Daniel Altman: ‘This Is How Every Genocide Begins’
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Mr. Altman paints a picture of non-Muslims being carefully primed, through a campaign of falsehoods, to be ready to treat Muslims as Jews were once treated by the Nazis. Here is his scarcely-believable, hysterical warning:
Social scientists agree that attacks on an entire class of people — whether identified by their race, religion, education, or any other distinguishing characteristic — do not happen spontaneously. First the mob has to be primed. The targeted group has to be demonized through a campaign of hateful misinformation, always presented as legitimate information by people in positions of trust. Then the signal for violence falls on ready ears.
The analogy to the president and his retweets is striking. He has used populist rhetoric to gain sway with vast numbers of disadvantaged and disillusioned Americans, in part by appealing to long-held prejudices. The videos he shared purportedly portray outrages committed by Muslim migrants in Europe, yet in reality they may be nothing of the sort.
It happened this way in Germany…
Despite these parallels, it may still seem like a stretch to link a few retweets to the Holocaust. But the path from the Protocols to the extermination camps was not traveled in a single night. The Nazis took power in 1933. Kristallnacht, the two days of riots that marked the first nationwide, coordinated outbreak of violence against German Jews, happened in 1938. The camps came a few years later, in the midst of World War II.
I am worried that the president has set us on this long and terrible path. I worry for Muslims, but also for everyone who believes in freedom and equal rights.
But there is no vast anti-Islamic campaign, no falsehoods being spread about Islam either by Trump or by anyone else in the Western world. No Stormtroopers, no Der Stürmer, no Gestapo. It’s not Muslims who need security. It’s Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan. There are attempts, not given nearly enough attention by our political and media elites, by a dedicated handful of analysts, to offer sober presentations of what is contained in the Qur’an and hadith. When these attempts at education are posted online, they are now subject to censorship by some of the most powerful Internet companies. Just a few months ago, Joel Kaplan, a vice-president of Facebook, travelled to Pakistan to reassure the Pakistanis that Facebook would remove any anti-Islamic material — an assurance it has given to the representatives of no other religion. Twitter now decides what is “hate speech” — being particularly solicitous of Muslims and Islam, and coming down hard on those non-apologist scholars, such as Robert Spencer, who are routinely threatened with death — and deletes anything it feels meet its (unstated) criteria. UK and European Internet Service Providers are now blocking Jihad Watch and similar sites.
For those non-apologist lecturers on Islam who still manage to be invited on-campus by some intrepid student group, they often find their speeches have been cancelled by the university, or interrupted, as these lecturers are shouted down by Antifa crowds determined to make sure that only apologists on behalf of Islam will be heard. Or if these campus brownshirts do not shout down a lecturer, they have other methods. They stand up in the middle of a talk, and exit, thus leaving a tiny audience, but campus administrators will not permit the emptied seats to be taken by others, standing in line outside, more willing to listen. In the most publicized example of this, Robert Spencer’s recent speech at Stanford was disrupted when students stood up and left (apparently the prospect of listening to a detailed exposition of Islam was simply too frightening); the two assistant deans who were present smilingly encouraged the students who left, while making sure that Stanford’s campus police kept out anyone wanting to come in to actually hear the talk, and possibly even learn something which, until recently, was the whole point of education.
Meanwhile, Muslim clerics who have called for killing of Jews and other Infidels find their messages are not taken down from the Internet, and they themselves have apparently not had any trouble being invited to speak on campuses. In the U.K., for example, more than 100 extremist preachers have spoken on university campuses. Meanwhile, Robert Spencer, who offers only sober analysis of Islamic texts, teachings, and history, and has never preached violence against anyone, is still forbidden even to travel to the U.K.
There has been no “appeal to long-held prejudices” when it comes to Islam. Until the last few decades, there was little awareness in the West of the texts and teachings of Islam, and there is still, unfortunately, not nearly enough. Though antisemitism was a part of Western culture for nearly 2000 years before Hitler took it to an altogether new and genocidal level, anti-Islam feeling is much more recent, and reflects anxiety over real threats, that is, the ideology of Islam, not the imaginary threats of the antisemites. The videos retweeted by Trump are not equivalent to the Protocols. They are not forgeries, but true records of Muslim behavior, and what’s more, those involved wanted those videos shown. The Muslim who beat up the crippled Dutch boy wanted his act recorded and posted online. So did the Muslim who destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary, and who wanted both that, and his warning to Christians that “only Allah” could be worshipped in the Levant, put up at YouTube. As to the group of Muslims who hunted down and killed a Muslim boy who did not share their enthusiasm for Mohamed Morsi, it’s unclear who took or posted the video, but it could well have been fellow Muslims, posting it by way of a warning to others: this can happen to you if you don’t support the Muslim Brotherhood.
