The Bulgarian Politician Trying to Rally Europe against Hizballah

While Hizballah has for four decades successfully terrorized civilian populations on at least three continents, European states have proved painfully slow to designate it a terrorist group, let alone impose sanctions and other law-enforcement measures. Both the EU itself and France only applied the designation in 2013, but still hold fast to a fictitious distinction between the group’s terrorist “military wing” and its supposedly legitimate “political wing.” Nonetheless, the continent has begun to acknowledge the dangers of Iran’s Lebanon-based proxy, and last year six Central European states banned Hizballah completely. Much credit, writes Alex Benjamin, is due to Tsvetan Tsvetanov, the former deputy prime minister of Bulgaria:

[I]n 2012 a man boarded a bus full of Israeli tourists near Burgas, Bulgaria and detonated a bomb—killing the Bulgarian bus driver and five Israeli tourists. The blast injured 35 more. Serving as Bulgaria’s interior minister at the time, Tsvetanov was tasked with investigating the attack. Working through Europol, Tsvetanov’s probe quickly revealed that Hizballah, without any shadow of doubt, was behind the bombing. The culprit known, Tsvetanov then led a campaign urging all countries to recognize, without equivocation, that Hizballah murdered those six civilians on European soil.

Some EU member states, perhaps, feared retribution for acknowledging the truth. Others, maybe, feared retaliation from one of Hizballah’s allies, [especially that] perennial thorn in the EU’s side, Russia.

During his time in government, Tsvetanov learned the value of transatlantic partnership and the importance of Israel’s security in a world where so many nefarious forces instead focus on finding creative ways to threaten that country and its citizens.

With the golden opportunity presented by the Biden administration’s stated aim of reengaging with its European allies, now is exactly the right time for Tsvetanov’s seeds, planted back in 2012, to come into full bloom. Brussels, we are waiting.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Bulgaria, European Union, Hizballah

 

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.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Atlantic

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