Thursday, October 27, 2005


The Islamofascist Threat Exposed

Thomas Jones's Short Cuts contribution in one of the latest issues of the London Review of Books takes on Bat Ye'or, darling of the fervently pro-Israel, anti-Europe neocon crowd (and others who throw about the term "Islamofascist"), and her recent book, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis.

In a move that would surely make Abraham Foxman shit his pants, Jones compares the sort of conspiracy theory hogwash promoted by Ye'or (and others) about a "Euro-Arab Axis" to none other than the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Jones writes:
Martin Gilbert praises Eurabia as ‘a warning to Europe not to allow the anti-American and anti-Israel pressures of Islam to subvert Europe’s true values: vibrant democracy, humanitarian free thinking and social fair dealing’. Tell that to the Muslim detainees in Belmarsh Prison. Daniel Pipes says that ‘Bat Ye’or has traced a nearly secret history of Europe over the past thirty years, convincingly showing how the Euro-Arab Dialogue has blossomed from a minor discussion group into the engine for the continent’s Islamisation.’ You may never have heard of the Euro-Arab Dialogue, but that only goes to show how powerful it is. And according to Niall Ferguson, ‘future historians will one day regard her coinage of the term “Eurabia” as prophetic. Those who wish to live in a free society must be eternally vigilant. Bat Ye’or’s vigilance is unrivalled.’

Western Europe is in danger from Islamic extremism, as was demonstrated in London on 7 July this year, and in Madrid on 11 March 2004. But if there’s a threat to our freedom and democracy, it is posed not by the suicide bombers but by government reaction to the bombings: the summary public execution of Jean Charles de Menezes; the proposal to extend the legal period of detention without trial for terrorist suspects from 14 days to three months. The ‘Islamisation’ of Europe seems a very distant prospect to me. Ye’or would probably put my denial down to ‘dhimmitude’. In a review of Ye’or’s previous book, Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilisations Collide (2002), Melanie Phillips said that ‘there are . . . alarming signs of attempts in the West to shut down such discussions on spurious grounds of prejudice. This is, of course, itself a prime example of the condition of “dhimmitude” which Bat Ye’or so graphically describes.’

The second rule to bear in mind when putting together a conspiracy theory is that in order to hold water it needs to be circular, or rather spiral, so that any criticism can be sucked in and turned into evidence in its favour.

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