We are going to have an explosive breakdown of the clownish Nonie Darwish, another charlatan akin to Wafa Sultan [SlantRight Editor: undoubtedly same unsubstantiated drivel that is here about Nonie Darwish] who is milking the Islamophobic cash cow for all it’s worth. Jim Holstun, a professor at SUNY Buffalo wrote this great piece in 2008 that lays bear (sic) Nonie’s excessive Islamophobia, as well as her contradictions and lies.
… Darwish interweaves stories of her Egyptian girlhood with potted accounts of female genital mutilation, arranged marriages, polygamy, veiling, domestic abuse, honor killings, sharia law, jihad, censorship, hate-oriented education, the rejection of modernity, the cult of martyrdom, Islamic imperialism, and the pathological, groundless hatred of Israel. [SlantRight Editor: Holstun is insinuating that the Egypt of the 1950’s did not have the described degenerate thinking. History and current events proves this was the truth then as much as now]
In her interviews and in her book, she insists that she is not anti-Arab or anti-Islamic, and even suggests from time to time that she is still a Muslim. Then she pivots nimbly and attacks “the Arab mind,” “the seething Arab street,” and “the Muslim world,” with its “culture of jihad,” “culture of death,” and “culture of envy.” [SlantRight Editor: Holstun confuses lack of animosity to former fellow Egyptians and criticism of Arab-Islamic culture as one and the same thing. This is pure manipulative propaganda by Holstun because criticism and a lack of grudge can be two separate things] There are “no real distinctions between moderate or radical Muslims,” and no significant differences within or among Arab or Muslim cultures: for Darwish, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s secular Arab nationalism was essentially jihadist. Darwish is allergic to social history: “I realized that the Arab-Israeli conflict is not a crisis over land, but a crisis of hate, lack of compassion, ingratitude, and insecurity.” Instead of history, scholarship, and footnotes, she gives us a watered-down version of Raphael Patai’s The Arab Mind: a dictionary of Islamophobic [SlantRight Editor: Typical of Muslim Apologists and Leftists if one presents facts that are critical of Islam the conclusion that person is ‘Islamophobic’]commonplaces underwritten by the authority of an ex-Muslim native informant: I was there — I know.
Darwish’s portraits of Israel and of the US, to which she emigrated in 1978, are diametrically opposite but equally fatuous: Israeli Jews are tolerant, pragmatic, and peace-loving. From 1967 to 1982, they made the Sinai bloom. Americans are honest, charitable, industrious, self-sufficient, intellectually curious, and benevolent toward the foreign nations to whom they bring liberty. They err only in their excess of credulous goodness: because of “the simplicity of American values such as truthfulness,” they risk falling prey to duplicitous jihadist immigrants and dangerous professors, who “indoctrinate American young people with the radical Muslim agenda.” [SlantRight Editor: I see that sarcasm and raise the truth to Holstun: Compare the lifestyle of an Arab-Muslim living inside Israel or America with the lifestyle of a Jew or Christian living in Egypt. What a putz]
Her outsider’s view of America complements her insider’s view of the Arab and Muslim world, for imperial states want not only other people’s land and labor, but their love. Here, we may compare Now They Call Me Infidel not only to recent anti-Islamic conversion narratives like Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel (her conversion was to neoconservative atheism and the American Enterprise Institute), but to earlier works in the genre. In her 1964 Editions Gallimard autobiography, O mes soeurs musulmanes, pleurez! (O My Muslim Sisters, Weep!), Zoubeida Bittari recounts her escape from Algerian Muslim patriarchy to French Christian bliss as a domestic servant to a Pied-Noir family; Nonie Darwish finds friends, family, and faith in southern California, including a Republican women’s group, an American husband, and Christian fellowship in Pastor Dudley Rutherford’s Shepherd of the Hills Church. As Bittari helped French colons feel better about their ungratefully rebuffed civilizing mission in Algeria, so Darwish helps Americans feel better about the long and bumpy road to global democratization. [SlantRight Editor: She may have become a Neocon – I don’t have a problem with that – it is a pure lie that she became an atheist. Although I longer believe Western representative democratic values will take in a land dominated by Islam, take not that Holstun writes of ‘global democratization’ as if it was a bad thing. When you get to the end of this quote you will understand why.]
