Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Debunking Eurabia

by Gag Halfrunt Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 02:35:43 AM EST

In the Financial Times, Simon Kuper reviews and debunks four books about the nefarious Islamofascist conspiracy to take over Europe, including the one that started the whole business, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye'or. He begins by comparing the Eurabia meme to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion:

Diary rescue by Migeru


The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was written in the 1890s, possibly by the Russian-French journalist Matthieu Golovinski, and spread by the Tsarist secret police. A forgery, it claimed to be the manual of a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world.

Bat Ye'or, author of the little-read but influential book Eurabia, repeatedly mentions the Protocols. Well she might, because Eurabia has been described as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in reverse. Bat Ye'or is Hebrew for ''daughter of the Nile'', the pseudonym of a woman who fled Egypt as a Jew in 1957 and now lives in Switzerland. In Eurabia, she purports to reveal an Arab-European conspiracy to rule the world.

Though ludicrous, Eurabia became the spiritual mother of a genre. Ye'or's genius was to bridge two waves of anti-European books: those of 2002-03, which said Europe had gone anti-Semitic again, and those of 2006-07, which say Europe is being conquered by Muslims.

The four books here provide a fair summary of the ''Eurabia'' genre. False as they are, their existence reveals something about the geopolitical moment.

The full review is well worth reading, not least because of the way in which Kuper skewers Melanie Phillips:

Mixed with the hysteria are kernels of truth. Phillips' Londonistan rightly recalls that in the 1990s the British authorities let many radical jihadists settle in London. Some later plotted terrorism against the UK. Phillips leaps from this to claiming that Britons cannot see the terrorist threat. However, this is rather negated by the fact that almost all her information about British terrorism comes from British newspapers.

And again. :)

Phillips has a different theory about Britain's demise. Wonderfully, it unites all the enemies of her journalistic career. Jihad is conquering Britain because intellectuals, transsexuals, judges, Antonio Gramsci, the human-rights brigade, gays who adopt children, etcetera, have destroyed the country's confidence in its own values. So Phillips' former employer, The Guardian, is ''a virtual mouthpiece for the Muslim Brotherhood'', while Islamic jihad is ''the armed wing of the British left''.

Kuper concludes his review by placing the Eurabia myth in its proper political and cultural context -- not the Muslim world, of course, or Europe, but the US:

But the many factual errors in most of these books may be beside the point. The ''Eurabia'' genre does not belong to the ''reality-based community''. Rather, it exists to meet emotional needs. Its anti-Europeanism is a satisfying retort to European anti-Americanism. It also has a political message: if the Europeans, America's traditional allies, have folded before Islam, then the US must go it alone.

Via Laila Lalami.

Display:
So the FT does have its uses....

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 08:20:25 AM EST
lives in Paris...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 08:52:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent paper. Thanks for diarying it, GH!

Kuper could have added that among these estimated 16 million European "Muslims", many of them are Muslims the same way a majority of French are Catholic, i.e. born from Muslim parents, but not practising Muslims.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 09:24:26 AM EST
He more or less implies it by describing them as "nominal Muslims".
by Gag Halfrunt on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 10:19:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is really the nub of it.

The problem isn't with Islam, it's with superstitious people, in particular of the religious sort.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 10:38:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This was in yesterday's WSJ. It was just too damn depressing to post:


Old Fears, New Threats  - What European Islamophobia and anti-Semitism have in common--and what they don't.

Since the September 11 attacks in America, and the subsequent terrorist attacks by al Qaeda on European soil, the Continent has witnessed a rising tide of hostility toward Muslims living there, from violent rhetorical outbursts to physical attacks on mosques and businesses.

(...)

It is hard to avoid comparing this new animosity toward Muslims to the traditional manifestations of a much older hatred--anti-Semitism. The fear of a minority that practices an unfamiliar form of worship and is believed to be worming its way into Christian or Western culture, undermining its values, shaped the relationship between Europe and the Jews in its midst for hundreds of years. This comparison between "Islamophobia" and classic anti-Semitism is much favored among European politicians, intellectuals, and human rights workers who are trying to prevent, or at least mitigate, the "culture war" that is being waged on the Continent. This concept is embodied in the Warsaw Declaration, adopted by the Council of Europe on May 17, 2005, which condemned "all forms of intolerance and discrimination, in particular those based on sex, race, and religion, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia." Opinion columns in major European newspapers now regularly claim that "Muslims are now getting the same treatment the Jews had a century ago."

