« Sharing the Blame: Britain's Anti-Terrorism Cock-ups | Main | Old time religion »

August 07, 2006

I Remember . . .

. . . sometime after 9/11, driving somewhere in Manhattan in a yellow taxi driven by a middle aged guy from Saudi Arabia. I asked him, as I often did with middle eastern looking people at that time, whether people were treating him badly because of 9/11. Perhaps touched by my concern, he turned to me and asked me why Mayor Giuliani had rejected a $10 million donation for disaster relief from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal? He seemed to be genuinely confused about why New Yorkers were offended by this generous offer.

I remember trying to explain to him that people were angry because the Prince's statement about US policies towards Israel and the Palestinians were inappropriate, that they sought to justify the terrorists' violence against American civilians. The poor man was puzzled by my response. He said it was all so simple: if the US were only to stop supporting Israel, "this whole problem" would go away. The Saudi people had no quarrel with the American people, they only objected to our government's policies towards Israel.

I was reminded about this incident by Bernard-Henri Lévy's piece about Israel in this week's NYT Magazine. It's worth reading for many reasons, but Levy drives home the point that Israel is on the front line of the West's fight against Islamofascism. And as I tried to explain to my Saudi cabbie, the US will never abandon Israel, not because it is a Jewish state, but because it is the only western democracy in the Middle East.

I only hope I was right about that.

August 7, 2006 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83422d96553ef00d834dbf88269e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference I Remember . . .:

Comments

Spart:

Seems to me that all Prince bin Talal was saying was in their view US support of Israeli policies contributed to the climate that gave rise to the 9/11 attacks, and urged the US to address the underlying issues. To posit a linkage to a related geo-political conflict like that is not by itself an attempt to justify that atrocity. I did not hear Saudi Arabia say that we DESERVED the attacks because of our support of Israeli policies. That's a key distinction. I heard them make a connection - I did not at all hear them declaring a moral equivalency. Last time I checked Saudi Arabia was an ally of ours. I can see why the cabbie was wondering why we rejected the gift (a big thing in arab cultures). In my view Rudy really jumped to conclusions there and I thought that was rather bigoted and ham-handed of him.

This New Yorker had no problem with accepting their gift.

-- facethemusic

Posted by: facethemusic | Aug 9, 2006 9:19:26 PM

Dear FTM:

You are correct, of course. But, for me at least, the relevant point is that a (relatively) unsecular democratic government deserves our support in their struggle against an ethnic coalition of autocratic regimes.

As an aside, have you read Dore Gold's book "Kingdom of Hatred" on the history of Wahabbism and the Saudi regime? I am not sufficiently informed about middle eastern history to be able to evaluate his contentions. But if he is right, well, the Saudi regime is at the center of our problems with Islamist violence.

Spart

Posted by: Spart | Aug 9, 2006 11:48:30 PM

Dear FTM:

You are correct, of course. But, for me at least, the relevant point is that a (relatively) unsecular democratic government deserves our support in their struggle against an ethnic coalition of autocratic regimes.

As an aside, have you read Dore Gold's book "Kingdom of Hatred" on the history of Wahabbism and the Saudi regime? I am not sufficiently informed about middle eastern history to be able to evaluate his contentions. But if he is right, well, the Saudi regime is at the center of our problems with Islamist violence.

Spart

Posted by: Spart | Aug 9, 2006 11:48:30 PM

Dear FTM:

You are correct, of course. But, for me at least, the relevant point is that a (relatively) unsecular democratic government deserves our support in their struggle against an ethnic coalition of autocratic regimes.

As an aside, have you read Dore Gold's book "Kingdom of Hatred" on the history of Wahabbism and the Saudi regime? I am not sufficiently informed about middle eastern history to be able to evaluate his contentions. But if he is right, well, the Saudi regime is at the center of our problems with Islamist violence.

Spart

Posted by: Spart | Aug 9, 2006 11:48:57 PM

Do not fail to remember that THE MONEY indicates that the U.S. is more of an agent of Israel than vice-versa. Every major financial institution has an uncanny Jewish-based history.

Posted by: David Hughes | Nov 8, 2006 9:39:17 PM

ZOG OWN THE WHITE RACE AND ALWAYS WILL... ...Its got nothing to do with arabs,blacks,asians,muslims etc they are nothing in the big picture... WAKE UP WHITE PEOPLE before ZOG gives us their version of the 'final solution'

Posted by: woof woof | Jan 25, 2007 1:24:11 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.