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.