What does Eitan Haber’s Yedioth Ahronoth column, ‘And the president of France will be named Mohammed,’ say about the political mentality in Israel?
Eitan Haber is a consciously “representative” Israeli. In his Yedioth Ahronoth columns, he’s cultivated himself as a “voice of the people” – centrist, patriotic, worried about security, wishing for peace. He was Rabin’s spokesman and speechwriter, the impressario of those spectacularly un-Rabinesque speeches by his boss after the signing of the Oslo Accord and the peace treaty with Jordan. More than anyone except for Rabin’s family, Haber embodies the memory of grief over the assassination; his announcement that Rabin had died in the hospital is to Israel what Walter Cronkite’s announcement of JFK’s death is to America. Between his classic newspaper columnist’s style, his frequent references to people and events of the past, and his indelible association with Rabin, the Oslo period and the assassination, Haber, 72, is himself a nostalgia item, a salt of the earth Israeli and an insider at Camelot.
So what does it say when such an Israeli writes a column today that’s about as insanely Islamophobic as anything one is likely to read this side of Pamela Geller? It says the political mentality in this country is pretty damn dark.
The column is titled “And the president of France will be named Mohammed.” It says the murders in Toulouse were “just the preface to the forward to the introduction of this storm that is the burgeoning of Islam.” It goes on:
Historians will give this new era a name. I call it the ‘era of Arabs riding high.’ For the first time, after hundreds of years, 1.3 billion Muslims feel they have the power to run the world and bend it to Islam’s laws and customs. Where are they headed? As yet there are no defined directions, except Islamic rule – and if necessary, by the sword.
He goes on to say that Mohammed Merah, the Toulouse murderer, “saw himself as the emissary of nearly 10 million Muslims already living in France, and who are planning to take over all of Europe.” (In fact, there are an estimated 5 to 6 million Muslims in France, only one-third of whom practice the religion.)
Haber warns that the combination of social media and Muslim socioeconomic distress will have a terrible cost – “and it will be paid by the whole world, certainly by Europe. The cost will be blood, and a lot of it.” He continues:
Since Facebook offers no miracle cure for economic problems, the Muslims will go back to what they know: power. A lot of power. Marches by hundreds of thousands and millions. After all, they don’t lack for people.
Israeli apologists might say Haber is understandably distraught over the murders in Toulouse. But there’s no anger or grief in his column – it’s written in the same conversational, sentimental, melodramatic tone as all his columns. And let’s face it, this “Eurabia” scare isn’t exactly new in this country; it’s been around since long before the Toulouse massacre.
Haber is saying the monster Mohammed Merah stands for all Muslims, all of whom want to march on Europe and the rest of Judeo-Christendom and spill everyone’s blood. Unbelievable. Unbelievable that Haber, the “voice of the people,” would write something like this and that Yedioth Ahronoth, “the nation’s newspaper,” would print it. Imagine if after the Hebron massacre, a household-name columnist in the largest-selling newspaper in a democratic country had written that Baruch Goldstein stood for all Jews.
The scary thing is that Eitan Haber really does stand for a huge number of Israelis.