September 16 -- United States Policies and Muslim Rage

posted Sep 16, 2012, 1:47 PM by Tom Mayer
Hello peace activists and C-CAATI supporters:

Two important events are being organized by Occupy Denver.

1. International Day of Peace March & Rally.  

When: Saturday, September 22nd 12pm.  Where: West Steps of the State Capitol Building (200 East Colfax, Denver, Colorado).  

Purpose: To march against the military industrial complex and to rally in support of international peace.

Further information at:  http://occupydenver.org/peace-march-s22/


2.  Stop The Empire: Protest the Presidential Debates at Denver University.  

When: Wednesday October 3rd 5:30pm.  Where: March meet up location - McWilliams Park at East Yale Ave. and South Steele St.

Purpose:  March to the Presidential debate to let the two corporate candidates know we are finished listening to their meaningless conversations that do nothing except maintain the current power structures that are morally and fiscally bankrupting this nation and communities across the world.  Democracy or the American Empire?  We can’t have both.  

Further information at: http://occupydenver.org/103-stop-the-empire-occupythedebates/


About one month ago I read a book about Muslim rage towards the United States.  The book summarized a great deal of public opinion research about Muslim attitudes towards the USA in many different countries and concluded that they were highly negative.  It had a rather interesting social psychological analysis of how disappointed political expectations produced intense anger.  

In political terms the book was severely inadequate.  The author maintained there was nothing seriously wrong with American foreign policy: only a little face lifting and a few stylistic adjustments were required to deal with the ubiquitous and international Muslim anger.

About two weeks ago I sent a letter to local newspapers based on the information in this book.  My letter focused on what our government might do to lessen the largely justified anger of Muslim people towards our country.  For purposes of brevity I focused on the Israel-Palestine conflict, but this focus might easily have been expanded.

None of the papers saw fit to print my letter, but in light of the recent  anti-American demonstrations throughout the Islamic world my letter seems highly relevant.  It is reproduced below.

Peace and Justice,
Tom Mayer



United States Policies and Muslim Rage
By Tom Mayer

How can we prevent future wars in the Middle East?  Anyone who wants a serious answer to this question would do well to consult the information presented in Feeling Betrayed: The Roots of Muslim Anger at America (2011) by social psychologist Steven Kull.  This book is the definitive account of recent public opinion about the United States in Muslim majority countries, particularly those of the Middle East.  Its findings are based upon numerous public opinion surveys and focus groups conducted from 2006-2010 in eleven Muslim majority nations: Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, and Turkey.

Public opinion in the Middle East has been unfriendly to the USA for a long time, but it became much more hostile after the United States attack on Iraq in March 2003.  For example, one recent study found that 77% of respondents in eight Muslim majority countries expressed generally unfavorable views about the United States, including a staggering 99% unfavorable in Jordan.

The overwhelming negativity regarding the United States in countries of the Middle East is not a result of culture conflict or clash of civilizations.  On the contrary, it stems directly from anger about the political policies of the American government.  Respondents in all eleven Muslim majority countries expressed admiration for the liberal values they attributed to American culture: democracy, tolerance, and rule of law.  Their anger derived from United States betrayal of these values in its relations with the Middle East.  American governments, respondents believe, consistently undermine democracy in the Middle East, regularly express hostility towards Islam, and blatantly disregard international law.

By far the most potent source of anger towards America in all eleven countries is the massive and uncritical support that the United States gives to Israel.  In many focus groups participants waxed passionate and tearful when lamenting the unfairness of American policies regarding Palestinians.  A more even-handed approach towards Israel/Palestine, they said, would make a huge difference in their feelings about the USA.
 
The implications of these findings are clear.  Persistent anger is a potent source of conflict which readily escalates into warfare.  If our government really wants to interrupt the devastating cycle of armed violence in the Middle East, it should thoroughly revise its policies towards Israel/Palestine.  In particular, it should make these five “stops”: (1) stop military aid to Israel, (2) stop shielding Israel from world censure at the United Nations and other international forums, (3) stop aiding and abetting Israel’s 45 year occupation of the West Bank, (4) stop turning a blind eye towards Israel’s nuclear weapons stockpile while prohibiting other Middle Eastern countries from acquiring legitimate nuclear know-how, and (5) stop attacking other countries (such as Iraq and now possibly Iran) partly – or even wholly – on Israel’s behalf.

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