By John W. Whitehead
June 09, 2005
“I wrote these books,” said Bat Ye’or, “because I had witnessed the destruction, in a few short years, of a vibrant Jewish community living in Egypt for over 2,600 years and which had existed from the time of Jeremiah the Prophet. I saw the disintegration and flight of families, dispossessed and humiliated, the destruction of their synagogues, the bombing of the Jewish quarters and the terrorizing of a peaceful population. I have personally experienced the hardships of exile, the misery of statelessness−and I wanted to get to the root cause of all this. I wanted to understand why the Jews from Arab countries, nearly a million, had shared my experience.”
Bat Ye’or’s wide historical research details the inferior condition accorded to Jews and Christian “dhimmis” (non-Muslim subjugated people) in Muslim lands, where they have survived through hardships and persecution ever since the rise of Islam in the 7th century. She pioneered the study of “dhimmitude” and the history and conditions of life of non-Muslims in their own lands, conquered by jihad and Islamized. According to Ye’or, “The conditions of Jews varied, but in general it was one of insecurity, humiliation and degradation for over 1,300 years, particularly in their own country, the Land of Israel.”
In 1997, Ye’or testified at a U.S. Congressional Hearing and the Human Rights Caucus on the subject “Past is Prologue: The Challenge of Islamism Today−An Historical Overview of the Persecution of Christians Under Islam.” “I discovered in my research that the Christian condition under Islam is similar and remarkably parallel to that of the Jews,” said Ye’or. “A historical tragedy has been going on for both religious groups. I realized that the fight for freedom from jihad and dhimmitude concerns us all, especially now in the 21st century. My research demonstrates that this is a very old problem, and it must be confronted now.”
Bat Ye’or has written three books on the jihad, Islam and dhimmitude. Her latest book is Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2005). In it, she details the cooperation and collaboration between European countries and Arab League countries in every area, from foreign policy, economy, culture, media and immigration. She examines the economic, political and ideological factors that are leading a whole continent to choose dhimmitude and gradually abandon its culture and freedom. This choice and the increase of Muslim immigration, as well as the pressure of Islamic terrorism, Ye’or argues, have concurred to widen the rift between America and a sinking Europe. Eurabia is Europe’s future, Ye’or believes, and it is the agent of the extension of dhimmitude worldwide.
“I believe that we are living in a very crucial period, in which much of Western Civilization is at stake,” said Ye’or. “People do not fully comprehend the emergence of this new danger: the jihadist geostrategy of terror. Rather they analyze this new situation in the framework of the last conflict, the Cold War, and that is a dire mistake.”
Bat Ye’or was born in Cairo. In 1955, her Egyptian nationality was revoked because she was Jewish. She found asylum in 1957 with her parents in London as a stateless refugee, acquiring British citizenship in 1959 after her marriage. In 1958, Ye’or attended the Institute of Archeology at London University and moved to Switzerland in 1960 with her husband, where she continued her studies at the University of Geneva until the birth of three children. She has worked alone in a groundbreaking field of historical research and on numerous publications for the past 35 years.
oldSpeak recently sat down with Bat Ye’or to discuss the ideas in her new book.
John Whitehead: In your book, you discuss at length the meaning of jihad, which is central to Islamic history and civilization. Few Americans understand what it means for them, their country and people around the world. Can you explain the significance of jihad and the danger it poses?
Bat Ye’or: Jihad represents both a doctrine and a jurisdiction elaborated from three sources: the Koran, the Hadiths (words and deeds attributed to the Prophet Muhammad) and the biographies of the Prophet. Treatises on jihad have been written down and explained by the four founders of Islamic jurisprudence in the 8th and 9th centuries. Since then, they have represented an important part of Islamic legislation as jihad regulates the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims according to Islamic law.
According to the jihadic doctrine, the world is divided into two parts: Muslims and Infidels, the latter living in the dar al-harb, the land of war, because their land must be Islamized by peaceful means, or by war if they resist. Before attacking the Infidels, Muslims must first call them to convert; if they refuse, they are asked to pay a ransom; if they refuse again, Muslims have the duty to wage war on them. Truce is accepted on condition that the Infidels pay a regular ransom and put no obstacle to the spread of Islam in their own countries. There are other conditions also, like sending soldiers to fight for Islamic interests. A truce should not last more than 10 years, and it is allowed only when the Muslim ruler is weak. Otherwise, war against the Infidels is mandatory.
The treatises on jihad establish with a meticulous precision the tactics and means to conduct war, the type of truces allowed and the treatment of prisoners of war: male, female and children, the division of the booty, the characters of the land of the Infidels that has become Islamized, the rules to govern the submitted Infidels and so on.
JW: When did Islam originate?
BY: Islam was born in Arabia in the 7th century. It has conquered countries from Portugal to India, from Hungary to Sudan, in the course of a millennium of jihad. It has expanded on three continents: Africa, Europe and Asia. Jihad, therefore, is central to the development of the Islamic empires, their power, their culture and their civilization. Today, some progressive Muslims reject the jihad doctrine, but they are isolated voices.
JW: The title of your book, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, implies a fusion of European and Arab interests. Your argument, however, seems to be that there is not so much an equal cooperation of these two interests but that the Islamic world is actually manipulating the Europeans. Is this explained by the Islamic policy of dhimmitude? What does this concept mean for Europe?
BY: First, I want to stress that European and Arab interests coincided on many plans. Otherwise, the European Community (EC), replaced in 1992-93 by the European Union (EU), would not have agreed on such cooperation. Those mutual concerns were the oil, Arab markets and European interests in Arab industrial developments, which created a Euro-Arab economic interdependency as was planned by European politicians and economists. On the political level, the Euro-Arab solidarity is essential to the economic collaboration between the two partners. This political solidarity refers to the anti-American and anti-Zionist militancy. Both represent strong and permanent trends in Europe, on the extreme right as well as in the Leftist movements where the Arafatian cult replaced that of Stalin. The rebirth of the powerful Nazi and communist parties machineries and ideals into Palestinianism−a jihadist anti-Western cult that subverts its values–is a European phenomenon. Europe itself wants to fulfill the Arab dream: to be a stronger power, rival and opposed to America. Both Europeans and Arabs share the desire for the fusion of the two shores of the Mediterranean and anti-Israeli policies based on Palestinianism, as well as anti-Americanism.
JW: Anti-Americanism has been building in Europe since World War II. Shouldn’t this have been foreseen?
BY: What was not foreseen by the European genitors of Eurabia was the upsurge of Islamism that has framed this Euro-Arab relationship within the jihadic conception of the world. In this perspective, Europe is considered a “land of truce.” Therefore, it has duties, the main one being to provide funds and support to Arab policies–like the anti-war and anti-American movement, as well as the demonization of Israel. Obedience is imposed through terrorist threats and acts, as we saw in Madrid in March 2004.
As for the concept of dhimmitude, it represents a behavior dictated by fear (terrorism), pacifism when aggressed, rather than resistance, servility because of cowardice and vulnerability. The origin of this concept is to be found in the condition of the Infidel people who submit to the Islamic rule without fighting in order to avoid the onslaught of jihad. By their peaceful surrender to the Islamic army, they obtained the security for their life, belongings and religion, but they had to accept a condition of inferiority, spoliation and humiliation. As they were forbidden to possess weapons and give testimony against a Muslim, they were put in a position of vulnerability and humility.
For Europe in the 21st century, this situation represents a return to the 7th century. It illustrates the total incompetence and greed of the political class. On the other hand, the Euro-Arab fusion project was based on multiculturalism, the suppression of European nationalisms, third-worldism and the policy of dialogues instead of war. Europeans love to create theories: fascism, Nazism, communism. The latest one is Eurabia: a new continent with a Eurabian culture.
While Europe has adopted the Islamic perspective of history and international politics and opened its frontiers to millions of Muslim immigrants with their traditions, the EU has not obtained any improvement in the condition of Christians in the Arab and Muslim countries. Nor has it obtained similar naturalization and religious rights for eventually millions of European immigrants pouring in the Arab countries. It is true that these were never on the European agenda.
JW:You write: “Eurabia’s cultural preconceptions include the ‘new Judeophobia,’ as well as resurgent anti-Americanism.” You then go on to write: “I do not believe that Judeophobia and anti-Zionism are common among the majority of Europeans. These attitudes, instead, are imposed nolens volens on an often reluctant public by political, media, and religious elites.” Can you explain?
BY: Except for the racist pathological type of person, Europeans in general are not anti-Semitic. However, over the last 30 years, Europeans have lived in a culture of hate and lies directed against Israel, which are expressed in the media from morning to night. It is a continual indoctrination of hate, not much different in its deliberate policy and planning from the 1920-40 period. You have to distinguish between a planned policy decided by top politicians and the people who are targeted and whose thoughts and behavior are conditioned according to the politicians’ wishes and the manipulations of the media. Until now, the poison spread by the top political level through its cogs, agencies and the media has not totally perverted the majority of people.
JW: If it is merely the European elite that is imposing a Judeophobic attitude on the public, then how do you account for the growing anti-Semitism in Europe? For example, in your book, you write: “The year 2001 saw a six-fold increase in acts of violence in Europe against Jewish people and property. More than 70% of the violent racist acts reported to police, as well as other racist deeds such as threats, insults, and graffiti, were against Jews.”
BY: These aggressions were generally attributed in the reports to neo-Nazis, Arab immigrants and the Left and extreme Left pro-Palestinian groups. This source is the reason why anti-Semitism was first denied and the report on anti-Semitism later was hidden by the European Commission, which promotes Palestinianism. The report was only made public on the repeated demands of influential American politicians. Its conclusions conform exactly to the pro-Palestinian anti-Israeli propaganda conducted within the EC/EU. In fact, the anti-Semitic peak that started in 2000 was integrated into the European Commission policy intended to show Europe’s solidarity with Arafat’s terrorist intifada. This is why the guilt of the aggressors acting in Europe against European Jews was transferred onto Israel, as if Europe has renounced to apply its own laws punishing crimes on its own soil against its own criminals if the victims were Jews. The intention of this hate campaign was to terrorize European Jews, to force them to adhere to the European-Arafat policy of terror.
JW: How was this hate campaign conducted?
BY: The aggressors were encouraged by a media campaign in the Eurabian press of the whole EU, with incitements and caricatures similar to the Nazi period and by unfounded accusations of prominent politicians. Many Christians tried to oppose those slanders, but the censorship on any favorable view of Israel silenced them. We see now the same policy in Britain’s main university teachers’ union to agree to a Palestinian request to boycott two Israeli universities. The British Association of University Teachers (AUT) General Secretary Sally Hunt, announcing the boycott (April 22, 2005), said members are asked to avoid all academic or cultural cooperation with Haifa University and Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv. We see here how Palestinianism is a revival of Nazism. The aim of Euro-Palestinianism is to criminalize the birth of the State of Israel in order to create an Israeli guilt toward the Arabs, similar to the European guilt for the Holocaust, while in fact Israel represents the liberation of the Jewish people from the yoke of the jihad-dhimmitude rules imposed over all the Islamic empire, including the Land of Israel. This Eurabian policy endorses the legitimacy of jihadism, including against Christians.
JW: You indicate that there is such a negative attitude by the European elite against Israel that their position is to actually do away with the state of Israel. Is this even possible?
BY: Absolutely. The Euro-Arab policy attributes to Israel the causes of Islamic terrorism and of all the world’s problems. I reproduce in my book several quotations. It is assumed that the disappearance of Israel would bring peace to the world and Muslim-Christian reconciliation, which is clearly the continuation of the Nazi mentality. The EC, which has continually supported Arafat and the PLO, cannot recognize Islamic terrorism or the terrorism of Arab dictators like Assad of Syria and Saddam Hussein, with whom it had a privileged relationship. The recognition that Islamic terrorism threatens Europe would be tantamount to assessing the failure of the policy of collusion and close association conducted since 30 years ago with Arab dictators. Hence–it is said–Israel must be the cause of terrorism. This allows the obfuscation of the jihad and dhimmitude doctrine conducted against the Christians in Muslim countries. The “old Europe” boasted privileged relations with the Arab and Muslim countries and pretends that Arab-Muslim populations hate only Israel and America because of their own evilness.
