The Legacy of the Black September Revolt, Five Decades On

Sept. 17 2020

In September of 1970, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), then led by Yasir Arafat, launched a violent rebellion against the Jordanian monarchy, which was not quelled completely until the following summer. Examining the many lasting effects of the revolt for both Israel and the region, Alberto Miguel Fernandez writes:

After its Jordanian defeat, the PLO would move to Lebanon, where a few years later it would play a key role in igniting the Lebanese Civil War and triggering Syrian military intervention and then decades of occupation in Lebanon. . . . Meanwhile, the “cause of Palestine” would be the flag of convenience and bloody shirt for every rogue and genocidal maniac in the region—Assad father and son, Saddam Hussein, Moammar Qaddafi, Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and others.

The Palestinian leadership would use and be used by all of them. Hafez Assad (using his Lebanese and Palestinian proxies) would kill more Palestinians during the “War of the Camps” in Lebanon in 1985-1988 than were killed by the Lebanese forces at Sabra and Shatila. The PLO itself would support Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, and even send fighters to Uganda in 1979 to try to prevent Idi Amin from falling to Tanzanian forces.

For the corrupt and feckless Palestinian political leadership, and for a host of Western pundits and think tankers who have made a lucrative career on the “process,” recent events have come like a bucket of ice-cold water. It is not that Palestine is not important, but that rather than falsely and dishonestly placing it on some sort of artificial pedestal, an increasing number of states in the region are seeing it as one of many issues, and for most players not the most pressing one.

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Read more at MEMRI

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Jordan, Middle East, PLO

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter