Tags: joel | gilbert | israel

Filmmaker Says Middle East Conflagration Inevitable

Monday, 18 Aug 2008 12:19 PM

By Dave Eberhart

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[Editor’s Note: This is Part Two of a two-part series reviewing and examining the messages of Middle East scholar Joel Gilbert’s new documentary film “Farewell Israel: Bush, Iran and The Revolt of Islam.” A DVD of the film may be purchased by Clicking Here.]

It’s inevitable, warns Middle East expert and filmmaker Joel Gilbert — Israel and U.S. interests around the world are facing the relentless juggernaut of an Islamic revival that can’t be derailed.

“I think all of the pieces are in place,” Gilbert tells Newsmax. “It’s similar to the history of World War I — it wasn’t a question of “if,” it was just a question of “when.” And when it started, it wasn’t even like it was such a big deal. It was just like let’s have it out and do this.”

If you are still one of those Americans who believe that 9/11 was a mindless attack on a decadent U.S. by Islamic fanatics without a comprehensive long range plan and design, “Farewell Israel: Bush, Iran and The Revolt of Islam” will open your eyes.

“Farewell Israel” reveals the full story of Israel and the West’s misunderstanding of Islam — and the coming tragic consequences of misunderstanding.

If you are lucky enough to view the film, your mouth will drop open more than once.

It’s creator, Joel Gilbert, a graduate of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and the London School of Economics and Political Science, describes his landmark work accurately as “an historic journey, from the birth of Islam, through its 1,200 year reign over the civilized world, to the last 300 years of Islamic decline, overtaken and dominated by the West — then humiliated by a Jewish state.”

Not just a history lesson, the film provides the viewer with a dramatic insight into just who is that hooded forbidding enemy of the West out there lurking in the darkness. What truly motivates him? And, most importantly, what exactly does he want so badly that he is willing to give up his life?

A Middle Eastern studies specialist, Gilbert is one of the few Western scholars of historic Islamic-Jewish relations. He has lived, studied, and traveled in the Middle East, including Egypt, Israel, Morocco, and Pakistan. He speaks Arabic and Hebrew, and lectures on the Middle East.

Both he and his film have a lot to say. Perhaps the best summation of the underlying theme is know your enemy. If you know him, you’ve completed the first step in possibly defeating him.

Here are just a few shorthand points that are explained in detail by Gilbert in the exclusive interview that began in Part One and continues now in Part Two:

  • Why the enemy is anything but inscrutable and how his every move can be telegraphed by history and culture.

  • Islamism is an internal struggle. It’s not a war against the West.

  • Bush’s biggest blunder post 9/11 was not attacking Afghanistan or even Iraq, it was unwittingly falling into al-Qaida’s carefully planned trap by pushing for free elections throughout the Islamic world.

  • Why it is dangerously simplistic to believe that a policy of fostering secular democracies would produce a population less likely to attack America.

  • Another big attack on the U.S. is not coming — because it would not be in the enemy’s interest.

  • Why the next president should abandon the Bush policies and encourage, supply, and support all secular, non-Islamic governments willing to help put down this type of violent behavior.

  • How the mindsets of Jimmy Carter and President Bush are alike.

  • Why Jews today live and thrive in Iran — despite that country’s call to wipe their homeland off the map.

  • What exactly would be a winning policy that would foil the plans of the worldwide Islamic movement.

  • Why the destruction of the Jewish state is such an imperative.

  • Why “Radical Islamic” is a total misnomer.

  • Why Israel has not bombed Iran’s nuclear sites.

  • Why the polling booth is considered a more powerful weapon than terror by those orchestrating the Islamic revolt.

  • What’s freedom got to do with it?

    Newsmax: Mr. Gilbert, let’s pick up where we left off in our discussion. One of the things that grip you as watch this film is that you get a sense of this inevitability of the coming of great catastrophe, not only to Israel but to American interests around the world. Do you sense the same thing, that if we continue on the same course, things are going to, at some point, reach the inevitable boil?

    Gilbert: Absolutely. I think if all of the pieces are in place; it’s similar to the history of World War I — it wasn’t a question of “if,” it was just a question of “when.” And when it started, it wasn’t even like it was such a big deal. It was just like let’s have it out and do this.

    Newsmax: Your excellent film aside, don’t many Americans believe these radical Muslims are not going to be satisfied until the whole planet is under a non-secular Muslim cultural and religious umbrella? Am I wrong?

    Gilbert: I think most Americans are a little distracted by that concept because we focus on the notion that if we defeat the radicals then everyone else feels a different way. There’s no such thing as radical Islam. I mean, there are media concepts that we make up to deal with things that we are unable to understand on a deeper level.

    Islam’s internal struggle to restore their own society does contain a few — just like you have in the Christian world or in most religions – that profess that one day everybody will agree that theirs is an exclusive truth and that one day the whole world will recognize this.

    Newsmax: In the perfect Islamic revival -- the perfect storm — if successful, what would it mean geographically?