There are no parallels between Jews in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and Muslims in the West today. Trump’s retweets were an attempt to show important truths, not falsehoods, about Islam. They have been treated as beyond-the-pale outrages because Western political and media elites cannot bear to have certain truths about Islam made plain. Completely dhimmified, they have been quick to defend Islam, as they repeat endlessly that that conquering faith is all about peace, and tolerance, and that the terrorist atrocities committed by Muslims have “nothing to do with Islam,” but only with a “distorted version” of it — and they maintain this even as many of those terrorists solemnly recite the Qur’anic verses that command such terrorism. Meanwhile, the stabbings, shootings, explosions, running down of Infidels with cars and trucks, in which Muslims target non-Muslims, ceaselessly continue. This is very different from how Jews behaved: they posed no threat to anyone, attacked no one in the 1930s. Nor does Judaism command that Jews engage in worldwide conquest, as the Qur’an commands Muslims to engage in violent Jihad, until Islam everywhere dominates, and Muslims rule, everywhere. While excuses of every kind are offered to explain away real Muslim atrocities against non-Muslims today, in Nazi Germany the Jews were falsely accused of every conceivable atrocity, even of the medieval charges against them of ritual murder, and of using the blood of the Christian children they killed to make matzohs.
In this latest retweeting by Trump, all those he offended — which means practically everyone — carefully avoided discussing what the videos showed, and concentrated on calling Trump a “racist” and “fascist,” who had retweeted videos from a supposed Nazi (Ms. Fransen is on the right, but she’s no Nazi). They treated Trump as a bigoted fool. Their evidence? They were delighted to report that the bully described in one video (by Ms. Fransen) as a “Muslim migrant” was, according to the Dutch police, not a “Muslim migrant” because he was born in the Netherlands. This begs the obvious question: was he a Muslim? No Western journalists tried to find out, because they feared they knew what the answer would be. Instead, the anti-Trump brigade keeps meretriciously insisting that the boy was “born in the Netherlands” and therefore could not be a “Muslim migrant” — which is true only as to the “migrant” part. If the boy were not a Muslim, it would have been shouted to the rooftops. The silence of the Dutch authorities, and the Western media, on this was telling.
For those who have kept their wits about them, and remained unaffected by the outrage of the Great And Good, such as the variously indignant London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Daniel Altman, against Trump, these three videos provide useful examples of Muslim behavior, and insights into Muslim attitudes. The extreme violence (the mob chasing down and killing a boy), the deep contempt for other religions (the smashed statue), the violent hatred of Infidels (the beating up of the Dutch cripple) — all this was on display. These were not meant to be anti-Islamic videos; they were Islamic videos; the Muslims in them were proud of their deeds and requested other Muslims to film them, in at least two and possibly in all three of the cases. They wanted to be seen on YouTube. These “Islamic” tapes then became “anti-Islamic” only because Infidels realized they made Islam look bad. And that’s when those tapes suddenly became “unverified” and instead of showing, they now were only “purporting to show.”
Here’s a sample of what those retweeted videos elicited:
“The Islamophobic videos were originally tweeted by Fransen…” (The Guardian). “What the hell are you doing retweeting a bunch of unverified videos by Britain First, a bunch of disgustingly racist far-right extremists? Please STOP this madness & undo your retweets.” (Piers Morgan) “Donald Trump’s Racist Retweets Alienate Even Twitter’s Worst” (Madison Malone Kircher). ‘Trump Retweets Inflammatory Anti-Muslim Videos” (Voice of America). “Trump retweets videos purporting to show violence by Muslims” (Twin Cities Press). “Brit PM Blasts Donald Trump Retweets Of Violent Anti-Muslim Video” (Theresa May). “Far-right retweets by Donald Trump are abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society.” “Mr. Trump was ‘legitimizing religious bigotry’ with the Twitter posts.” (Senator Lindsey Graham) “These are actions one would expect to see on virulent anti-Muslim hate sites, not on the Twitter feed of the president of the United States. Trump’s posts amount to incitement to violence against American Muslims.” (CAIR) “How It Felt for American Muslims to Wake Up to Trump Retweeting Anti-Islam Fascists.” (Slate.com)
The anti-Trump hysteria deflected attention that ought to have been paid to the contents of those videos, each a faithful record of Muslims behaving very badly. Many were quick off the mark to demonstrate their superior morality by denouncing Trump as a far-right disgusting racist and bigot with his inflammatory anti-Muslim videos. But no one bothered to explain about the videos themselves, which we were told, falsely, were “unverified” (they had been circulating for years; no one claimed that what they recorded did not take place) and that only “purported to show” — when they clearly showed — Muslim violence, with one man smashing a Christian statue; another beating a Christian cripple; still others chasing down and killing a Muslim who by their lights just wasn’t Muslim enough. Nothing was made up by Trump or exaggerated for effect. If anything, these videos are among the milder examples of Muslim mayhem and murder to be found online. Perhaps some of those who initially raged at Trump, now that they know or strongly suspect he was right about the Dutch bully being a Muslim, will do a little searching on YouTube to see what else it offers that might prove enlightening on the subject of Muslim behavior — enlightening, there is a faint possibility, even for the likes of anxious Daniel Altman, he who warns us, preposterously, that “This Is How Every Genocide Begins.”
First published in Jihad Watch.