The Bare Bodkin

Creeds and Values

The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon may have jarred American self-confidence, caused coast-to-coast panic, and even (we shall see) ignited World War III, but so far they have failed to put a dent in multicultural etiquette.  President Bush and other government spokesmen have been at pains to stress that we are not at war with Islam or Arabs in general and to discourage any negative thought, word, or deed toward Muslims within our borders.  Islam is a “religion of peace,” and all that.  After all, aren’t all religions, by definition, religions of peace?  Aren’t Muslims, when you come right down to it, just Unitarians with camels?  

At the same time, Benjamin Netanyahu, Norman Podhoretz, Charles Krauthammer, George Will, and the rest of what Patrick Buchanan dubbed “Israel’s Amen Corner” have suddenly adopted a whole new party line, in flat contradiction to the traditional one.  The attacks, they say, had nothing whatever to do with the United States’ support for Israel.  The idea that there is any such connection is a “dangerous myth,” according to one State Department, er, expert.  

According to the new line, Arabs and other Muslims don’t hate America for supporting Israel; they would hate America just as bitterly if Israel had never existed.  It’s the other way around:...

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