A View from the Eye of the Storm
June 25, 2004 12:35 AM   Subscribe

A View from the Eye of the Storm. An Arab intellectual in Europe ponders on the Muslim world and comes to some interesting conclusions. Israel is a sideshow. Iran is the most dangerous country in the world.. in the long run the only way for us (the West) to win the war of terror is to force the problem nations to reform both politically and culturally.via Steven Den Beste weblog
posted by stbalbach (44 comments total)

An Arab intellectual? Haim (Chaim) is a Jewish name, and Haim Harari appears to be a professor at the Weizmann Institute in Israel.

I think large chunks of this are not far from the truth, but get the attributions right, and don't pass it off as something it's not.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:20 AM on June 25, 2004

Right.... I thought this might actually be an insightful, evenhanded account from an insider for a minute there.

It was nice to see him hinting that military force against "terrorist regimes" doesn't work, instead we should starve them of finances; and I'm all for good arguments against having to use military force. But cutting off the (oil)money is of course 1. counterproductive (who'll get hurt? guess...) 2. not going to happen (Big Oil is not going to be buddies with Saud anymore? Well maybe because it's for a good cause, hmm?)

Then I came to the part where he opined that Western media should be "monitored" and lost interest in the whole thing. Sweeping, partisan, badly argumented.
posted by disso at 1:22 AM on June 25, 2004

"The original source of this is not certain. I could not find any definitive original version of it online. I believe the attribution is correct."


15 seconds on Google:


Posted by jewishindy on Wednesday, June 23 @ 22:30:18 EDT
Forward by Emanuel A. Winston,
a Middle East analyst & commentator
June 22, 2004

This speech by the former President of Weizmann Institute of Science, Haim Harari is a lesson that the politicians and the Media would do well to learn. I doubt that they will either read or absorb the lessons in this insiteful analysis of Terror adn what it means towhat we call civilization. This is not a trite 'sound byte' for the Media to toss of with a one liner. Harari is not the average person speaking his mind but, rather like listening to the thoughts of an Einstein. Most journalists and politicians do not have time for deep thinkers who have matured over the years into wise men with vision. In fact, they simply do not want to know and pursue ignorance as the safest course. Well, perhaps a few will take the time to read and absorb.

Undeclared WWIII by Haim Harari


do we still have to endure DenBeastie's ridiculous stuff? I thought he had left for good
posted by matteo at 1:26 AM on June 25, 2004

15 fucking seconds, stbalbach
posted by matteo at 1:27 AM on June 25, 2004

posted by matteo at 1:28 AM on June 25, 2004

other posts from the site DenBeste lifted this thing from:

Posted by jewishindy on Wednesday, June 23 @ 21:42:43 EDT
Ruth and Nadia Matar


Has the desire for peace given Israel peace? Has it not resulted in Israel’s truncation, humiliation, and emasculation? Has not the desire for peace, uttered ad nauseum by Israeli politicians, rendered this country increasingly dependent on distant America and thus more vulnerable to war?

That anyone should expect peace from Arab regimes invariably ruled by force and fraud is a question for a psychiatrist. Consider.


When will the Nationalist Camp realize that we are "at war already" with the PLO supported tyranny that rules Israel? At what point will Israelis realize that the CIVIL WAR they fear, IS ALREADY TAKING PLACE AND THEY ARE LOSING? Why don't members of the Nationalist Camp understand that FORCE is being used by only ONE side and that is the government. The monopoly on power must be broken or there is no hope.


"Pea-brain" George Bush (Yimach shmo,) does not recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel. Better give it to the A-rabs as a 'good-will gesture - so that he can get re-elected! -Ed.]
US President Bush has, once again, suspended the relocation of the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Israel's capital, Jerusalem.


basically, they're all crapping on Sharon because they think he's too liberal.
best of the web, with a little false attribution
posted by matteo at 1:44 AM on June 25, 2004

Wow. Amazing how a writer can support the conclusion they've already arrived due to their own biases by supplying a bunch of disconnected, meaningless crap as "evidence", eh?
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:10 AM on June 25, 2004

more like steven den worste!

