Nonie Darwish was born in Cairo. Before immigrating to America in 1978, she worked as a journalist in Egypt. She left Islam and became a Christian. She now leads a group called “Arabs for Israel” and lectures around the country. She pointedly remarked, “I chose the culture of life and not the culture of death. I chose the culture of freedom and not the culture of tyranny. I chose America.”
Nonie Darwish is a brave and insightful woman. She is familiar with the classic techniques of tyranny, and she tells us Islam poses the greatest danger to the United States—indeed to civilization. Hence I want to convey some of the most salient points of her book, Now They Call Me Infidel, which was published in 2003. And I wonder why Israeli prime ministers lack her courage and wisdom?
B. Islamic Culture in Egypt
1. “Throughout my childhood,” she writes, “we were bombarded with calls to war and songs praising President Nasser. Arab leaders were treated as gods and they acted as gods. Fear of Allah was transferred to fear of the dictator” (33).
2. “Everyone around me was so fatalistic… Social classes in Egypt were very stratified. We never mingled as equals. Furthermore, it was very hard if not impossible to move from the class you were born in” (35).
3. “…when Elizabeth Taylor converted from Christianity to Judaism, her films were prohibited in the Arab world. So Egyptians never saw her film Cleopatra. Few Westerners can comprehend the degree to which hatred of Jews permeates every aspect of Arab culture” (p. 39).
Here let me interject an observation of Bernard Lewis. Lewis observed that hated of Jews increased after the March 1979 signing of the Israel-Egyptian peace treaty. If so, there is a great deal of nonsense broadcast by Israeli and American opinion-makers and policy-makers about promoting peace in the Middle East. It seems to me they simply lack the courage to tell the truth about the murderous ethos of Arab-Islamic culture.
4. Returning to Darwish, she boldly declares: “I could not accept a culture that was willing to orphan its own children in its obsessive hatred of Jews, that was ready to sacrifice lives and the health of the family structure over a few miles of land. Egyptians acted as though the West Bank and Gaza were taken from them, even though they were never Egyptian land” (41).
5. Hatred of Israel, she says, was “fueled by that arrogance of power and petrol dollars of the Arabs. [Israel] could do nothing to please this culture, other than cease to exist” (42).
6. Darwish asks: “What was wrong in allowing a few million Jews to live among us in peace? Arab land was plenty. They had only a small sliver of land, in some places only thirty kilometers wide…. But the hatred of Jews and anti-Semitism was frighteningly prevalent in our society. At the same time I did not know—and no one in the Arab world did—that Israel had a history on that small strip of land going back thousands of years. Nor did we know that Jerusalem was the point of origin for two great religions, Judaism and Christianity, religions that existed before Islam even began. … We were taught that ‘Zionists’ were foreign infidel invaders bent on taking Muslim land and our destruction, and that they must be destroyed” (49).
7. At this point Darwish makes a profound remark about Muslim culture that should be taught in Israeli schools. She notes that Egyptians have been indoctrinated with the belief that Egypt’s problems are “a result of the evil of the outside world. Egyptians [are] never told that it was their responsibility to solve their own problems. The villain was always an outside force. The scapegoating [especially of Jews] was true on the national front and it was true on the personal level as well. The concept of taking responsibility for oneself [is] completely foreign… in Muslim culture …” (50).
8. Darwish then draws an important conclusion worthy of political scientists that have studied Aristotle. She says: “An outside enemy was necessary to foster Arab cohesion and keep the Arab public preoccupied with news of dangers and threats. Thus, the press kept up a constant bombardment of stories that blames Israel for all the troubles within the Arab world. The effect was to decrease the pressure and deflect criticism of Arab governments” (95).
9. Especially significant is her point that “In Arab culture, being truthful is not only considered to be naïve and stupid, but is also considered—believe it or not—rude” (119). Of course, this “was very different from American culture, where people talk freely about their shortcomings and pain without shame” (121).
10. “Western-style soul searching or examination of beliefs is almost unheard of in Arab culture. And no subject is more sacred and protected from analysis or criticism than the Koran or Islam. Muslims can get violently angry if that is done. To a lesser extent, if a family member, tribe, nation, or culture is perceived to be under attack, then excuses … misrepresentations, and outright lies are the only honorable thing to do. Remember, this is a culture based on pride and shame” (122). Now let’s consider some of Darwish’s observations about Islam in America.
B. Islam in America
1. She writes: “My escape from radical Islam to the open arms of America did not last long. As we moved deeper into the 1980s …, I began to see gradual change among the Muslims around me. To my surprise, the radical aspects of Islamic culture from which I had escaped were starting to grow in power right here in America” (131). “Most Muslims,” she says, “have little education in Islam. Why? Such education would end Muslim leadership’s total control over the minds and behavior of the masses…. Muslims are safe as long as they are loyal followers and obedient to the national goal of jihad against the non-Muslim infidels, especially the Jews next door.” (135).
2. Darwish then points out that “In the Muslim world there are no real distinctions between moderate or radical Muslims. Some practice, some don’t, and the ones who don’t may have views as radical as those who do practice” (135).
3. She contends that “The values of Muslim society as it is constituted at the present, cannot survive in a democracy where individuals would have right to question, debate, change religions, or choose to have no religion at all” (136).
4. However, she adds a word of caution. She cites a Muslim leader who said, “Thanks to your democratic laws we shall invade you; thanks to our religious laws we will dominate you” (144).
This Islamization is happening in England and in Europe. Darwish fears that this could happen in America. She said this some five years before Barak Obama entered the Oval Office. Darwish surely knows that Obama is a Muslim by Islamic law. Perhaps former UN Ambassador John Bolton had this in mind when he spoke of Obama as having the first post-American foreign policy. It seems that the Obama administration is the first post-America government.
C. Israel’s Ruling Elites
1. Now let me shift to Israel. Ever since Yitzhak Rabin became Israel’s first Israeli-born prime minister, Israel has drifted into a post-Zionist dispensation. With Rabin’s Oslo Accords, Israel drifted into a post-Jewish dispensation. I see this in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s endorsement of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. I am not at all impressed by his qualification that the new state be demilitarized and it recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The mere fact that he would give Judea and Samaria, the heartland of the Jewish people, to the Arabs, marks him, in my eyes, as a post-Jewish prime minister.
2. But inasmuch his predecessors, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, and Ehud Olmert were also committed to this truncation of Israel, they too may be deemed post-Jewish prime ministers. Indeed, I dare say that Israel’s government has always been post-Jewish by the mere fact that, like Herzl, its founding father, Israel’s ruling elites relegated the Torah to the home and the synagogue and thus separated the Torah from public law and statecraft—following the footsteps of Christianity.
3. Now recall Darwish’s Muslim leader who said “thanks to our religious laws we will dominate you.” Israel’s leaders could say: “Thanks to our secular laws we will dominate you.” This is why the Jewish philosopher Yitzhak Breuer said that secular Zionism poses the greatest threat to Judaism in history.
4. But Israel’s secular elites will not succeed, because it is not in their power to achieve the hidden goal of Israel’s government—to relegate the Torah to the dust heap of history.