This caught Fred’s eye on Winds of Change. It’s a Financial Times (UK) interview with Bernard Lewis.
Being a vegetarian, I was rather shocked by his choice of lunch: “grilled mahi-mahi - a kind of dolphin - in a coconut, lime and lychee sauce”. I thought dolphins were endangered. Besides, isn’t eating a dolphin a form of cannibalism?
Lewis’ views are more to my liking, although Michael Steinberger manages to keep the interview light, and no serious discussion on Lewis’ field of expertise develops. What a waste.
Some interesting reflections, nevertheless: "As a specialist on Islam, I find myself disturbed by all the nonsense being talked, by both Muslims and non-Muslims. On the one hand, you have people who would have you believe that Islam is a bloodthirsty religion bent on world destruction. On the other hand, you have people telling us Islam is a religion of love and peace - rather like the Quakers, but less aggressive. The truth is in its usual place."
"There is a certain melancholy pleasure in having been right when so many people were wrong. I obviously didn't predict an atrocity like this, but I had been saying for a long time that something had gone radically wrong in the Arab world and that there was a growing hostility to the west that was likely to express itself violently."
"Asking Arafat to give up terrorism is like asking Tiger Woods to give up golf,"
"Imagine if the Ku Klux Klan or Aryan Nation obtained total control of Texas and had at its disposal all the oil revenues, and used this money to establish a network of well-endowed schools and colleges all over Christendom peddling their particular brand of Christianity. This is what the Saudis have done with Wahhabism. The oil money has enabled them to spread this fanatical, destructive form of Islam all over the Muslim world and among Muslims in the west. Without oil and the creation of the Saudi kingdom, Wahhabism would have remained a lunatic fringe in a marginal country."
Steinberger comments on Lewis’ latest book "What Went Wrong?": “Lewis presents a number of plausible explanations - including the lack of a secular politics and the cultural chauvinism (the conviction there was nothing to learn from the infidels)…”
Steinberger also says that Lewis “allows that it is the subjugation of women that is probably the single biggest cause of the problems besetting the Arabs”. Lewis explains: “You suppress one half of the population and you bring up the other half in this autocratic, hierarchical household. It is a culture of command and obedience.”
Today, Haifa Mayor and former general, Amram Mitzna, announced his intention to run against Ben Eliezer and Haim Ramon for the chair of the Labor Party.
He looks like a very nice man, but when you listen to what he has to say, it’s obvious he’s just Yossi Beilin with a beard and a military history.
The media have been making a big deal out of his candidacy because polls show he is much more popular than other Labor leaders (which doesn’t say much).
His candidacy is being backed by some business bigwigs. This won’t make him very popular with ordinary people, who are more likely to see “Fouad” Ben Eliezer as one of them. Both will lose in the elections, anyway, regardless.
Eilat instead of Riviera
I can’t find this anywhere (I admit I haven’t looked very far, I’m not feeling very well), but Israel Radio (Reshet Bet) reported today that 6000 French Jews have decided to spend their summer vacation in Eilat. The trip is being heavily subsidized by the Jewish Community in France. In Eilat, they’ve dubbed this sudden influx of foreign tourists “The French Revolution”, according to Reshet Bet.
Tuesday, August 13, 2002