Also, this article is boring.
posted by delmoi at 3:05 AM on June 25, 2004

I stopped believing Haim Harari once I realized matteo's power of googling.
posted by shoos at 3:06 AM on June 25, 2004

What is of interest for me is not the crap dumped on Den Beste--in his fuller post he claims that the source was not autheticated by him or any one else but rather hinted at--but that no comments truly were critical of the "program" to eliminate the terrorism. The "proposals" may be correct but the solution is not so easy as is suggested: do we simply go into Iran and Syria and Saudi Arabia (let alone N. Korea, Cuba etc) to eleminate bad governments and bring about libeal democracies? If so, sign me up today. Sounds easy enough.
posted by Postroad at 3:07 AM on June 25, 2004

you mean you're going to enlist, Posty? "Private Posty Liberates the Middle East"?
where's Costello, though?
posted by matteo at 3:26 AM on June 25, 2004

No son of an Arab politician or religious leader has ever blown himself.

I dunno, I've heard some pretty wild stories about what goes on behind closed doors at Arafat's compound in Ramallah.
posted by deadcowdan at 5:13 AM on June 25, 2004

Den Beste posted that on the 19th, *three fucking days* before it was forwarded to someone at JewishIndy, another day before it was posted there on the 23rd, a week after it was posted to the Free Republic on June 16th, attributed to Haim Harari. So how is the JewishIndy version the "original," or any more authentic than the version Den Beste posted?

Den Beste says in his post he got it in an email from someone named Quentin which pointed him to here, where it was posted on the 18th. That link identifies Harari as "Chair, Davidson Institute of Science Education, and Former President, from 1988 to 2001, of the Weizmann Institute of Science." So where is your new information, matteo? You've posted nothing Den Beste didn't.

This version is from May 21st, posted by "Gabe". Then on June 21st, Gabe says he emailed it to Den Beste. He says "At the time neither of us knew who originally wrote the piece. It was very difficult to find any attribution after the first posting on Pournelle's site, it was even removed from there after a short time and I couldn't find the original post from whence it came. It appears that it was recently posted at Free Republic as well, but at the time I had read it, I could find no copy anywhere on the web."

Several sites mention seeing it on jerrypournelle.com here, on May 16th, attributed to "famous Israeli scientist." Then on June 23rd, he "reveals" that it was written by Haim Harari... Days after other people have already attributed it to Harari.

This version is apparently from June 12th, the earliest version attributed to Harari I've found so far, but still not original, and I can't read Hebrew.

Seems to me like your "15 fucking seconds" didn't quite cut it, matteo.
posted by techgnollogic at 5:15 AM on June 25, 2004

stbalbach wrote that " An Arab intellectual in Europe ponders on the Muslim world ".

instead, with 15 seconds on Google we now see that it is an Israeli professor, not an Arab intellectual, thus erasing the fpp's premise. it's just another "let's-invade-Iran" neocon rant liked, as I've shown, by crazed anti-American Israeli right-wingers who think that Sharon is a PLO stooge (read their front page, please).

but thanks for adding that this pro-media-censorship, anti-Arab cheap neocon rant was also published in FreeRepublic: I bet you saw it there first, huh?

anyway if mr Harari really really really thinks that Iran is so dangerously close to invading its neighbors (I heard the same argument before a couple years ago re Iraq, look where it brought America btw), then by all means he should lobby the Israeli government to pre-emptively attack Iran, with Israel's own troops this time.
Bush took down Saddam for the neocons already. I doubt he'll very soon invade Iran for them, too (chasing those phantoms wmd's there, too?)

sadly, it is a very lame speech, perfect for a right wing nut's blog, but substandard for MeFi
posted by matteo at 5:40 AM on June 25, 2004

It's a shame that the interesting content of the article has taken a back seat to meta-sniping about the source.
posted by DWRoelands at 5:51 AM on June 25, 2004

So your view is that we should protect the brutal regimes of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc., because a Jew says otherwise.
posted by techgnollogic at 5:58 AM on June 25, 2004

heh, nice troll

do you actually argue like in real life, too?
I'd be curious to see how people look at you when you pull stuff like that out of your ass

it's nice how reluctance to listen too much to the people who were in favor of the Iraqi cakewalk equals to anti-semitism in some people's fevered minds

but please go on, you're funny
posted by matteo at 6:04 AM on June 25, 2004

Speaking of pulling stuff out of your ass:


Matteo, once again, you can't just make shit up. Harari says we should look out for Islamist lies in Western media and nip them at the bud, tell the truth, set the record straight. That's called a free press, and you're calling it censorship. Calling a lie a lie is not censorship.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:06 AM on June 25, 2004

Where does Harari advocate the invasion of Iran?
posted by techgnollogic at 6:10 AM on June 25, 2004

no. Harari says, and I quote, (emphasis mine)
"It is also important to act decisively against the campaign of lies and fabrications and to monitor those Western media who collaborate with it out of naivety, financial interests or ignorance."

so? traitors in the press? names, please: do we have to arrest Sulzberger? Mickey Mouse? Who?
the reason? because they arent showing the Iraqis who greet Americans as liberators? because they showed Rummy's Abu Ghraib obscenities?

oh, tech,
you forgot to remind me how Saddam tortured people at Abu Ghraib and thank Allah all that has stopped after his fall

it must hurt a LOT to have become the world's laughingstock, but don't worry, your neocon buddies survived the Iran-Contras treason, you'll survive this humiliation too
posted by matteo at 6:10 AM on June 25, 2004

Where does Harari advocate the invasion of Iran?

in the speech. read it.
where do I advocate the protection of the (Bush family friends) Saudis in my comments, tho?
too bad you can't backtrack from your antisemitism comment huh?

this is too bad because clowns should be funny, but you're only scary at this point -- the makeup is dripping away
posted by matteo at 6:13 AM on June 25, 2004

How is my antisemitism joke more extreme than your - apparently sincere - extrapolation that "acting decisively against the campaign of lies and fabrications" somehow equals arresting Western reporters for writing stories about Abu Ghraib?

Odd that you would immediately defend the reporting of "bad news" in Iraq when someone criticizes the campaign of lies and fabrications being waged by state-controlled arab media outlets, as if the two were connected...
posted by techgnollogic at 6:28 AM on June 25, 2004

Steven Den Beste has the most aptly named web site ever for a member of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders.

Totally f*cking CLUELESS!

When are these blood thirsty ignoramuses gonna get off their lazy, cowardly asses and go kill themselves some of those dirty Arabs they hate so much anyway?
We're still waiting....
I hear all you need is an application submitted to the *Heritage* Foundation, or failing that, just about any mercenary contractor.
Go for it guys!
What's holding you back?
Mouth writing checks your ass can't cash?
Attack ALL those EVIL countries today and make momma proud!
Just don't expect me to support your foolish ass.
posted by nofundy at 6:31 AM on June 25, 2004

Ah, yes, the good old, "Why don't you go somewhere and die" argument.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:33 AM on June 25, 2004

So this piece was referenced on denbeste.nu, jerrypournelle.com, jewishindy.com and Free Republic?


You sure it wasn't up at timecube as well?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 6:44 AM on June 25, 2004

Hell, no. Timecube isn't nearly as shithouse rat crazy as your average Freeper.
posted by trondant at 7:37 AM on June 25, 2004

"It is also important to act decisively against the campaign of lies and fabrications and to monitor those Western media who collaborate with it out of naivety, financial interests or ignorance."

so? traitors in the press? names, please: do we have to arrest Sulzberger? Mickey Mouse? Who?
the reason? because they arent showing the Iraqis who greet Americans as liberators? because they showed Rummy's Abu Ghraib obscenities?

But that isn't what he says at all - he specifically decries the use of euphemistic words to describe the anti-american contingent - like calling a suicide bomber a martyr or even an activist (supposedly so-called by european press - is this accurate?).

I thought he made some good points, and explored underlying structures pretty well. It is a real problem, after all, and to pretend that the middle east is just fine the way it is doesn't really seem to make sense. To blame the entire thing on israel is also short-sighted. I don't have a solution, and I don't really think he supplies one, but I don't think that means I can say there just isn't a problem.

Free speech and encouraging an open society seem like fundamentally important components, but I don't know that they'll "catch" or have as much influence as we westerners would like to think. After all, people are always capable of claiming that reports are lies, and there simply is no way to make people believe something (which is obviously central to free speech, anyway)...
posted by mdn at 7:40 AM on June 25, 2004

I bet the story's coming soon on the little green site we cannot name here -- it's perfect wingnut fodder

"acting decisively against the campaign of lies and fabrications" somehow equals arresting Western reporters for writing stories about Abu Ghraib?

again, which lies in the Western media? Harari made himself clear, it's about treason, I quote again:
"those Western media who collaborate with it out of naivety, financial interests or ignorance"
so, now I want the names of the fifth columns please...
if there are foreign agents at work, let's unmask them -- just like the Iran-Contras foreign agents were unmasked in the 80's

as of now, the only certain "lies and fabrications" are those peddled by Bush, Blair, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Feith et al -- aluminun tubes, "45 minutes", mushroom cloud, "wmd program activity" -- leave the media alone, for once, the liars are in the White House and Office of Special Plans

bah. again, it's a shame that some people still have the gall to pretend that the corpse of "exporting democracy to the Middle East" is in fact still alive. that comatose baby died in Rumsfeld's torture chambers at Abu Ghraib. deal with it. you don't like how Arab nations run their countries? tough shit. it's their country. invade them all? not a feasible plan, not in even in your wildest, wettest Arab-hating dreams.
1.3 bn Muslims. that's a lot of people to subjugate and "convert" to the joys of GOP-style democracy

not to mention, to effectively attack Iran the Pentagon needs the draft, simple and plain. -- stop-loss won't cut it. (of course neither Bush nor Kerry is crazy enough to open that particular can of worms before the election, we'll see next year, especially if America is attacked again on her soil)

posted by matteo at 7:54 AM on June 25, 2004

Listen, techgnollogic, I'll take on the main thrust of the argment in the fpp.

Because it's an argument that in its various manifestations, I've always felt had some validity to it - or at least merited legitimate discussion.

How do you eradicate terror at its root? The idea of first eliminating states or regimes that sponsor terror is an interesting one, though what you wind up with, I think, is a situation like the one in Saudi Arabia, where the royal family and it's mininions don't fund terrorism... but kind of do, in a clandestine manner.

And I will say what I have said 100 times before: Had the Bush administration made this very argument in trying to persuade the nation of the need for war in Iraq, I might have been more inclined to support that war.

Because I think this is the heart of the administration's rationale.

But instead, the motherfuckers decided to spin it. All of this presented here was perceived as too eggheaded for your average "Survivor"-watching American. They wouldn't buy an intellectual case for war. So the administration was just as happy to provide them an emotional case for war, one specifically designed to frighten them.

Which is how we got such focus on Saddam's WMD and alleged connetions with al Qaida, on the cruelty of Saddam's regime. These may have played a part, albeit a small one, in the administration's overall rationale. But it was never the main thrust.

Yet it was presented as if it were.

And so now, as it becomes evident that these specific rationale may have been either flawed or the public decides that however many people Saddam killed it isn't worth 800 or 900 or 1,000 or however many American troops have since died, the administration's credibility takes a hit - not just here, internationally. That weakens this nation, techgnollogic - and the administration set itself up for the fall.

