Book Review: Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West

Posted: 10/12/2010 5:29:00 PM
Author: Reviewed by Dr. Phyllis Chesler

Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West
by Abigail Esman
Reiewed by Phyllis Chesler

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A new book by Abigal R. Esman, who has lived in Holland until now, is an eye opener. Prof. Chesler says it should be required reading at the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Holland prides itself on its religious tolerance. Indeed, it welcomed Portugese Jews and, although they forbade them to join guilds
When Muslims riot in Holland or disagree with anyone, they demonize them as “Zionists.”
or own shops, the Jews nevertheless flourished in Holland as publishers, physicians, and diamond dealers.

Holland also prides itself on its presumably heroic role as resistance fighters against the Nazi occupation. Ah—but the truth is something darker, certainly more complicated, not always so heroic.

In my mind, Holland represents tulips, legalized marijuana, women selling sex in windows, multi-cultural tolerance, a huge Islamic problem—and the murder of Anne Frank and of almost the entirety of Dutch Jewry.

I remember spending time in the mid-1970s with the late Meyer Levin in his home in Israel; we spent hours walking on the beach as he tried to persuade me that Broadway Jewish communists (Lillian Hellman in particular) had colluded with Otto Frank, Anne’s father, to ditch Levin’s screenplay about Frank and to present a far more “universal” and less specifically Jewish Anne. Hellman and others succeeded. More, they also managed to persuade Hollywood and Broadway to focus on Anne’s “optimism,” and to bypass her growing sense of the unfolding tragedy.

Levin himself became obsessed with this “whitewashing” of the Holocaust through this use of Anne Frank. I believed him. Most others did not. I am afraid that he died a bitter and heartbroken man. Not until 1997 did Cynthia Ozick finally set the record straight in the pages of The New Yorker. She, too, found that Levin was telling the truth.

Author Abigail R. Esman would have believed Levin. She would actually have a thing or two more to tell him. An expatriate Jewish-American, Abigail R. Esman, has written an important and powerful new book, Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West. It is set in Holland, where she has now lived for the last twenty years.

Esman is now planning to leave Holland. She no longer feels at home there. In addition to the “Muslim immigrant problem, or rather, both the far right and far left responses to it,” there is this: “Jews are not welcome in Holland. Foreigners are not welcome in Holland either.” Esman is also a Jew—and a proud one.

Esman reminds me that although Jews were given shelter in 1536, “the Jews of Amsterdam were able to practice their religion so long as they did so privately—one of history’s first examples of the trait some Dutch now proudly call their ‘tolerance’ and others angrily describe as a coldhearted standoffishness.”

Esman also reminds me that 75% of Holland’s Jews were exterminated during the Nazi occupation (1940-1945), which means that “more Jews died per capita in the Netherlands than anywhere else in Europe outside of Germany.” However, “the 1944 rail strike [in Holland constituted] the only public protest held anywhere in Europe against the persecution of the Jews.”

But then, in her beautifully written book, she gives us one chilling example after another of both old-fashioned Jew-hatred and of its latest lethal Dutch-Islamic version. When Muslims riot in Holland or disagree with anyone, they demonize them as “Zionists.”

After a showing of “Fitna,” “the media reported that a handful of lone protestors had stood near the Parliament building in The Hague, carrying a banner that stated simply, ‘Wilders is a Zionist.’…on May 4, 2003, (Holocaust Memorial Day), in the Baarsjes section of Amsterdam, Moroccan boys were caught kicking memorial wreaths along the streets and chanting the popular refrain, ‘Joden, die moeten we doden,’ (‘Kill the Jews,’ or—literally translated—‘We must kill Jews’).”

That wasn’t all. According to Esman, newspapers reported that “teachers had begun receiving threats when they attempted to teach about the Holocaust.”

Then, during the worst year of the 2000 Intifada against Israel, in April, 2002, “anti-Israel demonstrations on Dam Square in Amsterdam were accompanied by cries of ‘Hamas, Hezbollah, Jihad!’ British, American, and Israeli flags were set afire. Overall, the Dutch Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) confirmed a 140 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the Netherlands between the last quarter of 2002 and the first quarter of 2003 over the same period a year earlier, most of them committed by Muslim youth.”

Esman reports that “Kankerjood” (“cancer Jew”) became a “favorite insult among the Dutch Muslim community; in Sweden, a Jewish couple I met told me that Muslims had begun greeting one another with the simple phrase ‘Kill Jews’ (as in, ‘Hey, kill Jews. How’s it going?’) Dutch and Belgian rap groups recorded ‘kankerjood’ songs with lyrics like ‘F--- the Jews, cancer Jews, the allochtonenwil come and kill you…’”

Perhaps the most chilling document presented in Esman’s book—which is also about jihad not only in Europe but also worldwide—is her presentation of the letter which the assassin, Dutch Moroccan Mohammed Bouyeri, stabbed into the nearly decapitated body of artist Theo van Gogh. Diabolically, Bouyeri dares to cite Talmudic sources which are almost always taken out of context. He cites Baba Metzia, 114a-114b, which according to Bouyeri, tells us that “only Jews are (considered) people.” However, the point made on these pages is only true in relation to an abstract point of law and is not a Talmudic rejection of all of G-d’s creation.

His letter, which is also a death threat to Ayaan Hirsi Ali reads, in part:

“It is a fact that Dutch politics is dominated by many Jews and is a product of the Talmudic Schools, including your colleagues in your political party.”

“What do you think of the fact that the Mayor of Amsterdam is at the helm of an ideology whereby Jews are permitted to lie to non-Jews? Baba Kamma 113a: Jews may use lies (“listen”) to mislead gentiles. What do you think of the fact that you are part of a government that supports a State that pleads for genocide?”

I have interviewed Esman at length and have now finally read her book. I strongly recommend it to you. It should be required reading at the Israeli Foreign Ministry.