The Battle for Our MindsIrmin Vinson
Early in his Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat Michael Widlanski, an American-born Israeli university professor, casually introduces a bedrock assumption among Israel’s vocal defenders: the inviolability of Israel’s dominant Jewish majority. Racial diversity and multiculturalism, we are told by Jewish liberals and neoconservatives alike, are sources of great national strength and social dynamism for Western nations, but for Israel the same prescription for strength and dynamism would have the opposite effect, resulting in death rather than health. Acceptance of the ground-breaking Saudi peace plan of 2002, which included “the right of return” for the descendants of Palestinians ejected from their homes in 1948, would in Widlanski’s eyes have dealt the Jewish state a fatal blow, “effectively destroying Israel.”
As a response to the 9/11 attacks the Saudis boldly proposed, on behalf of both the kingdom itself and the Arab world at large, diplomatic recognition of Israel in exchange for Israel’s return to its 1967 borders. Although recognition of Israel and most of its conquests was a major concession from a Muslim perspective, the Saudi plan was unthinkable for Israelis and for most American Jews, since by also including the right of return for Palestinian refugees, a right mandated by international law, the plan envisioned a less Jewish Israel. The Jewish state would, under Prince Abdullah’s proposal, become not only a smaller place geographically; it would also risk being transformed politically into a multifaith state of all its citizens, potentially ceasing to be an apartheid ethnostate devoted to the welfare and security of the Jewish people alone.
It is an indication of the intractability of the Palestinian Question that a substantial concession from one side of the issue could be seen by the other as an invitation to commit suicide. The near-universal rejection of the right of return by Israeli Jews is also an indication of how significantly the West’s problem with Islam differs from Israel’s.
The West’s core Muslim problem is that we have allowed Muslims into our nations. Israel’s core Muslim problem is that Israeli Jews took land (and continue to take land) from Muslims who want the land back, and Israel is located physically in a volatile part of the world where Muslims form a large majority, a majority that also believes Palestinians should be allowed to live in Palestine and often acts upon that belief. Although they occasionally overlap, these are significantly different problems, a fact that should be acknowledged even by Israel’s neoconservative advocates, if they are honest or clear-sighted. Since few of them are honest or clear-sighted, we get books like Battle for Our Minds.
The virtual omnipresence of anti-Israel bias in an American media system largely controlled by Jews and staffed by many Jewish reporters is the surprising central revelation of Widlanski’s book, which recounts stories of wily Arab propagandists, some of them deeply versed in the propaganda techniques of the Third Reich, duping slow-witted or perhaps malevolent liberals, resulting in anti-Israel bias in the media, bias that somehow puts Western security at risk.
Another important subject is the ignorance or malevolence of Arabist academics in universities and of intelligence elites in the American government, the first group hostile to Israel and sympathetic to Islam on intellectual grounds related to their area of scholarly expertise, the second hoping, for reasons of Realpolitik, to arrive at some accommodation with Israel’s enemies, such as Syria and Iran. Widlanski tends to place these two groups in a single category, as though both are comprised of devoted admirers of Edward Said, but they are substantially different.
Experts in the intelligence community, notably Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit, tied 9/11 closely to American Mideast policies and support for Israel. “America is being attacked,” Scheuer wrote in 2007, “because its foreign policies are perceived as attacks on Muslims and Islam, not because of its secular democratic society.” Widlanski, who places Scheuer among the misguided intelligence elites his book is intended in part to rebuke, calls this analysis a total misinterpretation. He prefers instead to think of the 9/11 attacks as only “a symbolic act or set of actions designed to stun enemies and to recruit new soldiers.”
On its face that seems credible, yet the choice of American cities for this stunning symbolic act was hardly accidental. American support for Israel is at least an important element in the Muslim world’s special dislike of Americans, as geopolitical realists like Scheuer recognize, entirely without reference to Edward Said’s Question of Palestine or his writings on Eurocentric Orientalism. Israel’s existence came about as a result of the displacement of Palestinian Arabs; Zionism’s success required Arab loss and dispossession. Everyone, expert and non-expert alike, can therefore easily understand why Arabs and Muslims would find Israel’s existence disturbing and would feel hostile toward Israel’s supporters. “Is it in the interest of the American people,” a spokesman for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has sensibly asked, “to clash with 1.3 billion people in favor of five million people who represent the Zionist project?”
