Ruthie Blum - Jun 20, 2012
It is not for nothing that jihadists refer to the U.S. as the “Great Satan” and to Israel as the “Small Satan.” What the U.S. and the Jewish state have in common is so profound and unmistakable that radical Islamists have recognized and felt threatened by it from the get-go.
Using Quranic texts and the “hadith” (oral traditions) to support their aim to kill or convert all Jews and Christians to Islam, they have little trouble explaining their aversion to the key countries that base their legal and moral systems on the Ten Commandments.
But this is only their theological justification for hating the West in general and the U.S. and Israel in particular. Their religious zeal in actually trying to carry out what they believe their prophet, Mohammed, had in mind for them comes from a combination of fear and envy.
What they fear is freedom. It is also what they envy.
They observe life in the West — indeed, many of their leaders were educated at Harvard and Oxford — and this is what they see: Women calling as many of the shots as men; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people throwing parades for the right to marry, adopt children, serve in the military and not be discriminated against in the workplace or anywhere else; Internet dating; journalists able to sling mud at any official at will; children who talk back to their parents and teachers; people able to climb academic, social and financial ladders without regard to their status at birth; television shows and blogs discussing everything from in vitro fertilization to incest.
It is for this reason that many of us have been arguing that it is not American or Israeli policies at the root of radicals’ hatred, but rather the essence of the two “devils.” And short of becoming closed Muslim societies, there is nothing either “Satans” can do to alter that situation.
This is not to say that there is nothing that can be done. On the contrary, there is much that can and should be undertaken by the West to guarantee its own survival while under physical and ideological attack from enemies bent on its destruction.
But in order to combat a phenomenon, it first has to be acknowledged.
Israel has generally been good about recognizing threats, even when it has been reluctant at times to act with full force against them.
The U.S., on the other hand, has had a poor record in relation to the Arab-Muslim world. This began in 1979, when Jimmy Carter was president, and imagined that the Ayatollah Khomeini was a harmless cleric who would rescue Iran from the shah, a long-time ally of both the U.S. and Israel.
Carter’s successors weren’t much better when it came to grasping the gravity of the radicalization of the Middle East, spurred by the Islamic revolution in Iran.
That the World Trade Center bombings took everyone by surprise on Sept. 11, 2001, shows just how clueless everybody was.
But even President George W. Bush — who responded by announcing his intention to pursue the perpetrators, and then went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq — ultimately proved unable to stomach the loathing he aroused, more at home than abroad. Thus, the knight’s second term in office was characterized by a dulling of his shining armor.
Which brings us to President Barack Obama. The “leader-from-behind” of the Free World can be credited with having swiftly removed any remaining obstacle to an across-the-board Islamization of the Middle East.
Thrilled with the Arab uprisings that began a year and a half ago, he and his administration have ignored at best — and encouraged at worst — the direction in which each Muslim country is heading.
Chief among these is Egypt.
From the minute he took office, Obama signaled to the radicals that he was on their side — and at Israel’s expense, to boot. He did this first by going to Cairo and making a speech before a Muslim Brotherhood-heavy audience. Then, when the Tahrir Square demonstrations erupted, he abandoned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, leaving the field wide open for a Muslim Brotherhood takeover.
And take over is just what the terrorist organization did — initially by garnering a majority in the Egyptian parliament. Now it appears that its candidate for the presidency, Mohamed Morsi, has won what is being called a “historic election.”
The victor will only be declared on Thursday. Whether the count can be trusted is questionable. What is not in doubt at all, however, is that Gaza is celebrating with gusto. Nor is it surprising that Egypt’s exit polls coincided with a terrorist attack on Israel from the Sinai desert.
It is too late for Obama to rectify what the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin calls his “ineptitude and lack of a coherent response to the Arab Spring.” What the U.S. needs to do at this point, she says, is “at least make clear that democracy takes more than elections.”
The U.S. may be powerless to put the jihadist genie back in the bottle that Obama was so helpful in uncorking. But, come November, the American electorate can put him out to pasture where he belongs. That very act alone could be instrumental in instilling a different kind of fear and envy on the part of the radical Islamists — one that forces them to take threats and promises from Capitol Hill seriously.Ruthie Blum, a former senior editor at The Jerusalem Post, is the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring,’” soon to be released by RVP Press.
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