An evening with Bat Ye’or

A much shorter period, actually, because I had to get home for the CNN interview. Nonethelss, I did have the pleasure of meeting the author of the just-published Eurabia, The Euro-Arab Axis, at the home of columnist Diana West. Bat Ye’or (a pseudonym that means daughter of the Nile) is a Jew who was born in Egypt. Expelled in the 1950s, she moved to England and now lives in Switzerland. Ye’or is a researcher and scholar who specializes in the status of people conquered by Muslims and in the relationship between the Arab world and Europe. Here basic theses are discussed here and here. For her own words, see this recent interview with Jamie Glazov of FrontPage Magazine.
I first came across Ye’or’s work shortly after I started blogging. It was powerful stuff, and I considered posting it, but thought that her arguments were too extreme for me to vouch for. I had no problem with her analysis of dhimmitude, the state of humiliation required of non-Muslims under Islamic rule, and its relationship to jihad. However, her view that the European elites have conspired with the Arabs in order secure oil and, more importantly, to form a counterweight to the U.S., gave me pause. Long-time readers know that there’s little I would put past the European elites. But even I was shocked, and unpersuaded, by the notion that Europe years ago formed an anti-American compact with the Arabs. Here is how she articulates that notion:

Eurabia represents a geo-political reality envisaged in 1973 through a system of informal alliances between, on the one hand, the nine countries of the European Community (EC) which, enlarged, became the European Union (EU) in 1992 and on the other hand, the Mediterranean Arab countries. The alliances and agreements were elaborated at the top political level of each EC country with the representative of the European Commission, and their Arab homologues with the Arab League’s delegate. This system was synchronised under the roof of an association called the Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD) created in July 1974 in Paris. A working body composed of committees and always presided jointly by a European and an Arab delegate planned the agendas, and organized and monitored the application of the decisions.
The field of Euro-Arab collaboration covered every domain: from economy and policy to immigration. In foreign policy, it backed anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism and Israel’s delegitimization; the promotion of the PLO and Arafat; a Euro-Arab associative diplomacy in international forums; and NGO collaboration. In domestic policy, the EAD established a close cooperation between the Arab and European media television, radio, journalists, publishing houses, academia, cultural centers, school textbooks, student and youth associations, tourism. Church interfaith dialogues were determinant in the development of this policy. Eurabia is therefore this strong Euro-Arab network of associations — a comprehensive symbiosis with cooperation and partnership on policy, economy, demography and culture.

As I have read Ye’or’s work over the past two years, I have become less skeptical because she appears consistently to be able to document what she says. Tonight, she impressed me as a serious, clear-thinking scholar. I look forward to reading Eurabia. Once I have, perhaps I will be able to report on the extent to which I have been persuaded.

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