Literature, it seems, is always foremost as a tool in ideological wars. I think of Nazi book burnings and the banning of everything, including the Bible, in Saudi Arabia. I think of my own war with ultra-Orthodox extremists who want to take my books off the shelves because they don’t promote the haredi self-image of a holier-than- thou society. And I have to mention The Color Purple author Alice Walker’s recent decision to ban her own book from being translated into Hebrew as part of her support for the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, which was launched in “peace-loving” Ramallah in April 2004 and is adamantly opposed to peace or cultural exchanges.
Walker once famously wrote on her blog: “Jesus, a Palestinian, is still being crucified,” and told interviewer Jesse Rosenfeld that “[Israeli] settlers are the [Klu Klux] Klan.” She was also quoted in The Guardian as saying: “Israel is as frightening to many of us as Germany used to be.” The latter was part of her “Why I’m joining the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza.”
She never did join the flotilla. And I never did read her book, in any language, but I saw the movie. As I recall, it was all about black men abusing black women, raping their daughters, etc. I’m so happy that this great feminist has decided to channel the fame she’s earned from her strong message into supporting a society in which women are routinely beaten, raped and murdered in honor killings.
Unfortunately, this Pulitzer Prize-winning author is not alone in her delusions. A surprising number of respected writers and journalists are feeding similar delusions and misinformation to millions of people.
What all these hate-promoters seem to have in common is their blatant selectivity in ignoring the history and crimes of the terrorists with whom they loudly align themselves.
Take the election of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi to the presidency of Egypt, something that should have elicited a world-wide shudder of outrage in all peace- and freedom-loving people.
Instead, we got this from David D. Kirkpatrick of The New York Times: “After 84 years as a secret society struggling in prisons and shadows of monarchs and dictators, the Brotherhood is now closer than ever to its stated goal of building an Islamist democracy in Egypt.”
Oh my, what a heart grabber! I mean, if I didn’t know anything about the Muslim Brotherhood, I might have thought after reading this that they were founded by Mother Teresa’s brother. They want a “Muslim democracy”? Could have fooled me.
Founded by Hassan al-Banna in 1928, to promote the implementation of Shari’a (Islamic law), the Brotherhood developed close ties to the Nazis, supporting the terrorist activities of Haj Amin el-Husseini in what was then British Mandate Palestine. Its “charitable activities” included disseminating Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. After a number of bombings and assassination attempts, 32 Muslim Brotherhood leaders were arrested in 1948 by the Egyptian authorities and by then-prime minister Mahmud Fahmi Nokrashi, who made the mistake of releasing them. Soon after, he was assassinated by a Brotherhood member. But when the Brotherhood tried to kill president Gamal Abdul Nasser in 1954, it seriously overplayed its hand. The organization was outlawed, its members imprisoned and punished, withering away where they could do no harm, behind lock and key.
Anwar Sadat, the peacemaker, who released many Brotherhood members from Egyptian jails, was murdered in 1979 for visiting Israel and signing a peace agreement. While the Brotherhood didn’t take credit for the killing, it was certainly in favor of it. Under Hosni Mubarak, the Brotherhood spread its influence throughout the country, making use of the political system to put up candidates for Parliament. In 2000, 15 of its candidates were elected. What agenda did they adopt? Fighting displays of un-Islamic cultural diversity, including beauty contests and literature, which in their view promoted blasphemy and unacceptable sexual practices.
According to Raymond Ibrahim, writing on the blog of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Morsi himself ran a frightening campaign based on religious extremism and intimidation. A cleric surrounded by Brotherhood Morsi supporters quoted the Koran saying that all those who didn’t vote for Morsi were “resisters of the Shari’a of Allah,” and “infidel leaders” whom true Muslims must “fight” and subjugate.
Morsi himself is credited with saying he would “achieve the Islamic conquest of Egypt for the second time and make all Christians convert to Islam or pay the jizya [the infidel tax].”
A brochure written by the deputy to the supreme guide, Khairat el-Shater, addressed to all the Brotherhood branches and that carried the logos of both the Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, called on Muslims to cheat, block votes, and “resort to any method that can change the vote” to ensure that Morsi would win.
Surprise! He won.
But this doesn’t worry Kirkpatrick, who wrote of the Brotherhood members: “They are committed to democratic elections and the peaceful rotation of political power, which usually means moving to the middle.”
Another reporter also conveyed this reaction from the White House: “The Obama administration, expressing relief on Sunday that the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate will be Egypt’s next president, voiced cautious optimism that the choice could keep the country’s rocky transition to democracy on track.”
As for me, Morsi’s victory sent my mind racing back in time to 1977. I was a young writer back then and a wannabe journalist who somehow finagled a press pass from the Government Press Office in Beit Agron with a letter of authorization from the Intermountain Jewish News of Denver, Colorado, for which I wrote a weekly “View from Jerusalem” column.
And so, in November 1977, I found myself in a red leather coat (which at the time I thought was amazingly cool), walking down through the barriers to a dazzling press center that had been set up to handle the world-wide coverage of the Begin-Sadat press conference.
The following exchange, more or less, is etched in my memory: “President Sadat,” an Israeli journalist asked, “we have seen the photos of Egyptians rejoicing at your initiative to make peace with Israel. But if something happens to you, couldn’t these same crowds just as easily turn against such a peace? And by then, we’ll have given back all of Sinai. How can we in Israel trust that won’t happen?”
“The people of Egypt,” answered Sadat, “want this peace agreement. I am expressing the wishes of my people in coming here. It doesn’t matter who the leader of Egypt will be.”
After the revolution in Tahrir Square sparked by the freedom of expression afforded by Facebook, Twitter and the Internet in general, it seemed as though we were all seeing the genuine expression of the will of the people of Egypt demanding less government bureaucracy, corruption and oppression and more freedom to pursue a better life for themselves and their children.
But as in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, this public expression of private longings for better jobs, education, housing and food has been hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood. The sane half of the Egyptian public that voted against Morsi has my sympathy. I mourn with them even as The New York Times, the Obama administration, Alice Walker and her ilk have joined hands and are dancing a hora of celebration with the murderous Muslim Brotherhood. We will all pay the price for their stupidity.
This article was published in the Jerusalem Post on June 29, 2012. Alice Walker’s daughter has written about how her mother’s views have torn their family apart.