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Terrorism: The Root Causes, Con't By: David Meir-Levi
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, November 09, 2005


5) USA supports dictatorial governments?

It is true that America has supported dictators in Arab countries, because there has never been any other form of government in any part of the Arab world throughout all of Arab history (with the brief exception of Lebanon, snuffed out by Syria in 1975).

Moreover, now that there are some nascent movements toward democracy in Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and maybe even Saudi Arabia (all of which are the direct and unequivocal result of American intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq) we are faced with the incredibly ironic situation: The U.S. is actively supporting the rise of democracy in the Arab world, while terrorist forces are terrorizing those in Afghanistan and Iraq who are working to create democratic governments.

Nothing could more clearly reveal the hypocritical nature of the accusation that the U.S. supports dictatorial governments than the murderous response of the accusers to American support for democracy in the Middle East.

 

6) Western morals (or lack thereof) are infesting the East?

 

Perhaps much of the Arab world’s Islamofascists do feel that way. We have what their clerics define as the “sinful mingling” of the sexes at work, in public places, on the dance floor, in the movies manufactured by our materialistic secular society that glorifies violence and sex. Indeed, everything from the popularity of Coca Cola and McDonalds to our anatomically correct Barbie dolls may well be offensive to some Moslems. But there are two major problems with explaining Islamic terrorism as a backlash against the West’s "cultural imperialism."

 

In the first place, such sentiments cannot be very wide-spread, because the hundreds of millions of the terrorists’ peaceful co-religionists find our culture so incredibly appealing that they adulate, imitate, and immigrate. Millions of Moslems from all over the world line up every year for entry into the U.S., South America, Eastern and Western Europe. Moslems worldwide by the hundreds of millions buy American products—including the Barbie dolls that Saudi clerics consider an affront to Muslim morals. Second, even if all Muslims shared the Jihadists’ revulsion to Western culture, this would hardly justify their commitment to the destruction of the West.

 

7. Support for Israel and "oppression" of the Palestinians?

 

The U.S. does support Israel, but not blindly, and not against Arabs. Moreover, it supports Arab states and Palestinians, as well.

 

In addition to the patently pro-Arab pressures that America has exerted on Israel's military and foreign policy, the U.S. has done much to support the Arab world, the Palestinians, Yasser Arafat, and the PLO. On a regular basis from Roosevelt to Clinton, the USA has given almost as much money to Egypt as to Israel, has given billions more over the years to many other Arab states, and has given billions more to UNRWA for support of Arab refugees (despite the fact that UN representatives acknowledge that UNRWA refugee camps have become havens for terrorists whose targets include Americans and who have been complicit in the development of worldwide terrorism).

 

Our State Department has been overtly pro-Arab (and for good reason: the Arabs have most of the world's oil) since FDR, and many of our Presidents have been overtly pro-Arafat, from Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton.

 

Consider, too, what the U.S. gets in return for its support of Israel:

 

a) The allegiance and support of the Middle East’s only democratic state, so that the 7th fleet can park its destroyers in Haifa port any time it wants;

 

b) Recycling much of that aid money back into the U.S. economy because Israel purchases goods and services from the USA with some of that money;

 

c) Sharing Israel’s technological advances in all areas of science, medicine, agronomy, telecommunications, etc., with the U.S. to reduce our costs for such research and improve our economy through the Israeli advances; and

 

d) Sharing of military intelligence and weapons improvements to save American lives in warfare and in response to terrorist attacks.

 

When one considers the above facts along with the reality that many assertions about the amount of U.S. aid to Israel have been greatly exaggerated, it becomes clear that our aid to Israel is a good investment.

 

Not so with our aid to the Arab world. How have Arab countries repaid the USA for its largess toward them?

 

a) Without exception, Arab states have voted against the USA on more than ¾ of all UN votes, for decades.

 

b) Many Arab countries recycle their US aid into the hands of the very terrorists that seek our destruction.

 

c) Some Arab countries offer succor, support, comfort and protection to Osama and his ilk.

 

Moreover, what would the U.S. need to do to satisfy the demand of the Arab leadership regarding support for Israel? If the US were to acquiesce to Islamofascist demands, we would be complicit in the second genocide of 35 percent of world Jewry.

 

8) American Imperialism?

 

This is perhaps the most often heard rallying cry of the Islamofacists and their supporters in the Arab world and in the West. All turn their audiences’ attention to the putative crimes of American imperialism or the Zionist imperialism that imperialist America supports.

 

But even the most superficial review of American history from the Spanish-American war to the present will reveal that there is no American imperialism. It is a lie concocted by the “hate America” crowd here and in the Islamofascist world.

 

We freed Cuba after liberating it from Spain. We did not occupy it, annex it, or even establish any sort of control over it.

 

Regarding the two World Wars, one need only paraphrase Colin Powell at a recent conference in Europe: we have fought two wars to liberate our European friends from the totalitarian designs of the Kaiser and Hitler. We suffered the loss of hundreds of thousands of our brightest and our best in the course of those two wars, and we never asked for anything in return except enough land in which to bury our dead.

 

Has any German government since WWII objected to the tens of thousands of American troops on German soil protecting it from the expansionist intentions of the former USSR and pouring hundreds of millions of our dollars into the German economy? Does South Korea view the presence of American troops on its soil as a form of imperialism, or are we welcome protection against the insane nuclear aspirations of North Korea?

 

As for Zionist imperialism, it is important to recall that the UN’s partition plan gave the Zionists that part of the land which was crown land (not owned by any individual) or land which had been purchased by Zionists from willing sellers at fair or inflated prices. There was never any imperialist conquest of Arab territory. Moreover, both before and after each war that the Arab world initiated with the intent to destroy Israel and genocide its Jews, Israel begged for peace and offered negotiations as a way to resolve differences. Israel’s conquest of Jordanian and Egyptian land in 1967 was the result of its defensive war against genocidal invaders. And its retained sovereignty over these territories is a function solely of an Arab refusal to consent to peaceful resolution.

 

Regarding what our enemies have termed “cultural imperialism,” they are correct in so far as American language and culture have become the most powerful influences on other cultures throughout the world. But no one is forcing other cultures to buy our products, view our films, or speak our language. They do it because they find it enjoyable and beneficial to do so.

 

Ironically, it is the Arab history of conquest, expansion, genocide, and destruction that best fits the definition of imperialism. They accuse us of that which they themselves are guilty.

 

9) The "Occupation" of Palestine?

 

Of all the explanations advanced for Muslim anti-Americanism, this false reason is probably the most seductive. It is based on a deceptively simple equation: End the occupation and you end the hatred that springs from the occupation.

 

Terrorists who kill innocent Israelis come from all over the Arab (and in some cases non-Arab Muslim) world. Many Palestinian terrorists are from Palestinian populations outside of Israel. They have not experienced any "occupation". If they, and their Palestinian colleagues living in Israel, were attacking because they are defending their Arab brethren against an evil occupier, then why are they not attacking Syria for its 25-year occupation of Lebanon? The Syrian occupation has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Lebanese Arabs (Muslim and Christian and Druze), far more than Israel.

 

Moreover, for most of the time that Israel maintained sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza Strip, there was almost no terrorism in these areas. After the 6-day war, terrorism came from Jordan between 1967 and 1970; and then from Lebanon from 1970-1982; and then from Tunis until Arafat was enthroned in Ramallah in 1994. Palestinian terror against Israel from within the West Bank and Gaza Strip began when Arafat returned from Tunis. Palestinians launched more attacks in the 4 years following Oslo than had been launched in the 20 years before Oslo. If the "Occupation" were the cause, why did the "occupied" Palestinians wait 27 years before attacking Israel (1967-1994)?

 

It is also important to recall that after its conquest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel immediately offered to return those territories in exchange for recognition, negotiations, and peace. The entire Arab world said “No” at Khartoum in September, 1967. When Sadat finally agreed to negotiations and peace, Egypt got back all of the Sinai. The so-called “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza Strip could have been ended peacefully any time between 1967 and now. Arab leadership and especially Arafat chose to continue a terror war that used “The Occupation” as an excuse, because their goal was not liberation; it was (and still is) the destruction of Israel and the genocide of its Jews.

