Whatever you think of Benjamin Netanyahu – and readers of this site will know very well what I think of him – even the most fervent supporters of the Israeli blitz of Gaza have not proposed that he should be rewarded for his efforts with the Nobel Peace Prize.
Such a suggestion might work as satire in a post from The Onion, say. But even if Netanyahu’s admirers found such a thought floating round in their head they would probably be inclined to keep it private for reasons of good taste and human decency, at the very least.
So it takes a special kind of ideological fanaticism, stupidity, and sheer bloody-minded callousness to advance such a proposal in public as a serious recommendation in the midst of war. Luckily for Netanyahu he has found a supporter who possesses all these qualities in the shape of the redoubtable Islam-fighter Ayan Hirsi Ali.
In the course of her career, both in Holland and particularly in the United States, Hirsi Ali has become the most prominent Muslim ‘native informant’ in the Western world, combining a bitter and often astonishingly bigoted condemnation of Islam that would be entirely unacceptable were it not coming from a Somali woman, with enthusiastic support for neoconservative imperial warmongering.
So no one familiar with Hirsi Ali’s views will be surprised to know that she is an uncritical supporter of Israel and its wars. In a hagiographic and reverential interview with the Israel-Hayom daily, Hirsi Ali was asked who she admired. She sweetly listed her husband Niall Ferguson – a man whose views on American foreign policy in the Middle East are very similar to hers. She also listed Bernard Lewis – no surprise there. And Henry Kissinger, a secretary of state she finds preferable to John Kerry, because ‘ He has a very interesting and incisive view of what American power is, and what it can achieve if implemented well.’
You there at the back, stop sniggering, because this is serious stuff, or at least Hirsi Ali and her interviewer think it is. And she also admires Netanyahu ‘Because he is under so much pressure, from so many sources, and yet he does what is best for the people of Israel, he does his duty. I really think he should get the Nobel Peace Prize. In a fair world he would get it.’
Right that’s it. Pick yourself up off the floor when you have stopped rolling around laughing and go and stand outside the classroom until you think you can control yourself. Because, as I have said before, these are serious comments from a prominent public intellectual with some very profound insights into what the world calls the ‘Israeli-Palestinian conflict.’
If Hirsi Ali is to be believed, it is isn’t really a conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, or even between Israel and Arabs. It’s just one more battleground in the existential conflict between ‘the West’ and ‘Islam’, or at least the Islam that she knows – a nihilistic death cult which falsely presents itself as a ‘religion of peace and compassion’.
These aggressive and essentially irrational and psychotic features are been ignored by ‘wishful thinking’ from naive Western elites, says Hirsi Ali, but not by Israel, which knows what kind of enemy it is fighting in Gaza. As she tells her interviewer:
‘I think that the State of Israel is different. You are living in a hornets’ nest. Israelis cannot pretend for too long, if you have tunnels being dug under you and rockets flying above you.’
No one can accuse of Hirsi Ali of not understanding her audience. In this ‘hornets’ nest’ negotiations are impossible because ‘ The problem with negotiating with Hamas is that they have a vision, a certain kind of utopia’ based on the destruction of Israel and the implementation of Shariah law ‘ideally all over the world.’
Well that settles that then. War it is. All of which is clearly music to her interviewer’s ears. Asked ‘ Is there any point in negotiating with those who believe that life on earth is just a test leading to the next world?’ Hirsi Ali is dubious, since:
‘Israel is investing everything it has into life on earth. Hamas is investing everything it has into life after death. When Hamas recruits young people, their doctrine is ‘we love death, they love life.’ You will be rewarded in the hereafter — that is supposed to be the appeal. ‘
As an analysis of Hamas, political Islam, terrorism, jihadism, Gaza or anything else, this is intellectually thin gruel, a hotchpotch of prejudices and received ideas put together with the assistance of Hasbara for Dummies as a recipe book.
In Hirsi Ali’s Gaza war, there is no occupation, no blockade, no history, no politics, no immediate context, no interest in or knowledge of Hamas’s shifting positions or Israel’s war aims and the collapse of the ‘peace process’ or the national unity government. There aren’t even any Palestinians. There is just Netanyahu and his valiant Israeli Sparta versus the maniac death cult, which is not even ‘radical Islam’ but Islam itself. Asked to qualify an earlier statement that there can ‘ never be peace between the cultures’, Hirsi Ali replies:
‘Not unless Islam there is a true reformation of Islam, an irreversible change where Muslim leaders distance themselves from parts of the Quran, from this emphasis on life after death.’
Throughout the Gaza war, numerous Palestinians have insisted that they are fighting so that they can become part of this world, not the next. Hamas itself has made the lifting of the blockade one of its essential war aims. But these are not the voices Hirsi Ali is listening to, and not the ones that will further her career. And so she offers the world a comicbook version of the conflict, in which Israel is fighting an enemy that Europe will also be fighting, as Muslim immigration fills the continent with ‘young populations that are having many more children than they are, who are high on this doctrine of death.’
Bat Ye’or eat your heart out. In the meantime the message is clear: Israel, just keep on bombing those crazy Muslim ‘hornets’ until they stop wanting to die. And when you do it, know that Ayan Hirsi Ali has got your back, and will always be available to deliver whatever stupefyingly moronic pronouncements and pernicious drivel you require.