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From: Irish Political Review: Editorials
Date: March, 2019
By: Editorial

Anti-Semitism And Islamophobia

An English girl went to Syria in order to live in the freedom that would exist there when the Assad tyranny was overthrown. She lived contentedly for a number of years in a region of Syria where the Assad tyranny had been pushed back and the freedom that was being asserted against it was in control.rnBut that freedom has now been destroyed and the Assad tyranny is dominant again and she wants to come home. But there is great unease in England, both in governing circles and in the populace, about letting her back in because she is a terrorist. She left a liberal culture to live in a society governed by Islamic Law. The dominance of Islamic Law in the region of Syria where she lived had been established through terrorist struggle against the liberal secular regime in Syria, also known as the Assad Tyranny. She was therefore a terrorist, if only in the sense of living contentedly in a system of Law brought about by terrorist action against the lawfully constituted Government of Syria.rnrnViolent action against lawfully constituted authority—that's what terrorism is, isn't it? If the authority against which rebel action was directed was not lawfully constituted, and was an assertion of mere force, action against it would not be terrorist, would it?rnrnThe Assad Government was the lawfully constituted Government of the Syrian state, and the Syrian state was itself lawfully constituted, according to the only authority that exists in these matters: the United Nations. But the British Government, at the time when Shamima Begum went to live under Islamic Law in the rebel part of Syria, did not recognise the Assad Government as the legitimate State authority. It declared that the Assad regime was a Tyranny, withdrew recognition from it, and declared that the rebel Opposition to Assad was the legitimate authority in Syria. And that still remains the official British position, as far as we know, even though the State structure established by the rebellion has been defeated and the Assad Government is back in control of most of Syria.rnIt would surely be relevant to the case of Shamima Begum, who wants to come home now that the State in which she went t live in Syria has been destroyed, to mention that Britain had de-legitimised the Assad Government and encouraged its overthrow, and had recognised the rebel Opposition as the legitimate authority in Syria. But there has been no mention of that fact, either by British politicians or British media commentators, or vox pops.rnAs we recall, the British Government at the time did mention an obscure and ineffectual group within the Opposition as its candidate for recognition as the legitimate Government. The group was allegedly liberal and secular in its aims. Whether it actually existed on a minute scale, or was a propaganda invention we cannot say. If it did exist, then it lived on easy terms with the Islamist groups which constituted the substance of the Opposition.rnrnComment on the Shaman Begum affair concentrated on ISIS. But, when it seemed possible that the Opposition would sweep away the Assad regime and take over from it, there was no demonisation of any element within the Opposition as Islamist. The only demonisation was of the Assad regime.rnIf the Opposition had won, Syria would be an Islamist State, regardless of which group was pre-eminent. The liberal secular group would have been of no consequence. There were no liberal secular grounds for overthrowing the Assad regime, whose offence to the Opposition was that it was liberal secularist.rnrnThe ground for free party-political conflict within a liberal secular regime—which in effect is what is meant by "democracy" in Western usage—did not exist in Syria, and the overthrow of an existing liberal secular regime would have been a move in the opposite direction.rnrnBritish democracy has now blotted from its memory what its Syrian policy was a few years ago. And it is now busily dehumanising the Opposition to Assad, which it then supported, without revoking its demonisation of Assad.rnrnBut public unease about Shamima Begum really has very little to do with this aspect of the matter. What is disturbing is that an articulate English girl of Muslim background went to Syria to live as a housewife under Islamic Law, was content with that life until it was destroyed by external force, and only wants to come home because it has been destroyed.rnWas evil inherent in her, or was she 'groomed' into it? Was she 'radicalised' by a devilish programme of indoctrination, and if so can she be de-radicalised and indoctrinated back into the English prejudices of the moment? Because it cannot be—it must not be—that her decision to go and live under