Israeli film-maker, Jewish donors and the Salafis

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By Nureddin Sabir
Editor, Redress Information & Analysis

Nureddin Sabir considers the possible motives of the Israeli creator and Jewish financiers of the film, “Innocence of Muslims”, which gratuitously insults the Prophet Muhammad and Islam and has sparked riots in Egypt and Libya, resulting in the killing of four American diplomats at the US consulate in Benghazi.

Protests have erupted across the Muslim world – in Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Yemen and Kashmir, among other places – at a film about the Prophet Muhammad.

In Libya’s second city, Benghazi, gunmen believed to be Salafis belonging to a group called Katibat Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law Brigade) stormed the US consulate and set it on fire, killing the ambassador and three of his staff.

Meanwhile, in Egypt rioters scaled the walls of the US embassy in Cairo, tore down the American flag and burned it. Judging from the prevalence of black flags and bearded, unkempt men among the demonstrators, they too seem to be Salafis, or at least spearheaded by Salafis.

The film is “a really nasty piece of lying propaganda: something which deserves to be called hate speech, since hatred is its wellspring and the propagation of hatred is its goal”.

Andrew Brown, The Guardian

It is hard to feel sympathy for the United States and its officials, given Washington’s buttressing of the Israeli occupation and its history of sustaining brutal dictatorships, from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to Mubarak’s Egypt and Libya’s Gaddafi.

However, my first reaction to the events in Benghazi and Cairo was one of despair and revulsion. “Here we go again,” I thought to myself, “Muslims rampaging, burning and killing on behalf of a faith which claims peace and compassion as principal pillars. It all seemed like a replay of the bloody protests against the burning of Qurans by Americans, a jaded record played again and again by a bankrupt fan with nothing new to say for himself and nothing to offer to others.

But then things changed as I found out more about the film and its maker.

First, this was no digital re-run of the Danish cartoon controversy. The two-hour film, “Innocence of Muslims“,

portrays Muhammad as a pathetic fraud, a child molester. He is an unwanted bastard at birth, and only gains his self-confidence after an older woman summons the cringing young man to her tent and pushes his head under her skirts where he nuzzles her crotch. When he emerges, he has seen visions.

It also depicts the Quran as a plagiarized hybrid of the Jewish Torah and the Christian Bible.

As Andrew Brown said in the Guardian newspaper, it is “purely and simply an incitement to religious hatred” and “a really nasty piece of lying propaganda: something which deserves to be called hate speech, since hatred is its wellspring and the propagation of hatred is its goal”.

Nor is the film the brainchild of a perverted teenager struggling to come to terms with his hormones. It is written and directed by Sam Bacile, a 56-year-old Israeli Jewish property developer-cum-film-maker based in California. According to Mr Bacile, it cost GBP 5 million (3.1m US dollars) to make and was financed with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors.

…why have 100 Jewish donors funded the production of a piece of pure bigotry which goes beyond the accusations of anti-Semitism bellowed day and night by the likes of the US’s Anti-Defamation League and the Board of Deputies of British Jews?

This leaves me with a number of questions and some suspicions. To begin with, what is the purpose of the film? It is not clever, entertaining or revealing, so what do its creators and financiers believe it will achieve?

According to Mr Bacile, the film is intended as a provocative political statement condemning and exposing the flaws of Islam, which he describes as “a cancer”. Exactly how fabrications and deliberate insults and provocations would expose anything other than the bigotry of the “exposer” is a question which Mr Bacile does not address.

Secondly, has the fact that Mr Bacile is an Israeli Jew anything to do with the vile hatred of Islam represented by his digital trash? Furthermore – and this is a question which the Western media must address – why have 100 Jewish donors funded the production of a piece of pure bigotry which goes beyond the accusations of anti-Semitism bellowed day and night by the likes of the USA’s Anti-Defamation League and the Board of Deputies of British Jews?

Thirdly, given the Israeli and Jewish links to Mr Bacile’s bigoted film, how would Israelis, Jews in general and the Western media at large have reacted if the film had been produced by a Muslim Arab and the bigotry directed at Jews and Judaism?

My suspicion is that the aim of Mr Bacile and his 100 Jewish donors is simply to provoke the very reactions we have seen in Cairo and Benghazi, in order to tarnish the image of Arabs and Muslims and the Arab Spring in general.

Another aim might be to provoke retaliatory attacks against Jews in the United States and Europe, and thereby furnish the anti-Semitism industry with “evidence” to back up the propaganda that Jews living in a gentile world will always be vulnerable to violence and therefore need a racially exclusive “Jewish state” at least as a haven of last resort.

…as a Libyan I could only hope that the reputation-busting attack in Benghazi would jolt the authorities into adopting a more serious approach to the chronic lack of security that is destroying the country.

If I am right on either or both counts, then the bigoted Mr Bacile and his 100 Jewish donors have only to thank their Salafi brothers in Benghazi and Cairo for a job well done.

Finally, as a Libyan I could only hope that the reputation-busting attack in Benghazi would jolt the authorities into adopting a more serious approach to the chronic lack of security afflicting the country.

It is now 11 months since Muammar Gaddafi was smoked out of a sewage pipe and killed. Yet Libya still has no army to speak of and, as long as this situation continues, the militias that brought an end to his tyranny will not disarm.

The Libyan authorities – out of a mixture of incompetence, stupidity, irresponsibility and inexperience – seem to believe that security can be achieved through alliances with or by co-opting the militias. This is a serious mistake that borders on criminal negligence. As a result, religious charlatans, in the form of Salafis and Wahhabis, criminal groups and remnants of Gaddafi’s “Revolutionary” Committees are exploiting the vacuum to achieve their differing ends.

Unless the Libyan authorities wake up and acknowledge the magnitude of the security catastrophe-in-waiting, Libya will descend into even greater chaos and civil war, and all our sacrifices will be vain.

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