 

Clearly, the hatred producing such terrorism pre-dated the Six-day war, and continued even as Israel sued for peace, offering an end to its sovereignty in these territories in exchange for peace and an end to the conflict. But for Arafat and his supporters in many Arab nations, continuing the conflict was more important than ending "The Occupation."

 

So where did the hatred come from?

 

We may never know for sure when the hatred of America started, but there are some factors worth considering when trying to determine the origins of the terrorists' baleful and relentless hatred. Arab hatred of the West is centuries old. Recall the origins of Arab sovereignty. Mohammed conquered all of the Arabian Peninsula, preaching death or conversion to all who resisted. The oldest Arab extra-Quranic accounts of his life include numerous instances of brutal savagery against the "infidel," especially the Jews (who happened to have a large share of the two most lucrative businesses in the western section of the peninsula [the Hejaz]: date plantations and the spice trade).

 

After his death, Mohammed’s followers spread north, east and west, destroying four civilizations and killing millions in Israel, the Byzantine Empire in Syria, Egypt, North Africa and Spain, Mesopotamia and Iran. In Europe, the Muslim invasion was stopped by Charles Martel at Poitiers (736 AD, a few kilometers south of Paris). Had the Muslims won, Europe would have become part of the Islamic empire. On the threshold of India, the Muslim advance was stopped, but at the cost of 100,000,000 Hindu lives during one hundred years of continuous Muslim aggression.

 

And the aggression never stopped. A thousand years later, the Muslim empire of Turkey was still pummeling the eastern reaches of Europe. The Polish King John Sobieski, leading a three-nation army, stopped the Muslims twice in the late 17th century at the gates of Vienna.

 

Professor Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said chair of Middle Eastern Studies at Columbia University, in his book Palestinian Identity, notes the response of 18th century Arab notables, in what would later be called “Palestine”, when the Turkish Governor of Beirut agreed to allow the French consul to purchase land in Jerusalem. The Governor was dissuaded from his land sale by the Arab leaders’ urging that there must be no “Ifranji” (European infidels) in Jerusalem. The kufar (infidels) Ifranji would pollute the sacred precinct of Haram esh-Sharif.

 

In the early 19th century, our own President Monroe tried to intervene against Muslim piracy in the Mediterranean, and was told by the Bey of Algiers that it was incumbent upon all Muslims to attack, kill, enslave, or convert all infidels anywhere. Old Ironsides put a stop to the piracy by bombarding the Bey’s palace.

 

In the early 20th century, long before the USA had become an important influence in the Levant, Arab intellectuals in Cairo and Beirut excoriated the West for the cultural imperialism that was awakening in the Arab world and for the western technological advances that were integral to the Arab world’s entry into the modern world. However good these advances may be, they were tainted because they came from the West.

 

In sum, there is nothing new about Arab hatred of the West. The hatred began with the onset of Islam. The earliest Muslims sought to conquer and destroy all that was not Muslim. They did not hate the Byzantines or the Copts or the Spaniards or the Iranians for what these kingdoms did; they hated them for what they were — infidels.

 

Shame and fear

 

Realistic speculation as to the real “root causes” of Arab hatred and Islamofascist aggression against the West may begin with an understanding of Arab society’s concept of shame, and Arab totalitarian rulers’ fear that they will lose their jobs (and perhaps their lives) unless they repress opposition and distract potential agitators by re-directing their dissatisfaction to other threats — real or fabricated.

 

There is an old Arab adage: shame is worse than hell.

 

The UN's 10/2002 survey of human development in the Arab world (and subsequent sequels in 2003 and 2004) throws into high profile the horrendous failure of Arab leadership in every aspect of human social endeavor. The survey was done by Arab sociologists at the behest of the largely Arab-controlled UN. Looking back over more than 20 years, the study concluded that Arab culture throughout the entire Arab world (21 states from Mauritania to Yemen and Iraq) is retrograde by all of the UN measures: freedom of movement, freedom of speech, education, access to information, economic opportunities, cultural development, exploitation of children, repression of women, racist and apartheid attitudes toward religious and racial minorities.

