- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2001

Some years ago, the distinguished Harvard professor Samuel Huntington wrote: "It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in the new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural …The clash of civilizations will be the battle lines of the future." (Foreign Affairs, "The Clash of Civilizations," Summer 1993.) He later published a book titled, "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order," which expanded on this proposition.
With the end of the Cold War, he told an interviewer, "international politics is moving out of its Western phase. From now on, the core of global politics will be the interaction between the West and non-Western cultures." And so it has come to pass: a 2001 conference against racism was retrofitted into a 1936 Nuremberg rally. C. S. Lewis once wrote a book titled "The Abolition of Man." Islam is writing a book, inspired by Durban, titled "The Abolition of Israel."
The World Conference Against Racism is really confirmation of the Huntington thesis. The majoritarian power of Islamic culture in the United Nations 22 Arab League members, 55 Organization of Islamic Conference members and various pro-Arab delegations of the 113-member Non-Aligned movement has been brought to bear. In addition, the presence of the Non-Governmental Organizations, has turned a regional conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority into a global clash of civilizations and religions.
For more than a week a so-called debate about a Big Lie alleged Israeli genocide of Arabs when 1,000,000 Palestinian Arabs live in Israel with elected representatives in the Knesset has dominated worldwide media coverage. U.N. members had agreed months ago that no countries would be listed by name in the conference's final document. So only one country, Israel, is cited by name and indicted for alleged racism. Why should Malaysia or Indonesia get excited about a small war thousands of miles away from their shores? But the muezzin's call in Gaza resounds in Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately, Tibet's cry for help against racism at the hands of Chinese imperialism did not resound in Durban.
Arabdom will not and cannot tolerate an outpost of Western or Judeo-Christian civilization in its midst one which espouses universal human rights, equality, separation of church and state, a secular rule of law, democracy, free markets; in other words, a civil state. For example: Lebanon has been a battleground in the war of cultures. Before Syria took over their country, Lebanese Christians were an important politico-cultural force in that now-tragic land. For decades after World War II, Lebanon was a working democracy, with a more or less free press, a free economy, a strong currency, free trade unions, competitive elections and a rather prosperous population. In sum, Lebanon barely the size of Connecticut was on the road to becoming much more than a tourist paradise. It no longer is.
Examples of Islam's xenophobia are many the long, bloody, ongoing civil war in Sudan between the entrenched National Islamic Front in Khartoum and the Christian south. Khartoum, it may be remembered, is where, in 1973, three diplomats, one Belgian and two Americans, were kidnapped and killed by Yasser Arafat's Black September organization. In Afghanistan a group of 24 aid workers (eight foreigners and 16 Afghans) who may or may not have been seeking converts to Christianity, were arrested by the xenophobic Taliban regime. It is inconceivable that a European country would imprison Muslim clerics for seeking converts to Islam. And there is, of course, Salman Rushdie, the novelist, who has lived under a death sentence for a decade. Has Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa affected Western writers and publishers? You can be sure it has. The worst that could happen to, say, a critic of the Papacy would be to be placed on the Index Expurgatorius.
Arab "suicide bombing" is not merely the act of a would-be martyr. It symbolizes the rejection of modernization, an inescapable component of Judeo-Christian civilization which has evolved over the centuries into a world of prosperous and democratic, multicultural polities. Islamic civilization, which includes non-Arab Iran and its powerful theocrats, seeks to extirpate every vestige of Judeo-Christian culture in the Middle East. This is what a half-century of war and crisis since the founding of Israel is really about.
Why the Western ambiguity about the Arab challenge? When Arabdom joins African nations in a demand on Europe and the United States for slavery reparations and apologies while ignoring slavery practices in Arab countries going back centuries, isn't it clear what Arabdom's real target is?
Professor Huntington has found that one of the West's weaknesses is "the decay of Western liberalism in the absence of a cohesive ideological challenge by a competing ideology such as Marxism-Leninism."
"Fragmentation and multiculturalism," he told the New Perspectives Quarterly, "are now eating away at the whole set of ideas and philosophies which have been the binding cement of American society … Over the longer term, the West is going to have to learn how to adapt to a world in which, despite its current preponderance in economic and military power, the balance of power is shifting into the hands of others."
In another article, "The West: Unique, Not Universal," (Foreign Affairs, November/December 1996) he warned against the belief that the world is moving "toward a single, global culture that is basically Western." Such a belief is "arrogant, false and dangerous." The spread of Western consumer goods does not mean the spread of Western culture. As countries modernize, and events in the Middle East are a good example, they seek refuge from modernity in their traditional, parochial cultures and religions.
"The peoples of the West," he said, "must hang together, or they will hang separately." The immediate question is this: Is Israel included in peoples of the West, or is Israel going to hang separately?


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