Guardian staff journalist exposed as member of extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir

July 18, 2005

* Guardian journalist in Islamic website: “We will have to run an Islamic state which must lead the world, economically, militarily and politically”
* London’s mayor Ken Livingstone: Is he a terrorist puppet?
* The BBC’s extremist guests

 

CONTENTS

1. “‘Guardian’ man revealed as hardline Islamist” (Independent on Sunday, July 17, 2005)
2. “Glorifying the Radicals” (Editorial, Wall Street Journal Europe, July 18, 2005)
3. “London’s mayor: A terrorist puppet?” (Los Angeles Times, July 15, 2005)
4. “Why blame the terrorists? Apparently we can agree that it’s Britain’s fault” (Times of London, July 15, 2005)

 


[Note by Tom Gross]

GUARDIAN STAFF JOURNALIST SUPPORTER OF ISLAMIC STATE

It has been revealed that a Guardian staff reporter Dilpazier Aslam, is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the radical Muslim organization which seeks to form a global Islamic state regulated by sharia law. These allegations first appeared on “The Daily Ablution” weblog, and appeared in print for the first time yesterday in the Sunday edition of Britain’s left-leaning Independent newspaper. Speculation is mounting that it may have been a sting by Hizb ut-Tahrir to infiltrate the mainstream media. Hizb ut-Tahrir is outlawed in nearly every country it operates in, such as in Germany and Holland, but not in Britain.

Today the Guardian confirmed Aslam’s membership of Hizb ut-Tahrir, but said they are sticking by their reporter. It is unlikely they would do so, if one of their reporters was a member of the far right British National Party.

The Guardian said that Aslam was employed to increase ethnic diversity within the newsroom. In 1994 Richard Gott, a veteran Guardian journalist, was forced to resign as literary editor of the Guardian (after initially being defended by the paper) after he was unmasked as a former Soviet KGB agent.

ADVOCATING A WORLD ISLAMIC STATE - MILITARILY AND POLITICALLY

Before being hired by The Guardian, Aslam worked at Khalifa.com where he had co-authored an article telling Muslims, among other things, that “we will have to run an Islamic state which must lead the world, economically, militarily and politically.”

It is particularly ironic that The Guardian ran a comment piece last Wednesday by Aslam packed with extremist opinion about the London bombs and effectively defending the actions of the perpetrators, when another Guardian journalist, David Foulkes – a 22-year-old Guardian trainee from Manchester who had just started his training with the paper – was one of the victims, dying in the underground train bomb explosion at Edgware Road.

THE BBC: GIVING MUCH OF ITS AIRTIME TO THE EXTREMISTS

In its editorial today (written by a long-time subscriber to this email list, and attached below), The Wall Street Journal Europe criticizes much of the mainstream media and politicians for “Glorifying the Radicals”. The Journal also urges Muslim clerics in Britain to follow the example of their Spanish colleagues by issuing a fatwa against Al Qaeda, as Spanish Imams did following the Madrid bombing.

The Wall Street Journal also criticizes the BBC today for inviting on as its “respectable” experts on Islam, the most extreme voices such as Azam Tamimi of the Muslim Association of Britain. As the Journal points out, the BBC failed to tell viewers that Tamimi is a former spokesman for the extremist Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, and that he has repeatedly glorified Palestinian suicide bombers for murdering Israelis. The BBC also invited as its guest commentator Asghar Bukhari, chief executive of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, who backs Tamimi without reservations.

As is par for the course when its guests are attacking Israel or America, the BBC presenter barely challenged either guest.

MAYOR KEN LIVINGSTONE AND SHEIK YOUSEF QARDAWI

Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London who is a member of Tony Blair’s ruling Labour party, is coming under criticism in Britain and beyond for having embraced the advocates of suicide bombing last year and of “glorifying the radicals”. I have detailed this in previous dispatches. My dispatch titled London’s mayor still refuses to apologize for “Nazi remark” (February 18, 2005) also charts how “Red Ken” had refused to apologize after calling an Evening Standard reporter (who is Jewish) “a concentration camp guard”.

In March 2005, Livingstone, in a comment piece he wrote for The Guardian, accused Israel of being responsible for anti-Semitism and said that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is a “war criminal who should be in prison.”

The Los Angeles Times article (attached below) criticizes Livingstone’s welcoming of Sheik Yousef Qaradawi to London. Last year Qaradawi told the BBC that suicide bombings by Palestinians were “martyrdom in the name of God”. Mayor Livingstone then called the Sheik a man of “moderation and tolerance”.

