One of the unchallenged axioms of American civic
religion is that each and every group of people on earth must
consist of an “overwhelmingly vast majority of decent
hard-working honest people who want peace and are tolerant
and freedom-loving and anti-violence.”
It is an unchallengeable presumption of this theology
that “vast majorities” of not only each and every
racial/religious/ethnic group may be so described, but even vast
majorities of each and any subgroup within society. Hence we
even sometimes hear assertions that the vast majority of
prisoners, prostitutes, drug users, gang members, etc. are also
decent, honest, peace-loving, honorable people.
The one imponderable in American civic theology is the
idea that somewhere there just might be a group of people the
majority of whom are not peace-loving or honest or tolerant.
But the simple fact of the matter is that the overwhelmingly
vast majority of Arabs are not opposed to violence.
Acknowledging this could not be more timely.
Commentator after commentator in
the Western media discuss the reactions in the Muslim world to
the U.S. bombings of terror facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan
with the self-righteous fawning observation that Islam is a
religion of peace, that the terrorists are as unrepresentative of
true Islam as IRA bombers are
of Christianity. Each commentator goes out of his way to
emphasize how we all understand that the vast majority of
Muslims oppose terrorism and violence.
The only problem with this is that it is simply false. The
vast majority of Germans supported Hitler, supported wars of
aggression, and supported genocide. The vast majorities of
Hutus and Tutsis support massacres of the other. Similarly, the
vast majority of Arabs support terror and violence and war.
They do not see anything wrong with the blowing up of
civilians in an embassy of the United States or of an office
building of Argentine Jews. They see any act of force taken
against the perpetrators of such things to be itself a crime. (This
is not to say that the vast majority of each and every subgroup
of Muslims support such barbarism; the
Turks and Malays come to mind as possible exceptions.)
Islam is a religion of peace for Muslims and for
subordinated non-Muslims living
under the clear domination of Muslims.
The vast majority of Muslims do not personally engage
in violence and terror in their daily lives. The vast majority of
Germans did not take personal part in the Holocaust. Indeed,
as a blanket statement regarding Arabs in Israel, I would say
that most Arabs behave in a far more polite daily manner than
Jews, exhibiting on average far better manners and more
consideration than do Jewish Israelis. But of course that is
hardly the point.
The vast majority of Muslims support the random and
indiscriminate use of terror and violence against Jews and
against Americans. The reactions of Muslims everywhere are
there on the TV screens for all to see. The vast majority of
Arabs openly or secretly approved of Bin Laden's campaign of
terror against Americans, including the bombing of the World
Center. Arab political thought is fundamentally Orwellian:
murder is resistance, prevention of murder or retaliation for
murder is terror. Muslims were outraged by events in the
Balkans because Muslims were being massacred; if Bosnians
and Albanians were massacring Serbs, they would have trouble
hiding their approval.
We have known for decades that the vast majority of
Muslims also approve of Palestinian atrocities and bombings
directly against Jews. There is no act of savagery directed
against Israelis or Jews of which they will not approve by
enormous majorities, and no act of defense by Israel that they
Public opinion polls are not conducted in most Muslim
countries, but if they were they would no doubt reflect this
popular approval. Polls are conducted among Palestinians and
they show without exception that most Palestinians approve of
suicide bombings and other atrocities committed against Jews.
The vast majority of Palestinians supported Saddam Hussein.
The vast majority support Al-Qaeda. The vast majority would
approve if Iran dumped chemical weapons or nerve gas on Tel
Aviv. The majority think Hitler was a hero. These are the
people with whom Oslo and the road map are supposed to
Oh, you might object, but Arafat denounced Bin laden
and even endorsed the U.S. bombings in Sudan and
Afghanistan. Well, yes he did, no doubt hoping to get the U.S.
to force Israel to make a few more concessions as a quid pro
quo, and he was no doubt as sincere as were the IRA folks who
denounced the bombing of Omagh. But the Palestinian fascist
hordes, taking their signals from the PLO, know he is posturing
and winking and these folks support terrorism by
The entire Oslo peace process and road map peace
processes are based on the naive American civic dogma
(adopted by Israeli politicians) holding that the vast majority of
About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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