Thursday, March 08, 2007

Do not appease hatred

(The article below is by Melanie Phillips. You can hear her answering criticisms in a radio interview here)

LONDONISTAN is a term of abuse coined by the French for a Britain that has allowed itself to become the European hub of al-Qa’ida. To me, it’s also a state of mind, when people not only seek to appease but come to believe and absorb the ideas and assumptions of the enemy that intends to destroy them writes Melanie Phillips

It’s a state of mind that applies not just to Britain but throughout the West, where people refuse to face up to the reality of the jihad because they can’t bring themselves to accept what must follow.

It’s so much easier to take refuge in alternative explanations, particularly ones that blame themselves for their own victimisation. And just as they embrace their enemies, so they turn against their allies.

In Britain, the mainstream view is that Israel is the cause of the world’s problems. People believe Israel is the cause of Islamic hatred of the West, global terror and world instability, and that the Jews are putting them directly at risk. They believe Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians is the cause of Islamist rage; that the US was attacked on 9/11 only because it supported Israel; and that the only reason Britain is at risk from Islamist terror is because it supported the US in the Iraq war.

This rampant hatred of the US and Israel has come to dominate and distort political debate.

It was hysteria over Israel’s conduct of the Lebanon war last summer that forced Tony Blair out of office earlier than he had intended to go. Indeed, sometimes it seems that Britain has turned into a latter-day Salem, with Israel, the US and their defenders the latter-day witches to be thrown to the flames.

Everything that happens is seen through the prism of this perceived conspiracy by Americans and Jews recklessly to put the world at risk in pursuit of their own interests. So Iran’s threat to commit genocide against Israel, and its race to obtain the nuclear weapons to put this often repeated threat into practice, is dismissed as mere rhetoric and instead the biggest threat is perceived to be an attack by the US against Iran.

There is a persistent refusal to accept that we are in the throes of a holy war waged on the Western world for more than 25 years without our even recognising it because it doesn’t fit our definition of war. It is a world war being fought in many disparate theatres with many proximate causes, but all with one single coherent aim: to defeat Western civilisation, establish Islam as the dominant power in the world and restore the medieval caliphate.

We can see the outcome: in the daily violence in the French suburbs, sanitised by the French Government but described by French police as a permanent intifada; in the similar violence in Belgium; in the murder of Theo van Gogh in The Netherlands and the terrorisation of Dutch politicians who speak out; and in the global riots, kidnappings and murders after the re-publication of the Danish Mohammed cartoons.

Yet little of this is reported and, when it is, it is generally presented as the fault of those being terrorised. Thus the French riots are blamed on French prejudice towards immigrants; the cartoon riots on media insensitivity towards Muslim feelings; and moves by the ultra-liberal Dutch or the Danes to ban the burka or restrict immigration as racism or xenophobia.

People have short memories. They think Islamist terrorism started with 9/11. But the jihad against us started back in 1979, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini established his theocracy in Iran and declared his intention to wage war on the West and subjugate it to Islam. At the time, we weren’t listening. But this ignited political Islamism across the world, gave rise to the rival Wahabi version in Saudi Arabia, ushered in a procession of terror attacks against Western interests throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, and exported Islamic theocratic rule as a global project.

At the same time, Britain and Europe experienced a mass influx of Muslims as the borders opened and the poor south migrated en masse to the north. The problem is that, unlike other immigrant groups, successive generations of Muslims have failed to integrate and instead try to colonise their host countries.

People are rightly concerned not to tar all Muslims with the brush of Islamist conquest. Indeed, many Muslims in Britain and across the world are deeply opposed to the jihad; Muslims are its most numerous victims. That’s why I use the term Islamism, to distinguish those who believe in Islamic conquest from those who merely draw on Islam for spiritual sustenance. But at same time, it is false to deny that Islamism is the dominant force in the Muslim and Arab world, false to deny that it is radicalising millions of Muslims in the West, and false to deny the huge inroads it has made into Western society through this pincer movement of terrorism and cultural pressure.

For instance, opinion polls suggest that 40 per cent to 60 per cent of British Muslims would like to live under sharia law in Britain; almost one-quarter say the 7/7 bombings in London can be justified because of the war on terror; and nearly half think 9/11 was a conspiracy between the US and Israel. Why is Britain getting all this so grievously wrong? Briefly, it’s because for decades its intelligentsia and political class have hollowed out British identity and values, creating a vacuum that is being exploited by radical Islamism. Britain has not only lost belief in itself as a nation but European liberals have turned against the very idea of the nation itself.

Rooted in the particulars of history, religion, law, language and tradition, the nation is seen as the cause of all the ills of the world, from prejudice to war.

So Britain’s own culture has had to give way to multiculturalism. And this is the core of the muddle that is paralysing us. Because many people think multiculturalism is all about showing respect and tolerance to other cultures and faiths. Well, we should all support respect and tolerance. But that’s not what multiculturalism is at all. The doctrine of multiculturalism holds that all minority values must have equal status to those of the majority. Any attempt to uphold majority values over minorities is a form of prejudice. That turns minorities into a cultural battering ram to destroy the very idea of majority culture at all.

A liberal, tolerant society - which is what Britain once was - welcomes and respects minorities. But the deal since the Enlightenment invented tolerance has been that, while the state makes no demands on minorities practising their faith and culture in the private sphere, minorities make no demands that the state adopt their own practices. Minorities do their own thing, but where their values conflict with the bedrock values of majority culture - freedom of speech, monogamy, women’s rights - they must give way.

Many Muslims do not accept this. And multiculturalism gives them the muscle to insist that their practices must become mainstream. That’s why in Britain we have areas under the informal parallel jurisdiction of sharia law and growing pressure for it to become incorporated into mainstream British society.

But precepts such as polygamy, the subordination of women or the death penalty for apostates or gays are totally inimical to Western society.

It is only if we act against the ideology that is spreading falsehood and hatred, and stop its advance under the umbrella of minority rights, that we have any chance of defending the free world. That means - while showing respect to Muslims who derive only spiritual sustenance from their faith - reasserting Western values and resisting any attempt to subvert them. It also means facing down in public the lies spread about the West.

Only if we stop deluding ourselves and take such action necessary for our survival will we stop sleepwalking to defeat.


Australia's great Leftist fraud

A much acclaimed but very strange far-Left historian -- Leninist in looks and Leninist in sympathies. Towards the end of his life he was a great Australian Labor Party hero. The article below scrambles to put an acceptable face on his demonstrable dishonesty. No conservative would be treated so indulgently. But truth has never concerned Leftists much, of course. Reality-denial is an essential part of being a Leftist. They even admit openly that for them "There is no such thing as truth". More background on Clarke here

As an old man looking back on his life, Manning Clark claimed to have seen with his own eyes the horrors of Kristallnacht. Witnessing this notorious Nazi pogrom changed his life, said Clark, and made him the historian he was. It became the most famous story of a great storyteller. "I happened to arrive at the railway station at Bonn am Rhein on the morning of Kristallnacht," he told the poet John Tranter in 1987. "That was the morning after the storm-troopers had destroyed Jewish shops, Jewish businesses and the synagogues. Burned them and so on . I saw the fruits of evil, of human evil, before me there on the streets of Bonn."

But Clark was not there that day. The historian's biographer, Mark McKenna, reveals this week in The Monthly that Clark did not reach Nazi Germany for another fortnight. The person who saw the broken glass and smoking synagogues on that morning in November 1938 was the woman Clark was to marry. "It was Dymphna Lodewyckx, not Manning Clark, who witnessed the immediate aftermath of Kristallnacht."

It's not a small point. In the last dozen years of his life, Clark told the story on radio, on television and in newspapers. He wrote a most moving version in his memoirs: "Dymphna was there on the platform at the Bonn railway station when I stepped off the train early in the morning of 8 November, 1938. We walked in ecstasy up the stairs of the Bonn railway station, out of the darkness below into the light. We were in for a rude shock. It was the morning after Kristallnacht."

McKenna was shaken by the discovery that Clark could not have been there that morning to see the wreckage that foretold the Holocaust. But there was no doubt about it. Working on the Clark family papers last year, McKenna found a letter Dymphna Lodewyckx had written from Bonn to Manning Clark in Oxford a couple of days after these events describing the smashed shops, the ruined synagogue and a rabbi's house in flames: "The violence was over when I came - but the crowds were everywhere - following the smiling SS men, children shouting in excitement, grown-ups silent ."

At first McKenna thought he had made a mistake. "Like many others, I had taken Clark at his word. I had even quoted the Kristallnacht story in my published work. I reread Dymphna's letter carefully, checked Clark's diary entries, and saw that it was impossible for Clark to have been in Bonn on the morning of 10 November. As his own diary confirms, he did not arrive in Bonn until 26 November."

This revelation is bound to reignite the controversies that have blazed around Australia's most famous historian since Clark emerged in the late 1970s as a public defender of the Whitlam government. These attacks culminated in 1999 in an eight-page "investigation" in Brisbane's The Courier-Mail condemning the historian as a communist, an agent of influence and perhaps a Soviet spy. That attack collapsed in derision [according to whom? The facts reported were not challeged, only their interpretation], but the 16 years since Clark's death have seen continuing questioning - both academic and political - of his sweeping six-volume narrative of Australian history, and of the quirky persona he created for himself of the Old Testament prophet in a battered Akubra.

Even so, Clark remains the nation's most influential historian. McKenna's biography, due for publication next year by Melbourne University Press, is one of at least two under way. Presenting his Kristallnacht discovery for the first time to an academic conference last year, McKenna had no doubt the historian set out to deceive. "I am convinced that Clark chose deliberately to place himself on the streets of Bonn, knowing full well that he was not there. This was Clark's inner lie. But he had also told the story in public, and traded on his audience's trust in him as a historian."

McKenna asked: "Does this make Clark a fraud?" His answer then was yes and no: while inventing the details of that morning said a great deal about Clark's self-dramatising character, McKenna didn't doubt for a moment that what Clark learnt of the pogrom and what he saw of its aftermath a few weeks later had the profound impact he always claimed. McKenna writes: "In this sense, there is no fabrication."

But in a chunk of the biography published this week in The Monthly, McKenna has taken a big step back from his original allegation of deliberate deceit. "I believe that the older Manning Clark did possess some awareness of the fact that he was not present on the morning after Kristallnacht," he writes. "But to claim to know the extent to which he was conscious of it is to claim to know the inner depths of his mind." [Can conservatives use that defence too?] The fallible memory of an old man must not be ruled out, argues McKenna. "I know I can never recover what he truly remembered, the memory of his inner voice, the voice only he heard."

But McKenna, a fellow in history at Sydney University, acknowledges the big problem for Clark is the retelling of the Kristallnacht story in the 1990 autobiography A Quest for Grace. Here Clark quotes other letters of his and other diary entries from those months in 1938. "It seems highly unlikely," McKenna told the Herald, "that Manning did not see the letter that showed quite clearly that Dymphna was there the morning after Kristallnacht and not him."

The historian's son, The Australian Financial Review journalist Andrew Clark, has told the Herald, "Mr McKenna has discovered what he believes is a discrepancy in the dates of my father's visit to Bonn . He is not contesting that my father visited my mother in Bonn after Kristallnacht, just the precise date of his arrival." He argued that the fact his father was recalling events 40 or 50 years in the past "goes some way in explaining any alleged discrepancy in dates".

Clark faults McKenna for not providing readers with a full context of those events. "If he had done so, readers would have known that at the alleged time of my father's arrival in Bonn, the Nazis' murderous acts against Jews was still in evidence." He regrets McKenna did not speak to him: "Not because I am my father's son, but because I had extensive conversations with my late mother about this period, conversations which vividly confirmed the enormous impact this evil act . had on my father."

If another round of the so-called Culture Wars is to be fought over Manning Clark's reputation, this piece of operatic scene setting - "both romantic and tragic", writes McKenna, "like Verdi doing Shakespeare" - will be the focus of renewed and perhaps savage controversy. Had Clark forgotten he was not there? Had his wife's memories become his own in a 50-year marriage? Was he mischievously pulling our legs? Or was he setting out to deceive? McKenna is hoping for a nuanced discussion of his discoveries, not one that simply slams Clark's credibility. "He created himself as a myth, cultivating a theatrical persona of the people's priest and sage, telling history as parable. And as the Kristallnacht epiphany reveals, the moral of the parable always mattered more than the facts." [An historian for whom facts do not matter??]



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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