Girl Power: 9/11, the Middle East and the West

The following essay (originally published at The New Republic on Oct. 8, 2001) was co-written by Richard Landes and his father David LandesDavid passed away last month at the age of 89.


David Landes

Among the popular explanations for September 11′s cunning, devastating attacks on the United States is American support for Israel. The argument runs like this: If the United States had not aided and abetted the Muslim world’s primary enemy, we would not have become Islam’s enemy ourselves, and therefore would not have been a target for reprisals. That argument, however, is a dodge. Even if there were no Israel, the Muslim world would still likely feel deep and deepening hostility toward the West.

That hostility predates the formation of the Jewish State, and has its roots in the West’s growing cultural, political, economic, and military dominance over the lands of Islam, a dominance that has been building for centuries but was by no means inevitable, and which many Muslims find baffling and infuriating. Hundreds of years ago, Islamic civilization stood at the pinnacle of global achievement, politically and intellectually.

Muslim empires ruled over the Middle East, stretched west to Spain and Portugal and east to India and the borderlands of China. Islam was deservedly reputed for its ecumenism, its ability to learn from and assimilate other societies. And then something went wrong.

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Islamic theologians shut down liberal philosophical schools. As a result of this banishing of “heresy” from an increasingly dogmatic Islam, the high culture lost its capaciousness and, hence, its adaptability. In the succeeding centuries, reactionary features of Islamic society hardened: slavery; the exclusion of women from public life; the vast gap of wealth and power separating elites from an impoverished population. At the same time new competitors sprang up in the West, committed by Christianity to an anti-Islamic position and by national ambitions to anti-Muslim warfare. As Muslims lost territory and technological superiority, they sought solace in the truths of yesteryear, in a refusal to sell out to the lies of the infidel.

The industrial revolution only made the imbalance worse. By the end of the nineteenth century, Western power had reduced the Middle East to a sandy piece of worldwide European empire. This formal dominion was later reversed, but by voluntary European retreat, not Muslim force of arms. In fact, the West no longer needed formal empire to profit from its technological and economic superiority. By the second half of the twentieth century, the difference between standards of living in the West and in the Muslim world had grown startlingly manifest and unbearably humiliating.

Why did muslim societies fall behind? Given the diversity of Islamic civilizations, of course, and the complexity of historical change, there are many, many answers. But one that has received too little attention–both in the West and in the Islamic world–is the evolution of Islamic societies’ treatment of women. That treatment, needless to say, differs in different parts of the Muslim world. Indeed, to take just one example of Islamic society’s openness to female power, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Indonesia have all been ruled in recent years by women. But nonetheless, compared to the West, the lives of women in most of the Muslim world are remarkably circumscribed. While Christian theology has, to a significant degree, reformed its backward views of women, Islamic theology has been much slower to do so. Muslim women are excluded from much of public space and, according to the Hadith, Mohammad said, “I was shown the hellfire and that the majority of its dwellers are women.” This fundamental inequality makes Muslim societies substantially less productive–not only by denying opportunity to women, but by inhibiting a meritocratic spirit among men.

And the oppression of women may not only help explain why Islamic societies have fallen behind the West. It may also help explain why they find the West so culturally threatening. Israel–where women don bikinis on the beach, attend university in large numbers, and are required to serve in the military–represents a deeply subversive example for many of its Middle Eastern neighbors. Osama bin Laden, in particular, has voiced outrage at the presence of American women soldiers on Saudi soil. Might he be worried that the women of the Gulf are watching them and taking note? For bin Laden and his followers, these are not mere cultural differences. They are evidence of Islam’s purity and the West’s corruption, and part of an apocalyptic struggle for universal salvation through Muslim dominion. The stakes are cosmic, ultimate; and the duty of all Muslims is not only to reject the adversary but also to destroy him.

