Phyllis Chesler Interviews Carol Gould

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Insanity Descends..
Last uploaded : Wednesday 15th Nov 2006 at 04:03
Contributed by : Carol Gould


There are times when one senses a kind of madness is descending on the country of one’s domicile. This is one of those occasions.

This past week saw the conviction of Dhiren Barot, an Indian-born, British-based terrorist who had been planning a series of horrific attacks in the United States and United Kingdom. The British intelligence services had been trailing Barot, a convert to Islam, for years and their success in this operation was admirable. (Am I the only person to see a tiny whiff of whimsy in this story? His name swapped around spells ‘Borat.‘)

One day later the head of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, was cleared of charges that he had promoted racial hatred in a speech in a pub where an undercover BBC reporter had recorded his pronouncements about the downside of Islam.

No sooner had Griffin been cleared than every pundit in Britain, and even the BBC reporter who had covered the case, was pontificating about the appalling state of Her Majesty’s empire that such a scurrilous character as Griffin could be allowed to go scot-free. It was mooted that the government would ‘urgently explore new legislation to curb religious and racial hatred.’ The disappointment that Nick Griffin had gone free was palpable on the faces of the usual crop of social commentators wheeled out on various television stations.

Then along came the next news story: Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of MI5, in a rare public announcement, informed the nation that there are at least thirty horrifying terror plots being hatched on the UK mainland and being tracked, whilst 1,600 serious terrorists are roaming our streets. It occurred to me that if the ‘urgent legislation’ reported by the BBC to be imminent had already been in place, the British public would not have been able to learn about the terror threat and Dame Eliza might have been arrested for stirring up incitement against Muslims!

No sooner had I absorbed this bizarre sequence of events than I opened my mail to find an urgent call to members of my union, the National Union of Journalists, asking us to endorse the idea of censuring journalists who use terms that denigrate Muslims and encourage Islamophobia. Journalists who will report their colleagues to the union or to law enforcement authorities will be performing a virtuous deed.

Here is my answer to this absurd union action: when Yigal Amir assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, reporters across the globe described him as a ‘Jewish extremist;’ a ‘Right wing terrorist’ and a ‘Religious Jewish radical.’ One of my colleagues even described Prime Minister Rabin himself as a ‘1948 terrorist.’

Did Jews across the world come out and sue the reporters for anti-Semitism? Did governments pass laws prohibiting the use of ‘Jewish terrorist’ or ‘Jewish extremist?’ No, and if another ‘Jewish extremist’ did a deed of evil I would report it as stated: Jewish. Terrorist.

Will the NUJ next prohibit British journalists from reporting Sudan’s Janjawid killing and rape squads as Muslims?

The insanity went marching on this week: no sooner had the Democrats done well in the midterm Congressional elections and Donald Rumsfeld dismissed than Tony Blair was schmoozing the Hitler of the Middle East, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and his cohort Bashir al Assad of Syria. The Iranian President wants to annihilate Israel but considering the recent tone of some British writers, Muslim and non-Muslim, that scenario seems a popular ambition.

Add to this lethal mix the ‘ethnic cleansing Israelis’ scenario promulgated by the liberal British media. The unfortunate Israeli military misfiring into Beit Hanoun last week resulted in eighteen civilian fatalities, and Israel quickly apologised. ( Have Hamas, Hezbollah, or Islamic Jihad ever apologised for slaughtering civilians in pizza parlours and colleges and nightclubs inside Israel?) The thousands of people marching in rage, encouraged by the proclamations of outrage across the world, made one wonder how oppressed the Palestinians really are.

I was transfixed watching endless streams of energetic women all clad in the same white scarf and black jilbab, and thousands of equally energetic young men in smart leather gear and carrying all manner of weaponry. If they are starving, where does the money come from for such splendid marches? Is Tony Blair’s new pal Ahmadinejad perhaps helping out ? The United Nations Security Council voted to condemn Israel but where is the UN whilst the Muslim Janjawid mass-rape and murder the indigenous Africans in Sudan?

Blair wringing his hands over Iran and Syria was a form of insanity. On the same day he made his speech about reaching out to the Axis of Evil, Benjamin Netanyahu was crossing America pleading with its citizens to understand how perilously close the Middle East is to annihilation. He stressed the dangers posed by Iran not just to Israel and the region but to Europe and the entire Western world.

Netanyahu’s clear and realistic warning that Iran is the same entity as was the Third Reich in 1938 is in stark contrast to the newest Blair Agenda. It is notable that the British Liberal Democrat party, whose claim to fame is the Israel-hating Jenny Tonge MP, was pleased by Blair’s overture to the Iranians and Syrians.

Added to this Cocktail of Insanity that is Britain Today is the scurrilous article by Johann Hari in ‘The Independent’ of 13 November in which he enumerates the occasions on which Israel has committed ‘ethnic cleansing’ since 1948. He even suggests that Jewish soldiers, fresh out of concentration camps, had delusions that Arabs were Nazi-sympathisers. Well, Johann, time for you to read some history and learn that thousands of viscerally-Jew-hating Arabs flocked to fight alongside the Germans and that the Grand Mufti had an office in Nazi Germany.

In the same newspaper a few weeks ago Robert Fisk provided an angry look at ‘O, Jerusalem,’ a new film about the birth of the Jewish State. He also enumerated the litany of crimes committed by murderous, raping Jewish fighters in 1948. Both journalists use Ilan Pappe and other self-hating Israelis to justify their criticisms of Israel. What is so interesting about this obsessive hatred of Jewish aspirations is that it dominates the British media way out of proportion to the events occurring in other violent and truly murderous corners of the world.

This brings me back to the issue of journalists being accused of defaming Muslims and the police being given greater powers to prosecute anyone who speaks out about religious extremism. I may hate what Fisk and Hari write but respect their rights as fellow journalists to rant about the wicked Jews. What I fear is new legislation from the British government and edicts from my union that stop the uniquely British and rich public discourse that is characterised in places as diverse as Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park and the pages of Hansard.

If MPACUK, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, can continue to fill pages and pages of often distorted and extreme vitriol about ‘Zionists’ from its offices in middle England without censure, then Nick Griffin can rant about Islam.

Nothing must interfere with freedom of speech. Period.

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