Category Archives: Danish Cartoon Scandal

Who will defend Western Civilization? Not its “Social Justice Warriors”

David Brooks bemoans the inability of the West to defend itself and its values. The plaint is valid, the analysis deeply superficial and, I’d guess, ineffectual in reaching the “millennials” who think they’ve outgrown the need for those values and the democracies they created. Below a half fisking (critique) and whisking (elaboration) of Brooks’ proleptic threnody for Western civ. HT: YS.

The Crisis of Western Civ

David Brooks, NYT April 21, 2017
Between 1935 and 1975, Will and Ariel Durant published a series of volumes that together were known as “The Story of Civilization.” They basically told human history (mostly Western history) as an accumulation of great ideas and innovations, from the Egyptians, through Athens, Magna Carta, the Age of Faith, the Renaissance and the Declaration of the Rights of Man. The series was phenomenally successful, selling over two million copies.
Note the lack of mention of ancient Israel. The Durants did address the issue what they called Judea, briefly if with limited sympathy in their opening volume, a small fraction of that first volume. In discussing the 6th commandment (thou shall not kill [really murder]) he notes:

nowhere is there so much killing as in the Old Testament; its chapters oscillate between slaughter and compensatory reproduction…

What a bizarre thing for a reader of the Iliad and great admirer of Greece to say! Why is so much of this chapter set on comparing ancient Israel (often, as here, unfavorably) with the worst of other cultures, including Christian religious practices like the inquisition?

That series encapsulated the Western civilization narrative that people, at least in Europe and North America, used for most of the past few centuries to explain their place in the world and in time. This narrative was confidently progressive. There were certain great figures, like Socrates, Erasmus, Montesquieu and Rousseau, who helped fitfully propel the nations to higher reaches of the humanistic ideal.

And Jews were a marginal part of the tale, victims of lamentable Western intolerance (read: aggressive supersessionism), but not actual contributors to that great civilizing venture we call the West. I was astonished, when I finally got introduced to “Western Political Thought” at Columbia, to find that everyone began with Socrates/Plato (5th-4th century BCE) and no attention to the Bible as a political document with remarkably modern resonance.

This Western civ narrative came with certain values — about the importance of reasoned discourse, the importance of property rights, the need for a public square that was religiously informed but not theocratically dominated.
… the principal of equality before the law, the value of manual (productive) labor, literacy and self-empowerment for commoners, respect and empathy for the “other,” criticism and self-criticism, rejection of oppression of those weaker, guilt at wrongdoing, the value of all human life…
It set a standard for what great statesmanship looked like. It gave diverse people a sense of shared mission and a common vocabulary, set a framework within which political argument could happen and most important provided a set of common goals.
And this civilizational consensus became the target of the Caliphaters, hard-zero-sum players from what we Westerners refer to as our “middle ages” or more broadly, pre-modern society, from a world of triumphalist religiosity, holy millennial war and inquisition. They have, with really astonishing success, managed to drive a wedge into democratic civilization and hammer away at fending what has become a internalized clash of civilizations between Western “left” and “right.”
Starting decades ago, many people, especially in the universities, lost faith in the Western civilization narrative. They stopped teaching it, and the great cultural transmission belt broke. Now many students, if they encounter it, are taught that Western civilization is a history of oppression.
Pascal Bruckner wrote about this in his Tyranny of Guilt (in French penitence). Tenured Radicals pursuing their supersessionist, revolutionary agenda. When I was at Columbia (1984-86), a fellow grad student gave a presentation in which he argued that liberalism was a self-creating fantasy that did not collapse in a manner similar to how Wylie Coyote did not fall when he ran over a cliff, until he looked down. I did not at the time imagine that GPL radicals would stampede us off the cliff. Now we have millennials, proud of their unerring instinct for social justice, ready to forgo democracy in search of… ?

Millennial Social Warriors Fighting for Justice
The nice touch here is that it’s Western civilization’s teachings that make it possible to identify this oppression, to detect social injustice in every micro-aggression, every invasion of safe space. You won’t find another civilizational ideology (excepting the Jews) that does not take exceptional privilege for the elite – legal and life-style – as a given. And yet now, the demand for radical social justice=equality (whatever that means) has been turned by those who have been trained in the western (and Jewish) moral tradition(s), exclusively on attacking western (and Jewish) exercise of power.

European Schizoid Dissonance: The Calm of Appeasement

At the Balfour Declaration centenary conference convened by JCPA Tuesday, February 28, there was a particularly interesting juxtaposition during the first panel between remarks by Colonel Richard Kemp and Professor Julius Schoeps.

NB: the videos of the talks are now up.

In his talk, “Israel as a Strategic Asset to Britain“, Richard Kemp drew a striking contrast between two European attitudes towards Israel. On the one hand, there are those who see her as a remarkably successful loyal ally, crucial not only to Montgomery in 1940s, but even more today in the 21st century. On the other, there are those who repeatedly sacrifice Israel’s interests and side against her. His illustrative example concerns Italian Admiral Giampaolo Di Paolo, the Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, who:

In 2009… visited Israel to study IDF tactics to apply to NATO operations in Afghanistan. He was particularly interested in Israeli tactics for fighting terror in civilian-populated areas. This visit came just weeks after the publication of the infamous Goldstone Report – which alleged that Israel had committed war crimes by deliberately targeting civilians in Gaza.

The contrast was striking: within weeks of the European Parliament endorsing the report, the European Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee was visiting Israel, for the third time in four years, to study ethical methods for dealing with terrorist insurgencies without causing undue harm to civilians.

Apparently the Europeans find scolding Israel nearly irresistible, even though they know their criticism is not only untrue… but, it’s the opposite. Israel behaves better than even other Western armies; a fortiori than the jihadis they fight, whose cannibalistic strategies create civilian casualties among their own people.

Let’s call it (European) schizoid dissonance: holding two diametrically and significantly contradictory notions in one’s empirical and moral discourse at the same time. On the one hand, the (European) cultural elite – journalists, critics, public intellectuals, researchers, NGOs –conduct a conversation in which despising Israel holds an important place, in which they have flipped the symbol and insist on seeing an Israeli Goliath bullying a hapless Palestinian David. On the other hand, the military, the security people, the grown ups in charge, ask the Israelis to teach them how to limit casualties when the enemy uses civilians as shields and how to enhance their security. And that schizoid dissonance seems to hold more or less for all European countries.

