Still Waiting for an Arab Apology

It’s time for more people to stand with Selma Blair.
February 21, 2024
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images; Peter Zelei Images/Getty Images

Here’s my recommendation to actress and disability activist Selma Blair: Fire your agent and publicist, immediately. You have received awful, but predictable, advice from your handlers. Straight out of the woke playbook of a spineless, soulless entertainment industry. 

The Blair Affair is another example of the protocols of groupthink and the bullying that takes place on social media. Censorship and “safe spaces” have made some groups positively invulnerable. Muslims simply cannot be criticized, especially by a white person — even if she is a woman, Jewish and disabled.

Very few Jews in Hollywood have spoken out in support of Israel. Too many have found it more convenient, and career-enhancing, to either renounce the Jewish state, or remain silent. 

Blair was an outlier. She responded to a post that warned of the consequences of importing terrorists and Islamists to the United States. Her comment: “Thank you so much. Deport all these terrorist-supporting goons. Islam has destroyed Muslim countries and then they come here and destroyed minds. They know they are liars. Twisted justifications. May they meet their fate.”

Could it have been more delicately and artfully stated? Yes, of course. Adding the words “Radical” or “Extremist” before “Islam” would have made the message more precise. But anyone reading Blair’s comment in good faith knows what she was trying to say. 

The manner in which Hamas fights its wars is crazy-making. The moral compromises Israel must undertake in its own defense are immense. The intimidation and threats made against Jews worldwide is real. The intolerance of political Islam is oppressive. Give Blair a break. She is largely standing alone in Hollywood. She may have misspoken, but her fellow Jews are hiding under their beds! 

Obviously, Blair didn’t mean all Muslims — just those who believe that what happened on Oct. 7 was beyond reproach, that the heinousness of Hamas is heroic, and that no apologies from the Muslim world should be expected or forthcoming.

If you believe that the war strategy of Hamas, aided by thousands of civilians who invaded Israel as an auxiliary force — beheading infants, gang-raping teenage girls, mutilating bodies, celebrating the capture of grandmothers — is a legitimate form of resistance, then your mindset is medieval, your moral compass is hopeless and your ideas are wholly incompatible with liberal democracy.

America does not need your presence and will not mourn your absence. The Founding Fathers never had you in mind when this nation was fashioned from the teachings of the Enlightenment. Abraham Lincoln did not believe that your ideology could find a home in our more perfect union. 

What Blair wrote was demonstrably true. Importing those who hold jihadist beliefs has been disastrous for the Western world. Just ask citizens of France, England, Germany, Belgium and Sweden. Their lives have been upended to accommodate Muslims who insist that secular societies bend to Allah. The murdered cartoonists of the French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and the nearly murdered British novelist, Salman Rushdie, received the full Tehran treatment. 

And Blair was correct in disparaging supporters of Hamas as “liars.” Israel has not stolen anything. Jews are indigenous to the Holy Land. Israelis haven’t been in Gaza since 2005. Gaza is occupied by Hamas, which is responsible for making it an “open-air prison.” Egypt once occupied Gaza and still imposes its own embargo — for the same reasons as Israel: Terrorism. Israel is not waging a genocidal war; it fights those who openly call for the genocide of Jews. 

And she is right in stating that Islamists destroy, twist and poison minds. Look at the theocratic regimes governed by Sharia law, where children are taught to hate before they learn to read. See how poorly women, homosexuals, artists, apostates and Christians fare in societies that romanticize the Dark Ages.

Days later, after deleting her comment, Blair offered a lengthy, self-flagellating apology to all Muslims. There’s nothing wrong with reflecting further and admitting where her remarks went too far. She wrote: “it was my Muslim friends who helped educate and show me the way.”

Hmm. I wonder: How many of these “friends” have spoken about the horror of Oct. 7 in sympathy and with regret? Did they distance themselves from such ungodly acts? What “education” were they in a position to provide, if they were unable to grasp why their friend spoke so impulsively? Yes, they demanded a retraction. But where was the generosity of their own spirit — as friends to a woman in mourning for her people? Surely an apology should inspire some reciprocity.

These questions should not be confined just to Blair’s inner circle. I somehow missed the cavalcade of American imams who condemned the barbarism of Hamas and demanded the return of the hostages.

If Israelis had committed such atrocities, American Jews would have been aghast and horrified. They would have emphatically reassured the world that beheading children and raping girls is categorically not Jewish, and nothing in Judaism could possibly lend support for it. No Jew would ever justify such crimes, or try to explain them away.

Five months into this war, however, there are still hostages in Gaza. We hear a lot about the body count of Palestinians, and calls for a unilateral ceasefire. But where is the global ultimatum to return the hostages? Where are the demands that Hamas surrender, or simply stop launching rockets toward Tel Aviv? 

Instead, there’s the denial of the massacre itself — despite all the video and forensic evidence left behind. Posters of hostages are still being torn down. And calls for a global jihad against Jews continue. The phrase “Gas the Jews” is metaphorically being removed from its Zyklon B cannisters.

In light of all this denial, avoidance and neglect — honestly, what is Selma Blair apologizing for? 

It’s time for Arabs and Muslims to apologize to Jews. It would be received as a most welcome, long overdue, seismic shock. Yes, there are Muslims who repudiate antisemitism, generally. But rejecting what occurred on Oct. 7 seems to be a different matter, entirely, as if, tacitly, this is what Israel deserved. 

Apologizing is not the same as confessing guilt. Muslims without terrorist affiliations are wholly and legally innocent of such crimes. But that does not excuse an acceptance of moral responsibility for the murderous actions taken in the name of their religion.

Jews have the right to expect that decent, fine and peace-loving Muslims everywhere would denounce the carnage of [Oct. 7], pound pulpits and speak loudly atop soapboxes, offering friendship and full-throated expressions of sympathy and remorse.

Jews have the right to expect that decent, fine and peace-loving Muslims everywhere would denounce the carnage of that day, pound pulpits and speak loudly atop soapboxes, offering friendship and full-throated expressions of sympathy and remorse.

Perhaps Muslims are taking their cue from their leaders. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the only Palestinian in the House, refused to condemn the murders and sexual violence of Hamas. Other Muslim leaders have been similarly unresponsive.

Given all the silence, it’s time for more people to stand with Selma Blair.

Thane Rosenbaum is a novelist, essayist, law professor and Distinguished University Professor at Touro University, where he directs the Forum on Life, Culture & Society. He is the legal analyst for CBS News Radio. His most recent book is titled “Saving Free Speech … From Itself.” 

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