The Mideast experts whose informed opinions Widlanski dismisses are in agreement with some of the most prominent terrorists themselves. Ramzi Yousef, the chief terrorist in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was motivated by his anger at American support for Israel and said so explicitly in his claim of responsibility to The New York Times. His uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who planned the 9/11 attacks, shared the same motivation and has also said so explicitly, as documented in The 9/11 Report. Osama bin Laden arrived at his ambition to destroy tall buildings in the United States after seeing the devastation of Beirut’s skyline in the 1980s, which he blamed on American funding of the Israeli military, and he would later declare, “America will never enjoy peace until we enjoy it in Palestine.” Ayman al-Zawahiri was, according to the former head of Egypt’s internal security service, propelled into anti-Western violence by Anwar Sadat’s American-brokered peace agreement with Israel in 1979. Abu Musab al-Suri, the most cerebral member of al-Qaeda’s old inner council, saw the primary target of Islam’s modern jihad as “the Jewish enemy, led by America and its nonbelieving, apostate, hypocritical allies.” The Palestinian Christian Sirhan Sirhan assassinated Robert Kennedy in 1968, a year after the opening day of the Six Day War, out of anger at Kennedy’s support for sending fighter jets to Israel.
In answering the question, “why do America and the Jewish people remain prime targets of terrorists?,” which was the topic of a lecture Widlanski gave at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, Palestine and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank must surely figure in the answer, perhaps not at the top of the list of motives for Islamic terror directed against the United States, but at least somewhere near the top. Yet you would never know that from reading Battle for Our Minds. The closest Widlanski gets to addressing the subject seriously is his charge that al-Qaeda leaders rhetorically defend Palestine for the cynical purpose of rallying popular support and encouraging financial contributions, a claim which in itself confirms the proposition he is attempting to rebut. If opposition to the Zionist colonization of Palestine is useful for terrorist fundraising among Arabs and Muslims, you can safely conclude that many Arabs and Muslims do care about the cause, even if you suspect, implausibly, that the fundraisers themselves are only exploiting passions without sharing them.
Paul Pillar, another of Widlanski’s targets among America’s intelligence elites, has recently written that it is not in American national interests “to perpetuate the occupation [of the West Bank] and the unresolved conflict with the Palestinians, given the multiple ways, including having the United States share blame for the occupation in the eyes of most Middle Easterners, that the occupation redounds to the disadvantage of the United States.” That is the opinion of an old-fashioned geopolitical analyst thinking clearly, without the burden of Israel-first sentiments distorting his judgment. Pillar’s opinion suggests no myopic inability to understand Islam and no sneaking sympathy for Muslim terrorists, but only a willingness to recognize the loyalties of Middle Easterners.
Widlanski has an indirect response to this kind of common-sense conclusion. He resorts to one of the devices that rightly should give Orientalism a bad name: the Mideast expert’s projection of what he wants non-experts to believe onto the object of his study. “The United States should not abandon traditional allies,” Widlanski argues, because Arabs and Muslims as a whole respect loyalty to friends and will inevitably lose respect for Americans if they choose to part company with allies, especially “America’s only steady ally in the Middle East.”
Widlanski, who claims deep familiarity with the folkways of the region, perhaps hopes that we will assume that he arrived at this implausible Orientalist truth after extensive study of old Islamic religious texts and after many interviews with Arab confidants. It is, however, much more likely that he simply invented, for his own Zionist purposes, a supposedly immutable Mideastern character trait, which is contradicted by what Arabs themselves regularly say and by how their leaders behave politically. His goal, part of his own battle for our minds, is to transform America’s self-sacrificing support for Israel, which in reality costs money at home and arouses much anger across the Muslim world, into an act of hardheaded strategic calculation based on the peculiar Arab trait of admiring anyone who steadfastly supports their worst enemy.
