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.