Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Phobias" and beating down critics into silence

by oldschooltwentysix

I left my first comment at Mondoweiss today, about a claim that the messaging of the non-profit, pro-Israel StandWithUs "verges on Islamophobia." The example provided is a fact sheet on the Muslim Brotherhood.

StandWithUs is dedicated to informing the public about Israel and to combating the extremism and antisemitism that often distorts the issues. It helps those who want to educate their own local campuses and communities. It believes knowledge of the facts will correct common prejudices about the Arab-Israeli conflict, and will promote discussions and policies that can help promote peace in the Middle East.

The term "Islamophobia" is, according to Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, a former radical Islamist present when it was first coined, "nothing more than a thought-terminating cliche conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics," to silence criticism of political Islam, to portray Muslims as victims. Those that met at the offices of the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT) in Northern Virginia decided to emulate the homosexual activists who used the term "homophobia" to silence critics. See this for more.

Looking at the Mondoweiss site, it is hard to find anything that does not condemn Israel. There is no balance. I suppose information that is pro-Israel would be seen as Zionist propaganda, lies, or "Islamophobic." How does one refute this obsession to demonize Israel, and fairly show what it is that Israelis and Jews confront? Perhaps from a source that cannot be labeled as a mouthpiece, that helps show the threat many see is not at all irrational, but clearly within the scope of reasonable discourse.

What follows, courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch, is a video from NRK, the Norwegian state-owned station. NRK found that Norway gives the Palestinian Authority about 300 million kroner ($52,628,700) a year, and directly correlated that funding to the PA’s incitement of hatred and glorification of terror.

According to the NRK narrator:
[Palestinian] children grow up learning that Jews are 'Satan with a tail'... Adults hear that Jews are evil and not to be trusted. It is perhaps not surprising that the [Palestinian] hatred is growing.
Talk about "phobia!"

PMW senior analyst Nan Jacques Zilberdik, interviewed in the NRK report, on the importance of publicizing PMW documentation in Norway:
What we [PMW] report is definitely the general [PA] message. We don't provide just a few examples that we have chosen to make it look extreme. I think that Norwegian and other leaders will be surprised to hear what the Palestinian leaders, with whom they talk about peace, say in Arabic.

Yes, people are surprised sometimes to discover what is missing from their knowledge. Thankfully, Norway may be ready to become more balanced when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and perhaps even to do what is right, to stop funding incitement to hate and indirectly funding terrorists in jail for crimes, including multiple murders.

The main point of this post, however, is to communicate that not only pro-Israel activists and "apologists" or "Islamophobes" identify the issue of Jew hatred that adds a malicious and even genocidal fuel to the Palestinian and Islamic cause. No serious person would call the NRK Islamophobic for showing what actually does and will continue to exist, whether we care to see it or not.

(originally posted at oldschooltwentysix)


  1. I can't seem to identify your comment, school.

    1. Still awaiting moderation. Here it is:

      StandWithUs messaging verges on Islamaphobia?

      The link you provided was to a fact sheet on the Muslim Brotherhood. Can you provide one example of an inaccuracy?

      What do you think we should know about the Muslim Brotherhood? What do you think it stands for?

      J Street is about theory. StandWithUs is about reality. Too many are ignorant about reality because they are too imbued with theories that do not conform or even fly in the face of reality.

    2. So everything said over there has to be screened first, eh?

      Jeez, I thought those guys prided themselves on their progressive posture. I thought that the progressive-left favored unfettered free speech?

      Not so much, I guess.

    3. Apparently, but we'll see. It would not be the first such place that practiced free speech for me, but not for thee.

      There are so many examples of censorship, often under the guise of preventing "Islamophobia" or anti-racism, when it is cowardice to engage that is the actual culprit.

    4. Before I was kicked off Alternet, DKos, Salon, HuffPo I was confronted by the same nonsense. "We believe in unlimited freeeeeeeee speech" as long as you parrot the driods who write the columns and the 29 regular readers all furiously stroking one another. But what do you expect from a gaggle of people who've had their senses of humor surgically removed as well as most of their intellect. You can have more stimulating conversations with a hairdryer.

