Reason, Liberty, & Culture

Return of the Nazis: Clippings on Islamic Fascism
and its Fellow Travelers

by Jonah Goldberg,

And while these points may be debatable, it is indisputable that Arab countries have a real problem with various death cults and nihilism. You cannot read of the prosperous parents - far from Israel and the "Occupied Territories" - who openly dream about their children blowing themselves up, and deny this obvious point. I saw a picture not long ago of an "art project" at a Palestinian "University" which depicted the massacre of Jews at a pizzeria, complete with construction-paper viscera of Jewish children.

Everyone thought it was just beautiful. A culture that cheers and celebrates the wanton murder of women and children has got problems; a culture which goes into raptures at the thought of its own children dying to commit these murders is, in the most literal sense, soulless.

This death cult is fueled by fantasies of scoring vengeance and vindication in the death of Jews. The Palestinians are the Arab world's Sudeten Germans. The "liberation" of their co religionists and ethnic brothers is used as a utopian carrot guiding brainwashed donkey after brainwashed donkey to murder and suicide. I am not saying that Arabs or Muslims generally are Nazis or Nazi-like.

That would be absurd. But I am saying that the Arab world is the only place left on this planet which bears a reasonable resemblance to Germany in the 1930s, with the open and accepted dissemination of Nazi-like ideas and ambitions.

Jonah Goldberg, from

Here's how I look at it. Reportedly there is - or was - something called "The Commission." It was a gathering of the heads of the major Mafia families, at which the "Dons" would decide on the direction organized crime should take. The classic scene in "The Godfather" in which Don Corleone agrees to provide protection for drug dealers comes to mind. The Commission voted on all sorts of things. That doesn't mean there's anything noble or even redeeming democratic about the Commission's decisions, does it?

Now imagine that for some reason the Commission decided to let a police officer or a priest join the board. The mob bosses all vote for selling heroin to school kids and the cop or priest votes against. Should the cop or priest feel bad? Should it respect the vote of the Commission? Of course not.

Right now the United States doesn't even sit on the U.N.'s human rights panel, while Syria does. Syria does not believe in human rights. Syria is famous for killing its own citizens on a whim. The very best that can be said of Syria in this regard is that it enjoys talking about human rights if such talk will make life unpleasant for the United States or, better still, Israel.

There are close to 60 Muslim nations represented in the United Nations. With the exception of Turkey, there's not a real democracy in the bunch. And yet, they've all mastered the language of the West, calling for self-determination, human rights and describing Yasser Arafat as an elected leader while calling Israel a terrorist regime. And they all get votes in the United Nations.

If Israel's defenders are right when they say it is on the frontlines in the war on terrorism - and I think they are - then Israel's experience with the U.N. should concern us all. When Israel launched its largely successful operation in the West Bank to stop suicide bombers, the U.N. immediately denounced the move, calling for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon "to withdraw immediately." Mary Robinson, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the move was "in total disregard of international human rights."

One did not hear such passion - or any passion - from U.N. officials when Israeli kids were murdered or when the Palestinian Authority bought boatloads of arms from the Iranians. Nor would one expect such passion from an organization that has now explicitly told the Palestinians they should use "all available means, including armed struggle" against Israel.

John Derbyshire, from

The only halfway sympathetic thing I can find to say about this wretched people is that UNRWA has surely been part of the problem. If you go to the UNRWA website, you will see how proud they are of having fed, clothed, sheltered, educated and cared for the Palestinian refugees of 1948... and their children... and their grandchildren.

The number of people UNRWA cares for has gone from 600,000 in 1948 to nearly four million today. Now, I understand that the prime impulse of bureaucracies, especially welfare bureaucracies, is the consolidation and expansion of their turf, and a steady increase in the number of their "clients"; but this is ridiculous.

The good people of Hong Kong should go down on their knees every night and thank God that there was no UNRWA in the colony in 1949. So, come to think of it, should the German and East European refugees who flooded into Western Europe after Ww2. (I have seen the number 14 million somewhere - the Sudeten Germans alone numbered three million. Where are the festering camps? Where are the suicide bombers?)

Even if their lives had not been poisoned by the ministrations of a huge welfare bureaucracy, though, I doubt the Palestinians would have got their act together. None of the other Arabs have. Everywhere you look around the Arab world you see squalor, despotism, cruelty and hopelessness.

The best they have been able to manage, politically speaking, has been the Latin-American style one-party kleptocracies of Egypt and Jordan. Those are the peaks of Arab political achievement under independence, under government by their own people. The norm is just gangsterism, with thugs like Assad, Gaddafi or Saddam in charge. It doesn't seem to be anything to do with religion: the secular states (Iraq, Syria) are just as horrible as the religious ones like Saudi Arabia. These people are hopeless. We are all supposed to support the notion of a Palestinian state.

Why? We know perfectly well what it would be like. Why should we wish for another gangster-satrapy to be added to the Arab roll of shame, busy manufacturing terrorists to come here and slaughter Americans in their offices? I don't want to see a Palestinian state. I think I'd be crazy to want that.

Steven Den Beste, from

Since I wrote that essay, I've learned a great deal more. (The day I stop learning and modifying my opinions is the day you can all send flowers to my funeral.) I did not know about the Barak proposal when I wrote that, and what I was saying was that Israel needed to make essentially that proposal. I thought it would work, and I was wrong.

When the Palestinians turned it down and turned to war, that changed everything. The reason is that the Palestinians are actually engaged in a war of genocide. The only reason the body count has been as low as it has been is that the Palestinians are mercifully short of the means to engage in deadly war. But within the limits of their capabilities, their campaign has been to deliberately try to kill as many Israelis as possible, no matter who they are. They are not attacking military or government targets, they're attacking Israeli civilians.

Just today, two gunmen entered an Israeli settlement and started shooting whoever they could find. Among their victims was a woman and her three children. And there's the now-famous story of the Israeli girl who was shot through the skull by a Palestinian as she slept in her bed.

"Why do they hate us?" say the leftists. That's actually a good question, but not for the reason they think. They believe that if we can figure it out, and then relieve their grievance, then they'll stop hating us. But in some cases the grievance is that you're drawing breath, and the only thing you can do to satisfy them is to die. That is the situation here: the majority of Palestinians want the annihilation of Israel and won't settle for less.

It doesn't really matter anymore how the Palestinians have come to that position. They have, and that's the reality with which we have to deal now. And it also is important to note that the Palestinians are Arab and Moslem; this isn't politically incorrect or racist; it's militarily critical and it affects everything.

It is part of their culture to respect (and hate) strength in their enemies, but to despise weakness. That affects the Clausewitzian analysis of the situation: if Israel (or the US or Europe) rewards their struggle, it will encourage them to struggle harder, and they won't stop until Israel has ceased to exist and there are no Jews left in that territory.

So as I follow this logic to its conclusion and I see only two possible outcomes: the destruction of Israel, or the total and abject defeat of the Palestinians. (Every other outcome is a true catastrophe involving millions of dead.) Since I don't accept the destruction of Israel as an acceptable outcome (irrespective of whether it happens rapidly by war or slowly by peaceful political takeover) then I'm reduced to believing that the Palestinians must be crushed. I don't propose that out of hatred or sadism, but simply because it's the only way the war can end without the destruction of Israel.

John Derbyshire, from

I had better step out front and center here and admit that I am a pessimist, with the Unzes. I think Israel will go down. The reason I think this is that I am British, and have been watching all my life, occasionally at very close quarters, the long struggle between the two constitutional nations of the British Isles and the terrorists of Sin Féin/IRA.

I do not see how anyone who has followed that conflict can come to any conclusion other than the one I have come to, which is, that democracy is no match for terrorism.

This may be a universal truth, I don't know. At any rate, it is certainly true of the modern Anglo-Saxon style democracies (among which I would include the Republic of Ireland). Dedicated irredentist terrorists with a single clear goal - unite Ireland! destroy Israel! - will get what they want in the end.

They have too many things going for them that their opponents, the modern constitutional democracies, do not have. They have stamina - the iron determination to press on for decades, for generations, brushing aside all reverses, weathering all storms, expelling all doubters, holding steadfast to the golden vision. They have the luxury of perfect ruthlessness as regards method. I have been told many times by supporters of Irish terrorism - I was told it once in the "letters" column of the Wall Street Journal - that anything, anything at all, is justified in the name of the Cause.

While their enemies debate the morality of this weapon or that, and the best way to avoid "collateral" casualties, and whether their terrorist prisoners should have air conditioning, the terrorists themselves are planting bombs in busy shopping streets, leading away the single mother of ten children to be executed for the "crime" of comforting a dying enemy soldier, or shooting up 12-year-old girls at a bat mitzvah.

And the terrorists have the moral condition of the modern democracies working for them, too. We are open societies, in which all voices can be heard. The terrorists can make their case in public; and of course they have a case. Sinn Féin has a case; the PLO has a case; as George Orwell pointed out in the middle of Ww2, even Hitler had a case - one to which, until he started invading other people's countries, the world was much more receptive than we now care to remember.

