Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The war within the west

Melanie Phillips at her best, building on an equally excellent article from Front Page:

Savage piece about British antisemitism by David Gutmann, who draws on his first-hand World War Two experience to make the bitter charge:

The Brits don’t mind seeing Jews killed, but they are fastidious about it, generally leaving the dirty business to others. Thus, as I charge, they indirectly abetted the Nazi Holocaust, and then stood by while the Palestinians attempted with less success to continue it.

It appears that the game is afoot once again, with the task no longer out-sourced to Palestinians alone, but to the much larger body of radical Islamists now piling into Britain, all eager for the treat. The Brits still limit themselves to talk, but from all accounts, the chatter in the trendiest salons, at party congresses both of the Left and the Right, at A-List dinner parties and scholarly gatherings, has become obsessively, fiercely anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and at times frankly anti-Semitic, to the point where the received and conventional wisdom has it that Israel has no right to exist, and should be eliminated. Again, this genocidal act will presumably be left to radical Islam, or to Iran’s nukes, while the British gentlefolk avert their eyes - or in a few cases, feast them… Along with the rest of what is now being called ‘Eurabia,’ the Brits are soothing the Muslims among them by acts of appeasement. In 1938, they bought a year of peace by offering Czechoslovakia to Hitler; now, for a temporary peace, they offer Muslims a piece of the Jews who are like the unlucky passenger tossed from the sled to appease the ravening wolves.

And the ravening wolves are certainly now gathering for the kill, in Britain and around the so-called civilised world. The systematic demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel has now reached such a point in our post-rational discourse that Israel is being openly blamed as the cause of global Islamic terrorism. The country that is a principal target of the jihad is being accused of causing the jihad.

A UN-sponsored group, the Alliance of Civilizations, created last year to find ways to reconcile Muslim and western societies, has said that the conflict over Israel and the Palestinian territories is the principal grievance driving such tensions.

Our emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not meant to imply that it is the overt cause of all tensions between Muslim and Western societies. Nevertheless, it is our view that the Israeli- Palestinian issue has taken on a symbolic value that colors cross cultural and political relations … well beyond its limited geographic scope.

Well, the reason it has taken on such a disproportionate status is that reports like this one dwell upon the alleged crimes of Israel and America – the victims of Islamic aggression — while minimising the actual crimes committed by the Palestinians or Arab or Muslim governments. But then, what can you expect from the global club of terror that is the UN? True to form, UN Secretary-General lost no time drawing the appropriate lesson from this report. Religion, he said, was not at the root of current tensions.

‘The problem is not the Koran or the Torah or the Bible,’ Mr Annan said. ‘The problem is never the faith, it is the faithful and how they behave towards each other.’

Is that so? Presumably, when Islamic jihadis scream ‘Behead the infidel’, ‘Remember Khybar’ (where the Koran celebrates the massacre of Jews) or ‘Allahu akhbar’ as they strap on the explosives to conquer the world for Islam, this is nothing to do with faith. Presumably, when imams and ayatollahs declare it is a religious duty to destroy the Zionist-Crusader entity, this is nothing to do with faith. He’s right about one thing, though: the problem is nothing to do with the Christian faith or the Jewish faith in whose name no violence is being perpetrated (and to any Jew-baiters who start enumerating the crimes of Israel, please try a little harder to grasp the moral difference between the attempt to exterminate the Jewish nation and the attempt of the Jewish nation to defend itself against extermination); it’s nothing to do with any faith except one, a little detail that seems to have escaped the UN Secretary-General’s notice.

And of course, the UN’s Alliance of Civilisations panel itself was not exactly stacked with the defenders of civilisation. It included, for example, Nobel peace prize winner (heaven help us) Desmond Tutu and former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami. Would that be the Mohammad Khatami who has compared Hezbollah – the ‘Party of God’ which presumably has nothing to with faith either and which is pledged to exterminate Israel and defeat the west — to ‘a shining sun which warms up all oppressed Muslims’?

Would that be the Desmond Tutu who in the Guardian in 2002 said people should not be scared of the ‘powerful - very powerful’ Jewish lobby because:

The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust’

– and so looked forward to the day when Israel would ‘bite the dust’ too? Ashes from historical ashes, one might say. And nearer to home, in the Guardian again, Peter Preston agrees that the root of global terror is…guess who.

There is some fresh thinking around, to be sure. The source of the conflict here is not territory, not occupation, not settlers. It is a clash between two people and two religions…But these are the malign thoughts of the new power kid on the block, Avigdor Lieberman, deputy prime minister of Israel and passionate advocate of ethnically cleansing his adopted land. Meanwhile, dozens more Palestinians die while the enfeebled government that needs Lieberman inside the tent shells Gaza day after day. Whoops! Nineteen more women and children killed by accident. So sorry … Let’s talk equality, freedom, justice and tolerance. We pretend that withdrawing from Afghanistan or Iraq will do the hearts-and-minds trick. We pretend (with America’s triumphant Democrats as the worst offenders, alas) that Israel can somehow be set to one side while the al-Qaida terror debate rages. We kid ourselves that a Middle East solution - permanent, guaranteed and enforced - is separate and optional. It isn’t.