Islamic Law was rational, and her experience of it as good must have been perversion.rnAnd it is on those grounds that there has been free discussion of taking away her baby, should she return to England, to be brought up in a right-thinking English manner. Apparently, this has been done in other cases.rnrnShamima Begum's response to beheadings caused particular outrage. They were not in breach of Islamic Law, and she assumed that the authorities had sufficient reason for doing what they did. And is that not how the 'ordinary decent citizen'—about whom we heard so much from the BBC during the Northern Ireland War—regards actions by the authority which he sees as legitimate, even though others see them as self-evident atrocities?rnrnEngland has a strongly developed national culture. It worked at reinforcing that culture, even while asserting its dominance over a large part of the world. It compared itself with the Roman Empire, but it did not dissolve itself into its Empire, as Rome did. It was a nationalism with an Empire, and it became more nationalist as it became more democratic. It became increasingly incapable of seeing hat there was any valid way of life in the world but its own. The saying that was in common use not very long ago, that "The wogs begin at Calais", was one of those characteristically rueful English jokes that are not jokes at all. The word "wog" has been ruled out of order as inexpedient, but the sentiment is not less than it was when the word was OK.rnrnThe issue of Islam was given some consideration within British ruling circles in the late 19th century. There was a suggestion that it should be recognised as a major world culture and that provision should be made for its orderly continuation. But Christianist (i.e., Protestant) Messianism was still very strong in English culture—it was in fact coming into political power as a consequence of the Reform Acts—and therefore a course involving the destruction of Islam was adopted. rnIt was Germany that had a foreign policy conservative of the Ottoman Empire for the purpose of giving orderly expression to Islam as a necessary element in the culture of the world. And it was the opinion of some well-informed observers that this German policy towards Islam, which obstructed the extension of the British Empire across Arabia, was one of the reasons why Britain decided to make war on Germany.rnBritain conquered the Middle East region of the Ottoman state, began to construct it into an extension of the Indian Empire, but then changed its mind and set up a series of Arab nation-states which had no national foundations. It had, in the face of unexpectedly strong Turkish resistance, procured from the Islamic authorities in Mecca or Medina a declaration of Jihad against Turkey, while retaining the basic assumption that Islam was in the historical process of withering away.rnGroundless 'nation-states'—nation states with no prior history of nationalism—were set up to function under Imperial tutelage: British in Iraq, Jordan and Palestine, French in Syria. At the same time, the Saudi regime extended its territory over Mecca and Medina, and would have extended northwards if it had not been stopped by British machine-guns.rnSaudi Arabia is an Islamic State in the full sense. And it has the strength and prestige of being the only authentic Arab State, constructed by its own power. Imperialism has to live with it, but it is in no sense an Imperial contrivance. And the status of Western liberal condemnation of it is devalued by the fact that Western liberalism has repeatedly interfered by force to prevent any liberal regime from consolidating itself anywhere in the Arab world, the justification being that, though it is liberal and secular it is not governed through free party-conflict. Thus the only Arab state that is tolerated by the West is the Islamist theocracy.rnrnThere is of course a second religious fundamentalism in the Middle East that is not only tolerated by the West, but is actively supported by it: the Jewish State, Israel.rnBut Israel is a state conceived by the British Empire for its own purpose and given its foundation by the British Imperial administration. After thirty years of being supported and given life by Britain, it rebelled in 1947 and fought an all-out terrorist war against the British administration. The British Foreign Secretary of the time, Ernest Bevin, a Labour Trade Union boss, tried to check the Jewish rebellion, in order to implement the guarantees that had been given to the native population. He was condemned as an Anti-Semite by the Jewish-nationalist movement (Zionism) naturally enough. But the cry of Anti-Semitism was taken up by senior figures within the Labour Party and it was made impossible for Bevin to do anything but surrender to the Jewish terror campaign, the central event of which