Given the depth of Islam’s conflict with the West, trading Israel for Syria’s or Iran’s help in the reprisals against bin Laden will win us no real friends; it will only convince the Muslim world that America can be brought to betray its allies with the right combinations of threats and face-saving formulas. The real work–and, sadly, it will take far longer than even the war against terrorism–must take place within Islam itself. Self-criticism rather than blaming others, receptivity rather than dogmatic aggression, especially to their own women–these are some of the difficult steps Islam needs to take if it wants to regain the glory for which it so desperately longs.

A decade on, the Guardian Hadith remains…

10 years have passed since the greatest terrorist atrocity in history. A decade is a long time. In a decade our kids look different, they pass from one stage of life to another.

In a decade, we become experienced in whatever we do professionally. We garner credibility and experience which grants us wisdom and we even may reconsider some our our past follies in light of the new experiences. We grow, we enlighten.  The alternative is aging bitterly, succumbing to dogmatic entropy where self reflection is absent and the blame game is ever growing according to the new Democratic Party
The Guardian didn’t grow, didn’t evolve. 
 The Guardian re-asserted its defense of Islamic grievances, its dislike of any effort made by America to counter the terror and the ideology which produces the terror, Islamism. 
As the anniversary approached they rolled out their worse offenders. Seumas Milne was back defending his post 911 essay which blamed the attacks on the West. 
They also invited Inayat Bunglawala to contribute to an anniversary piece. This guy called Osama a “good Muslim” not long before the attacks and has been representing an organization which not only defended terrorists but also supplied the ideological indoctrination to British Muslims, the MCB. 
Mehdi Hasan was also staged once more, lecturing us about tolerance despite a dozen videos outing him as a hateful fanatic and bigot who calls non Muslims dogs and cattle.

Or George Galloway who is nothing more than the 21 Century version of Oswald Mosley, being the propaganda agent of a hostile regime, one, like the one Mosley promoted, planning another (or as they would say the first and only) final solution to the Jewish problem. 


I stumbled upon a post in CIF by  Edward Said which appeared on Sept 16th 2001. Edward Said is the guru of the so called progressive left when it comes to dealing with the affairs of the Middle East, Islam and the supposedly American / Western/ Zionist inspired clash of civilizations. 

Said was a great influence on Barack Obama and he embodies the Guardian World View where Israel, its lobbies and American capitalism are the causes of terrorism emanating from an “oppressed” Muslim street which is a victim of imperialism, Zionism and American capitalism. 

 Obama removed references to terrorism and radical Islam from the 911 ceremonies.  

 Said wrote in 2001: 

You’d think that ‘America’ was a sleeping giant rather than a superpower almost constantly at war, or in some sort of conflict, all over the Islamic domains. Osama bin Laden’s name and face have become so numbingly familiar to Americans as in effect to obliterate any his tory he and his shadowy followers might have had before they became stock symbols of everything loathsome and hateful to the collective imagination. Inevitably, then, collective passions are being funnelled into a drive for war that uncannily resembles Captain Ahab in pursuit of Moby Dick, rather than what is going on, an imperial power injured at home for the first time, pursuing its interests systematically in what has become a suddenly reconfigured geography of conflict, without clear borders, or visible actors. Manichaean symbols and apocalyptic scenarios are bandied about with future consequences and rhetorical restraint thrown to the winds.

Rational understanding of the situation is what is needed now, not more drum-beating. George Bush and his team clearly want the latter, not the former. Yet to most people in the Islamic and Arab worlds the official US is synonymous with arrogant power, known for its sanctimoniously munificent support not only of Israel but of numerous repressive Arab regimes, and its inattentiveness even to the possibility of dialogue with secular movements and people who have real grievances. Anti-Americanism in this context is not based on a hatred of modernity or technology-envy: it is based on a narrative of concrete interventions, specific depredations and, in the cases of the Iraqi people’s suffering under US-imposed sanctions and US support for the 34-year-old Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Israel is now cynically exploiting the American catastrophe by intensifying its military occupation and oppression of the Palestinians. Political rhetoric in the US has overridden these things by flinging about words like ‘terrorism’ and ‘freedom’ whereas, of course, such large abstractions have mostly hidden sordid material interests, the influence of the oil, defence and Zionist lobbies now consolidating their hold on the entire Middle East, and an age-old religious hostility to (and ignorance of) ‘Islam’ that takes new forms every day.

