of a right-wing member of Israel’s Knesset, inveighing against the “thugs and gangsters of the so-called BDS” and decrying Students of Justice in Palestine as a “bullshit group.”

He was being nice. SJP is one of the nastiest groups out there, and its founder, Hatem Bazian, one of the most aggressive purveyors of a definition of Islamophobia that strangles any criticism of Islam, and surely made Said proud.

His claim that the Arab League is “a rehabilitation center for handicapped people” drew big laughs. (Eid’s preferred rhetorical device is the one-liner, much to the delight of a middle-aged man sitting next to me who responded as though he was witnessing the second coming of Jackie Mason).

It’s so hard to realize that one (or one’s ally) has made oneself into a parody. The Arab League is indeed a big and bad joke. Here’s their ambassador to the UN explaining why Hamas can’t stop bombing Israel even though it means that their own people get bombed back.

Unpacked, this means, “it’s a no brainer (for us) that if we’re getting the stuffings kicked out of us, we have to keep hitting back (to show we’re men).” As the proverb goes: “Fighting an enemy who is stronger is not honor, it’s pride, often the opposite of honor.” Self-preservation, concern for the well-being of their own people? Not high on the Arab League’s priority list.

Eid’s point exactly.

Letter of Protest to Tom Paradise re: Phyllis Chesler

Barbara Joans, anthropologist, wrote the following letter to Thomas Paradise, the head of the “King Fahd Center for Middle Eastern Studies.” I post it here with her permission.

April 20, 2017

Thomas R. Paradise PhD, Director, University Professor
King Fahd Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Geosciences
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701

Dear Professor Paradise

It is with sadness that I write you about disinviting of Dr. Chesler to your conference on the subject of honor-killings. Since Dr. Chesler has long been one of the few scholars on this topic, it came as a surprise. Much is written about honor-killings but few writers take the time to read, study, research and analyze this cultural behavior. Dr. Chesler is one of the few scholars who actually reviews the material and she has been doing so for decades.

As we all know, describing an event, a cultural event from a culture, not our own, is not the same as evaluating nor critiquing the event. It is only when the cultural event is seen as horrendous within our own society, that just the description of it, can be seen as a put down, a criticism of the culture performing the behavior. This happens all too frequently. Dr. Chesler writes about those groups within Islamic Society who practice ritual murder, called honor-killings.

Dr. Chesler studies those societies who accept and participate in honor-killings as part of their culture. These ritual murders occur. She documents the behavior. The behaviors are not seen as innate nor inborn. There is nothing in the religion nor in the past sacred writings that prescribe such behavior. Other factors must be looked for. Cultural events arise for any number of reasons and Dr. Chesler looks for the factors that may have brought about the well documented occurrences.

What I do not understand is why you did not permit Skype to become a tool in your conference. With Skype, Dr. Chesler could have spoken as she wished and been free from the danger of students who did not understand that academia is suppose to take on and debate the hard questions. Another speaker, one who would take a different approach, perhaps an opposite one, could have Skyped into the conference and debated Dr. Chesler, without physical disruption nor confrontation. A fair exchange of views, researched and carefully considered, is what academic debate is all about. Why did you not permit this to happen? The outcome would have been seriously interesting and intellectually important.

As a legal anthropologist of fifty years, who both teaches and appears in court as an expert witness, I have a stake in such conferences. Though my academic and field work specialties are different, American Indians and urban US Sub-Cultures, a similar situation could easily arise. I remain perplexed about the dreadful way your conference played out. It was dishonorable.

Sincerely,
Barbara Joans PhD, Director of the Merritt Museum of Anthropology
Past Chair of the Anthropology Department at Merritt College
Author and Invited Speaker.

Note that in the rich Arab countries like Saudi and Kuwait, rather than the more conventional methods of killing daughters, “modern” families drown them in their swimming pools. Not King Fahd, of course, he gives money to American universities to teach about the Middle East.