 

A similar survey with slightly different foci in 2003 and 2004 yielded the same results.

 

The success of the West in every area in which the UN study documents Arab failure shames the leadership of the Arab world. The very fact that millions flee to the West every year is a catastrophic humiliation for the proponents of the superiority of Islam and Arab culture.

 

But other cultures have been confronted with our success as a society. Rather than flying planes into our skyscrapers, they try to emulate the best in our government, society, economy and culture. Immigrants to our shores as well as  to South America and Europe, Pacific Rim countries, Japan, Post World War II Europe, South American countries, Post-USSR countries, south Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Philippines, all see our freedoms and achievements as worthy of study and adaptation — and all have created in partnership with the USA and other western nations more advanced and successful societies.

 

As we know from the UN studies mentioned above, many Arab governments limit or prohibit access to the Internet. Most press and other media are owned or controlled by the government. Fewer books have been translated into Arabic over the past 1000 years than were translated into Spanish in 1999. Nonetheless, word of what goes on outside of the Arab world gets in. That is why millions leave the Arab world every year and come to the West. And the Arab leaders know this.

 

So they fan the flames of hatred against Israel and the West with vitriolic rhetoric and genocidal diatribe, and stoke the basest of human emotions toward violence and terrorism in order to maintain their positions of power.

 

For example, Syria has a basic law that guarantees enlightened social freedoms for its people, except in cases of emergency situations (like when Syria is under attack). In such emergencies, the government can adopt repressive measures and curtail freedoms in order to protect the country. Not coincidentally, Hafez el Assad declared an emergency situation shortly after coming to power 35 years ago, due to the conflict with Israel. His son Bashir has maintained that emergency status. A resolution to the conflict with Israel would eliminate the need for emergency powers. Therefore, it is easier to stay in power as long as the conflict continues and there is an excuse for such emergency powers. Thus, there is no resolution to the conflict.

 

Nasser and Sadat did something very similar in Egypt. Sadat maintained the emergency status even after peace with Israel because of problems with Libya and Sudan.

 

So our freedoms terrify them. After all, where would these Islamofascist terror leaders be if their people enjoyed the freedoms that we take for granted?

 

Conclusions

 

To answer the question: “Why do they hate us?” we need look no further than at the Islamofascist leaders worldwide who are confronted with our success, threatened by our freedom, humiliated to the point of fury and violence due to their culture’s emphasis upon shame vs. honor. Rather than learn from us or work with us, they seek to destroy us.

 

They cannot admit to their followers or to us that their real motivation is their own shame and fear. Instead, they make up a long list of fictitious misdeeds in order to justify their hatred. Then they teach and preach to their societies, and especially to their young, the lies about why they hate us, and their children grow up believing such lies.

 

In addition, they are buttressed by Arab and pro-Arab intellectuals and professors in the West who re-write history in order to make us believe that this hatred is new and is a function of the fictional crimes of which we are accused. For example, academic reassessments of American foreign policy since World War II have begun to cast President Eisenhower as opposed to Arab nationalism, marginalizing Palestinians, waging war on Islam. All of this is pure fiction. But many of us fall prey to these lies.

 

By getting us to think that we are the cause, that our “imperialism” has generated the grinding poverty and tragic hopelessness that their own failed leadership has created and maintained, the Islamofascist leaders seek to make it harder for us to focus on what we must do to stop the scourge of global terrorism. In short, they want us to believe that they hate us for what we do, not for what we are. Then, those who do believe their lies can self-righteously oppose any American action that could forestall the advance of Jihadist Islam.

 

The Ayatollah Khoumeini claimed in 1979 that this will be the century of Islam, when Muslim forces finish the work begun by Mohammed. Should the West ever accept the terrorists’ definition of the root causes driving their implacable hostility, they may yet do so.

 

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David Meir-Levi lectures in English, Hebrew, and Spanish and is a contributor to Frontpagemag.com.


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