No sooner had Kemp finished his remarks than the next speaker, Prof. Julius H. Schoeps, the Director of the Moses Mendelssohn Centre of European Jewish Studies at Potsdam University, made remarks that seemed to illustrate the contradictions Kemp had just highlighted. After asserting German support for Israel and good will towards the morally admirable Zionist dream, he concluded by sternly urging “the Israeli state to prevent the national religious settler movement from carelessly and recklessly squandering the Zionist legacy of the founding fathers…” darkly hinting that a failure to do so would alienate Europeans and especially Germans.

Reversing Humiliation: Jihadis and the West

I just delivered this paper to a conference organized by Springs of Hope at Mishkenot Sha’ananim, March 6, 2015.

Reversing Humiliation:

How Jihadis Interpret the Way Westerners Treat the Victims of Jihad

I’d like to engage you all in an exercise in empathy. Mind you empathy does not mean sympathy. It means putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and thinking the way they do. If, as in this case, the people with who we empathize are thoroughly repulsive, learning to think like them hardly means sympathizing with them. Today the subject of our empathy will be jihadis, and the topic we want to understand about how they think is “how do they respond to the way that we Western infidels, treat their victims.

In order to do so we have to look at the role of humiliation in the mindset of the Jihadi. The following discussion takes its cues from Farhad Khosrokhavar’s Inside Jihadism: Understanding Jihadi Movements Worldwide (2015). According to him, humiliation plays a key role and that on three registers:

There is the humiliation of the Muslim condition of inferiority to the West. Here are the remarks of the Saudi ideologue Youssef Uyayri:

Muslims are at war today. What distinguishes our time from other times is the humiliation and the contempt suffered by the Umma, which was unheard of in the past. At the same time, Muslims are in a state of lethargy and anemia (wahn), instead of mobilizing and fighting against this humiliation. There is a Saying of the Prophet attributing anemia to the love of this world and the aversion of death… Nowadays this is the deadly illness of which the Muslim world suffers.”

Been up so long it looks like down to me: Garry Trudeau and punching down at Jihadis

On April 10 at the Long Island University’s George Polk Awards ceremony, where he received the George Polk Career Award, Garry Trudeau, the beloved author of the Doonsbury cartoons, delivered the following remarks which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly. In it he criticizes the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo for “punching down.” The core of his argument, fisked below.

Ironically, Charlie Hebdo,which always maintained it was attacking Islamic fanatics, not the general population, has succeeded in provoking many Muslims throughout France to make common cause with its most violent outliers. This is a bitter harvest.

The implication here is that the attack on the Jihadis was responsible for this “common cause,” an attribution of causation that will play a critical role in the subsequent analysis. Nothing here questions what is wrong with French Muslims that criticism of their most extreme and violent co-religionists, the one’s who insist that Muhammad cannot be drawn, can drive the “vast majority of moderate Muslims” who have nothing in common with these (not real) Muslims, to nonetheless make common cause with hate-mongering genocidal maniacs. It’s classic Masochistic Omnipotence Syndrome (MOS): it’s all our fault, if only we didn’t provoke them, they wouldn’t hate us so.

There’s a bitter harvest, alright, and much of it comes from this kind of Western supremacist thinking that puts all moral responsibility on the West, and makes no moral demands of Muslims, including the rather basic one – for a civil society at least – of dealing with criticism like mentsches instead of hysterical, testosteronic teenagers.

Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable. Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful. Great French satirists like Molière and Daumier always punched up, holding up the self-satisfied and hypocritical to ridicule. Ridiculing the non-privileged is almost never funny—it’s just mean.

By punching downward, by attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons, Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech, which in France is only illegal if it directly incites violence.

Cogwar Reflections on the Danish Muhammad Cartoon Affair

In preparing to post the speech I gave to a Conference on Homeland Security about Cogwar this month, I found myself elaborating on several points beyond what the talk itself could bear. So I’ve moved some of the discussion to separate posts. The first concerns the Danish Cartoon Affair, which I used to illustrate the way that our news media and the intelligentsia in our public sphere failed to report on a crucial detail of the efforts of radical Imams to make the Danish Cartoons into an occasion to “spread Sharia” to Dar al Islam. As a result, a “teaching moment” for civil society and tolerance became a “bullying moment” for an aggressive, triumphalist religion of conquest.

From the global Jihadi perspective, this incident represented an effort to extend Sharia over areas of targeted Dar al Harb. Indeed since Khoumeini’s fatwa against Salmon Rushdie, global Jihadis have sought to get Westerners to adopt Sharia’s (heavily censuring) position on articulating anything they might consider blasphemous. In the most zealous of Muslim formulations, the depiction of Muhammad was forbidden to Muslims (for fear of idolatry). But here Islamist activists insisted that not even non-Dhimmi infidels (i.e., independent non-Muslims) have no right to violate (their strict reading of) Sharia. The stakes were high, both in terms of freedom of speech and in terms of the demopathic demand that infidels show respect for Islam, even as cartoons all over the Muslim world depicted the infidel (especially the Jew) in the most grotesque, hate-mongering fashion.

And yet, in the entire Muhammad Cartoon episode, only the blogosphere discussed at any length the three fake Muhammad Cartoons, by far the outrageous of the lot, the most blasphemous, created specifically by the radical preachers who wanted to inflame the Muslim Street: Muhammad as pig, as paedophile, as being raped by a dog while praying. These were “lethal narratives,” false tales told to make the Western infidel as odious to Muslims as possible, even as they used them to gain sympathy from Western liberals by illustrating the atmosphere of Islamophobia in which Western Muslims must live.

Muhammad Cartoons Seven Years On: Demopaths on the Warpath against Hatred

Muslim Students at UNC: Demopaths on the Warpath against “Hatred”

February 22, 2006

Little Green Footballs posted this:

Daily Tar Heel Now Targeted for Cartoon Jihad

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill student newspaper The Daily Tar Heel is now embroiled in a Krazy Kartoon Kontroversy of their own, after publishing an original cartoon showing a politically correct, balanced and non-violent Mohammed denouncing both Denmark and Islamic protesters: Cartoon for February 9 – Opinion.

Muhammad even handed

The Muslim Students Association is seething.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The Muslim Students Association at the University of North Carolina on Friday asked the campus’ student newspaper to apologize for publishing an original cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

“The intention of bigotry was clear,” the association wrote in a letter to The Daily Tar Heel. “One must question the DTH’s ethics in advancing a widely protested issue to cause a riot of their own. The MSA not only found this cartoon derogatory but is also shocked at the editor’s allowance of its publication — one that incites hate in the current political and social context.”

Note the aggressive tone of injury: “intention of bigotry clear,” “advancing a widely protested issue to cause a riot of its own… derogatory… incites hate in the current political and social context.”

So let me get this straight. Muslims throw a temper tantrum (“current political and social context”); accuse others of “inciting hate” when they themselves revel in it; and express shock that anyone be allowed to trample their sense of honor and dignity. This is a definitional example of demopathy, or the use of civic/liberal values to which you do not adhere to attack those who do adhere to them. Imagine if the newspaper were to produce a savage denunciation of the Israelis. Can one imagine the Muslim students shouting for its removal, or rather praising its courage?

And the cartoon is really quite gentle. (Indeed it reflects the same sense that most Westerners who believe that Islam is a religion of peace feel about Muhammad: that he can’t possibly have been as immature, hyper-sensitive, and insecure as the Muslims who rampage at the slightest slight.

cartoon #3

UPDATE at 2/22/06 12:45:40 pm:

Last year, the Muslim Students Association at UNC-CH succeeded in getting Daily Tar Heel columnist Jillian Bandes fired: lgf: Thoughtcrime at UNC-Chapel Hill.

In other words, demopathy works. Intimidate people with your moral outrage, and you can continue to badger them with impunity.

The sad thing is, these are battles that can be won without weapons, merely by pointing out — gently — the unacceptable hypocrisy of the outrage.

Danish Cartoons, Seven Years on: Cartoons that Mock, Cartoons that Demonize

In keeping with Daniel Pipes’ suggestion, I’m both publishing Muhammad Cartoons and republishing the series of posts I put up at the time of the scandal, when I first started blogging. On the topic of reciprocity (see below), Raymond Ibrahim has a nice essay up on how, if the Muslims got their way and disrespecting other religions were banned, it would be the end of Islam, whose scriptures carry profoundly negative reflections on all other religions, including those from which Islam is descended.

Cartoons that Mock Cartoons that Demonize
January 31, 2006

Can someone explain to me why the leaders of the West don’t say to the Muslims: “You can ask us to show respect for you, but not if you don’t show respect for us. When Muslims stop producing grotesque and savage cartoons not just mocking but vilifying other religions, then we will show Islam the respect it craves.”

Okay, not “craves”… “desires.”

Why are we so careful about their desires and not careful to ask them to meet the standards they want us to meet in their regard?

See LGF on the same subject.

Colors to the Mast, Seven Years Later

The posting below was one of the first I made at the Augean Stables, when the Danish Cartoon Scandal broke and newspapers, especially in the USA, caved to intimidation. Current events indicate that, far from leading to a maturing among Muslims over the past seven years, the “respect” Westerners have shown them has only emboldened their infantile rage. Daniel Pipes has suggested a Muhammad Cartoon a Day in response.

Rather than just repost the same cartoon every day, I’ll run the series of posts I wrote at the time of the affair, which I think was a key moment in the massive losses in the Cognitive War that the West has suffered over the last twelve years. I begin with my posting of the cartoons.

I should note that according to MEMRI there has been some serious self-criticism in the Arab and Muslim world! 

September 24, 2012
Special Dispatch No.4971

The attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and embassy in Cairo on the night of September 11, 2012, and the spread of violent protests to many countries in the Middle East have sparked unprecedented criticism in the Arab press of Arab and Islamic society and its way of dealing with the current crisis. Many articles claimed that violent protests harm the Prophet Muhammad and his way and are contrary to Islam’s moral standards, and that it would have been better to show the moderate and tolerant face of Islam by responding through artistic and cultural expression.

Danish Cartoons: Colors to the Mast

Earlier this week PBS Watcher left a comment here that he had posted the Danish cartoons and urged others to do the same. I have taken them from the blog L’ombre de l’Olivier, where he introduces them with the comment: to show support and nail my colours to the mast. Well said.

Here they are. The source of the brouhaha. To be honest, there are none that are particularly witty, many that are mediocre or incomprehensible, and some that try to be as respectful as they can (poor dears, don’t understand that any depiction is unacceptable). It’s actually pretty pitiful, both for the Danish cartoonists who scarcely made any use of the satire their medium favors, and the Muslims who consider this an assault on their religion. How the mighty have been brought low by cowardice and insecurity.

Ultimately this is not about respect or lack of it, it’s about bullying the Europeans into behaving like dhimmi, it’s about a classic type of kind of zero-sum honor — my honor is gained by your disgrace — and this from people who do not hesitate to show the most hateful contempt for others. If the Muslims succeed in getting the Europeans to back down on this one, they’ve won a huge victory over a cowardly foe.

We lose face, they get more aggressive. As Daniel notes, they are playing this not as the hurt objects of an unfortunate cultural misunderstanding, but as the offended and provoked objects of legitimate provocation. Maybe Europeans might begin to reconsider their cheap sympathy for suicide bombing based on the impression that if they reacted so violently, then the Israelis must have done something to them.

Let’s hope they’ve finally gone too far. Go Europe. Please?

Muhammad and turban: the source of the problem
#1: Muhammad and turban: the source of the problem — a realistic depiction with an explosive message.

No more virgins in heaven
#2: Clever but tame.

Let's not overreact boys
#3: Muhammad as Salahadin, showing the ego-strength not to go ballistic with every challenge to his honor.

Nidra Poller on the Auto da fe in Paris: it’s no joke

Nidra Poller has a piece on the Charlie Hebdo bombing in Paris well worth considering. The incident itself was a classic example of the effort to spread Sharia to the West, especially in the form of showing “respect” for the Prophet Muhammad. This began in earnest when, ten years into his millennial project of the “Islamic Republic of Iran,” Khoumeini put out a fatwa condemning Salman Rushie to death for his blasphemous Satanic Verses (which neither Khoumeini nor his advisors had read).