I still think Haim Harari's rationale has some merit to it and deserves to be discussed. But goddamn it, if Bush is re-elected and all of a sudden we start hearing that the WMDs are really in Syria, then I do not care how much validity the underlying theory has. I will know that my own fucking leaders are again trying to swindle me into war, a war they will claim in just but which, ultimately, is tained because of their own inability to level with the country.
posted by kgasmart at 10:02 AM on June 25, 2004

Metafilter: 15 fucking seconds on Google
posted by fletchmuy at 10:43 AM on June 25, 2004

kgasmart, pretty good analysis.

I also think Haim Harari makes some excellent points. I did mess up his ethnicity for lack of 15 fucking seconds.

matteo, what should the Wests foreign policy be with Iran and Syria? You disagree with Haim, yet provide no alternative position.
posted by stbalbach at 11:14 AM on June 25, 2004

You disagree with (insert war supporter's name here), yet provide no alternative position.

Hey, that's something new!
posted by David Dark at 6:34 PM on June 25, 2004

I think Postroad was being sarcastic with the above comment, by the way...
posted by moonbiter at 7:26 PM on June 25, 2004

Also, the West's foreign policy re: Iran, Syria, et al ... containment, unless they are proven to be an imminent threat to American domestic interests. And I mean a real imminent threat, and not the balderdash that was used to sell the war on Iraq.

Our enemies are extremist terroist groups. They are the ones with the capabilities to affect us on our own soil. We should be fighting, capturing, or killing them, not f*cking around with despotic nation-states that have no real military capability to affect us.
posted by moonbiter at 7:34 PM on June 25, 2004

you mean you're going to enlist, Posty?

I believe Postroad actually did serve, during the Korean War. So your ad-hominem loses a bit of its unpleasant sting there, matteo.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:49 PM on June 25, 2004

"....what should the Wests foreign policy be with Iran and Syria?" - That depends on how one, first, defines "The West". Is that like NATO ?

Seriously - Based on the most recent experience of the US in Iraq, under the "You break it, you buy it!" principle, I'd say that invasion is probably a bad idea and so the US might try diplomacy and even lend some support to the UN - rather than continue the decade-long conservative project of trying to destroy developing institutions of World governance.

But, that phrase, "force the problem nations".......

I like it. It seems like something that one should do while clad in leather and - If they resist a little - can we torture them a little more than a little ?

After all, this is a clash of civilizations and a titanic struggle between the forces of light and dark.
posted by troutfishing at 9:39 PM on June 25, 2004

Trout, yeah this really needs to be looked at from a Cultural view and not Nation versus Nation. We no longer live in a world of Nationalism that ended with WWI.. we went through a period where the world lined up along ideologies WWII (Fascism vs Democracy) and the Cold War (Communism vs Capitalism) and that is now over.. the world is now lined up along Cultural boundaries and as such we need to address the conflicts on those fault lines. This truly is a Western Culture versus Muslim Culture issue.

I think with the current situation it's pretty a much a damned if you do damned if you don't.

There is something I can't understand about the anti-war camp though.

Those who are anti-war believe we should not be imposing Western culture on others.. typically they are also in the anti-globalization camp against the WTO and other western culture promoting (forcing) organizations. That we should contain perhaps, but forcing Democracy on cultures is not the right choice. It should happen naturally perhaps, but we should not force it.

At the same time these same people claim to be liberal and products of a liberal free society. It's a crazy contradictory view.

Like for example womans rights. On the one hand you will find someone championing womans rights in the USA, and on the other defending the Cultural rights of someone in Iraq to live as they wish unopposed by the cultural values of the West.

Is it liberal to say it's ok for another culture to abuse human rights? What is more important, World Culture or Western Culture? That is why we have a Clash of Civilizations going on. I for one hope Western Culture prevails, however the course unfolds.
posted by stbalbach at 11:13 PM on June 25, 2004

I tried to post this interesting article here last week, but it was deleted. It seems to fit into this discussion nicely.
In reality, the West sooner or later will have to draw a bright line between "radicals" and "moderates". Under the circumstances there can be nothing in between. Islam's encounter with the West leaves room for nothing but radical jihadists on the one hand, or radical reformers. Islam is expansionist by construction and political by its original design. It is a fact of history that jihad, by which I mean specifically the propagation of the faith by violence, is a mainstream tradition. Even communal prayer in Islam has at its center the alignment of the individual believer to jihad (Does Islam have a prayer?, May 18).

