4-25-02 - Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips: Why the Jews are always to blame


The Spectator 20 April 2002

Melanie Phillips says that the Israelis are victims of terror but are being portrayed as cold-hearted, fascist thugs It has come to something when the Sun becomes so alarmed at the firestorm of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hatred blazing daily out of the British media that it feels the need to
publish a full-page leading article telling its readers, 'The Jewish faith is not an evil religion'.

Not evil? Why should anyone even think such a vile thing? After all, aren't the Jews in Israel the victims of terror? Aren't they being blown to bits by suicide bombers who are deliberately targeting elderly Holocaust survivors at Passover Seders and children in pizza parlours? Haven't they suffered casualties that would be equivalent in Britain to some 4,000 dead and many thousands more injured since this intifada began in November 2000?

But Israel has committed a heinous crime. That crime is to seek to defend itself against the attempt to annihilate it. For this effrontery, a torrent of lies, distortions, libels, abandonment of objectivity and the substitution of malice and hatred for truth is pouring out of the British and European media and Establishment.

The authorised version, from which there is barely any deviation, goes as follows. The Palestinians, denied a homeland by Israel and understandably driven to terrorism in their despair, are now under murderous assault by Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, who is using the suicide bombings as an excuse to destroy the Palestinians.

This will understandably produce more suicide bombings; so, if more Israelis are blown to smithereens, it will be their own fault. Indeed, all this mayhem is their fault anyway because they won't negotiate. If only they would give the Palestinians what they want, the violence would end, and the world would be a safer place. As it is, the whole region may go up in flames, Israel included. That, too, will be Israel's fault.

The double standards, twisted history and hate-imbued moral blindness in this analysis defy belief. Imagine if a terror organisation camped out in, say, Wales, were sending suicide bombers into English towns and cities every day, murdering dozens of people every week and injuring thousands more. Would anyone seriously suggest that Tony Blair should not use the army to stop the killings but instead should negotiate the terrorists' demands while they continued to murder British citizens?

But for the British and European media, Israel doesn't do self-defence, apparently; it only does revenge and collective punishment. Because, hey, doesn't everyone know from their cradle that vengeance is the Jewish thing?

Thus the battle in Jenin was an Israeli massacre. The media know it happened because the Palestinians said so, and that must be true because everyone knows that Israel is awful and Sharon is a butcher and, oh yes, a Jewish Nazi. So they tell the world about the undoubted suffering in Jenin and the brutality of the Israelis, often without even recording the Israeli version of events. This was that Jenin was riddled with men ready and armed for suicide missions; the Israelis had offered the gunmen in Jenin safe passage if they surrendered, but the terrorists had booby-trapped their houses and were determined to make a deadly last stand.

The devastation in Jenin is indeed dreadful. But war is not pleasant. If terrorists hide among civilians, there will obviously be countless human tragedies; this is a war, however, not a massacre. If the Israelis had really wanted to kill Palestinians indiscriminately, they would have carpet-bombed them. Instead, they engaged in the tactic most dangerous to themselves - house-to-house searches. Some 23 Israeli soldiers died in Jenin, a grievous toll for this tiny country.

Israel, for all its faults, is a democracy and an open society. The Palestinian Authority is a corrupt despotism which has brainwashed its people into believing mediaeval blood libels against the Jews. But Western journalists and intellectuals automatically assume that the Israelis are telling lies. For everyone knows that the Israelis cannot be victims because they are always to blame.

In the same fashion, everyone knows that Chairman Arafat is not a terrorist. He is a statesman with the support of such world figures as EU commissioner Chris Patten. The worst Arafat is guilty of, according to Patten, is failing to denounce suicide bombings with sufficient vigour. Israel, by contrast, as a democracy 'contradicts much of what it stands for'. Dear me. So just what do Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority (PA ) stand for?

Many of the suicide bombings carried out in the last few weeks have been the work of outfits connected to Fatah, the PA's terror department. Israel has produced seized documents bearing Arafat's signature relating to payments for bombs made to men who they say were orchestrating suicide attacks. If anyone doesn't believe Israel, they should look at what the PA itself has said. In December 2000 Sakhr Habash, a Fatah official, told the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that the intifada was being orchestrated by Arafat. 'The leadership of the PA remained the source of authority, and it alone was the factor capable of leading the operations of the intifada throughout the homeland. I can say for certain that brother Abu-Ammar [Arafat] is the ultimate authority for all operations, and whoever thinks otherwise does not know what is going on....'

Even worse is the PA's incitement to children to become 'martyrs' and suicide bombers. It puts out sickening, mesmeric television appeals which glorify the sacrifice of children, urging them to come forward and blow themselves up, and their families are paid blood money for the terrorist deaths of their brainwashed children.

On the basis of such facts, Arafat should be put on trial as the fount of  terror. But of course we cannot expect our media to report such evidence. After all, has not the Nobel Peace Prize committee shown the proper response to Arafat's terrorism by calling not for Arafat but for Israel's former prime minister, Shimon Peres, to be deprived of the 1994 peace prize they shared? Clearly, for the Europeans, if suicide bombs are going off, the right response is to attack the victims.

The reason everyone gives for blaming Israel is the running sore of the West Bank and Gaza. There is no doubt that Israel has behaved badly to the Palestinians in these territories. It was wholly wrong to settle them; those settlements should have been dismantled and the territories returned years ago.

