by Barry Rubin
The full horror of contemporary
Occasionally, the truth emerges, as on September 11, 2003, but soon is reburied under mountains of obfuscation. After all,
I imagine exchanges like this:
Middle Easterner (in Arabic): "We'll wipe you out, kill your children, and trample your cities into dust!"
Translator (in English): "He says that justified grievances about American aggression are creating hurt feelings which can only be resolved by Western policy changes."
These thoughts are inspired by at least four examples this week.
FIRST, AN ARABIC-SPEAKER WRITES ME, "Right now I'm watching Himam As-Sa'id, leader of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, on al-Aqsa TV giving a speech (or rather a rant). He's screaming about how the Islamic armies will turn
But then my friend concludes: "As we all know, this isn't the sort of language the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood uses when speaking English." For good measure, he inserts some links to Western newspaper articles that claim the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood is really a moderate organization with which Western governments should dialogue.
THEN THERE ARE TWO RECENT INTERVIEWS GIVEN BY PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY (PA) AMBASSADOR to Lebanon Abbas Zaki, who explains that the PA considers the
But, the Lebanese interviewer asked, doesn't his boss Abu Mazin consider
If Abu Mazin wants to show that this is false, he need merely discipline or fire Zaki. Of course, he's too afraid of Zaki and the fact that the ambassador represents the mainstream Fatah line to do so — just as he's afraid to make peace or educate Palestinians away from extremism.
In early November, Zaki gave a lecture explaining that moderation was just a pretense and the goal was still
One of the main examples of nonsense substituting for serious analysis today is the fantasy of splitting
An article by regime fan Rime Allaf in Novosti press agency on November 25 notes: "For three decades, the Syrian-Iranian relationship has survived a sustained Western effort to break the alliance...and to shift the politics of both regimes." But nothing will weaken this partnership unless the regime in one of these countries falls. Agreed.
The Washington Post's David Ottoway writes of how
Oh, by the way, the article is dated September 29, 1983.
FINALLY, IF YOU WANT TO UNDERSTAND THE CURRENT SPECTRUM OF PUBLIC DEBATE in the Arab world, consider a television debate between Kamal al-Hilbawi, director of the
Hilbawi endorses killing Israeli civilians, including children, because, he says they're all potential soldiers. He claims, "In elementary school, [in
Yassin responds by saying he is against murdering civilians: "I condemn the Israeli governments for teaching children such things, but I do not condemn the child, who still doesn't know how he will kill the Arabs in 20 years' time, when he becomes a soldier."
I read that just after helping my two kids with their math homework and I guess I must have missed those equations. Actually, in my daughter's school they're now studying Islam and Christianity, learning a fair, factual picture of both religions.
There are, however, schools that teach that way. What Hilbawi described is an almost precise rendition of Syrian second-grade textbooks, for example, which contain math problems about killing Israelis.
AT ANY RATE, THEIR DEBATE SHOWS US THE PERMISSIBLE MARGIN OF DISCUSSION: The Arab radical lies that
Certainly, the best Western strategy in today's
The first problem is that many in the West are more interested in courting the extremists in the mistaken belief they'll change.
The second problem is that even those whose objective interests are relatively moderate and parallel those of the West and Israel — even those acknowledging this fact in private — aren't willing to speak and act along these lines.
The third problem is that there are few moderates and that the spectrum of debate is so dominated by extremists and those who pretend to be radical for safety or to exploit militancy for their own advantage.
Oh, by the way, the program in which Arab viewers were told that Israeli schools teach children to murder Arabs wasn't aired on the Hizballah channel but on the BBC's Arabic service. That's quite a service. Incitement to terrorism thanks to British taxpayer money. Political insanity denied can be contagious.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and co-author of "Yasir Arafat: A Political Biography" and "Hating America: A History" (Oxford University Press). His latest book is The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan).History" (Oxford University Press). His latest book is The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan).
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.