    Gilbert: Geographically, every country that has a Muslim majority population would become under Islamic rule, Islamic law. At some point there would reemerge the kind of centralized Islamic authority that existed in history for 1200 years, where Islam reignd over the civilized world.

    Newsmax: Is that why Spain gets hit by attacks on every now and then?

    Gilbert: No, actually, Spain is picked on because Spain was at one point in history a conquered Muslim land. In Islamic doctrine, once a land has been liberated, has becomes a part of Islamic territory, it can not be given up. If it is given up, it is an extreme high priority to recover that land.

    Newsmax: If this is the hard-and-fast doctrine, then isn’t the U.S. out of the grand design, right? We don’t have a Muslim majority and we’ve never had a history of being a Muslim-conquered territory.

    Gilbert: Well, yes, but only to the extent that America has security interests around the world, economic interests, and in order to prosper in the world the United States needs other stable western democracies to be allies with. So we have a very high interest in making sure that Israel is secure…

    Newsmax: Let’s limit the question to just our own domestic security — within our borders.

    Gilbert: As I explained earlier, you don’t have to worry about another terrorist attack because they got what they wanted. You can sleep tonight.

    Newsmax: If the presidential candidates can have an economic summit, why can’t they have a Middle East policy summit? Just the principles in your film should be a touchstone of discussion.

    Gilbert: I wish they would, I wish they would. I would love to go to something like that.

    Newsmax: Let them watch your film and then give them the same opportunity to chat with you that I have had.

    Gilbert: I would love to make the presentation for them and say this is the real equation. If you think the equation is terrorists want to take away our freedom and that is why they are bombing us and you are creating policies to deal with that equation — you are going to have more problems. Let me explain the real equation.

    Newsmax: Certainly, sir, yours can’t be the lone voice in the wilderness.

    Gilbert: You know, I get a lot of e-mails — from American military people, former American intelligence people. Anybody who has been involved in that part of the world who sees the film or read the web site will e-mail me and we have a discussion.

    It’s a slow but sure process.

    We’re up against a State Department that has a stubborn world view. The Western world view is everyone is loyal to their ethic area. Everyone is loyal to their geographic area. If you’re a Jordanian, you’re loyal to the King of Jordan. The film penetrates that narrow view, that misunderstanding.

    Newsmax: I guess it was back in 1973; Israel was up against the wall again, and Kissinger convinced Golda Meir not to launch a peremptory attack. As a consequence, Israel suffered great losses in forces. Aren’t we playing that same game again — counseling Israel not to make a preemptory attack on Iran. Isn’t this history repeating itself?

    Gilbert: There has long been a body of thought in the Jewish world, a divided body of thought, from prior to the advent of the Jewish state – at one extreme were those who weren’t really sure that they wanted to have a Jewish state. They said things like maybe in another hundred years. We’re not sure that we deserve it. We don’t want to control any Arabs in our area. This was one body of thought.

    Israel seeks world support. It believes that security and independence comes from worldwide acceptance; acceptance by the Western powers; acceptance by the Arab world…

    On the Right, it’s a different philosophy that Jews simply have to defend themselves, and we’re not seeking love, we’re seeking respect through our own strength.

    So, those are the two schools of thought that existed, and from time to time the Left would come to power in Israel, and from time to time the right wing would come to power.

    The left thought that we have to embrace and be loved by the Arabs; this is our route to security.

    So in '73 the leaders on the Left sought American support before defending the country. That has been their motto for many, many years. They pretty much don’t do anything without American support. The exception, of course, is the Israeli bombing of the Iraqi reactor in ’81.

    The Leftists came to power with the help and encouragement of the Clinton Administration and Europeans and this is where we are today.

    By the way, if you draw a graph on the wall and one line of the graph is Israel’s embrace of PLO, terrorism and concession to terrorist groups and another line is worldwide terrorism, you will see that they go hand-in-hand…

    Newsmax: Now that there’s this power vacuum in Israel, do you suppose Benjamin Netanyahu will step in?

    Gilbert: Not really. Don’t forget, in the late 90’s, he was elected on the promise he would revoke the Oslo Peace Accords. He was elected on that promise. Instead of canceling the Accords, however, he simply continued to march at a slower pace. He did not have the political courage to follow through on his promise.

    So most people on the Right in Israel believe that he is not their man.

    Newsmax: Have you gotten any hints from the field that indeed your documentary has had an affect on the way we establish policy in the Middle East?

    Gilbert: I did take a lot of orders initially from the Washington area. I had an order from 1700 Pennsylvania Avenue, which is the building next to the White House and I sent the people from the National War College a bunch of copies at their request. I had someone from the Giuliani’s campaign and also Bill Richardson’s campaign order it.

    [Editor’s Note: This is Part Two of a two-part series reviewing and examining the messages of Middle East scholar Joel Gilbert’s new documentary film “Farewell Israel: Bush, Iran and The Revolt of Islam.” A DVD of the film may be purchased by Clicking Here.]

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