was the blowing up of a hotel—the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. rnThe immediate consequence of the British surrender was a massive ethnic-cleansing campaign against the Arab population in the territory awarded by the United Nations General Assembly, under combined Soviet and American influence, for the construction of a Jewish State. In addition, Arabs were driven out of Jerusalem, which the UN intended to be an international city.rnThe non-Jewish population of the territory allocated to Israel by the UN was reckoned to be far too large for a Jewish State to be constructed in it. It was possibly a minority of 49%, but may have been a majority. Anyway, it was heavily reduced very quickly, and Jewish military power was extended beyond the territory awarded by the UN. It was further extended after later Jewish military offensives, and conquered territory was subjected to Jewish colonisation. The process of colonisation continues. And Israel has refused to say where its final borders will lie. It will not define them short of the Biblical borders, so it seems that there is a lot of conquering and colonising still to be done before the Jewish nationalist impulse that gives life to Israel can rest.rnrnSupport for Palestinian resistance to the ongoing Jewish colonisation, which is dispossessing families and destroying a way of life, has now been declared to be Anti-Semitic by Jewish authorities. And even exact historical description of how the state of Israel was formed is now Anti-Semitic. The leader of the British Labour Party has refused to apply this definition of Anti-Semitism to Palestinians who are resisting Jewish occupation and oppression, and that is now cited as a valid reason for MPs to betray the mandate on which they were elected and seek to destabilise the Labour Party by highly-publicised splintering.rnrnThe Jews are not the only victims in the world, nor are they only victims. In the Middle East, to apply the dichotomy of victims and perpetrators that is applied to Germans, they are perpetrators. And they were perpetrators, with the backing of the British Empire, before Hitler came to power in Germany.rnBut everything that they do in this line—past, present and to come—is justified by reference to the "safe haven" that Nazism proved to be a necessity for them. However, the safe haven which enabled them to survive was not Israel. Palestine, a country occupied by another people on which they imposed themselves by conquest, was more in the nature of a death-trap in which they can only survive by means of absolute military supremacy over all neighbouring states. (They have been described as "the Prussians of the Middle East". This is grossly unfair to Prussia, but is a reasonable comparison in terms of what Prussian means in English propaganda usage.)rnrnThe safe haven which enabled them to survive the 2nd World War was Communist Russia. Stalin opened Russian borders to Jews from Eastern Europe at a crucial point, allowing free entry. And it was Communist Russia that supplied the arms for the 1947-8 "War of Liberation". But, once the state of Israel was securely established, it aligned itself with the United States and it declared Communist Russia to be a hotbed of Anti-Semitism, with Stalin the worst of all.rnStalin, in the emergency of late 1941, gave priority to the Jews. Two and a half million of them were transported eastwards out of reach of the German advance. If Stalin had a trace of Anti-Semitism in him, he need only have treated the Jews as Soviet citizens like any other and let them be. Instead of doing that, he diverted resources from the War in order to save them.rnIf he had just let them be, there would now be no Jewish Question, and no Anti-Semitic Problem, because the Jewish presence in the world is the presence of the millions saved by Stalin and their descendants, and what they were enabled to do with Soviet support after the War.rnrnThe world that is now so concerned about the Jews, and which looks for traces of Anti-Semitism everywhere with a microscope, absolutely refused to take them when they were facing extinction.rnrnActual genocides cause no bother at all in the world. Nobody batted an eyelid when Gladstone's lieutenant, Sir Charles Dilke, boasted in his best seller, Greater Britain, that the English (the Anglo-Saxons) were the greatest exterminators of peoples the world had seen. Why should they? He only stated the obvious.rnrnStalin prevented a genocide of the Jews. That is why we're still discussing Anti-Semitism.rnrnThe major Gentile work about the Jews published before the Great War was Karl Kautsky's Are the Jews A Race? The right answer to the question then was: No! The Jews were individuals with a particular religious belief which was of no political consequence. The word "race" was then used interchangeably