Intellectual Corruption of Intersectional Academics: Ted Swedenburg’s Palestinian Anthropology

In the Phyllis Chesler case, one of the three authors of the letter (fisked here) that got her disinvited was Ted Swedenburg. The letter embodies everything about the current field of post-Oriental Middle Eastern Studies that leads me to conclude that most of its denizens are proleptic dhimmi – the fear of offending Islam, the use of terms like “Islamophobia” to silence dissenting infidels, their invocation of “safe spaces” and allusions to potential violence as a reason to drop a speaker. In turns out, Swedenburg has been at this for a long time.

In an article he wrote in 1989, Swedenburg lays out his methodology, which coincides quite remarkably with the hegemonic discourse across the “humanities” and “social ‘sciences'” of today. How much headway have they made in the last two decades! (HT: YM)

One of the first days after I had moved to Nablus, in November 1984, I had an experience that has now become a daily routine for Israeli settlers in the West Bank. I was driving downtown, when suddenly, bam! the car shook under the impact of a heavy blow to its side. A Palestinian youth, whom I never saw, had darted out of an alley, hurled a large stone, and rapidly vanished. He only man-aged, luckily, to put a large dent above my gas cap and did not break the wind-shield, the usual goal of hurled stones. I guess he singled out my car as a target from all the others on that busy street because its yellow license plates and my appearance led him to believe I was an Israeli settler. (As the holder of a tourist visa, I had to register my car in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, so its yellow plates stood out amidst the distinctive blue-plated vehicles driven by West Bank Palestinians.) I was so shaken that I was ready to give up fieldwork and go straight home.

Earlier anthropologists, who risked far more serious assaults in far less controlled environments – no recently annexed offices and registrations for Napoleon Chagnon, or any of those working a century ago. If an anthropologist wants to understand up close a culture in which violence is a quotidian presence, then he or she needs to be ready to experience some of it. No serious anthropologist feels entitled to safety (talk about white privilege).

My immediate thought was that I, of all people, should never have been stoned. After all, unlike those other Westerners one saw in the West Bank-the settlers, tourists, and embassy officials-I was a good foreigner, working in the best interests of the Palestinians. My response was typical of a mentality I shared with other Westerners who worked as teachers, journalists, or researchers in the occupied territories and sympathized with the Palestinians.

Réponse au sujet de l’Islam et la culture d’honneur et honte

Réponse au sujet de l’Islam et la culture d’honneur et honte

J’ai reçu une requête par Facebook d’un chercheur français au sujet de mon article sur Edward Said et la culture d’honneur et de honte.

Il m’a adressé la question en anglais, j’ai répondu en français pour essayer de formuler mes idées dans une autre langue. Merci Jean Patrick Grumberg pour une lecture correctrice approfondie.

(i) would you have any idea why honor and shame-avoidance seem to be such strong motivations in the muslim world compared to most non-muslim countries?

La puissance du désir de recevoir les honneurs et la crainte (dread) de la honte (oneidophobie) est énorme. Tout individu y est lié toute sa vie, et tout culture passe par ce “code d’honneur primordial ” “primary honor code.” Cela prend une forme particulièrement tenace chez les tribus de guerriers comme les germains, les celtes, les romains, grecs, sioux, japonais, mongols, africains, bedouins, berbères, etc.

Cette dynamique guerrière se trouve partout dans le monde, et l’importance de la dynamique honneur-honte est universelle.

Par contre, en Occident, on a su (à travers le dernier millénaire) transférer pas mal de valeurs vers un “code d’honneur inférieur” “secondary honor code” qui renverse le sens moral de certaines pratiques culturelles clé – par exemple le duel, l’esclavage (v. Appiah, The Honor Code and Moral Revolutions). Ce processus a produit entre autres, les Démocraties, et la culture de connaissance/ technologie/ production qui en ce moment est l’hégémonie du monde (siècle de globalisation), et peut-être destructeur de ce même monde d’abondance.