No mention of the fact that Israelis are being rocketed almost every day from Hamastan, or that they have amassed a fearsome armoury in Gaza of rocket launchers, missiles, ammunition and all the appurtenances of an professional war. No mention of the fact that the Palestinians are now being trained by Iran, all the better to finish Israel off. No acknowledgement at all of the fact that Israel is under attack by enemies sworn to annihilate it, and that its attacks on Gaza are part of a war of self-defence – and that tragic mistakes almost inevitably occur even in just wars. Yes, Avigdor Lieberman has repellent views and his presence in Israel’s government is a blot on that country (and also testimony to its suicidally dysfunctional form of democracy, which forces prime ministers to depend on cranks and misfits for their survival). But his views are not endorsed by that government.

And if we’re talking actual ethnic cleansing, how about the persecution of the Christians in Bethlehem, who have been driven out by Muslim aggression? How about the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab countries where they had lived for centuries before they were forced to flee to Israel? How about those passionate advocates of the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the face of the earth, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hassan Nasrallah and Ismail Haniya?

Apparently deciding that when the head of MI5, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, talked about the need to confront ‘the powerful narrative that weaves together conflicts from across the globe’ she didn’t understand that she herself was talking in code, Preston claims to know what she herself didn’t know she meant. A notable skill indeed. Thus, he writes, ‘the loose threads of this tapestry lead inescapably back to what she calls “Israel and Palestine”’. So Israel is the root cause of global Islamic terror.

Really? Do the core aims of al Qaeda to restore the medieval Muslim caliphate and call the infidel world to Islam lead inescapably back to Israel and Palestine? Do the ravings of Syed Qutb, the arch-ideologue of murderous Islamism who wrote well before Israel was created that the west was a conspiracy to destroy Islam, the Jews were the people of the devil and Muslims must recognise no secular authority whatever, lead inescapably back to Israel and Palestine? Do the Islamist attacks from Bali to Madrid to Chechnya to Indonesia to Nigeria, the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands and the fatwa against Salman Rushdie and the murder and mayhem following the re-publication of the Mohammed cartoons, not to mention the 20-year genocide in Sudan, all lead inescapably back to Israel? Whoops – 40 civilians killed in Darfur in the last few days by Muslim Arab militiamen. So sorry…let’s talk moral outrage.

Yes, we damn well know where the causes lie: in genocidal religious totalitarianism. And we also damn well know that this is where the world divides: between those who will defend the civilised world against this monster, and those who seek to propitiate it by tossing it the remnant of the Jewish people that survived the last totalitarian genocide.

Into this sewer now stumbles none other than Prime Minister Tony Blair, determined that before he leaves office he will pull off his dream of solving Israel/Palestine. Convinced that he has the ability to persuade anyone of anything, his initiative exemplifies the greatest liberal hubris of all: the conviction that every problem in the world is driven by rational interests and is thus capable of peaceful and harmonious resolution if only the most gifted impresario of rationality in the world – one T Blair — gets involved. This fundamental delusion is causing Blair, a friend of Israel and famously a supporter of America and doughty defender of the west against attack, to put Israel, America and the west in great peril by tripping down the primrose path of appeasement. As the BBC tells us:

Tony Blair has told the US inquiry into future policy options that resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict is crucial to the future of Iraq. He told the Iraq Study Group the biggest factor in getting support from moderate Muslim countries was progress on Israel and Palestine…Resolving the conflict would stop moderate Muslims being stirred up and increase pressure on Iran and Syria to co-operate, Mr Blair told the group.

But progress in the Israel/Palestine conflict depends on one thing and one thing alone: the Arabs deciding, after 58 years of trying to destroy Israel, that they will accept its existence. Progress on a Palestine state could have been made when such a state was first proposed in 1937; from 1948 to 1967 when the West Bank and Gaza were (illegally) occupied by Jordan and Egypt; in 2000, when more than 90 per cent of the disputed no-man’s land of the West Bank and Gaza was offered to the Palestinians. Instead at every juncture the response has been to refuse to build a Palestinian state and to try to destroy Israel instead. Israel gave up land, first in Sinai and then in Gaza, and got in return not peace but war. The half-century old attempt to destroy Israel is becoming more deadly by the day, as Israel is trapped between Hamastan and Hezbollahland, with Iran and Syria pulling the Palestinian strings and with the Arab world gaining fresh heart in pursuit of its long-term annihilatory fantasy by the perceived weakness and vacillation of America and Britain.

So progress in Israel and Palestine cannot, on any rational analysis, mean further movement by Israel. The price of ‘support from moderate Muslim countries’ is therefore inescapably that Israel will be forced to make concessions to its mortal enemies and thus weaken it in its fight for its existence. It’s not support from ‘moderate Muslim countries’ that’s needed to deal with Iraq; it’s rather the strategic vision that Iraq is merely one theatre in a global war, and that it can never be pacified unless and until Iran and /Syria are dealt with. Asking Iran and Syria to come and help run Iraq is not merely asking the foxes to administer the hen-coop; it is advertising the terrible weakness of America and the west. With the advance rumours of the Iraq Study Group’s thinking and Blair’s evidence to it, the Islamists’ driving belief that the west is decadent and has no stomach for the fight that is necessary to defend itself is now being proved correct.

In his speech to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet on Monday night, Mr Blair said partnership was possible if Iran helped the Middle East peace process, stopped supporting terrorism in Lebanon or Iraq and abided by its international obligations. This is like saying in 1939 that partnership with Germany would be possible if only Hitler stopped persecuting the Jews, renounced his goal of world domination and helped resolve the problem of Czechoslovakia.

History is repeating itself: the first time as tragedy, and the second time as tragedy.

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