Any intelligent observer can easily discern that the “new” anti-semitism today has little connection with discrimination against Jews. Anti-semitism nowadays is mostly about deplorable discrimination and racist attacks against Arabs. Right now in New York, the Likudnik thought police are trying their darndest to designate Arabic words like intifada and madrassa (which simply means ’school’ in Arabic, regardless of religious affiliation) treasonous. Madrassa does not mean ‘religious‘ school.
We see this playing out in the trumped-up brouhaha about the Kahlil Gibran International Academy, wherein Debbie Almontaser, the head, was branded a terrorist for not apologising enough (for the Likud-Zionists’s liking) about the word ‘intifada’ (which simply means ’shaking off’) on a T-Shirt–worn by someone else! The racist bullying and defamation resulted in Almontaser resigning.
This reflects poorly on NYC, which has a rich history of cosmopolitanism, the same American tradition that brought Kahlil Gibran, the timeless Lebanese-born poet and philosopher, to the shores of the US where he made such a lasting impact upon the world of literature.
As Anthony DiMaggio notes, Daniel Pipes is one of the reactionaries spouting utter rubbish about Arabic, such as: “Arabic-language instruction is inevitably laden with pan-Arabist and Islamist baggage” and “Muslims tend to see non-Muslims learning Arabic as a step toward an eventual conversion to Islam…”
Islamophobe Pipes fails to mention that the most populous Muslim country is Indonesia (pop: 242 million), whose national language is Bahasa Indonesian. He neglects to mention that there are a great many Christian Arabic speakers too, such as myself. Yes, Arab culture is attached to Islam—since when then is that a crime?–but also to Christianity and Judaism, too. The demonisation of Islam and of Arabic as a language by ignoramuses and ideologues such as Pipes and Bella Rabinowitz is all in service of the terror-blather that has hijacked public discourse in the United States.
- Anthony DiMaggio, The Right-Wing’s War on the Gibran Academy: Arabic as a Terrorist Language, Counterpunch
- Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI) Statement on Debbie Almontaser
Al Jazeera news clip (Thanks Ressentiment):
Crossposted at PeoplesGeography.com