These paragraphs say it all. As if no other creative writer ever existed at the Guardian. Said is the prophet and the rest of the contributors must only repeat versions of his visions. 

Most writings on this conflict are, in one way or another versions of this narrative. This is the Hadith the Guardinistas quote day after day. Like Pakistani children sitting on the floors of Madrassas, they chant these passages only changing the order by which lines follow each other. 

America, arrogant, Zionism, lobbies, oil, Palestine, children of Iraq, children of Afghanistan (no mention of these children under Saddam and the Taliban), imperialism, colonialism, capitalism. The next day its Israel, America, imperialism, arrogant, Palestine, lobbies, Iraq, Afghanistan….you get the idea…

As if in a trance or in some Pavlovian experiment, these ideas and theories persist despite the world turning over to new chapters of history. 

A decade has passed, yet no maturity, no self reflection, no remorse, no rethinking. The text and its dogma are sacred. Like the Koran which cannot be amended, re-interpreted as that would be sacrilege. The Guardian is like the Muslim street. Never would it re-assess its views or its mistakes or see things even in a slightly different light. It merely re-asserts its demands and view which blame everything on the civilization under attack by its co-religionists.  

In this decade we saw more terror attacks. London, Madrid, Bali, Fort Hood, the attacks on Synagogues in Turkey, the attempts at more mayhem in the skies using liquid bombs and plots against the NY subway and the Frankfurt airport. We saw more “militants” in their videos calling for the world wide caliphate, sharia and the re-conquest of Spain and Palestine under the Ummah. Yet at the Guardian the attackers are us. We are the colonizers, we are the zionists and oppressors. No facts, no history will change that.

A religious dogma is defined as an unchangeable set of ideas transcending the tracks of time. They survive despite and not because of the changes in time. At the Guardian we are dealing with a religious dogma. A dogma which infused the Saidian version of history with the sour grapes hatred of capitalism in light of the fall of the communist block. The total rejection of the totalitarian imposed righteousness was the year 1989. The Guardian still didn’t acknowledge that. It still tries to depict the yearning for freedom by Eastern Europeans as a result of imperialist plots drawn up in the back rooms of MI5 or the CIA.  In Islamism they found another righteous totalitarianism. Another totalitarianism which claims to fight for the oppressed. Though just like the USSR in its days, it is the most imperialist of ideologies around today. The Guardian is the place where atheists can become Islamists.

Just like during the Cold War when Anglo Saxons have proudly allied with the nastiest Russian Pan Slavic nationalism (Stalinism as others may know it) at the Guardian today we see Anglo Saxon Islamists. People who are not Muslims but subscribe to the ideological goals and myths of Islamism. Ignorant of the texts upon which their new allies founded their hateful vision, the Guardinistas fight on for their cause like the loyal little Communists under the pay of Moscow during the Cold War, attacking the institutions and ideas of liberty and freedom. 
They merely see it through their own selfish prisms which have been formulated during the Cold War or during their spoiled middle class childhoods where disappointment in a selfish demand resulted in a nihilistic hatred of the one denying the demands. 
“What I cannot have I will destroy” is the real motivation behind the “modern leftist”.
A decade has passed since 911. There are soldiers today in Iraq and Afghanistan who were children on that day. They played with toys, watched cartoons and wondered why their parents were glued to the TV for so many days following that evil morning. Today they are fighting the war which was launched by these attacks. They have grown, they have matured and they are aware of what we are facing.
Yet at the Guardian – 
We saw more hate, more obfuscation and lies. Some blatantly repeated like Simon Jenkinswho claimed Palestinian solidarity with America on 911 despite decades of video evidence showing Palestinians handing out sweets and chanting in euphoria learning of the fall of the WTC.  We see the same dogma not rejected or even questioned, but alive and well, ready to poison the intellectual space for another decade. In that decade kids born in 2001 will be adults. Those who lived through it will be even more wiser.
I fear that the Guardian staff will still be like those Pakistani children chanting on the floors of Madrassas repeating the same passages: America, Arrogant, Zionism, Lobbies, Capitalism, Imperialism, racism and Palestine…

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11: What we Affirm

Making Aliyah was the best decision I ever made and I am, to be sure, a passionate Zionist, and a proud citizen of the modern Jewish state. In Jerusalem I was married, and it is in Israel where, G-d willing, we’ll be blessed to raise children who will equally love Israel with all of their hearts.

