by Sarah Honig
By happenstance, just when Muammar Gaddafi staged his recent Muslim-supremacy spectacle (significantly) in Rome, Israeli actors refused to stage anything in well-within-national-consensus Ariel. On the face of it these events were unrelated.
Neither did the resounding refusal from Ramallah to even vaguely recognize Israel as a legitimate Jewish state seem linked to the in-house boycotts promulgated by those showbiz poseurs and their literati cheerleaders.
The Gaddafi extravaganza was all but overlooked by our media as a no-account eccentricity. The Ramallah reiteration of immutable nay-saying was mentioned in passing as an almost acceptable, incontestable fact of life. The out-of-left-field onslaught on Ariel, however, was ballyhooed by leftist scribblers and talking heads as heralding the moral imperative of further shrinking (anyhow precariously tiny) Israel.
Those who ignore or downplay the news from Rome and Ramallah, yet amplify the anti-Ariel offensive, obscure the fundamental connection. The aforementioned are all jigsaw pieces in the same puzzle. The removal of any piece leaves a gaping void which renders the picture meaningless. Separating and isolating constituent elements distorts the context. The upshot is that, systematically blinkered, we’re left defenseless.
LET’S TRY to piece together the puzzle despite the assiduous efforts of our enlightened pseudo-intellectual cliques to limit our vision to scattered fragments.
Libyan strongman Gaddafi did in Rome what would have instigated barbaric lynching and savage rioting in Tripoli, to say nothing of Mecca. Gaddafi arrived at one of Christendom’s iconic centers, literally near the Vatican’s doorstep, to throw a “convert-to-Islam” party to which he invited hundreds of top-model wannabes, who were handsomely recompensed for their attendance.
He proclaimed that Christianity was “an inconsequential religion” and that Jesus himself was Muslim.
The details don’t matter. What matters is that Gaddafi assumed he could come to a pivotal Christian capital and thumb his nose at the locals, as if they have no sensitivities or, if they do, that these sensitivities are misplaced and hence don’t count.
Gaddafi’s impudence betrays anything but the pluralistic ethos espoused so ardently by postmodern Western ideologues. Gaddafi shares none of our moral relativism.
He’ll never argue that all beliefs are of equal value. In his world there’s only one exclusive, exclusionist and overriding truth – his own. He says so openly, in our face. The fact that we refuse to listen is willful self-delusion.
Gaddafi’s oddball flamboyance shouldn’t distract us. He’s not the exception to the Muslim rule. He’s its authentic voice, his preposterous pomposity notwithstanding.
Gaddafi isn’t the only Arab headliner with undisguised designs to subjugate us all to his creed. Others assert the same only with less fanfare. We prefer to pay no heed to any of Islam’s boosters, whether their message is delivered with flourish or with matter-of-fact resolve.
THERE’S NO Gaddafi-like grandiosity in the performance style of Doha-based Egyptian-born Yusuf al- Qaradawi, head of the World Council of Muslim Clerics, a supreme authority in the Sunni world and one of Islam’s most popular and influential luminaries. His Al Jazeera program Shari’a and Life made him a household preacher in the Arabic-speaking world.
A self-proclaimed moderate, he only condones suicide bombings against Israelis (of all genders and ages – even unborn fetuses), maintaining that there are no innocent noncombatants among them. Indeed many of his conservative coreligionists have condemned Qaradawi in fiery oratory for being too soft on the West.
But is the ultra-popular theologian any more tolerant than Gaddafi? Enjoying Qatari hospitality, Qaradawi declares that “Islam is poised to take over the world. The harbinger of Islamic triumph will be the conquest of Rumia [a.k.a. Rome]. Islam will return to Europe as the victorious conqueror, after having been twice ousted from it.”
In Qaradawi’s eyes, as in Gaddafi’s, there’s only one perfect faith.
It’s only historic justice that Islam vanquish all other religions. Against this backdrop, perhaps it’s Gaddafi who is the moderate, as for now he merely seeks to advance Islam via a chosen audience of bribed beauties rather than a full-blown jihad.
Needless to say, whatever goes for Rome applies a thousand-fold to Jerusalem. To quote Qaradawi again, “Jews who claim that they have a long history in what they call Israel are liars. The Arabs, on the other hand, were present in Palestine since the days of the Jebusites and the Canaanites, 30 centuries before Christ. Before the advent of Islam, there were no Jews in Palestine. The Jews’ claim to al-Buraq [the Western Wall] dates back only to recent times.”
It’s not only ancient history Qaradawi rewrites. In a 2009 sermon on Al Jazeera he explained why the Holocaust occurred (while simultaneously diminishing its proportions): “Throughout history, Allah had imposed people upon the Jews who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things Hitler did to them – even though the Jews exaggerate this – Allah managed to put the Jews in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, next time the Jews will be punished at the hands of the believers.”
Qaradawi’s message is threefold: The Jews got their just deserts, they weren’t punished as much as they allege and another Holocaust should be visited upon them – this time, he hopes, it will be perpetrated by Muslims.
THIS ISN’T incidental esoterica. These are commonplace perceptions throughout the Arab/Muslim world, and most especially in the twin fiefdoms of Ramallah and Gaza. Such views aren’t the far-out preserve of a handful of fanatics. These are the messages sounded too often to count in mosques – even within Israel. Moreover, these messages are broadcast on official TV throughout the reputedly moderate PA.
But these aren’t idiosyncratic quirks in an exclusively religious idiom either. They’re the broad unquestioned postulates that underlie all Palestinian positions. They’re taken for granted and hallowed as self-evident even in Ramallah’s more secular quarters.
No self-respecting Palestinian politician, leastways not one who desires to stay alive, would dare dispute Yasser Arafat’s contention that the Jews have no connection to and no history in this land and that no Jewish temple ever existed in Jerusalem.
Concomitantly, Holocaust denial is curiously combined with blaming on Jews whatever belittled bloodletting is sometimes grudgingly acknowledged in some select Palestinian narratives. For this mishmash motif we need go no further than the doctoral dissertation PA chieftain Mahmoud Abbas submitted to the People’s Friendship University of Moscow and never retracted.
What we have to contend with, reluctant though we are to admit it, are threats – explicit and implicit – of another Holocaust. No less. It would serve us all to recall that Arabs and Muslims under the leadership of still-revered Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini were avid Nazi collaborators during the original Holocaust.
It would particularly serve our outwardly artier compatriots to realize that they embolden enemies who don’t merely oppose Jewish presence in Ariel, but in Tel Aviv no less. Life-preserving awareness is indispensable for all Israelis, including puffed-up thespians and homegrown guardians of other people’s consciences.
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