THE BBC: MODEL FOR THE INFAMOUS MINISTRY OF TRUTH IN GEORGE ORWELL’S NINETEEN EIGHTY FOUR

The final article below takes a critical look at why many British opinion-formers are blaming Britain – rather than terrorists who claim to act in the name of Islam – for the attacks of July 7. The writer of that piece, Gerard Baker, of the Times of London, becomes the latest journalist to mention the “BBC’s now infamous decision to eliminate retroactively the word ‘terrorism’ from its coverage of last week’s bombings” – a revelation first made in print by my article “The BBC discovers ‘terrorism,’ briefly” a week ago in The Jerusalem Post.

Baker writes: “The BBC was supposedly the model for the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and I can’t think of a better recent example of pure Orwell than this painstaking effort at rewriting the verbal record to fit in with linguistic orthodoxy. The BBC clearly intends that a heretical thought should, by careful editorial nurturing and rigid enforcement of the ‘guidelines’, become literally unthinkable.”

There are summaries of these articles first for those who don’t have time to read them in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

‘GUARDIAN’ MAN REVEALED AS HARDLINE ISLAMIST

“‘Guardian’ man revealed as hardline Islamist” (By Shiv Malik, The Independent on Sunday, July 17, 2005)

The Guardian newspaper is refusing to sack one of its staff reporters despite confirming that he is a member of one of Britain’s most extreme Islamist groups.

Dilpazier Aslam, who has been allowed to report on the London bombings from Leeds and was also given space to write a column in last Wednesday’s edition of The Guardian, is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical world organisation which seeks to form a global Islamic state regulated by sharia law.

It is understood that staff at The Guardian were unaware that Mr Aslam was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir until allegations surfaced on “The Daily Ablution”, a blog run by Scott Burgess. Speculation is mounting that it may have been a sting by Hizb ut-Tahrir to infiltrate the mainstream media.

Late on Friday The Guardian released a statement to The Independent on Sunday saying: “Dilpazier Aslam is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organisation which is legal in this country. We are keeping the matter under review.” The paper refused to comment further.

In 2001 Mr Aslam wrote in the group’s in-house journal, Khilafah, that: “The establishment of Khilafah [an Islamic state] is our only solution, to fight fire with fire, the state of Israel versus the Khilafah State”…

At the end of the piece readers were not told that Mr Aslam was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, only that he was a “trainee journalist”. Though Hizb ut-Tahrir is a legal organisation in this country, the group is outlawed in nearly every other country it operates in, including Germany and Holland. It is thought to have between 2,000 and 3,000 members in the UK...

 

GLORIFYING THE RADICALS

“Glorifying the Radicals” (Editorial, The Wall Street Journal Europe, July 18, 2005)

... Instead of shunning Islamic radicals, many in the mainstream media and political establishment present them as moderates and repeat their justifications for terrorism. The London attacks produced only a brief moment of polite restraint. By Wednesday, less than a week after the July 7 bombings in London that claimed 55 lives, the Guardian apparently had no second thoughts about publishing an article by Dilpazier Aslam, one of its trainee journalists. In it, Mr. Aslam argued that the British have no right to be shocked by the attacks since that would, “suggest that the bombings happened through no responsibility of our own.”

... Last Thursday, the BBC invited Azam Tamimi of the Muslim Association of Britain to present a film about what he considers to be the reasons for the terrorist attacks. In the film, Mr. Tamimi interviews young British Muslims ostensibly angry about Iraq and Palestine and concludes that the way to prevent this “killing of the innocents for the sins of the guilty,” is to change Britain’s foreign policy.

During the subsequent panel discussion, Mr. Tamimi, a former spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, repeated his previous glorifications of Palestinian suicide bombers, but insisted that supporting such attacks could not possibly encourage British Muslims to do the same in the U.K. The BBC presenter, Gavin Esler, only feebly challenged Mr. Tamimi’s support for murdering Jews in Israel. Instead, he gave the last word on this matter to Asghar Bukhari, chief executive of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, who promptly backed Mr. Tamimi without reservations. “I couldn’t agree more,” he said.

Even British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who impressed the world with his near-Churchillian defiance and who now wants to curtail indirect incitement, fell into the root-cause trap when he suggested shortly after the attacks that the Middle East conflict was one of the reasons for terrorism.