As this transparent device suggests, Widlanski feels a troubling confidence in the ignorance of his largely conservative readership, which in too many cases is probably justified. His book exists in a world where Saddam Hussein’s extensive WMD program did indeed exist but was successfully hidden and where Baathist Iraq and al-Qaeda were allies rather than enemies. It is a neocon world where Thomas Friedman, a strong supporter of the Jewish state in his real life, is imaginatively transformed into a fiercesome anti-Zionist, implacable in his hostility to Israel itself and guilty of extending his anti-Zionist animus to anyone merely “suspected of being pro-Israel.” This alternate reality’s history can include Palestinian resistance to Zionism in 1948, amidst their Naqba and their terrible defeat, in a table listing terror attacks against Israelis.
Widlanski also makes use of the rhetorical tactic, which thankfully is becoming less effective in the wake of the Iraq disaster, of selective moral indignation to manufacture a moral case for allegedly humanitarian intervention. We can all remember George Bush’s frequent refrain that Saddam had “gassed his own people” and should therefore be overthrown. With this tool in hand, Widlanski asserts a special concern for Syrians and a moral revulsion at Paul Pillar’s callous indifference to the plight of Syrian rebels yearning to be free. At this we are expected to shake our heads in dismay, depressed by the knowledge that a counterterror expert, who ought to know better, could be so distant from humanity’s better instincts:
As Syria used tanks and snipers to kill its own citizens in 2011, [Pillar] wrote: “There is underestimation of how much worthwhile business could be conducted with the incumbent regime, however distasteful it may be” (164).
in 2011 . . . he called for dealing with the Assad regime in Syria shortly before Assad butchered hundreds of his own citizens (174).
Even as the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad was slaughtering opponents, Paul Pillar, the ex-CIA and State Department counterterror expert, urged the United States to keep “doing business” with Assad and Company (274-75).
Widlanski’s repeated expression of concern for butchered and slaughtered and sniped-at Syrians may seem convincing to many of his conservative readers. He has, after all, said the same thing three times, though with some variation in chronology, so he does appear to be very concerned. But of course slaughtered Syrians are just decorative ornaments for his real source of complaint, which is the suggestion by a respected member of the intelligence elite that the United States, in pursuit of its own national interests, should accept the existence of, and do business with, an anti-Zionist rejectionist state in the Middle East rather than attempt to subvert or destroy it. Syria supports Hezbollah and Hezbollah opposes Israel; therefore Widlanski expresses concern for slaughtered Syrians and hopes to hang them around the neck of anyone who fails to support yet another exercise in regime change.
In comparison with Saddam’s aluminum tubes and his massive stockpiles of WMD, the Syrian government’s wise policy of shooting back at armed rebels is a poor casus belli, but that was all Widlanski had, when he wrote his book, to decorate his argument for slaying another non-existent Mideast dragon. If you are trying to construct a moral case for killing foreigners who have done us no injury, you will be searching for blood on their hands, as well as trying to attach the blood you discover to anyone who opposes killing them.
Battle for Our Minds was published in early 2012, amidst the delusional euphoria of the Arab Spring, when it appeared briefly to optimists in the media that liberal, westernized Twitterites across the Muslim Middle East would soon be governing their respective countries and announcing their support for Israel on Facebook. In retrospect we can see that the intervening years have been kind to Pillar’s recommendation and unkind to Widlanski’s. The stunning Islamic violence of ISIS arose in the physical space created by the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the deranged Western support for anti-Assad jihadists during the Obama administration, support and funding for our side’s preferred Muslim extremists which Dmitry Rogozin, former Russian ambassador to NATO, understandably (though inaccurately) likened to “a monkey with a hand grenade” overseeing the West’s Mideast policies.
Doing business with a legitimate Mideast government, however distasteful, turns out to have been the humanitarian choice, and choosing the opposite, the criminal policy of regime change that neoconservatives favored and still campaign for, has turned out to be an important cause of a terrible humanitarian disaster. The least energetic responses to problems in foreign countries whose leaders do not request our assistance are often ultimately the more humane. But Widlanski sees these matters differently, and his ambitions extend far beyond Syria.
