So help me understand this. Nuri al-Maliki, still the Iraqi prime minister for the moment, expressed his appreciation for the accomplishments of the late Grand Ayatollah Hussein Fadlallah:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki paid tribute for late Fadlallah, who provided the “Islamic library” with “tens of books in jurisprudence, interpretation and Islamic culture.” “He devoted his life for serving big Islamic causes in the front line during contemporary cultural and political struggle arenas,” said Maliki. While acknowledging the big loss in the Islamic world, Maliki said Fadlallah would remain a living example “that we all adthere to.”
The new Iraqi politics, which threw up and ensconced al-Maliki is fulsomely praised by the American right wing. David Frum, Bush’s speech writer who foisted on the US public that stupid and pernicious “axis of evil” phrase, asked after the March 7, parliamentary elections, “Will Iraq’s Democracy Vindicate Bush”?
But when Octavia Nasr of CNN tweets the same thing that al-Maliki said, , she is fired.
The whole conundrum only makes sense from an Israel Lobby point of view. It is better, the Israel lobbies in the US think, for al-Maliki to be in charge of Iraq than for Saddam Hussein to have been. Al-Maliki doesn’t actively funnel money to the Palestinians and is distracted by internal Iraq faction-fighting now that the Iraqi state and army have been destroyed. So that the new Shiite political elite in Baghdad reveres a figure like Grand Ayatollah Fadlallah is overlooked.
But with Ms. Nasr, it is not a comparative issue, it is an absolute one. No figure in US media is allowed to show any understanding of or appreciation for any aspect of the life and works of someone the Lobbies have decided must be demonized and vilified (and in Fadlallah’s case, preferably killed). Theirs is a politics of demonization and marginalization in which no rounded, considered judgment is permitted. Fadlallah had severe flaws, including his condoning of suicide bombings against Israelis. But he condemned the 9/11 attacks and the Morocco suicide bombings as pure terrorism, and that has to be reported, too. (It mostly wasn’t). And, he authorized Muslim women to actively defend themselves against domestic violence, which was the thing Nasr had in mind.
The firing of Nasr is just a latter-day privatized McCarthyism, a phenomenon increasingly corrosive of American civil liberties and which is not limited to (though it generally characterizes the tactics of) the more rightwing Israel lobbies.
For excellent essays in a similar vein, see Glenn Greenwald and also that of Stephen Walt