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In case you’re unaware of the anti-Semitism scandal currently filling the newspapers in Britain, allow me fill you in. The furore began around two weeks ago. A Labour Party MP, Naz Shah (a Muslim) shared a meme on twitter depicting the outline of the State of Israel superimposed on a map of the United States. The caption suggested that a perfect solution to the Middle East Conflict would be to relocate Israel to America; a desirable policy, the meme said, because ‘Americans love Israel’ and the measure would ‘let the Palestinians get their land back’. After the meme was posted, Ms Shah was suspended by the Labour Party following outrage by the media. But the matter was not yet finished.
A few days later, on the BBC’s flagship debate show ‘Question Time’, the subject was brought up by an audience member. The panel included the former mayor of London Ken Livingstone, who was duly asked for his 5 cents. Mr Livingstone, an anti-Zionist of the Jurassic style, denied the meme was offensive and went on to explain the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. His stupidity not yet exhausted, he enriched his argument by adding that Adolf Hitler, one of the greatest enemies the Jewish People have ever contended with, was himself a Zionist who favoured the removal of Jews from Europe for his own nefarious reasons. This led predictably to even more outrage and demands were put forward for Mr Livingstone to follow Shah into political oblivion. Having no other option available to it, the Labour Party then suspended Livingstone as well.
The issue has cooled slightly since its peak intensity about a week ago, but the discussion remains active online, with anti-Zionists from America and elsewhere piling on with their own take. The historian and critic Norman Finkelstein described the meme which started the affair as an ‘innocuous cartoon’ and expressed incredulity at the controversy surrounding it. Numerous websites have offered bitesize introductions to Zionism for their readers, and the word ‘Zionism’ at one point appeared as a search suggestion when the letter Z was typed into Google UK.
My view is clear: I think that the cat has been let out of the bag. Despite some rudimentary progress on the issue, the political Left, and much of the political centre, have shown very clearly that they still do not understand – and do not care to understand – the plight of Israel, and by extension the plight of all non-Islamic communities in Islamic neighbourhoods. Despite the everyday carnage inflicted across the planet by Islamic aggressors, such airheads appear wedded to the idea that this aggression is mostly reactive and only rarely atavistic. This is an old problem, a huge problem, and one we must be proactive in trying to solve.
Islam has long embraced victimhood as a means of forwarding its political and religious agenda. Being seen as a victim allows Islamists to violently intimidate and bully their enemies without damaging the reputation of their faith, thereby preserving its more attractive aspects for Western liberals and potential converts to consume. If a newspaper reports that a Muslim has beheaded someone in a far flung desert, the effect upon the infidel reader is moderated or even cancelled out if an adjacent story reports that a Muslim woman has had her veil ripped off in the street. The end result is that Islamophobia is considered to be morally equivalent to Islamist terrorism, letting Islam get away with only a diluted portion of the blame. This is clever, obviously deliberate and an important part of Islamist strategy.
And of all the veins of victimhood Muslims have tried to tap, surely none has proven more gushingly rich than the issue of Palestine. For over six decades now, the world has been led to believe that the Palestinian people are a coherent – even ancient – nation, indigenous to within the borders of the modern State of Israel. With this concept in mind, the violence there has been framed within a coloniser-native narrative, with the ‘White’ Jews generally considered to be displacing and persecuting the ‘brown’ locals, stealing and usurping their traditions, place names and heritage.
It would be a gargantuan task to conclusively refute this orthodoxy. I will only say is that this narrative is hugely misleading and unhistorical, and that because of this, the belief in it must be political in motive.
On Palestine, just as on Islamophobia, Muslims have no rightful claim to our sympathy. They have killed more than they have been killed, terrorised more than they have been terrorised, and lied more than they have been lied about.