Israel Hosts Anti-Islam Conference

Israel on Sunday, 14 December, hosted a virulently anti-Islam conference in Jerusalem, with a number of fascist-minded speakers from Israel and abroad taking part in the one-day event.  The conference was addressed by notorious Islamophobes such as Daniel Pipes, Dutch Legislator Geert Wilders and right-wing Israeli lawmaker Aryeh Eldad.  Wilders, a self-confessed hater of Islam, praised Israel for holding the conference in occupied Jerusalem, saying that it was the time for such an event to take place in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe.  He added, however, that the “cost of security would be much higher in Holland than in Israel.”  After making characteristically venomous remarks about Islam, the Quran and Muslims, Wilders received a standing ovation, reflecting growing fascist trends in Israel.  Wilders, a maverick Dutch politician who gained notoriety slandering Islam and the Prophet Muhammed, has been seeking alliance with Nazi-minded Jewish Islamophobes in Israel and North America for the purpose of forming a broad alliance aimed at spreading hatred and incitement against the Islamic faith.  Wilders, utterly ignoring American and European wars of aggression against the Muslim world, including the American invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, said the West should target the Muslim faith itself, not just militant Muslim groups hostile to western intervention in the Muslim world.  Israeli governments normally warmly welcome right-wing European leaders as long as their hatred and racism are directed against Muslims and non-Jews in general.

Daniel Pipes, the notorious American Jewish Islamophobe who has made a career inciting against “political Islam,” told the decidedly-right wing audience that it would be unwise to portray Islam itself as the enemy.  Pipes said targeting Islam as a religion would backfire and push Muslims to get united to defend their faith.  “Those who regard Islam rather than Jihad as the enemy fail to realize that a change has occurred over the past few years. Although moderate Muslims are still a small force, they are stronger than they were two years ago.”  Pipes and other speakers call for the continuation of the American-led war against “radical Islam,” overlooking the fact that Islamist groups have grown stronger in many parts of the Muslim world. (e.g., Taliban today control nearly three quarters of Afghanistan despite the heavy presence of NATO forces in that country)

Pipes said he was identifying with Judeo-Nazi groups in Israel in their rejection of the peace process and the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.  He said he advocated “crushing of Palestinian hopes” for freeform, liberation and independence which he called “hopes for destroying Israel.”  He also said he opposed the creation of a Palestinian state and the ongoing peace talks, suggesting that Israel should either expel all non-Jews from Palestine-Israel or adopt full-fledged apartheid to preclude human and civil equality for Palestinians.  Pipes, a Jewish-Zionist supremacist, has been an ardent supporter of President Bush’s anti-Islamic militancy.  He has also been inciting European states to fight multi-culturalism, promote nationalism and xenophobia and see to it that Muslim immigrants are either thoroughly assimilated or expelled back to their original native lands.

Another speaker at the conference, Duke University’s Prof. John Lewis, suggested that the fight against “radical Islam” needed to focus on non-Arab Muslim nations such as Indonesia and Turkey.  The conference was co-sponsored by the far-right Israeli lawmaker Aryeh Eldad, a Jewish supremacist and fervent supporter of Jewish settlement expansion and theft of Arab land.

A few years ago, when Israeli troops vacated Jewish settlers from the Amonna settler outpost in the West Bank, Eldad was quoted as saying that it was lamentable that the Israeli army “treated true human beings (Jews) as if they were Arabs.”  Eldad utterly rejects peace between Israel and the Palestinians and advocates “total extirpation of non-Jews from the land of Israel.”

Conference of hate

Ismael Shindi, a professor of Islamic Studies at Hebron University, dismissed the Jerusalem conference as a “conference of hate.”  “These people are not serious scholars. They are motivated by a pathological and blind hatred of Islam and Muslims, not by a real desire to know the truth. Their respective records and backgrounds underscore their academic, intellectual and moral bankruptcy.”  Shindi said any objective and honest scholar would make a clear distinction between what religion says and what some followers do.  “Religions don’t carry out acts of terror and violence, individuals do.”  Shindi said it was very easy to demolish the view that Islam is the enemy of the West or that Islam is inherently violent.  “Then how would they explain that atrocities, genocides, and holocausts carried out by western Christians in the past 2000 years, or the atrocities committed by Jews in biblical and modern times.”  He pointed out that all victims of Muslim wars and violence since the beginning of Islam didn’t add up to the victims of a single Christian or European war.

Shindi opined that the anti-Islamic conference in Jerusalem should be viewed in the context of the “growing alliance between Judeo-Nazi forces in Israel and European fascist circles.”  “Normally, these two groups are enemies given the legacy of Nazism and fascism in Europe. But now they seem to have found a common enemy in Islam.”  Shindi said this alliance shows that many Zionist Jews were not against Nazism as a matter of principle.  “If the holocaust had targeted non-Jews, many, probably most Zionist Jews, would have lauded Hitler.”

Khalid Amayreh is a journalist living in Palestine. Read other articles by Khaled, or visit Khaled's website.