hotline header

An e-newsletter delivering updates and analysis on current issues about Israel and the Middle East conflict

August 9, 2016

Is It Islamophobic to Tell the Truth about Islamist Radicalization?

Dear Friend of FLAME:

I was at a Shabbat dinner on Friday night, and one of those at the table, a very bright Jewish liberal, made the comment that she didn't like to judge people who have different values than hers. She wasn't speaking about Muslims, but still her comment struck me as emblematic of a serious cultural affliction of the West.

In fact, failure to judge—and seek to correct—destructive values is precisely the cause of so many of our global problems. Reluctance to judge others' values is at the heart of multiculturalism—essentially an amoral, valueless world view, which holds that all cultural practices and opinions have equal merit.

This reminds me of a related story: One of FLAME's recent hasbarah ads on a survey of disturbing Muslim values was rejected by a prominent Jewish newspaper. I asked the editor whether she thought any of the facts in the ad were false, and she said no, but that the ad was still "hateful."

In other words, telling the truth about Muslim values was in itself Islamophobic. God help you if you were to criticize those values—which include male superiority, adherence to Islamic sharia above civil law, and a preference for religious-dominated government, all patently un-American.

Another recent study of Muslim values, not mentioned in that FLAME hasbarah effort, reveals that some 70% of Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa hold despicably anti-Semitic opinions. (Is it Islamophobic to judge these values?)

This week's FLAME Hotline-featured article is by the plain-speaking Melanie Phillips, a columnist for The Times (UK), who believes many of the world's problems with radical Islam can be solved not by treating mentally disturbed "lone wolf" Islamist terrorists or even winning violent conflicts involving Muslim factions.

Rather, she asserts, the West should focus on telling the truth to Muslims. Tell the truth about the bankruptcy of so many cherished Muslim values—that Islam is superior and needs to conquer other religions, that Jews are subhuman, that Muslims own the entire Middle East to the exclusion of Christians, Yazidis and Jews, and so on.

Phillips makes a strong point—one you won't read in the mainstream press. I urge you to pass this article on to your friends, colleagues and family members—especially those who fear to criticize values that are inimical to our way of life . . . and to global peace. It's important our fellow Americans realize that only by defending our hard-fought Western moral values (let's start with pluralism) will the world achieve reconciliation among the world's disparate peoples.

In addition, I hope you'll also quickly review the P.S. immediately below, which describes FLAME's current hasbarah campaign to disprove the too-common accusation—most recently by Bernie Sanders—that Israel used "disproportionate force" against the Palestinians in the 2014 Gaza war.

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)



It's said that Israel is the Jew of the world—the victim of all manner of calumnies, from the accusation of harvesting Palestinian children's organs and apartheid to, most recently, disproportionate use of force against the Palestinians during the 2014 Gaza war. This latter accusation was made—ignorantly—by Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and it received a great deal of press without correction of Sanders' false statements. To set the record straight, FLAME is publishing a new position paper in media nationwide—which explains that Israel's response to the terror group Hamas in 2014 was not only "proportionate," it was also one of the most humane defensive wars in modern times. I urge you to review this outspoken hasbarah message: "What Is Disproportionate Force?" This paid editorial is appearing in magazines and newspapers, including college newspapers, with a combined readership of some 10 million people. In addition, it is being sent to every member of the U.S. Congress and President Obama. If you agree that this kind of public relations effort on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability to influence public opinion—and U.S. aid to Israel—comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you'll consider giving a donation now, as you're able—with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to donate now. Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the financial and political support it needs—from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.

As of today, more than 15,000 Israel supporters receive the FLAME Hotline at no charge every week. If you're not yet a subscriber, won't you join us in receiving these timely updates, so you can more effectively tell the truth about Israel? Just go to free subscription .

The unused weapon of mass instruction

The West currently treats Muslim "grievances" as rational. Thus the extremists seem to come from nowhere. They do not.

By Melanie Phillips, The Jerusalem Post, August 4, 2016

As a result of this summer's jihadist terrorist attacks in France and Germany, public discussion has become yet more urgent about how to combat Islamist radicalization.

Over the years, many explanations for Islamic terrorism have been advanced to show that it has in fact nothing to do with Islam.

These have included poverty, social exclusion, Islamophobia and "grievances" over conflicts such as Bosnia, Kashmir, Iraq, Chechnya, Palestine and now Syria.

To the Western mind, these "grievances" have no common factor— even while the terrorists, along with other jihadis burning Christians alive in Africa or slaughtering civilians from London to Paris to Tunisia, scream "Allahu akhbar" as they commit atrocities in the name of Islamic holy war.

The rise of Islamic State, committed to establishing a Muslim caliphate, exposed the vacuity of such thinking. Why were tens of thousands of young Western Muslims signing up to an Islamic supremacist death cult? In scrabbling for an answer, Western politicians still determined to deny the reality of religious fanaticism were sure about one thing. Islamic State was "un-Islamic" or even "anti-Islamic." Religion couldn't be the cause of such depravity.

In the wake of this summer's attacks, fresh explanations have been heard. If the terrorists appear to have acted alone (which usually turns out not to be the case) they are "lone wolves" and therefore not jihadi foot-soldiers. If they appear to have a psychiatric history, they are said to be mentally ill and therefore not jihadi foot-soldiers.

Of course this is absurd. It is perfectly possible to act alone or be mentally disturbed and still be a jihadi foot-soldier.

Indeed, jihadi recruiters specifically target disturbed people.

This gets to the point about radicalization.

It is not some cartoonish, one-dimensional process. It is complex. It wouldn't happen without Islamic ideas, but those are the combustible tinder. The sparks come from elsewhere.

Jihadi ideas become explosive when young Muslims are vulnerable. This is often due to an acute sense of rootlessness and cultural dislocation, a disgust with their hedonistic lives in the West and a deep need for an elevated purpose to their existence.

The spark, however, is their overwhelming sense of grievance. This is where Western governments are missing a trick through a profoundly misguided analysis.

They think that if the world's conflicts involving Muslims are solved, radicalization will end. That's why they pressure Israel to facilitate a state of Palestine which they think would draw the poison of Muslim rage.

They've got it precisely the wrong way round. It is the poisonous Arab and Muslim rage against Israel and the Jewish people that prevents a solution to that Middle East conflict.

The crucial point about the grievances felt by so many Muslims against Israel, the Jews and the West is that they are all based on lies. These are so incendiary it would be amazing if they did not incite violent feelings of hatred and vengeance.

Millions of Muslims believe the lie that the Palestinians are the indigenous people of the Land of Israel. So of course they are enraged that "their" land has been "stolen" by the Jews.

They believe the lie that the West intends to destroy the Islamic world. So of course they think Muslim attacks on the West are justified as self-defense.

They believe the (religiously inspired) lie that the Jews are a cosmic evil. So of course they are inspired to slaughter the Jews wherever they find them.

Moreover, their crazed belief in demonic global Jewish power controlling America and thus modernity is the most important factor fueling the onslaught against the West.

These and other similarly paranoid fantasies are the "grievances" which drive so many young Muslims into the arms of the jihadis. Any effective counter-radicalization strategy must therefore tell Muslims facts to force open their eyes.

Western leaders should be telling them, for example, the historic truth that the Jews are the only people for whom Israel was ever their national homeland.

They should be telling them that the IDF sets a moral standard no Western army would ever match in trying to avoid killing innocent civilians, even to the extent of inflating IDF casualties.

They should be telling them that a characteristic of Islamic thinking, based on the doctrinal perfection of Islam, is to invert reality and thus turn Islamic attack on Israel and the West into defense and vice-versa.

They should be telling them that those setting out to murder Muslims are other Muslims, and that the lies told about Israel and the West are designed to protect tyrants by diverting the rage of the people they have enslaved.

If these and other truths were told, the Islamist grip on the minds of Western Muslims who hear nothing but Islamic propaganda would start to weaken.

Of course, this would not by itself solve the problem. Reason is no antidote to fanaticism. But many young Muslims are being radicalized not by piety but by political lies, which at present are not only unchallenged but actually amplified by the West's self-destructive media and political echo chamber.

The West currently treats Muslim "grievances" as rational. Thus the extremists seem to come from nowhere. They do not.

They are created and sustained by a narrative of lies. Counter-radicalization must involve telling Muslims the truth—the West's unused weapon of mass instruction.


How many times have you heard someone lament that Israel doesn’t have good public relations? By supporting FLAME, you help one of the world’s most powerful information efforts to spread the truth about Israel and the Middle East conflict. Please note that because FLAME is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, your donation is tax-deductible. Click here to make a donation.


If you have received this issue of the FLAME HOTLINE from a friend or colleague and you'd like to subscribe, please click here.

PR for Israel | Make a Donation | Our Acquisition Letters | FLAME’s Purpose | Home

©2016 FLAME. All rights reserved. | Site Credits | Contact Us