There are occasional flashes of something more individual and authentic in Darwish’s book. For instance, her reiterated heartfelt attack on Nasser’s rent control laws (her mother lived partly off of her Cairo rentals) helps us understand why she feels so much more at home in southern California, where she arrived with enough money to buy a house with a swimming pool. But as a whole, the book is tedious, predictable, and badly edited — born to be bought, scanned and displayed, not actually read. But this will not diminish the demand for Darwish as a lecturer, which derives not from her writing but from her parentage: her father was Colonel Mustafa Hafez, head of Egyptian army intelligence in the Gaza Strip in the early ’50s, who was killed by an Israeli letter bomb in July 1956. Every lecture notice, every interview, even the title page of her book announces her as “a Muslim Shahid’s Daughter.” [SlantRight Editor: Note Holstun’s cynicism toward the gains of Capitalism. Also note the hubris of I’m better than Darwish because of I have a Left Wing college education – Leftist elitism.]
Throughout her book, Darwish struggles to maintain love and loyalty both to the father she lost at age eight and to the Israeli state that killed him. In a parting flourish, she says that “My father — and potentially my whole family — was sent to his death in Gaza by Nasser, who was consumed by his desire to destroy Israel,” and she fondly imagines him surviving and flying with assassinated Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to Israel. But this argument sometimes requires a torturous chronology: “When, on January 16, 1956, Nasser vowed a renewed offensive to destroy Israel, the pressure on my father to step up operations increased. More fedayeen groups were organized, and their training expanded to other areas of the Gaza Strip. Often my father was gone for days at a time. In an attempt to end the terror, Israel sent its commandos one night to our heavily guarded home.”
The problem here is that this early, failed assassination attempt occurred in 1953, when Hafez was struggling to prevent destabilizing Palestinian infiltration from Gaza into Israel. Things changed dramatically in February 1955, when then military commander Ariel Sharon’s Gaza raid killed 37 Egyptian soldiers and wounded 31. This raid brought shocked international condemnation, the end of Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett’s ongoing negotiations with Nasser, mass demonstrations of Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, and Nasser’s decision to have Hafez organize and arm Palestinian fedayeen for cross-border forays. Israeli historians Avi Shlaim and Benny Morris see the raid as a turning point in Israeli-Arab relations. Darwish never mentions it. [SlantRight Editor: Holstun would have you believe Sharon’s commando raid was an unprovoked slaughter of Arab-Muslim men, women and children:
The year 1955 heralded a significant increase in border tension and bloodshed. On February 28 1955, in an operation named Black Arrow, the IDF killed thirty-six Egyptian troops (plus two civilians) and wounded thirty others during a raid on an Egyptian military barracks in Gaza in direct response to the murder of an Israeli cyclist, not far from Rehovot. Identity papers accidentally dropped by the Arab intruders indicated that they were in the service of Egyptian intelligence.
Regardless of the criticism to which Israel was subject, there is no gainsaying the fact that it was the murder of a Jewish cyclist near Rehovot, by Egyptian intelligence agents illicitly reconnoitring in Israeli territory, that finally sparked the Gaza confrontation. As the historian David Tal remarked, “it is probably safe to say that without the murderous attack that preceded it, the Gaza raid would not have eventuated.” The killing of the cyclist was not an isolated occurrence. Since May 1954, the Egyptian army had been sending its men into Israel with malicious intent. Just over a month before the Gaza raid, that is on January 21, an IDF soldier was killed by a twelve-man Egyptian army unit and a few days later two Israeli tractor drivers were fired upon, leading to the death of one of them and the wounding of the other. Benny Morris, a scholar well known for exposing negative aspects of the IDF, viewed the Egyptian raids as demonstrating “a growing belligerency and adventurousness among Egyptian officials.” Morris’ version is in keeping with Glubb’s summation that from 1954 onwards, “incidents in the Gaza strip became far more numerous than those on the Jordan front.” This was because “the Egyptian revolutionary government were desirous of incidents, for they were posing as the great military power which was about to defeat Israel.”