with "nation". rnThere were some who argued that the Jews did have collective existence as a distinct nation to which they were loyal, and that they could not therefore simply be loyal citizens of the other nations amongst which they were dispersed. That was the Anti-Semitic position then.rnrnThere was a movement amongst the Jews which asserted that they did have collective existence as a nation. That was the Zionist movement. And the Zionists insisted that the Jews had national rights on Palestine where there was a Jewish State two thousand years ago, and that those rights were prior to the rights of the people who happened to be living in Palestine, even though they had been there continuously for centuries. rnIn 1917 Britain recognised the Jews as a nation, and by that act brought them into existence as a nation. Thereupon those who had been condemned as Anti-Semitic said: We told you so. And Britain further adopted the Zionist programme of making Palestine into a Jewish State. There is some ambiguity in the wording of the Balfour Declaration but Lloyd George, Churchill and others who had been involved in the making of the Declaration later said that the intended meaning was that Palestine was to become a Jewish State.rnIn the early 1930s, defending British suppression of Palestinian resistance to the Jewish colonisation, Churchill compared the Palestinians, the mere inhabitants of the territory, to "the dog in the manger".rnThe Balfour Declaration was adopted as a manoeuvre in the war against Germany. Its purpose was to turn the Jews against Germany, where they were feeling so much at home, and to bring the very considerable Jewish financial influence in the world—an Anti-Semitic thought nowadays—over to the British side.rnrnWhether, as a matter of fact, the Jews were an actual nation or not in 1914 is debatable. What the Balfour Declaration did, and its adoption by the League of Nations, and the establishment of the Jewish Agency as a political power in Palestine under the British administration, was increase the influence of the Zionist organisation in its ambition to hegemonise Jewry and make it nationalist.rnrnWhen the Jewish State was being established, there was a line of propaganda, designed to reassure Western opinion that its Jewishness would be merely nominal. But there were Jews at the time who said that, if the construction of a Jewish State proceeded, it would involve a revival of Jewish fundamentalism.rnOver the decades the Jewishness of the State has gradually become more pronounced. A qualitative change happened last year, when the right of Jews to insist on Arab-free neighbourhoods was legally recognised, reminding some people in Britain with long memories (which could recall the day before yesterday) of the racist assertion of the right not to have a nigger for a neighbour.rnThat was when the campaign against Anti-Semitism was broadened to include things which it had never included in the past, particularly the application of liberal-democratic standards to the criticism of Israel.rnrnThe recent extension of the meaning of Anti-Semitism to include factual description of the colonising activities, past and present, in Palestine, of the Jewish Nation that was officially constituted in world affairs by the British Empire as a war measure in 1917—and was then in 1919 set on course for colonising of the British conquest of Palestine—is somehow connected with the decision of the British electorate, when consulted by referendum, to withdraw from the European Union, as well as with Jewish race legislation introduced in Israel.rnThe flock of MPs which has resigned from the Labour Party on the grounds that it is institutionally racist and Anti-Semitic and that its leader is not sufficiently hostile to the Brexit decision of the electorate, seems to consist entirely of members of the Friends of Israel organisation, and also to be Blairite in sentiment. Its components seem to be opposed to party-politics. They say it is 20th century and we are in the 21st century. They find party discipline and party programmes alien to the spirit of the new age. And parties consist of people with a wide range of opinions who are always arguing with each other on behalf of their own shade of opinion. And that is not the kind of organisation that Chuka Umuna wants to be in. But it is, unfortunately, the kind of organisation that made democracy possible.rnThe alternative is a Leader and his following. And that is what the Labour Party was under the amazing leadership of Tony Blair.rnAt one moment during that leadership, the idea was held by the inner Blairite group that governing by plebiscite could be a good thing. The party was putty in their hands, but it was nevertheless a bit of a nuisance, so why not bypass it and establish a direct connection between the Leader and the people?rnrnBlair