I am also, however, to be sure, an American-Israeli.  And, though 6000 miles away from the place I called home for over 40 years, and where my entire family and my closest friends still live, my affection for the land which welcomed my poor Eastern European Jewish grandparents  – who merely yearned to breath free – to her shores has not waned.  

I still am moved by the Star Spangled Banner, inspired by the heroism of American veterans who have sacrificed so much to advance the cause of liberty in the world, and understand how historically exceptional the freedom and prosperity which Americans continue to enjoy truly is.

And, ten years after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the images of destruction and human suffering on that fateful day are still seared in my mind.

It is, of course, correct to affirm that America is not perfect, and that not every conflict is black and white. However, such a sober understanding of our political reality should not give way to the pathos of suggesting that there’s anything resembling a moral equivalence between the innocent victims of terrorist attacks and the perpetrators of such wanton violence.

As my job is to monitor the Guardian I’ve been exposed to far, far too much commentary advancing such comparisons – those who deny the inherent superiority maintained by the freedom of democracy over the tyranny of nihilism. 

However, as 9/11 is, and should always be, a solemn day, instead of combating those, at the Guardian and elsewhere, who advance such ideas it seems far more appropriate to simply state what I affirm.  

On Thursday night, The New Republic, in partnership with the Kennedy Center and the Pentagon, commemorated the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. The event (which can be viewed in its entirety here) was capped with remarks by Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic’s literary editor, on what Americans affirm.  

Wieseltier is a truly gifted writer, whose eloquence and erudition has been an inspiration to me in attempting to elevate my day-to-day (far less than expansive and comprehensive) polemics, and my far less than artful blogging prose.  

So, I will simply post his remarks in full without further commentary.

Though we encounter it as suffering, grief is in fact an affirmation. The indifferent do not grieve, the uncommitted do not grieve, the loveless do not grieve. We mourn only the loss of what we have loved and what we have valued, and in this way mourning darkly refreshes our knowledge of the causes of our loves and the reasons for our values. Our sorrow restores us to the splendors of our connectedness to people and to principles. It is the yes of a broken heart. In our bereavement we discover how much was ruptured by death, and also how much was not ruptured. These tears lead directly to introspection.

Here is what we affirmed by our mourning on September 11, 2001, and by the introspection of its aftermath: 

that we wish to be known, to ourselves and to the world, by the liberty that we offer, axiomatically, as a matter of right, to the individuals and the groups with whom we live;

that the ordinary lives of ordinary people on an ordinary day of work and play can truthfully exemplify that liberty, and fully represent what we stand for; 

that we will defend ourselves, resolutely and even ferociously, because self-defense is also an ethical responsibility, and that our debates about the proper use of our power in our own defense should not be construed as an infirmity in our will; 

that the multiplicity of cultures and traditions that we contain peaceably in our society is one of our highest accomplishments, because we are not afraid of difference, and because we do not confuse openness with emptiness, or unity with conformity;

that a country as vast and as various as ours may still be experienced as a community;

that none of our worldviews, with God or without God, should ever become the worldview of the state, and that no sanctity ever attaches to violence;

that the materialism and the self-absorption of the way we live has not extinguished our awareness of a larger purpose, even if sometimes they have obscured it; 

that we believe in progress, at home and abroad, in social progress, in moral progress, even when it is fitful and contested and difficult; 

that just as we have enemies in the world we have friends, and that our friends are the individuals and the movements and the societies that aspire, often in circumstances of great adversity, to democracy and to decency.   