Kennet Love, a confidant of Nasser insisted that the Gaza raid “transformed a stable level of minor incidents between the two countries (Israel and Egypt) into a dialogue of mounting fear and violence.” What he did not explain was why Israel ought to have tolerated the continuation of “a stable level of minor incidents,” when the Egyptian-Israeli Armistice Agreement committed both sides to a total cessation of hostilities. In any case, it would seem that the Egyptians had every intention of ultimately escalating the border conflict into a full-scale war. Confirmation for this was forthcoming from Major Saleah Saleh a member of the Egyptian Government. On January 9, 1955, nearly two months before the Gaza raid, he declared that “Egypt will strive to erase the shame of the Palestine War even if Israel should fulfil all UN resolutions. It will not sign a peace with her. Even if Israel should consist only of Tel Aviv, we should never put up with that.” (The Source of Arab Infiltration; by Leslie A. Stein; Think Israel, 2009)]
Continuing with her discussion of the earlier undated raid on her family’s home (it actually occurred on 28-29 August 1953), she says, “My father was not at home that night, and the Israelis found only women and children — my mother, two maids, and five small children. The commandos left us unharmed. I personally did not even wake up or know of the incident until later in life, when I read a book written about my father. After I read it, I called my mother immediately, and she confirmed the story. The Israelis chose not [to] kill us even though the Egyptian-organized fedayeen did kill Israeli civilians, women and children.”
Young Nonie must have been a very sound sleeper, since one squad blew the gate off her house, injuring several civilians, and, by one account, proceeded to demolish the house. Grown-up Nonie seems not to know that the Israeli commandos were part of Ariel Sharon’s newly-organized Unit 101. While the one squad attacked her house, Sharon’s was cornered nearby in al-Bureij refugee camp. He decided they would bomb and shoot their way through the camp rather than retreat from it. General Vagn Bennike, the Danish UN Truce Chief, reported to the Security Council on the ensuing massacre: “Bombs were thrown through the windows of huts in which the refugees were sleeping and, as they fled, they were attacked by small arms and automatic weapons. The casualties were 20 killed, 27 seriously wounded, and 35 less seriously wounded.” Other sources estimate from 15 to 50 fatalities.
The Israeli army blamed the raid on rogue kibbutzniks, and Ariel Sharon tried to reassure his men, telling them that all the dead women were camp whores or murderous Palestinian infiltrators. But some of them remained shocked at what they had done. Participant Meir Barbut said they felt as if they were slaughtering the pathetic inhabitants of a Jewish transit camp: “The boys threw Molotov cocktails at [innocent] people, not at the saboteurs we had come to punish. It was shameful for the 101 and the IDF [Israel army].” Another asked, “Is this screaming, whimpering multitude … the enemy? … How did these fellahin sin against us?” In 2006, Palestinian journalist Laila El-Haddad interviewed a survivor for Al Jazeera English:
“Mohammad Nabahini, 55, was two at the time and lived in the camp. He survived the attack in the arms of his slain mother. ‘My father decided to stay behind when they attacked. He hid in a pile of firewood and pleaded with my mother to stay with him. She was too afraid, and fled with hundreds of others, only to return to take me and a few of her belongings with her,’ he said. ‘As she was escaping, her dress got caught in a fence around the camp, just over there,’ he gestured, near a field now covered with olive trees. ‘And then they threw a bomb at her, Sharon and his men. She tossed me on the ground behind her before she died.’”