Identifying the enemy in 1981 was far easier than in 2004, and President Bush deserves a modicum of sympathy in the inevitable comparison to Ronald Reagan. By 1981 no communists still lived within the confines of the Soviet Empire, only careerists. The emperor had no clothes, such that when Reagan spoke of an evil empire and a warped idea destined for the ash can of history, the truth of his remarks resonated among the Soviet elite. By contrast the Islamic world is full of Muslims. It was much easier for Russians to separate national aspirations and Marxism than it is for Arabs to separate ethnic loyalty and Islam. That is less so for South Asians.

The problem actually is quite simple. To advocate jihad today is the hallmark of the radical Islamist, and it is there that the West must draw a line in the sand. But to repudiate jihad in turn implies radical revision of the religion's mainstream, and that is the hallmark of the radical reformer.

Like other religions, Islam has reached a point in world history - or rather world history has caught up with Islam - such that it must undergo a fundamental change. By way of comparison, the Catholic Church accepts separation of church and state as well as religious tolerance, but it did so only after the likes of Count Camillo Benso Cavour in Italy stripped the papacy of temporal rule over anything but the square mile of the Vatican City.

Western leaders must not attack Islam; to take sides against any religion runs counter to the traditions of religious tolerance upon which the United States was founded. But they must denounce the use of force to propagate religion, and make it clear that they will match force with force. The enemy is not "terrorism", but any form of violence, including conventional warfare, in the service of religious expansionism.
posted by David Dark at 11:54 PM on June 25, 2004

David Dark - OK, if I recognize Islam's deficiencies, will you eat a Habanero of my choosing ? (inside joke)

If I agree with substantial portions of that argument - about the expansionist tendency of Islam (and I'd - on preview - I'd be inclined to) then I'd have to extend much of that criticism to Christianity, another expansionist religion.

Bear in mind the recent history of the Mideast, that of Christian "advanced" states invading Muslim regions under imperialist schemes. Islam won't so quickly forget the 20th Century - during which Christianity has proved for them to be an invading religion.

Remember, the Moors are not in Spain. The Christians are in Baghdad. So, to taint all of Islam with the brand of extremism - especially given that aforementioned fact - seems a bit overboard to me.

As usual, everyone is at fault and so the pointing finger of blame is not just unhelpful - it might be incendiary.


Islam must change but maybe - oh, just maybe - the US and it's allies might benefit from change as well.


Also, the word "Jihad" can imply non-violent struggle and - if I understand correctly - spiritual change. The Christian idea of the "crusade" is - I'm fairly sure - more expressly about religious war.
posted by troutfishing at 12:22 AM on June 26, 2004

"sadly, it is a very lame speech, perfect for a right wing nut's blog, but substandard for MeFi
posted by matteo at 5:40 AM PST on June 25

Reading Matteo, it doesn't seem that there is anything substandard enough for MeFi
posted by semmi at 2:02 PM on July 14, 2004

Here's an idea: Why don't we find a way to get off the oil habit and make that part of the world the dull, uninspiring backwater some there want it to be. Then we can go about our way and they can go theirs.
It seems the West has a bad habit of assuming the rest of the world wants to live like us...not true.
And the sooner we can fully engage the Islamic world as true equals (meaning - not meddling to keep our oil fix), the radical and jihadists will have nothing to bitch about.
The west treats Islamic nations like stupid children who just happen to have something they need. This is one of the causes of resentment.
Iran understands that the way to a sort of parity is nuclear weapons. Nukes = respect. With the way the Administration is handling North Korea, I wouldn't be surprised if we find ourselves either fighting another war or trying to negotiate ourselves out of jam in the very near future.
posted by black8 at 2:27 PM on July 14, 2004

Well isn't that precious.
posted by techgnollogic at 12:24 AM on July 15, 2004

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