Paul Berman about the intellectuals who attack Ayaan Hirsi Ali. (You have to register to read the article, which is a long one .This quote is from page 11.)
IF there is an intellectual establishment, and I suppose there is, the attacks on Ayaan Hirsi Ali radiate from its centre. And this, the campaign against Hirsi Ali - this, like the anti-Semitic mob assault during the Paris peace march of 2003, or like the spectacle of millions of Britons marching under the leadership of an Islamist organisation, or like the calm discussions in The New York Times of why it would be wrong to condemn with any vigour the stoning of women to death - this does represent something new.
Here is the new development among journalists and intellectuals, the development that Muslim intellectual Tariq Ramadan’s career has served to illuminate.
Something like a campaign against Hirsi Ali could never have taken place a few years ago. A sustained attack on an authentic liberal dissident crying out against injustices in remote parts of the world and even in the back streets of western Europe, a sustained attack that appears nearly to have erased the mention of women’s oppression and the struggle for women’s rights from discussion - no, this could not have happened yesterday, except on the extreme Right.
This is a new event. This is a reactionary turn in the intellectual world.