Political villains in the battle for our minds include anyone who believes “Islamist governments and organizations are not anathema.” Widlanski’s own apparent belief — that Islamist governments are indeed anathema — would be a formula, if put into practice, for never-ending campaigns by the United States and other Western powers, assisted by enthusiastic cheering in Israel, to rid the Muslim world of governments that reflect the will of their citizens. Saudi Arabia and Iran, unlike secular Syria, have Islamist governments that take Islam seriously and embed Islamic law in their societies. That is their choice. It is a poor choice, but a nation has the right to make its own collective choices. Anyone who believes such governments are anathema will be searching for ways to destroy them, and since “war” for Widlanski “implies the need to marshal tremendous resources and energy for a supreme national effort,” the project of ridding the world of existing Islamic governments, and of preventing other Islamic governments from ever coming into existence, would be expensive and time-consuming on the most optimistic prediction. The neoconservative adventure in Iraq, which Widlanski still defends, is itself destined to cost American taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion.
Widlanski is on more solid ground when he stops campaigning for more regime change, and stops telling interesting anecdotes about Israel’s many successes in defeating its Arab enemies, and enters instead into cultural history.
He traces many of the dangerous errors of Western elites back to the 1960s and the counterculture’s attack on higher learning. “9/11 and other post-millennium terror assaults began,” he argues, “as a battle of the mind on the campuses of America,” notably at Columbia, where, after the radical attack on the traditional curriculum and its dead white males had achieved its initial goals, Columbia’s Edward Said “completed the radical conquest . . . as he abducted American academia.” Today at Columbia that academic revolution, aided by substantial Arab donations to the university, has led to an “on-campus and in-class atmosphere . . . highly antagonistic to Israel and to Jews,” and the corridors of Columbia, Widlanski’s alma mater, are consequently “often festooned with virulently anti-Israel messages.” There is, superficially at least, no good reason why non-Israelis should care, and given his comically ethnocentric response to Danish zoo practices, we can suspect that Widlanski’s virulence detector is an unreliable device prone to wildly inaccurate readings. There is, however, much truth in his analysis.
Criticism of Israel in the name of antiracism and anti-colonialism was, gradually over time, privileged ultimately by the same broad cultural assault that deprivileged the traditional Western curriculum. Widlanski outlines the revolution in liberal arts education, a process of incremental cultural destruction that lowered the status within the canon of classic authors like Plato and Locke and introduced various postcolonial anti-classics, all for the sake of combating Eurocentrism and white privilege. In the new environment that displaced or stigmatized Whites and privileged the non-White Other, Edward Said, a critic of both Israel and the racially self-interested Eurocentrism he saw in the Occident’s study of the Orient, could attack the West much more easily than he could have in the traditional academic environment that radicals had overthrown during the Left’s long march through the institutions. As a result of antiracism’s rise as a hegemonic discourse and the attendant growth of Saidian postcolonialism as its ideological progeny, Israel became not a Western island of enlightened democracy in a sea of backward Muslim despots, as its defenders would prefer that it be conceptualized, but instead an intrusive colonial project founded on ethnic cleansing, a pariah state not much different morally from apartheid South Africa.
That was not the intention of the Jews who led and largely shaped the American branch of the anti-White counterculture of the 1960s, but it was a long-term effect. Traditional American education had been, to quote Said himself, “challenged by marauding energies, released by socially and intellectually inspired provocations,” which helped shape “a genuine political and intellectual conjuncture” between anti-Western intellectual forces within the university and the various leftist causes of 1960s, anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism being prominent among them.
An obvious problem with setting marauding energies loose against your enemy is that you cannot entirely control the direction of their marauding, and for principled leftists today the color-coding of the Arab-Israeli conflict, as an unintended result of Jewish-led leftist marauding decades ago, carries an unmistakable moral imperative: brown-skinned Arabs are the justice-seeking Others, and their victimizers are white-skinned European colonists who happen to be Jews. An anti-Israel activist cannot yet assert that vision on Fox News or even on the Alex Jones radio program, but he can easily assert it on a progressive university campus, where it is often the default position. Hence the (allegedly virulent) anti-Israel messages Widlanski saw when he strolled the halls of Columbia. Put simply, the same intellectual and political forces that lead leftist elites to prefer Michael Brown over Darren Wilson also lead many of the same leftist elites to prefer Palestinian Arabs over Israeli Jews. In both cases evidence is secondary or even irrelevant.
