Interview with Bat Ye'or: EurabiaRoundup: Historians' Take
Frontpage Interview's guest today is Bat Ye'or, the world's foremost authority on dhimmitude.
Her latest study is Islam and Dhimmitude. Where Civilizations Collide. Her forthcoming book, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, will be published in January 2005.
FP: Bat Ye'or, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Bat Ye'or: Thanks for inviting me to your prestigious magazine.
FP: First things first, can you explain the term "Eurabia" to our readers?
Bat Ye'or: Eurabia represents a geo-political reality envisaged in 1973 through a system of informal alliances between, on the one hand, the nine countries of the European Community (EC)which, enlarged, became the European Union (EU) in 1992 and on the other hand, the Mediterranean Arab countries. The alliances and agreements were elaborated at the top political level of each EC country with the representative of the European Commission, and their Arab homologues with the Arab League's delegate. This system was synchronised under the roof of an association called the Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD) created in July 1974 in Paris. A working body composed of committees and always presided jointly by a European and an Arab delegate planned the agendas, and organized and monitored the application of the decisions.
The field of Euro-Arab collaboration covered every domain: from economy and policy to immigration. In foreign policy, it backed anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism and Israel's delegitimization; the promotion of the PLO and Arafat; a Euro-Arab associative diplomacy in international forums; and NGO collaboration. In domestic policy, the EAD established a close cooperation between the Arab and European media television, radio, journalists, publishing houses, academia, cultural centers, school textbooks, student and youth associations, tourism. Church interfaith dialogues were determinant in the development of this policy. Eurabia is therefore this strong Euro-Arab network of associations -- a comprehensive symbiosis with cooperation and partnership on policy, economy, demography and culture.
Eurabia is the future of Europe. Its driving force, the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation, was created in Paris in 1974. It now has over six hundred members -- from all major European political parties -- active in their own national parliaments, as well as in the European parliament. The creation of this body and its policy follow the 23 resolutions of the "Second International Conference in Support of the Arab Peoples", held in Cairo in January 1969. Its resolution 15 formulates the Euro-Arab policy and its all-embracing development over thirty years in European domestic and foreign policy.
It stated: "The conference decided to form special parliamentary groups, where they did not exist, and to use the parliamentary platform for promoting support of the Arab people and the Palestinian resistance." In the 1970s, pursuant to the wishes of the Cairo Conference, national groups proclaiming "Solidarity with the Palestinian Resistance and the Arab peoples" appeared throughout Europe. These groups belonged to different political families, Gaullists, extreme left or right, communists, neo-Nazis -- but they all shared the same anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism. France has been the key protagonist of this policy, ever since de Gaulle's press conference on 27 November 1967 when he presented France's cooperation with the Arab world as "the fundamental basis of our foreign policy".
FP: Is Europe's dependence on Arab oil a predominant factor in its pro-Arab policy?
Bat Ye'or: No, I don't think so. Arab leaders have to sell their oil; their people are very dependent on European economic, health and technological aid. America made this point during the oil embargo in 1973. The oil factor is a pretext to cover up a policy that emerged in France before that crisis. The policy was already conceived in the 1960s. It has strong antecedents in the French 19th century dream of governing an Arab empire and the exploitation of antisemitism to strengthen Arab Muslim-French solidarity against a demonized common enemy. Eurabia is not only a web of various agreements covering every field. It is essentially a political project for a total demographic and cultural symbiosis between Europe and the Arab world, where Israel will eventually dissolve. America would be isolated and challenged by an emerging Euro-Arab continent that is linked to the whole Muslim world and invested with tremendous political and economic power in international affairs. The policies of "multilateralism" and "soft diplomacy" express this deepening symbiosis. The Euro-Arab agreements are merely the tools for the creation of this new "continent." Eurabia is also based on the vision of Christian-Muslim reconciliation and has been strongly advocated by religious Christian bodies.
FP: For a moment, France looked like it was totally lost. But it seems to have adopted a new foreign policy, more oriented toward Europe. What is your view of this?
Bat Ye'or: France and the rest of Western Europe cannot change their policy anymore. Their future is Eurabia. Period. I don't see how they can reverse the movement they set in motion thirty years ago. Nor do Eurabians want to modify this policy. It is a project that was conceived, planned and pursued consistently through immigration policy, propaganda, church support, economic associations and aid, cultural, media and academic collaboration. Generations grew up within this political framework; they were educated and conditioned to support it and go along with it. This is the source of the strong anti-American feeling in Europe and of the paranoiac obsession with Israel, two elements that form the cornerstone of Eurabia. The new French orientation toward Europe indicates that France will work within Europe, and particularly with the new Eastern member states of the European Union, to convince them to forgo their Atlanticist vision and reorient their alliances toward the Arab Muslim world. This was French policy in the 1960s when Paris became the advocate of the Arab cause in the European Community. Until 1971, France had been isolated in the EC in its anti-Israel stance. European Community critics accused it of bias toward the Arab world. Faced with the oil crisis, the nine EC countries -- under French and German leadership -- unified their views regarding the Middle East conflict and this generated the Euro-Arab Dialogue's overall development.