The next major event in this campaign came in 2005-6 when Muslims objected vigorously to the publication of cartoons depicting Muhammad, another attempt to extend to infidels what in principle only applies to (some) Muslim – not depicting the prophet’s face. If there are those in the West who thought that we stood up to our principles of Free Speech and right to criticize during the Cartoon Affair (or, at least that there were no winners), then reconsider. The folks who bombed Charlie Hebdo apparently thought they made it perfectly clear what the price of crossing them would be.

Comments added to bring out some of the implications of Poller’s allusive style.

Auto da fe in Paris: it’s no joke

Paris November 3, 2011

Nidra Poller

The brand new—and deliberately unmarked– offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in the 20th arrondissement of Paris were destroyed by arson hours before a special issue, renamed Charia Hebdo, hit the newsstands on November 2nd. All 75,000 copies were sold out by noon (a rerun went on sale two days later, bringing total sales to 200,000). One or more firebombs aimed precisely at the IT department wiped out the satirical magazine’s nerve center. Charlie Hebdo’s Facebook page had been bombarded with threats, insults, and koranic verses since it pre-released the front page with a caricature of guest editor Mohamed promising 100 lashes to anyone who doesn’t die laughing. As the offices went up in flames, the hacked website was plastered with a photo of Mecca packed with pilgrims, and the declaration, in English, “No god but Allah / Mohamed is the Messenger of Allah.”

This shocking attack on press freedom inspired a rush of near-unanimous solidarity in French society. Unambiguously labeling the act an “attentat,” meaning “terrorist attack,” Interior Minister Claude Guéant promised to find and severely punish the perpetrator(s). Various Muslim authorities condemned “all violence,” reiterated their disapproval of caricatures of Mohamed and other insults to Islam, and vowed to defend their religion as law-abiding citizens, in the courts.

Editorial director Charb posed meekly in front of the smoking ruins of his offices, displaying the front page that provoked those devouring flames.  Interviewed by Rue89 he said that real Muslims don’t burn newspapers. Elsewhere his colleague, Pelloux, opined: “As far as I know, there is no koranic law against laughter.”

Demopaths, Cognitive Warfare and the UN: On banning Islamophobia

One of the key dimensions of global Jihad’s cognitive war against the West is the need to disguise the nature of the “weak” aggressor in this asymmetrical war. If the West knew what radical Islam wanted, they’d oppose it firmly, and they’d have no chance to position themselves favorably over time. Thus, while some of them play tough cop (violent Jihadis like Osama and other Salafi Jihadis), others play nice cop, and argue they would be “moderate” if only we treated them fairly.

Since this desire on the part of violent, fascist, even genocidal Islamic triumphalists who want to create a global Dar al Islam, is so ferocious and painful to contemplate, most liberals prefer to believe their demopathic pretences to moderation. As Barry Rubin points out, in some ways, the media tells us things that will pacify us, and keeps the bad news – news that might swell the voting ranks of (gasp!) conservatives and hawks — out of sight.

This approach has, by and large, dominated the approach of the MSNM for the last decade. The results: a president who thinks he can charm the Muslim world, even the radicals, and whose advisors think that it’s best not to even speak of “radical Islam” lest we offend “true Muslims” who know that any violence is against the “true teachings” of Islam – a useful infidel’s fatwa against Osama and his ilk, if you will. Shades of Grima Wormtongue literally sickening King Theoden of Rohan in The Two Towers.

(Note that I took this from a site which posted in 2008, suggesting that McCain was Theoden, and his advisors Wormtongue. I think that gets it exactly wrong. Tolkien, who had the Nazis in mind, had Wormtongue as a councilor of appeasement, in league with the warmonger Saruman, arguing that Rohen should not go to war.)

Of course, it’s hard not to notice the raging bull behind the curtain. And Muslims are becoming increasingly aware that their “Islam is a religion of peace” mantra is wearing thin. So what do they do? Go to the UN and ask it to ban Islamophobia in the name of “human rights.”

HT for much of this post to Elder of Ziyon.

Muslim states seek UN action on West’s “islamophobia”
16 Jun 2010 17:37:06 GMT
Source: Reuters
* Want investigation into West’s media on religion
* Say racism, xenophobia rife in Europe
* Part of majority group on U.N. rights council
By Robert Evans

GENEVA, June 16 (Reuters) – Muslim states said on Wednesday that what they call “islamophobia” is sweeping the West and its media and demanded that the United Nations take tougher action against it.

Delegates from Islamic countries, including Pakistan and Egypt, told the United Nations Human Rights Council that treatment of Muslims in Western countries amounted to racism and discrimination and must be fought.

“People of Arab origin face new forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance and experience discrimination and marginalisation,” an Egyptian delegate said, according to a U.N. summary.

And Pakistan, speaking for the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said the council’s special investigator into religious freedom should look into such racism “especially in Western societies”.

Acting for the OIC, Pakistan has tabled a resolution at the council instructing its special investigator on religious freedom “to work closely with mass media organisations to ensure that they create and promote an atmosphere of respect and tolerance for religious and cultural diversity”.

The OIC — and its allies in the 47-nation council including Russia, China and Cuba — dub criticism of Muslim practices and linking of terrorism waged under the proclaimed banner of Islamism as “islamophobia” that pillories all Muslims.

BOUND TO PASS

If it worked with the Danish Cartoons… why not let Facebook know what’s in store?

Danish Cartoon clash of civilizations continues. I’m reading Jytte Klausen, The Cartoons that Shook the World for the conclusion to my book (overdue). It is a work that strikes some as genuinely “even-handed,” but strikes me as (therefore) genuinely superficial and misleading about Islam and its many manifestations in the 21st century. Anyway, if mainstream media like Yale and Comedy Central caved, cybernautic Facebook has, so far, not. As a result, demonstrations in Pakistan that take us right back to London in 2006.


One illustration of the protests in Pakistan against Facebook’s “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day


Some of the signs displayed in demonstration in London, February 3, 2006 to protest publications of Danish Cartoons.

Note the Pakistani signs in English: This is part of a global cognitive war, in which Sharia is extended to dar al Harb in the matter of treatment of the Prophet. Infidels must, as Dhimmis in dar al Islam, respect the sensibilities of the Muslims, and the death they threaten to those who refuse to obey, is precisely what Dhimmis are “protected from” as long as they remain good subjects.

Apparently, according Waqar Hussain of AFP, the vitriolic response prompted, yet more apologies.

