Barry Rubin: on institutional racism, real and imagined

This is one of the most powerful pieces I’ve read in quite a while.  Rubin’s post, “What Threatens Peace: A Mountain of Hate or A Few Nasty Words”, goes to the heart of the simultaneous phenomena of the West’s masochism, and hyper self-criticism, on one hand, and their willful blindness to vile, institutional (and quite normative) racism and hate in the Arab world on the other. It is quite an understatement to note that this dynamic is consistently on display at the Guardian – and other progressive media – and represents, I fear, a profound threat to the future of liberal democracy in the world. The biggest threat faced by the U.S., Europe, and Israel is not of a military nature, its more a matter of the gradual  – indeed almost imperceptible – erosion of self-confidence in the fundamental righteousness of our cause.  As Ronald Reagan once said:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same…”

From: The Rubin Report

“About twenty-five years ago I had my great success in affecting mass media coverage of the Middle East in one newspaper for one day. I had been complaining to a New York Times correspondent, who was briefly covering the Middle East beat, about the incitement, hatred, and extremism that appeared daily in the Arabic media was never mentioned in its Western counterpart.”

“To his credit, he came over to my office. I took a big desk and spread over it a couple of dozen issues of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), a publication with which, in those pre-paperless days, I had filled whole bookcases. If you’ve never heard of FBIS it was a daily publication from the U.S. Department of Commerce that came out in different colored editions for each region of the world. All it did was translate radio and television programs along with some important speeches. Using or not using FBIS, for me, marked the difference between a serious researcher and a dilettante.”

“One after the other I showed him examples of the lies, the hatred, the calls for Israel’s destruction, the screams for blood and murder, the slanders against America that appeared in the most prestigious and widely circulated and official of Arabic-language publications. Impressed, he actually wrote an article on it that appeared on the front page.”

“That happened once. And this was in the days when journalistic standards meant something and newspapers actually focused on publishing the news rather than ideological guidance to direct people toward believing the proper things.”

“Day after day throughout the Arabic-speaking world, Iran, Pakistan, and beyond, in schools and mosques, in the speeches of leaders and oppositionists, in mass media, hatred of Jews and Christians, of the West and America, rises into the air. This structural hatred has consequences. The best single sentence I’ve heard on this comes from a Saudi woman who wrote that what the big Usama bin Ladin did, the little Usama bin Ladin learned in the Saudi schools.”

“This massive system of hatred and extremism—known to everyone who lives in the Middle East—is largely kept hidden from the West. Why?”

See the rest of the post here.

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