In 1982 Olof Palme, Sweden’s socialist prime minister, compared Israel’s treatment of Arabs during its invasion of Lebanon to Germany’s treatment of Jews during World War II. In the neoconservative narrative of growing anti-Semitism in post-war Europe, to which Widlanski refers, this was an important landmark and Palme is an important villain. A mainstream European politician had walked through the anti-Semitism door first opened by Charles de Gaulle, who had called Jews “an elitist and domineering people” after the Six Day War, breaking (so the story runs) a post-war taboo and inviting others to do the same.
This narrative even has an inventive psychoanalytic explanation, devised by an Israeli psychologist, for the supposed growth in European anti-Semitism: Because Europeans feel so guilty about the Holocaust, they feel an inner compulsion to detach their ancestral guilt from their own identities and apply it to the small Mideast country where the descendants of many of their victims now reside. Olof becomes, in this analysis, an unwitting anti-Semite looking about for some location filled with Jews onto which he could project Europe’s post-Holocaust racial guilt.
On the other hand, in the antiracist narrative of growing worldwide revulsion at South African apartheid after the Sharpeville massacre, Olof Palme is a hero, more important than any other European politician in advancing the liberation struggle outside Africa. He was the ANC’s strongest ally in Europe and an advocate of economic sanctions against White South Africa during a period when the State Department still, correctly, labeled the ANC a terrorist organization. Nelson Mandela, soon after his release from prison, favored Sweden with a visit to indicate his gratitude. Oliver Tambo, the ANC’s spokesman in Europe, called Palme “an activist who fought for our emancipation from colonial and racial domination.”
In the conflicting estimations of Palme’s life we can see an important Jewish dilemma. The two Olofs were, of course, really the same person. Olof Palme was a deracialized humanitarian who cared much more about non-White Others than he did about his own civilization. He was an appalling man, and contemporary Sweden, governed by an antiracist establishment that seeks to destroy its own people and eradicate their national identity, tragically reflects his character. His type is, however, easy to understand. His positions on both Israel and South Africa were exactly what we would expect from a principled antiracist.
That he can be a hero in the history of antiracism and a villain in the neoconservative history of postwar anti-Semitism illustrates well Israel’s growing problem with the growing antiracist Left, which regards New South Africa, liberated from colonial rule, as an important moral triumph, notwithstanding much evidence in the last two decades indicating precisely the opposite. Logically the Israeli settler state, dedicated to the welfare of the Jewish folk and guilty of routine violence against the non-Jews both within and around it, should be at the top of antiracism’s list of targets for moral improvement through destructive decolonization. Far from being victims of hostile media, as Widlanski imagines, Israelis should be grateful to a largely sympathetic media that their Jewish ethnostate was not embargoed decades ago.
Right-wing Zionists now confront an obstacle that the anti-White activism of their fellow Jews has helped erect. “Islam was born in fire,” Widlanski writes. “It has a terrifically violent heritage from its formative period, when Muhammad consciously chose to spread Islam by the sword.” Such generalizing statements are welcome on the Far Right, where they are valuable not only because they are historically accurate but also because we oppose the project of race-replacing immigration into the West and correctly regard Muslim violence as a compelling advertisement for that position. They are also useful generalizations for right-wing Zionists, who hope to locate their Mideast apartheid state firmly within the West and need Western and especially American assistance in protecting it from Muslim enemies, whose long history of aggression and fanaticism is a legitimate source of concern. Yet in our declining civilization negative generalizations about Islam have moved from being old-fashioned statements of fact into the
forbidden terrain of Eurocentrism, Orientalism, and white “racism.”
Jewish organizations like the ADL reluctantly include opposition to truth-telling about Islam (“Islamophobia”) among their various malevolent missions not because they are kind-hearted liberals, but because they fear that if Euro-Americans feel entitled to speak about the bad qualities of Muslims, we may then feel entitled to speak about the bad qualities of Jews and the bad effects of non-White immigration. It is therefore better from their perspective that the antiracist prohibition of Islamophobia remain in force, lest the horse be set free from the stable. Widlanski, like most neoconservatives, disagrees. He wants us to criticize Islam. He wants us to surveil mosques. He wants us to see all Islamist states and all Islamist movements as our enemies. He wants us to spend more money fighting them. He wants us, above all, to ignore Muslim complaints about Israel.
Hence his repeated denunciations of political correctness. He would be accused of “racism” or of “essentializing” Islam if he tried to present his case before a progressive audience of social-justice warriors. The more vibrant and diverse the audience, the more hostile his reception would be.
“The public needs to know,” he sensibly argues, “the truth about the Arab-Islamic terrorists without the blinders of political correctness, especially when the beast of terror has moved within Western countries themselves.” It is both foolish and dangerous not to describe Muslim terrorists as Muslims, especially since they are themselves eager to let us know their religious motives. Speaking of Islam as a religion of peace whose peaceful teachings have been hijacked and distorted by extremists is also false and foolish, as is the practice of allowing Muslim terrorists to exploit “the liberal immigration and welfare policies of the West to destroy the West and its liberalism from within.” Since young Muslim men carrying Korans are much more likely to blow up airplanes than elderly Spanish nuns wearing crosses, it is only rational that airport security screening focus much more on the former than on the latter. The normal meaning of “jihad” is holy war, not spiritual struggle, despite repeated protestations to the contrary by Islam’s academic defenders. The presence of millions of Muslims in Europe is not a precious cultural asset, but a threat: “Arab-Islamic terrorists do not have to mass armies the way the Ottomans besieged the gates of Vienna in 1529 or 1683. After all, there are large Arab-Islamic populations already inside Europe’s gates.”
In a sane world all this would be taken for granted and no one would need to tell us in a book what we already know.
Since we do not live in a sane world, we can thank Michael Widlanski for conveying these obvious truths to his largely conservative readership, along with the Jews who attended his lecture at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. It took some small boldness for Widlanski to propose, in a book published by an imprint of Simon & Schuster, that Muslim immigration be reduced or even ended in order to prevent Muslim terrorists, like the Chechen Tsarnaev brothers, from achieving such easy access to their targets. It would, however, have been much bolder if he had told his audience at the Simon Wiesenthal Center that their Holocaust temple for the promotion of Zionism and antiracism is dedicated to incompatible objectives.
Modern anti-Zionism is a species of antiracism, yet Jews and Jewish organizations continue aggressively to promote antiracism, thereby empowering their anti-Zionist enemies. It is unlikely that Widlanski is mentally capable of understanding that dynamic. He sees Palestine Day and Boycott Israel protests as dangerous elements in a “pro-terror atmosphere [that] now dominates many campuses” rather than as exercises in antiracist and anti-colonialist activism, which is how their participants would accurately describe them. He regards “racism” as a valuable verbal weapon for assaulting our people and apparently has no intention of relinquishing the weapon, no matter how ineptly he wields it. He wants only to detach truth-telling about Islam from “racism” so that he and others can defend Israel and attack Muslims without the feeling the force of the Western world’s most powerful adjective (“racist”) bearing down upon them.
An anti-racialist Zionist is, however, an oxymoron, just as calling a defender of South African apartheid an anti-racialist would have been an oxymoron three decades ago. Most activist Jews are walking-and-talking oxymora. The two contradictory poles of their political personalities, namely an antiracism maliciously directed against us and an intense racial nationalism reserved exclusively for themselves, are only held together by an extraordinary ethnocentrism well beyond what any White nationalist could ever aspire to achieve. Kevin MacDonald calls this the hyperethnocentrism of the Jews.
Yet Zionists and White nationalists share, unfortunately, many of the same enemies. Boycott Israel marches are, in fact, physical expressions of the same ideological forces that cause such varied disasters as open borders, affirmative-action programs, diversity training, and a Justice Department that supported Black violence in Ferguson. On all of the important racial issues supporters of Boycott Israel campaigns would be on the side of race-cultural destruction. They would be just as angry at our defense of Western nations as they are at Zionist defenders of their nation. That in part explains why so many Far Right political parties in Europe, in defiance of the prevailing anti-Zionism within their respective intelligentsias, support Israel more strongly than their governments do.
