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Liberal internationalist/neocon is looking for one good Muslim

Israel/PalestineMiddle East
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Paul Berman has a new book coming out, The Flight of the Intellectuals, in which he attempts to define the "moderate Muslim"–who coincidentally of course is pro-Israel. So Ayan Hirsi Ali who’s suggested that we bomb Iran is lauded as his moderate Muslim interlocutor. An early supporter of the war on terror and the invasion of Iraq, Berman epitomizes the liberal "internationalist" who dovetail with neocon objectives. Nowhere in his pompous narrative is any concern evinced for his favourite middle eastern state: Israel. It is also coincidental that those Muslims he opposes are strident and wildly popular critics of Israel.

What’s a poor Muslim to do? Tariq Ramdan’s crime was to suggest that French Jews supported the war on Iraq because of Israel. Paul Berman’s definition of a moderate Muslim? One who exults when Gaza is bombed by Israel and lauds its humanitarian tendencies and the munificence of Western civilization.

From the book promo:

Paul Berman—one of America’s leading public intellectuals (Foreign Affairs)—conducts a searing examination of the West’s fumbling efforts to establish a healthy discourse with “moderate” Islam, or to even properly identify what a “moderate” Muslim is. He does so by simultaneously presenting concise and penetrating studies of several of the Muslims we’ve embraced—such as Tariq Ramadan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and the Ayatollah Khomeini—and the journalists and intellectuals who first encouraged us to embrace them, such as Michel Foucault in Europe and Ian Buruma in the United States.

Buruma on Berman‘s favorite Muslim:

On Ayaan Hirsi Ali, I wrote that I admire her, and agree with much of what she says, but not with everything. The problem with neocons and neoleftists is that any disagreement with their idol is taken to be a hostile attack, not just on Hirsi Ali, but on everything she stands for: secularism, free speech, and so on. Berman describes this observation as a "campaign" that is really no loftier than a "low vendetta." I think he has made my point very nicely.

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Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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