It has been a wounding decade. Our country is frayed, uncertain, inflamed. There is hardship and dread in the land. In significant ways we are a people in need of renovation. But what rouses the mourner from his sorrow is his sense of possibility, his confidence in the intactness of the spirit, his recognition that there is work to be done. What we loved and what we valued has survived the disaster, but it needs to be secured and bettered, and in that secure and better condition transmitted to our children. Our dream of greatness must be accompanied by an understanding of what is required for the maintenance of greatness. The obscenities of September 11, 2001 exposed the difference between builders and destroyers. We are builders. Let us agree, on this anniversary, that it is an honor to be an American and it is an honor to be free.


Babble of an extremist: Seumas Milne defends his post 9/11 essay which blamed attacks on US actions & support for Israel

Seumas Milne, Guardian Associate Editor, is the former contributor to the decidedly pro-Stalinist Communist Party publication, Straight Left, who still possesses a soft spot for communist mass murderers, as well as Islamist terrorists (“resistance”) in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel.  

Milne just penned a furious apologia for his zealous, and supremely callous, essay posted on September 13, 2001 – two days after Al Qaeda terrorists murdered 3000 innocent Americans, and rescue efforts were still underway for possible survivors under the rubble of the collapsed Twin Towers.

With the tenth anniversary of the attacks approaching, Milne’s latest essay, 9/11: ‘A babble of idiots’? History has been the judge of that, Sept. 6, attempts to take a moral victory lap by claiming his much maligned 2001 essay has been vindicated.  

Milne writes:

“As the Guardian’s comment editor at the time, my column in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 was a particular target of hostility, especially among those who insisted the attacks had nothing to do with US intervention, or its support for occupation and dictatorship, in the Arab and Muslim world. Others felt it was too early to speak about such things when Americans had suffered horrific losses.”

However, upon reading Milne’s 2001 essay, one thing is certain.  Whatever criticism Milne received couldn’t possibly have done justice to how morally atrocious his take on the 9/11 attacks were.

Writes Milne in his 2001 essay, identifying the true villains of the 9/11 attacks:

“…any glimmer of recognition of why people might have been driven to carry out such atrocities, sacrificing their own lives in the process – or why the United States is hated with such bitterness, not only in Arab and Muslim countries…seems almost entirely absent. Perhaps it is too much to hope that…a small minority might make the connection between what has been visited upon them and what their government has visited upon large parts of the world.”

Milne further cites as fuel for the attacks by Al Qaeda:

 “[America’s] murderous embargos against recalcitrant regimes.”

And, then, to Milne, additional blame on the U.S. is owed to:

 “[America] recklessly throwing its weight behind Israel’s 34-year illegal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as the Palestinian intifada rages.”

Adds Milne:

 “If it turns out that Tuesday’s attacks were the work of Osama bin Laden’s supporters, the sense that the Americans are once again reaping a dragons’ teeth harvest they themselves sowed will be overwhelming.”

Finally, Milne concludes:

“Already, the Bush administration is assembling an international coalition for an Israeli-style war against terrorism, as if such counter-productive acts of outrage had an existence separate from the social conditions out of which they arise. [emphasis mine]”

For Milne, the savage attacks against thousands of innocent Americans, as with similar murderous attacks by Palestinian terrorists against innocent Jews, are not morally indefensible outrages, but merely “counter-productive”, but understandable, reactions to “social conditions for which they arise.”

The 9/11 attacks, for Milne, represented America’s chickens coming home to roost – an understandable comeuppance for the nation’s horrific crimes against the world’s poor and oppressed.

Of course, evidently lost on Milne – information which his Marxist dialectic fails to provide – is that Al-Qaeda ideology represents nothing even resembling liberalism, pluralism, or anti-colonialism.  

Al Qaeda calls on its supporters to engage in Jihad, resistance and revenge against America and her allies, seeks a “World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders,” and calls for the creation of a new Islamic world-wide theocratic caliphate which would ban “immoral acts” such as homosexuality

Al Qaeda represents the zenith of dangerous religious extremism, and a reactionary (Colonialist) call to arms which views the killing of bystanders and civilians as a religiously justified component of jihad.  