made a shambles of Iraq without even the fig leaf of a UN Resolution. And he did it in defiance of a million people demonstrating against doing it. But that was not why he fell. He won the next Election with Iraq having been reduced to a murderous ruin. The British electorate has never been much concerned about what its State does to foreign peoples.rnrnBlair fell because had made a deal with Gordon Brown that they should take turns at being Leader. Brown insisted on having his turn. He was not charismatic. Party life resumed. The Tories won an election. The Government was bothered by a minority group in the Party that was making a case for leaving the EU. It decided to close the question for the time being by putting it to the electorate in the form of a Referendum, which is not quite a Plebiscite, but close to it. It took it for granted that the electorate would vote according to its advice, supported by that of the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats. But it didn'trnrnThe populace voted against the elite. The elite denied that that was democratic and has been searching for ways to negate the Referendum.rnrnA good argument could be made that a Government decision made by the populace is not democratic. The populace in a market system is not like a flock of starlings that moves as a mass and steers itself. There is a Dialogue by Plato, which is rarely referred to, that puts the face that the famous Athens democracy was actually a disguised aristocracy. And British electoral democracy, the most functional in Europe, is a diluted form of the aristocracy that built the state and governed it for two centuries. The Prime Minister is the King. But the rather shabby post-aristocratic elite, whose function was usurped by the populace to which a basic decision of state was irresponsibly put, cannot argue the matter straightforwardly in those terms, which are the terms that lie behind the chicanery that is rife in British politics now.rnrnThe Brexit question was put to the populace, and the election of a Labour leader was put to the mass membership, and an 'extremist' was elected. He is an extremist because he remembers too much and forgets too little of what the British State has done to the world in recent times.rnHe remembers how Israel was founded within living memory, and he sees that its foundation is not a historic event that is over and done with, but is still a colonial work in progress. He will not condemn the victims of the Jews today as Antisemites or see the Jews only as having been victims a few generations ago, therefore he is an Antisemite. And yet he is in some respects an Islamophobe in agreement with those who denounce him as an Antisemite. He thinks that Shaman Begum should be prosecuted for the scandal she gave by going to anti-Assad Syria—the Syria from which the Tyrant had been excluded—just to live as a housewife under Islamic law.rnrnrnAnti-Semitism And Islamophobia. EditorialrnCathal Brugha And Brexit! Jack LanernBrexit needs to happen! Dave Alvey (February Brexit summary)rnReaders' Letters: History Of League Of Nations. Martin Manserghrn A Spooky British Fairy Tale: More Funny Than Grimm? Donal KennedyrnGodly Historians And God-Awful Revisionists. Donal KennedyrnLEST WE FORGET (3). Extracts from Irish Bulletin. This issue lists rn British Acts Of Aggression, 2nd May - 7 June 1919 (ed. Jack Lane)rnProfessor Cathal MacSwiney Brugha Speaks! Cathal MacSwiney BrugharnEs Ahora. Julianne Herlihy ( Clair Wills and the Story She Tells (Part 9) rnDessie O'Hagan—Some Memories. Wilson John HairernNorthern Ireland Under The Microscope! Colin Patrick Gleeson (Review of Pat Walsh's The Catholic Predicament In 'Northern Ireland')rnProtectionism And 'Alien Penetration'. Manus O'Riordan (Lemass In The De Valera Era, Part 5)rnBanking And Money Creation. Martin DolphinrnNAMA: A Pointer To The Future? Angela CliffordrnThe Russian Revolution. Brendan Clifford (Part 14)rnBiteback: History And Political Violence. Tom Cooper. Tom Partridge (reports)rnThe Green Flag Flew, And The Red Flag Flew… Manus O'RiordanrnBiteback: 'Should we stop building social housing?' Jim O'Sullivan (report)rnDoes It Stack Up? Michael Stack (Democracy—where has it gone?; National Children's Hospital)rnLabour Comment: The Friends of Small Nationalities. Irish Worker, 12 September, 1914rnrnrnrnBritain, Zionism And The Holocaust by John Smith. 32pp. €6, £5rnrnSerfdom Or Ethnic Cleansing? A British Discussion On Palestine. Churchill’s ‘Dog in the Manger’ Evidence to the Peel Commission (1937). Intro: Angela Clifford. 48pp. I€6, £5rnrnMemoirs Of My Jewish Great-Grandfather, Karl Holzer, with Reflections On The Fate Of A Jew/Arab Family by Angela Abukhalil-Clifford. Appendix examines the exodus of Arabs from Palestine in 1947-8, with maps. 144pp. Bibliography. Illustrations. €14, £11.50