FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bernard Lewis’ Latest Call to Arms

Bernard Lewis’ op-ed piece in the May 16, 2007 issue of the Wall Street Journal deserves swift rebuttal. This is the same man who advised President Bush prior to the Iraq war that the only language Arabs understood was the language of force. While Presidents may self-select advisors who tell them what they want to hear, these advisors bear as much responsibility, specially when they pose as “experts”.

Lewis is an octogenarian Zionist, an “expert” author of numerous books purporting to explain Islam and Arabs. His political agenda is thinly veiled, and along with his neoconservative cohorts he has been one of the lead propagandists advocating military action in the middle-east. A card-carrying member of the Israel Lobby, his situational analysis consistently deflects attention from Israel’s primacy in US policymaking where the Mideast is concerned. The Lobby, of course, cannot afford to have an open discussion around the difference in what is good for the US, versus what is good for Israel.

Lewis’ op-ed article is a call to arms against Islam. Like the skilful propagandist that he is, he weaves his story using metaphors carefully planted in the American psyche since 9/11, to painstakingly rekindle the fire of fear.

1. Lewis conflates Islam and Arabs, events in the Middle-East with Muslim reaction worldwide. He says, for example that “in the Muslim perception there has been, since the time of the Prophet, an ongoing struggle between the two world religions, Christendom and Islam”. In a simple sentence, he claims to express the perception of more than a billion people over 15 centuries. This is not a necessary simplification for a short article, but a calculated attempt to catalog all Muslims as the “other”, the enemy, and a threat to all Christians.

In actual fact, the Muslim world is diverse and global. Muslims in the US are no more likely to live their lives in this (largely discredited) Huntingtonian view than they are to worry about getting their kids into college. Lewis draws these battle lines, and supports them with false choices, in order to provoke a warlike stance between Muslims and Christians, with Zionism lurking in the background. Given Israel’s penchant for self-destructive violence (such as its cluster-bombing of Lebanese civilians after the last war) one has to wonder whether Lewis’ real agenda is to focus attention away from the extent to which the Israel Lobby has succeeded in diverting our attention away from America’s self-interest. The real issue is the divided loyalties of Zionists like Lewis, who are trying to catalyze a war between Muslims and Christians to divert attention from Israel.

2. Lewis portrays the jihadists as being organized, focused, and calculating. He projects an Osama Bin Laden as representing the Muslim world, with a multi-stage blueprint for attacking the United States. Faced with such an existential threat, should not the US be excused for any and all extreme actions it takes in response, including Guantanamo, denial of civil liberties to Muslims, and perhaps even the electronic tracking and roundup of all Muslims in America as potential suspects?

These hoary tactics were applied by Christians against Jews barely a century ago. The Catholic Church issues circulars that condemned Jews for using the blood of Christian children for Passover rites. All Jews (whether secular, converts, or intermarried) were marked and identified as sinister and worthy of apartheid. This state of apartheid allowed the organized evil of the Holocaust to be implemented. Lewis would have all Muslims be subject to a similar apartheid, based on his imaginative storyline laced with generalities. Is here really unaware of the history of such tactics, or mere a student thereof?

3. Rather than educate an American audience about distinctions within the Muslim world, Lewis is a Svengali who seems intent on misleading American policy. He has succeeded in mesmerizing the born-again Christian policymakers in today’s Washington with simple tales of friend and foe. In this particular article, he talks about how the collapse of the Soviet system was seen by Bin Laden as a “Muslim victory”. Really? Given that Bin Laden represents such a tiny sliver of all Muslims, how can his perception be any more real than that of Don Quixote de la Mancha? By elevating Bin Laden, Lewis seeks to strike fear in Americans, and continue the push to turn the so-called “war on terror” into a “war on Islam”because, as he would spin it, they declared war first!

The translucent elephant in the room that appears to energize Lewis and the rest of the neoconservatives is, of course, Israel and its survival as a Jewish-only statedemocracy for Jews, apartheid for the rest. The real question he should address is, how much damage are he and his cohorts willing to inflict on the US, to support Israel’s unsupportable policies?

BADRUDDIN KHAN lives in San Francisco. He can be reached at: bkhan@hotmail.com

 

 

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail