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Advocate for ‘white British people’ bridles when Rula Jebreal mentions race

Middle East
on 13 Comments

Two months back the author Rula Jebreal participated in a BBC debate in London over the use of military force to defeat ISIS, and one of her opponents that night, Douglas Murray, a British Islam-basher, has now accused her of fanaticism and racism. His article says:

the strangest thing about Ms Jebreal was that she began her case by complaining about having to listen to “two white men” on our side. She seemed to have fewer problems with the other person on her own side, who was not just white and a man, but also — crime of all crimes today — old. I hope that in my lifetime the use of someone’s skin pigmentation will become unacceptable as a means of attack.

Murray then derided Jebreal for “her strident pose as a poor suffering Palestinian.”

It’s a coy and disingenuous attack and deserves to be dismissed. I’ve never seen Jebreal pose as a poor suffering Palestinian; that’s simply a lie. She is forthright about her privileged, international career. As for white men, well– she tweaked lecturing warmongering white men. Here’s the key excerpt of that February debate:

My father was Muslim, my mother was Christian. I am married to an American Jew and I have a Catholic daughter. So don’t hold that against me please. I lived in Cairo. I lived in Rome… I’m here tonight with a sense of deja vu, because we’re again being lectured with all due respect by two white men who are telling us that we need another war in the Middle East. And that we need to send your children, your loved ones, to die for a war we cannot win.

I don’t see the racism, not when she’s just told us her life is rooted in diversity, and she’s married to a white man, and paired on stage with a white guy. White men can take it. Or I thought they could. More substantively, the argument that our policy debates would profit from greater diversity is a strong one. I frequently cite the disproportionate number of Jewish Zionist neocons who played a key role in getting the U.S. into the Iraq war. The growing brownness of the Democratic Party rank and file has boosted the Black Lives Matter issue as a political concern and is helping to undermine hawkish stances re the Middle East.

Arabs were overwhelmingly opposed to the Iraq war. According to Shibley Telhami, they felt by large majorities that the war would increase terrorism, destabilize Iraq, and hinder efforts to democratize Arab countries.

Asked what they thought would be the result of the U.S.-Iraq war, large majorities in all six countries [Lebanon, Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco] responded that they thought the war would bring in its wake less democracy… less peace…  and more terrorism…  Just 2 percent of Moroccans, 3 percent of Saudis, and 6 percent of Egyptians believed that the Middle East would be more democratic after the war. More than two-thirds of respondents believed that the Middle East would be less democratic. And more than 80 percent believed that the war would generate more terrorism.

That is exactly what happened. Maybe we should have listened to them!

The strangest thing about Mr. Murray is that he himself has brandished whiteness in his efforts to shut European borders to Muslims; he’s deplored the prevalence of brown-skinned people in London. He once said, “People who identify themselves as white British people are now in a minority in their capital city of London. If you become a minority in your own city, you are going to feel something about that…. This territory, this ground, will be given over to extremists.”

In 2011, the Conservative party disowned Murray. A fellow conservative explained:

In 2006, Douglas Murray made a speech in the Dutch Parliament called “What are we to do about Islam?”  His answers were uncompromising.  “Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition”.  How this was to be done was not set out exhaustively, though Murray suggested demolishing mosques in certain circumstances….Finally, he suggested that European Muslims who “take part in, plot, assist or condone [my italic] violence against the west must be forcibly deported to their place of origin”.

Murray explained that by “the west” he meant western troops as well as western countries.  “Where a person was born in the west,” he said, “they should be deported to the country of origin of their parent or grandparent”.  I take an unyielding view of those who support attacks on our troops, and have campaigned for government to sever all links with groups that do so.  But Murray was making demands less of Islamist extremists than ordinary Muslims.  A reasonable reading of his words is that any British Muslim who opposed whatever war an allied Government was waging at the time should be expelled from his home country.

I’ve watched Rula Jebreal speak on numerous occasions. Including in Washington last month. I’ve often heard her speak about the need for  diversity in the discourse; but she’s also welcomed all parties to the debate; two white people shared her panel that day.

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13 Responses

  1. ritzl
    ritzl
    April 7, 2016, 12:35 pm

    PW: “That is exactly what happened. Maybe we should have listened to them! – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/advocate-for-white-british-people-bridles-when-rula-jebreal-mentions-race/#sthash.2fadWlRw.dpuf

    And by extension, restore the “Arabists” who have been methodically and completely purged from the US government over the last 20 years.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      April 8, 2016, 7:31 pm

      Not while Bill Kristol is a regular pundit on cable TV news/infotainment shows.

  2. Bumblebye
    Bumblebye
    April 7, 2016, 1:58 pm

    I’d only vaguely heard of Murray, so I googled.

    Yet another product of Eton college!
    The Associate Director at the Henry Jackson Society.
    Author at the Spectator.
    Ditto Coffee House.
    Ditto Gatestone Institute.

    aka rabid right-wingnut.

    • RockyMissouri
      RockyMissouri
      April 8, 2016, 9:40 am

      I have a lot of respect for Rula Jebreal.. Even more after I learned about who she is.
      She is fearless.

  3. Stogumber
    Stogumber
    April 7, 2016, 2:12 pm

    I’m convinced that Ms. Jebreal is in fact not a racist. She judges people by the question: Do they agree with my standpoint? and if they agree, she’s quite able to ignore their sex and skin colour.
    But Mr. Weiss, don’t you see that this makes her behaviour worse, not better – she referred to her opponent’s sex and skin colour not from a deep personal conviction, but as a cheap shot.

    On the other hand, Murray expressed his deep personal feelings when he was sad about the future in which his people will be a minority in a country they once saw as their own country. Should not just a Palestinian person be able to empathize with this feeling??? And to understand that under such a sombre perspective, one can become a bit sensitive when one’s skin colour is emphasized?

    • amigo
      amigo
      April 7, 2016, 3:07 pm

      “On the other hand, Murray expressed his deep personal feelings when he was sad about the future in which his people will be a minority in a country they once saw as their own country. Should not just a Palestinian person be able to empathize with this feeling??”Stogumber.

      You joke –right.

      Murray is a privileged White Brit who lives in a society that gained much of it,s wealth through the theft of the resources of non white people .The Palestinians have no such history.

      Comparing the Palestinian experience to that of a white privileged racist bigot like Murray is at best disingenuous.The price of centuries of colonialism has come back to bite the ,”seat ” of the former empire.You reap what you sow.

    • bryan
      bryan
      April 7, 2016, 3:35 pm

      “On the other hand, Murray expressed his deep personal feelings when he was sad about the future in which his people will be a minority in a country they once saw as their own country”

      That is surely to ignore a certain cultural symbiosis: Britain’s wealth, and indeed its industrial revolution and urbanisation was based around the slave trade (esp. Bristol and Liverpool) and the triangular trade (imports of raw cotton and rum from the Americas and sales of trinkets to Africa) plus the exploitation of India (the jewel in the crown), Malaysia (rubber and tin), Nigeria (oil and minerals) and many other colonies. As the empire faced modern human rights and legitimacy challenges and in recognition of the contributions made by many (including West Indians and Indians) in two World Wars, Britain converted old-fashioned colonies exploited for raw materials into a Commonwealth of Nations.

      During the eventual post-WWII boom as Britain ran short of workers, we willingly imported labour from the Commonwealth to run our buses and trains, provide our nurses and even doctors, and to staff our factories (prior to the neoliberal decision to decimate industry and convert to banking speculation). All the evidence is that this not only enriched our culture (e.g. food, sport, music) but also led to a higher rate of growth and greater prosperity than would otherwise have been achieved (despite many of the immigrants remaining third-class citizens).

      This was in keeping with the historic pattern, whereby incoming Huguenots, Irish, Jews from Eastern Europe, plus many other groups (eventually) enriched our society, no matter the initial apparent disruption until they were assimilated. Even today when Britain has no obvious labour shortages and a less obvious debt to the colonies, immigration benefits society in many ways that compensate for the apparent social costs – combatting an aging population, providing a flexible, young and generally well-educated work-force, increasing tax revenues because the profile is largely working-age, earning and not costing proportionately as much as the host population for health-care and old-age benefits. There is economic flexibility in that the number of incomers from Poland and elsewhere seems directly proportionate to the health of the general economy. Most economists appear to maintain that economic growth is higher and will remain higher in those countries (e.g. USA, Germany, Britain) with the highest rates of immigration. Also the process permits idiots like Murray to readily pinpoint scape-goats for the failings of our social system and our ruling elite.

