Why is Islam Online supporting Islamophobia?

L’autre Visage D’israël (The Other Face of Israel) is a book written by Israel Shamir, a former Jew and convert to Christianity (you can visit his site here). It was published in France, the publishing house, Al-Qalam, was sued for putting out an anti-semitic book and the publisher, Abdelila Cherifi Alaoui, given a fine and prison time.

From Wikipedia:

In November 2005, the French publisher of Shamir's book L’autre Visage D’israël (The Other Face of Israel), Abdelila Cherifi Alaoui, was sentenced to 3 months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of €10000 as well as €12000 in damages. He must also pay €1500 to the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism. Alaoui was found guilty of "incitement to discrimination, exhortation to hate and violence" by the regional court of Nanterre. The court found that Shamir was attached to the standard kind of ancient anti-Semitism, where the "Jews", always in plural, were portrayed as dominators of the world in line with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which Shamir referred to as "a political pamphlet".

Shamir is now appealing this ruling, and Islam Online brings an interview with his lawyer, who claims that France has a double standard.

"The too much fuss made about the publication of The Other Face of Israel book in France reflects, if anything, the great leverage of the extremist Jewish lobby in the country," Janet Eskandarani, a spokeswoman for the defense team of Israel Shamir whose book was withdrawn from the French libraries at a court verdict, told IslamOnline.net.

"The court will consider today (Wednesday) a challenge to the previous ruling which, to our way of thinking, violated the basic principle of free speech and as totally wrong," Eskandarani said.

"The book was written by an Israeli author and it is illogical to accuse him of being anti-Semitic," she noted.

Of course, according to this logic, Hirsi Ali is a Muslim and can't be accused of being Islamphobic.

Islam Online and Eskandarani protray the book as though it just comes out with criticism of Israel. Since Shamir believes all Jews should convert and since he believes in such things as blood libels and Jewish domination of the world (to quote: why would the Protocols of Zion be so popular if it wasn't true?) I have to assume that his book doesn't only include "regular criticism" of Israel as a country.

I can understand that there are anti-semites, especially among former Jews (and even by some current ones!). I can understand his lawyer saying complete nonsense. What I don't understand is why Islam Online would support it.

Islam Online seems to be trying to have the cake and eat it too. On the one hand, France is accused of double standards - being pro-Jewish and anti-Muslim. Allowing publishing of anti-Muslim material and not allowing publishing of anti-Jewish material. And yet, on the other hand, the book is said to be not anti-Semetic at all, but just bringing up valid criticism.

So what is the conclusion? Is Islam Online advocating freedom of speech (suddenly) no matter who's the target? Or do they want France to come down on anti-Semites as well as anti-Muslims?

By supporting the publisher in this case (should I guess that he's Muslim?) they're actually opening the door to inciting hatred against Muslims. It is no coincidence that Israel Shamir is supported by both extreme Left and extreme Right groups. At the moment he's on the "right side" as far as Islam Online is concerned, but by supporting him they're supporting extreme rightists, they're supporting anti-Muslim propoganda and they're showing themselves to be anti-Semites. Is it really worth it?


Snouck said...

Israel Shamir is a little bit funny. He is also a hardline supporter of Stalin (he is from Russia).

A friend of mine had a dinner with him and they exchanged some e-mails. You call him a Christian, but he is also a hardline supporter of utopian Communism.

I read his site for about a year a few years ago, but at a certain point a felt he was too idealistic about the Palestinians. It is true that the Palestinians are in a difficult situation, but that does not turn them into angels.

Same with the Jews, actually.

Anonymous said...

Am not sure at all that Israel Shamir was ever jewish!