Frontpage Interview's guest today is Bat Ye'or, the world's foremost authority on dhimmitude.
Her latest study is Islam and Dhimmitude. Where Civilizations Collide. Her forthcoming book, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, will be published in January 2005.
FP: Bat Ye'or, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Bat Ye'or: Thanks for inviting me to your prestigious magazine.
FP: First things first, can you explain the term "Eurabia" to our readers?
Bat Ye'or: 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.
Eurabia is the future of Europe. Its driving force, the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation, was created in Paris in 1974. It now has over six hundred members -- from all major European political parties -- active in their own national parliaments, as well as in the European parliament. The creation of this body and its policy follow the 23 resolutions of the "Second International Conference in Support of the Arab Peoples", held in Cairo in January 1969. Its resolution 15 formulates the Euro-Arab policy and its all-embracing development over thirty years in European domestic and foreign policy.
It stated: "The conference decided to form special parliamentary groups, where they did not exist, and to use the parliamentary platform for promoting support of the Arab people and the Palestinian resistance." In the 1970s, pursuant to the wishes of the Cairo Conference, national groups proclaiming "Solidarity with the Palestinian Resistance and the Arab peoples" appeared throughout Europe. These groups belonged to different political families, Gaullists, extreme left or right, communists, neo-Nazis -- but they all shared the same anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism. France has been the key protagonist of this policy, ever since de Gaulle's press conference on 27 November 1967 when he presented France's cooperation with the Arab world as "the fundamental basis of our foreign policy".
FP: Is Europe's dependence on Arab oil a predominant factor in its pro-Arab policy?
Bat Ye'or: No, I don't think so. Arab leaders have to sell their oil; their people are very dependent on European economic, health and technological aid. America made this point during the oil embargo in 1973. The oil factor is a pretext to cover up a policy that emerged in France before that crisis. The policy was already conceived in the 1960s. It has strong antecedents in the French 19th century dream of governing an Arab empire and the exploitation of antisemitism to strengthen Arab Muslim-French solidarity against a demonized common enemy. Eurabia is not only a web of various agreements covering every field. It is essentially a political project for a total demographic and cultural symbiosis between Europe and the Arab world, where Israel will eventually dissolve. America would be isolated and challenged by an emerging Euro-Arab continent that is linked to the whole Muslim world and invested with tremendous political and economic power in international affairs. The policies of "multilateralism" and "soft diplomacy" express this deepening symbiosis. The Euro-Arab agreements are merely the tools for the creation of this new "continent." Eurabia is also based on the vision of Christian-Muslim reconciliation and has been strongly advocated by religious Christian bodies.
FP: For a moment, France looked like it was totally lost. But it seems to have adopted a new foreign policy, more oriented toward Europe. What is your view of this?
Bat Ye'or: France and the rest of Western Europe cannot change their policy anymore. Their future is Eurabia. Period. I don't see how they can reverse the movement they set in motion thirty years ago. Nor do Eurabians want to modify this policy. It is a project that was conceived, planned and pursued consistently through immigration policy, propaganda, church support, economic associations and aid, cultural, media and academic collaboration. Generations grew up within this political framework; they were educated and conditioned to support it and go along with it. This is the source of the strong anti-American feeling in Europe and of the paranoiac obsession with Israel, two elements that form the cornerstone of Eurabia. The new French orientation toward Europe indicates that France will work within Europe, and particularly with the new Eastern member states of the European Union, to convince them to forgo their Atlanticist vision and reorient their alliances toward the Arab Muslim world. This was French policy in the 1960s when Paris became the advocate of the Arab cause in the European Community. Until 1971, France had been isolated in the EC in its anti-Israel stance. European Community critics accused it of bias toward the Arab world. Faced with the oil crisis, the nine EC countries -- under French and German leadership -- unified their views regarding the Middle East conflict and this generated the Euro-Arab Dialogue's overall development.
Read the entire article on the Frontpage Magazine website.