JW:At times, it must seem that Israel is surrounded. Not only is Eurabia seeking to undermine the Jews, but the Christians are as well. For example, the World Council of Churches, among other Christian organizations, is calling for divestment and boycotts against Israel.
BY: There are several reasons for the demonization of Israel. Many churches have not accepted Israel’s existence and promote the “Palestinian cause” as a device to suppress Israel. In fact, an Arab Palestinian state has existed since 1922. It was Transjordan, established by the British on 78% of the League of Nations Mandate area of Palestine. Jews were forbidden to settle there and to own land. This law still exists in Jordan’s legislation. Clergymen hope to appease Muslim anti-Christian resentments by building a Muslim-Christian alliance in a common war against Israel. They also hope–alas, without success–that Christian anti-Israeli militancy will protect the Christians living in the Arab countries from Muslim violence. They also know that the Christians will emigrate from a Palestinian state governed by shari’a and that this Palestinian state, for which six million Jews were exterminated in an anti-Semitic/anti-Zionist Europe, will be the graveyard of Palestinian Christianity. Hence, they desperately want a big Palestine–a second one after Jordan–which will include the Jews as another non-Muslim group. The result will be a continued Muslim-dhimmi Christian coalition against the Jews, supported by Eurabia, and a second Holocaust perpetrated by Euro-Palestinianism, in continuation of the Fascist and Nazi Palestinian alliance of the 1920-40s.
JW: You’re accusing churches of collusion with the Muslims?
BY: Yes. Those churches know perfectly well the dire condition of Christians in Muslim lands. But instead of denouncing it, they adopt the militancy of the Janissaries, those Christian slave militias that were the spearhead of the Islamic war against Christianity. They forbid Christians to reveal the iniquities of modern dhimmitude in Arab countries, the enslavement of Christians in Sudan, the abductions and jihadic terror against innocent population. Those churches follow an arcionist theological line which separates the Gospels from the Hebrew Bible. They reject the historical legitimacy of Israel in its own land and, therefore, reject also the Bible, which they read with a Koranic understanding. They are more inclined to follow the Koranic Muslim Jesus, called Isa, than the Jewish Jesus. In my book, I call them the Islamized churches because their rejection of Israel’s history implies their refusal of the Bible and their acceptance of the Koranic version of the Bible that considers Christianity as a deformation of Islam.
Palestinianism also rejects the Bible and instead teaches its Koranic version by which all the biblical figures from Adam and Abraham, including Jesus, his family and apostles, were Muslim prophets who preached Islam. It is this view that negates Israel’s historical legitimacy. But we see that Christianity’s foundations thereby are also destroyed. It is precisely the accusation that Jews and Christians have falsified the Islamic truth in their Bible that condemned them to dhimmitude. We see, therefore, that Palestinianism first directed against Israel is a deadly weapon against Christianity.
JW:There are many who argue that much of the anti-Americanism (and possibly some anti-Israel attitudes) is the result of the image that President George W. Bush portrays to Europe and the world–that is, an arrogant, swaggering warmonger. Do you believe this perception is true? Do the policies of the Bush Administration actually aid and abet such negative attitudes?
BY: Anti-Americanism is a European sub-culture. It has imbibed the powerful Communist and Leftist European parties for decades, as well as the fascist and Nazi movements of the 20th century. These parties with their influential politicians, intellectuals and activists have built strong ties with the Arab and Muslim countries since the 1980 Amman Arab Summit called for a strong cooperation between the Socialist and Arab states.
Animosity against America increased with the European rejection of its spiritual Judeo-Christian roots, replaced by Palestinianism, a subculture promoting jihad against Israel and hate against the West. At the level of the European Union policy, anti-Americanism is the cornerstone of the Euro-Arab Dialogue policy of solidarity and alliances; moreover, Europe’s extreme vulnerability to Islamic terrorism and its subservience to compromising lead to anti-Americanism.
The U.S and Europe chose two opposite paths: America clearly and unambiguously denounced jihadic and Islamic terrorism and proclaimed itself at war against terrorism. The EU instead accused Israel in order to deny them, pretended that terrorism didn’t exist and increased the visibility of its solidarity with the Palestinians and its Arab allies. Hence, we see that anti-Americanism has less to do with George Bush than with Europe’s own evolution and system of alliances with jihadic terrorist dictatorships.
