Posted in: Israel
Published on Feb 21, 2011 by Fern Sidman
Interview with Phyllis Chesler: "Israel Under Existential Siege"
Israel National News reporter Fern Sidman interviewed op-ed columnist, Dr. Phyllis Chesler, at a first-of-its-kind conference in Toronto organized by Advocates for Civil Liberties and entitled, "When Middle East Politics Invade Campus". Held on February 16th, the event dealt with the continued and increasingly hostile demonization of Israel, both on the college campus and in the media.
INN: Today, you addressed the escalating hatred of Israel in the realm of Western academia. Can you tell us your observations of this phenomenon since your book, "The New Anti-Semitism" came about some years ago?
PC: As I first wrote in 2001-2002, the new anti-Semitisim also consists of a rather frightening, genocidal anti-Zionism. The global demonization of Israel has gathered such speed and force that it could, potentially – it is certainly meant to – delegitimize and destroy the Jewish state. In 2005, Iran's Ahmadinejad said that Israel must be "wiped off the map." In 2006, he said that the Middle East would be better off "without the existence of the Zionist regime" and that Israel would "soon be wiped out." No one did anything.
Now, in 2011, signs and placards in Cairo, including the many effigies of Hosni Mubarak, bore Stars of David; Mubarak was accused of being a Zionist—the worst epithet imaginable. President Ahmadinejad congratulated the triumphant Egyptians. saying: "Despite all the West's complicated and Satanic designs…a new Middle East is emerging without the Zionist regime and U.S. interference..."
Israel is under the most profound, even existential siege.
On February 13, 2011, the Israeli government urged Israelis to return home from the Sinai for fear "that the peninsula will become a launching pad for terror attacks as Egyptian police abandon their posts." Thus, Israel is now surrounded by Hamas in Gaza, Iran's Hizbullah in Lebanon, potentially the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and the various Islamist and jihadist groups on the West Bank.
In addition, let's not forget that in the early years of the Intifada, Israeli civilians were murdered and maimed in huge numbers. Had the equivalent happened in the United States it would have instantly launched World War IV.
INN: Do you think the Egpytian people will eventually embrace a civilian government that is predicated on secular, democratic principles?
PC: Please remember that the women in Tahrir Square were mainly wearing serious hijab and even niqab. They are already pro-Islamist. According to a June 2010 Pew Research opinion survey of Egyptians, it stated that, "Fifty nine percent said they back Islamists. Only 27% said they back modernizers. Half of Egyptians support Hamas. Thirty percent support Hizbullah and 20% support al Qaida. Moreover, 95% of them would welcome Islamic influence over their politics….Eighty two percent of Egyptians support executing adulterers by stoning, 77% support whipping and cutting the hands off thieves. 84% support executing any Muslim who changes his religion."
What will it mean that such a population can vote? Will the vote be any different than the vote which elected Hamas in Gaza? Without the necessary precursors: the rule of law, a constitutional system of checks and balances, the separation of mosque and state, freedom of religion, a free press, education, women's rights, human rights, a modern economic base, etc. the vote does not mean that democracy as we know it exists.
INN: Many speakers here today have spoken of the inherent danger of defending Israel on campus. Can you tell us your experience in doing so?
PC: The campuses have become increasingly and aggressively anti-Israel and pro-Islam. Today, anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism. "Brownshirt" behavior rules the day. Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents are met with menace, if they are invited to speak at all and pro-Israel truth tellers are not even invited to speak.
Israel is not an apartheid nation. Muslim countries persecute non-Muslim minorities, Israel doesn't persecute non-Jews. The Arab Middle East is "judenrein," Arab Christians are under siege there. Say this on most campuses, as I have, and you will be jeered, booed, possibly physically menaced, certainly demonized afterwards as a "racist" and "Islamophobe." You will lose your publishing contacts and your former feminist political world. You will not be invited to speak by Women's Studies programs.
My work on Islamic gender apartheid has been attacked in these quarters. But Islamic gender apartheid is a human rights violation and cannot be justified in the name of cultural relativism, tolerance, anti-racism, diversity, or political correctness. The battle for women's rights is central to the battle for Europe and for Western values. Radical feminists prefer not to see it..
INN: Do you have any statistics on the number of Israelis who have lost their lives due to the forces of radical Islam?
PC: Based on an American population of approximately 310 million, the Israeli civilian death count is the equivalent of 48,700 Americans killed by terrorists on our own soil, in pizza parlors, on buses, at Passover sedorim, in our beds. According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, between 2001 and 2007, 8,342 Israelis were wounded by terrorist attacks, including 5,676 civilians.This is the equivalent of 340,000 wounded Americans.
INN: In your opinion, who is in the forefront of disseminating the myths about Israel?
PC: The politically correct line is that Israel, tiny Israel, is the "Nazi, Apartheid state." Only Orwell would understand this misuse of language, this reversal of logic, which is meant to confuse and brainwash people. Such brainwashing has worked. Sixty years of Soviet and Arab League activism and Saudi monies have accomplished the unbelievable. Israel is not only the "bad guy," it is the "very worst bad guy" in the entire universe.
INN: What is your message for those who are indifferent to the growing scourge of Islamic propaganda and terrorism?
PC: We, the world's civilians, are now all Israelis. The same world which refused to stop the airplane hijackings and suicide killers which blew up countless Israeli civilians has now inherited this whirlwind. As they say: It may start with the Jews but it never ends there.
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