      • Keith
        Keith
        April 7, 2016, 5:13 pm

        BRYAN- “That is surely to ignore a certain cultural symbiosis: Britain’s wealth, and indeed its industrial revolution and urbanisation was based around the slave trade (esp. Bristol and Liverpool) and the triangular trade (imports of raw cotton and rum from the Americas and sales of trinkets to Africa) plus the exploitation of India (the jewel in the crown), Malaysia (rubber and tin), Nigeria (oil and minerals) and many other colonies.”

        True enough, yet how many British school children are educated about the dark side of their imperial history, even as they are taught about the Holocaust?

      • bryan
        bryan
        April 8, 2016, 4:55 am

        I taught briefly in a grammar school in the late 1970s where the students were bright middle class kids who could cope with a traditional establishment history syllabus that focused on kings (the odd queen) and prime ministers, Acts of Parliament obscure European wars and such-like. After two years the school was converted to a comprehensive and came to comprise an inner-city working class intake with a high proportion of kids with Asian and West Indian backgrounds, many barely able to read and write. We completely revamped the syllabus away from political and institutional history to focus on social and world history. One very-well received course (with kids of all backgrounds) was on the transatlantic slave trade, utilising in part the story of Kunta Kinte, from Alex Haley’s “Roots”.

        Many radical innovations in the curriculum took place at that time, most specifically an abrupt change from presenting a long-term narrative of a society, to something far more episodic and disjointed, where one might switch focus from the Kennedy assassination and the Cuban missile crisis to crime and punishment in the medieval and early modern period. This worked because the focus changed entirely from a fact-based narrative that simply unfolded, to focus on the role of evidence and its evaluation, the importance of interpreting documents and other artefacts from the past, and examining, almost as snap-shots, important turning points in the past, and attempting to understand them from the stance of the participants.

        I later moved on from teaching, so I am not familiar with recent curricular developments, but I will hazard two guesses: (1) the imposition of a national curriculum by politicians and the inevitable march of a regime of constant assessment has not been entirely positive; (2) since history teachers are often radical and always idiosyncratic the subject will still remain of lively interest and relevance.

  4. Scott
    Scott
    April 8, 2016, 12:33 pm

    Not represented here: people who think Palestinians should have justice and Europe shouldn’t be overrun by migants.

    • K Renner
      K Renner
      April 10, 2016, 11:49 am

      Speaking personally– I think people who make up lies about the refugee crisis and Middle Eastern people in Europe generally ought to be ostracized and essentially “excommunicated” from the pro-Palestinian camp. Same thing as what happens, ideally, to those who just use the pro-Palestinian cause as a vehicle to try and express certain other views that aren’t exactly great.

      Europe is not being “overrun” by refugees. The crisis is totally the fault of the repulsive leaders of Europe’s Eastern Block. People like Viktor Orban, Milos Zeman, and Robert Fico.

      • Eric
        Eric
        April 12, 2016, 10:57 am

        Incorrect. The crisis is the fault of the warmongering western nations, in cahoots with the Saudis and Zionists, who toppled Gaddhafi, funded the insurrection in Syria and continue to ensure the Middle East is in a state of permanent chaos. The European leaders you mentioned are merely dealing with the migrant influx; they had no hand in causing it.

  5. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    April 10, 2016, 2:39 pm

    I disagree with Mr.Murray in that I’m rather impressed by the massive diversity of origin within the population of our major city: it says something good about the continuing vitality, despite much wrong, of our economy and culture. I don’t think that people are foreign on the basis of skin colour or ancestry. However, it seems to follow that negative or dismissive remarks on the basis of skin colour should always be avoided and I think Rula Jebreal was, as Stogumber says, making a cheap shot.
    I don’t want anywhere ‘overrun’ by anyone but don’t think that anyone is currently overrunning London or Europe. I note with pleasure that a Muslim, the Labour candidate Sadiq Khan MP, is ahead in the mayoral contest in London at the moment. Islamophobic cards are being played against him quite disgracefully. The outcome will be interesting. He will of course receive many votes from what is by far the largest ethnic group, the ‘white British’.

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