Monday, February 25, 2013

The terminal poison of the European 'liberal'

From Melanie Phillip's blog, 18 February 2013:

If anyone still doubts that European culture is suffering from a terminal sickness..., what has happened to Lars Hedegaard stands as a graphic corrective.
Hedegaard, President of the Danish Free Press Society and The International Free Press Society, is the nearest thing to a quintessential European liberal. He is a heroic icon of the fight against tyranny. He believes in freedom of expression, life and liberty. He not only detests those who threaten to destroy those things, but has been prepared to stand up and be counted in the fight to defend them.
As such, he was reported speaking in his own home about child abuse and violence against women in Muslim culture. The day after these remarks were published, he stressed that his opinions were not intended to refer to all Muslims.
What then happened to him was the kind of nightmare associated with totalitarian regimes, and which I wrote about in 2011 hereand here. He was put on trial in Denmark accused of hate speech and racism. He was unable to mount a defence, because under the Orwellian rules of the Danish legal system he was in effect convicted before his trial even took place. After a roller-coaster of a case in which verdicts went first one way and then the other, the Danish Supreme Court finally ruled that he was not guilty after all of hate speech and racism.
That, however, was not the end of the trials of Lars Hedegaard. Some two weeks ago, he answered his front door to a man in his twenties posing as a postman who fired a gun at his head and missed. Douglas Murray reported that 70-year old Hedegaard punched him in the head; the man dropped the gun, picked it up and fired again. The gun then jammed and the man ran off. According to Hedegaard, he looked like a ‘typical Muslim immigrant’. Hedegaard has had to leave his home for an undisclosed location under police protection.
The attempted murder of Lars Hedegaard for speaking out against Islamist violence has received virtually no public attention – except in Sweden. As reported here,several Swedish newspapers published wicked distortions about him in order to portray him entirely falsely as an acknowledged racist.
Hedegaard’s Free Press Society campaigns for the rights of journalists and cartoonists to express themselves without fear of being murdered. Now an attempt has been made to murder Hedegaard himself, after he was dragged through the courts in an attempt to stifle his warnings about Islamic violence by labelling these protests ‘hate crime’.
Yet far from the uproar one might expect in any sane and decent society following these attempts to destroy both the reputation and the life of a man who fights for freedom from tyranny, Hedegaard finds himself now victimised three times over – by the Danish judicial system, a fanatical would-be assassin and a European liberal class for whom fighting Muslim extremism and violence constitutes ‘Islamophobia’ and must be stopped.
The message from this most chilling tale of our times is that in Sweden and other western ‘progressive’ circles, anyone who protests at the phenomenon of ‘honour violence’ that terrorises Muslim women and children is a racist; and if a supposed Islamic fanatic tries to murder that protester, well, that just proves what a racist the protester is.
Stalin would have approved.

