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Appeasement and the West By: Phyllis Chesler
World Jewish Digest | Monday, March 06, 2006


Today, reality outpaces fiction. The truth is often linguistically reversed before our very eyes: Even as we see Muslim jihadic terrorists blow up civilians we are simultaneously told that the victims are not those who have just been murdered, that the perpetrators of violence are the true victims. Our daily lives have become Orwellian.

The Palestinian intifada of 2000 against Israel started with and maintains genocidal intent. President Ahmadinezhad of Iran has threatened to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons, and the international community (the United Nations, the European Union, the Quartet) has made no significant effort to stop him. In my view, he, like Hitler, means what he says; he should be taken very seriously; and he should be stopped before it is too late.

We all remember what happened when Neville Chamberlain returned from Berlin in 1938 with that infamous piece of paper in his hand. Despite five years of Nazi malevolence, the free world thought it could appease the German dictator. We all know what happened next.

In the world’s treatment of Iran, we see appeasement in full swing. For two and a half years, France, Britain and Germany have been negotiating with the rogue state in an attempt to ensure that it does not use its nuclear capability to produce weapons. The result of these negotiations? Delay, deception and threats from the Iranian regime that it will attack if a more direct method—military action—is taken to halt its program.

In much the same way, we already see the appeasement of the terrorist group Hamas. Despite a founding charter that calls for the destruction of Israel and a war on the West, France, Russia and the U.N. have already begun to coddle the group. Kofi Annan, the U.N. secretary general, told reporters in February that he thinks there is “an opportunity here for Hamas to transform itself into a political party and work with the international community and the Israeli government.” This in the face of Hamas leaders’ repeated assertions since their electoral victory that they have no intention of amending their charter or their belligerent stance toward Israel and the West.

In other words, when one appeases murderers and Islamic totalitarian regimes, one soon inherits the whirlwind.

Hamas’ victory is the latest outrage in a 50-year campaign to isolate and demonize Israel. Soviet Russia and the Arab League used the United Nations to disseminate the propaganda that Zionism is Racism” and that the Palestinian refugees (whom no Arab country would accept as citizens) were the most noble and most persecuted refugees in the world. Their poisoned fruit has fully blossomed. Today, one can’t open a newspaper without reading about a new resolution to boycott or divest from Israel. What’s more, the view that Israel is the cause of all the problems in the Middle East is widespread.

From 2000-2006, despite the pitiless slaughter of Israeli innocents by Palestinian terrorists, the world stood by. The same world that had remained indifferent to the genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur, obsessively demonized, boycotted and isolated Israel as a pariah state. Few Westerners dared cry out, as I and some others have done, that Islam, not Israel, was the most egregious practitioner of religious and gender apartheid, as well as slavery, in the world.

The world appeased terrorists when their main target was Israel. This tactic did not pan out as planned: the Palestinian intifada has now gone global. The West has experienced 9/11, the Madrid train explosion, the bombing of the London subway and the Danish cartoon protests. Muslim killers are sending human bombs to kill Muslims as well as Western civilians of all faiths in Europe, North America and Asia. This is how appeasement progresses: what was once Israel’s problem is now the world’s problem.

The tendency to appease can also be seen in our language, which can be used to either describe or obscure reality. Those who use the word “Islamist” want desperately to believe that Islam itself is, or can be, essentially peaceful and that moderate Muslims can wrest back control of their religion from the totalitarian fanatics who have hijacked it. One therefore also uses the words “jihadist” and “terrorist” to further distinguish the potentially “good” and “reasonable” Muslims from the killers and fanatics. Many Westerners turn themselves inside out in order not to describe even the 9/11 terrorists as “Muslims” or “Arabs” lest they be attacked as politically incorrect “racists.” The fear of this particular slander has led many good Western thinkers and writers to obscure reality.

These politically correct observers have done more than appease jihadic and terrorist forces. They have loudly and visibly justified violence against Jews, Israelis and civilians on every continent as “blowback” for imperial policies that are “racist.”

Still others believe that Islam has been hijacked by barbaric fundamentalists and that so-called moderate Muslims will never oppose them; it’s too dangerous. And some Westerners, especially our intelligentsia and journalists, believe that jihadists, including Muslim suicide killers, are only behaving “unreasonably” because Western modernity has dishonored them and caused the poverty and misery from which many Third World Muslims suffer. (In my view, this is mainly due to the cruelty and corruption of Muslim leaders and the brutal dynamics of Islamic family life.) To my mind, the moderate Muslims are all too silent. Meanwhile, the militant Islamists and their Western multicultural apologists refuse to admit that Islam, not Israel, practices religious and gender apartheid and that Islamic practices—such as female genital mutilation, daughter- and wife-battering, honor killings, polygamy, forced arranged marriage of children, stoning, amputations and public hangings—are barbaric and evil. Such barbarism has not been caused by the West.

What’s different today is that such barbarians use cell phones, al-Jazeera and al-Manar to convey their ransom demands and to broadcast their gruesome beheadings. They use airplanes as suicide bombs. They use our laws to compel us to tolerate their intolerance. They are not uneducated. They are barbarians with nuclear weapons. As a psychologist, I have both studied and worked with the victims of violence. Abused children will invariably blame themselves; like battered wives and kidnapping victims, they psychologically “survive” by imagining that their destiny is in their own hands, and if they, the victims, try harder to please—or at least not to “offend” their captors—that their abusive parents/spousal batterers/kidnappers will turn into good parents/non-violent husbands/reasonable and kind kidnappers.

The reality that one is being held captive by an evil human being is apparently far too threatening to contemplate. Many captives are more comfortable blaming themselves for their predicament. This allows them to work on changing their own behaviors. The fact that someone may want to kill you—and has the power to do so—is too terrifying for most people to admit.

So, let me say it for us all: Islamic fundamentalist fascists really want to destroy us (Jews and Westerners) and have been working toward that goal for quite some time. Indeed, they have declared war upon our civilization.

What must be done? First, we must shed our illusions; they will not save us. Second, we must form broad alliances. Liberals and progressives must unite with right-wing Christians and Muslim dissidents and feminists, many of whom live among us in exile. We must protest and expose the obsessive demonization of both Israel and America. We must fight back, which means we must fashion a strong military and educational response to the hate propaganda that has brainwashed so many in both the East and the West. Fighting the propaganda war is possibly even more important than fighting the military war. Lethal lies have a slow fuse, but as they explode, they destroy every mind in their wake.

My friends, the clock is ticking. By my reckoning, it is now 1940-1941 all over again. We have no time to waste. A strong resistance to the totalitarian Islamists will prove essential in the war of civilizations that is upon us.

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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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