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Posted in: Culture Wars & Censorship, Film & Propaganda

Published on Feb 28, 2006 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Family Security Matters

Are We Winning the War Against Terror?


Are we winning the war against terror or more precisely, against the death-cult ideology of extreme hatred that employs terror as one of its weapons? America, Britain, and Israel have all committed significant sums of money in order to fight jihad militarily. However, we must simultaneously battle another very hot war, one that will decide if western civilization lives or dies. This is a war we are not winning; some argue that it is a war we have not yet begun to fight. I am talking about the cultural war that both Islamists and western intellectuals have launched against America and Israel. We face a situation in which hate speech, Big Lies, and Orwellian propaganda have all triumphed on academic campuses across North America and in Europe. As parents and grandparents we are sending our most beloved heirs to be brainwashed, not educated.

I was once held captive in Kabul, Afghanistan and I therefore fully understand the dangers we face if Islam prevails. My captivity has shaped the kind of thinker that I am: one who is an American patriot and not a cultural relativist; one who believes in a single standard of human rights for everyone; one who is not afraid to call indigenous barbarism by its rightful name; one who does not blame America or Israel for Islamic religious and gender Apartheid. I write about these subjects in my latest book The Death Of Feminism: What's Next in the Battle for Women's Freedom.

WHAT PARENTS MUST UNDERSTAND ABOUT HIGHER EDUCATION TODAY

Today, the truth is not holding its own against the base propaganda that has increasingly gained a foothold at our most distinguished universities and in our mainstream media. Let me help you understand this.

The Palestinianization of the western academy and media began in earnest in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Initially ground breaking views about gender and racial inequalities became increasingly influenced by Marxist views against capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, and organized religion and gradually came to constitute what is now known as the "postcolonial" and postmodern academy. Race replaced both class and gender as a primary concern. Over time, even feminists became more obsessed with the "occupation" of Palestine than with the worldwide occupation of women's bodies. By the late 1990s, Palestinians - not Tibetans, Kurds, Bosnians, or Rwandans - came to be viewed as the symbolic victims of the world by those academics who considered themselves anti-racists, anti-violence, and anti-misogynists.

In an Orwellian world of doublespeak and groupthink, Palestinians became the new black South Africans and Israel became the new white Afrikaner Apartheid regime. Politically correct western academics and activists romanticized Palestinians, including terrorists, whose methods they viewed as a justified response to oppression.

Paradoxically, tragically, these same western academics viewed only two nations as dangerous "terrorist" entities: Israel and America. The atrocities committed by China, Soviet Russia, Cuba, Korea, Iran, Sudan, and Saddam Hussein's Iraq never viscerally outraged them in quite the same way.

The fact that jihadists also opposed modernity, democracy, human rights, and women's rights did not seem to matter to the self-proclaimed arbiters of human rights in the West.

The fact that Islamic culture is far more patriarchal than Judeo-Christian western culture did not seem to register in significant ways. In fact, feminist academics tiptoed around it. For a westerner to accuse a non-white, non-westerner of barbarism (especially if it was true) was seen as unacceptably "racist." That such western academics were willing to sacrifice non-white, non-western women and men to savage regimes did not strike anyone as either racist or sexist. Ironically, in the war of civilizations that is upon us: Dare to argue for military as well as humanitarian intervention and you will be slandered as a "racist"--even when you are arguing for the lives and dignity of brown-, black-, and olive-skinned people. Such cultural relativism is, today, perhaps the greatest failing of the western academic and media establishment.

Such "politically correct" views gathered steam with the onset of the Intifada of 2000. Few western journalists or academics drew back in horror as they watched masked men gruesomely be-head Daniel Pearl, the American-Jewish journalist, or as they watched a Palestinian mob joyfully lynch two Israeli reservists in Ramallah. No one paused to re-consider a single double standard as Israeli civilians were being blown up over and over again on buses, and in pizza parlors, hotels, and discothèques Soviet-era, Arab League, and western "politically correct" ideology held every human emotion in check.

It is important to note that such "politically correct" views currently exist in every discipline within the humanities and social sciences and are no longer merely confined to Middle Eastern or Jewish Studies. One cannot have an academic conversation about any subject without "heil hitler-ing" (signifying one's allegiance to the holy cause of Palestine.) I am only slightly exaggerating.

Such "politically correct" views did not diminish post 9/11, post 3/11 (Madrid) and post 7/7 (London). Such academics and activists continued to rage against President Bush and against American foreign policy. In addition, calls for boycotts and divestment in Israel and angry anti-American demonstrations and actions have only increased in the last five years; they have not lessened. Distinguished universities including Duke, Georgetown, and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, where Albert Einstein and 21 Nobel Laureates once resided, have all supported academics who, post 9/11, continue to call for boycotts of Israel-only, challenge the Patriot Act, care more about the civil liberties of Arab Muslim jihadists captured in battle than they do about the right-to-life of civilians under jihadic siege. Such academics are the first who charge "racism" when their biased views are challenged.

