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An Islamophobic 'voice of the people'

What does Eitan Haber’s Yedioth Ahronoth column, ‘And the president of France will be named Mohammed,’ say about the political mentality in Israel?  

Eitan Haber is a consciously “representative” Israeli. In his Yedioth Ahronoth columns, he’s cultivated himself as a “voice of the people” – centrist, patriotic, worried about security, wishing for peace. He was Rabin’s spokesman and speechwriter, the impressario of those spectacularly un-Rabinesque speeches by his boss after the signing of the Oslo Accord and the peace treaty with Jordan. More than anyone except for Rabin’s family, Haber embodies the memory of grief over the assassination; his announcement that Rabin had died in the hospital is to Israel what Walter Cronkite’s announcement of JFK’s death is to America. Between his classic newspaper columnist’s style, his frequent references to people and events of the past, and his indelible association with Rabin, the Oslo period and the assassination, Haber, 72, is himself a nostalgia item, a salt of the earth Israeli and an insider at Camelot.

So what does it say when such an Israeli writes a column today that’s about as insanely Islamophobic as anything one is likely to read this side of Pamela Geller? It says the political mentality in this country is pretty damn dark.

The column is titled “And the president of France will be named Mohammed.” It says the murders in Toulouse were “just the preface to the forward to the introduction of this storm that is the burgeoning of Islam.” It goes on:

Historians will give this new era a name. I call it the ‘era of Arabs riding high.’ For the first time, after hundreds of years, 1.3 billion Muslims feel they have the power to run the world and bend it to Islam’s laws and customs. Where are they headed? As yet there are no defined directions, except Islamic rule – and if necessary, by the sword.

He goes on to say that  Mohammed Merah, the Toulouse murderer, “saw himself as the emissary of nearly 10 million Muslims already living in France, and who are planning to take over all of Europe.” (In fact, there are an estimated 5 to 6 million Muslims in France, only one-third of whom practice the religion.)

Haber warns that the combination of social media and Muslim socioeconomic distress will have a terrible cost – “and it will be paid by the whole world, certainly by Europe.  The cost will be blood, and a lot of it.” He continues:

Since Facebook offers no miracle cure for economic problems, the Muslims will go back to what they know: power. A lot of power. Marches by hundreds of thousands and millions. After all, they don’t lack for people.

Israeli apologists might say Haber is understandably distraught over the murders in Toulouse. But there’s no anger or grief in his column – it’s written in the same conversational, sentimental, melodramatic  tone as all his columns. And let’s face it, this “Eurabia” scare isn’t exactly new in this country; it’s been around since long before the Toulouse massacre.

Haber is saying the monster Mohammed Merah stands for all Muslims, all of whom want to march on Europe and the rest of Judeo-Christendom and spill everyone’s blood. Unbelievable. Unbelievable that Haber, the “voice of the people,” would write something like this and that Yedioth Ahronoth,  “the nation’s newspaper,” would print it. Imagine if after the Hebron massacre,  a household-name columnist in the largest-selling newspaper in a democratic country had written that Baruch Goldstein stood for all Jews.

The scary thing is that Eitan Haber really does stand for a huge number of Israelis.

Read also:
Is there a new wave of anti-Semitism in Europe? 

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    1. Kolumn9

      Let’s see. The London mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone says things like ‘I will make London a beacon of Islam’, you have a massive row in France when a politician suggests that Western values are superior and you have crazy gunmen on both sides (Muslim and European) that shoot people up based on their desire for and fear of an Islam dominated Europe.

      Yet somehow even talking about the problems involved in trying to integrate a rapidly growing Muslim community in Europe is considered racist.

      Yes, Europe has a problem. Whether the problem is because the Europeans are racist and unwilling to accept Muslims as their kinmen or the problem is that Muslims have a strong and independent identity and refuse to integrate is completely irrelevant. The problem is there and it is getting more obvious every few day.