Milne differs with Al Qaeda.  

He views such murdered civilians as unfortunate casualties in an overall just, anti-imperialist, anti-American, anti-Zionist crusade. 

American Nazi “Prophecy”, Raed Salah, and Dr Daud Abdullah: Deja Vu?

This is cross posted from the blog of the CST, by Mark Gardner

Allegations of antisemitism are mounting against Sheikh Raed Salah of the Islamic Movement, as legal squabbles continue over Britain’s attempts to deport him back to Israel.

Salah’s public relations defence is being led by MEMO (Middle East Monitor), a UK Islamist lobby / media group under the directorship of Dr Daud Abdullah, a senior operator in the UK Islamist scene.

MEMO describe Salah as “the Gandhi of Palestine, but they will now need to overcome a new allegation: that he – Salah, not Gandhi – wrote an article citing an antisemitic American Nazi hoax, the “Franklin document”. (More commonly known as the “Franklin prophecy”.)

As we shall see below, this is not the first time that Dr Daud Abdullah has found himself in the company of this particular American Nazi hoax.

First, a brief recap -

Last week, CST blog ran what claims to be a transcript of a speech by Salah repeating the Christian medieval ‘Blood Libel’: the filthy lie that Jews use the blood of children for making Matzos.

Then, on the Daily Telegraph blog, Michael Weiss ran what claims to be a scan (see here and here) of an Arabic language article by Salah, stating that “4,000 Jews…4,000 Jewish clerks” were warned to avoid work in the Twin Towers on 9/11. This supposedly appeared in the 5th October 2001 edition of Sawt al-Haq w’al-Huriyya (Voice of Justice and Freedom: the journal of Salah’s Islamic Movement in Israel, Northern Branch). It has been translated by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute.  According to MEMRI, Salah’s article includes this:

Considering these endless mysteries, [we may conclude that] the unique mover had no problem adding yet another unprecedented mystery to American history, which is [has always been] riddled with ambiguities and with 1,001 questions, from the [Benjamin] Franklin document until today.

MEMRI claim that the next paragraph contains the antisemitic 9/11 hoax:

…to warn the 4,000 Jews who worked at the World Trade Center, so that they did not come to work on September 11, 2001, which is what actually happened. Was it a coincidence that 4,000 Jewish employees were absent from work, or what? On the other hand, this warning did not reach the 2,000 Muslims who worked at the World Trade Center. Consequently, there were hundreds of Muslim victims.

So, what is this “Franklin document” that MEMRI claim was cited by Salah immediately preceding the 9/11 hoax?

The “Franklin document / prophecy” is a foul little antisemitic hoax, written in the mid 1930s by an American Nazi, William Dudley Pelley. It falsely claims to be a contemporary account from 1789, of a speech by Benjamin Franklin warning against Jewish immigration to the USA “because they are vampires”. In 1942, Pelley was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for Nazi sedition. 

This is not an antisemitic hoax that is especially well-known. It is not, for example, on a par with the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion; nor with the aforementioned Blood Libel, or even the thoroughly modern 9/11 lie. It is one for aficionados.  

Of course, time will tell if the allegations against Salah in regard to the “Prophecy”are true, or if he himself has also fallen victim to a vicious forgery (and elaborate mistranslation). Nevertheless, it is not the first time we have seen the Franklin hoax here in Britain in a pro-Palestinian (rather than Nazi) context.

One version of it, entitled “Prophecy of Benjamin Franklin in regard of the Jewish race”, caused a minor outrage when it was distributed as a flyer by pro-Palestinian students to those queueing to enter a student debate at Manchester University in February 2002. The flyers bore the name General Union of Palestine Students. The debate motion was to boycott Israeli goods. It failed, but the preamble stated “Anti-Zionism or criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism” and Jewish students suffered antisemitic attacks in the days after it. (See para 203 of Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitsim pdf, here.)