Though Darwish never mentions it, the al-Bureij Massacre hasn’t exactly been a secret — both Zionist and anti-Zionist historians have described it clearly, with little disagreement save the number of fatalities, with the high-end estimate coming from an Israeli history. If it tends not to loom large in Palestinian historical memory, that’s because it was overshadowed just two months later by the Qibya Massacre, during which Sharon’s Unit 101 killed 67, women and children, demolishing buildings over their heads and shooting them down when they tried to flee — the tactic pioneered at al-Bureij. Given its propensity for civilian soft targets, this daredevil elite unit might be better described as a death squad. [SlantRight Editor: Holstun demonstrate just how ignorant on how the Middle East uses deterrents to influence families, tribal affiliations and governments. If harm is perpetrated vengeance is required on a scale to influence the perpetrators to refrain from harm because of the consequences.
Honour in feuding societies, thus, became a kind of heritage that passes from generation to generation and if any damage is caused, it may authorize family or community members to retaliate against an offender pending the restoration of the initial ‘balance of honour’ that preceded the perceived injury. This cycle of honor traverses its margins and brings at first family members and then the entire community into the brand-new cycle of revenge that may pervade generations.
Unlike Western countries, the Middle East ‘cultivates a collective existence,’ 34 and thus any affront leads to a collective responsibility that is shared by all the members of the community. Collective revenge may be implemented against nations or groups, blaming them for the perceived damage and ignoring the personal responsibility of each member individually. Revenge of this type can be an instrument in leaders’ hands that may use it as an excuse to act in accordance with their own interests. (Revenge-the Volcano of Despair: The Story of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict; by Helena Yakovlev Golani; Excerpts; Academia © 2012)
We contend that three main factors may induce a dynamic link between violent incidents on the two sides of the con!ict (sic). First, violence by one side can have an incapacitation effect, if it limits the other side’s capability to react. For example, Israeli targeted killings of key Palestinian leaders might reduce Palestinians’ ability to carry out further attacks against Israel; this is the stated Israeli rationale for such actions. Second, violence can have a deterrent effect, when one side refrains from using violence in fear of the other side’s reaction. Finally, violence by one side can lead to a reaction by the other side through a vengeance effect, to the extent that one side wishes to dispense retribution in response to the fatal casualties it suffers. (The Cycle of Violence? An Empirical Analysis of Fatalities in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict; II. Theoretical and Empirical Framework; By David A. Jaeger & M. Daniele Paserman; American Economic Review 2008, 98:4, 1591–1604)]
We probably shouldn’t expect Nonie Darwish to alter her campus presentations anytime soon. The bookings by StandWithUs might dry up if she were to start supplementing her cautionary tales about sharia law, jihadi immigrants, and female genital mutilation with a serious discussion of Israeli massacres at Deir Yassin, Tantura, al-Bureij, Qibya, Kfar Qasim, Sabra and Shatila, and Beit Hanoun. [SlantRight Editor: As I said before Israeli attacks are responses to Islamic Terrorism with the intention to show that Israel has the ability to smack Jew-haters with extreme prejudice if Jew-haters continue in acts of terrorism. This sounds harsh by Western standards but it is the way of life in the Middle East especially by a society constructed by Islamic Supremacism over the old Christian Culture replaced by conquest.] In any case, Darwish prefers simple cultural generalities and intimate personal reflection to historical analysis. But since that’s the case, someone at her next lecture might ask if she remembers playing with any of the refugee children murdered at al-Bureij, and why the kindly Israeli commandos who spared her family decided to blow up Mohammad Nabahini’s mother.
Jim Holstun teaches world literature and Marxism at SUNY Buffalo and can be reached at jamesholstun A T hotmail D O T com. [SlantRight Editor: Take note that Jim Holstun teaches Marxism and I suspect Holstun’s teaching of world literature is through the eyes of Marxism as well.]