In recent days, Israel has been hit not only from the Gaza end of the Fatah-Hamas pantomime horse but also from Lebanon and Syria. It's under attack not merely from a terrorist squat but from two sovereign states, all of whom are clients to one degree or another of a third, Iran. Had not General Sisi overthrown Mohammed Morsi and tossed him in jail, there might have been a fourth country happy to make mischief. Meanwhile, across the Allenby Bridge in Jordan, Israel's least insane neighbor has seen its population swollen by 25 per cent from Syria refugees, and at its western frontier now borders the new caliphate of jihadist head-hackers. In the Sunni/Shia regional showdown between ISIS and Teheran's various subsidiaries, the two warring parties agree on little except that dead Jews brighten everyone's day.
Oh, well. The Middle East. It's all very complicated, isn't it? Fatah, Hamas, Hizb'Allah, the Muslim Brothers, ISIS, Alawites... Who can keep track? And why worry your pretty little head about it all when the easy and cool thing to do is blame the Jews? Brendan O'Neill writes:
Why are Western liberals always more offended by Israeli militarism than by any other kind of militarism? It's extraordinary. France can invade Mali and there won't be loud, rowdy protests by peaceniks in Paris. David Cameron, backed by a whopping 557 members of parliament, can order airstrikes on Libya and British leftists won't give over their Twitterfeeds to publishing gruesome pics of the Libyan civilians killed as a consequence. President Obama can resume his drone attacks in Pakistan, killing 13 people in one strike last month, and Washington won't be besieged by angry anti-war folk demanding 'Hands off Pakistan'. But the minute Israel fires a rocket into Gaza, the second Israeli politicians say they're at war again with Hamas, radicals in all these Western nations will take to the streets, wave hyperbolic placards, fulminate on Twitter, publish pictures of dead Palestinian children, publish the names and ages of everyone 'MURDERED BY ISRAEL', and generally scream about Israeli 'bloodletting'. (When the West bombs another country, it's 'war'; when Israel does it, it's 'bloodletting'.)
Anyone possessed of a critical faculty must at some point have wondered why there's such a double standard in relation to Israeli militarism, why missiles fired by the Jewish State are apparently more worthy of condemnation than missiles fired by Washington, London, Paris, the Turks, Assad, or just about anyone else on Earth. Parisians who have generally given a Gallic shrug as French troops have basically retaken Francophone Africa, stamping their boots everywhere from the Central African Republic to Mali to Cote d'Ivoire over the past two years, turned out in their thousands at the weekend to condemn Israeli imperialism and barbarism. Americans who didn't create much fuss last month when the Obama administration announced the resumption of its drone attacks in Pakistan gathered at the Israeli Embassy in Washington to yell about Israeli murder. (Incredibly, they did this just a day after a US drone attack, the 375th such attack in 10 years, killed at least six people in Pakistan. But hey, Obama-led militarism isn't as bad as Israeli militarism, and dead Pakistanis, unlike dead Palestinians, don't deserve to have their photos, names and ages published by the concerned liberals of Twitter.)
By the way, I'm in favor of French intervention in francophone Africa: low-key military action in support of explicit national interests outside the ineffectual transnationalist kindergarten-cop racket is something more western powers should be doing. But, that aside, Mr O'Neill is right to be struck by the unique virulence of today's "anti-Zionism" in Europe.
At one level, it's a form of displacement. Britain, France and other countries are Islamizing fast, and native hedonists and their restive Muslim populations have profound disagreements on where their societies are headed: The post-Christian Euro-left think they've built a secular society where gay marriage and gender fluidity are to be celebrated; significant percentages of young Muslims want to live under Sharia and believe apostasy should be punishable by death. Reconciling these conflicting visions will prove tricky. Yet, as with ISIS and Iran, on one issue both parties are in complete agreement. As I wrote over half-a-decade ago:
There are already many points of cultural frictionâ€”from British banks' abolition of children's "piggy banks" to the enjoining of public doughnut consumption by Brussels police during Ramadan. And yet on one issue there is remarkable comity between the aging ethnic Europeans and their young surging Muslim populations: A famous poll a couple of years back found that 59 percent of Europeans regard Israel as the greatest threat to world peace.
Ethnic Europeans and excitable young Muslims don't agree on gays or women's rights or bacon butties or clitoridectomies or Page Three girls or cousin marriage, but they do agree that, in the famous words of the late Daniel Bernard, French Ambassador to the Court of St James's, "all the current troubles of the world are because of that shitty little country Israel". The protests Mr O'Neill refers to - outside embassies in western capitals - are the house-trained end of the new Jew-hatred. Euro-lefties are playing good cop to their young Muslims' bad cop. Here's how things go down that end:
Similar incidents occurred all over Greater Paris and France at about the same time. The morning beforeâ€“that is to say, on the Sabbathâ€“a Molotov cocktail was thrown into a synagogue at Aulnay-sous-Bois, a Parisian suburb. At Asnieres, another suburb, the police said a Muslim mob of 300 gathered in front of the synagogue and shouted anti-Israel slogans for about half an hour. Smaller group of Muslim mobsters attempted to get into the Belleville synagogue, in northeastern Paris, and into the Tournelles synagogue, in the Marais district.
