A note on Palestianism

I was asked to comment on Bat Yeor's Palestiniasm of Europe theory. I had read through the article, but due to chronic lack of time, did not yet listen to the interview.

I think there is no debate that the West and the EU have a policy of preventing conflict with its neighbors by 'sharing the wealth'. This policy can be seen in the Euro-Med partnership as well as in the continuing enlargement of the EU, to include the Eastern Block, and in the future, possibly Turkey. This can also be seen in NATO's "Partnership for Peace" and "Mediterranean Dialogue" projects, and possibly also in NAFTA.

There is also no debate that the EU would like to see a trans-national body, Europe joined as one, getting past its national identity.

I also agree with Bat Yeor that the West doesn't always understand the 'other', and does not realize how its actions will be viewed and understood.

However, what Bat Yeor would like to see a conspiracy, I see as a reality. "Londonistan" did not come about due to explicit agreements with terrorists, but rather through the reality that the UK did not see the threat of letting in Islamist fighters and political agitators, and assumed that these fighters would continue fighting the enemy, rather than their 'new' home country. Denmark is another example of a country which accepted terrorists, this time in a misguided understanding of what asylum really means.

This policy was not accepted by all European countries. I think France is the leading example of a country which both had to deal with terror on its soil (in the 1990s), and which did not accept the UK's lax policy. Muslim countries were also not happy with this policy, just as they were not happy with Denmark and other countries who let in escaped terrorists. I therefore think it's hard to see Muslim immigration or the 'terror policy' as a joint Arab-European policy.

Regarding immigration: most European countries stopped immigration in the early 1970's as an almost direct result of the economic slump that came after the oil embargo. Any immigration after that is due to Europe's inability to define human rights and is conducted through family reunification (right to marriage) and asylum seekers. Most Muslims do not come to Europe in order to take over, but rather because Europe offers them the realization of a dream.

As for support for the Palestinian cause. Europe has a serious problem with Israel, and I think it is unfair, at the least, to blame it all on the Arabs and the Muslims. By seeing Israel as the villain, and putting Israel in the 'Nazi' slot, Europe can cleanse itself of its own sins. Bat Yeor sees the Muslim attempt to Islamasize history, but she says nothing of the critical theological problems that the very existence of the state of Israel poses for the Christian religion. As Pope Pius X told Herzl in 1904: "The Jews have not recognized our Lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people."

The West's problem, as I see it, is it's inability to accept the truth or value of its own values and culture. Whether this comes about because of past colonization, or because of WWII and the Holocaust, I have no idea. Europe accepts the Muslim interpretation of the Golden Age, etc, because Europe, and the rest of the Western World, are critical of their own ethics and their own values. One can say that this is due to the Western inclination of self-criticism, an inclination that has served the West quite well in the past. This constant doubt of your own nationalism, your own culture and your own ethics is led by the Left, which already controls the media and education systems, and you can see this in the US, in Europe, and in Israel. Their success is partially due to that most westerns don't understand what democracy or liberalism even mean. It fits in well with the Muslim claims that the West is decadent and falling apart, but I don't see the casual link.

Btw, slavery was abolished in the US only in the middle of the 19th century, and only after a bloody civil war that still festers. Bat Yeor doesn't delve too deeply in this article into comparing the Western and Muslim modes of slavery. There are of course differences, but I don't think Muslim slavery was only religious. Putting aside the Barbary pirates, throughout the Middle Ages the Muslims abducted or bought soldiers. These soldiers, the Mamluks, were able to climb up the ranks, and actually took over at various times. This mode of slavery was as necessary for the Muslims as the economic slavery was necessary for the Europeans. Muslim slavery is generally ignored by the West, just like other 'ethnic' atrocities and crimes are ignored by the West, because it doesn't fit in with the picture of the 'noble savage'.

In general, it is hard for me to see a whole movement here, of Europe teaming with the Muslims against the US. The UK, the same country that was well known among Islamist circles for accepting terrorists, the country that accepted Taliban asylum seekers even as its soldiers were fighting in Afghanistan, was at the same time the US's staunchest allies. France, which has the exact opposite attitude, could not stand US policy.

Bat Yeor compares the Europeans to the Christian Arabs, but there is one important difference between them. As she points out in her book 'The Dhimmi', the Christian Arabs find themselves in a historical dilemma. They see themselves as Arabs, and want to share in the Arab destiny. This is something that most Europeans don't have to worry about. Bat Yeor talks of the replacement of the Judeo-Christian ethics towards one based on the Koran, but that is not done simply by talking theology. Ethics and morality will be replaced only if the Europeans will be convinced that Islam holds something better.

There are Muslim movements who are trying to force Islamic values on Europe, but I don't see cooperation from the European side. The first and main victims of such acts today are the Muslim immigrants, and not the Europeans.

Final points:
1. Which European leaders claim that Islam is an important part of Europe's civilization?
2. How are Israelis and Europeans denied the right to decide freely about immigration in their own countries? Israel has one of the most stringent immigration policies.

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