Pourquoi les musulmans, en particulier les arabes, ont-ils eu plus de problèmes avec ce processus ? Tous le monde (y compris l’Occident) expérimente le processus qui consiste à arriver à une société civile et pacifique comme un traumatisme (pour l’Occident, voir l’oeuvre de Norman Cohn). Par contre, les autres cultures non-occidentales, même en gardant la dynamique honneur-honte à une place prédominante, arrivent néanmoins à s’adapter au monde moderne, et semblent mieux négocier cette transformation. (exemple le Japon, et pas mal de cultures confucéennes)

Le problème de l’Islam, dans sa forme politique (dar al Islam/dar al Harb) traduit les préoccupations d’honneur et honte en religiosité triomphaliste. “Nous avons la vraie foi, car nous dominons” (jeu de somme nulle). Donc la victoire d’un occident post-honneur (qu’ils voient comme une forme d’emasculation), constitue une insulte narcissique intolérable, surtout après l’humiliation globale que represente Israël – le destin interrompu. Ils sont donc dans une spirale négative où ils cherchent à détruire le succès de l’autre par leur autodestruction (somme negative, terrorisme suicidaire)

 

(ii) according to you, why has the quest for honor taken a more and more religious overtone since the 1970s in the muslim world, i.e. from Morocco to Indonesia?

D’abord, pour les musulmans du Proche-Orient (les arabes), le “nationalisme arabe” (oxymoron du premier ordre) recelait la promesse messianique : en devenant laïque on pourrait maitriser le monde moderne, et developper notre puissance pour a) détruire Israël (et laver notre visage noirci dans leur sang), et b) ainsi tenir tête (au moins) au Occidentaux.

Après la Naqbah de 1948, toute l’énergie des élites était dirigée dans cette direction, avec des résultats médiocres. Les pertes catastrophiques de 1967 et 1973 contre le minuscule Israël ont détruit la force de cette promesse de libération “nationale et laïque.” Donc le souterrain jihadiste (toujours présent même s’il n’est pas dans la conscience des Occidentaux qui insistent toujours pour ne voir les palestiniens qu’en termes laïcs comme mouvement “national”) a resurgi, car il y a  toujours eu un jihad.

Le nouveau message salafiste est le suivant :

“On n’a pas fait faillite devant le monde parce qu’on était insuffisamment séculiers (une concession humiliante à l’ennemi), mais parce qu’on était insuffisamment dévoué.”

Dans les deux cas, la motivation est de compenser la perte d’honneur, de se venger, de verser le sang et retrouver son statut d’homme d’honneur et de respect. Cet aspect religieux, bien qu’il va à l’encontre des mouvements globaux sécularisants, prend son élan avec l’arrivée du mujaddid en 1979 (voir la suite).

Dans le reste du monde musulman (le monde des peuples convertis, selon Naipaul), je crois qu’une dynamique alliée, mais beaucoup plus multidirectionnelle, s’est déclenchée surtout en 1400 AH (1979). C’est le 14e mujaddid, moment centenaire qui au moins depuis 200 AH (815 CE), promet aux croyant l’apparition d’un “restaurateur” (dans l’analyse apocalyptique: un rédempteur/mahdi avant l’avent du centenaire, restaurateur après, ex post defectu).

Ce fut certainement un élément clé dans la transformation de la théologie shi’ite de Khoumeini (par exemple à Paris) en mouvement révolutionnaire (ie millénariste) en 1400/1979, développement qui eu rapidement une réponse dans le monde Sunnite, surtout avec l’émergence d’al Qaeda et du Hamas (1408/1988).

Bref, le Mujaddid de 1400 déclencha (selon moi) la vague du millénarisme apocalyptique qui eu son point fort au tournant de notre centenaire/millénaire en 2000, et qui continue à croitre.

Yussuf al Qaradawi considère tout le 15e siècle, déclenché par le mujaddid, comme le temps pendant lequel le Dar al Islam global va s’étendre, non seulement par le Jihad, mais aussi, et même plus encore, par la Da’wa. Le premier sursaut de cet esprit apocalyptique/millénariste se voit déjà chez les musulmans non-arabes dans le récit de voyage de VS Naipaul publié en 1981, bien que pour lui, comme pour Gilles Kepel en 2000, c’était le crépuscule de ces zélotes. Le Pakistan nous fourni un bon exemple d’un militantisme islamiste lié à une culture d’honneur et honte très prononcé. (ainsi que l’Afghanistan et toutes les autres sociétés tribales musulmanes (Somalie, Niger, Soudan).