      If someone suggested twenty years ago the possibility that Muslims born and raised in Europe would be carrying out acts of terrorism against their home countries, what would that person be accused of? Would they have been correct in raising this as a possibility? Or would you rather continue to pretend that what is happening is not really happening because your ideological shackles prevent you from seeing it?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Philos

      Kolumn9, I agree. There are serious issues that need to be addressed about immigrant absorption in Europe, however, this will never happen. The European elites saw immigrants as a way to break the backs of unionized workers, and they couldn’t have given a damn what became of them. They also held on to their old atavism and European people (indigenous ones I mean) really don’t know any better.
      Look at Britain and it’s Muslims as an example. The only country I’ll give a pass to is Germany because they really lacked “manpower” after being slaughtered in World War 2.
      Sadly, a sensible discussion cannot be had about this in Europe because of 24/7 news cycle and basically the same problems that have rendered American democracy retarded. When you think that the Founding Father’s would write eloquent papers staking their positions and an issue compared to Senate majority leaders Twittering it makes you really want to pull an Ernest Hemingway.
      Finally, Israelis are convinced the world hates them and will seek any proof to validate their fears. Israelis tell me Britain is being overrun by Muslims. I tell them the non-white population of Britain is approximately 5% of 60 million people, the majority of whom are concentrated in the South-East of England. They do not comprehend. They do not comprehend that Europe is overwhelmingly white. And they do not comprehend that the USA is rapidly tanning. My gut feeling is that Israelis don’t like Barak Obama (they never gave him a chance) because he’s a black man. Pure, plain and simple. Since day one as President the Israeli press has given him nothing but either hostility or contempt or both.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Bill Pearlman

      Just because you don’t like what he writes doesn’t mean he’s wrong.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Walter Sauerland

      At least Larry this guy is as open as possible. Normally Muslimhaters take a lot of pain to stress that they dont speak of the peaceful muslim majority but only of extremist Islamists (which sadly dominate muslim societies with the exception of e.g.KSA or Bahrain or until lately Syria …) But what strucks me dumb is : if you hadnt picked up this piece I had never heard of it.( Really : Just imagine the outcry if some equally sclerotic Palestinian had said something comparable about Jews.) Until now the Israeli political, educational and religious elite is silent.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Kolumn9

      Philos, I do believe there was an actual shortage of labor in Europe after World War 2 which had nothing to do with unionized labor. In addition the early immigration to European countries was partly a result of decolonization, while later periods could be ascribed to loose policies on family reunification and refugee asylum. I don’t really think at any point much thought was given to integration or assimilation of the incoming and strengthening cultural minorities since they were assumed to be non-issues in a tolerant and liberal Europe. Basically, by creating stable homogeneous Christian white countries that were tolerant and liberal after World War 2 Europe assumed that it was because they were tolerant and liberal a priori as opposed to being a result of an actual lack of diversity in dominant public culture.

      I agree that a sensible discussion is not taking place and it is for the same reason as in the United States.

      It is pretty obvious to anyone with eyes that European culture has been incapable of absorbing the new Muslim communities and it has failed in formulating an ideological response to their continued expansion at the expense of the previously accepted dominant national norms. It is also pretty clear that even at 5% the Muslim population of European countries has had an impact on the public debate. This is partly precisely because Muslims are concentrated in large urban areas where they form significantly larger percentages than 5% and are growing *very* rapidly. It is also because the underlying norms of large parts of the Muslim community are fundamentally opposed to liberal democracy. This can be seen in the reaction to the Danish cartoons as well as the murder of Theo van Gogh and the participation of European-born Muslims in acts of terrorism on their home soil. It is also obvious in alarming statistics like the one that arrived at 25% of British Muslims supporting at least the sentiments of the 2005 London bombings, if not the acts themselves.

      Europe might still be overwhelmingly not Muslim, but it has no viable ideological response to its surging Muslim communities and the problems inherent in their integration.

      I don’t think Israelis are quite as naive about Europe or the world as you suggest, though historical biases and fears die hard. I would also point out that international treatment of all Jewish and Israel issues does more than enough by itself to create the feeling that the world is a very hostile place for Jews. In addition the explanation of Muslim impact on Europe explains for them the European support or what is considered anti-Israeli positions. As for the Israeli view of Obama – I believe that Israelis didn’t like him initially for the same reason why many on the left voted for him – he represented a very different approach to the world, one that is generally hostile to Israel. Him being a black man with a Muslim father and a borderline anti-Semitic religious mentor certainly did not help. I would also argue that during his first two years in power his policy was somewhere on the border of distant and hostile to Israeli interests though constrained by American political considerations, so that in itself hasn’t helped.