Britain's national sickness

People have been expressing severe shock and revulsion at the ugly remarks by LibDem MP David Ward about Israel and the Holocaust.
As The Commentator reported, to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day Ward said the following:
‘Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.’
He dug himself further into the hole with this interview with Sky News. As far as he is concerned, it appears he believes he has said nothing wrong.
The Liberal Democrat party has denounced his statements as ‘unacceptable’ and is reportedly considering stripping him of the LibDem whip. Such an action would nevertheless be merely cosmetic. For these ‘unacceptable’attitudes are widespread in the Liberal Democrat party -- as illustrated by both the report on the furore and readers’ comments here on Liberal Democrat Voice.
Moreover, much of the shock and outrage has missed the point. Ward’s offence, it would appear, was to have repeatedly blamed ‘the Jews’for failing to learn the lessons of the Holocaust and inflicting atrocities upon the Palestinians. Apparently – as even the Sky interviewer seemed at one point to imply-- if he had blamed ‘the Israelis’ there wouldn’t have been a problem.
This is not just to fail to grasp the real obscenity of Ward’s comments, but to reveal that many of those expressing revulsion at his comments actually suffer from the same prejudice.
For the really terrible thing here is not the grotesque misuse of the Holocaust, nor the vicious suggestion that ‘the Jews’ are guilty of behaviour that is somehow analogous to the Nazi genocide inflicted upon them, nor even the sickening insult that they have to ‘learn the lessons’ of their own suffering.
No, the true venom of these remarks is the way they reverse the position of today’s Jewish victims – the Israeli survivors of the Holocaust and their children and grandchildren -- and their current would-be exterminators– the descendants of Hitler’s Nazi collaborators in Palestine during the Holocaust.
For the fact is that Israel is not trying to exterminate the Palestinians – indeed how could this possibly be the case, since the Palestinian population has more than quadrupled since the rebirth of Israel in 1948. Nor are the Israelis oppressing the Palestinians, who have benefited from some of the highest rises in GDP and lowest child mortality ratios in the Middle East.
Nor are the Israelis behaving inhumanely; it is the Palestinians who are committing crimes against humanity by targeting Israeli innocents for mass murder without remission, both from Gaza and from the West Bank. It is the Palestinians, in the West Bank as well as Gaza, who are brainwashed from the cradle to hate Jews and to believe that murdering Israelis is their highest glory. Which they have been doing in Israel and before that in Palestine for more than a century – despite the fact that, as the international community laid down in binding treaty in 1920, the Jews alone had the inalienable and historic right to settle throughout Palestine, including not just present-day Israel but also the West Bank and Gaza.
Moreover, while the Jews accepted proposals for a Palestinian state first made in the 1930s and then in 1947, and while the Israelis offered them more than 95 per cent of the possible land for a state in 2000 and 2008, the Palestinians responded merely by murdering more Jews.
Despite all this, Israel behaves towards its genocidal Palestinian attackers with a humanity that is seen in no other conflict on the planet. Despite the rocket attacks and constant smuggling of ever more fearsome weapons to be aimed at its civilians, it allows humanitarian supplies into Gaza; despite the constant plotting in the West Bank to kill more Israelis, it allows Palestinians to work in Israel, and treats Palestinians from both the West Bank and Gaza alongside Israelis in Israeli hospitals. Yes of course there is Palestinian hardship caused by the checkpoints and security barrier. But the only reason these exist is to prevent Palestinians killing yet more Israelis. If the Palestinians and their Arab and Iranian backers stopped trying to wipe Israel off the map, there would be peace tomorrow.
The really appalling thing about Ward’s remarks is his hijacking of the Holocaust to reverse the position of Arab aggressors and their Jewish victims. But he also goes further than accusing Israel of such crimes in the West Bank and Gaza. He accuses it of
‘inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel.’
He thus appears to be accusing Israel of committing atrocities against its own Arab citizens. But this is just plain hallucinatory. There is nothing that could possibly be considered to be such. Arab Israelis have full civil rights in Israel; they serve as MPs, judges, even serve in the army; every day Arab Israelis peacefully go about their everyday lives.
The really chilling thing is this. Leave aside Ward’s particular offensiveness and idiocies. The insane belief that Israel is trying to wipe out the Palestinians or at the very least that it behaves savagely towards them, subjects them to ‘apartheid’ and ensures through its behaviour that there is no peace in the Middle East is now common currency in British progressive circles. While most would not use the Holocaust analogy and are careful to damn Israelis rather than ‘the Jews’, the entirely false belief that the Israelis have supplanted the indigenous people of Palestine and towards whom they are now behaving in an unconscionable way is now the default position amongst liberals and the left, and has also made serious inroads amongst the more isolationist and ignorant British conservatives.
The belief that, in Israel, the victims of one of the greatest crimes against humanity are themselves now guilty of crimes against humanity is the collective libel that has become the default position amongst the British intelligentsia.
And as Ward suggested in his remarks on Sky, only those Jews who themselves endorse this libel by denouncing Israel are to be considered free of this taint. British Jews who support Israel and try to counter these Big Lies are quite simply treated as pariahs by baying mobs whose obsession with Israel has brought about nothing less than a mass derangement in British public debate.
The full, monstrous obscenity of both Ward’s remarks and the widespread British attitude to which he has given voice is no less than this: accusing the people who were the victims of genocide entirely falsely of committing crimes against humanity -- simply because they are trying to defend themselves from being wiped out again by those for whom the Holocaust is unfinished business. Self-defence against extermination is now considered a crime against humanity.
David Ward may have been particularly clumsy – but he has merely given voice to Britain’s national sickness and shame.

Anti-Zionism = Anti-Semitism

From Commentary, 27/1/13, by Jonathan Tobin:

The Commentator draws our attention today to the fact that Britain’s Sunday Times celebrated the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz—the date that is observed outside of Israel and the United States as Holocaust Memorial Day—by publishing a cartoon depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a hook-nosed thug cementing helpless Arab victims into a wall whose bricks are lined with blood rather than mortar.
This is an apt reminder of just how low Europe’s intellectual elites have sunk and how deep the taint of anti-Semitism is baked into the political culture of the West these days.
As the Commentator’s Raheem Kassam points out, in Britain as in many other places, the Holocaust is not a historical lesson of the product of 2,000 years of anti-Semitism and Jewish powerlessness as it is an excuse to depict Israel as a Nazi-like entity.
The cartoon will be defended as fair comment about Israel’s security fence that the Palestinians and their foreign cheerleaders depict as a war crime. That this strictly defensive measure was made necessary by the Palestinians’ campaign of suicide bombings that cost the lives of a thousand Jews in the last decade goes unmentioned. The willingness of Israel-bashers to appropriate the Holocaust to promote a new generation of anti-Semitic imagery is rooted in a worldview in which the actions of the Palestinians, or their consistent refusal to make peace, are irrelevant. If even a fence to keep out suicide bombers can be seen as criminal then it is obvious that no terrorist outrage or act of hateful incitement (such as the Egyptian president’s belief that Israelis are the “descendants of apes and pigs”) is worthy of censure so long as Israelis are standing up for themselves and refusing to be slaughtered as the Jews of Europe were 70 years ago.
In the face of slanders such as this cartoon about Netanyahu, the facts are almost beside the point. In order for it to be considered a defensible point of view about the Middle East, you’d have to believe the artist and the editors who condoned its publication know nothing of why Israel built a security fence or that the terrorist campaign that it was built to stop was preceded by repeated Israeli offers of a Palestinian state that were refused and answered with war. Can it be that no one at the Sunday Times is aware of the fact that the Palestinians again refused (or rather fled from it to avoid answering) an even more generous peace offer in 2008 and have consistently refused to return to the negotiating table since then despite an Israeli settlement freeze, Netanyahu’s acceptance of a two-state solution and pleas for them to talk without preconditions? Those are mere details to be ignored when the big picture you are trying to draw is of an evil Israel and its evil leader hurting the innocent.
While many have seized on the fact that Netanyahu didn’t do as well as originally expected in this last week’s election as somehow being proof that Israelis are rejecting his views about the Palestinians, this is nonsense. The point about the election is that Netanyahu’s basic views about the peace process are now so clearly endorsed by a broad consensus that encompasses not only the Israeli right but also the center and even some on the left that the election was decided on other issues. Though some would like it to be different, there’s actually very little to differentiate Netanyahu’s foreign policy views from those of Yair Lapid or even Labor’s Shelly Yacimovich or Tzipi Livni, who actually campaigned on a platform of reviving the peace process.
The point is most Israelis have long given up on the Palestinians, whom they rightly understand to be light years away from the sort of sea change that would allow them to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders were drawn. So, too, do they no longer listen to a Europe where blood libels like the Sunday Times cartoon are seen as commonplace and just a more sophisticated version of Morsi’s hate speech.
Israel is not perfect and its politicians can be criticized. But this commemoration of Europe’s Holocaust Memorial Day with such slanders shows the inability of those who believe Israel has no right to exist or to defend itself to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian dispute without resorting to imagery like that of the cartoon or Morsi’s imprecations. Though Israel-bashers claim labeling them as anti-Semites is unfair, their reflexive use of Nazi-like blood libels illustrates the link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism better than any argument their opponents can muster.

The prospect of of a Third Palestinian Intifada

From an email, sent 24 Feb 2013, from Ely Karmon, PhD, Senior Research Scholar, International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) and The Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS) at The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzlyia, Israel:

During the last days major demonstrations took place across the West Bank in solidarity with Palestinian hunger-strikers and prisoners, with many Palestinian civilians wounded in the clashes with IDF forces. There are presently four Palestinian prisoners on long-term hunger strike....
Palestinian politician and activist Mustafa Barghouti warned that a Third Intifada would break out “if anything happens to the prisoners” (Bikya News, February 21, 2013).
...the events in the West Bank “have brought Israel and the Palestinians closer to the boiling point than they have been in many years.” [for the following] reasons cited by [an] Israeli daily...:
  • diverting attention away from its failure to reach a reconciliation agreement with Hamas;
  • worsening economic situation and the hope Israel could persuade the Arab world to renew donations to the PA;
  • the upcoming visit by U.S. President Barack Obama to the region and
  • the hope to persuade the administration to re-engage in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks...
... Marwan Barghouti [one of the intifada’s most prominent Fatah leaders imprisoned in Israel for his direct responsibility in the killing of five Israelis], ...presented a revealing statement (Akhbar Al-Khalil, March 8, 2000) on the strategy of the Fatah movement at the beginning of 2000:

“Whoever believes that one can reach a decision on the issues of a permanent agreement [with Israel] – for example, on refugees, Jerusalem, settlements, and borders – via negotiation is living under an illusion. On these matters we have to wage a battle on the ground in parallel to the negotiating framework….I mean a conflict.”

The question today is if the President of the PA, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), will choose in the end the path of violence to which he was opposed until now, or he will lose control of the situation, after he encouraged the first stages of popular violence.
In an interview with the official website of the Hamas movement ( in October 2010, ...Mahmoud Al-Zahar, one of Hamas’ senior leaders, was asked if it can be expected that Abu Mazen will reach a stage in his conduct similar to the one of Yasser Arafat at his time, who “instructed Hamas to carry out terror attacks while he was besieged in Ramallah.”
Mahmoud Al-Zahar answered that “Abu Mazen has neither the courage nor the vision, and he is incapable of betting his life on such an issue.”
It remains to be seen if Al-Zahar’s evaluation was right, in which case the possible transformation of the present violent demonstrations into a bloody Third Intifada could be the result of PA’s leadership losing control of the situation or if Hamas succeeds to thrust it in this trap by a wave of deadly bombings.