Archive for John Bolton

The Islamophobia Excuse

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2012 by loonwatch
Sharia HysteriaPhoto by Ann Hermes / The Christian Science Monitor

Why would politicians and pundits want Americans to hate Islam and Muslims?

Many reasons, argues Philip Giraldi, including promoting Israel’s interests and justifying an endless series of wars in far away lands. (H/T: MasterQ)

The Islamophobia Excuse

by ,

It seems that the Republican presidential aspirants’ fervor to confront Islam has receded a bit with the decline and fall of Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, but one can likely still count on Rick Santorum to come up with some bon mots on the threat posed by Shariah law. Those who fear that hands will soon be lopped off shoplifters caught in Cleveland appear to be making much ado about nothing, but there is a much broader and more insidious agenda that is really playing out behind the scenes. Perry, Gingrich, and Santorum are all smart enough to know that Islamic law is hardly poised to dominate the U.S. legal system, but they are using it as the wedge issue to deny the patriotism of Muslims in general and fuel the demands to exercise a military option against Iran.

Promoting fear of Shariah law is essentially a red herring. There are more than 50 predominantly Muslim countries in the world, and, while most have elements of Shariah in their civil and family law, only two have it as their criminal codes. They are Saudi Arabia and Iran, one a close ally of the United States and the West and the other currently playing the cameo role of a threat to the entire world, to borrow a phrase from the eminent Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel. The countries that do not have Shariah as their criminal codes have modeled their laws on European and American models, some borrowing from Roman law and others from British common law.

Depicting Islam as manifestly medieval, backward, and cruel is not new, as it has been going on in one form or another since the Israelis and Palestinians first locked horns. Recognizing that the propaganda that is being ground out in the mainstream media derives from that conflict, it is easy to understand why Muslims are persistently portrayed in negative terms. And it should be equally unsurprising to learn that those who are denigrating Muslims and Islam are almost invariably among the most uncritical supporters of Likudist Israel and all its works.

The list of those who are passionate about how bad Islam is has a familiar ring to it. It is led by the truly vicious and fanatical like Pamela Geller and includes John Bolton, David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes, and Charles Krauthammer. Geller has written that there is “a systematic campaign to impose Shariah on the secular marketplace” and to pervert the justice system in favor of Islamic exemptions, a theme that has been picked up by Gingrich and Santorum, both of whom favor pointless laws banning Shariah in any form. In a milder form, the same viewpoint is reflected in both the news coverage and the editorial pages of newspapers like The New York PostThe Washington Post, and even The New York Times. The arguments being made are not necessarily intended to convince anyone other than those who are already more than half onboard, but they are designed to keep the issue of how Muslims are not quite like the rest of us on the back burner to so that the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians and other Arabs will somehow always seem suspect. It also fuels other narratives that the neoconservatives and their friends support, like perpetual warfare against Islamic countries to bring about regime changes, suggesting that there is something that is not quite right in the way that Muslim countries govern themselves. The real objective is, however, spelled out in the paper that the neocons presented to Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996, “A Clean Break,” advocating the breakup of Arab countries into smaller components that would be perpetually at war with themselves, thereby assuring Israeli predominance in the region. As is so often the case, the conversation in the United States is really all about Israel.

The broader agenda of Islamophobia also fuels arguments to continue to stay the course in places like Afghanistan. Urinating on corpses, hunting and killing local farmers for sport, shooting women and children in the middle of the night, and burning Qurans are all justified because American soldiers find themselves in a difficult and stress-filled environment where the enemies are everywhere and are manifestly not quite real people in the same sense that boys from Kansas are. Muslims become abstractions, and there is the undercurrent of “Don’t they know we are there to help them?” The rarely spelled-out subtext in all the narratives that seek to explain or mitigate the barbaric behavior on the part of America’s finest is that the Afghans are not quite like us and they are not being grateful enough. Their otherness comes partly from the perception that they are primitive but even more from the fact that they are Muslims.