Miserable Signs of the Times: Swedes and Yalies

Apologies to my readers for my long absence during several important events. A brief update and list of articles worth considering for discussion. I am now in a better position to both post and pay attention to the excellent discussions some of you readers have been maintaining while I lurked.

Swedish article on Organ Transplant

Among the most significant items on which I need to post has been Aftonbladet controversy, the Swedish article accusing the Israelis of engaging in harvesting organs from dead Palestinians, what many — justifiably to my mind — consider a modern blood libel. By now, it’s clear — and avowed — that the author has no evidence for his claims, and even the families involved admit that they never made the claims. Barry Rubin has some excellent remarks on Facebook about why, even though the media openly admits to holding Israel to a higher standard, it’s equally if not more important for the media to be careful with Israel, given the long history of libels against it.

So if you say that you hold Jews to higher standards remember equally that they have been treated, misexplained, misunderstood and lied about to lower standards. That there are people–often the main supposed witnesses to the things you denounce Israel for–who have a vested interest in making Israel look bad and who are willing to lie, along with reporters and others who have an antagonism to Israel. What are you doing to correct that side of the balance?

I’m going to hold you to a higher standard in your coverage of Israel for the same reason.

Dershowitz addresses the Swedish government’s invocation of “freedom of the press” as an excuse for them to weigh in on this.

Israeli spokespeople have hit back hard on this, both officially and unofficially. Below is Mordechai Kedar’s responses to the author of the piece, Donald Bostrom, in which he mentions al Durah and invokes Pallywood. Note how Bostrom starts by saying, “It’s not up to me to have any evidence…” How do you think Kedar comes off?

One of my correspondents shudders at Kedar’s performance.

This TV interview with Kedar and Bostrom is a disaster. Bostrom comes across as the calm, reasonable speaker. Kedar is overheated and makes unsupported allegations that Palestinians are “compulsive liars” and have a conspiracy—these remarks make him look like a racist. Kedar is right, but his delivery completely undercuts his own message.

Bostrom, on the other hand, is a poster-boy for Pallywood, as it manifests in journalism. Not only are Palestinian witnesses “as good as anyone’s”, but the work of the NGOs and other journalists in having Israel as a daily human rights violator, make anything the Palestinians claim perfectly believable.

Yale University Press and the Danish Cartoon Book without Danish Cartoons.

The appalling decision of Yale U. Press not to publish the cartoons out of concern for the sensitivity of Muslims is, among many issues, a perfect illustration of the role of experts (the unanimous 12 who recommended not to publish the cartoons) of the role of an anomalous consensus among our elites whose opinions matter. All twelve? No one i respect who thinks on the issue of how we deal with militant Islam would have recommended so pusillanimous a course. Was there not one person in the bunch to say something like this?

This is absurd. Of course you publish the cartoons. Their almost entirely anodine nature is part of the story.

muhammad cartoonist sweating

It attests to the nature of the violent response, which was the bullying of a newly empowered advocacy community: global Jihadis who feel that Muslim sharia should rule the planet. Not to publish would be to act like dhimmi. It would replicate all the errors that were made at the time of the event, in which America’s failure to publish the cartoonbs in every paper at once betrayed Europeans behaving bravely, and signaled to the Islamist triumphalists that indeed the whole world was vulnerable to their demands.

Or just a simple, “don’t be ridiculous.”

In any case, the “unanimous 12” strike me as the most significant elemnt in this lamentable story. It’s testimony to the Emperor’s New Clothes effect. The court has so taken control of the discourse that the simplest and most obvious responses are not merely “voted down,” but excluded. Let’s not forget that the emperor and his court carried on the charade even after the crowd had turned against the hegemonic discourse in which the emperor’s clothes were dazzling.

But this issue is not confined to Yale alone. This essay, by Yale senior Matt Shaffer, about his time at Yale gives an intellectual backgrtound to this court consensus.

Condemning prejudice is great, but devoting the keynote speech of Yale orientation to a finger-wagging lecture against bigotry, as Professor Yoshino did, was like opening a conference of physicists with a warning on the dangers of astrology. In short, Despite Dean Salovey’s assertion that, “We will help you learn how to think rather than tell you what to think,” it looked more and more that they were going to teach us neither how to think nor what to think, but rather, what to feel.

That evening, things went from mere disappointment to sheer farce. Tedious lectures turned into indoctrination. We were required to attend ‘discussions’ with our freshman counselors about Professor Yoshino’s speech. The freshman counselor set the tone, and then student after student performed a series of variations upon a single theme: white men are bad, Islam is fabulous and judgment is bad. We need to be eternally vigilant and morally courageous in the face of the innumerable male WASP bigots around us. (Why we are allowed to judge white people as bad and Islam as good when judgment is supposedly forbidden is beyond my ken.)

This article — despite it’s somwhat archaic conclusion about truth beauty and goodness — supports the folllowing lllustrated metaphor in some detail. When I first read this cartoon (HT Michelle Saltzman) I confess to feeling uneasy. The packaging is harsh; the insights, given Shaffer’s reflections, seem quite accurate. Is it Kedar-style? Or something else.

On the Moral Failures of the Left: Kamm meditates on the dangers of identity politics

A friend of mine who lives on the West coast remembers a trip I made out there in early 2002. “All you could say was ‘Where’s the outrage?'” And, of course, I was talking about the suicide terror campaign against Israel and the eery silence, not only from the “left” — which, it turns out, was celebrating the terrorists — but the liberals, the people who should have been most indignant at the appalling sight of a culture that does blood sacrifices of its own youth in order to act on its hatreds. What I eventually learned was that the they had been taken in by the “yes it’s indefensible… but…” position.

All told, I became rapidly convinced over the course of the early years of the aughts (’00s) that the year 2000 — from Camp David’s failure in August to the outbreak of the Intifada in October, marks a major failure of the modern, liberal world. At that point, having urged Israel to make massive substantive concessions on the promise of peace — letting Arafat back in, giving him a free hand to arm his “police” force, to control his own media and educational systems — in exchange for promises of recognition and commitment to making peace. When Arafat turned down the offers of Camp David, and later when he revelled in the violence of the Intifada, that was a moment where the liberal left, if it believed in its values of positive-sum negotiation, mutuality and peace, should have turned to Israel and apologized for having urged such a dangerous, even suicidal “peace process” on them.

Instead, it turned against Israel and made Arafat and his suicide-bombing Palestinian Jihadis the heroes of resistance against the Israelis. If the Palestinians hated Israel so, it must be because the Israelis have deprived them of hope. How could it be their fault? How could we hold them responsible for their hatreds? Wouldn’t that be “blaming the victim?”

Now, from the Times of London, an essay by Oliver Kamm examines the role of a certain kind of identity politics associated with authoritarian (if not fascist) communities who are given more than a free ride.

From The Times
May 23, 2009
How the Left turned to the Right
Oliver Kamm

Liberal over-sensitivity to the beliefs of others is undermining freedom of speech, so giving reactionaries an easy ride

I attended an academic conference in late 1989 on the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. Martin Jacques, editor of the now-defunct journal Marxism Today, put a brave face on the rejection of the ideals he espoused. He argued that these revolutions would expand the variety of left-wing views in Western Europe.

I recall arguing with him from the floor that the opposite was true. Of the two principal left-wing traditions in Europe, insurrectionary socialism and pro-Western social democracy, only the second retained credibility.

It is obvious now that we were both wrong. The revolutionary Left has made fitfully fruitful tactical alliances, such as the bleakly comic amalgam of Leninists and Islamists who formed and then rent apart George Galloway’s Respect party. But in its own name it remains a minuscule if variegated sect.

Actually, in retrospect, the radical left, groups like International A.N.S.W.E.R., was saved by anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism.

Criticizing Durban II: Is Europe finding a voice of resistance to Eurabia?

There’s evidence that Europe is finally turning around on Durban II. But as we’ve already learned, let’s not jump to hasty optimistic conclusions.

EU countries oppose Muslim views on racism meeting
By ELIANE ENGELER – 21 hours ago

GENEVA (AP) — European Union countries Tuesday stepped up their opposition to Muslim attempts to shield Islam from criticism and attack Israel through a U.N. conference on racism.

EU members were unusually outspoken in appearances before the U.N. Human Rights Council, saying they were worried about preparations for a global racism conference to be held next month because attention was being diverted from the real problems of racial discrimination.

“I am deeply disturbed by the turn this event is taking [sic],” Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen said.

“The thematic world conference is used by some to try to force their concept of defamation of religions and their focus on one regional conflict on all of us,” Verhagen told the 47-member council.

References to Israel and protection of religion in the current draft conclusion being negotiated for the so-called Durban II conference are unacceptable, Verhagen said.

“We cannot accept any text, which would put religion above individuals, not condemn discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, condone anti-Semitism or single out Israel,” he said. Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Italy voiced similar concerns.

Islamic countries, still angry over cartoons and films attacking Muslims, have been campaigning for wording that would equate criticism of a religious faith with a violation of human rights. The informal negotiations have proven difficult with many issues that marred the first U.N. conference on racism in 2001 re-emerging — such as criticism of Israel.

The April 20-25 meeting is designed to review progress in fighting racism since the global body’s first such conference eight years ago in Durban, South Africa. That 2001 meeting was dominated by clashes over the Middle East and the legacy of slavery, and particularly marred by attacks on Israel and anti-Israel demonstrations at a parallel conference of non-governmental organizations.

The U.S. and Israel walked out midway through the 2001 conference over a draft resolution that singled out Israel for criticism and likened Zionism — the movement to establish and maintain a Jewish state — to racism. The European Union also refused to accept demands by Arab states to criticize Israel for its “racist practices.”

In the end, the 2001 conference dropped criticism of Israel. It urged governments to take concrete steps to fight discrimination and recognized the plight of the Palestinian people and the need for Israel to have security.

Israel and Canada had already announced they would will boycott Durban II. The Obama administration said Friday the U.S. will stay away from this year’s conference unless its final document is changed to drop all references to Israel and the defamation of religion.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Monday that countries should not put conditions for the participation in the meeting. Durban II should deal with contemporary forms of racism, such as religious profiling and Islamophobia, he said.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

They talk as if they just discovered that there was a problem.

London Bobbies: Gunless in Londonistan

It’s always dangerous to play honor-shame games with people who are masters at it. And of course, when it’s a question of territory, you had better be ready to play honor-shame games, or lose territory. And when you lose, you lose big time because you lose not only territory, but face. Let there be no mistake here, there’s a battle for European territory — indeed, the street — between Muslims and the old guard.

I think that although this battle started years, maybe even decades before 2000, that the demonstrations against Israel’s “murder” of Muhammad al Durah represent the moment when the “Arab Street” took root in Europe. We have seen it many times since, including, of course, the riots in the French “zones urbaines sensibles”, as well as in response to such intolerable provocations as the Muhammad Cartoons and the Pope’s outrageous comments about a violent Islam.


Signs at demonstration in London outside Danish Embassy in protest of the Muhammad Cartoons, Februrary 2006

And of course, we saw them in full flower in response to Operation Cast Lead. And of all the places, the most startling was in London, where a “demonstration” chased the police several blocks through the center of London shouting “Allahu Akhbar” and “Run you cowards, infidels (kuffars)!”

Tom Gross notes that

it is quite an extraordinary ten minutes of footage as the police run away from a pro-Hamas mob and allow traffic cones and other items to be thrown at them on some of London’s grandest streets. At one point in the video, one can see St James’s Palace, the Ritz hotel and the Wolseley restaurant on Piccadilly. The police appear outnumbered and too intimidated to make any arrests.

Chants of “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Great) can also be heard. Two orthodox Jews were severely assaulted after the demonstration, including a student who is a co-chair of a Jewish-Muslim friendship society at Oxford University.

As I mentioned in a dispatch last month, a policeman protecting the Israeli embassy was beaten unconscious following one of these demonstrations.

The kicker in all this is that the British police responded: “WE DIDN’T RUN AWAY FROM GAZA PROTESTORS. IT WAS AN ORDERLY WALK BACKWARDS” (Headline in The Mail on Sunday)

If there’s anything that makes you look more ridiculous than running from aggression, it’s trying to pretend that you didn’t.

It’s like the scene in Princess Bride where Wesley bluffs Prince Humperdink into dropping his sword and letting Princess Buttercup tie him up.

And when, a few seconds later (and no one on Youtube has included this part of the scene), Wesley almost collapses, Humperdink, still tied up, says, “I knew it! I knew you were bluffing! I knew he was bluffing!

Bobbies don’t carry guns because of the exceptional police-philosophy of the early 18th century Prime Minister of England, Robert Peel (hence Bobbies). It’s a triumph of civil society and the liberal paradigm: treat others with respect and they will respond. It is, alas, under heavy pressure.

Random House’s Fear of Muslim Violence Trumps Free Speech

In an egregious example of Americans curbing their own freedom of expression because of the potential threat of Muslim anger and violence, Random House has decided not to publish The Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones, a fiction novel about A’isha, Muhammad’s youngest bride. What makes the case especially aggravating is that the movement to ensure that the book does not reach the shelves was initiated by an American academic.  

NPR’s Talk of the Nation dealt with the issue in a segment today, and the program’s blog has statements from the publisher and author.

From Random House:

After sending out advance editions of the novel The Jewel of Medina, we received in response, from credible and unrelated sources, unsolicited cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment. We felt an obligation to take these concerns very seriously. We consulted with security experts as well as with scholars of Islam, whom we asked to review the book and offer their assessments of potential reactions. We stand firmly by our responsibility to support our authors and the free discussion of ideas, even those that may be construed as offensive by some. However, a publisher must weigh that responsibility against others that it also bears, and in this instance we decided, after much deliberation, to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House, Inc., booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the book. The author and Ballantine subsequently agreed to terminate the agreement, with the understanding that the author would be free to publish elsewhere, if she so chose.

Thrash of Civilizations on “Freedom” of the Press

A six-member delegation from Pakistan comes to the West to demand that, where Islam is concerned, we curtail freedom of expression. Few issues illustrate better the clash between Western notions of free speech and Muslim desires to control the public sphere. This began back in 1989 with the Rushdie affair, and has not gotten a whole lot better since. This offers an occasion to draw the line. Only when we respect our own institutions (which are kryptonite to Muslim pretensions at a global Caliphate), can we hope to have them respect us. (Hattip LGF)

Pakistan to ask EU to amend laws on freedom of expression

By Tahir Niaz

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will ask the European Union countries to amend laws regarding freedom of expression in order to prevent offensive incidents such as the printing of blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and the production of an anti-Islam film by a Dutch legislator, sources in the Interior Ministry told Daily Times on Saturday.

They said that a six-member high-level delegation comprising officials from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Law would leave Islamabad on Sunday (today) for the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium and explain to the EU leadership the backlash against the blasphemous campaign in the name of freedom of expression.

The delegation, headed by an additional secretary of the Interior Ministry, will meet the leaders of the EU countries in a bid to convince them that the recent attack on the Danish Embassy in Pakistan could be a reaction against the blasphemous campaign, sources said.

They said that the delegation would also tell the EU that if such acts against Islam are not controlled, more attacks on the EU diplomatic missions abroad could not be ruled out.

Sources said that the delegation would also hold discussions on inter-religious harmony during its meetings with the EU leaders.

Comments:

A commission of demopaths, come to denounce democratic institutions in the name of religious harmony and mutual respect. Alas, I suspect they’ll find a warm welcome. More global Jihad warming.

They want Fitna removed, despite the fact that most of it could be a recruiting film for Jihad.

The obvious response to the threat — that there may be more attacks on embassies, which they can’t prevent, i.e., blackmail — is to withdraw the embassies. But we don’t want to walk away from Pakistan, so they play on our unwillingness to let them go down the tubes in order to maneuver us into positions of weakness.

Already, institutions like the Chamber 17 in Paris and the Canadian Human Rights Commission enforce these gag orders.

British Confront Muslim Anger over Rushdie Honor: Shocked! I am Absolutely Shocked!

Rushdie furore stuns honours committee

· Muslim backlash after knighthood not foreseen
· UK protests over Pakistani minister’s remarks

Duncan Campbell and Julian Borger
Wednesday June 20, 2007
The Guardian

Religious students in Multan, Pakistan, burn effigies of the Queen and Salman Rushdie during protests against the awarding of the knighthood. Photograph: Khalid Tanveer/AP

The committee that recommended Salman Rushdie for a knighthood did not discuss any possible political ramifications and never imagined that the award would provoke the furious response that it has done in parts of the Muslim world, the Guardian has learnt.

It also emerged yesterday that the writers’ organisation that led the lobbying for the author of Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses to be knighted had originally hoped that the honour would lead to better relations between Britain and Asia.

I can’t help but smile. Just what were they thinking? That we handled Danoongate and the Pope’s Remarks so well that, well, things are “getting better all the time…”? Clearly they didn’t read Dan Pipes, The Rushdie Affair.

The news came as the row spread around the world and the British high commissioner in Islamabad made representations to the Pakistani government over remarks supposedly made by the minister for religious affairs, Mohammed Ejaz ul-Haq, in which he appeared to justify suicide bombings as a response to the award.

Rushdie was celebrating his 60th birthday in London yesterday and is not commenting on the latest threats to his life. It is understood he is anxious not to inflame the situation. Scotland Yard declined to comment as a matter of policy on whether the writer has been given police protection.

The arts and media committee that proposed him for a knighthood is one of eight similar committees that make recommendations to the main committee, which then forwards the final names to the prime minister.

It was chaired by Lord Rothschild, the investment banker and former chairman of the trustees of the National Gallery. The other committee members are Jenny Abramsky, the BBC’s director of radio and music; novelist and poet Ben Okri, who is vice-president of the English chapter of PEN International, which campaigns on behalf of writers who face persecution; Andreas Whittam Smith, former editor of the Independent; John Gross, the author and former theatre critic of the Sunday Telegraph; and two permanent secretaries, one from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and one from the Scottish executive.

Watch out for the Elders of Zion.

“Very properly, we were concerned only with merit in relation to the level of the award,” Mr Whittam Smith said yesterday.

He added that it would be for the main committee to assess any other aspects of the honour. The Foreign Office is represented on the main committee by the permanent secretary, whose job it would be to raise any potential international ramifications. A Foreign Office spokesman said he was not aware of any request by the honours committee to gauge likely Muslim reaction to the knighthood before the decision was taken.

PEN International, which campaigned on behalf of Rushdie when he was in hiding during the fatwa years, has lobbied consistently for him to be honoured. Yesterday the director of its London chapter, Jonathan Heawood, said that he was taken aback by the scale of the reaction.

