June 14, 2007
Phillip Jenkins, in his recently released book “God’s Continent” makes the following statement:
Incidentally, the forces driving Muslim immigration were so overwhelming that there is no reason to imagine the conspiracy theory devised by Bat Ye’or and since popularized by Oriana Fallaci and others, which suggests that European elites collaborated with Arab states to create a Eurabian federation spanning the Mediterranean. Given the economic forces demanding labor and the political factors conditioning supply, it would be difficult to imagine any outcome much different from what actually occurred.
Sadly, and not so “incidentally”, this reductio ad absurdum argument—focused inappropriately on the secondary issue of immigration as if that were the sine qua non of “Eurabia”, and imbued with a non-sequitur, defamatory charge of conspiracism—reveals little more than Mr. Jenkin’s own thoroughly inept research, and intellectual laziness.
Despite its widespread usage, there is almost universal ignorance about the origins of the term “Eurabia”. Briefly, here is the historical context, to which Mr. Jenkins is completely oblivious, dating back to the early to mid-1970s, as characterized in meticulous (if dry and forbidding detail) in Bat Ye’or’s seminal, “Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis”.
Born of the Arab League's October, 1973 defeat in their Yom Kippur war against Israel and the related oil embargo, The Euro-Arab Dialogue has created an alphabet soup of European Community, and later European Union-funded organizations charged with planning joint political, cultural, social, industrial, commercial, and technical-scientific projects.
This entity first met officially at a ministerial level on July 31, 1974, in Paris, to discuss the Dialogue's organization. In attendance were the Secretary General of the Arab League, the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister, the President of the European Community Commission, and the President of the European Community. As Bat Ye’or observes,
In the course of the meetings that followed, the European foreign ministers of the Nine [i.e., the original European Community member states] laid the foundations for their cooperation with the Arab countries, through an institutionalized structure linked to the highest authorities in each European Community country. This…made it possible to harmonize the European Community policy of trade and cooperation with the Arab League countries.
The Dialogue rapidly spawned a European Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation whose members represented a broad spectrum of European Community political groups. Biannual Euro-Arab Parliamentary meetings convened alternately in Europe and the Arab nations. Roughly 100 European and Arab members of their respective Parliaments attended, along with observers from the European Community/European Union Commission, the Arab League, and other international organizations. During an initial meeting in Damascus, September 14—17, 1974, the Arab delegates established their political preconditions for economic agreements with Western Europe, specifically demanding:
1. Israel's unconditional withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines
2. Arab sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem
3. Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) participation (lead by Yasser Arafat), in any negotiations
4. European Community pressure on the United States to detach it from Israel and bring its policies closer to those of the Arab states
Eurabia was the title of a journal published in the mid-1970s by the European Committee for the Coordination of Friendship Associations with the Arab World. Eurabia’s editor was Lucien Bitterlin, President of the Association of Franco-Arab Solidarity; the journal was published jointly by Euro-Arab associations in London, Paris, and Geneva.
Eurabia served as a Euro-Arab Dialogue mouthpiece. For example, the July 1975 issue published resolutions from the aforementioned Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation, and included an editorial underscoring “…the necessity for a political entente between Europe and the Arab world as a basis for economic agreements.” The editors opined, Europeans must “…understand the political as well as the economic interests of the Arab world.” The Euro-Arab Dialogue must express “…a joint political will”, and Europeans must create “…a climate of opinion” favorable to Arabs. The editorial admonished,
If they really want to cooperate with the Arab world, the European governments and political leaders have an obligation to protect against the denigration of Arabs in their media. They must reaffirm their confidence in the Euro-Arab friendship and their respect for the millennial contribution of the Arabs to world civilization.
The same July 1975 issue of Eurabia included findings from a Euro-Arab Parliamentary Association study advocating,
A medium and long term policy must…be formulated in order to bring about economic cooperation through a combination of Arab manpower reserves and raw materials, and European technology and management
With regard to Israel—the linchpin political issue on which the Arabs demanded European acquiescence—the July 1975 edition of Eurabia also reproduced the Euro-Arab Parliamentary Association resolution from its Strasbourg meeting one month earlier, insisting, per the disputed Arab interpretation of UN Resolution 242, that Israel withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines, that European governments recognize Arafat's PLO as sole representative of the Palestinian Arabs, and that each European Community nation oblige Israel to accept a Palestinian Arab Judenrein state in Gaza, and Judea/Samaria, i.e. the entire so-called “West Bank”.
Let me illustrate but one of the alarming Euro-Arab Dialogue's conduit functions. During a 1974 Organization of the Islamic Conference meeting in Lahore, Pakistan, OIC general secretary Mohammed Hasan Mohammed al-Tohami highlighted two key related goals:
(1) Urgent [convening] of a meeting of specialists in the propagation of Islam on a world level, and the establishment of a Jihad Fund…this fund is open with no restrictions…in all fields of Jihad
(2) Caring for the affairs of cultural centers in Europe, and the establishment of [additional] cultural centers in the continent
The Euro-Arab Dialogue introduced European Islamic Centers' educational and cultural programs into European schools, reflecting one aspect of the Jihad to which al-Tohami alluded.
In conclusion, I refer to the April 26—28, 2006 celebration (i.e., 14 months ago, and cited in the Preface to the 7th printing of Bat Ye’or’s “Eurabia”) of three decades of the Euro-Arab Dialogue, held at the Paris Institute of the Arab World. The event was touted as a Euro-Arab Dialogue Forum, with a theme entitled, “Prospects and Contents of a Euro-Arab Strategic Partnership”. Former President Chirac's Foreign Minister, Philippe Douste Blazy, delivered the final address at the April 26th Opening Session. The Forum’s “Objectif”, according to the Forum website, stated:
To relaunch the Euro-Arab Dialogue in conformity with new strategic perspectives in order to constitute the future bilateral pole of international equilibrium and to participate in the creation of a new world order.
Clearly, Mr. Jenkins and those of his ilk who spray uninformed and unwarranted charges of “conspiracism” at Bat Ye’or might do well to actually read “Eurabia” and the vast array of self-explanatory documents and public statements it contains. Thus far, that appears to be too much to ask of them.
Andrew G. Bostom, MD, MS is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University Medical School, and occasional contributor to Frontpage Magazine. He is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (2005), and the forthcoming The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism (2007), which can be previewed here.