Newsweek's Lorraine Ali and the Ghost of Walter Duranty

Dennis Prager

3/6/2007 12:00:20 AM - Dennis Prager

In 1932-33, New York Times reporter Walter Duranty reported from the Soviet Union that there was no Communist-induced famine in the Ukraine, indeed, that no one was dying of starvation there. In fact, between 4 and 7 million Ukrainians were starved to death by Stalin's regime. Though Duranty's name has since been synonymous with Westerners who hid the evil committed by enemies of the West and enemies of liberty, he received the Pulitzer Prize for his false reporting.

An unwillingness to identify evil and a desire to hurt those who do confront it were not confined to Western fellow travelers during the age of Communism.

To cite one contemporary example, we have Newsweek senior writer Lorraine Ali. She recently reviewed Ayaan Hirsi Ali's autobiography, "Infidel," the story of Hirsi Ali's life as a Muslim girl and woman that led her to flee to the West, where she became a member of the Dutch Parliament and recently moved to America. Hirsi Ali is perhaps the most eloquent defender of Muslim women and gays living today. But to Newsweek's Lorraine Ali, the Islamists are not the problem, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is.

Hirsi Ali's "Infidel" has been widely praised in the mainstream media. The Washington Post review described Ali as "an internationally renowned spokeswoman for the rights of Muslim women," and went on to say, "How many women with Hirsi Ali's experience of radical Islam have emerged to tell their stories? And how many can do so with such clarity and insight? 'Infidel' is a unique book, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a unique writer, and both deserve to go far."

Publishers Weekly gave "Infidel" a prized "starred review," and wrote: "Her voice is forceful and unbowed -- like Irshad Manji, she delivers a powerful feminist critique of Islam informed by a genuine understanding of the religion."

A New York Times review described "Infidel" as a "brave, inspiring and beautifully written memoir."

But for Newsweek's senior writer Lorraine Ali, Hirsi Ali is no protector of women and gays in Muslim societies. She is, rather, a "bombthrower," and the book is "single-minded and reactionary," written to appease "right-wingers."

To characterize Hirsi Ali -- rather than the people she is fighting in the Islamic world at the risk of her life -- as a "bombthrower" is almost beyond belief. But Newsweek may have hired an Islamist fellow traveler to cover these issues, just as in the Stalin era, Western media had some leftist fellow travelers on their staffs. That is almost certainly why Lorraine Ali wrote in her review, "In describing the 9/11 hijackers, [Hirsi Ali] comes up with an inflammatory conclusion tailor-made for her right-wing constituency: 'It was not a lunatic fringe who felt this way about America and the West. I knew that a vast majority of Muslims would see the attacks as justified retaliation against the infidel enemies of Islam.'"

Apparently Newsweek's senior writer is not aware or does not wish to acknowledge that, according to polls, a great many of those living in Muslim countries do indeed regard 9/11 as "justified retaliation against the infidel enemies of Islam" -- that is, if they even acknowledge that it was Muslims who perpetrated 9-11's terror.

Moreover, note the use of the words "right-wing" and "reactionary" to describe Hirsi Ali and her views. To Newsweek's Lorraine Ali, a woman who is a feminist, atheist, pro-gay and combats the greatest religious extremism of our time is "right-wing" and "reactionary."

Just as during the Cold War the Left was divided between those who fought Communism and those who fought anti-Communism, the Left today will have to decide whether it wants to fight Islamists or anti-Islamists. At least in this instance, Newsweek has decided to go with Lorraine Ali and fight those fighting Islamism, even when those fighting the Islamists are pro-gay, feminist atheists who only care about the greatest oppression of gays and women in the world at this time.

Meanwhile, in the morally inverted world of many Western media, where CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) is described as "a civil rights organization" and where Ayaan Hirsi Ali can be described as a "bombthrower," Lorraine Ali, too, may well be awarded a Pulitzer Prize.