Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Answering to a Lower Authority

Do some in the West hold some in the Mideast to a different standard?

Print Email

Amusing! A former ambassador to Lebanon (and now the assistant secretary of state for the whole region) goes old-fashioned and sends a letter to the editor of the New York Times reporting that a Beirut-based newspaper isn’t the bastion of awesomeness that a prior profile made it out to be. Said profile utterly lionized the paper, Al Akhbar, with such phrases as “hawk-eyed editorial chairman”; “gleefully cataloged various embarrassments to the region’s kings, princes and politicians”; “the most dynamic and daring in Lebanon, and perhaps anywhere in the Arab world”; “a remarkable blend”; “an alluring product”; and “the finest luxury sedan to come on the market in at least a decade” (okay I made that last one up).

But, according to Jeffrey Feltman, the former ambassador, this is the same paper whose editorial board was the only one that refused to meet with him; which frequently committed errors in reporting his activities; and “will no more criticize Hezbollah’s secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, than Syria’s state-run Tishreen newspaper would question the president of Syria” (“Critics say the paper’s protestations of editorial freedom ring a little hollow,” the profile acknowledged, “given that it operates under the tacit protection of Hezbollah”).

The discrepancy brings to mind Tablet Magazine Mideast columnist Lee Smith’s piece last week, in which he alleged that many Western observers condescend to certain regional actors and hold them up as beacons of morality when, if they behaved identically but did so in the West and as Westerners, they would be condemned. “While it is man’s ability to tell good from bad that makes him most human, certain Western intellectuals take the unwillingness, or inability, to do so as a sign of the genius to rise above the small-minded morality of the masses,” Smith argued. “Excusing Hezbollah may seem like the rational decision-making of a thoughtful intellectual who is observing a society ostensibly different from his own, but in reality the moral universe of the Middle East is no different from in the rest of the world.”

Heroic Journalism in Lebanon? Ex-Envoy Disagrees [NYT]
Related: Rarity in Region, Lebanese Paper Dares to Provoke [NYT]
High Morals [Tablet Magazine]

Print Email

What it comes from, of course, is a universal acknowledgment that Muslims cannot and should not be held to global, objective standards of human rights (except for the delusional neoconservatives who continue to stubbornly believe that Muslims can be humanized).

Nobody expects Saudi Arabia + friends to cease being Apartheid Islamic Kingdoms any time soon. Its their culture!

Nobody expects American Muslims to react to a South Park cartoon about their god with anything except violence, Islam and barbarity. Its part of our rich diversity!

Nobody expects that the recently recognized “State of Palestine” will be anything but another shitty left-wing Islamic quasi-monarchy run according to fascist/shariah values. Free Palestine! Itbach al Yahud!

Until Islamic civilization changes, the edges of the Islamic map will continue to burn.

Is anyone surprised that this article came from the NYT? Their articles coming out of the middle east for many years now, have been consistently inaccurate and a disservice to their readers.

Yael Taubman says:

why is it that all of the Muslim countries
are yudenrein (Jew-free) but Israel has to have it’s Arab Muslims? that the so-called Palestinians say that no Jews will be allowed to live in the Palestinian state, that more than 900,000 Jews were either killed or booted out of all the Arab countries and their property confiscated and what about all their decendants, millions and millions, why not let them return to their homelands and return their property? This is a screwed up, up-side-down world. I am disgusted. At you too, Roger Cohen.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Answering to a Lower Authority

Do some in the West hold some in the Mideast to a different standard?

More on Tablet:

Kerry Links Rise of ISIS With Failed Peace Talks

By Lee Smith — Secretary of State: ‘I see a lot of heads nodding’