The intellectual, litigational, over-educated elites who run modern democracies are much more interested in hearing a case argued than in organizing the gruelling, deadly, morally ambiguous work of counter-terrorism. And the loathing that so many of our elites nurse in their innermost hearts for the culture into which they were born, naturally helps the enemies of that culture.

Jonah Goldberg, from

I keep imagining how people would react to a movie about the events of the last year. An incredibly rich madman - enormously popular throughout the Middle East - orchestrates the mass murder of thousands of Americans. The day it happens, news cameras catch men and women joyously celebrating in various parts of the Arab world. In response to the most successful (but not sole) attack by the madman's well-financed and committed terrorist organization, America responds by attacking the villain's mountain stronghold, liberating the oppressed nation we find there.

Meanwhile, Israel - a staunch ally of the United States, and the only democracy in the region - is besieged by suicide bombers who have been brainwashed by fanatical cults. These terrorist groups load up glassy-eyed teenagers with explosives, nails, and bullets and convince them to seek out large clusters of women and children. This is all permitted - and sometimes orchestrated - by a veteran terrorist strongman who had in the past helped to orchestrate the murder and kidnapping of Israelis and Americans, including the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. Moreover, in America's last war, this would-be tyrant supported our enemy, Iraq, which now gives cash bounties to the families of suicide bombers.

And - just to really flesh out the nefariousness of this secondary villain - he also sucked up to the Soviets during the Cold War. And (for those of you who like historical dramas) his predecessors cheered for the Nazis - and, even today, Nazi-inspired literature is churned out by his aides for the indoctrination of young children. It may sound over the top, but truth is stranger than fiction.

Much like the Americans who traversed the globe to defend themselves, the Israelis are eager to do the same in their own backyard. And while Osama bin Laden slipped away from his bunker in Tora Bora, the Israelis have their enemy cornered.

So, here we are, halfway into what on paper sounds like a predictable Jerry Bruckheimer flick. You'd think it would end with America opening up the arsenal of democracy for some full-tilt boogie for freedom and justice. You'd certainly expect the Israelis to wipe out the terrorist cells in their country and then, with a jaunty nod, join up with their American friends to finish the job.

However, the Europeans and our own lefties have been shifting in their seats uncomfortably and shaking their heads. They don't like some of the "simplistic" messages in the film. They don't like the "cowboy diplomacy." They don't like the script and, quite frankly, they really don't like America or Israel. And so they're taking over the rewrite.

Jonah Goldberg, from

In 1930, the British government sent Sir John Hope-Simpson to check out what was going on in Jewish Palestine. Attached to his final report was a letter in which he wrote, "All British officials tend to become pro-Arab, or, perhaps, more accurately, anti-Jew... Personally, I can quite well understand this trait. The helplessness of the fellah appeals to the British official. The offensive assertion of the Jewish immigrant is, on the other hand, repellent."

The European fondness for the obsequious and helpless native has endured. Intellectuals across the continent practice the hard bigotry of no expectations when it comes to violence committed by the downtrodden. The helplessness of the fellah appeals to them so. Indeed, it's as if Europe - and the Left in general - is hinged as a moral counterweight.

They've redefined the axiom that might doesn't make right by concluding that those with might can never be right. European commentators discuss this all the time, saying they "root for the underdog" - as if being an underdog is, of itself, noble; as if rapists and murderers cannot be underdogs too. So, when Israel is weak and picked upon, it is the hero. When Israel is comparatively powerful, it's all of a sudden a Nazi state.

The Arabs have learned this fact well. Does anyone honestly believe that the Palestinians in particular, or Arab governments in general, are especially offended by "aggression"? Of course not. These countries have launched innumerable wars against Israel and each other. The Islamic religion is increasingly - and sadly - being taught as a religion of aggression in many of these countries. And yet, put a camera on a Palestinian "legislator" and, like a doll with a string in its back, he will start spouting about "Israeli aggression." This is for European consumption - and it works.

After all, according to most dictionaries, "massacre" means "to kill indiscriminately and wantonly; slaughter." Europeans never use the word - at least, not with any outrage - when fanatics strap bombs to their bodies and kill as wantonly and indiscriminately as conceivably possible. They are never deplored for launching another "cycle of violence." But when Israelis send soldiers into crowded camps in order to kill very discriminatively, that is a "massacre," a tragic renewal of the cycle of violence.

Israel - like America - has to be wrong because it is more powerful; because, again, might is never right. Israel - like America - can never be the good guy because such American notions as "good guys" and "bad guys" are the juvenile fantasy of a kid-brother nation that still needs to grow up. Truth be damned. Good be damned. Indeed, as Fanon noted, "truth is that which hurries on the breakup of the colonial regime" and "the good is quite simply that which is evil for them."

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