    5. Yeah, but it gave me an opening to introduce the NRK report, a nice sign from Norway that shows it's not just the "bigots" who can see what we are saying.

  2. Phil Weiss once quipped on his own blog he's an antisemite and then laughingly relayed his own wife told him she thinks he's psychotic. I put Weiss in the same category as Glenn Greenwald, who, when you strip away all the legalese and review the actual chronology of his 'work' you discover he's not left wing but in fact a far right wing anarchist neo Nazi Lyndon Larouche type. Phil Weiss (or Mark Elf for you Brits) isn't really left wing or leftist or liberal. He's gone round the bend to the far right wing realm and conspiracy theories and antisemitic insanity. Not that there's all that much difference at the far fringes. Far left, far right? What's the distinction? Elie Weisel noted once "The left hates Israel the right hates the Jews" and this he said 30 years ago.

  3. School,

    I'm not quite sure that I get this:

    NRK found that Norway gives the Palestinian Authority about 300 million kroner ($52,628,700) a year, and directly correlated that funding to the PA’s incitement of hatred and glorification of terror.

    Directly correlated?

    Am I misunderstanding you or are you saying that there is, or seems to be, a direct correlation between the amount of Norwegian funding to the PA and the level of Palestinian-Arab incitement against Israeli-Jews?

    If that is the case it would be... ahh... exceedingly troublesome.

    1. As I understand it, they tied the funding to the PA's efforts to incite and glorify terror, not to mention the payments to prisoners who were convicted of crimes that also constitute terror.

      This is happening across Europe and the EU.

      The interesting thing here is that the Norwegians may be starting to take seriously being seen as so hostile to Israel and the 1,500 Jews that live there.

      They even changed their mind that the Israeli Embassy did not have to move.

      NRK should be a credible and reliable source that cannot be subjected to the "beat down" by the anti-Israel activists, like at Mondoweiss, and it is seen as fair by the left leaning that try to have an open mind, but does not trust Israel because of the group thought of their milieu.

      It is time to show the world that when it comes to human need, Palestinians take more attention and resources than they should, without showing real inclination to make peace, except as a stepping stone.

      It is time to call for reform of UNRWA and application of refugee law to the Palestinians. I believe these calls will grow louder soon, as the Middle East and Europe shakes out and it becomes more difficult to obscure the reality of intent against Jews and infidels.

      From the NRK to the Dutch video to the newest at EoZ about UNRWA, people are getting better at disseminating what exists as a matter of course. If people understand both sides, there is hope they choose what is right.

  4. btw, at 8:30 PM SPT your comment has still not been published, School.

    Trudy, you say that Phil Weiss is not actually on the left.

    You may or may not be right, depending on exactly how we define such things. But it was not so long ago that I recall some guy on the now defunct Divestthis! making the argument that BDS is not on the liberal-left because they are too extreme.

    What I would argue is that wherever you or I were to pin Weiss on the political grid according to his stances on the issues, there is no question but that he considers himself on the left and that BDSers and anti-Semitic anti-Zionists are generally welcome within the progressive-left and the grassroots / netroots of the Democratic party.

    I don't want the left taken off the hook for it's anti-Zionism and Israel hatred (along with its attendant anti-Semitism) because if they were to stand up they could fight back, but they don't.

    Quite the contrary.

    In fact, anti-Semitic anti-Zionism is corrupting the movement.

    But, it is not that most progressives are anti-Semitic. They aren't. It's that they don't get it, they don't care, and they very much want you to shut the fuck up.

    1. Hard to change the confines of an echo chamber, where most everyone shares the same view, and whatever one calls them, activists may be incapable of working with others they seem to despise, at least when communicating among themselves.

      There is also the apostacy element that chills expression. Most Progressives see things from the Palestinian narrative in my experience. Most could not articulate the Israeli side. They do not feel qualified to speak out, even if inclined.

      They really do not care about the matter, except intellectually, because they are far removed from the fray or the neighborhoods which have become no go.