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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Arab hate for the West - not just for Islamists

It is seductive to believe that the Arab hatred for America (and Israel) is a purely religious phenomenon; that while the Islamic fanatics hate the United States there are a large number of modern, moderate, practical Arabs who wear Western clothing and who understand concepts like economics and the media who are more flexible and pragmatic in their thinking.

It is not true.

For a tiny example of the hatred that "progressive" Arabs have for the West, check out this MEMRI TV clip of an Egyptian actor being interviewed on a Lebanese talk show:
First Woman: What if you fell in love with an American woman?

Khaled Saleh: Impossible. Impossible. That would never happen. [Applause.]

Second Woman: What about a French woman? Is that any better?

Saleh: No.

First Woman: What about a Lebanese woman?

Saleh: She must be Arab, of course.

First Woman: Why is it impossible for you to fall in love with an American?

Saleh: Let me tell you something. I traveled there once and lived among this people. The great problem that happened in America – September 11 – was not a good thing, but the panic I saw in the eyes of the Americans that day... I hoped it would make these people a little more focused – just a little – so that they would feel that there is such a thing as fear in the world, things like terror, oppression, and so on. I am against anything that is American nowadays, because I feel they are phony. When I talk to an Arab, I feel I am talking to someone who knows what is going on in the world. With an American, I feel I'm talking to a Nazi, who sees nothing but himself.

First Woman: But you are making a generalization with regard to them.

Saleh: By God, they generalize themselves. All of them.

The irony is that here is a talk show with hostesses wearing low-cut dresses, with modern graphics and production values - consciously imitating Western TV as much as possible. It is a sluttier Arab version of "The View." There is nothing remotely Islamic about this show. Yet the hatred shown there is palpable, as the audience wildly cheers a popular actor saying how he considers all Westerners to be beneath contempt and how he sees a silver lining in 9/11.