Forget, for the moment, Gaza. Forget that the Palestinian people are the most comprehensively wrecked people on the face of the earth. For the past sixty years they have been entrusted to the care of the United Nations, the Arab League, the PLO, Hamas and the “global community” — and the results are pretty much what you’d expect. You would have to be very hardhearted not to weep at the sight of dead Palestinian children, but you would also have to accord a measure of blame to the Hamas officials who choose to use grade schools as launch pads for Israeli-bound rockets, and to the UN refugee agency that turns a blind eye to it. And, even if you don’t deplore Fatah and Hamas for marinating their infants in a sick death cult in which martyrdom in the course of Jew-killing is the greatest goal to which a citizen can aspire, any fair-minded visitor to the West Bank or Gaza in the decade and a half in which the “Palestinian Authority” has exercised sovereign powers roughly equivalent to those of the nascent Irish Free State in 1922 would have to concede that the Palestinian “nationalist movement” has a profound shortage of nationalists interested in running a nation, or indeed capable of doing so. There is fault on both sides, of course, and Israel has few good long-term options. But, if this was a conventional ethno-nationalist dispute, it would have been over long ago.
So, as I said, forget Gaza. And instead ponder the reaction to Gaza in Scandinavia, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and golly, even Florida. As the delegitimization of Israel has metastasized, we are assured that criticism of the Jewish state is not the same as anti-Semitism. We are further assured that anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-Semitism, which is a wee bit more of a stretch. Only Israel attracts an intellectually respectable movement querying its very existence. For the purposes of comparison, let’s take a state that came into existence at the exact same time as the Zionist Entity, and involved far bloodier population displacements. I happen to think the creation of Pakistan was the greatest failure of post-war British imperial policy. But the fact is that Pakistan exists, and if I were to launch a movement of anti-Pakism it would get pretty short shrift.
But, even allowing for that, what has a schoolgirl in Villiers-le-Bel to do with Israeli government policy? Just last month terrorists attacked Bombay, seized hostages, tortured them, killed them, and mutilated their bodies. The police intercepts of the phone conversations between the terrorists and their controllers make for lively reading:
“Pakistan caller 1: ‘Kill all hostages, except the two Muslims. Keep your phone switched on so that we can hear the gunfire.’
“Mumbai terrorist 2: ‘We have three foreigners, including women. From Singapore and China.’
“Pakistan caller 1: ‘Kill them.’
“(Voices of gunmen can be heard directing hostages to stand in a line, and telling two Muslims to stand aside. Sound of gunfire. Sound of cheering voices.)”
“Kill all hostages, except the two Muslims.” Tough for those Singaporean women. Yet no mosques in Singapore have been attacked. The large Hindu populations in London, Toronto, and Fort Lauderdale have not shouted “Muslims must die!” or firebombed Halal butchers or attacked hijab-clad schoolgirls. CAIR and other Muslim lobby groups’ eternal bleating about “Islamophobia” is in inverse proportion to any examples of it. Meanwhile, “moderate Muslims” in London warn the government: “I’m a peaceful fellow myself, but I can’t speak for my excitable friends. Nice little G7 advanced western democracy you got here. Shame if anything were to happen to it.”
But why worry about European Muslims? The European political and media class essentially shares the same view of the situation — to the point where state TV stations are broadcasting fake Israeli “war crimes.” As I always say, the “oldest hatred” didn’t get that way without an ability to adapt: Once upon a time on the Continent, Jews were hated as rootless cosmopolitan figures who owed no national allegiance. So they became a conventional nation state, and now they’re hated for that. And, if Hamas get their way and destroy the Jewish state, the few who survive will be hated for something else. So it goes.
But Jew-hating has consequences for the Jew-hater, too. A few years ago the poet Nizar Qabbani wrote an ode to the intifada:
O mad people of Gaza,
a thousand greetings to the mad
The age of political reason
has long departed
so teach us madness
You can just about understand why living in Gaza would teach you madness. The enthusiastic adoption of the same pathologies by mainstream Europe is even more deranged — and in the end will prove just as self-destructive.
Monday, January 12, 2009
From National Review Online: