Category Archives: Islamophobia

Malliet: Update on Georges Bensoussan Trial in Paris

A tireless warrior in the cogwar, Martin Malliet, frequent commenter here, left a long comment with an update on the George Bensassoun blasphemy trial in Chambre 17 in Paris. I post it here to give it the attention it deserves.

This is indeed a fascinating case that shows how crazy things have gotten in France. (I put some things together on my facebook page.)

Georges Bensoussan, a French Jewish historian and activist against islamism (with quite some credentials in this field), in a debate on the radio (high-brow France-Culture almost nobody listens to) explains how widespread antisemitism in the French Muslim community makes it vulnerable to the islamists’ attempts to set it up against French society.

He then is accused of incitement to hatred against the Muslim community by professional anti-racism organisations, with the lead being taken by the CCIF (against islamophobia). Other anti-racist organisations join in, among which the venerable old LICRA (against racism and anti-semitism) with its star witness Mohamed Sifaoui, an Algerian journalist in France who is a very outspoken critic of islamism and at the same time very much maligned by the CCIF for being former PM Manuel Valls’s sidekick and by the CCIF’s followers for being a ‘zionist agent’, who explains his testimony against Bensoussan with the wish not to leave the defense of the French Muslims entirely to the CCIF.

Apart maybe from the CCIF, nobody seems to be thinking about the sketch Dieudonné is going to make on Bensoussan, who is also associated with the French Shoah memorial, if he is ever found guilty by the court of incitement to hatred against Muslims, as the public prosecutor demands (with a fine of €1.500), after debates at the trial that lasted for 12 hours (till 1h30 in the morning). The verdict will be pronounced on the 7th of March.

The judge, who is Mme Siredey-Garnier, in the meantime has published a sort of opinion piece in the ‘Gazette du Palais’ in which she contrasts the 12-hour long Bensoussan trial with other hearings where she has to decide on the fate of some 23 illegal immigrants in about the same amount of time. The idea she tries to put forward seems to be that the Bensoussan trial is merely about a symbolic matter whereas the other cases are about real lives. But she reminds herself of the trials of Flaubert, Zola, Baudelaire and Charlie, which were also held before the same tribunal (17me chambre), and promises to do her duty by giving every case the attention it deserves.

Her piece inspired me to write a last message in support of Georges Bensoussan that I secretly hope will come to her attention (in French) and that on my part is meant as a simple plea for sanity: “Pour ma part, j’espère seulement que le juge jouera pleinement son rôle de juge, et admettra d’autres considérations que celles introduites par les parties avant d’arriver à une conclusion. Comme par exemple le fait qu’il s’agissait d’un débat contradictoire à la radio, et que dans ce cas on ne peut attendre de personne qu’il pèse vraiment tous ses mots. Que Georges Bensoussan est certes responsable de sa parole, mais qu’il ne peut être tenu responsable de toutes les interprétations malveillantes que d’autres veulent en faire. En d’autres mots, que le juge se rend compte que devant un tribunal révolutionnaire Georges Bensoussan serait facilement condamné pour incitation à la haine raciale. Mais qu’il décide ensuite que devant le tribunal d’un état de droit comme la RF il ne le mérite aucunement. Et qu’il condamne chacune des parties civiles à €10.000 de dommages pour procédure abusive, harcèlement et atteinte à la réputation de Georges Bensoussan.”

http://www.marianne.net/agora-proces-bensoussan-reponse-mohamed-sifaoui-100249704.html

 

French Jewish Historian Sued Over ‘Far-Right Rhetoric’ Against Muslims

The use of accusations of Islamophobia to enforce Caliphater blasphemy codes and block the expression of any criticism of Muslims in Europe has long been acknowledged. The most disturbing trend in this verbal warfare is to criminalize Islamophobia as “hate speech.” Today in France we have a good example of this problem.

French Jewish Historian Sued Over ‘Far-Right Rhetoric’ Against Muslims

(JTA) — One of the world’s leading historians on the Jewish communities in Arab countries is being prosecuted in France for alleged hate speech against Muslims.

The Morocco-born French-Jewish scholar Georges Bensoussan, 64, is due to appear next month before a Paris criminal court over a complaint filed against him for incitement to racial hatred by the Collective Against Islamophobia in France, the group recently announced on its website.

Note that Bensoussan is the author of the first book on the new Anti-Semitism of the 21st century, Les territoires perdus de la République (2002), in English, The Lost Territories of the Republic. It chronicled the way in which a vicious anti-Semitic (and anti-French) hate speech had taken over many schools in France, especially in the banlieues (Zones Urbaines Sensibles). He published it under the protective pseudonym of Emmanuel Brenner.

The complaint, which leading French scholars dismissed as attempt at “intimidation” in a statement Friday, was over remarks about anti-Semitism by Muslims that Bensoussan, author of a definitive 2012 work entitled “Jews in Arab Lands,” made last year during an interview aired by the France Culture radio station, the Collective said.

The Collective based its complaint on two remarks by Bensoussan.

« Aujourd’hui nous sommes en présence d’un autre peuple au sein de la nation française, qui fait régresser un certain nombre de valeurs démocratiques qui nous ont portés….».

“Today, we are witnessing a different people in the midst of the French nation, who have a regressive effect on a certain number of democratic values to which we adhere…” read the first quote flagged.

From an empirical point of view, this is simple observation. Anyone who is familiar with the behavior of French Muslims in these “zones urbaines sensibles” knows the degree to which they show open contempt for democratic principles and norms: shame-murders, butchering teachers in front of the class, rapacious looting, exclusion of women from public places, taking over public space (main roads) for prayer, murders, rapes and assaults. And all of this, while it might have appeared before, became much more pronounced in the 21st century.
You can argue these are not all French Muslims. But you cannot argue that the culture their deeds reflect, is merely marginal to the French Muslim community. The voice of a violent, triumphalist, Muslim rap holds a place of power within that community, especially among youth, and in that world, Muhammad Merah, who filmed himself gunning down little Jewish children outside a school in Toulouse, is a hero. He is a “real man,” like Usama.

Said’s Disorientations

MEQ just published my article on Edward Saïd. They entitled it “‘Celebrating’ Orientalism,” which I presume is meant to be ironic. My more direct title was “Disoriented by Saïd: The Contribution of Post-Colonialism to 21st century Jihadi Cognitive War.”

While a number of people have noted how long the piece was, including Elder of Ziyon, it was much longer when I first submitted it. I post below the longer original version for the three people who might be interested in further details, deconstructing Saïd’s covert tribalist and Orientalist attitudes.

The section on Oslo, also highlighted by Elder, has been translated into Polish, by Malgorzata Koraszewska at her blog, Listy z naszego sadu.

Disoriented by Saïd:

The Contribution of Post-Colonialism to 21st century Jihadi Cognitive War

Although Edward Saïd’s impact on the field of Middle Eastern Studies, and beyond, across the social sciences and the humanities, has been viewed from many perspectives, as a brilliant triumph, or as tragedy, few question the astonishing scope and penetration of Orientalism on the academic world. Here I wish to investigate the (unintended) role played by Saïd, and the post-colonial school of thought his works fostered, in the way that the West has so far handled the cognitive-war that triumphalist Muslims[1] wage in their stated goal of imposing Dar al Islam on democratic polities.

Orientalism played a central role in a transformation of academic discourse in the last two decades of the second millennium, assuring the ascendency of critical theory and post-colonialism.[2] The book, despite its enthusiastic reception among many, also received extensive criticism on both the micro and macro level – the multiple (uncorrected) errors that, in many cases reveal a profound ignorance about the history of the Middle East, the selective focus (nothing on major school of German [non-imperialist] scholarship), the tendency to the same essentialism when dealing with Western scholars that it condemned when dealing with inhabitants of the constructed fantasy, the “Orient,” and of course, the reductive thesis (knowledge essentially a form of wielding power, a tool imperialism).[3] Here I wish to look at what may be an unintended consequence of this book’s success – its contribution to the success of the subsequent cogwar waged by global Jihadis against a West they wanted to invade.

In the last five years alone, Saïd’s epigones in academia, journalism, punditry, and policy, have been spectacularly poor in their depictions and analyses of, and prescriptions for acting in, the Middle East. One might even venture to say that they misread every major development, from the democratic “Arab Spring” (2010) to today’s regional melt-down of state apparatus. And the lamentable state of President Obama’s understanding testifies to their signal failure.

Thus this collapse comes under the blows of the most savage kind of tribal and religious warfare, whose very presence, much less remarkable appeal to Muslims in the West, the post-colonial academy studiously avoided discussing.[4] Now we witness the displacement of tens of millions of refugees fleeing these political catastrophes, now pressing, not as conquerors but as victims, at the gates of Europe. In all this, Western information professionals have catastrophically failed in their task of informing knowledgeable, intelligent and effective decision making.

If we have any hope of figuring out what to do for the rest of the 21st century in dealing with this generational war that Western democratic societies have to fight with the forces of global Jihad, we need to rethink our reliance on Edward Saïd’s cognitive and moral compass. The remainder of this essay is dedicated to furthering that agenda by examining one critical area of scholarship that Saïd’s influence has blighted – the topic of honor-shame cultures – and applying it to one of the more catastrophic and persistent diplomatic blunders of the late 20th century produced by that cognitive damage – the Oslo Accord and the ensuing “cult of the occupation.”

Honor Killings vs. Shame Murders: a cultural meditation

In my understanding of honor-shame culture, especially of the zero-sum kind, it matters far less what you did wrong, than what people think you did wrong. Hence, if you’re innocent and others (your honor group) think you guilty, you feel you are bad. If you’re guilty and others think you’re innocent, you’re fine.

Integrity works the opposite way: if you’re guilty and no one knows it, you may feel relieved, but you feel bad about yourself. If you’re innocent and others think you’re guilty, you may feel bad, but not that you’re bad.

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.”

Triumphalist Religiosity: The Unanticipated Problem of the 21st Century

The Tablet recently published a piece of mine. Below is a longer, linked piece.

Triumphalist Religiosity

The Unanticipated Problem of the 21st Century

Recent events have brought to a crisis-point the problem of trying to talk about the relationship between Jihadism and Islam. The incapacity of the Democratic candidates to even discuss what may have led to the mass murder at San Bernardino, coupled with the controversial Republican responses, illustrate our dysfunctions. We do much better yelling at each other for not saying enough, or too much, rather than actually analyzing the problem.

The following discussion aims to identify a key dimension of the problem that is both empirically-based in current and historical data, and sufficiently discriminating in its criticism that it avoids “insulting all Muslims”. On the contrary, I hope it offers a good understanding of the challenge we all – Muslims and infidels – face. Only when we assess the problem accurately can non-Muslims and peaceable Muslims, successfully deal with the current paroxysms shaking Islam the world over. Only with such an awareness, can we hope to forge a world of tolerance and mutual respect between Muslim believers and those of us who do not share their religious convictions.

Current administration policy is based on a broadly held consensus that:

  • We should not use the term extremist or radical or violent to modify Islam (“religion of peace”): e.g., ISIS is not Islamic.
  • We should not make any connections between the behavior of violent extremists who claim to follow Islam, and the vast majority of Muslims who do not approve of their deeds (“pas d’amalgames”).

Any public figure who moves too far along the lines of an inquiry into the links between radical Islam and the larger Muslim community, runs the risk of being called an Islamophobe, whose hurtful comments will insult moderate, peaceful Muslims, who might then turn to these extremists.

The illogic here normally should arouse suspicion. If such extremist violence has nothing to do with their “religion of Peace,” how could they become so offended by a discussion of violent elements within Islam, that they embrace this extremism? –  To detectives not on rekaB street: dig here. This is a discourse to deconstruct.

Instead, this argument has become widely current, leading some specialists to urge, that we should never use terms like Jihadi or radical Islam to designate such terrorists, because that gives these mass murderers too much legitimacy. The dominance of this logic makes it almost impossible to discuss the problem, and when someone like Donald Trump makes a remark about

a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,

the subject everyone discusses is not, “what’s going on,” but rather, how offensive his remark. Even his own party members need to publicly dissociate from this.

This essay is a contribution to understanding “what’s going on.” I suggest we look at a matter not so much of theology (Islamism), or even exegesis (of the Qur’an’s notably problematic passages), as of “religiosity” – a particular “style” of living one’s religion, the way one’s religious convictions affect the way one treats others, both co-religionists and outsiders. Religiosity goes a long way towards understanding how any given believer reads his or her sacred and legal texts, and to what theological principles they will find themselves drawn.

The Answer to Hisham Milhelm’s Searing Question on Arab Cultural Failure

For Malgorzata Koraszewska’s Polish translation, see here.

I have often lamented the lack of Arab self-criticism (and the surfeit of Jewish self-criticism). About a year ago, Lebanese journalist Hisham Melhem wrote a devastating piece about the current state (meltdown) of Arab culture across the boards. He repeatedly insists that this cannot be explained by any one factor. Below, I go through his article and attempt to show how honor-shame dynamics, in the peculiarly pathological form they have taken in the Arab world since the victories of Israel against the Arab onslaught have led to this nadir.

NB: I do not, by this post, mean to insult Arabs – although I realize that much of what both Melhem and I have to say will strike some Arabs as insulting. But in the spirit of self-criticism, I offer these reflections as sober appraisals of an undoubtedly painful reality that we all – Arabs above all – need to think about. The learning curve begins when one dives into self-criticism, rather than violently flees it.

Who brought the Arabs to this nadir?

In recent weeks and months I tried in this space to critique an Arab political culture that continues to reproduce the values of patriarchy, mythmaking, conspiracy theoriessectarianism, autocracy and apolitical/cultural discourse that denies human agency and tolerates the persistence of the old order.

Note the importance in this description of the Arab world, of denying human agency, which is something that Western liberals comply with on a regular basis, treating Arabs and the Muslims  as forces of nature that have no moral agency: Sharon visits the Temple Mount, of course they start an Intifada; say Islam inherently violent, of course they riot in protest. It’s our fault for provoking them, not theirs for having no self-control. Have a thousands of Muslim citizens of Western democracies take off to join savage jihadi armies? It’s the fault of Western racism and Islamophobia.

Of course, this is merely the adoption by Westerners of the logic of the very Arab world Hashem is criticizing: if attractive women make testosteronic men horny, then cover the woman, don’t tell the men to learn self control. News headlines regularly adopt this principle of not attributing agency to Arabs, especially in describing the conflict of Israel with her neighbors: Stones pelt Israelis; Israelis shoot Palestinians.

The article in which I said that the ailing Arab body politic had created the ISIS cancer, and subsequent article published in Politico Magazine generated huge response and sparked debates on Twitter and the blogosphere.

The overwhelming response was positive, even though my analysis of Arab reality was bleak and my prognosis of the immediate future was negative. Yet, these articles were not call for despair, far from it; they are acris de Coeur for Arabs, particularly intellectuals, activists and opinion makers, to first recognize that they are in the main responsible for their tragic conditions, that they have to own their problems before they rely on their human agency to make the painful decisions needed to transcend their predicament.

Rabbi Yoffie and the Proxy Honor-Killing of Israel: An Un-Jewish Tragedy

In a recent op-ed in Ha-aretz, “Rabbi” Eric Yoffie illustrated the joke that the real name of the paper is “Dibat Ha-aretz” (libel of the land, or, Ha-aretz’ libel), in a rant about recent violence in Israel. (I refuse to link to such a poisonous piece.)

(HT: Pedro Zuquette, Elder of Zion, Jeffrey Bale, Arnold Roth, Daled Amos, et al.)

The reason for Jewish terror is Torah. It is not territories and occupation that are to blame, although they are part of the picture. It is not racism or hatred of Arabs that are at fault, although they play a role. The heart of the problem is Torah, the sacred teachings of Judaism.

It’s hard to imagine a more lacerating piece of self-criticism than this, especially from someone trained in the study of the Torah. And it’s harder to imagine a statement that would warm the cockles of the souls of Jew-haters the world over. Hitler was right, as too many Arabs in this neighborhood tend to say.

He then proceeds to make two further related claims: 1) though not yet found, the killers of the Palestinian baby killed in an arson attack are surely religious Jews, inspired to their actions by their religious beliefs, and 2) they deliberately murdered that child. Although the first claim may be true, it seems a bit premature to indict an entire religious teaching on the basis of a series of unproven presumptions; and the second claim – to attribute the deliberate desire to murder an infant to that religious teaching when there is no evidence that the death of the child was premeditated rather than the unintended consequence of reckless violence – seems itself, the height of recklessness. Indeed, that most tenuous presumption of intention to murder an infant, plays a critical role in the intensity of Yoffie’s anger and indignation.

What would drive a rabbi to such hasty and vicious (self-)accusations (on behalf of his fellow Jews), and drive a newspaper to publishing them? Masochistic Omnipotence Syndrome (MOS)? Self-abasement as a means of dealing with shame? Boundless hatred of those who shame him?

Apocalyptic Dimensions of Global Jihad

#GenerationCaliphate:

Apocalyptic Hopes, Millennial Dreams and Global Jihad

May 3-4, 2015, Boston University

While the conference took place three months ago, none of the discussion is outdated.

Richard Landes – 1

Introductory Remarks, 23:44

Richard Landes, “Antisemitism’s Fatal Attraction: The Global Progressive Left, the Jihadi Right And Israel” March 30, 2015

Richard Landes,“Antisemitism’s Fatal Attraction: The Global Progressive Left, the Jihadi Right And Israel…” from ISGAP on Vimeo.

Seminar Series:
Antisemitism in Comparative Perspective

“Antisemitism’s Fatal Attraction: The Global Progressive Left, the Jihadi Right And Israel as the 21st Century Antichrist”

Richard Landes
Department of History,
Boston University

Monday, March 30, 2015, 5:30PM
ISGAP Center, 3rd Floor

Prelude to a fisking: Biblio of Responses to Maher-Affleck dustup

I am preparing a post (response to Fareed Zakaria) on the Maher-Harris-Affleck-Kristof dust-up on Maher’s show.

I think the issues raised there and in subsequent discussion, deserve close scrutiny, because, better understanding and weighing the evidence and arguments, could represent the point at which the conversation changes, and people start talking about real problems, realistically. We cannot afford to operate in this denial based community that continues to lose a cognitive war with global Jihad that we should be winning handily, a war whose loss would be catastrophic for civil society and progressive principles the world over.

Below is a preliminary bibliography of subsequent discussions of the exchange, crudely divided into pro and con. I welcome other suggestions of material and categories, as well as comments on the various pieces. Interested in pieces that analyze Affleck’s electric response (and performance). He is, I think, a good example of that form of Islamophobia that is afraid to criticize Islam. Indeed, he’s an enforcer.

In favor of Affleck:

H.A. Goodman, “Why Ben Affleck Is Right, Bill Maher Is Wrong, And Sam Harris Is Jaded About Islam,” Huffington Post, October 6, 2014.

Nicholas Kristoff, “The Diversity of Islam,” NYT, October 8, 2014

Peter Beinart, “Bill Maher’s Dangerous Critique of Islam,” Atlantic, October 9, 2014

Ben Child, “Ben Affleck: Sam Harris and Bill Maher ‘racist’ and ‘gross’ in views of Islam,” Guardian, October 7. 2014.

Reza Aslan, “Bill Maher Isn’t the Only One Who Misunderstands Religion,” NYT, October 8, 2014

 

In favor of Maher/Harris

 

Jerry Coyne, “Maher, Harris, Kristof, Steele, and Affleck squabble about Islam,” Why Evolution is True, October 4, 2014

Mark Tapson, “Maher and Harris Educate Affleck about Islam,” FrontPage, October 6, 2014.

Adam Corolla, “Carolla Defends Maher In Brawl Over Islam: Affleck Not Used To Sitting There And Eating It,” RealClearPolitics, October 7, 2014

Sam Harris, “Can Liberalism be Saved from Itself?,” Sam Harris Blog, October 7, 2014

Andrew Bostom, “From Obscenity to Clarity: A Factual Understanding of the Maher-Affleck Islam ‘Debate’,” Dr. Andrew Bostom, October 10, 2014

Robert Spence, “Five Ways Bill Maher Is Right and Reza Aslan Wrong About Islam,” PJ Media, October 17, 2014.is;

On the Dangers of Conspiracy Theories: Brief Reflections

I recently got the following request from a Dutch journalist doing an article on conspiracy theories. I responded in some detail, and thought I’d post it here for a wider readership.

As a Dutch freelance journalist I’m writing an article about conspiracy theories, and their potential danger to modern societies.

While doing my research, I found a very interesting lecture from the Hebrew University, in which you took part and said some very interesting things about this subject.

However, some things are still unclear to me, and I hope that you are willing to cast some light upon these questions.

You called the internet a petri dish for conspiracy theories. While these theories do seem to reach more people who might believe in those theories, do you believe that universities and media – from a moral and socially responsible point of view – should put more emphasis on debating and debunking such theories? Are such theories actually more dangerous in our internet age than ever before?

As you know from my article, I wanted to have a conference on conspiracy, and my colleagues showed considerable timidity about the possibility of drawing the wrong crowd. Academics are not known for their courage, even (I’d say especially) those who pretend to be courageous in their criticism of their own governments (which protect their right to criticize them), while yielding to the intimidation of other governments (who threaten them with everything from barred access – China – to worse). It’s particularly easy to dump on people who don’t retaliate. Hence, for example, post-colonialism does very little to address the profound imperialism and colonialism embedded in Islam.

Are we waking up? Maher calls it “liberal bullshit”

Bill Maher hosted Brian Levin, professor at CSU-San Bernardino, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. The exchange is most illuminating, primarily for what it shows about the kind of “therapeutic” scholarship that dominates the academy. HT: Jeff Poor at Daily Caller). Comments interspersed in the transcipt below.

BM: I’m always interested to know how people like the people we caught today up in Boston can have two minds going at the same time. I mean if you read what the older brother wrote on the internet, he said his world view “Islam” personal priorities, “Career and Money.” And we see this a lot. I mean the 9-111 hijackers went to strip clubs the night they got on the plane.”

BL: Could I just interject. Look, it’s not like people who are Muslim who do wacky things have a monopoly on it. We have hypocrites across faiths… Jewish, Christian who say they’re out for God and they end up…

Levin immediately takes Maher to refer to the hypocrisy of it all, when (particularly as a scholar) he might have addressed the issue of cognitive dissonance, and the kind of “doubling” that Robert Jay Lifton analyzes in Nazi DoctorsBut instead he immediately reaches for the “we too…” meme of moral equivalence.

BM: You know what, yeah, yeah, You know what — that’s liberal bullshit right there … I mean yes there … all faiths…

BL: There are no Christian hypocrites? You made a career on that!

Levin is very confident here, thinking that with Maher, producer of Religulous, he has a like-minded interlocutor. 

Notes from a Reader: Documenting the (Unofficial) Sharia Zone in Tower Hamlets and Other London Sites

In a previous post about Sharia Zones in London, one of my readers, who claims to have lived in Tower Hamlets, insisted there was no such problem. Another reader, also a resident (now former resident) sent these links to illustrate a different “take” on reality.

Spot the Fag at East London Mosque

Religion Teacher Attacked

Asian women threatened with death for not wearing headscarf

Community activist who took down Gay Free Zone stickers threatened with death on previous occasions:

Tower Hamlets declared sharia zone

Eid celebration Stepney Park (you can find these for other years on you tube too).

Maps showing how east london was full of gay people 20 years ago

Video of a man who was at the George & Dragon when it has been attacked

These  attacks have never been reported by gay media in Britain at the time they happen.  Here is a report that mentions an attack that happened several years earlier.

That attack came after one of the gang was imprisoned for his part in their brutal attack on Oliver Hemsley.  You can see how bad the attack was from this description.  He spent 134 days in intensive care.

Here’s the story of another gay man attacked in the centre of Tower Hamlets.  (These attacks on gay people & gay bars get so little coverage, even in the gay media, that that is the only report I can find of that attack).

Here’s the story of the man attacked by 30 racist muslims with machetes.

Here’s a story of a man in Tower Hamlets pushed in front of a train by another gang of muslims.

The European Muslim Research Centre put out a report about how much “cultural terrorism” there was against muslims.  It was refuted in this analysis (showing there are far more attacks against gay people than against not just muslims, but all religious people). Exeter University withdrew the report after this, and re-issued it with changes.

The mayor of Tower Hamlets is supported by the islamist Islamic Forum of Europe.

Anwar Al Awlaki spoke at East London Mosque, even after he was identified as someone who advised muslim terrorists.

Each gay pride marcher has 1 police officer for security (plus helicopter) following Gay Free Zone campaign.  Compare the numbers and the level of security, with the numbers and lack of security at the Eid celebration.

Hizb ut Tahrir frequently hold their annual conferences in Tower Hamlets.

At election time, Muslims stand outside the Tube stations handing out cards telling Muslims that if they vote they are apostates.  They also paste them on walls and lamp-posts.

The black, female, Jewish, socialist MP was ousted in 2005.  She was subjected to jew-hatred during the campaign, from the party that was aligned with Muslims.

I have been told by different people (some liberal, Guardian readers) in different parts of Tower Hamlets, that they have been stopped from going into public parks by gangs of Muslim men, who told them “this park is for Muslims only”.  I can’t find any corroborating reports for their stories.  But these were people (one Jewish) whose families had lived in Tower Hamlets for generations, long before any Muslims were there.

Here’s a report about weapons being hidden around the area.

The muslim dominated council banned biscuits from council meetings during Ramadan (thus imposing muslim restrictions onto non-Muslims, another feature of Sharia for Dhimmi).

Homophobic abuse shouted at gay councillors during council meetings, and nothing being done about it.

Alcohol is banned from the streets of Tower Hamlets.

Tower Hamlets council to ban lap-dancing, strippers.

Those restrictions on alcohol and licentiousness might not seem so bad.  However, bear in mind, that in the so-called puritanical Victorian age, east London was a den of sin and vice: masses of prostitution, drinking, and drug-taking.  Yet Tower Hamlets council is even more puritanical than the Victorians.  The Salvation Army was founded in Whitechapel in 1878,  East London is far less boozy and licentious now than it was in the19th century, but they did not ban drinking on the streets until a couple of years ago.

The 2001 census says that the proportion of muslims in Tower Hamlets is 36%.  Yet 66% of the councillors are muslims.  This means that the census underestimates the number of muslims, or that muslims only vote for muslims, or that the at the selection meetings of the political parties only Muslims are being selected.  Under sharia, non-Muslims cannot have positions of authority above Muslims (see the Hizb ut Tahrir manifesto).

The Painful Paradoxes of the Left: Stupefaction, Round 242,469 (Updated)

I just recently attended a conference in London on Anti-Semitism (see here for the talk I gave). I spoke on a panel with Bat Ye’or, and we both talked about the role of anti-Semitism in global Jihad, she in terms of its place in the Jihadi discourse, me in terms of the way that European/Western tolerance if not encouragement of it among Muslims (they drink wine while keeping an open bar of high grain alcohol for the Islamists), is actually one of the West’s greatest vulnerabilities in the Jihad against them (Anti-Zionism as the soft underbelly of the West in Jihadi cognitive warfare).

The first question was posed by a young man from the CST (who later spoke), pointing out that in Henden there are dozens (he actually ticked off specific numbers suggesting this was something of a shtick) of kosher butchers, Jewish stores, synagogues, etc., and no one is talking about Halacha zones and the Jewish take-over of London, so why talk about Sharia zones and the Muslim take-over. He more or less repeated verbatim the classic trope: “we didn’t like it when they said it about us (Protocols), so we shouldn’t say it about them,” as if it didn’t matter that we Jews had no intention of enslaving mankind, and the Islamists openly declare their desire. He also chided me and Bat-Ye’or for our “essentialising” Muslims.

I admit to a certain surprise. I didn’t expect to deal with people in such denial at such an event. But when a number of people murmured their assent to his challenge, I realized it was important to respond.

My answer to him was necessarily short, an abbreviation of the discussion here. But I’ll take advantage of this post to go farther. This is a really good example of how political correctness lands us on rekaB street. Numbers don’t matter; intent doesn’t matter; the impact on the sociability of the neighborhood (e.g., what happens to women who don’t cover their hair in Henden vs. Tower Hamlets) doesn’t matter. I’ve got my parallels, no matter how superficial, to hell with the rest of the evidence. Any undergraduate in history making such an analogy about a (non-charged topic) would fail.

But because making this point feels good, because it makes it possible to dismiss uncomfortable warnings about nefarious doings, because it permits us to close the fairy tale book with the comforting thought that the monsters in the closet are just our imagination, it satisfies its speaker and (apparently) many of his listeners.

But this exchange was only warm-up for what happened subsequently. In the second panel, Manfred Gerstenfeld, a man who has no patience for what he terms “verbal vegetarians” spoke rather bluntly about the problem of Muslims in Europe. (Apparently one of the cardinal sins that Gerstenfeld, Bat-Ye’or and I committed was referring too often to Muslims, not Islamists. This is crucial, and as one of the group objecting made clear later on, the Islamists are a “tiny minority” and “the vast majority are moderate.” So even considering the two as part of the same population — as in “anti-Semitism among Muslims” — is an insult to Muslims despite polls indicating a majority of European Muslims share these prejudices against Jews.)

In any case, while having a PPP slide up that referred to Muslim criminality (i.e. the high percentage of violent crimes and rape among Muslims in European countries), Gerstenfeld stated that, around the world today, Islamic culture is “inferior” to Western culture. At this point, about six people got up and walked out, and one of them stated loudly that they were walking out as a protest. I went outside to find out what they were thinking, and heard the following remarks: “You can’t say that!” (referring to the inferiority of Muslim culture today around the world). And, of course, “essentialising” (British spelling) came up repeatedly.

“But,” I responded, “what if the generalizations that Gerstenfeld made are true?”

“No,” I was informed, ” they’re not true, and he repeatedly said he had no evidence.” (Actually he said, “I have no time to give the evidence.” I know Gerstenfeld too well to think he’d say anything without empirical evidence.) Again: “YOU CAN’T SAY THAT!”

Now there is a depressing and pungent irony here that completely escaped those who walked out. In so doing, they illustrated Manfred’s point. As Manfred explained: by our standards, Islam is an inferior culture; were we to treat Muslims the way they treat infidels the world over, we would consider that our culture had failed to live up to its standards. Specifically on the issue of speech, these people were insisting that (even if it’s true) it’s just unacceptable to make negative generalizations about another group.

Now by that standard, the Muslim “public sphere” – newspapers, books, radio, TV, sermons in Mosques – resounds with the most horrendous demonization, not just of Jews (the subject of our symposium), but Christians, other infidels, heretics, apostates, even other Muslims. This isn’t to say that every Muslim, or even most Muslims are like this, but Gerstenfeld’s point was about culture, about the tone that’s set in a society. And while I tend to focus on the elites, the sad truth is that in matters of honor-killing and various other forms of violence designed to preserve or restore honor, current Arab culture is, by modern civic standards – a fortiori by progressive standards — woefully base.

So when the delegation of indignant liberals stormed out of the room and audibly sought to humiliate the speaker, they illustrated the speaker’s point. They have a very high standard. And it’s not something with much of a footprint in the culture whose honor they were protecting from the speaker’s blunt assessment of reality.

What’s interesting here is a further issue. Surely these folks have been to meetings with Muslim, even Islamists. Did they storm out when they heard others being maligned, as did Tony Avella from the podium of the Muslim Day parade in NYC? Or do they only speak truth to power when it’s fellow Jews? Do they tell Muslims (or Islamists), “YOU CAN’T SAY THAT! You can’t essentialise Jews, or even Zionists? Are Islamic activists exposed to (much less dominated by) the “variegated” argument, in which (actually true) Jews are a very complex population with widely divergent views? Or are they another version of the Human Rights Complex, loudly indignant when white people behave badly, but when people of color do so, they are embarrassed into silence?

In any case, they’re very aggressive about their beliefs with Jews. My guess is they’re considerably less so with “Others.”

When one of the protestors summed up his objections with the comment, “A minority of speakers said things about Britain, Europe and Muslims that we found to be incorrect, unacceptable and self-defeating,” he was confusing political correctness (“unacceptable”) and therapeutic truth (“self-defeating”) with empirical truth (“incorrect”).

Welcome to rekaB street, the place where you check your critical intelligence at the road block.

UPDATE: Manfred Gerstenfeld sends the following comments:

As I pointed out in my lecture in London, Western media largely avoid investigating the issue of the disproportionately high anti-Semitism among Muslim immigrants and their descendants. I also said that it is not politically correct to tell the truth. Furthermore, I said, “So we have only a few data on hatred of Jews of among European Muslims. They all point in the same direction. Anti-Semitism is more widely spread among Muslim immigrants than among the authochtonous population.”

I also said, “Shouts of ‘Death to the Jews’ have returned to European streets. They are often complemented by shouts of ‘Hamas Hamas, Jews to the Gas.’ Those who shout it during demonstrations are mainly Muslims. Anecdotal evidence of the disproportionate importance of Muslim anti-Semitism is huge.”

Still, there are some studies – one example is here:

In 2011, a detailed study on youth in Brussels edited by Nicole Vettenburg, Mark Elchardus, and Johan Put was published: Nicole Vettenburg, Mark Elchardus, and Johan Put, eds., Jong in Brussel (Leuven, The Hague: Acco, 2011) [Dutch]. It devotes a chapter by Elchardus to anti-Semitism in Dutch-language schools in Brussels. It was based on the attitudes of second- and third-grade students. (Note a similar study by Emmanuel Brenner (pseudonym) for French schools with high Arab immigrant populations: Les territoires perdus de la République (Paris: Mille et une nuits, 2003 – rl.)

The author concluded that about 50% of the Muslim pupils could be considered anti-Semites, and about 10% of the others. He also concluded that practicing and believing Christians are more anti-Semitic than nonbelievers (Jong in Brussel, p. 278).

Among non-Muslims, the main stereotype of the Jew is an arrogant, clever, and not very honest businessman. Among Muslims, the main stereotype is that of the warmongering, dominating Jew. Elchardus concluded that this was secondary, however, compared to the large difference in anti-Semitism between Muslims and non-Muslims (ibid.)

On another matter, I referred to Muslim ideological criminality. I said that Jewish communities should decide “to what extent they wish to expose the widespread anti-Semitic ideological criminality of Muslims in the Islamic world? There is no other religion out of part of which so much crime and violence comes, as from segments of Islamic society. Their main victims are other Muslims.”

As I mentioned, I was only giving headlines, having not more than 20 minutes. The issues touched upon will have to be elaborated in much more detail.

Finally, for one reason or the other, some seem to think that I was embarrassed or humiliated by the walk-out of some people. I just went on with my lecture and was gratified by the major applause and the tens of people who came over who said it was finally time that these things were said in the U.K. Some of them expressed regret that it had to be done by a foreigner.

The next issue will probably have to be the exposure of the racists in the Anti-Racism community. These are racists of a little-known type – humanitarian racists. They deny the responsibility for their crimes of the weak and people of color. By that they de-humanize them (who else is not responsible for his own acts besides children: retarded people and animals.) Once the notion “humanitarian racism” becomes more popular, the mask of these racists in the Anti-Racism community, will eventually slip off.

 

Salim Mansour on Islam vs. Islamism

There is a major distinction that people like to make between Islam and Islamism, one which protects people from the accusation of Islamophobia. It’s alright to denounce Islamists since they espouse so many values and causes that are antithetical to everything that modern civil polities stand for. It’s not okay to “essentialise” all Muslims in the same way. It generally comes with the generalization – completely unsupported but nonetheless asserted as a “truth” – that the “vast majority of Muslims” are moderate and only a “tiny minority” are extremist/Islamists.

In his remarkable book, Delectable Lie: a liberal repudiation of multiculturalism, Salim Mansour addresses the point directly:

The Islamist zealots are a minority within the world of Islam, but the politics of Islamism resonate widely among Muslims and it can be said that most of the Muslim majority countries accept in principle the fundamental Islamist demand of adopting shari’ah as the basis of legislation. This “unofficial” or tacit acceptance of the Islamist demand was illustrated at the Cairo conference in August 1990 of the Organization of Islamic Conference where member states issued the “Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.” The Cairo Declaration spelled out the OIC view on human rights as a parallel and complementary “official” statement to stand alongside the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights. But for OIC members, hence the world of Islam, the Cairo Declaration─ article 25 of the Declaration stated the “Islamic Shari’ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification to any of the articles of this Declaration” ─ takes precedence. This meant Muslim immigrants in the West were under advice by their religious leaders that in situations of conflict between the principles enunciated in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the Cairo Declaration they adhere to the latter; and from this it followed that Muslims engage politically to bring their host Western governments recognize shari’ah and make allowance for them to live in accordance with its provisions. The push for shari’ah recognition in family law as part of the multicultural arrangement in the West has become one of the key objectives of immigrant Muslim activists, and as the Muslim immigrant population grows in numbers the mainstream political parties have also become increasingly receptive to the idea.

My guess is that if we were to map Islamic opinion not according to some (wishful) distinction between “moderates” and “extremists”, that if we were to consider it as a series of concentric circles, emanating from a pre-modern consensus that Islam should dominate, that Sharia should be the law of the land, that infidels should be subjected dhimmis, and moved outwards towards Muslims who, even if they don’t approve and wouldn’t become involved in terror attacks on civilian infidels, nevertheless swelled with pride at the blow that Bin Laden struck at the American hegemon (heck even infidels felt that way), that the picture one had of the map of Islam would be quite a bit more disturbing. (I remember going to a Muslim-Jewish dialogue, replete with all the kinds of remarks that would lead us non-Muslims to feel that we were talking with moderates. After the speeches, in the socializing time, my friend Steve spoke with one of the people there, and mentioned the Rushdie Affair, assuming that this moderate would denounce the fatwa against Rushdie’s life. “Oh,” responded his interlocutor, “you have to understand, we Muslims feel very strongly about blasphemy. You can’t disrespect the Prophet with impunity.”

What we mean by “moderate,” and what Muslims mean by “moderate” are not necessarily the same thing. Indeed, there’s a whole lexicon of words that have different meanings to us and to them: respect, occupation, moderation, human rights, freedom… Only someone on rekaB street could miss the differences.

