Actions, not bromides, are how the West must confront rabid antisemitism

May 28, 2021 by Melanie Phillips - JNS.org
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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and his counterpart, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, visited Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week to offer help in building on the ceasefire with Hamas.

Melanie Phillips

Both Blinken and Raab declared themselves committed to Israel’s security.

Both governments have also condemned the antisemitism running rampant in their countries.

These are vapid bromides. For neither the British government nor the Biden administration acknowledges that the war against Israel and the war against the Jewish Diaspora form an indivisible line of bigotry, which they themselves unwittingly help maintain.

The tsunami of antisemitism continues to inundate the West. In America, antisemitic acts reportedly rose by 80 percent this month, and in Britain, by at least 500 percent. More than 17,000 variations of “Hitler was right” have recently appeared on Twitter.

In Britain, after the actors’ union Equity called on its members to join last Saturday’s anti-Israel march in London at which demonstrators burned Israeli flags and displayed antisemitic slogans, Jewish actors have said they are beginning to hide their Stars of David at auditions.

There are many non-Jews who are as horrified as they are bewildered by this evil that has overtaken their society. It is indeed astounding in its scope and scale.

For it is effectively a takeover of millions of Western minds by Soviet-style brainwashing, in which the Palestinian perpetrators of murderous, exterminatory anti-Semitism are regarded as oppressed and dispossessed while their Israeli victims are labelled Nazi oppressors—and Diaspora Jews are accused of backing “pogroms” in “Palestine.”

This madness urgently needs to be fought by those who help make the cultural weather. It’s not enough for politicians to promise support to a Jewish community that’s under siege. They need to call out the broadcasters and newspapers peddling Palestinian propaganda and incitement in the guise of journalism.

They need to tell people that Israel stands for law, justice and human rights while the Palestinians stand for their negation.

They need to tell people about the Palestinians’ Nazi-style antisemitism, about how they teach their children to hate Jews and steal their land, and about how the two-state solution forms part of their “strategy of stages” to destroy Israel altogether.

Most people have no idea about any of this. Because they never hear these truths being told, they believe that the Palestinians are helpless and Israel behaves badly. So the Israel-haters get a free pass for their lies.

That’s why the British and American governments need to say that this obscene agenda is what’s driving the upsurge in antisemitism.

Alas, they persist instead with a doctrine of moral equivalence, which itself perpetuates the falsehoods and helps empower and incentivize Palestinian aggression.

Thus, Dominic Raab urged an end to the “cycle of violence” via a two-state solution. But there is no “cycle of violence” in which both sides are culpable. There is instead a permanent Palestinian war of annihilation against Israel, which seeks to defend itself against such attack.

President Joe Biden was correct when he said “you’re not going to get peace until Israel is recognized as an independent Jewish state.” But although he may be well disposed towards Israel, his administration most certainly is not.

Thus, Blinken said the ceasefire must be used to address “underlying issues and challenges,” beginning with the “grave” humanitarian situation in Gaza. Surely, he should begin instead with the gravest of all underlying issues—the Palestinians’ Jew-hatred and their strategy for destroying Israel?

America would rebuild relations with the Palestinians, he said, by reopening a consulate in Jerusalem and giving millions in aid to help reconstruct Gaza.

But why is America rebuilding relations with a Palestinian Authority led by a man who venerates Hitler’s genocidal ally in the Middle East, Haj Amin al-Husseini, and which teaches Palestinian children to hate and murder Jews and steal their land?

And given that in supposedly destitute Gaza Hamas had constructed some 300 miles of underground military tunnels and fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israel, it is beyond absurd for Blinken to claim that the United States can somehow prevent future aid from being used for the same infernal ends.

At the core of Blinken’s whole approach is a rotten moral equivalence, illustrated by his lumping together Palestinian and Israeli casualties sustained in this month’s Gaza hostilities.

The Palestinian casualties—of which Israel says the vast majority were combatants—were caused entirely by Hamas aggression; the Israeli casualties were all the victims of that aggression. To draw an equivalence between the two is to diminish victimhood and sanitize aggression.

The seamless link between antisemitism and this morally bankrupt attitude towards the war against Israel has yet still wider implications.

For moral equivalence is also claimed between antisemitism and Islamophobia—illustrated by the Democratic Party only feeling able to condemn antisemitism by also condemning Islamophobia—and which results in those calling out Muslim anti-Semitism being denounced as “Islamophobes.”

The pernicious results of this moral confusion were recently demonstrated by an incident at a high school in the British city of Leeds.

The police were called to protect its head teacher, Mike Roper after he said that the Palestinian flag was perceived by some as “a call to arms.” This resulted in protests at the school gates against Roper’s “racism” and “blatant Islamophobia.”

But Roper hadn’t criticized the Palestinians’ flag or their cause. He merely observed that some people viewed that flag and cause as a message of support for antisemitism and a call to arms against Jews, which he said it was never intended to be.

Roper was forced to grovel over something he didn’t even say. But the irony was that what he was falsely accused of saying was more true than what he did say.

For Palestinianism is indeed profoundly anti-Jewish. It’s not just predicated on the destruction of the State of Israel, but also on erasing the Jewish claim to the land.

It seeks to hijack and appropriate Jewish history to construct an artificial Palestinian identity. And it does this through ludicrous claims that the Palestinians, not the Jews, are the indigenous people of the land; vandalizing and stealing artifacts dating from the ancient kingdom of Israel unearthed on archaeological sites; and denouncing Zionism—or Jewish self-determination—as racism.

Yet in the wake of the Leeds school debacle, the Muslim Council of Britain is now demanding a “safe space” in schools for this Palestinian narrative, which negates Jewish history and drives antisemitism.

Even more tellingly Irfan Chishti, an imam who works for the British government’s task force on tackling extremism, was filmed at a demonstration in Rochdale telling cheering crowds that non-Muslims at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque were “vile human beings” who were “desecrating” it.

Under Muslim rule, he said, Palestine had been peaceful, but Israel was a “terrorist state forcing terror upon our brothers and sisters.” He then asked “where is the modern-day Saladin,” as he called for those in the crowd who wanted to become mujahideen (“holy warriors”) and praised shahids (“martyrs”), who had “given their life for Palestine.”

The government has said his comments were “completely unacceptable” and that it will “take appropriate action.” Well, the only appropriate action is surely prosecution under Britain’s laws against incitement and support for terrorism. Are ministers really going to thus expose the hole at the heart of their strategy against Islamic extremism—the one signposted “Muslim antisemitism and support for Palestine”? This seems exceedingly unlikely.

Given all this, the chances of the British or American governments saying what needs to be said to counter the narrative of incitement and lies against the Jewish people, now running so strongly through their Muslim communities and their “progressive” echo chamber, are precisely nil.

Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for “The Times of London,” her personal and political memoir, “Guardian Angel,” has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, “The Legacy.” Go to melaniephillips.substack.com to access her work.

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