Hanan, Almost There
On April 24, 2007, the Arab (“Palestinian”) Christian woman speaker Hanan Ashrawi gave a speech in Washington, DC, an adaptation of which appears as an article on CounterPunch, from April 28, 2007. The bulk of the article is vacuous, the claptrap of diplo-speak, but toward the end I found something worthy of comment:
[…] To me, the real question is what is the nature of Palestinian society? This is something that people ignore. What kind of society are we going to build? Are we going to build an open, pluralistic, tolerant society or are we going to go back into a closed ideological system? This is what we want to know. Is there a deal being made between Hamas and Fateh at the expense of the people? Now, I must say in all candor that Palestinians have always been quite protective and possessive of our fundamental rights and basic freedoms. And we will not condone—and I will say this again—we will not condone the destruction of books or folk tales. And we will not condone the banning of the dabkeh or music as being immoral. And we will not condone the blowing up of internet cafes or beating up of young women because of the dress code in Gaza or burning of schools. They just burned the American school in Gaza.
So what we need to do, which is what civil society is doing, is stand up to any attempts at capturing Palestinian society and transforming it by force into a closed regressive unenlightened ideological system. That’s why we are calling, as another mechanism, the national council for culture, education and the arts. These are the legacies of the future generations. We cannot leave them at the mercy of one party or the other or the narrow concerns or petty ideologies of one party or the other. That council will be in charge of the curriculum rather than each party manipulating the curriculum to suit its ends. And for social justice, we need a women’s commission and the information council.
So after decades of “resistance” (read: terrorism), Ashrawi thinks it’s time for thinking about building the society, its culture and the future generation. Better late than never, I say… But my sarcasm aside, there is no better than this whole quote, from a Christian and woman no less, to show how the nationalistic or pan-Arabist narrative has duped not only the opposing side in Israel and the USA, but also some of the staunch supporters, people who consider themselves insiders, part of “the group”.
From at least the days of Hitler’s Mufti, Hajj Amin El-Husseini, this conflict has been an Islamic jihad. The phrase, “Zionist Crusaders”, so astonishing in the light of that history (the Crusaders butchered the Jews of Jerusalem in 1099), can only be understood in the framework of the Islamic view of history. The present borders of the state of Israel are similar to those of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, and from the start, Zionism looked to the Muslims like a repeat of that history, in that people from Europe (not only—there were many Jewish immigrants from the Islamic lands, already in the late 19th century, but that is ignored by the race-baiting Muslims and their Marxist allies) established a non-Muslim domain on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. That is their narrative; I reject it completely, but I hear and understand, as it is crucial for knowing the enemy. The nationalistic and religious framings of this conflict have competed with each other from the beginning to this very day, but the Muslims can never be trusted to relinquish the religious reflex. Sooner or later the nationalistic party line is going to give way to the latent, ever-lurking substrate of religious education, as indeed Andrew Bostom makes clear with his 1916 quotes of Snouck Hurgronje.
And the time is now. Hanan Ashrawi’s words are proof (one among many) of that. After all the diplomatic hot air, which I frankly value only for its soporific properties, the quoted passages sound like a sincere call of distress. She, like the treasonous Azmi Bisharah (nominally Christian, in reality a Communist—much is thus explained), had stuck to the pan-Arab and nationalistic dream: the Arab state of “Palestine”, home of Arabs, base of Arab culture, serving Muslims, Christians and Druzes equally.
“Are we going to build an open, pluralistic, tolerant society or are we going to go back into a closed ideological system?” She had eyes but could not see that her Muslim “compatriots” never had any such plans for her. For her, the plan was dhimmi status, with the extra of the hijab and silence under it. Bisharah would be accorded either dhimmi status (if deemed a Christian) or the option between conversion and death (if deemed an atheist, which Khomeini did to the Iranian Communists).
“And we will not condone—and I will say this again—we will not condone the destruction of books or folk tales.” You will not condone, but the Muslims are going to do this anyway, for thus they have done for immeasurably long to all non-Islamic cultural artifacts.
“And we will not condone the banning of the dabkeh or music as being immoral.” You may not condone, but you are not performing the really effective task of showing them that sticking to the traditional interpretations of the Islamic canon doesn’t pay. Where were you when the cult of the suicide bomber was nurtured in the “Palestinian” territories? Why didn’t you tell the EU-UN-uchs to stop sending aid to a government supporting that cult since 1993? You have only yourself to blame.