The temptation to draw parallels between past and present is unquestionably strong--but is it justified? There are certainly some notable points of similarity between prewar European anti-Semitism and the enmity directed toward the Muslim immigrants living in Europe now. However, there is a quintessential difference between the two: The fear of a Jewish conspiracy against European civilization had no basis in fact, whereas fear of the expansionist ambitions openly expressed by senior figures in the Muslim-Arab world, and shared by some ordinary Muslims, is not groundless. Understanding this difference is of crucial importance if one wishes to properly assess the nature and magnitude of the challenge certain interpretations of Islam pose to Europe, and to deal with this challenge accordingly.

[really, really, long cut...]

This is the crucial difference between the Jewish and the Muslim imagined nations: It is the fluidity and flexibility of Jewish identity that makes it possible for the anti-Semite to project his darkest fears onto the Jews and to attribute to them the desire for world domination. The enduring popularity of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and innumerable other theories regarding a Jewish "conspiracy" stem from this source. But Islam's ambition to spread its rule over the entire world is not a fantasy of paranoid or prejudiced Europeans, but an accurate perception of what leading Muslim-Arab thinkers themselves openly preach.

There is no escaping the obvious conclusion: From a purely ideological point of view, European fear of Islam is not mistaken. The Muslim believer living on the Continent is potentially exposed to an ideology that imposes upon him a religious and political duty to proselytize Christians and impose the rule of the Islamic nation everywhere possible, including Europe itself.

[another very long cut...]

The European Muslim on his way to the mosque is different from the European Jew on his way to the synagogue. He represents a potential member of an imagined community that envisages the West as Muslim and Islam as the new world order. To fear such an eventuality is not pure xenophobia; it is firmly grounded in reality.

The challenge that Muslim thinking poses to European society is not simple, especially because the memory of anti-Semitism reverberates in the collective European consciousness. Europe knows just how short the distance is from alarmist newspaper articles about a foreign minority infiltrating the nation to a murderous outburst against that minority; from abuse hurled at people in the street because their beliefs and external appearance are different to an actual pogrom. Indiscriminate, blind, arrogant and chauvinistic hostility toward Islam and Muslims is a phenomenon that Europe must denounce and correct, if it wishes to prove that it really has learned anything from its past.

But there is another warning that history has given Europe: Dangerous ideas should not be ignored because only a very few are loyal to them. Today, Europe is once again witness to the growing power of an ideology that despises territorial borders, undermines the liberal political system, and rejects Western concepts of human rights. There is indeed cause for alarm. As restricted and minimal as its influence may be, the imagined Nation of Islam is not just an idea; instruments of immense power have been pressed into its service. If Europe closes its eyes, if it chooses to label all critical analysis of Islam and its adherents as a xenophobic equivalent to anti-Semitism, that imagined nation, left without resistance or opposition, may very well succeed in undermining the foundations of the order in which it functions.

Mr. Shavit is a historian of the Middle East researching Islam in Europe for the Minerva Foundation, a subsidiary of the Max Planck Society

Europeans are racist and anti-semites (eww, evil). But Muslims (sigh... we used to have Arab immigrants until Set. 11) are even eviler and we're right to treat them with suspicion.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 10:01:54 AM EST
Today, Europe is once again witness to the growing power of an ideology that despises territorial borders, undermines the liberal political system, and rejects Western concepts of human rights.

You mean neoconservatism? :)

by Gag Halfrunt on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 10:22:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's try again:
Today, Europe is once again witness to the growing power of two opposing ideologies that despise territorial borders, undermine the liberal political system, and reject Western concepts of human rights.


We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 10:28:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 06:50:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...is not groundless...

That right there is what we're up against in America.

The elite really believe this over here. No good can come of this.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 10:40:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, J M Aznar also believes the fairy tales about AQ wanting to take Al Andalus back.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 10:44:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, there are folks like that, I've met a few, none of them violent AQ types.

But devout, religious types.

"Next year will be the re-establishment of the caliphate" sort of sounds like "next year in Jerusalem" when you really think about it.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 10:55:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Insh'Allah, dude!

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 11:06:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a salaam aleikum to you as well, brother!

