Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Anti-American and anti-Israel sentiment in Europe

Rachel at Islam in Europe blog reviews:
While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within, by Bruce Bawer

"Bawer analyzes the anti-American sentiments of the European establishment - the politicians, the media, and academics. I will not bring all his points here, but it does make for quite interesting reading. It also explains some points I've found extremely strange in the past, such as the readiness of top European politicians to voice an opinion on the American elections. Do the Americans really care who the Swedish prime minister wants them to vote for? Would the Swedes react as kindly if the American president would tell the Swedes who *he* wants them to vote for?

In fact, this book just strengthened my opinion that Muslims in Europe mirror their surroundings. If the average European denies that he has any culture and sees the American culture as nothing more than crass consumerism - why does he expect the average European Muslim to think any differently? If he doesn't see liberal values as his cultural inheritance, and doesn't recognize the American contribution to the development of those same values - why is he surprised when Muslims don't accept those values?

Bawer goes on further to emphasize how much the Europeans admire the Communist tyranny - seeing Castro as a role model and idolizing Che Guevara, for example. Is it any surprise, then, that young ethnic Europeans seek meaning in their lives by turning to the radical communist ideology of Islam? Europeans until today don't accept the Jews among them as equals [after seven centuries, they don't accept the Roma either], so why do they expect the Muslims to do so?

Europeans, Bawer says, have rewritten history, casting America as the 'bad guy' in the Cold War. They do not feel grateful to America for saving them in WWII or protecting them during the Cold War. Bawer brings a discussion he's had with Dutch friends who simply refused to believe Americans had fought for them during WWII because American soldiers believed in their freedom. It must have been big business who wanted to protect their markets, his friends claimed. I agree with Bawer that this just reflects on the Dutch way of thinking. If you won't fight for your own freedom you won't understand why others would do so for you. If the only reason you would do something would be to make money, you'll assume that's how everybody else thinks too. If Europeans and Americans can't understand each other, why do they think they can understand what the Arab world wants?

No matter how much they see America as crass and morally inferior, many Europeans are raised on its popular culture. You won't find many Europeans watching TV programs made by their neighbors, and most don't know who are the artists, singers, dancers, and actors from across the border. They look up to America's universities, to its cities and freedoms, but they use every opportunity they can to complain about it.

Integration is a two way process, and there are many Muslims who do not want to integrate. What would have been if they had been fully accepted 40 or 20 years ago is by now a question for fiction writers. Bawer suggests that Europeans integrate the Muslims now, but I doubt it's possible, from both sides. A nation state based on the ethnicity of its people cannot simply change overnight, not without losing its basis for being. This point might also explain why Europeans express so many anti-Israel sentiments: They fear they themselves are racist, that they don't have a right to their own nationhood. Is there any easier way of working off that guilt than by blaming others of your own deepest fears?"
Read the full article here

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