The Hard Bigotry of No Expectations
"In the immediate aftermath of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call to 'wipe Israel from the face of the map', this magazine's November issue publishes an opinion piece alluding to the same idea by former Irish Labor Minister Justin Keating. While couched in less violent terms than Ahmadinejad, Keating claims 'the Zionists have absolutely no right in what they call Israel, that they have built their state not beside but on top of the Palestinian people, and that there can be no peace as long as contemporary Israel retains its present form.'
Keating not only takes issue with Israel's right to exist but, unlike any serious historian, also questions the entire Jewish historical and religious connection to the land, asking. 'Did the Jews of the Old Testament come from what is now Israel? The answer is No.' .... Keating portrays the Jews as 'people who occupied some land two thousand years ago for a historically brief period, to the detriment of those who have been there since.' .... Keating even states that the UN Resolution of 1947 did not give Israel the right to exist as a sovereign state, claiming 'they [the Zionists] have continuously and relentlessly violated that resolution for more than half a century, so that any tatters that now remain are void, by their action.'"
Ever wonder why the United States and Israel are the most hated countries on earth, or why Judaism and Christianity are the most despised religions? If you listen to the American or European left, they feel absolutely no compunction or hesitation to spew the most vile and bigoted rhetoric about America, about President Bush, or about our history of "genocide" and "imperialism." Since anyone with a shred of common sense or historical perspective can see that this is nonsense, one has to ask, "what is going on?" It's not that these critics are stupid, or uneducated, or necessarily even bad-intentioned. And yet, they believe things that are not only untrue, but cannot possibly be true.
As I may have mentioned before, as a psychologist looking at history, I am not particularly interested in ignorance, which, after all, is perfectly understandable and can afflict anyone. It simply means that you don't know something. What is far more interesting from a psychological standpoint is what I call motivated stupidity, that is, the promulgation of some patently false belief based on underlying emotional need.
Every day we hear about the horrors perpetrated in the name of Islam, and yet, the left ignores them. Or, if they do pay attention to them, they try to explain the horrors as having been warranted by something we must have done to them. This happened just the other day, when Chris Matthews made some particularly idiotic statements during a college speech about how we must try to understand "why our enemies hate us."
You will notice the reverse is never true. It never occurred to Matthews to say that Islamists must look within and ask themselves why we might have some hostility toward them. No one on the left asks, "Gee, I wonder what Saddam must have done to deserve getting toppled by President Bush?," Or, "I wonder why Israel needs to build that big fence?" There is a sort of barrier to natural curiosity, a rigid psychic defense that curtails rational thought and says STOP! DON'T GO THERE!
This leftist attitude actually betrays more than a "soft bigotry of low expectations" toward Islam. Rather, it is a hard bigotry of no expectations toward the Muslim world.
For example, I believe the Palestinians receive no criticism from the left (and the world community at large), not because they think so highly of them, but because they have think so badly about them -- in fact, they actually have no expectations whatsoever about them.
In other words, it is not because the Palestinians are so wonderful that they are immune from criticism, but because everyone knows that it would be absurd to hold Muslims to the same standards as Christians, or Jews, or Zen Buddhists -- to any standards of decency at all, really. No one is shocked at the barbarity of the Islamic world, whether it is committed by terrorists, or perpetrated in the name of the Saudi or Iranian governments.
For example, if a single Christian soldier in Iraq went nuts and killed a single Muslim, there would be riots and protests all over the world. Why? Because we expect certain behaviors from Americans and from Christians.
So in a perverse way, the more we are hated by the left, the more it is a kind of tribute to us. Imagine being foolish enough to have any moral expectations of the Chinese, or the Palestinians, or the Saudis, or the North Koreans. We expect them to behave barbarously. And they never fail us. And when they do behave in their predictably bestial way, it is never their fault. It is either overlooked completely, or blamed on some provocation, some "underlying cause." But it would be ludicrous to think that a leftist would ever look for an exculpatory "root cause" of Israel's behavior toward their bloodthirsty Arab neighbors.