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 11:22:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are certainly some notable points of similarity between prewar European anti-Semitism and the enmity directed toward the Muslim immigrants living in Europe now.

Right they are. For example, the economic elite can be seen to cynically push an irrational hatred of a convenient 'other', to be promoted as the source of all of societies ills. Whether they themselves believe it or not is immaterial. But such fear should provide useful distraction in the coming financial crisis when markets really collapses, and resource scarcity and global warming in earnest start to make an impact in the daily life of people. Or else they might start calling for their 'betters' in society to more equitably share material assets, rather than accept the sorry lot to which they are increasingly assigned. (Reform! Reform! Reform!) So much the better that another enemy has been already designated, to prevent the horrible possibility that a real left might again rear its ugly head in Europe. Just a simple means to an end to yet again stop the fearful communism, or whatever it is that is seen as the 'true' political threat.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 10:55:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WTF is a crank like this doing at the Max Planck Society? They generally aspire to a higher standard than this.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 01:59:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for posting it anyway. It is depressing as you say. Utter garbage.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 06:34:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Muslim presence in Europe from the offset revolutionized European society. They introduced the stirrup which begat the Middle Ages.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 06:46:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought, and Wikipedia agrees, that it came from the North East...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 07:20:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I based my quip on Lynn White's extraordinary book, Medieval Technology and Social Change, which is cited by Wiki. As it was written in 1962 there may be new archaeological evidence. As for Wiki, many of its claims are reviewed by White and found wanting.

I re-read White this morning and see that my memory is at fault. My comment is over-simplified. The Persians followed by the Arabs had modified combat because of the stirrup before the Europeans. The real social and technological revolution came with Charles Martel even if the stirrup had been found in Lithuanian and Prussian burial sites in an earlier period. The presence of an artifact does not necessarily imply its general diffusion and a paradigm shift.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Nov 16th, 2007 at 06:25:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And they introduced the use of zero.  That's had a minor impact on Europe as well.

And algebra and trig and Euclid's Geometry and Aristotle, and Plato and Public Libraries and medicine and spices and dyes and chemistry and Public Health and astronomy and scientific instruments.

Aside from that, what have the Muslim's contributed to Western Civilization?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 08:38:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it worth it to de-construct this crap?

Does anyone recall the name of the Israelian lady who has made it the focus of her life to denounce alleged Islamic conceptions of territorial claims? Something that has to do with Fitna...

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 05:02:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And of course, we had this thread a year ago: Eurabia = Europe sucks

Following this Economist headline:



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 15th, 2007 at 10:05:31 AM EST
Great diary.

This book, Londonistan, seems to be fairly popular among the wingers in the states, largely among people who have, of course, never been to London.  I always see some nutjob flipping through it in Borders.

Having spent a little bit of time in the East End, I can understand, to a degree, being unnerved by some of the Muslim population.  The burqas bother me.  And a few certainly seemed to slip into kneejerk dislike for me upon hearing my accent.  But my overall impression was that Muslims in Britain were decent enough people.

They were certainly preferable to the drunken yobs picking fights in the pubs and mugging people on the sidewalks on a daily basis in Nottingham.  I never felt threatened by Muslims there, but the teen and twentysomething groups of Brits roaming the streets and harassing people after dark left me looking for crude weapons more than once.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Nov 16th, 2007 at 10:41:14 AM EST
Funny thing is, it took years to get the brits to extradite that guy (what's his face again?) linked to the early 90s terrorist attacks in Paris.

All that time they didn't give a fuck about actual terrorists and muslim fundies while the French medias had plenty of reports about them, and now they accuse the French of ignoring the threat.


A 'centrist' is someone who's neither on the left, nor on the left.

by nicta (nico@altiva․fr) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 05:38:37 AM EST
He wasfinally sentenced to jail for life on October 26 (yes, a month ago, after 10 years spent in the UK successfully fighting extradition)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 07:52:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Its called legal process, and thank god for it. The government would have loved to have extradited Ramda (and tried time and time again) but the pesky courts insisted that a prima facie case be demonstrated against him.

The court, quite rightly 'gave a fuck' about the evidence before them (which was shaky) and not terrorist hysteria - the government on the other hand ...

by lemonwilmot (lemonwilmot at gmail.com) on Tue Nov 20th, 2007 at 09:58:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the rescue, migeru.
by Gag Halfrunt on Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 02:10:01 PM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]