 

The Post-Self-Destructivism of Judith Butler

Benjamin Weinthal and I have an op-ed today in the Wall Street Journal. Here are the links (as well as some of the material that got cut from the original submission (1250 words). Some of the wording may not correspond exactly to that in the published piece, and bold text does not appear in the article.

The Post-Self-Destructivism of Judith Butler

On Sept. 11, a German organization will reward the American scholar and anti-Israel activist.

By RICHARD LANDES AND BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
In 1938, shortly after philosopher Martin Buber, formerly of the University of Frankfurt, came to Israel to teach at Hebrew University, a reporter asked how his Hebrew was. He replied: “Good, but not good enough to be obscure in.”

The joke, apparently, is on the city of Frankfurt, which tomorrow—Sept. 11, incidentally—will hand its prestigious Adorno Prize for excellence in philosophy, music, theater and film to Judith Butler. Ms. Butler, an American philosopher and anti-Israel activist, is a great admirer of Buber and the 1998 recipient of the “Bad Writing Prize” for her impenetrable prose.

Professor Butler’s first-prize sentence appears in “Further Reflections on the Conversations of Our Time,” an article in the scholarly journal Diacritics (1997):

  • The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.

Dutton remarked that “it’s possibly the anxiety-inducing obscurity of such writing that has led Professor Warren Hedges of Southern Oregon University to praise Judith Butler as ‘probably one of the ten smartest people on the planet’.”

objections to award: SPME Germany statement; summary article in JPost; extensive criticism and responses to Butler’s defense at SPME Faculty Forum.

Judith Butler, the Adorno Prize, and the Moral State of the “Global Left”

The following is a long version of a response to Judith Butler that will appear in various forms at other sites, including SPME. This version is here either for those who enjoy my overwrought prose, of those who find that the logic of edited versions elsewhere is interrupted by the cuts.

Judith Butler’s feelings are hurt because some professors who claim they’re for “peace in the Middle East,” have criticized her and openly called on the Adorno Committee to withdraw the Prize that they have announced would be offered to her this year, on Adorno’s birthday, 9-11. Stung by the criticism, Butler responded at the site of the notoriously anti-Israel Jewish blog, Mondoweiss. in her defense. The defense illustrates every aspect of the problem with Butler’s approach to the criticism of her work, including the folly of German intellectuals to raise her up as a heroic example.

The criticism of her receiving the Adorno prize involves the following three points: 1) Her criticism of Israel for violations of (her) moral standards is exceptionally harsh, even though she has very little to say about exceptionally harsh violations among Israel’s enemies. 2) She has taken this moral imbalance from mere rhetoric to determined action, supporting extensive and punishing academic boycotts of Israel (e.g., Kafka archive should not go to Hebrew University). And 3) she enables and encourages virulent anti-Semitism both in this participation in BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), and in identifying some of the worst offenders where that ancient hatred is concerned (Hamas and Hizbullah) as part of the “progressive, global, Left.”

Her response was a long, rambling, self-defense (2000 words) in which she systematically misrepresents the critique, and shields herself by claiming the status of a suffering victim of a vicious attack that deeply hurt her feelings.

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.”

Andrew Sullivan on Breivik’s Epistemic Closure: Left, Right, Not

Now I understand where my persistent, somewhat repetitive, commenter, Chris, comes from. Another illustration of the problem. He comes from Andrew Sullivan who quoted the passage to which Chris objects, disapprovingly. Here’s his post with my comments.

Breivik’s Epistemic Closure

Chris Bertram analyzes it:

We may be, now, in the world that Cass Sunstein worried about, a world where people select themselves into groups which ramp up their more-or-less internally coherent belief systems into increasingly extreme forms by confirming to one another their perceived “truths” (about Islam, or Obama’s birth certificate, or whatever) and shutting out falsifying information. Put an unstable person or a person with a serious personality disorder into an environment like that and you have a formula for something very nasty happening somewhere, sooner or later. Horribly, that somewhere was Norway last Friday.

This is an interesting quote for what it vaguely alludes to in its “whatever.” The whole paragraph is an analysis, quite shrewd indeed, of the epistemological slippery slope to what Damian Thompson calls self-brainwashing. But that depiction applies equally well to those on the other side of the political divide, including (probably – I’m guessing here) to the author of the blog and the person he’s quoting.

In this case, as acute as they are to what’s in the eyes of the “right,” the “left” has a major beam in their eyes that they seem to have difficulty acknowledging. On the contrary, their tone, their style, their rhetoric all express a kind of supreme confidence that treats all dissonant voices as not merely wrong but bad, not merely dismissively, but contemptuously. And yet that “whatever,” can be expanded far wider than the current list of “right wing” examples Bertram offers, starting with 9-11 truthers who swarm within the epistemic clotures of the left far more than birthers do on the right, and not just among the weirdo fringes.

Anders Sandberg urges us to check our cognitive biases when calling Breivik insane and bin Laden an ideologue. Richard Landes (cited in Breivik’s manifesto) tries, but doubles down, in some almost Malkin-worthy rhetoric, on blaming the other side:

Then Sullivan cites me without comment.

All those people who, in the mid-aughts, like Cherie Blair and Jenny Tonge among so many, thought that Palestinian terror was an understandable response to their hopeless condition, for which Israeli was responsible, owe it to themselves to think: what did I to contribute to Breivik’s despair, with my insistence that anyone who sounded the alarm was an Islamophobe?

Now I’ve been told by a close and trusted source that this passage made at least one sympathetic reader wince.  So let me explain.