      Reply to Comment
    6. dickerson3870

      RE: “The column is titled ‘And the president of France will be named Mohammed.’ It says the murders in Toulouse were ‘just the preface to the forward to the introduction of this storm that is the burgeoning of Islam.'” ~ Derfner

      SEE: “Israel’s Defense Chief OK’s Hundreds of Israeli Deaths”, By Ira Chernus, CommonDreams.org, 11/11/11
      (excerpt). . . An essential motive of Zionism from its beginning was a fierce desire to end the centuries of Jewish weakness, to show the world that Jews would no longer be pushed around, that they’d fight back and prove themselves tougher than their enemies. There was more to Zionism than that. But the “pride through strength” piece came to dominate the whole project. Hence the massive Israeli military machine with its nuclear arsenal.
      But you can’t prove that you’re stronger than your enemies unless you’ve also got enemies — or at least believe you’ve got enemies — to fight against. So there has to be a myth of Israel’s insecurity, fueled by an image of vicious anti-semites lurking somewhere out there, for Zionism to work…

      Reply to Comment
    7. Jogortha

      Another racist & bigoted Israeli.. where’s the news?

      Reply to Comment
    8. aristeides

      I don’t think you can lump all of Europe together in this. Germany solicited Muslim guest workers to serve its economy, but the assumption was that they weren’t going to stay in Germany. They were supposed to go home.

      In the case of France and England, colonialism came around to bite the imperialists in the butt, who had never assumed that the wogs would want to come and live in the countries where they had citizenship.

      In the case of Southern Europe, it was a largely a matter of proximity.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Philos

      Thatcher’s immigration policies were directly linked to her efforts to crush the unions. When the indigenous (and first & second generation immigrants) were on strike thousands of Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrants replaced them. It is not for nothing that race relations are the worst in the post-industrial shit holes of the North of England (and probably why British Muslim terrorists are of Northern English extraction).
      And I disagree with Kolumn9 that there isn’t an ideological response. There clearly is. It is called the American republican model.

      Reply to Comment
    10. XYZ

      The questions of how any religious/ideological group relates to extremists who act in their name is a complex one. If someone says “this extremist is wrong” does not necessarily mean that the person speaking is opposed in prinicple to what the extremist is doint. There are several gradations:
      (1) The moderate thinks and says what the extremist is doing is terrible, is a disgrace is opposed to everything this religion or other ideological group stands for and the extremist must be rejected by the group as being a bad person.
      (2) The moderate thinks that the extremist “means well” but misunderstands the ideology and should not carry out such deeds, but the exremist remains a member in good standing of the group.
      (3) The moderate thinks that the extremist is a good person and what he did is, in principle, a good thing, but under current circumstances the act is undesirable because it boomerangs and bring undesirable consequences on the group.
      (4) The moderate admires the exremist, suppports what he did , but he himself doesn’t have the courage to carry out such an act, but he is glad someone else is doing it.

      The question Haber is raising is how do Muslims in Europe and around the world fit into these categories.
      For example, the official Palestinian Authority position on suicide bombings is
      number 3. They officially laud suicide bombers and say what they did is admirable, but at the moment, under current circumstances, they should not be carried out. They should be resumed when more favorable circumstances arise.
      How do European Muslims fit into these categories? Simple condemnation by a Muslim leader of an act like that in the school in France does not indicate their thinking and does not mean they necessarily think the terrorist was bad.
      A liberal American Jewish Rabbi blogger who is also obsessed with fighting “Islamophobia” once triumphantly showed a poll that said 70% of Muslims worldwide supposedly oppose acts like 9/11, i.e. the mass slaughter of innocent people, in the name of Islam. I then pointed out that 30% DO support such acts. I then pointed out that if this is true, and it is also true that there are 1 BILLION Muslims in the world, that means that there are 300 million Muslims who support the mass slaughter of non-Muslims. This is not a small number.

      To answer the question of where most Muslims fit in the categories I laid out above, I think it is instructive to look at the attitude of Muslims to the INTRA-Muslim mass slaughter going in (i.e. Muslims killing each other) in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, and previously in Lebanon and Algeria. We never saw any major protests against these things. One would think that there would be mass demonstrations in places like Paris or London where there are large Muslim populations (there have been some anti-Assad demonstrations in European cities and in places like Cairo as well) but no mass mobilization of the public to protest the killing of innocent Muslim civilians in the name of Islam.
      Now, given that we are always being told that “All Muslims are brothers and all Muslims love one another” and yet we don’t see any large-scale outrage at intra-Muslim killing, I can easily speculate on what the true attitude of Muslim in Europe and outside of it are to atrocities of the sort we just saw in France.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Jack

      Unfortunately this kind of sheer generalization and xenophobia (and even beyond that) is very common in the right-wing israeli press and it keeps bursting out of proportion when there is muslims, arabs involved in one way or another. This “Eurabia myth” is as absurd as The protocols of zion.