JW: You reference the fact that the Islamic mosques in Europe teach the principle of jihad, which is, of course, directly opposed to the western concept of democracy. There is also a growing Islamic population in the United States and an increasing number of mosques being built throughout the country. There are some conservatives who argue that many of these mosques should be closed. Do you believe this should be done in Europe?
BY: Not all mosques teach jihad. In fact, many are opposed to it. And I do not see how with a European population from 25 to 30 million Muslims, mosques could be closed. This is contrary to the principles of human rights. Once immigrants are accepted, it is a moral duty, as well as a law, to accept their right to religious freedom. In fact, I have no solution to offer for the prevention of the culture of dhimmitude, denial and hate and for the subversion of truth and values that is invading Europe. This is because it is encouraged by our own leaders, intellectuals and media. This is the model society that they praise. Many brilliant minds fought against it with no avail. This is Eurabia.
JW:You indicate in your book that the so-called Palestinian state is really a fiction. Please explain.
BY: The Palestinian state has existed since 1922 on 78% of Palestine. This is Jordan, whose population belongs to the same Arab stock that began to be called Palestinian from the 1970s, the name that was attributed to Judea in 135 by a Roman Emperor, Hadrian. There were no Arabs then, or Muslims. The Arab invaders arrived in the 7th century, devastated the country, massacred and enslaved the population and expropriated the Jewish and Christian indigenous populations, as is related by contemporaneous sources. The land became dar al-Islam (land of Islam) through the jihadic and dhimmitude regulations. The Palestinian Arabs share with the Jordanians the same tribal culture, the same language, the same religion and the same history. There are no differences among them. The Kurds, the Berbers, the Basques (Spain) and the Corsicans (France) have nationalist characteristics, but not the Palestinians. The Palestinian cause was created mainly in Europe, with the purpose to transfer onto the Palestinians the Jewish history in order to delegitimize Israel and to absolve Europe from the Holocaust by throwing onto Israel its own European history of Nazism, apartheid and colonialism.
JW: Is there a solution to this?
BY: I favor the separation from Israel of the heavily Arab-populated regions–which is all the Jewish lands whose population has been massacred or expelled and expropriated under the jihad-dhimmitude system throughout the centuries and more recently in the 1947-48 Arab war. I would like to see these regions united with Jordan as a Palestinian federation. The U.N. Security Council resolution 242 calls for negotiations over the territories of Judea and Samaria, confiscated by Jordan in 1948 and lost in 1967. They are not designated as Arab or Palestinian territories. It is France that has imposed over the European Community the Arab interpretation of 242, which condemns Israel to what has been called “the Auschwitz borders.”
JW:There are many human rights advocates who are greatly concerned that Israel is violating the rights of Palestinian settlers. How do you respond to the allegations of human rights abuses against the Palestinians?
BY: This unfortunate situation where Israeli rights are also violated results from the jihadic and terrorist war to eliminate Israel. Had the Arab countries accepted Israel from the beginning, like King Abdullah of Transjordan wanted in 1948, human tragedies could have been avoided. Nearly a million Jews were forced to flee from the Arab countries, suffering pogroms, rapes and the confiscation of all their belongings, lands and properties. No international organization came to their help or paid them anything. The war to destroy Israel, conducted by the Palestinians in order to restore dhimmitude, feeds a jihadic violence which is supported and funded by all the Arab and Muslim countries.
It is strange how many “human rights advocates” are impervious to the violation of the human rights of Israelis, of Christian and animist slaves and of Christian dhimmis. On April 18, 2005, three nongovernmental organizations (NGO) established at the Palais des Nations (Geneva) a one-day conference on “Victims of Jihad: Muslims, Dhimmis, Apostates, Women” parallel to the 61st Commission on Human Rights. These organizations were the International Humanist and the Ethical Union, the Association for World Education and the Association of World Citizens, none with connections to Jews or Israelis. There were 12 lecturers and four moderators. Of this total of 16, only two lecturers were Jewish. All the others−that is, 14 participants−were Muslims or former Muslims and Christians. The most moving testimony at the conference came from a former Sudanese Christian slave who described the terrible ordeal of jihad enslavement. Apostate Muslims spoke of the threat to their lives, while Christians: Copt and Assyrian, testified to the harsh realities of dhimmitude. Muslim and Christian women spoke on the discriminations against Muslim women.
