January 3, 2013
The American Conservative

Why We Hate Them: Arabs in Western Eyes

A new PBS documentary reveals how films and other media have shaped an anti-Muslim narrative

by Philip Giraldi

Control of the preferred narrative is essential in today's instant-news political culture. This has been particularly true since 9/11, as the United States government and the cooperative media have worked together to make sure that a series of enemies are identified and then attacked as a response to what has been shaped as a global terrorist threat. . . .

Later this year PBS will release to its affiliates a documentary film that it co-produced called "Valentino's Ghost." I recently watched a preview copy. In its full version it is 95 minutes long, and it lays out a roughly chronological account of how Muslims, particularly Arabs, have been perceived in the West since the 1920s. . . .

The rise of the Zionist movement and the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, with its forced relocation of most Palestinians -- which Mearsheimer describes as "ethnic cleansing" -- made further shifts in the narrative essential, particularly to demonstrate that Jews had a historic right to the land of Palestine and that the creation of the Jewish state was humanely carried out in a land that did not exist politically and was largely empty and undeveloped. . . .


Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

Paul Lewis, "Charting the Lost Innovations of Islam'," Guardian, March 10, 2006

Enver Masud, "Fear Paralyzes U.S. Muslim 'Leaders'," The Wisdom Fund, August 3, 2010

Stephen M. Walt, "The Myth of American Exceptionalism," Foreign Policy, November 2011

Tim Murphy and Adam Serwer, "The GOP's Anti-Muslim Wing Is in Retreat: Why Republicans finally seem to be distancing themselves from the Muslim-bashers in their midst,", January 3, 2013

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