Ceci dit, on espère que dans les courants spirituels musulmans, on trouvera un millénarisme un peu moins triomphaliste, par exemple même démotique. Mais à présent, dans le monde musulman, les gens qui prônent la dynamique honneur-honte (primary code), les oneidophobes, dominent l’espace public (à savoir que ce sont eux qui définissent le cadre de l’honneur : s’occidentaliser c’est s’émasculer).

Ils ont un point de vue radical du jeu de somme nulle (qui devient facilement un jeu de somme négative – voir les nouveaux “martyrs” du 15e siècle), et n’hésitent pas à recourir à la violence pour imposer leur hégémonie (takfir), et donc, la revitalisation de l’Islam de nos jours est, pour la plupart, très belligérent non seulement contre les kufars (nous), mais aussi contre les musulmans insuffisamment mobilisés.

Je n’ai pas de solutions.

Je crois qu’on ne peut s’adresser à ces sujets qu’en commençant par la compréhension du problème, et ensuite (ou pendant le processus de compréhension), on trouve des solutions, ou au moins des chemins à suivre.

S’interdire de comprendre parce que les problèmes ainsi identifiés n’ont pas de solutions immédiate, ou parce que c’est un “racisme orientaliste” d’ainsi parler des sociétés musulmanes, ne me semble pas un processus de raisonnement mais plutôt de dhimmitude proleptique.

How to Deal with Honor-Shame Dynamics: With Dignity, Refuse Proleptic Dhimmitude

[apologies for not posting this months ago.]

In response to my article in MEQ on Edward Said and honor-shame dynamics, one reader wrote in:

I thought Landes’ article pushed an important point on honor and shame.  If one takes it to be true, then the way to solve some of the problems would be to send over lots of therapists.  I know it sounds crazy but I am thinking perhaps there is something to it? 

There is a brief response in MEQ (which I can no longer find). The longer response I post below:

From the perspective of those committed to primary honor-shame codes, therapists represent the forces of an effeminate culture designed to castrate them and kill their triumphalist religion. So that’s not going to work. (It is common among Jihadis to believe that the Jews have castrated the Christian West, and now plan to do so to them.)

But good therapy is better in the doing than in formal introspection, and if progressives were serious about their values, they’d be helping Arabs to grapple with this authoritarian strain in their culture, to become more capable of handling criticism and introspecting. Hopefully, the Arab world will eventually produce a school of their own therapists who can help the process of harnessing (rather than castrating) the testosteronic impulses of their long-dominant primary honor codes.

At its core, I think this is about peer pressure – who determines what’s honorable? Anthony Appiah has an excellent meditation on the problem: The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen, in which he treats four case studies where a society/culture changed its code: what had previously been considered honorable (slave-holding, dueling, foot-binding, and honor-killing) shifted to shameful according to the new dominant “honor group.”

From this perspective, the Muslim and Arab world have yet to undergo a passage from zero-sum, triumphalist rule-or-be-ruled, primary honor codes, to ones more tolerant of “others” – of free infidels, or independent women, in particular. (The only failed moral revolution in Appiah’s book was the shift from honorable honor-killings to shameful shame-murders in Pakistan.)

This is above all a cultural issue (exactly not, as many try to insist, a racial one); and until we learn to think about this from the perspective of the triumphalist Muslims, we cannot understand what we face. And once we do, we discover a whole range of areas where we can assert pressure, because their great weakness is now their great strength – their amazingly “thin skin.”

Right now, instead, the West (especially its “liberals”) do everything they can to avoid “shaming” the Muslim world, and so avoid pointing this out: if one brings up “honor-killings” as a symptom of a particularly regressive honor-shame culture, liberals will almost instinctively insist they have nothing to do with Islam. And while it’s true that some (few) other cultures also approve of – even insist on – killing women for the sake of family honor, it is most prominent in Islamic societies, and closely related to issues like the burka. Liberals think they’re being generous by sparing Islam criticism. Triumphalist Muslims see these same liberals as good dhimmi leaders who make sure their community does not “insult” Islam.