Mona Eltahawy Coulda Been A
Contender (Instead of a Bum Which Is What She Is)
By Robert Spencer
In the classic movie On the Waterfront, the failed boxer Terry Malloy complains in anguish to his brother: “I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” Those words apply with particular piquancy to the “journalist” Mona Eltahawy, who goes to court the Thursday after Thanksgiving to defend herself (“proudly”) against a criminal mischief charge stemming from her vandalism of one of our AFDI pro-freedom ad in the New York subways.
As the court date draws near, the mystery remains: why would a renowned and respected journalist resort to a juvenile act of vandalism and persist even when confronted? Here’s a clue: reading this ABC News report on the arrest, these lines leapt out at me:
“This is non-violent protest, see this America” Eltahawy said in the video as police officers were arresting her. “I’m an Egyptian-American and I refuse hate.”
She refuses “hate.” Now, on the surface, it isn’t at all surprising that a journalist who is regularly featured on the likes of CNN would identify support for Israel against the relentless and bloody Palestinian jihad with “hate.” But for a time, and not all that long ago, it looked as if Mona Eltahawy was breaking out of the ideological lockstep in which Leftist and Islamic supremacist mainstream media journalists invariably march.
For example, her article in the May/June issue of Foreign Policy criticized a series of practices that are justified in Islamic law, including child marriage, wife-beating, and female genital mutilation. Counter-jihadist activists and writers have been calling attention to these human rights abuses for years, but Eltahawy’s piece was singular in that she is a Muslim journalist. Muslims for the most part don’t criticize Muslim practices, particularly those that are rooted in Islam, and mainstream media journalists do so even less often.
However, the reaction to Eltahawy’s article among her fellow Muslim women is even more striking than her article itself. If the mainstream media narrative about “extremists” making up only a tiny minority of Muslims, the vast majority of which are “moderate,” were true, Eltahawy’s article should have won applause from Muslim spokesmen in the U.S., and particularly Muslim women. But instead, Harvard Leila Ahmed confronted Eltahawy on MSNBC:
Mona, I appreciate what you do. I would love it if — I understand if you want to get your message across. It’s an important message. But if possible [you should not] give fuel, fodder to people who simply hate Arabs and Muslims in this climate of our day.
Eltahawy, you see, told unwelcome truths about Islam and was accused of spreading “hate” -- which is exactly what the Left and the Islamic supremacists do to those of us who have been telling those truths for years. But this was something new for Eltahaway, who had reliably been on the Left’s media reservation throughout her career. Now she was suddenly being criticized by her old friends, probably not invited to the best parties, etc.
So instead of having the courage of her convictions, Eltahawy folded, and cast about for a way to distance herself from counter-jihad freedom activists and prove that she was on the right (Left) side and would not make waves again. What better way than to vandalize our pro-freedom message, all the while accusing Pamela Geller and her allies of the “hate” she was accused of when she told the truth about Islam?
The arrest, even if she didn’t expect it or plan it, was icing on the cake: because of it, she was immediately lionized as a hero and martyr by the very people who were shunning her for her Foreign Policy piece: the hate-filled Leftist totalitarians who despise free speech anyway, such as Hamas-linked CAIR’s Cyrus McGoldrick and Islamic Republic of Iran apologist Reza Aslan.
Mona Eltahawy could have been a journalist of integrity, and almost was, for a brief moment. Instead, she is a fascist brownshirt. She coulda been a contender, instead of a bum, which is what she is.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Did Muhammad Exist?.