One of the weirder sideshows to open alongside a main event -- the proposed operational transfer of six major American ports to a firm owned by the United Arab Emirates -- is the growing chorus of road-company Zolas, "J'accusing" everybody opposed to the sale of "xenophobia," "isolationist mass hysteria," "bigotry," "nativism," "panic," and "prejudice" against innocent Araby.
Such accusations are supposed to make you hang your head in shame. They make me shake mine in consternation -- wondering how in tarnation a hefty chunk of the American elite has the chutzpah to castigate the American people (64 percent of whom, says a Rasmussen Poll, think the deal is a Bad Thing) for "xenophobia" and "prejudice" on behalf of a culture that is the embodiment of xenophobia and prejudice. The words precisely describe the official state of normal in the Arab-Islamic world since at least 1948, when the modern state of Israel was founded.
Nonetheless, we're the "pitchfork-wielding xenophobes" en route to the "Dark Ages," says The New York Times' Thomas Friedman. I'd say we're heading in the other direction, trying to escape the Dark Ages -- as represented by the spreading influence of sharia (Islamic law), which, in terms of the sharia-compliant port deal, would make deep inroads into global financial markets. I would add, as Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen have suggested in The Washington Times, "It's time for the United States to limit financial transactions that involve American companies" -- and the U.S. government -- "to governance by secular laws."
Tut tut. Isn't that "Islamophobia"? -- a subject National Review's Larry Kudlow denounces in his defense of the deal. "There is no room for prejudice and bigotry here," he writes. Here? What about there, in the UAE (a huge Hamas supporter, by the way)? As the Jerusalem Post reports, the UAE-owned firm Dubai Ports World "participates in the Arab boycott of Israel." And why not?
The UAE doesn't even recognize Israel -- although it did recognize the Taliban, which is about as prejudiced and bigoted as it gets. As a UAE customs employee told the paper, "If a product contained even some components that were made in Israel ... it would be a problem."