Moving beyond Shariah, those who wish to marginalize Muslims in American life point to the terrorism arrests of Muslims who are American citizens or legal residents of this country. There have indeed been such cases, but a careful reading of the court records suggests that the arrests are mostly what once would have been considered entrapment. A disgruntled young man toys with jihadist websites, is identified, and suddenly finds himself with a new friend who presents him with an unusable bomb to blow himself up in Times Square. He is then arrested and finds himself facing 20 years in prison. The reality, however,  is that of 14,000 murders in the United States in 2010, not a single one was attributed to a Muslim terrorist.

So why should Americans hate or fear Muslims? If it were only the idiosyncrasies of their culture that were an irritant, one would reasonably observe that the United States has absorbed plenty of cultures and lifestyles equally outside of the Western European mainstream. The fact is that the Islamophobia we are currently seeing really has two objectives. First and foremost it is to protect Israeli interests, making Muslims appear to be a threat and a group that is irredeemably un-American, while Israelis are presented as people who are more or less just like us. That means that only one voice will be heard on the Middle East, which is precisely what has taken place. The second objective is to justify the seemingly unending series of wars in Asia, presenting the local people as lacking in the civilized moral and political values that we all hold dear. Ironically, this latter argument is self-defeating, as it is the foreign wars of the past 11 years that have stripped Americans of many of their liberties and constitutional rights. What we choose to fear in Islam and deplore in Muslim regimes — the lack of individual rights — has come home to us.

At RJC Forum, Gingrich says he’ll Appoint John Bolton as Secretary of State

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2011 by loonwatch

At RJC Forum, Gingrich Says He’ll Appoint John Bolton As Secretary of State

by Charles Johnson Wed Dec 7, 2011

Speaking today at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Presidential Candidates Forum, Newt Gingrich announced that for Secretary of State, his pick would be John Bolton.

Yes, that would be the same John Bolton who wrote the foreword for the deranged anti-Obama book by hate bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America, and who appeared in a recorded message at Geller’s ugly “Ground Zero Mosque” hatefest last year. (Newt, in typical Gingrich fashion, agreed to speak too but then bailed out.)

Daniel Pipes’ Unhealthy Obsession with the Hijab

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2009 by loonwatch
Daniel Pipes: Bizarre Fixation on HijabDaniel Pipes: Bizarre Fixation on the Hijab

(Read an UPDATE here)

In a running column entitled, “Hijab on Western Political Women,” failed academic turned zaney anti-Muslim blogger, Daniel Pipes, sets out to (in his own words):

For fun, how about collecting those instances when female political leaders, especially leftist ones, don the hijab (Islamic headscarf)?

(What normal person sitting before a computer thinks up of such a bizarre thing to do when trying to “have fun” anyway? Welcome to the world of Pipes I guess. )

Pipes then includes photos of princess Diana, queen Elizabeth, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and Angelina Jolie, among others, wearing a Hijab when at various mosques.

This caused us to wonder, surely Mr. Pipes is not sexist. Surely, he would invite the same scrutiny to the men in their lives: princess Diana’s husband and queen Elizabeth’s son (prince Charles, heir to the British throne), Laura Bush’s father-in-law and husband (George H.W and George W., both U.S. Presidents), Chelsea Clinton’s dad and Hillary Clinton’s husband (Bill Clinton, U.S. President) and Angelina Jolie’s dad (actor Jon Voight). Surely Mr. Pipes would not want to give those men a pass, especially given all of them (but the last) are far more important politically than their women.

Well since Daniel Pipes is not very good at holding a mirror up to his face, we here at loonwatch volunteered to do that for him. Seeing that Mr. Pipes is Jewish, we put together the following photo display (true to a Daniel Pipes style presentation) – one that is relevant to his own religion not someone else’s – to see what he thinks of it and what he reckons it signifies.