You will notice how this plays out in the U.S. When an idiot like Pat Robertson makes one of his predictably foolish statements, he is lambasted by comedians, and rightfully so. But why are there no jokes about someone who was not just a moron, but truly evil, like Yasser Arafat? Likewise, Christianity is fair game -- note, for example, all of the jokes about the Catholic church's homosexual priest problem. (Correction -- because of the dictates of victimology, that scandal had to be fraudulently changed into a "pedophile priest" problem to make it acceptable for ridicule.)
Why is there a blackout on jokes about Palestinians, who are so eminently jokeworthy? Most of my attempts at good-natured humor on this site would never be considered acceptable to the MSM, who go out of their way to treat Islam not just the same as other religions, but better than other religions (and yet, somehow more fragile at the same time).
This is so ironic, because it obviously has nothing to do with the secular left's affinity for religion, which they otherwise despise. In other words, Islam is not a protected species because it is a religion. It is protected because it is anti-Western, because its adherents tend to have slightly darker skin than caucasians, and because it has been granted victim status. Therefore it is untouchable.
The fact that we don't mercilessly make fun of our enemies is part of the same syndrome that has prevented Hollywood from making any movies about the war on terror, for fear of insulting Muslims (and, of course, because they don't want to show our military engaged in a heroic struggle against evil). We live in a morally upside down world, in which making fun of the Islamist ideology is forbidden, but committing mass murder in the name of Islam is explained away.
So if I ridicule Palestinians, it is because, despite all evidence to the contrary, I still have some expectations of them. This is unlike the bigots of the left -- bigots like Juan Cole, who heap scorn on the United States but make every excuse imaginable for the moral failings of Islam. We will know that Muslims have come a long way when they can start making fun of themselves in the same way that Americans have always made fun of themselves, their institutions, their politicians, and their religion.
Oh well. What can you do but laugh about the situation?
Do you remember when Arafat died, how his wife, Suha, rushed from Paris to be by his side? Turns out that was actually part of the pre-nup: they had agreed to be together over his dead body.
Jeopardy answer: "Thuggery, buggery, and skulduggery."
Question: "What were Yasser Arafat's favorite activities?"
At least they have a right to medical care in the Palestinian territories. One lady brought her 13 year old to a psychiatrist, worried that he had become obsessed with not killing himself. And they're trying to do something to rid their classrooms of the psychotic anti-Semitism. I don't know if I like that idea. It means their children will have to learn bits and pieces of genocidal ideology from each other, instead of from an expert.
They keep saying that the problem is that Islam has just been "hijacked" by the terrorists. I don't know about that, but maybe Israel needs to Lojack the Palestinians, so they know where they are at all times.
But anti-Semites have it so easy. If you want to boycott the Palestinians, what are you supposed to do, put off purchasing that new suicide belt?
And now the Palestinians even use teenage girls for suicide bombers. In fact, the girls don't actually use suicide belts. Rather, they call them "chastity belts," because it's the only way to be certain they'll never be seen holding hands with a Christian boy.
Bottom line: in Palestine, it's every parents' nightmare to die before their children.
But I give the Palestinians credit. They've evolved from primitive kinship structures to barbarous gang affiliations. With luck, they can eventually became a racket, and then perhaps a crime syndicate. Evolution doesn't happen over night.
Now the Palestinians are complaining that it's unfair for us to withhold funds until Abbas institutes some meaningful reforms. I guess they have a point. It's like we're biting the hand that steals from us.
At least with Abbas, they finally have a moderate in there. Sure, he's a Holocaust denier, but at least he's a moderate holocaust denier. That is, he believes that six million Jews were inconvenienced in WWII.
So much conversion to the Nation of Islam goes on in American prisons, it's more accurate to call it them "Islamic gated communities."
It's making some judges a little concerned. One guy was sentenced to eleven years behind bars, double that for good Muslim behavior. And Farrakhan insists that they have their own chaplains in prison. They bow their heads and say, "Let us prey.... on Jews and other infidels."
But we need to be fair. According to CAIR, when Muslims give money to charity that ends up in the hands of terrorists, it's no different than when charitable donations end up in the hands of the military wing of the Salvation Army.
On the positive side, CAIR has issued a strongly worded statement that unambiguously condemns sawing off heads by either side in Iraq.