The more culturally degraded Whites become, the more likely we are to be morally offended by the Israeli ethnostate insofar as it is racialist. Dying Sweden, which is among the handful of European countries that have unilaterally recognized Palestine, is a case in point, as is Columbia University, with its halls festooned with anti-Zionist banners. Ideologically they are in essence the same place, each devoted to eradicating traditional culture within its own domain and both principled enough to extend their destructive efforts to Israel.
All of this makes the issue of the Jewish state much less politically tidy than most of us would like it to be. Israel is undoubtedly a liability to the West in any dispassionate geopolitical calculation, but the anti-Zionism that motivates Israel’s leftist enemies is part of an ideological structure that is vastly more dangerous.
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Wonderful article. You hit upon precisely the dynamic the Jews themselves unleashed that is now hindering the defense and justification of their homeland.
This was a good review. It probably goes without saying that crypsis is an integral element in Jewish behavior. The European mind (the “goyishe kopf”) generally finds this difficult to contend with, because it is hard-wired for order, trust and truth. For the Jewish mind, there is no anchor to truth, and if deception accomplishes a goal most efficiently, then it is the obvious tactic. A good rule of thumb is that if a Jewish mind is working to persuade, it will almost always employ deception when this is seen as beneficial to the end goal. A great example of this is in Widlanski’s argument:
“The United States should not abandon traditional allies,” Widlanski argues, because Arabs and Muslims as a whole respect loyalty to friends and will inevitably lose respect for Americans if they choose to part company with allies, especially “America’s only steady ally in the Middle East.”
It is impossible to believe that Widlanski truly accepts the proposition that abandoning Israel would hurt US-Arab relations because the arabs would then think ill of the U.S. because it abandons its “friends”. I haven’t read Widlanski’s book, but I get the feeling that Mr. Vinson is only barely scratching the surface in identifying the crypsis and misargumentation employed by the author.
A small quibble with Mr. Vinson, who writes, “Saudi Arabia and Iran, unlike secular Syria, have Islamist governments that take Islam seriously and embed Islamic law in their societies. That is their choice. It is a poor choice, but a nation has the right to make its own collective choices.”
I would argue that Islamic law, on the whole, is of massive benefit to Islamic societies over the long term. It keeps out Western liberalism, and it ensures a high birth rate, a high level of morality, fosters both ethnocentrism and xenophobia and male-ruled, patriarchal governments. To my knowledge, there is no Islamic-centered society that is at any risk of extinction from internal sources, as we see in almost all Western societies. Islamic law is not a solution for Western societies, but I believe that the Western equivalent, ancient hard-core patriarchal race-informed Christianity, would be.
I would argue that Islamic law, on the whole, is of massive benefit to Islamic societies over the long term. It keeps out Western liberalism, and it ensures a high birth rate, a high level of morality, fosters both ethnocentrism and xenophobia and male-ruled, patriarchal governments.
I agree, of course, that the West, intent on its own destruction, is in no position to lecture others. Still, Islam is a terrible religion. The only groups it is likely to benefit are those planning invasions and looking around for religious permission to murder strangers.
male-ruled, patriarchal governments
At the end of his long book on the Caliphate, first published in the 1880s, Sir William Muir attempted to explain the cultural stagnation of Islam in his own era. His conclusion was that Islam’s mistreatment of women was an important cause, perhaps the most significant. Ease of divorce meant that families in Muslim societies were unstable and discarded wives and their children often impoverished, and the segregation of women coarsened the larger male-dominated culture.
Muir was writing as a conservative Christian and would have had no sympathy for modern feminism. But he saw Muslim patriarchy (to use an often misused word) as a terrible cultural liability, which excluded women from their “legitimate place and function in social life.”
That, of course, is not proof of anything: Muir might have been wrong. But I was surprised when I first came to the end of the book, his second long book on Islam and its founder, to see the Veil and the domestic rules of the Koran listed prominently as sources of Islam’s failings and its decline, which had been evident for three centuries and persists today.
I don’t entirely agree with Scheuer, but the following is well worth watching:
I’d Dump the Israelis Tomorrow
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