Individual faculty at these universities have invited Holocaust deniers such as Norman Finkelstein, anti-Zionists such as Ilan Pappe, and the terrorist-affiliated Palestine Solidarity Conference to preach their hate speech under the guise of "academic freedom." Increasingly, our educational systems remain tolerant to intolerant views. This is our Achilles heel--just as unlimited Muslim immigration into Europe has turned Europe into Eurabia.

As a psychologist, I have therefore concluded that the western academy currently functions like a cult. Academics have been brainwashed; in turn, they view their teaching jobs as the way in which to indoctrinate, rather than teach, the coming generations. Our universities do not function as institutions in which independent and diverse ideas are welcomed or flourish.

Brainwashed people are usually not amenable to facts or to multiple and competing interpretations of those facts. Those academics who don't want to hear about why anti-Americanism are wrong, deluded, and self-destructive--do not attend lectures that might set the record straight. Those who do don't want to hear that the new anti-Semitism IS anti-Zionism and that anti-Zionism, is today, a form of racism—do not attend lectures or read articles on such subjects. When they do attend such lectures, they usually come en masse to object and attack. The debate is uncivilized and is often characterized by interruptions, accusations, curses, intimidation, threats, and group walkouts. The lecturer is sometimes utterly silenced, publicly shamed, or forced to exit the premise for their own safety.

What am I saying? That billions of people, including our own children and grandchildren, have been brainwashed against America, against Israel, against Jews and paradoxically against women—at least against those who live under Islamic domination. I am saying that we have a serious fifth column in our midst, one that has been leading the culture war against the West.

WHAT AMERICAN PARENTS CAN DO

Given that this is so, I believe there are certain things that we must do—and keep doing in order to win the culture war.

First, those in possession of family fortunes that they wish to donate to universities should think twice about doing so. At this point in history, it might be wiser to invest in conservative think tanks so that they may begin to offer courses for credit at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Second, we need to fund--and seriously fund--a collective effort to combat the vulgar lies and vilification which has brainwashed so many generations. We need a War Room effort to counter the Big Lies. We need international radio and television channels to educate people both here and abroad. Thus, we must support the work that people such as myself and others such as Bat Ye'or, Andy Bostom, David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes, Nidra Poller, and Robert Spencer are doing to challenge the base propaganda.

Third, we absolutely must defeat jihad. We must pre-empt Iran's nuclear capacity. We must combat the hate propaganda against America, Israel, and women that characterizes so much of the Arab and Muslim world today. This is a very long educational and cultural process. And, we must peg every peace and trade treaty with a Muslim country to the status of women in that country.

Parents must now understand that their children will probably be brainwashed against both America and Israel in their college classrooms. And, that if students challenge this one-sided view of both history and contemporary reality, that they will risk being ostracized by other students and penalized by their professors.

Thus, it is important for parents to teach their children, both boys and girls, how to stand up to bullies; how to live with being "unpopular;" how to survive and flourish as an honorable minority. It is also important to learn how to present and interpret facts in a reason-driven way and how not to succumb to unreason and extreme emotion.

WHAT WE MUST ALSO DO

We must rescue language. It must bear some relationship to the truth and to morality. Everything is not relative. It is not all Rashomon. We must take back the campuses, allow intellectual diversity and truth-telling to flourish.

We must not allow our media or academics to continue to insist that Islam is not the problem, but that even if it is, that we cannot say so, lest we be deemed racist. We must teach the history of jihad against infidels, and the history of how infidels (Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroastrians) were treated under Islam. We must insist that criticism of America and Israel must be balanced, not pathological, obsessive, cult-like. We must insist on civility in public discourse. We must model it for the coming generations.

This country has birthed two significant waves of feminism. We must now take that feminist vision global. We need our foreign policy to contain serious provisions about women's rights abroad. Otherwise, democracy cannot and will not evolve or flourish in Muslim countries.

The way I see it, everything is at stake. This is a time when we must all be heroes. We must all stand up to evil in our lifetime. We must acknowledge that Islamist terrorism is evil and has no justification. We must teach this to our children. We must support Muslim and Arab dissidents in their fight against Islamic tyranny and gender apartheid. We can do this. We must do this. Otherwise, we will die; our history and our values and our entire way of life will die with us. If we fail this opportunity we will betray all that we believe in as a free people.


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