      It is legit to smear muslims, arabs today because just imagine if we switched the words in the specific paragraph:

      “Historians will give this new era a name. I call it the ’era of Jews riding high.’ For the first time, after hundreds of years, 14 million Jews feel they have the power to run the world and bend it to Jew laws and customs. Where are they headed? As yet there are no defined directions, except Jewish rule – and if necessary, by the sword.”

      Eitan Harber should ask himself if a newspaper in lets say Germany wrote that, would that be ok to him? Of course not, so why then does he think its ok to smear arab, muslims? Eitan should approach others as he want others to approach him.

      Reply to Comment
    12. sh

      Eitan Harber. I like it Jack. La lilHarber!

      Reply to Comment
    13. Mikesailor

      Actually, Haber and his racism is only the tip of the iceberg. Try reading YNet or JPost to witness the moral and intellectual hypocrisy endemic within the Israel media. And pay special attention to the talkbacks, and how those who don’t ‘toe the party line’ such as Derfner are quickly relieved of their columns without any new critical voices replacing them. The manipulation of fear, the exhibition of racist viewpoints, the hatred and vilification of all those who don’t agree with the right-wing Israeli viewpoint is both intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible. And the beat goes on…

      Reply to Comment
    14. ToivoS

      BILL PEARLMAN says”
      Just because you don’t like what he writes doesn’t mean he’s wrong.

      I think you miss the point by a mile. It is not the Eitan is wrong, it is that he his bat shit crazy. Get it, the caliphate is not a threat to the West. This article by Eitan is gaining notoriety now because it is being held up as symptomatic of a national neurosis.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Mike

      (In fact, there are an estimated 5 to 6 million Muslims in France, only one-third of whom practice the religion.)

      Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Islam is not only a religion but also a cultural identity. Whether one goes to the mosque regularly or not is not important to determine the muslim identity of a person.

      Derfner doesn’t know muslims very well.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Bill Pearlman

      Try reading the talkbacks on mondoweiss. Its like Berlin 1938.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Mikesailor

      Bill P.: If all you ever do is whine and add nothing constructive, it is no wonder that mondoweiss does very well without you.

      Mike: Muslim is not, and never has been a ‘cultural’ identity. It is a religious identity. Arab is a cultural identity therefore there are Arab Muslims and Christians, Egyptian Muslims and Christians etc. In fact, is Palestine before the Zionist invasion, there were Palestinian Muslims, Christians and Jews. It is only Zionist Jews who attempted to conflate Judaism with a cultural identity, a premise which was doomed from the beginning but succors the weak-minded. Are Russian Jews the same as Moroccan Jews? Are Sephardic treated the same as Ashkenazi? German Jews, British Jews, American Jews all have their own cultural background. Only Israel experimented with the idea of religion as cultural identity and it apparently hasn’t worked out all that well but has created a bigoted racist state unable to treat non-Jews as equal citizens. Really quite pathetic.

      Reply to Comment
    18. XYZ

      Mike is correct in saying that Muslim, (or Christian or Jewish) identity for that matter transcends one’s own personal religious beliefs or observance. All the countries of the Middle East, including Israel and the Muslim countries, define one’s personal status and religious identity by law according to the religion’s system they are born in. In Egypt and the other Muslim countries, someone whose father is Muslim is AUTOMATICALLY born a Muslim and is bound by Islam’s rules when he or she gets married, raises children and then receives that religion’s rites upon passing away. Same for someone in Israel whose mother is a Jew. The vast majority of people who do not view themselves as devout or observant of the religion they are born into still accept the legal definition of their status as I stated above. This includes cultural identity.
      I recall reading a few years ago that in Italy, there is a law that states all classrooms in the country’s public schools must have a crucifix. Muslim petitioned that the crucifix be removed. There was a firestorm of outrage by the non-Muslim majority which is of Christian background EVEN THOUGH FEW ITALIANS ARE DEVOUT CATHOLICS OR ATTEND CHURCH. They stated that Christianity was part of their cultural heritage.
      The Palestinian constitution states that the Palestinian are an integral part of the Arab world, are working for Arab unity AND state that Muslim Sharia Law is an important basis for legislation in the territories. Thus, they define themselves as Muslim for all their citizens, even if they are not Muslim or do not practice the faith.
      Although I have not seen an analysis of the results of the Egyptian parliamentary elections where the two Muslim parties received something like 70% of the vote, but I am certain that MANY non-observant or partly-observant Muslims voted for them, including the more extreme Noor-Salafist party because they could feel that voting for these parties can be like fulfilling the religious obligations Islam demands (Ramadan month fasting, for example) that they are slack in…i.e, voting for the religious parties makes up for their sins.
      It is known that many Jihadists are not from very religious backgrounds, believing that acts of violence they carry out are a form of repentance for their previous lack of religious ardor-proving that they are as good “Muslims” as the more devout are.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Mareli

