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The Blood Libels at National Geographic Magazine By: Phyllis Chesler
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, May 21, 2009

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Menacing anti-Israel demonstrations in the street, rabid anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations, obsessive anti-Israel boycott resolutions among western academics, relentless anti-Israel headlines in the world media are “politics as usual,” involving the young and the fanatic. Most civilians barely notice it. They are worried about employment, health insurance, college tuition for their children—or about celebrities, whose decadent rise and fall distracts them from their own more ordinary miseries.

What worries me more are the movies and plays that subtly and inexorably shift the civilian point of view, movies which glamorize Arab tyrants and terrorists and demonize Israeli soldiers, “settlers” and politicians. Gradually, almost imperceptibly, ordinary people have come to believe that the Muslim world is peaceful, friendly, safe; that its “rough edges” are due to it’s having formerly been oppressed by Europe; that Islamist terrorism has probably been caused by the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan; that much of this is Israel’s fault—or rather, that much of this may now be solved if only America sacrifices Israel for the sake of world peace, including its own survival.

Take the pre-eminent, planet-friendly magazine, National Geographic. It boasts a readership of nearly eight million people. Courtesy of a gift subscription, it arrives faithfully. Sometimes I look at it, often I don’t. So many glossy photos, so little time. But this issue immediately caught my eye because the cover story is titled: “The Christian Exodus from the Holy Land.” What ho! I thought. So, the animal-friendly magazine “gets” it. My hopes raised, I turned to the article which is also titled “The Forgotten Faithful: Arab Christians.”

Here’s what the article does: It essentially blames the Christian Crusaders, American Christians, and Israel (!) for the persecution and disappearance of Arab Christians from the Middle East. I could not make this up. The lies, omissions, biases, both subtle and overt are mind-boggling. For example, the article, written by Don Belt, does not explain why the Crusades ever took place—namely, to protect the Christian Arabs from being slaughtered and forcibly converted by Muslims. In any event, Belt writes that “ironically, it was during the Crusades (1095-1291) that Arab Christians, slaughtered along with Muslims by the crusaders and caught in the cross fire between Islam and the Christian West, began a long, steady retreat into the minority.”

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Dr. Phyllis Chesler is the well known author of classic works, including the bestseller Women and Madness (1972) The New Anti-Semitism (2003) and The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom (2005). She has just published a new edition of Woman's Inhumanity to Woman (2009). She is an Emerita Professor of psychology and women's studies, the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology (1969) and the National Women's Health Network (1976). Her website is www.phyllis-chesler.com.

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