How Israel relies on Islamophobia
(A version of this piece was featured on Mondoweiss)
In the latest edition of “Axis of Evil” politics, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued to the United Nations that “Hamas is ISIS, ISIS is Hamas,” and that they are following the path blazed by Iran 35 years ago.
The Prime Minister in the process exposed the mutual relationship between Zionism and its crutch: Islamophobia.
What could a national resistance party in Gaza, an international jihadist organization in the northern Levant, and the state of Iran have in common? The Prime Minister would have you believe they all adhere to the same doctrine of militant Islam that is forever at war with the rational, liberal, ever-philanthropic West. Yet, with an accusation as inaccurate as George W. arguing that Iran and Iraq had anything in common other than a border, Netanyahu could only hope that the West heard “Muslim, Muslim, Muslim,” and jumped on its Crusading bandwagon.
Let’s be clear about the effects of Islamophobia: it dehumanizes. It ensures the lives of Muslims will not be valued equally to those of non-Muslims, especially the white ones. It allows President Obama to state that Israel was “scratched out of rock,” rather than colonized on the ruins of ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages.
We can thank Bill Maher for showing the world how this is not only a “conservative” problem. If a self-identifying liberal, an ideological beacon of tolerance, such as Maher can proclaim, “(Islamophobia) is not a real thing when we do it” and “it’s the only religion that acts like the mafia”; we officially have a cultural epidemic in the United States.
Islamophobia has permeated far beyond TV personalities spewing liberal exceptionalism when it comes to racism. In the eloquent words of Laura Durkay, the hit TV show “Homeland” is currently pitching its fourth season using “a blonde, white Red Riding Hood lost in a forest of faceless Muslim wolves.”
Excusing racist advertising as insignificant because it’s “just a TV show” protects the party not subjected to the discrimination from accusations of racism and bigotry. It promotes a subconscious level of consent that “this is indeed the world we live in,” ensuring the casual nod of approval when the same bigotry finds it’s way onto Boston subways.
Islamophobia homogenizes the Muslim world into a singular thinking-and-acting body with a nucleus of irrational militant Islam. Any peaceful, “liberalized” outliers remain on the cultural periphery, rather than the core. As a result, we are excused from distinguishing Hamas, ISIS, or Iran from one another because we’ve already predetermined their place in a homogenous body of Islamic-politick. Forget about context; don’t bother with history.
Israel relies on Western Islamophobic pretenses to further its foreign policy agenda in delegitimizing Palestinian grievance, leaving the occupied state’s colonization unquestioned. It dismisses responsibility for historical crimes committed against Palestinians such as ethnic cleansing, collective punishment, and apartheid because the victims are either part of a homogenous group of radicalism or subhuman. If the Palestinians were a Euro-Christian people, we can rest assured the West wouldn’t have stood idly by as Israel dropped chemical weapons on Gaza in 2008 and bulldozed over 28,000 Palestinian homes since 1967.
Zionism needs the Western sympathizing countries to remain Islamophobic. Despite Netanyahu’s plea that “it’s not Islam. Its militant Islam,” his country continues to benefit from the proliferation of the doctrine. As long as Israel floats in its “sea of red-Arab Muslim terror” (see above), it will remain in perpetual victimhood while simultaneously being a colonial-occupying power in Palestine.
The Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions
Captions for photos borrowed from: http://freepaly.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/the-jewish-national-fund-israels-environmental-colonialism-and-eco-apartheid/?blogsub=confirmed#blog_subscription-2