      Although some Islamic “fundamentalists” would like to take over Europe, the Muslim immigrant birth rate has been dropping in recent years. An Islamic website for European Muslims was asking what could be done to induce muslimahs to have more children (I cannot for the life of me remember the organization’s name now; I will supply it if I can find it in my notes), and some Palestinian leaders have claimed that their high birthrate is a political demographic plan (I doubt they are doing much to help individual Palestinian families any more than the Catholic church helped feed large families in countries where the church restricted birth control). I am concerned about rising violence against Jews in southern Sweden by Muslim immigrants in Malmo and other areas, and there was a serious anti-Jewish riot in Oslo, Norway a couple of winters ago, so the militant Muslims in Europe are a threat, but I doubt that a Muslim takeover of Europe is imminent.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Jack

      Eurabia myth is as absurd as protocols of zion and as racist.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Carl

      The idea of a muslim takeover of Europe is just Melanie Phillips, Dershowitz, Le Pen (Sarkozy is a little late to the game so he’s getting no credit at the minute from me), Pim Fortuyn, that Austrian who crashed his car and died (probably saw a ‘black sheep’ at he side of the road and swerved towards it), Richard Littlejohn, and every other tabloid based fool’s fantasy come culture war they’ve been spewing out in the UK, Europe and wider.
      Given that the UK self defined Muslim population is under 5% of the total population and a mere ~6% in Europe overall, I think it’s fair to say we can put the establishment of whatever the current weakly named catchphrase applies to on the same timescale as the coming of the messiah.
      If these ‘guardians’ of judeo-christian-roman-greek-arab-norse-viking-celctic-god-knows-where values actually worried about political and religious violence, in the UK they’d do well to to take note that bombing and shootings in the name of sectarian Christian violence continues as it’s done for centuries in Northern Ireland. And they know how to make bombs, shoot and fight wars over there, unlike the vast majority of the wannabes of the lunatic Muslim persuasion.
      A cursory Lexus media archive search of UK press in the past month pulled up about 22 mentions of Islamic fundamentalism: almost all to do with policy and incidents abroad, like Afghanistan and Somalia. Northern Ireland was closer to 100, and that includes almost weekly bombings, punishment shootings, paramilitary murders and forced expulsions of families by these groups for ‘anti social’ behaviour.
      So rather than waiting for generations until we all start praying to a different man in the sky and Melanie Phillips officially changes the name of London to that delightful pay on words ‘Londonistan’, we in the UK can save ourselves the bother and move to Northern Ireland, where Christianity is predominantly ethnic, not religious. Or for that matter much of Scotland. And Liverpool. Come to think of it, we’ll need another snappy Eurabia/Londonistan term to sell it. Now what’s that world power called again where nutcase Christianity is on the rise? Maybe we could base it on that name… .. .

      Reply to Comment
    22. Kolumn9

      Final comment. There is a tendency in some circles to define the power of a community purely in terms of voting percentages. This is a gross error. The power of a community is only partly due to its numbers, but mostly due to its ability to organize itself around a cause or ideology and influence events.

      The question really isn’t whether Muslims in a European country will be able to elect a leader, but the kind of compromises the rest of the country will have to make should a 10% Muslim community actually organize themselves around an ideology of pursuing laws and policies that further the role of Islam in public life.

      For example, how big of a protest against a cartoon of Mohammed would cause a government to start considering laws to ban such a depiction or laws to prevent the defamation of Islam? I don’t really want to mention other potential acts that would occur if even 10% of the population was motivated to ‘promote good and prevent evil’ as defined by Islam. What possible policy could a government undertake against such a large minority where such actions are considered legitimate?

      The argument for kumbaya is just not convincing considering the tensions we are seeing even with relatively small Muslim minorities in Western European countries, even less so when the rate of growth of these communities over the past 20 years is taken into account.

      Reply to Comment
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