At the end of the session, the veteran anti-Zionist campaigner Tom Getman, speaking for what he described as the “Interfaith” organization World Vision International, attacked the legitimacy of the conference, suggesting that Christians, Jews and humanists should focus on human rights violations committed by fundamentalists within their own communities and not highlight violations committed by Muslim jihadists. This later task, he implied, should be left to Muslims to deal with−or not deal with−as they see fit. He claimed that human rights violations he witnessed in the Middle East were by the “settlers”–i.e., West Bank Jews stoning and killing others–i.e., Palestinian Muslims. The next day, the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad published an article about the Victims of Jihad Conference, citing unnamed “diplomatica” and “NGO” sources. The Dutch journalist presented the whole event as a Zionist plot and slandered the two Jewish speakers; I was one of them. The article was full of errors and calumnies and suggested that the two Jewish speakers manipulated one of the speakers, the Somali-born Dutch M.P. The truth is that the finest and exemplary courageous idealists and fighters for human rights were represented at this conference: Ibn Warrak, Azam Kamguian, Achol Cyier, the former Sudanese slave Simon Deng, Dr. John Eibner and Rev. Hans Stückelberger−both from Christian Solidarity International, Roy Brown, president of the International and Ethical Union and David Littman of the AWE. I felt honored and privileged to have been with them.
Echoing the sentiments of the World Vision representative, not a word was said in the Handlesblatt article about the poignant suffering of the Christian and Muslim victims of jihad and religious intolerance. The call for help from the former Christian slave and the Christian dhimmis, to the Christian world, was silenced and distorted as a Zionist plot. This is how Palestinianism and the related phenomenon of Eurabianism prevent help coming to Christian victims of jihad. One Eurabian diplomat from Denmark declared that he believed every word of the slanderous Handelsblatt article. The rest of the Eurabian media largely snubbed the event.
JW: You quote Roman Catholic Cardinal Roberto Tucci in an address he gave on Radio Vatican, in which he said, “Anti-Semitism that is rife in the Islamic world today is comparable to the anti-Semitism of the Nazi era.” Do you really believe that the European Union could revert to the medieval horrors we saw in Nazi Germany?
BY: Yes. Those horrors were not limited to Nazi Germany only but were perpetrated in the whole of Europe, with some remarkable exceptions with the Finn, Hungarian and Rumanian governments and the neutral countries. France had many deportation camps on its own territory and collaborated with the Nazis, as did Poland, Austria and the rest of occupied Europe. Hitler had numerous admirers and supporters in the whole of Europe.
As for today, the anti-Semitic/anti-Zionist Eurabian cynicism is reminiscent of the 1940s. After the numerous conferences on anti-Semitism in 2003-04, the governments–particularly in France–issued important declarations and the media stopped its paranoidattacksagainst Israel. But probably it is just a lull.
JW: You paint a very negative picture for the future of Europe, which, of course, affects the United States and the rest of the world. Do you see any hope for democracy and freedom as it faces what you argue is the onslaught of Islam and jihad?
BY: I distinguish between Islam and the ideology of jihad. These are two different domains. Europe rejects its Judeo-Christian tradition and wants to recreate the Andalusian paradise or the Ottoman Empire, which were both governed by shari’a. As for jihad, Europe refuses to acknowledge it because it does not fit its system of alliances and opponents. What escapes usually the observer is that Europe is not a victim. Europe has deliberately and willingly chosen a policy which it conducts systematically, whatever happens. In fact, it is so proud of it that it pressures America constantly to adopt it in the name of peace. I call it the peace of dhimmitude. But since this history is denied, no one knows what it means.
DISCLAIMER: THE VIEWS AND OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN OLDSPEAK ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF THE RUTHERFORD INSTITUTE.