There is, however, a slightly more extreme variant of the “prophecy”. This is entitled“The Jewish Threat on the American society”. (Both versions appear to be carried on, for example, the notorious American neo-Nazi website, Stormfront.) It warns of Jews:

…they are Vampires and Vampires do not live on Vampires. They cannot live only amongst themselves

…I warn you gentlemen if you do not exclude Jews for all time, your children will curse you in your graves.

This is the version that appeared, in its entirety and without further comment, in issue 2 (Oct-Nov 2000 / Rajab-Sha’ban 1421H) of the English-language Muslim Association of Britain magazine, “The New Dawn”

Two scans of this appear below. The first shows the article close up. It is short, so you should read it in full.

The second scan shows the article in context, comprising the bottom quarter of page 6 (the “Opinion” page). The only other thing on the opinion page is a continuation of the front page article. This is by Dr Daud Abdullah, one of two people then on the editorial board of The New Dawn, in addition to the General Editor. 

This was before Dr Abdullah’s stint at the Muslim Council of Britain, and well before his current role as Director of Middle East Monitor.


And here, in context:


Myth Busters (Huffington Post readers’ continuing obsession with Israel)

This is cross-posted at Huffington Post Monitor.

It’s become a byline among the Huffington Posters that Israel is responsible for 9/11. Notdirectly responsible, of course (though there are a few people who think the Mossad did it), but that 9/11 was a direct result of US aid to Israel. I have often seen comments along the lines of, “Israel costs us billions per year and all we get in return is 9/11.” This is incredibly misleading because it implies that if the US did not support Israel the 9/11 attacks never would have happened. This is a myth that I will put to rest right here and now.

I’ll start with citing the Arabs themselves who did not feel that Osama Bin Laden was in any way motivated by Israeli actions against the Palestinians. The President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak said, ““Osama bin Laden made his explosions and then started talking about the Palestinians. He never talked about them before.” Dr. Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, dean of Shar’ia and Law at Qatar University said, “In their hypocrisy, many of the [Arab] intellectuals linked September 11 with the Palestinian problem — something that completely contradicts seven years of Al-Qaida literature. Al-Qaida never linked anything to Palestine.”

Even Yasser Arafat agreed: ” [ Bin Laden] “never helped us, he was working in another completely different area and against our interests.” And we know that Arafat would not turn down help from anyone, no matter how odious they were.

So then this begs the question: What was Bin Laden motivated by? This question would better be answered in a book but quite simply he didn’t like the American presence in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East. One short quote:

“The latest and the greatest of these aggressions, incurred by the Muslims since the death of the Prophet (ALLAH’S BLESSING AND SALUTATIONS ON HIM) is the occupation of the land of the two Holy Places -the foundation of the house of Islam, the place of the revelation, the source of the message and the place of the noble Ka’ba, the Qiblah of all Muslims- by the armies of the American Crusaders and their allies.”

He likes to ramble but you get the idea. Read the whole Fatwa if you like, though I would be remiss to say that there is a lot of attacks on “the Zionists” as well, however they remain of secondary importance.

Even more simply, there’s a reason why radical Muslims refer to America as “the Great Satan.” It isn’t because they simply disagree with its actions. You don’t call someone with whom you disagree “Satan,” because that term is the embodiment of all that is evil. Perhaps that distinction is a little too obvious for the Huffington Posters. If America cut off aid to Israel I find it difficult to believe that it would stop being “the Great Satan,” unless it was never all that great to begin with. Which I doubt!

So then I can’t help but wonder: Why do the Huffington Posters believe this, if it is so obviously a half-truth? Well it is common among leftists to blame America for everything bad that happens to it, but that’s pretty cold for a mainstream internet community. But they also don’t like to hold Muslim terrorists accountable for their own actions, so that’s out as well. Maybe this works as a middle ground: They can blame America (not really) and also use the 9/11 attacks to foster their own political agenda, i.e. cutting American ties with Israel. It also works out quite nicely when you combine this theory with the Zionist Occupied Government conspiracy theory which is also common on the Huffington Post. Hey, maybe the Jews are directly responsible for 9/11 after all…