So “for fun”, Mr. Pipes, how about  collecting those instances when Western (and Eastern) male political (and non-political) leaders, especially leftist (and rightist and centrist) ones, don the kippahor yarmulke (Jewish skullcap)?

We start with the most politically powerful men on the planet, U.S. presidents:

President Bill Clinton wearing a yarmulkeU.S. President Bill Clinton wearing a yarmulke

President George Bush wearing a yarmulkeU.S. President George Bush wearing a yarmulke, flanked by Israeli ministers Shimon Peres and Ehud Olmert

President Barack Obama wearing a yarmulkeU.S. President Barack Obama wearing a yarmulke while praying at the Western Wall

President George Bush the father wearing a yarmulke as he kisses the Western WallU.S. President George Herbert Bush (the father) wearing a yarmulke as he kisses the Western Wall

President George Bush wearing a yarmulke as he prays at the Western WallU.S. President George Bush wearing a yarmulke as he prays at the Western Wall

President George Bush wearing another yarmulkePresident George Bush wearing another yarmulke

American Senator Joe Lieberman puts a yarmulke on the head of former presidential candidate senator John McCainAmerican senator Joe Lieberman puts a yarmulke on the head of then presidential candidate, senator John McCain

And other politically powerful world leaders:

British prime minister, Gordon Brown, wearing a yarmulkeBritish prime minister, Gordon Brown, wearing a yarmulke

Then British prime minister Tony Blair wearing a yarmulkeThen British prime minister Tony Blair wearing a yarmulke

French president Nicolas Sarkozy wearing a yarmulkeFrench president Nicolas Sarkozy wearing a yarmulke

Then Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi wearing a yarmulke as he prays at the Western wallThen Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi wearing a yarmulke as he prays at the Western wall

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin wearing a yarmulkeRussian prime minister Vladimir Putin wearing a yarmulke

Prince Charles of Wales, regent to the British crown, wearing a yarmulkePrince Charles of Wales, regent to the British crown, wearing a yarmulke

And other American political men:

"America's Mayor" Rudi Giuliani, mayor of New York City, wearing a yarmulke“America’s Mayor” Rudy Giuliani, mayor of New York City, wearing a yarmulke as then Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon looks on

Clinton's Special Middle East Coordinator Dennis Ross wearing a yarmulkeClinton’s Special Middle East Coordinator Dennis Ross wearing a yarmulke

US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, wearing a yarmulke, not in a temple but at the Republican National ConventionUS ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, wearing a yarmulke – not in a temple but at a Republican National Convention

And to match Angelina Jolie, how about some entertainers including her own father:

Evangelical Christian actor Stephen Baldwin wearing a yarmulke not at a temple but at a Republican National ConventionEvangelical Christian actor Stephen Baldwin wearing a yarmulke – not at a temple but at a Republican National Convention

Actor Jon Voight holding up his yarmulke at a Republican National ConventionActor Jon Voight (Angelina’s dad) holding up his yarmulke at a Republican National Convention

Michael Jackson wearing a yarmulkeThe king of pop, Michael Jackson, wearing a yarmulke

And how about other world faith leaders:

His holiness, the Dalai Lama, wearing a yarmulke as he prays at the Western WallHis holiness, the Dalai Lama, wearing a yarmulke as he prays at the Western Wall

And speaking of political mixing with religious:

The "Mccippah", a play on "McCain" and "Kippah" which means yarmulke, a feature at the Republican National Convention 2008 The “Mccippah”, a play on “McCain” and “Kippah” (yarmulke), a feature at the Republican National Convention 2008

Now, we have a few simple questions to ask Mr. Pipes:

First let’s get real: clearly, Mr. Pipes is not interested in some irrelevant, uneventful “fun” on that merry temple of love and good times of his, Everything he writes and puts on there he does so with a purpose in mind. It seems that his “little fun” hijab photo display was yet another sorry attempt to cry “Islamization” and “dhimmi” and all of the favorite concepts he and his friends love to evoke.

