Tuesday, July 19, 2005

60 years after World War II, history is repeating itself

As the generation who lived through World War II gradually die off, one wonders whether their grandchildren and great-grandchildren will learn from history. Alas, the last couple of weeks have proved that even the baby boomers have forgotten.

As the reaction of politicians and "experts" to the London bombings has shown, the culture of appeasement is alive and well. A respected think tank, Chatham House recently concluded that the war in Iraq contributed to the terrorist attacks.

And many of our public figures have become overnight experts in theology declaring: "Islam is a religion of peace". Such statements can sound rather hollow to Jews, having been oppressed for two millennia by "the religion of love" (Christianity). Whether you like it or not, the way people perceive a religion largely depends on the behaviour of its adherents. And when a poll in the Guardian last year revealed that 13% of British Muslims supported further terror attacks against the United States, some of us were more than a little concerned.

Unfortunately, many of our "experts" conform to the excuse culture, where everything can be explained away by "grievances". It can be summed up as: "If people do bad things, it's because we must have done something bad to them". Take Madeleine Bunting in the Guardian: "One of the things they (the bombers) brought with them was the perception of a long history of dispossession and marginalisation.” This “narrative of dispossession” was made worse in the recessions of the Seventies and Eighties. And then, she added: “The more recent oppression and humiliation of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan would have resonated powerfully with these collective memories of Yorkshire Muslims . . .” Kashmir, Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, unemployment, recession, Islamaphobia, you name it, there's aways an excuse. At least Tony Blair has had the courage to stand up to this nonsense. In a recent speech to the Labour party, he said:

If it is the plight of the Palestinians that drives them, why, every time it looks as if Israel and Palestine are making progress, does the same ideology perpetrate an outrage that turns hope back into despair?

If it is Afghanistan that motivates them, why blow up innocent Afghans on their way to their first ever election? If it is Iraq that motivates them, why is the same ideology killing Iraqis by terror in defiance of an elected Iraqi government?

What was September 11, 2001 the reprisal for? Why even after the first Madrid bomb (in March 2004) and the election of a new Spanish government, were they planning another atrocity when caught?

In our political culture, only a white Christian (or Jew) can be an opressor. If a Muslim kills 21 people on an underground train, it's because they have "grievances", and the worse the crime, the more legitimate the grievance.

In Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's book, "Hitler's Willing Executioners", the author demonstrates that Nazism wasn't just an isolated event or a by-product of the politics of the time, but the result of institutionalised anti-semitism, even amongst philo-semites, and a willingness of the Jews to tolerate it.

Similarly today, many in our establishment are willing to look the other way whilst Jihadists fan the flames of extremism. They ignore the fact that the terrorists have no interest in political compromise, (Hamas are committed to the destruction of the State of Israel), or that Islamists revel in the killing of non-Muslims. You rarely see Guardian columnists write about church bombings in Pakistan, or of the treatment of Christians in Saudi Arabia.

Most Muslims are peaceful, law abiding people, but they have for too long tolerated a belief in good and bad terrorists. It doesn't help that this belief is being endorsed by our liberal establishment and even the Metropolitan Police who have helped to fund the visit of Professor Tariq Ramadan to a Muslim Conference in the UK. Tariq Ramadan who is banned from the US because of his support for terrorism has said that car bombings against the Americans were justified because "Iraq was colonised by the Americans. Resistance against the army is just." If these are the views of a moderate than God help us!

The people who kill American troops are the same people who murder Shias, and if you're willing to murder Shias, killing a few Brits on an underground train isn't going to bother you.