Mr Heawood said it had been felt that an honour for the writer, who was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), would be seen as a positive step in British-Asian relations.

“The honour is for services to literature and a very belated recognition that he is a world writer, who was in the vanguard of a writing tradition that exploded in the 80s in south Asia,” said Mr Heawood.

“It seems a shame that a few lines in his fourth novel should have turned him into this hate figure. He has become a Guy Fawkes figure to be thrown on a bonfire whenever it suits a government to divert attention from what is happening in their own countries.”

Welcome to the global Middle East.

The Pakistani foreign ministry summoned the British high commissioner yesterday to complain about the knighthood, but British officials said they used the occasion to protest about the remarks by Mr Ejaz ul-Haq, who has since said that his comments were a statement of fact and not intended to incite violence.

“The high commissioner, Robert Brinkley, made clear to the Pakistan ministry of foreign affairs the British government’s deep concern about what the minister of religious affairs is reported to have said,” a Foreign Office spokeswoman said. “We made very clear that nothing can justify suicide bomb attacks.”

However, Pakistan’s foreign minister, Kurshid Kasuri, said on a visit to Washington that Britain could not have been surprised by the outrage.

The chairman of the all-party group on Pakistan, the Conservative MP Stewart Jackson, also attacked the decision to knight Rushdie. “We do not need a situation where we are gratuitously offending our allies in the fight against terror,” he told the ePolitix website. “I think the prime minister’s office should think very carefully about that decision.”

No date has been set for the investiture. Two ceremonies are due to take place next month but they are likely to be for those who were named in the New Year’s honours list. Rushdie could become Sir Salman in the next batch of investitures between October and December or early next year.

Watch this empty space in British brains.

The Pope’s Remarks about Islam: The Joke Too Few Get

The Pope’s recent remarks have set off a particularly revealing firestorm of criticism. Distracted by the Al Durah trial, I haven’t paid close attention until now.

Dismaying is probably putting it mildly. At a distance, one gets the following impression. The Pope expressed disapproval of Jihadi “thinking” in Islam; Muslims the world over expressed vigorous if not violent objection to the Pope’s remarks; and responsible Westerners waxed indignant at the pope’s unnecessary provocation. Under the double pressure of a politically-correct public sphere and a violent or threatening Muslim “street,” the pope apologized.

Of course, the second stage of this story — the Muslim response — is nothing less than a very bad joke. “Call me violent? I’ll show you! I’ll riot and rampage until you stop calling me violent!” This is the kind of silliness even a five-year-old can get.

pope in effigy

But the “adults” are not laughing, at least not in public. So what happened?

The “Fatwa Bomb Meter”: Art Spiegelman in Harpers does Danoongate

Hat tip David Steinman.
The new issue is not yet on the Harper’s website.

INTERVIEW-US satirist Art Spiegelman tackles Danish cartoons

Tue 16 May 2006 7:15 PM ET
By Claudia Parsons
Reuters

NEW YORK, May 16 (Reuters) – Controversial Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad have been reprinted in a U.S. magazine with commentary by leading U.S. cartoonist Art Spiegelman, who offers what he calls a “fatwa bomb meter” to rate their offensiveness.

Harper’s Magazine published the article by Spiegelman in its June edition available on newsstands from Tuesday, joining only a handful of U.S. outlets which have printed the cartoons which provoked furious protests that killed 50 people.

Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten newspaper published the 12 cartoons last year. Other newspapers around the world, mainly in Europe, later reprinted the cartoons.

A number of Muslim clerics have condemned the cartoons and a small minority have called for a violent response. A fatwa is a religious edict in Islam, sometimes equated with a death threat since Iran’s late ruler, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, ordered Muslims in 1989 to kill British novelist Salman Rushdie.

In an article headlined “Drawing Blood: Outrageous cartoons and the art of outrage,” Spiegelman, an elder statesman of political satire famous for his New Yorker cartoons, said the cartoons needed to be seen to be understood.

“As a secular Jewish cartoonist living in New York City, I start out with four strikes against me, but I really don’t want any irate Muslims declaring holy war on me,” Spiegelman wrote in the article, describing himself as “a devout coward.”

“It’s not intended to add fuel to any fire,” Spiegelman told Reuters by telephone.

“I think that the tone is the tone of a secular wise-guy cartoonist rather than a scholar, but I wanted to show … what couldn’t be described,” he said, adding that he was surprised that most of his friends had not seen the cartoons.

‘BANAL AND INOFFENSIVE’

Spiegelman noted that the cartoons appear “banal and inoffensive” to secular eyes, revealing a gulf in understanding.

“To my secular eyes it seems like the real insult has been things like Abu Ghraib,” he said, referring to abuse of prisoners by U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

In the article Spiegelman analyzes each of the 12 cartoons for artistic merit and offensiveness, using a rating system of one to four bombs in the “fatwa bomb meter.”

A cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad with a bomb in his turban, generally cited as the most offensive, received three bombs from Spiegelman, who described it as a “hackneyed” expression of an idea.

His most offensive rating of four bombs went only to a stylized cartoon said to depict five women’s head scarves in a line-drawing made up of Islamic symbols such as the crescent.

He said it had “no redeeming features” and in terms of craftsmanship it “might almost be worth a fatwa.”

“I don’t really even quite understand what it’s a cartoon of, except ‘We don’t like Muslims,'” he told Reuters.

The article criticized all sides in the controversy.

“The Jyllands-Posten — a newspaper with a history of anti-immigrant bias — seemed somewhat disingenuous when it wrapped itself in the mantle of free speech to invite cartoonists to throw pies at the face of Mohammad,” Spiegelman wrote. He said many newspapers reprinted the cartoons to reinforce “their own anti-immigrant or Islamophobic biases.”

But he criticized U.S. news outlets for not showing the cartoons out of what he called “political correctness that smelled of hypocrisy and fear.”

Drawing historical parallels with cartoonists jailed in the past, he said, “I do believe in the right to insult.”

Spiegelman’s only mistake in my opinion seems to be in taking the Muslim reaction as a real measure of their sense of offense: “revealing a gulf in understanding.” It’s not clear just what a gulf is revealed in that reaction, given how it was whipped up by people who slipped three fakes in. As Thomas Scanlon noted on the Hirsi Ali panel, “offense is a dangerous principle to use because it’s so easy to take offense.”

I’m subscribing to Harpers.