Washington – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) sponsored a Capitol Hill lecture and Q&A with Bat Ye’or, an internationally renowned expert on Euro-Islamic culture and society, in the banquet room of the Rayburn House Office Building on February 28. The event was held in cooperation with the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
ZOA President Morton A. Klein praised Murray Tenenbaum, Jonathan Harris and Sarah Chin of ZOA’s Washington, DC office, “for their fine work in putting this excellent program together.”
The author of four influential books and numerous articles, Bat Ye’or spoke to senior House and Senate staffers and staff from the Committee on International Relations on the concepts and consequences of “Eurabia,” the Arabization of Europe in both culture and politics, and the effect this will have on U.S.-European relations and their relations with Israel.
“Eurabia is not something that is coming at some future time.” Bat Ye’or stated. “It is happening right now.”
Bat Ye’or detailed the history of several processes that have contributed to bring what she terms “the Euro-Arab axis” into being.
First, a dangerous combination of anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has coalesced in the European consciousness.
“Much of the European population sees the Palestinian jihad not as terrorism or the murder of innocents, but as a heroic ‘struggle for liberty,'” said Bat Ye’or. “Zionism or America is seen as the evil force, not Islamism or even terrorism. Europe is unwilling or unable to see jihadists as an enemy or even a destructive force in the world.”
Second, substantial Muslim immigration has provided a mechanism for the growth of radical Islam in Europe. For Bat Ye’or, radical ideologies have found fertile ground among the 20 million Muslims now living among the nations of Europe.
“The Muslim populations of Europe are not assimilating or adapting to Western ideals of democracy and religious plurality.” Said Bat Ye’or, “Such concepts are largely rejected. Moreover, European students are not taught the real history of the Islamic world or its historic oppression of Christians and Jews. Muslim students protest such lessons and the courses are altered to avoid negative pictures of Islam or Islamic history.”
Lastly, as a major contributing factor to the growth of the Muslim influence, Bat Ye’or cites the European penchant for appeasement.
“We have seen this recently in Spain, France and Italy, from massive demonstrations against America summoned by al-Qaeda, to actual backdoor deals with terrorist groups,” said Bat Ye’or, “Appeasement is acceptable to European leadership. They are willing to appease Islamists demands and goals, and thereby hope to avoid being targeted for terrorism.”
For Bat Ye’or, this combination of internal and external appeasement and non-Westernized immigration, all riding an undercurrent of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, has come together in the reality of “Eurabia.”
Bat Ye’or stressed to her audience of congressional foreign policy aides not to forget how crucial the American resolve against terrorism is to the future of the Middle East.
“You have an important role to play,” she said forcefully. “America must not waver in standing against jihadism.”
Born in Cairo, and then stripped of her citizenship in 1957, Bat Ye’or made her way to England, married, became a British citizen, and eventually settled in Switzerland in 1960. A mother of three, Bat Ye’or began writing on Islamic culture in the early seventies. She has built a corpus of research and publications primarily dealing with the experience of non-Muslims living under Islamic rule or “dhimmis.” Her 2002 book, Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide cemented her prominent place among the best, most insightful scholars of Islamic society today. She is often described as, “the scholar who is saying what others know, but are afraid to say.”
Bat Ye’or’s newest book, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, was published in January by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.