FP: Tell us about the Prodi project where Tariq Ramadan and others have collaborated.
Bat Ye'or: Prodi's project is the fulfillment of Eurabia. It is called the "Dialogue between Peoples and Cultures in the Euro-Mediterranean Area."
It was requested by Romano Prodi, the President of the European Commission, and accepted at the Sixth Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Foreign Affairs Ministers in Naples on 2-3 December 2003. It represents a strategy for closer Euro-Arab symbiosis to be implemented by a Foundation that will control, direct and monitor it. Last May the European ministers of foreign affairs accepted the creation of the Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue of Cultures with its seat in Alexandria, Egypt. Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, murdered by an insane man, was a key advocate of the Palestinian cause and the boycott of Israel. Lindh was known for her criticism of Israeli and American policies of self-defense against terror. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana was a close friend, calling her a "true European."
The Foundation will endeavor through numerous means to reinforce links of mutuality, solidarity and "togetherness" between the Northern and Southern shores of the Mediterranean, that is, Europe and the Arab countries. The authors of the project carefully avoid such characterizations since -- in the spirit of Edward Said -- they are judged anathema and racist. This is explained in the report's text, but I use them for clarification. It is the Eurabian context, representing a totally anti-American and anti-Zionist culture and policy, that explains the strong reaction against the war in Iraq -- itself integrated into the war against Islamic terrorism. A terrorism that Eurabia has denied, blaming Israel's "injustice and occupation" and America's "arrogance" instead. Eurabia has transformed Islamic terrorism into a cliche: "America is the problem" in order to consolidate the web of alliances that support its whole geostrategy.
FP: What is the significance of Solana's declaration?
Bat Ye'or: Solana is strongly implicated in the EU Arabophile and pro-Palestinian policy conducted intensively under Prodi as a European self-protective reaction to the American war against terror. If one examines the EC/EU declarations since 1977 on the Arab-Israeli conflict, one notices that they espouse Arab League decisions and positions: the 1949 armistice lines imposed on Israel, although never recognized as international boundaries; the creation on those boundaries of a Palestinian state not mentioned by UN resolution 242; the acknowledgement of the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people, and of Arafat as its leader, with the obligation for Israel to negotiate exclusively with him; and initially the refusal of separate peace treaties. The EU adopted all these Arab League requests as well as repeated threats of economic and cultural boycott against Israel, constantly demanded by the Europeans' close Arab allies and their powerful lobby, the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation. On 3 March 2004, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, when asked about U.S. proposals to requested democratic reforms in Arab states, declared:
"The peace process always has to be at the center of whatever initiative is in the field. . . Any idea about (reform of) nations would have to be in parallel with putting a priority on the resolution of the peace process, otherwise it will be very difficult to have success." (Reuters, "Solana: Mideast peace vital for Arab reforms"; see also Neil MacFarquhar "Arab states start plan of their own Mideast", International Herald Tribune, March 4, 2004.)
Solana just repeated the opinion of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak after his meeting with him. Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa shared this opinion and refused to consider any reforms in Arab countries before the settlement of the Arab-Palestinian conflict¨Da settlement whose overall conditions imply Israel's destruction. Hence, any democratization and change of Arab societies demanded by the West are linked by the Arabs to its participation in Israel's demise. This link was rejected by Senior U.S. State Department official Marc Grossman when visiting Cairo on 2 March 2004. He said that the democracy plan should not depend on a settlement of the Middle East conflict. But Egypt's foreign minister, Ahmed Maher, answered him:
"Egypt's position is that one of the basic obstacles to the reform process is the continuation of Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and the Arab people."
According to Reuters, Amr Moussa, speaking at the opening session of a regular ministerial meeting, declared:
"The Palestinian cause...is the key to stability or instability in the region, and this issue will continue to influence in all its elements the development of the Arab region until a just solution is reached."
Eurabian notables, whether Chirac, de Villepin, Solana, Prodi, or others, have continuously stressed the centrality of the Palestinian cause for world peace, as if more European vilification of Israel would change anything in the global jihad waged in the US, in Asia, and from Africa to Chechnya the latest horrendous tragedy in Ossetia is but one example. In such a view, Israel's very existence, not this genocidal jihadist drive, is a threat to peace. The Euro-Arab linkage of Arab/Islamic reforms to Israel's stand is spurious and only demonstrates, once more, Europe's subservience to Arab policy. Numerous Arab and Islamic Summits have imposed the centrality of their Palestinian policy on the world and requested that all political problems should be subordinated to it. The EU likewise.
FP: You often refer to a Euro-Arab Palestinian cult. What do you mean by it?