But the territories are a monumental diversion from the issue, which is that the Palestinians want the Jewish state destroyed. They do not want a 'two-state' solution. That was offered in 1948 and - with only a few brave exceptions - has been rejected by the Arabs from that time onwards. Their
demand for the 'right of return' of all Palestinians to Israel - in addition to their own state - which would destroy the Jewish homeland, makes that clear. Sakhr Habash has said, 'When we declare the establishment of a state and independence, we will have the right to liberate the rest of the
occupied land....' The leading Palestinian dove Faisal Husseini told the Egyptian daily Al-Arabi in July 2001 shortly before he died that the peace process was a 'Trojan horse' and that the long-term goal was 'the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea'.

The territories are not the issue, above all, because Israel did offer them back. At Camp David and then at Taba in 2000 Israel offered back some 96 per cent of the West Bank and Gaza, plus half of Jerusalem, a gesture widely agreed to be startlingly courageous.

The Palestinians claim that this still didn't amount to a viable state. But anyone negotiating in good faith would have presented an alternative peace proposal. Instead, Arafat responded by starting the intifada and unleashing the suicide bombers. Imad Al-Faluji, the PA communications minister, was reported on more than one occasion as saying that the intifada was a premeditated response to the Palestinians' failure to achieve their goals at Camp David.

But everyone knows that giving back the territories would bring peace. Just as they knew that when Israel withdrew from Lebanon there would be peace there because Sharon was to blame then too, big time. So Israel withdrew and what has been the result? Armed by Iran (from whom a shipment of arms was intercepted en route to the non-terrorist Arafat), Hezbollah now has 8,000
Katyusha rockets trained on Israel's northern towns, and has been lobbing mortars at Israeli targets.

Have the media acknowledged this? Did they report the fact that journalists had to flee for their lives after trying to take footage of Palestinians who had been shot and strung up as Israeli collaborators? Did they report that ambulances were being used to harbour terrorists? Did they report that the Palestinian 'victims' holed up in the Church of the Nativity had shot the locks off the church and desecrated it by taking it and its inhabitants hostage? Did they report Israel's list of the terrorists in that church? Of course not; because everyone knows that whatever terrible deeds the Palestinians commit, it's always the Israelis who are to blame.

There is a widespread view that the Middle East impasse has to be solved before the assault on terror can proceed. This is precisely the wrong way round. There will be no prospect of the Palestinians making peace until their terrorist sponsors in Iran, Iraq and Syria are dealt with.

Israel's incursions are said to have inflamed Arab grievances and made terror attacks more likely. When the Americans launched their attack on al-Qa'eda, their action was conceived as an attack on Islam, thus justifying further outrages. So it is with the Palestinians. They view Israeli self-defence as an unjustified assault. The response of Britain and Europe is not to acknowledge that this is a monstrous inversion of moral reasoning but to agree that such self-defence is an act of brutality.

This is in part because the mind-twisting of the terrorist feeds the moral confusion of the West's corrupted liberal orthodoxy. This sees a moral equivalence between terror and measures to protect against it. Believing there is no such thing as truth, it embraces lies instead and cannot distinguish victims from their victimisers. And, of course, Israelis can't be victims because they have the power of America behind them. After all, everyone knows that the Jews run America.

The facts are, as ever, somewhat different. The Jews are merely one lobby among many. The biggest and most uncritical American supporters of Israel are the evangelical Christians. America gives as much aid to Arab states such as Egypt as it does to Israel. The biggest funder of the PA is
Commissioner Patten's EU. Does he ever stop to ponder the fact that this has funded the guns and explosives with which the PA is murdering Israeli families? Of course not; because Commissioner Patten knows that Israel is to blame.

The view that America is run by Jews is a classic anti-Semitic trope. And here comes the really vicious bit: just as everyone knows Arafat cannot be a terrorist, so everyone also knows that the Jews always start whingeing about anti-Semitism to cover up their own misdeeds. A.N. Wilson has told us so in the Evening Standard. Indeed, he mused, he was no longer sure that he was against terrorism at all. Because, after all, it was Israel that was committing the 'wilful' burning of church buildings and massacring the innocent.

For the real crime of Israel is this: to have fought back. Jews aren't supposed to do this. They are supposed to go passively to their deaths. If the Jews do fight, they should lose. What they must never do is to win.

People who think that the Jews are all-powerful cannot imagine that Israel could ever be destroyed. But it is all too possible. Continuous terror through suicide bombing - the weapon that tears up the rules of human behaviour - could so demoralise it, cripple its economy and sap its military strength that it could finally become vulnerable to the Arab states that have always wanted it gone. An armed Palestinian state imposed by Chris Patten's EU would then really be revealed as a Trojan horse.

But if all those who believe the Jews run America really think that the world would be better off if only those dreadful Jews would kindly disappear, they should think again. For radical Islam, the West is next on the list.

The question is whether the West will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel in its war against terror or whether it will side with terror against it. At present the signs are ominous. The leitmotiv of the state of Israel, forged after the world looked the other way from the Holocaust, is 'never again'.
The West has now given its response: 'Yes, again'; and if they are destroyed, the Jews, as ever, will be to blame.

Melanie Phillips is a Daily Mail columnist.