Fjordman has a post at Brussels Journal that illustrates many of the themes I’ve tried to emphasize here at Augean Stables, in particular the way that anti-Zionism will be the death of Europe. Sure it feels good to pop those tasty truffles of moral Schadenfreude and point the finger at Israel. But when your cholesterol is at 350 and your arteries are clogging, maybe you can’t afford that indulgence any more. Can Europe go on a resentment-free diet? Can it cast off its ingrained anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism?
Why Europeans Should Support Israel
From the desk of Fjordman on Mon, 2007-03-12 07:49
One of the most frustrating things to watch is the powerful anti-Israeli and sometimes outright anti-Semitic current that is prevalent in too much of Europe’s media. Bat Ye’or’s predictions about Arab anti-Semitism spreading in Europe as the continent’s Islamization and descent into Eurabia continues have so far proved depressingly accurate. This trend needs to be fought, vigorously, by all serious European anti-Jihadists. Not only because it is immoral and unfair to Israelis, which it is, but also because those who assist it are depriving Europeans of the opportunity to fully grasp the threat and understand the nature of the Jihad that is now targeting much of Europe as well.
This is precisely what I mean when I say that anti-Zionism is a form of cultural AIDS: the need to dump on Israel is so strong that a) it makes Europeans an easy channel for Jihadi propaganda, and b) it makes them incapable of recognizing how dangerous their foe, because any admission that Jihad is a ruthless and totalistic enemy would mitigate their ability to dump on Israel for harming innocent Arabs. The sad, obvious, and denied truth is that the two most “medieval” trends in the 21st century go hand in hand — global Jihad and anti-Semitism.
In 2005 the Norwegian police issued a mobile security alarm to Carl I. Hagen, leader of the right-wing Progress Party. Mr. Hagen had criticized Islam and could see no similarity with the concept of morality and justice found in Christianity. During the 1990s, Mr. Hagen was one of the few politicians who protested against giving money to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as a part of the Norwegian-brokered Oslo Peace Process.
Hagen said that if Israel loses in the Middle East, Europe will succumb to Islam next. He felt that Christians should support Israel and oppose Islamic inroads into Europe. In an unprecedented step, a group of Muslim ambassadors to Norway blasted Carl I. Hagen in a letter to the newspaper Aftenposten, claiming that he had offended 1.3 billion Muslims around the world. Other Norwegian politicians quickly caved in and condemned Hagen. Maybe Norway, “the country of peace” and home to the Nobel Peace Prize, will get along just fine with Islam, “the religion of peace.”
Note that the Aftenpost is the newspaper in which Jostein Gaarder chose to publish his vicious denunciation of Israel after Kafr Qana last summer. The broad reaction of Norwegian intellectuals — attack the critic of Islam as provoking the violence — is classic “esprit de Munich.” It gave us a similar assault on the Pope for “provoking” the violence with which Muslims greeted his comment about Islam as a violent religion.
Although some political leaders such as Mr. Carl I. Hagen have a clear understanding of what’s going on, they are unfortunately few and far between. Most European media commentators are hostile to the Jewish state of Israel, partly because they get angry with anybody defending themselves against Islamic Jihad instead of surrendering, and partly because they want to project their own feelings of guilt from the Holocaust onto Israel by recasting the Jews as villains and the Palestinians as victims.
This latter tendency is exactly the dynamic behind Muhammad al Durah. So we have a deadly combination of two forms of cowardice — physical before the Jihadi threat, and moral before the challenge of the Holocaust. If civil society is built on the development of an ethos of integrity and guilt, then Europeans are failing to sustain their democratic values in their relationship to both the Jews — from whom they demand the impossible — and to the Muslims — from whom they demand nothing. As one French journalist told me: ““Courage means opposing the strongest, and America is the strongest.” It’s hard to get more stupid — and the guy was smart!
French filmmaker Pierre Rehov made the film Suicide Killers where he interviewed the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. He warns that we are facing “a neurosis at the level of an entire civilization,” a “culture of hatred in which the uneducated are brainwashed to a level where their only solution in life becomes to kill themselves and kill others in the name of a God. I hear a mother saying ‘Thank God, my son is dead.’ Her son had became a shaheed, a martyr, which for her was a greater source of pride than if he had became an engineer, a doctor or a winner of the Nobel Prize. [...] They don’t see the innocent being killed, they only see the impure that they have to destroy.” Rehov believes that we are dealing with “a new form of Nazism” that it is going to spread to Europe and the United States, too.
Spanish journalist Sebastian Villar Rodriguez claims that Europe died in Auschwitz: “We assassinated 6 million Jews in order to end up bringing in 20 million Muslims!” Yet in 2007, Ciempozuelos, a small Madrid suburb, refused to commemorate Holocaust Day and opted instead to commemorate the ‘Day of Palestinian Genocide.’ In Britain following Muslim pressure, the Bolton Council scrapped its Holocaust Memorial Day event. The Muslim Council of Britain asked for a Genocide Day to protest the Israeli “genocide” against the Palestinians. The secretary-general of the MCB, Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, has earlier compared the situation of Muslims in Britain to Jews under Hitler.
As I have argued in Icon of Hatred, the image of Muhammad al Durah served as the vehicle whereby this sadistic moral claim made its way from the fringes of public discourse in the West to the center. And at the same time, it allowed the Muslim “Street” to take root in France and Europe. The endemic riots in France are the direct outcome of this eager embrace of so morally insane a comparison.
Place de la République, Paris, October 6, 2000.
We thus have the absurd situation where the Nazis of today are presented as Jews while the Jews are presented as Nazis. French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut thinks that Auschwitz has become part of the foundation of the European Union, a culture based on guilt. “I can understand the feeling of remorse that is leading Europe to this, but this remorse goes too far.” It is too great a gift to present Hitler to reject every single aspect of European culture. This is said by the Jewish son of an Auschwitz prisoner.
This is a generous reading by Finkielkraut. Europe is not yet a strong “integrity-guilt” culture. If it were, it would handle Holocaust guilt the way Fjordman is suggesting — with some genuine self-criticism. On the contrary, it’s a culture with one foot heavily stuck in (Holocaust) guilt (with heavy inertial contribution from the Christian, totalistic guilt of “original sin”) but with the other foot firmly planted in “honor-shame.” In other words, they deal with their guilt by avoiding shame… hence the preening of “moral Europe.”
From Icon of Hatred, Second Draft Productions 2007
At least as far as their attitudes towards Muslims and Jews, it’s an excess of moral cowardice — sooner see the Jews as the new Nazis (and lighten our burden of guilt), than defend them against the new Nazis. This is a catastrophic choice which is not derived from accepting a great burden of guilt, but rather from the desire to escape that guilt.
The Holocaust was an unspeakable crime. It also did massive damage to Europe’s own identity and cultural confidence, and is one of the major causes of Europe’s seeming inability to withstand the ongoing Islamic Jihad.
As Hugh Fitzgerald notes, “Fortunately for so many, and for the Arabs, the victory of Israel in the Six-Day War promptly provided a reason to depict Jews as villains, not victims. This found an eager audience of Europeans, who were already eager for psychological reasons to find fault with Jews so as to avoid thinking unduly about the behavior of many European peoples and states during the war. [...] The damage done to the morale of Europe because of the destruction of European Jewry has been great. If Western Europe, or the West generally, were, after all that has happened, to permit Israel to go under, Europe would not recover.”
He warns that those who believe sacrificing Israel would in any way stop the global Jihad are very wrong. On the contrary, “The loss of Israel would fill the Arabs and Muslims with such triumphalism that their Jihad in Western Europe and elsewhere (including the Americas) would receive a gigantic boost. The duty is to make sure that Islam covers the globe; that Islam dominates, and Muslims rule.”
This is exactly right. The moral blow to Europe would be devastating. The astounding arrogance and sadism of European Realpolitik in this matter — e.g., Raymond Barre’s recent remarks — is evidence that the Europeans don’t really have a clue as to the danger they’re in and the cost of this kind of indulgence. They seem to think that because Jews don’t fight back — no Jewish suicide bombers commemorating holocaust day by exploding themselves in French marketplaces — that there’s no cost to these kinds of attacks.
Europeans need to understand how closely intertwined are the fates of Israel and of Europe itself. The term “Judeo-Christian” is not a cliché. We cannot defend Western civilization without defending its Jewish component, without which modern Western culture would have been unthinkable.
This is exactly right. The correct way to handle Holocaust guilt — the path of integrity, not of saving face by avoiding shame — is to recognize the profound contribution that Judaism has made to the modern, Western miracle of a society dedicated to freedom. Look in vain for anything like that in the likes of Jostein Gaarder.
The religious identity of the West has two legs: The Christian and the Jewish ones. It needs both to stand upright. Sacrificing one to save the other is like fighting a battle by chopping off one of your legs, throwing it at the feet of your enemies and shouting: “You won’t get the other one! We will never surrender!” We could always hope that our enemies will laugh themselves to death faster than we bleed to death, the Monty Python way of fighting. Maybe that works, but most likely it will leave us crippled and pathetic, if not dead.
Or, as Stuart Green puts it: “Cutting off their noses to save face.” (He’s referring to Palestinians. But it applies here to the Europeans. Alas!)
I agree with Mr. Finkielkraut: To reduce absolutely everything about Europe to gas chambers, thereby allowing the Nazis the opportunity to expropriate everything that has been created during thousands of years, is to grant Adolf Hitler victory posthumously. We should not award him that pleasure, especially since what would replace Western civilization would be Islamic culture, the most warlike and anti-Semitic on earth, and greatly admired by Mr. Hitler for it.
Precisely. The best response to Hitler is to honor precisely what he so hated. Since he — and the global Jihadis — hated Judaism for everything it represented in terms of the disciplines of freedom — self-criticism, transparency, honesty, tolerance, positive-sum interactions — the appropriate response is to highlight precisely that in trying to save Europe from another anti-modern assault.
We cannot change what has happened in the past. We should, however, consider it our duty to combat anti-Semitism in the here and now and make sure that the remaining Jews both in Europe and in Israel are safe. This is not just because it is our moral and historical obligation, which it is, but also because we only gain the right to defend ourselves against Islamization of we grant the same right to Israel. Likewise, we can only begin to heal our self-inflicted civilizational wounds if we embrace the Jewish component of our cultural identity.
My hat is off to you Fjordman. As eloquent as it is “right on.”
I once gave a talk to a group of Germans and Jews in dialogue. The Germans had been complaining that they can’t find a way to be proud to be Germans. (As one woman put it, “I say I’m European.”) I suggested that, since they had the painful memories and experiences of having succumbed to the insane genocidal passion of anti-Semitism, they were uniquely placed in history today to defend the Jews against another such assault, this time from the Islamic Jihadis. “I didn’t come here tonight to hear someone demonize Islam,” replied one self-righteous man. I never heard from any of them again.