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Malaysian Wisdom and the Boykin Affair
Last uploaded : Thursday 30th Oct 2003 at 02:45
Contributed by : The Editors


To accompany this article:


This has been an extraordinary two weeks. Whilst the chagim were still going strong, and we were trying to enjoy the Sukkot and Simchat Torah festivities through the bad news, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, was telling a bemused world that the Jews rule the planet and that after six million were exterminated Jews now ?let others fight their battles by proxy.? Go tell that to an IDF, Shin Bet or IAF veteran.

Meanwhile, a recently-promoted Pentagon intelligence and anti-terrorism official, Lt Gen William ?Jerry? Boykin, whose distinguished military career has spanned thirty-odd years, has angered the world by making a series of speeches, in full uniform, to evangelical churches across the United States proclaiming that ?the enemy is a guy named Satan.? Lt Gen Boykin has been telling the appreciative crowds that in Somalia, he told a Muslim warlord that he would fail because his god is an idol. At briefings at the Pentagon in the week of 16 to 23 October, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gen Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were virtually tormented by the press on the Boykin issue. We found this interesting. Those of us who have followed Israeli politics and military events over the years are used to the highest-level dignitaries, including the late lamented Yitzhak Rabin z?l, using the most appalling language about each other as well as about their enemies. The Israeli media are one of the freest in the world and nobody's tongue is cut out for speaking in extreme tones. Equally, the Arab and Palestinian media have used unspeakable rhetoric about Jews, America and Israel that has made the blood run cold for decades.

Responding to the Boykin affair in ?The New York Post,? conservative commentator John Podhoretz said ? Boykin is an evangelical Christian. That is his right. He believes that the terrorists threatening us are working for Satan. That is also his right. It is crucial to note that he was not calling Islam a Satanic faith.?

Boykin?s speeches, however, inspired a long and passionate rebuke from Anas Altikriti, Director of media and public relations for the Muslim Association of Britain in ?The Guardian? of Monday 27 October.


Altikitri?s main grievance is the absence of criticism of Boykin by the British government, compared to its reaction to the Malaysian Prime Minister?s speech on world Jewry. He warns that the Lt General?s remarks ?must be seen as a blatant incitement or racial and religious hatred, and a disgraceful offence to Muslims..? and ..?more carnage will follow if we choose to be selective about what we get angry about?Muslims in Britain will have noted the reaction to this incident?? This is disturbing. Is Altikriti saying that a million or more angry British Muslims are going to rise up in Jihad against the home populace?

Perhaps we misinterpret his views, but it is interesting that his ?you?ll be sorry? attitude is absent from Jewish media who had responded to the Malaysian Prime Minister?s outrageous statements about Jewish world dominance and ?proxy rule? of the planet.

In fact, no matter how venomous are the attacks on Jews -- the most memorable having come from the pens of prominent British writers over the past few years -- the most energetic responses have taken the form of thoughtful letters and responses from British rabbis, not ?you watch out, this is Jewish jihad!? vendetta. Frankly, one worries that Altikriti seems to think that the phlegmatic response to Lt Gen Boykin means the non-Muslim world is giving a modern-day Crusade the seal of approval.

It could also be said that both Mahathir and Boykin are ?characters? who should be regarded as fringe spokesmen, and ignored or given page thirteen treatment. Mahathir retires this week after what his advocates would describe as a long reign of transformation of the Malaysian economy. Boykin served in tough units much of whose work may not be disclosed. Both have deeply offended millions of people in a world reeling from the terror acts in Iraq and from the deteriorating situation in Israel.

Conversely, it should be appreciated that the average middle-aged blue collar worker in Iowa is aware that every suicide bomber, kidnapper (as in the 1972 Munich Olympic PLO atrocity) and hijacker since his childhood years has regrettably been a Muslim. We could not help but sigh when Jane Arraf of CNN reported with some considerable incredulity that the terrorists who detonated a bomb outside the Baghdad Red Cross headquarters used a Red Crescent ambulance to perform their deed. She was shocked that, as she put it, ?the symbol of Islam? was used to perpetrate this act. How often we in the Jewish world have read with sorrow that Palestinians are reported by the IDF to use Red Crescent vehicles to transport terror and deadly ordnance.

Palestinians would argue that the Star of David appears on IDF military equipment, but long ago the Arab world declared war on the tiny Jewish state. The Red Cross and the UN have not declared war on Islam, but even they are the targets of hatred. Is it any wonder the Lt Gen Boykins of this world have admirers?

At present even many conservative Zionists are not happy about Israeli soldiers demolishing whole apartment buildings and wrenching the tubes from patients (yes, suspected terrorists, but still hospitalised patients) in Intensive Care Units in Palestinian hospitals. However, long, long ago Palestinians could have had a state modelled after the magnificent, First-World democratic miracle nextdoor had their leaders taken them on a creative rather than destructive journey.

Instead of encouraging youngsters to kill themselves and take others with them, the old men of the PLO could have been nurturing their young to do what young Jews do worldwide: creating, having a livelihood and, in the affirmation of the highest Jewish aspirations, raising a family in celebration of life.

As of tonight, the Malaysian government is continuing the tirade about Jews. It is notable that Prime Minister Mahathir?s original ?Jews control the world by proxy? speech to a major Muslim Conference received a standing ovation and plaudits from none other than Hamid Karzai, head of state of post-Taliban Afghanistan. The Malaysian leadership is now saying that the American Senate?s proposal to cut economic aid to them is further proof that Jews dominate the world and that American annoyance proves that what was said is true.

One could look at it another way and observe that British parents now clamour to find places for their children in Jewish schools and that Jews dominate Nobel Prize lists through sheer ability. By and large Jews are believed to be reliable employees for their sobriety, work ethic and creativity. The various Muslim states that are now Judenrein might benefit from such a workforce. Iraqis are whipped up to an anti-Jewish frenzy by clerics across the country warning of evil Zionists trying to buy land in the ancient land.

Imagine what Iraq could be if it followed the glorious destiny of Israel -- the Israel of the Weizmann Institute, of scores of hospitals and symphony orchestras and productive, flowering kibbutzim -- since 1948! Yes, Sunnis and Shiites have enough problems, but what a blessing it would be for them -- and Muslims around the world -- to learn to love Jews, Christians, Buddhists and Hindus and to unite in creating ploughshares out of their increasingly malevolent swords. Lt Gen Boykin has a following. He would have no audience if this were to happen.


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