So here goes the questions:

1. Do you believe that non-Muslim Western women who wear a hijab when visiting mosques or other Islamic religious settings are doing it as a sign of respect, or a sign of capitulation and a consequence of Islamization?

If the former then what’s the point of your running photo display? And if the latter which more logically seems to be the case, then:

2. Do you believe that non-Jewish Western men who wear a skullcap when visiting a temple or other Jewish religious settings are doing it as a sign of respect, or a sign of capitulation and a consequence of Judaization?

If the former, then why the double standard? And if the latter then why haven’t you sounded the alarm to save the West from Judaization.

More questions:

3. What would you say and how would you react if Western political women not only wore the hijab at the mosque but prayed there while they are at it? Would you see it as a lovely sign of camaraderie, an expression of tolerance, a sign that we all share a common God? Or would you cry “dhimmi”? Justcurious.

(If the latter then kindly educate us: what is the “dhimmi” equivalent of a Western political man – a head of state no less – who does the same but within the context of Judaism rather than Islam?)

4. You seem to gloat about the reporter who took off the “Chador” (a traditional Islamic dress worn in conservative Iran) and threw it at Imam Khomeini whom she was interviewing. Now, I personally believe that Khomeini was a loony Imam. But I am just curious, would you also gloat if a reporter threw a yarmulke at some loony rabbi like say, Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef or Rabbi Yitzhak Shapiraor Rabbi Jon HausmanJust curious.

5.  Are you aware that Eritrea is not an Islamic country and that it has as many Christian citizens as it does Muslim. Are you aware that Hillary Clinton is not necessarily wearing a hijab in the photo of her in Eritrea, but a traditional Eritrean loose shawl worn by both Muslims and Christians there? Are you aware that every other American woman in that photo (and there are at least three) are not wearing a similar shawl clearly proving that it is Hillary’s choice not some enforced evil Islamic spell on Western women as seems to be implied. Q: So if it’s neither enforced, nor a hijab to begin with, why do you use that photo. A: expediency. Typical of Mr. Pipes.

6. Lastly, if some blog put up a display like the one above with the insinuation that there is some insidious force at play, would you not cry anti-Semitism? SO, given your photo display and the accompanying shady commentary, aren’t readers then well within their rights and the bounds of reason to cry Islamophobia? Just curious.

Mr. Pipes, we await your response to our questions. For the rest of our dear readers, this has been a little peek inside the  paranoid mindset of an Islamophobe and the convoluted, often petty, ways in which it processes our world.

(For the record, LoonWatch, unlike Mr. Pipes, takes the consistent position that both non-Muslim women wearing hijabs in Islamic religious settings and non-Jewish men wearing yarmulkes in Jewish religious settings is a sign of respect and nothing more. And that wearing them outside religious settings is indeed strange but a personal choice that is no cause for alarm or geopolitical analysis).

– Zingel

Author’s Note: Daniel Pipes makes a lame attempt to address the hijab/yarmulke comparison in a 2008 addendum to his article in which he “rejects” the comparison altogether, stating in typical Pipesian delusional style that such a comparison is irrelevant, and positing that the “tallit” the Jewish prayer shawl is instead more comparable to the Hijab.

This is nonsense.

The tallit is not worn in public everyday life the way Muslim women wear the Hijab in daily public activity (for Hijabis); however, Jewish skullcaps are worn in daily public living (for Jewish Orthodox men). The yarmulke, not the tallit, is the closest Jewish analogy to the Hijab.

He also implies that half the pictures of Western women wearing the Hijab is not in a mosque while most Western men who wear the skullcap are in a temple. Not true, they are exactly analogous and proportional. Most of the pictures of the Western women wearing a Hijab is in fact in a mosque or mosque setting and it is usually a simple headscarf not some full body chador as he implies but even his collection of pictures clearly contradict (Iran, a conservative theocracy, being the exception not the norm). On the flip side, our photo display has photos that debunk his insinuation that Western men wear yarmulkes only in temples.