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November 29, 2002 - Image 33

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-11-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Naming The Enemy

Philadelphia
as anyone noticed the dif-
ference in the way
America's two wars are
approached?
When the subject is Iraq, the U.S.
government is proactive, articulate
and specific. But when it comes to
militant Islam, officialdom is reactive,
awkward and vague.
Take the issue of preventive security.
To stop Iraqi sabotage and terrorism,
the New York Times recently reported,
Washington tracks thousands of Iraqi
citizens and Iraqi-Americans who
might pose a domestic risk. It even has
plans in place to arrest sympathizers to
Iraq's Saddam Hussein who are sus-
pected of planning terrorist operations.
No comparable program exists in the
war against militant Islam. (I define
"militant Islam" as not Islam, not ter-
rorism, but a terrorist reading of Islam.)
Fearful of being accused of. "profil-
ing," law enforcement treads super
gingerly around those who back this
totalitarian ideology. Thus, the airline
security system randomly harasses pas-
sengers instead of looking for travelers
. known to sympathize with the likes of
Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini (who died

E

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle
East Forum and author of 'Militant
Islam Reaches America."
E mail: Pipes@MEForum.org

-

in.1989) and Osama bin Laden.
ments refuse to say this out loud.
the enemy is it possible to see
Immigration officials focus on superfi-
Instead, they repeat pleasant
the goal of defeating and
cial characteristics (nationality, crimi-
statements disassociating the
marginalizing this ideology
nal record) and ignore what is truly
religion of Islam from violence.
(along the lines of what was
relevant (ideology).
Here is President George W.
done to fascism and commu-
The White House would not con-
Bush on the subject some days
nism in World War II and in
sider inviting Baghdad's apologists to
ago: "Islam, as practiced by the
the cold war).
festive functions. But it welcomed
vast majority of people, is a
• Defining the enemy. Right
many of militant Islam's sympathizers
peaceful religion, a religion
DANIEL
now, it's just "terrorists," "evil-
at a Ramadan dinner hosted by the
that respects others."
doers," "a dangerous group of
PIPES
president earlier this month.
Fine, but that completely
people" and other non-specif-
Special
Or consider this: When did you last
avoids the tough issues facing
ic monikers. Naming militant
Commentary
hear praise for Saddam's regime on an
his administration.
Islam as the enemy reveals
American television talk show? It does
that the problem goes beyond
not happen. But media outlets rou-
terrorists to include those who in non-
Clearing The Hurdles
tinely offer a platform to those pro-
violent ways forward the totalitarian
moting militant Islam.
Not acknowledging militant Islam
agenda — that includes its finders,
If "war on Iraq" is easy to say, "war
impedes the war effort in several ways:
preachers, apologists and lobbyists.
on militant Islam" is not. Instead, the
• Understanding the enemy's motives:
• Defining the allies Allies are cur-
Bush administration adopted the
A virtual taboo exists in official circles
rently restricted to those who help pre-
euphemistic "war on terror."
about Islam's role in the violence; in
vent terrorism. Naming militant Islam
Why the readiness to confront Iraq
the words of one senior State
clarifies the ideological dimension and
head-on but reluctance to do so when
Department official, this subject "has
points to the crucial role. of Muslims
it concerns militant Islam?
to be tip-toed around."
who reject this radical utopian ideolo-
Because militant Islam benefits from
As a result, the violence is treated as
gy. They can both help argue against it
two factors — political correctness and
though it comes out of nowhere,_ the
and then offer an alternate to it.
lobbying — that Saddam lacks.
work of (in Bush's description) "a
A war cannot be won without iden-
Iraq is a country ruled by an obvious-
bunch of cold-blooded killers.
tifying the enemy. If the U.S. govern-
ly evil megalomaniac. Militant Islam is
• Defining war goals: The U.S
ment intends to prevail in the current
an ideology grounded in a major reli-
government's stated objectives in the , conflict, it must start talking about
gion. Saddam has few supporters in the
war are operationally vague —
the war against militant Islam. This
United States; the Islamic vision has
Secretary of Defense Donald H.
will then make it possible for others
many convincing spokesmen.
Rumsfeld once described them as
— the media, Hollywood, even aca-
Although everyone knows the enemy
preventing terrorists "from adversely
demics — to do likewise.
is motivated in something having to do - affecting our way of life."
At that point, both war efforts will
with Islam, the U.S. and other govern-
Only by naming militant Islam as
be on the right footing. O

)3

Confronting Claustrophobia

Johannesburg, South Africa
here's no need for a $6 mil-
lion population study here,
like the United Jewish
Communities' boondoggle
in America, to find out that the South
African Jewish community is steadily
getting smaller, older, more insular
and more uncomfortable.
Conversations with South African
Jews in various walks of life paint a
picture of what one worker at Cape
Town's impressive Jewish Museum
called a "claustrophobic" community.
Many of the younger, more talented
and wealthier Jews are leaving for the
United States, Canada, Australia and,
to a lesser degree, because of the
intifada [Palestinian uprising], Israel.
During the apartheid years, many
Jewish families sent their sons abroad

T

Douglas M. Bloomfield is a former
executive director of the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee.
E-mail• dmb@his.com

to avoid the draft. Today's 20-some-
things don't see a bright future here
and are leaving in growing numbers,
as their parents are debating whether
to follow or remain with their own
generation.
A major factor keeping the older
generation here is the weakness of the
South African currency, the rand
which gives them a comfortable life
they could not afford abroad.
The quality of life many boast about
seems surreal. It is a life with tennis
courts, swimming pools and gardens
surrounded by walls, barbed wire and
electrified fences; it is accompanied by
a fear to venture into many parts of
the cities because of a plague of violent
crime fed by rage from a recent past.
Today's Jewish community is far
below its postwar peak of about
120,000 — estimates range from
40,000 to 80,000, but no one knows
for sure.
While most Jews may have looked
on blacks as "others" and counted

themselves among the domi-
Most Jews Not Activist
nant white population, the
One black author has estimat-
white establishment, both
ed that nearly 80 percent of
British and Afrikaaners, views
white South Africans sup-
Jews as "others."
porting progressive causes
DOUGLAS M. were Jews. Mandela, the for-
Jews have a rich history
BLOOMFIELD mer South African president,
here going back nearly two
Special
centuries, during which
has written that he found
they've risen to prominence
Commentary
Jews more progressive about
in business, industry, the
race and politics than other
professions and government.
whites because they, too, had
But unlike in America,
experienced prejudice.
South African Jews have largely
But that didn't translate into broad
failed to use their position and power Jewish community support. Quite the
to advance Jewish causes. That segre-
opposite. Indifference, racism and fears
gation of interests was especially
of sparking neo-Nazi anti-Semitism in
apparent in the battle against
the ruling National Party kept most Jews
apartheid.
on the sidelines. The South African
The leading white activists in the
Jewish Board of Deputies was carefully
struggle were Jews. In the infamous
neutral; even when Catholic and
Rivonia treason trial of 1964 that
Protestant leaders were speaking out.
sentenced Nelson Mandela to life in
American journalist Glenn Frankel
prison with six co-defendants, five of has written that "when it came to
them were Jewish. So was Mandela's
political morality the official Jewish
lawyer (now this country's chief jus-
tice) and so was the chief prosecutor.
BLOOMFIELD on page 35

.

msr

11/29
2002

33

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