“And we will not condone the blowing up of internet cafes or beating up of young women because of the dress code in Gaza or burning of schools.” You will not condone, but, in all probability, your only recourse in the near future will be to flee it all. Those who have seen an American Christian woman, Nancy Pelosi, wear a hijab of her own accord—do you really think the message of it is lost upon them? Can you not see how elated they are in the success of the Islamic ideology, for it has won them dividends of which their fathers just 30 years ago could only dream? What have you done to make them think it isn’t the way to go? Nothing. Not you, nor any other of the sympathizers of the “Palestinian” cause in the West. Your catering to their narrative has only emboldened them. You now reap the fruits.
“They just burned the American school in Gaza.” How can you now get them to see the burning of an American school in Gaza as something immoral, when they have been conditioned, by nearly 15 years of burning buses in Israel, to see such things as entirely justified? You praised the latter as, “legitimate resistance of the occupier”; they do the same, the only difference being that they see every non-Muslim as an occupier. What have you to offer to counter their narrative?
“So what we need to do, which is what civil society is doing, is stand up to any attempts at capturing Palestinian society and transforming it by force into a closed regressive unenlightened ideological system.” That’s cultural imperialism, Hanan. You’d better be very, very careful with such statements.
“That’s why we are calling, as another mechanism, the national council for culture, education and the arts.” Institutions we “evil Zionists” had right from the beginning of the 20th century, long before gaining independence. Culture, education and the arts thrived even under the unsympathetic hands of the British Mandatory Government in the 1930’s and 40’s, and even in the shadow of outbreaks of Islamic jihad (1929, 1936, to recount just two prominent ones). But your society is so consumed by hatred of the other side that it invests all its energies on destroying—turning greenery into a desert.
“These are the legacies of the future generations.” You have decided that it is finally time to think of the future generations. Well and good. I look forward to your constant and vocal denunciation of the practice of raising children to be suicide bombers. And I also hope you have a security plan when the fatwa arrives shortly after that.
“And for social justice, we need a women’s commission and the information council.” If, in the near future, Hamas permit your face to be shown (hijab, as opposed to the niqab or burka), consider yourself very lucky. And their idea of “social justice” is quite different from the Marxist one, as the Iranian Communists found out in the end. You know what dissident Iranians say about the ayatollahs: they got the better deal, because, while the Shah’s men could line their pockets with loot, they can line their turbans with the same.
These non-Muslim “Palestinian nationalists” and “pan-Arabists” have been of great service to their Muslim “friends”; but let there be no mistake: the ideology of Islam, as indoctrinated from a young age, has no other plan but to dominate and not to be dominated, with Christians like Hanan Ashrawi in their proper place as jizya-payers.
The two states in which Christian Arabs are not thus humiliated are Israel and Lebanon. In Lebanon the situation is already changing for the worse, with the demographic catastrophe there (high Muslim birthrates, especially among the Shi’a, coupled with mass emigration of the Christians—Europe, take a look at Lebanon, because that’s where you’re headed unless you change course now). Israel is a safe haven—and everyone knows it, for even reporters from the Backstabbing Brutus Corporation run away to Israel when their “Palestinian” allies prove a little too… Islamic—as long as it exists. In all Islamic countries, non-Muslims can live tolerably only under a strongman who thinks it to be in the best of his interests to protect them; as Iraq and Turkey show, the lack of such a strongman spells unending misery for them.
Let all the non-Muslim supporters of the “Palestinian” narrative realize on which side their bread is buttered, and make the right choice.
I just wish to close with a small passage by Phyllis Bennis and Robert Jensen, also from CounterPunch, that I couldn’t resist commenting on:
We need a new foreign policy based on justice, relying on international law and the United Nations, rather than the assertion of might-makes-right.
You can have a foreign policy based on justice, or you can have a foreign policy relying on international law and the United Nations. The corrupt United Nations, with its involvement in such scandals as “Oil For Food”, and with its preference for focusing on easy targets (Israel most of all) and ignoring the real and worthy ones (Rwanda last decade, Darfur now), and the myopic international law, with its total lack of foresight as to the utterly immoral enemy we now face, cannot by any stretch of creative imagination be the basis for a foreign policy based on justice.
And as for “Might Makes Right”, the answer is this: goodness without power is no goodness at all. Think about it the next time your precious United Nations reacts to a genocide (G-d forbid) with a “strongly-worded resolution”.