Michael Totten

Bat Ye’or at Columbia

Posted by Mary Madigan

I went to hear Egyptian scholar Bat Ye’or speak at Columbia University on Tuesday. Yes, the pro-Israel Ye’or walked directly into the belly of Columbia’s leftist beast. Despite the documented anti-Israel attitudes of some of Columbia’s Middle East and Asian languages and cultures department, there were no sign-waving activists protesting her appearance. The crowd was mostly low-key and graying. The room was so crowded that a few professorial types had to sit on the floor.

Before the talk began, two journalists who, to all outward appearances were liberal (one even had a grey ponytail) admitted that the many “breaches of journalistic ethics” that the New York Times had committed since 9/11 had convinced them not to read the Times anymore. They agreed that New York Sun was the best alternative.

I discovered Ms. Ye’or’s work when I read this article, Culture of Hate, about a year after 9/11. Her description of the current Islamist culture of jihad, “a racism which denies the history and sufferings of its victims” was confirmed by what I knew about the bias, inequality and brutality that ruled terror-supporting nations like Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Sudan.

Under Shariah, non-Muslims, or dhimmis, are legally classified as less than human.

Before reading Culture of Hate, I knew that bin Laden was inspired by a philosophy of hate, Wahhabism. But I also thought that al Qaeda was one of the few organizations that used mass-murder to express that hate. Ms. Ye’or made it clear that, not only was this culture of hate murdering and enslaving non-believers around the world, the hatred for non-believers was based on established laws that prohibited the idea of equal rights.

The petite Ms. Ye’or had a talent for seeing the big picture. I couldn’t wait to hear her talk.

She discussed her new book, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis which concerns:

..the transformation of Europe into Eurabia, a cultural and political appendage of the Arab/Muslim world. Eurabia is fundamentally anti-Christian, anti-Western, anti-American and anti-Semitic. The institution responsible for this transformation, and that continues to propagate its ideological message, is the Euro-Arab Dialogue, developed by European and Arab politicians and intellectuals over the past thirty years.

According to Ms. Ye’or, this Arab/European alliance was motivated primarily by anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism and a desire to import oil and cheap labor.

More information about this organization can be found at Arab/European alliace website, Medea.

Ye’or didn’t go into the details of why an organization that was founded in the interests of subjugating the future of western culture in the interests of “multiculturalism” and opposition to America would name itself after the tragic story of a woman who murdered her own children out of jealousy and spite.

The main points of the book, according to Ye’or:

  • The concept of Eurabia began in the Universities. It has been influenced by Edward Said’s book, Orientalism. Said sought to discredit all Western analysis of the Middle East, since, in his words, “every European, in what he could say about the Orient, was consequently a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric.”
  • Many Europeans agree with Said’s theories. Many don’t believe that their culture is worth preserving.
  • The policies of the EU towards Israel mirror Arab policies.
  • This multicultural ‘alliance’ is currently cemented by European fear of terrorism.
  • Europe seems to accept its current dhimmi status, and does not seem to be willing to defend traditional Western, Judeo-Christian values.

  • In Europe and in the UK, Muslim gangs are a threat and anti-Semitic attacks are increasing

Despite Columbia’s famed leftist leanings, the question and answer session was surprisingly balanced. But, as is usual in academic settings, the ‘questions’ were usually short lectures disguised as questions.


  • The moderator found it hard to believe that Europeans wouldn’t defend themselves.
  • A man whose sister had converted to Islam and married a Muslim said that, while his sister was happily married and he loved his brother in law, he was shocked by their attitudes. The sister, a westerner raised in America, believed that Salman Rushdie should die for what he said about Islam. His brother in law told him that eventually, the state of Israel will not exist. “We are a patient people” his brother-in-law said.
  • A woman sitting next to me asked Ye’or about the influence of Arab money on American colleges. Given that the concept of Eurabia originated in European Universities, and given that our Universities, particularly Columbia, are heavily influenced by Saudi money, I though that was a good question. Ms. Ye’or agreed that this was a threat.
  • One man who identified himself as Muslim asked Ye’or “What is your problem with Muslims?” (Obviously he’s never read Culture of Hate) Ms. Ye’or said that she would have no problem with Muslims if they were willing to recognize that Dhimmis should have equal rights. “Unfortunately,” she said “they’re not willing to recognize that” Most of the room applauded her answer.

    Humiliated, the questioner shook his head in disbelief and said “I don’t understand, but then again, I’m just a dirty Muslim”

  • The student said “I am an Arab, we are a Semitic people, so you can’t accuse me of being an anti-Semite.” The crowd reacted with sarcastic laughter, and the quality of the student’s question went downhill from there. Ms. Ye’or’s response was, basically, “you have a lot to learn.”

  • One questioner said that she believed Europe was doomed, and asked if America could be saved. Ms. Ye’or’s believed that George Bush’s policies offer the only reasonable alternative to European dhimmitude. This brought a predictable number of boos.

Will Europe continue to accept this Euro-Arab alliance, and the resulting anti-Semitism? Will academics in America encourage the same sort of alliance? The situation, as described by those who have been paying attention to these things, does not look good. Once again, it seems that Bat Ye’or sees the big picture.

UPDATE — An important point made by Ye’or (and commenter Vanya); This European/Arab alliance was the brainchild of the European academic and political elites — not the European people or the Arabs.