The Moral Failure of Our Time
On Tuesday, November 28th, Prince Turki al-Faisal al-Saud, the Saudi ambassador to Washington came to the Houlihan-McLean Center of the University of Scranton to share his thoughts on the Middle East and tell us there will be no peace in the Middle East unless and until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been resolved.
If Israel would just do the ‘right thing’, we are told, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, al Qaeda and the rest of Islamic extremists would willingly lay down their explosive belts, give up their roadside bombs, stop firing their rockets, abandon their quest for a nuclear bomb and live in peace and harmony with Israel and the rest of the world. Problem is – the concept is not only wrong but misleading and dangerous because it diverts our attention from global Islamic extremism and the role the Saudis have played in promoting it.
First, the suicide bombings in Turkey, Bali, Madrid and London, last November’s riots over the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, Islamist intimidation of freedom of thought and expression throughout Western Europe and the fear of death at the hands of these Islamic jihadists have nothing whatsoever to do with Israelis or Palestinians. They do, however, have everything to do with radical Islamic intolerance of other cultures and religions (especially in Saudi Arabia) and reflect an Islamic ideology hell-bent on dominating other religions anywhere, at any cost.
Second, the sectarian violence in Iraq, the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons and it’s sponsoring of global Islamic terrorism, Syrian interference in Lebanon’s sovereignty and the growing political power of the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt and Jordan have nothing at all to do with Israel or the Palestinians and everything to do with resurgent Islamic extremism across the Middle East and Europe, the centuries-old conflict between Sunnis and Shiites and the desire of Iran to shift the balance of power in the region in its favor. Despite all the rhetoric, the Israelis and the Palestinians are just a “sideshow” in this global Islamic crusade.
Third, the UN Arab Human Development Reports issued between 2002 and 2004 place the blame for massive illiteracy, poverty, unemployment and the lack of political freedom and women’s rights throughout the Arab world entirely on the shoulders of Arab dictators and despots. Far from wanting to assist the West with its efforts to bring a breath of modernity to Middle East politics, the unreconstructed autocrats of Damascus, Teheran and Riyadh are viscerally opposed to any attempt to make life better for the people they rule. None of this has anything to do with Israelis or Palestinians.
The truth is there will be no “resolution” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict unless and until the Arab world assumes responsibility for its own failures (and acts to correct them) and radical Islamists cease to use their religion as a political weapon against other world religions and cultures. Unfortunately, more than a billion Muslims around the globe continue to favor jihad (holy war)’..which brings us to Prince Turki and the role of Saudi Arabia in promoting that jihad.
According to the London Sunday Times (August 2002) and the sworn testimony of former Taliban intelligence chief Mullah Kakshar, Turki, who was the former Chief of the Saudi Foreign Intelligence Service (Istakhbarat) made a deal with his long-time friend and associate Osama bin Laden in Kandahar, Afghanistan in July 1998 whereby in return for $300M in ‘Saudi protection money’, bin Laden agreed not to use his al Qaeda operatives to attack Saudi Arabia (only Saudi Arabia, mind you) and the Saudis agreed to insure that American requests to extradite al Qaeda members and American demands to close al Qaeda training camps in the Kingdom would not be carried out. The former Taliban Intelligence chief also testified that Prince Turki had arranged for financial donations to be made directly to al Qaeda and to bin Laden by a group of wealthy Saudi businessmen.
Taking into account that 15 of the 19 September 11th terrorists came from Saudi Arabia; that the majority of foreign jihadists in Iraq are Saudis; that Imam Mohammed University in Riyadh spins off 20,000 Wahhabi-trained Islamic graduates a year who are taught that jihad against infidels is a religious duty ordained by Allah; that the Saudis have contributed millions of dollars to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers; that openly practicing religions other than Wahhabi Islam are strictly forbidden in Saudi Arabia – a ban physically enforced by the Saudi religious police (the mutaween) – which accounts for why Christian bibles are confiscated at all entry points to the country; that the Saudis have spent in excess of $87B over the past 25 years funding global Islamic extremism through numerous Islamic charitable front organizations, American Islamic academies, mosques, libraries and the American Islamic chaplaincy programs in our penitentiaries and the military; and that millions of Saudi dollars (and the Wahhabi influence that follows these dollars) are flowing into the Middle East Studies and Islamic Studies Departments of our major universities including Rutgers, MIT, Georgetown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Texas A&M and University of Arkansas’ we should not be surprised when a Saudi representative stands before a Scranton audience and places the blame for all the problems of the Middle East on “Israeli intransigence”.
I, for one, am tired of watching missiles fall on Sderot, watching Jewish children running to bomb shelters and listening to translations of Egyptian TV documentaries on MEMRI showing how a young girl’s eyes are stolen and given to ‘Zionists’, and other shows on Arab TV channels showing Jews hunting Christian children for their blood to bake in their Passover matzos. I’m tired of seeking the approval of those who hate us and quite honestly, I wish Israel and America felt the same. I’m tired of watching Arab caricatures of Jews with long noses seeking to control the world and I’m tired of having my people targeted, terrified, vilified and murdered.
Prince Turki, you can lie to the world, but you can’t lie to us. We know the game plan. Been there; done that. And because we know the endgame, you should know that Jews will no longer be silent. We don’t ‘wail’ anymore. When you insist on further Israeli withdrawals (after the experience of the withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza), we know you’re calling for the destruction of the State of Israel. When you say, you favor a ‘final solution’ to the Israeli-Palestinian problem; that’s not a ‘poor use of words’, it’s a Freudian slip. When you say the Israel-Palestinian conflict is the ‘root cause’ of Islamic terrorism, we know you’re telling the world that Israel has brought all this on itself and deserves to be wiped off the map for the sake of world peace. When you say you support ‘Palestinian rights’, we know you’re saying that you support Palestinian terrorism – better to drop missiles on schools and homes than to grow tomatoes in Gush Katif and feed the hungry Palestinian masses. And when you call Israeli retaliation for Hezbollah missile attacks on northern Israel ‘unwarranted Israeli aggression’, we know you’re telling us that Israel (unlike every other nation on earth) has absolutely no right to defend itself.
So, to put it bluntly, Prince Turki, you’re not welcome here. Your money or gift or whatever it is you choose to donate (if that is the master plan behind your visit) is not welcome here. You have a serious credibility problem, not the least of which is that you represent a country that has been and continues to be the single most prolific financial and ideological supporter of Islamic extremism in the world. Our interest in listening to you is over. You’ve had your twenty minutes. We understand your message. Now, you can leave.