Britain must end anti-Semitic bigotry over Israel: Open letter to the Prime Minister by Melanie Phillips
David Cameron says Britain is Israel's friend. A prominent British writer asks how endorsing Palestinian racism is the mark of a friend.
Dear Prime Minister,
I was interested to read that, when you met Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week, you said:
‘Britain is a good friend of Israel and our support for Israel and Israel's security is something I have described in the past, and will do so again, as unshakeable.’
I wonder, therefore, if you make a habit of threatening your friends? For you also said that unless Israel ‘engages seriously in a meaningful peace process’ with the Palestinian Authority, the more likely it is that Britain will endorse the ‘State of Palestine’ for which the PA is expected to seek recognition at the UN in September.
This is not the behaviour of a friend so much as the kind of intimidation that is more reminiscent of a Mafia protection racket.
First of all, you have incomprehensibly decided to pressurise the victim in this conflict to make peace with her aggressor, even though the victim is the one party that constantly tries to make peace while the aggressor does not. It is the PA which has refused to negotiate with Israel, not the other way round, on the spurious grounds that Israeli expansion of Jewish homes beyond the ‘Green Line’ is a bar to negotiations.
I wonder whether you might explain to both Britain and the Jewish people why you do not insist that Mr Abbas ‘engages seriously in a meaningful peace process’ by unambiguously renouncing – in both English and Arabic – his repeated assertions that his people will never accept Israel as a Jewish state, the casus belli of the entire conflict?
I wonder also if you might explain to both Britain and the Jewish people why you implicitly endorse the racist ethnic cleansing inherent in the putative ‘State of Palestine’ which the PA says it will declare – a state in which Mr Abbas has repeatedly declared that not one Jew will be allowed to live -- but which you have now threatened to support? I’m sure the British people in particular would be interested to know when you decided that racism and ethnic cleansing were part of your modernising programme for the Conservative Party.
Next, I wonder if you might clarify for us exactly why the British government has welcomed the alliance entered into between Hamas and Mr Abbas’s Fatah, and why you believe that this will advance the cause of peace. As you know, your government still regards Hamas as a terrorist organisation. More than that, Hamas is explicitly committed to the destruction of Israel and the genocide of the Jews, a platform from which is has explicitly stated this week that it will not resile.
And as you know, following the killing of Osama bin Laden the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, condemned the ‘assassination of a Muslim holy warrior’ -- while for their part the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the terrorist department of the Fatah organisation that you do not appear to think is an obstacle to peace, called bin Laden’s death ‘a catastrophe’ and vowed to step up the jihad to establish the dominance of Islam in the world.
I’m sure we are all agog to learn why you, a Conservative Prime Minister and the supposed ally of America in the defence of the free world, have chosen not only to applaud and promote a coalition which includes genocidal fanatics who are in bed with both al Qaeda and Iran, but why you are also threatening their victim, Israel, that Britain will endorse a state run by this genocidal coalition unless Israel itself enters into negotiations with it. To carry on with the Mafia analogy, this is akin to threatening someone that if they do not put a gun in their mouth and pull the trigger you will set the Mob on them to achieve the same result.
I’d be grateful if you could explain to us why you support the killing of the leader of al Qaeda, as well as sanctions against Iran on the grounds that both represent an unconscionable threat to the free world, and yet at the same time demand of Israel that it makes concessions to a coalition made up of the allies of Iran and al Qaeda. I’m sure we’d all like to know, if this is how you treat your ‘friends’, how you would treat your enemies.
I realise, Prime Minister, that before you achieved high office your knowledge of and interest in foreign affairs was hovering around the zero mark. As a result, it is likely that your only knowledge of the Middle East comes from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which has a history of virulent antagonism towards the Jewish people. I would also expect, however, that you have an eye to your own place in history, and that you would probably like to be viewed by future generations as the British Prime Minister who stood shoulder to shoulder with the victims of genocidal aggression against their destroyers, rather than the other way round.
If you are to get this the right way round and thus avoid such posthumous infamy, it is vital that you come to realise the key point about the Middle East impasse. To arrive at a solution, it is imperative first of all correctly to identify the problem. The problem in the Middle East is not the absence of a state of Palestine. Were that the case, the problem would have been resolved when such a state was first mooted long before World War Two. The problem is instead that the Arabs wish to destroy the State of Israel. The solution, therefore, is to stop them from continuing to try to do so. And to achieve that, it is essential that the west stop rewarding them for their attempts.
For the single most important reason for the never-ending nature of the Middle East impasse is that, uniquely, for more than nine decades the west has rewarded the Arab aggressors and punished their Jewish victims. And from the start, the western leader of this infernal process, I’m afraid to say, was Britain.
It was the British who, out of sheer breathtaking malice against the Jewish people, first incited the (hitherto mainly benignly disposed) Arabs against the Jews returning to their ancestral homeland in Palestine in the early years of the 20th century. It was the British who set out to undermine and reverse their own government’s policy to re-establish the Jewish national home in the land of Israel.
It was the British who reneged on their internationally binding treaty obligation to settle the Jews throughout Palestine – including the areas currently known as the ‘West Bank’ and Gaza – with the result that they kept out desperate Jews trying to flee Nazi Europe, causing thousands to be murdered in the Holocaust. At the same time, they encouraged Arab immigration from neighbouring countries and turned a blind eye to the pogroms carried out by these Arab newcomers against the Jews whose land it was supposed to be –thus laying the groundwork for the false claim that the Arabs were the rightful inheritors of the land. And all the time, the British cloaked this vicious treachery in the honeyed fiction that they were the true friends of the Jewish people and had their interests at heart.
The history of the British in this terrible conflict between Jew and Arab is not merely a chronicle of the utmost perfidy and malevolent Judeophobic bigotry. It is also directly responsible for the continuation of the conflict to this day. For Arab aggression against the Jews has been rewarded and encouraged from the start, by robbing the Jews of their rightful inheritance and giving great chunks of it to their aggressors. But if aggressors are rewarded, the inevitable result is more aggression until they achieve their final terrible aim.
And that very same process is in evidence today, with Britain’s grotesque endorsement this week of the coalition for genocide and your government's unconscionable pressure upon Israel to negotiate its own destruction with its mortal enemies.
Prime Minister, the virus of Judeophobia is now rampant once again throughout Europe – let alone in the Arab and Muslim world. And the fuel for this fire is the set of genocidal falsehoods about the Arab and Muslim war of extermination against Israel, a Big lie which has turned victim into aggressor and vice versa. Appallingly, the British government is helping stoke this vile inferno by endorsing many of these falsehoods -- and now, worse still, by actually promoting the coalition of genocide and turning the screw on its victim. The similarities with the 1930s and 1940s are uncanny and horrifying – similarities not just with what was allowed to develop in Europe, but also what happened in Palestine itself, the source of today’s terrible impasse.
Prime Minister, if you are not very careful indeed history will judge that you re-established a direct line back to the malevolence of the British in Palestine; back to that terrible time when Britain so foully betrayed the Jewish people and became a party to genocide; back to the approach which gave genocidal fanatics hope that victory was within their grasp. To stand up against all this -- the defining madness of our times -- would demand of you, I know full well, the utmost statesmanship and moral courage. But the alternative is to earn the contempt of decent people everywhere and the scorn of posterity. The choice, Prime Minister, is yours.
Melanie Phillips's work can be found at spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips and at melaniephillips.com. Her latest book is The World Turned Upside Down. This article was originally published by the Spectator and is republished here by permission.
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