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Islamophobe Dennis Prager Lectures Powers: The Left Is Naïve About Evil

Reported by Ellen - May 21, 2011 -

In his neverending effort to portray President Obama as too pro-Muslim (and all that connotes), Sean Hannity combined in one segment last night Obama’s recommendation that Israel and Palestine return to 1967 borders with his own supposedly prescient predictions of radical Islam taking over Egypt - a suggestion that Israel might meet the same fate thanks to Obama. Hannity was joined in that effort by Islamophobe Dennis Prager. Prager, you may recall, was censured by the United States Holocaust Memorial Council’s Executive Committee – a remarkable event considering that he was on the Council – for saying that Rep. Keith Ellison would undermine American civilization and make us more vulnerable to terrorism when he was sworn into Congress with a Koran. Never mind that more than four years later, our civilization is still intact and there has not been an uptick in terrorist attacks. That didn’t stop Prager from lecturing Kirsten Powers, the other guest, that, “Leftist and naïve are synonymous… The left is naïve. It is naïve about evil.”

Powers, who has inlaws in Egypt, started off by agreeing with Hannity that there’s a lot of radicalism in Egypt. She added that the Muslim Brotherhood is the most organized political party and is in the best standing to win in the upcoming elections, that there have been a lot of attacks on Coptic Christians, and that there’s a lot of chaos right now.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on Egypt but I will point out that an imminent takeover by radical Islamicists does not appear to be certain. For example, in an article about the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, The Guardian agrees the organization is “poised to prosper” but it also reports, “None of this looks like becoming the Islamist takeover feared by secularists. But it seems clear the role of Islam in Egyptian public life is going to be bigger.”

Rather than explore what’s actually happening in Egypt, Hannity’s next question made it clear that his real interest in the subject was using it to attack President Obama. Hannity said to Prager,

Dennis, this is somewhat troubling to me and maybe it sounds like I’m putting myself down here (actually, Hannity was patting himself on the back). If it was so clear as day and so simple for me to see this, how is it that our president, our State Department, our national security people, how did they get something so obvious? The polls show that 75% of Egyptians think that apostates should get the death penalty and they didn’t foresee this happening? How could they miss this?

As Hannity spoke, B-roll footage showed an angry mob of, presumably, Egyptians. But who knows? The implicit message from Hannity - later explicitly stated by Prager - was that all Middle East Muslims are alike and just itching to impose sharia law at any opportunity.

Prager said, “The reason is left-wing naiveté. Leftist and naïve are synonymous.” As he sneered about Tom Friedman writing about the “Arab Spring,” Prager boasted, “People like you and me and even Kirsten for that matter, who I understand doesn’t come from the right-wing side – nevertheless, people like us understand the Egyptian people don’t buy the same Jeffersonian, American values, Judeo-Christian values – any of the values that we have – the vast majority of Egyptians do not believe that there should be peace with Israel, believe that sharia should play a prominent role in Egypt’s life. But for the left, all they knew was our dictator was being removed and that’s a good thing.”

You might say that the right said the same thing about Saddam Hussein – except that we actually invaded to make his removal happen. Eight years later, we’re still there, still paying the cost in blood and treasure, despite then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld assuring us that the whole operation would probably not take even six months. Or then-Vice President Cheney predicting weeks, not months. Cheney also predicted we’d be “greeted as liberators.”

Of course, that didn’t factor into either Prager or Hannity’s comments. But if they thought they had a Pat Caddell or a Doug Schoen in Powers, they must have been sorely disappointed. She interrupted Hannity’s diatribe about Egyptian mob attacks on reporters Anderson Cooper and Lara Logan before he inevitably used that to somehow tar Obama. She said, “The overall population in Cairo is actually fairly moderate, even the Muslims are fairly moderate. The problem is, is that because of the repressive government…”

Hannity interrupted her. “No, they’re not.”

Powers not only has personal knowledge of the situation in Egypt but she also served in the Clinton administration as the Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Public Affairs. She’s got real credibility. Hannity, on the other hand, has no credentials in international affairs.

Powers persisted. “Compared to Saudi Arabia or other places in the region, they are much more (moderate)… They don’t want to live under sharia law. They do not want to live under the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Hannity claimed that a Pew poll showed that most Egyptians want a Muslim government.

“That’s different,” Powers pointed out. She said that the population takes Islamic religion very seriously and wants the government to be founded in it but “that’s very different than sharia law.”

Naturally, Prager (who I'll admit also has some international cred) disagreed. But he did so by slyly changing the subject away from Egypt to Islam in the Middle East as a whole. “It’s not different from sharia law. Of course, there are a handful of Muslims for whom that is true. But for the vast majority of Arab Muslims – and we’re talking about Islam within the Middle East right now – sharia is what a serious Muslim is about.”

Hannity segued to Obama’s Middle East speech and the visit from Benjamin Netanyahu. “The president talks about pre-67 borders. And I’m glad he got a lecture from (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu today because he needed one.” That’s right, the same Hannity who jumped to defend Mel Gibson, who has yet to apologize for hosting anti-Semite Andy Martin, and who welcomed anti-Semitic Hal Turner to his radio show - that Hannity is a big friend of Israel.

Prager agreed with Hannity and said, “I don’t think anybody saw it as disrespectful of the president of the United States.”

“I’ll bet he did,” Hannity said gleefully.

Powers piped up. “I did.”

Prager went back to his original thesis. “The left is naïve. It is naïve about evil. It was naïve about evil under communism, it is naïve about evil whether it is in the figurehead of an Islamist. It is naïve about these things. If only Israel were to go to ’67 borders, then Palestinians would recognize the right of a Jewish state to exist. That will not happen.”

When it was her turn again, Powers said, “Netanyahu actually was disrespectful to (Obama) and I think it’s a problem. I don’t know why you’re enjoying him being disrespectful to the president.” She also got in a few words about naivete. “There’s a lot of naivete in the United States that actually can be referred to as ignorance about the Middle East.” She brought up Iraq as an example and added, “So to try to smear all people on the left as not understanding anything I think is inaccurate and there are a lot of people on the right also who are criticizing Obama for the fact that he wasn’t …getting behind the so-called Arab spring.”

For good measure, she confronted Hannity about the right-wing freak out and distortion of Obama’s comments about the 1967 borders which, she correctly noted, was a “starting point.”

In fact, while Prager smeared the left as "naive," he and Hannity were promoting a simplistic, agenda-driven view of Egypt, Muslims, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Middle East that could not be bothered with the kinds of details or nuance that Powers was offering. It was the same kind of thinking that got us into Iraq.

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