No less horrid were the many pro-Palestinian rallies, in Paris, Marseilles, Lille, Bordeaux, and other cities, complete with Palestinian and ISIS flags and proudly displayed fake Fajr rockets. The demonstratorsâ€“almost all of them of North African or Subsaharan African originâ€“shouted explicitly anti-Semitic slogans, notably "Itbah al-Yahud!" (Slaughter the Jews, in Arabic.) Any time they would spot Jewish-owned shops or professional offices they would cover the doors or windows with stickers urging, "to boycott the racist State of Israel." On Sunday, several thousands pro-Palestinian and pro-jihadist demonstrators marched for miles across the city, from the heavily Muslim Barbes neighborhood to places with large Jewish populations and many synagogues like the Bastille area. The mobsters that attacked the Don Isaac Abravanel synagogue were some of them.
It would be asking too much of the Euro-lefties to stand against this. For, if they part company with the Muslims when it comes to Israel, what else do they share? And so their facilitation of the new Jew-hatred will continue:
BERLIN (AP) â€” German police allowed an anti-Israel protester to climb inside a police car and shout slogans including "child murderer Israel" and "Allahu akbar!" â€” Arabic for "God is Great!" â€” through a police megaphone, a spokeswoman for Frankfurt's police said Sunday.
Police let the protester use the megaphone during a Free Gaza demonstration Saturday because he had offered to calm down a protest that had turned violent, spokeswoman Virginie Wegner told The Associated Press.
Think about what that's like for an octogenarian Jew. When you were in short pants, the mob was all around and the guy with the police megaphone was yelling, "Heil Hitler!" Now the mob's all around and the guy with the police megaphone is yelling, "Allahu Akbar!"
Scaramouche writes today:
I remember some time ago reading that something along the lines of "the Jews will never be forgiven for the Holocaust." At first, that statement seems merely perverse: after all, why would the Jews have to be forgiven for savageries inflicted on them? Morality and sanity would seem to demand that, if any forgiveness was going to go on, it would entail Jews forgiving those who participated in crimes against Jews, which were also crimes against humanity.
And yet, as we see today with Zionhass and how it is metastasizing around the globe, that first idea, that the world would withhold forgiveness to the Jews because of what was done to them, appears to be right on.
I think that might be me that Scaramouche is thinking of - back in the Telegraph a decade ago, January 25th 2005:
According to a poll by the University of Bielefeld, 62 per cent of Germans are "sick of all the harping on about German crimes against the Jews" - which is an unusually robust formulation for a multiple-choice questionnaire, but at least has the advantage of leaving us in no confusion as to how things stand in this week of pan-European Holocaust "harping on". The old joke - that the Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz - gets truer every week.
As I wrote some years ago, the principal beneficiaries of post-war "Holocaust guilt" turned out to be the Muslims. Anyone familiar with the cheerfully open prejudices of 'tween-wars Continentals knows that they would never for a moment have contemplated the rise of mosques and madrassahs in Brussels and Lyons and Frankfurt and Salzburg. But in post-war Europe the Holocaust got laid at the feet of ethnocultural nationalism, and so there were no acceptable grounds on which to object. And so, even as synagogues and kosher butchers are besieged and firebombed, the Euro-left will continue to make common cause with the Muslims in blaming the Jews.
That's why it's psychologically necessary not just to object to Israeli militarism as a decade ago they objected to Bush-Blair militarism, but to go beyond and insist that the Jews are now the Nazis. For, if one truly believes in "Never again!", then one is morally obligated to stand against the new Nazis. Someone has to be the Nazis, right? And to identify the real totalitarian threat would be asking too much. As I concluded in Commentary all those years ago:
Not long ago, I found myself watching the video of another "pro-Palestinian" protest in central London with the Metropolitan Police retreating up St. James's Street to Piccadilly in the face of a mob hurling traffic cones and jeering, "Run, run, you cowards!" and "Allahu akbar!" You would think the deluded multi-culti progressives would understand: In the end, this isn't about Gaza, this isn't about the Middle East; it's about them. It may be some consolation to an ever-lonelier Israel that, in one of history's bleaker jests, in the coming Europe the Europeans will be the new Jews.
© 2014 Mark Steyn Enterprises (US) Inc. All rights reserved.
No part of this website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of Mark Steyn Enterprises.
Got a comment on a column? Drop a line to Mark's Mailbox.
receive the latest by email: subscribe to steynonline's free weekly mailing list