Bat Ye'or: It means precisely this Palestinian centrality that's promoted in Europe as a key to world peace. However, the Euro-Arab Palestinian cult goes much deeper than a political tool used for a Euro-Arab Partnership policy against America and Israel. It is linked to theological currents of Judeophobia and a replacement theology based on the Palestinization of the Bible and the rejection of its Jewish roots in order to delegitimize Israel's history and rights on its land. The Euro-Arab Palestinian cult symbolized the redemption of Christianity and Islam and their reconciliation on the ashes of Israel, the work of Satan -- a belief propagated by the media's continuous demonization of Israel, and Palestinian victimization. This cult brings together neo-Nazis, Judeophobes, anti-Americans, communists and jihadists. It is a revival of Nazi anti-Jewish and anti-Christian trends, particularly in its hatred of Christian Bible believers and America, the country that was determinant in the defeat of Nazism and Communism. In the 1930-40s, the Nazis had strong links with Palestinians, and those sympathies and alliances continued throughout the years after World War II, thriving in the Euro-Arab Palestinian cult that submerged Western Europe under the umbrella of the gigantic Euro-Arab Dialogue apparatus.
FP: But what does the public in Europe think about their Eurabian future? Are they aware of it? Do they go along with it?
Bat Ye'or: The public ignores this strategy, its details and functioning, but there is a strong awareness, anxiety and discontent over the current situation and particularly the antisemitic trends. This Eurabian policy, expressed in obscure wording, is conducted at the top political level and coordinated over the whole EU, spreading an anti-American and antisemitic Euro-Arab sub-culture in every social, media and cultural sector. Oriana Fallaci has given voice to this general opposition. But there are also many others. They are boycotted, sometimes fired from their jobs, victims of a type of totalitarian "correctness" imposed mainly by the academic, media and political sectors.
FP: What have you to say about the French journalists taken hostage and France's reactions?
Bat Ye'or: Chirac hoped that they would be liberated as a favor to French Arabophile and pro-Palestinian militancy, a dhimmi service for Arab policy that deserves a favor not granted to others. This tragedy has revealed France's good relations with terrorist organizations such as Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and others. It has also uncovered France's dependency on its considerable Muslim population for its home and foreign policies, as it appeared earlier that their advocacy would determine the liberation of the hostages. But the incredible conditions subsequently put by the terrorists prove that Islamist terrorists apply the same rules to all infidels. It also demonstrates the inanity of a policy of collusion and denial that has always whitewashed Islamic terrorism to avoid confronting it and has constantly transferred its evils onto its victims.
France's situation illustrates, in fact, what threatens the whole of Europe through its demographic and political integration within the Arab-Muslim world, as promoted now by the Anna Lindh Foundation. France with Belgium, Germany and perhaps Spain is ahead of the rest of Europe. Britain, Italy and to some extent the East European countries are less marked by the subservience syndrome of dhimmitude which consists in submission and compliance to Muslim policy or face jihad and death. Dhimmitude is linked to the jihad ideology and sharia rules pertaining to infidels and represents the complex historical process of Islamization of the Judeo-Christian, Buddhist, Hindu civilizations across three continents.
America has the choice of forgoing its liberty and adopting the European line of dhimmitude and supplication, or maintaining its resolve to fight the war against terrorism for freedom and for universal human rights values.
FP: John Kerry has stated repeatedly that he will 'rebuild alliances' with Europe, which he maintains President Bush has disrupted, particularly with nations such as France and Germany. Can you discuss how your scholarship on 'Eurabia' may affect the validity of this claim by Senator Kerry?
Bat Ye'or: Anti-Americanism was very popular from the late 1960s onward, when European communist and extreme-leftist parties then represented powerful political forces. It was a decisive factor in the Gaullist pursuance of a strong united Europe, and a major and essential pillar of the Euro-Arab policy and alliances in the 1970s. De Gaulle opposed Britain's participation in the European Community in 1961 and 1967 because of its Atlantic leanings. The Euro-Arab Dialogue construct, which determined the whole European policy toward the Arab-Muslim world, was basically anti-American already in the 1970s. Europe is a sinking continent and the rebuilding of alliances will be at the price of America's security and freedom.
The violent European anti-Bush trends are linked to a European internal situation. Bush's declared war on Islamic terrorism unveiled a reality carefully hidden in Europe and has exposed its extreme fragility -- a situation that was compensated by an explosion of anti-Americanism and antisemitism organized by Eurabian networks. Senator Kerry's declaration is inaccurate given the Euro-American context of cultural, political and economic rivalries preceding Bush's election, and especially the emergence of a new and complex situation that the European and American public have not yet fully understood. This is the threat of a global jihad, with its ideology, strategy and tactics, coordinated with its cells worldwide. The difference between Europe and America is that Europe denies it because it cannot nor does it wish to fight for certain values already forfeited. We see here the collision of two radically opposed strategies.
FP: Is there any optimism that we can have for Europe? How about to win this war against Islamism?
Bat Ye'or: Maybe the recent developments revealing France's failed policy and the horrendous ordeals of children and parents in Ossetia will induce Europeans to bring their politicians and media to accountability. The war against a global jihadist terrorism can be won only if the civilized world is united against barbarity. Until now European democracies supported Arafat, the initiator of jihadist terrorism, hostage-taking and Islamikazes. The war will be won if we name it, if we face it, if we recognize that it obeys specific rules of Islamic war that are not ours; and if democracies and Muslim modernists stop justifying these acts against other countries. The policy of collusion and support for terrorists in order to gain self-protection is a delusion.
FP: Bat Ye'or, thank you, our time is up. We'll see you soon.
Bat Ye'or: Thank you Jamie.
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