A Guest Post by Eli Clifton:
We have followed the campaign behind Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West since it first emerged in 2005. IPS has published two articles on its producers and distribution here and here. This new rebuttal by JewsOnFirst is one of the most comprehensive attempts to dismantle the arguments presented in the film.
JewsOnFirst, an organization, “dedicated to the protection of the separation of church and state under the First Amendment,” has published Rebutting Obsession: Historical Facts Topple Film’s Premise that Violent Muslim Fundamentalists are Nazis’ Heirs, Expose its Fear-mongering, a devastating critique of Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West. Obsession, a 2005 film that, in the name of exposing violent fundamentalism, casts suspicion on all Muslims, experienced increased exposure this fall, when the mysterious Clarion Fund initiated the unsolicited distribution of millions of DVD inserts inside swing state newspapers.
In support of the rebuttal, JewsOnFirst also offers a web-based slide presentation summarizing the key arguments, as well as profiles of the supposed experts interviewed in the film. (The slide presentation will soon be available for download as a PowerPoint presentation next week.)
Key arguments made in JewsOnFirst’s Rebutting Obsession are:
• Obsession and the “expert” viewpoints presented in it represent the ideology of the far right wing within the Republican Party, which seeks to intervene in the Presidential election with a distraction from the current economic turmoil.
• Obsession ignores the geopolitical environment in which radical Islam was cultured, and makes a baseless argument that such fundamentalism is the ideological descendent of Nazism.
• Obsession seeks, at a time of economic pain and cultural division to permit the viewer to project all real or imaginary fears and anxieties onto Muslims, as an alien and externalized enemy. This propaganda mirrors the situation faced by Japanese Americans during World War II and non-Anglo-Saxon immigrants in the 20th century. Such divisiveness actually weakens America by threatening our principles of cultural coexistence and religious freedom.
• The “experts” presented in Obsession have limited experience in the Middle East, few speak Arabic or Farsi and most have limited or no academic background in Islam or the Koran. They represent a fringe group of Middle East “specialists” who align themselves with the Likud party in Israel and Christian evangelical and pro-settler lobbies in the United States.
• Finally, Obsession, despite its half-hearted disclaimer that radical Muslims are a small minority, seeks to promote the concept of a violent clash of civilizations instead of cultural coexistence and religious pluralism.
The full project can be viewed at http://www.jewsonfirst.org/obsession/