'Islamist Threat' panel stirs emotions at UCLA
The audience at the panel discussion on "Totalitarian Islam's Threat to the
West" wanted red meat, the protestors wanted to make a stir, the battery of
campus cops at UCLA wanted to prevent violence -- and all sides got pretty
much what they came for.
In contrast to most academic panels, which often leave the listener at sea on
the speaker's point, the three on the dais made their views crystal clear.
Their opening statements alone made President Bush or former Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon look like bleeding heart peaceniks. For example:
Yaron Brook, president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute:
"Islam is a totalitarian ideology which wants to control the world. You can't
negotiate with it. It must be crushed by force, it must be crushed militarily ...
it can be defeated easily, if we have the will to do so."
Wafa Sultan, Syrian American lecturer and author: "There is no difference in
the political ideology of radical and moderate Muslims. You need a
microscope to see the difference."
Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum: "Islam wants to impose
shariah [Islam's fundamental religious law] on the whole world and control
every aspect of life. We must crush the will of Islam until its followers give up
The scene on April 12 at UCLA's Moore Hall, the site of the discussion, was
reminiscent of a busy airport during a security alert.
Policemen guarded all four entrances to the hall and some 400 attendees
waited patiently in line for individual body checks before grabbing scarce
After a while, a lone protestor showed up, carrying a sign with the words,
"Hands off Syria, Iran, Down with U.S. Aid to Israel."
The bearer of the sign identified himself as a member of the Spartacus Youth
League -- shades of Berkeley in the 1940s -- but declined to give his
He proved to be a Trotskyite decoy. Inside the hall, about 20 members of the
Muslim Students Association, some from as far away as San Luis Obispo and
Irvine, were waiting for Pipes to speak.
As soon as he opened his mouth, the students got up and left, while the
audience hastened their exit with rhythmic chants of " Out, Out, Out."
Officially sponsoring the event was a student group called LOGIC, which,
according to its Web site, stands for Liberty, Objectivity, Greed, Individualism,
Capitalism. It is an affiliate of the Ayn Rand Institute, which was out in force
with sign-up tables, pamphlets and free copies of its founder's massive
bestseller, "Atlas Shrugged."
The central philosophy of Rand, both the author and the institute, is
"objectivism," which holds, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "that all
real achievement is the product of individual ability and effort, that laissez-
faire capitalism is most congenial to the exercise of talent, and that
selfishness is a virtue, altruism a vice."
The most visible current champion of the philosophy, and, with Pipes, the
most outspoken foe of Islam, is Yaron Brook, who was born in Jerusalem, the
son of recent immigrants from South Africa, and served three years in military
intelligence. He earned a civil engineering degree at the Technion, but felt
"oppressed by Israeli socialism" and left for the United States in 1985.
Brook was named head of the Ayn Rand Institute in 2000, and since then has
tripled its size, he said. Headquartered in Irvine, the institute now has 34
employees and a $6 million annual budget.
He told The Journal that while the institute focuses mainly on domestic
issues, such as the defense of capitalism and business, he felt he had to
speak out against the "existential threat" of Islam.
"There are few others willing to call a spade a spade," he said.
Brook sees no significant shift in the "liberal" attitude of most American Jews,
which calls largely for encouraging moderate Muslims, rather than a World
War II-type "unconditional surrender" by Islam.
"There seemed to be some shift to the right after Sept. 11," he said, "but now
the large middle segment doesn't know what to think."
-- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
(Web editor's note: For a similar demonstration at a similar Pipes
appearance at UCI, see
this YouTube video.
Goldhagen: Iraq conflict increased worldwide anti-Semitism
"Anti-Semitism has become particularly acute as a result of the conflict in Iraq
and is taking on the forms, ideas and structure of globalization," Daniel Jonah
Goldhagen said in a speech at the Yom HaShoah program April 15 at
Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel in Westwood.
Goldhagen, the author of "Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and
the Holocaust," believes much of today's anti-Semitism is centered in the
Islamic world and is a function of "the obsessive focus on Israel as a pariah
state." Moreover, anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism are frequently linked.
Goldhagen illustrated this by citing a British Labour parliamentarian quoted
saying that Bush, Rumsfeld and their associates are "puppets of a Jewish
cabal which has taken over the government of the United States."
In spite of the fact that Christian churches are no longer interested in
demonizing Jews, there has been a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe,
where a large percentage of the population believes Jews are more loyal to
Israel than to their own countries. Violence against Jews and Jewish
institutions has increased so much that, especially in France and Germany,
Jews once again feel physically threatened and forbid their children to display
outward signs of their religion such as wearing kippot or Stars of David.
While earlier forms of anti-Semitism were local in nature, Goldhagen says that
global anti-Semitism extends beyond national borders and focuses on Israel
and the United States. Where once Jews were characterized as powerless, sly
and corrupt, "their image has changed from Shylock Jews to Rambo Jews,"
powerful in contrast to "the poor, suffering Palestinians" whose images are
seen the world over. "In the Arab-Islamic world, anti-Semitism is Nazi-like and institutionally
supported and is used by local governments as a convenient and cynical tool
to divert attention from deeper problems," Goldhagen said.
He added it has also been institutionalized at the U.N., as illustrated by the
resolution equating Zionism with racism, and the Durban Conference, both of
which legitimized hatred of Israel and the Jews.
Even in the United States, which he characterized as today's only haven for
Jews, Goldhagen sees a growing opposition to the pro-Israel lobby, especially
the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which anti-Semites are
attempting to use as a wedge issue.
-- Peter L. Rothholz, Contributing Writer
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Briefs: ‘Islamist Threat’ panel stirs emotions at UCLA; Goldhagen: Iraq conflict increased worldwide
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