The obvious moral fallacy is trying to explain, let alone justify, terrorism with foreign policy grievances some Muslims may have. Even this “anger” that so-called Muslim representatives like to talk about isn’t spontaneous outrage that this community feels for the suffering of their co-religionists wherever they may be. Instead, it’s highly selective. Consider the lack of outrage among such spokespersons over the genocide in Sudan, where already up to 300,000 Muslims have been slaughtered by a radical Islamic regime, or the thousands of innocent Iraqis, including two dozen children last week, who have been killed by Baathists and Islamic terrorists.

Rather, this “anger” is carefully fomented, nurtured and channeled exclusively towards those conflicts where Muslims fight non-Muslims. So simply to point at this supposed fury and demand policy changes is not only morally reprehensible but also disingenuous. This anger at the West that many Muslim leaders encourage is a political tool of radical Islam rather than one of its alleged causes...

Muslim clerics in Britain would improve their image if they emulated their Spanish colleagues who issued a fatwa against al Qaeda after the bombings in Madrid. No better moment than now for truly moderate Muslims who eschew violence without qualification to claim a leadership role from the extremists. A good start would be for them to question the widely held canard among their co-religionists that Muslims are the victims of a Western conspiracy...

 

LONDON’S MAYOR: A TERRORIST PUPPET?

“London’s mayor: A terrorist puppet?” (By David Gelernter, LA Times, July 15, 2005)

Our hearts go out to London — but not to its mayor. London’s leader, Ken Livingstone, eloquently condemned the recent terrorist bombings. But in the past, he never seemed too concerned about terrorists murdering Israelis. The tale of Livingstone’s ambivalence is a sordid kind of Greek tragedy.

Last year, he welcomed a violently Jew-hating Muslim preacher to London. In so doing, he became a silent partner of Islamic terrorism — which has now turned against his own city. Today, he is an updated Oedipus Rex, accessory to a horrible crime of which he himself is a victim...

... Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is a “war criminal who should be in prison.” (And President Bush is “the greatest threat to life on this planet.” London’s dapper mayor has a good word for everyone!)

... Israel is no more a “terrorist state” than Britain, France, America. Livingstone isn’t soft on Jew-hating clerics because Israel is a “terrorist state.” There’s a better explanation.

Europe has followed a simple rule for thousands of years: Find the worst thing a person can do, then accuse the Jews of doing it.

... But now London’s mayor might think twice before welcoming another theologian of terror. The theologians themselves should carry government health labels. “Warning: Terrorists don’t only kill Jews.”

 

WHY BLAME THE TERRORISTS? APPARENTLY WE CAN AGREE THAT IT’S BRITAIN’S FAULT

“Why blame the terrorists? Apparently we can agree that it’s Britain’s fault” (By Gerard Baker, Times of London, July 15, 2005)

... It has been evident, of course, in the BBC’s now infamous decision to eliminate retroactively the word “terrorism” from its coverage of last week’s bombings in London. The BBC was supposedly the model for the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and I can’t think of a better recent example of pure Orwell than this painstaking effort at rewriting the verbal record to fit in with linguistic orthodoxy. The BBC clearly intends that a heretical thought should, by careful editorial nurturing and rigid enforcement of the “guidelines”, become literally unthinkable.

But lest I be accused by my former colleagues at the BBC and by others of merely indulging my current employer’s commercial interests by attacking the BBC, let me also cite an example from this very newspaper. On Tuesday the paper published a cartoon on this page by its highly distinguished cartoonist, Peter Brookes, which made a point with his usual pellucid clarity. Two figures — one an Islamist terrorist, the other a sinister-looking military officer bearing the flags of Britain and the US, each nursing a large bomb and titled “Spot The Difference”...

Imagine this. Suppose we’d never invaded Iraq, and terrorists had blown up London in pursuit of their cause, what would the apologists have said about last week’s attacks? In fact we know exactly what they would have said because many of them did say it after al-Qaeda attacked the US on September 11 — long before any American or British soldier set foot in Afghanistan or Iraq.

They said it was because of our support for Israel and its “brutal occupation of Palestinian territory”, our complicity in the victimisation of Arabs from the Balfour Declaration to the ascent of the Jewish lobby in America.

But what if there had never been an Israel and instead a Palestinian state existed peaceably in the heart of the Middle East, and the terrorists had still attacked us? What would the apologists have said then? They would have said, of course, that we were to blame for having abused the Arabs and Muslims generally for decades through our colonial ambitions and economic exploitation of Arabia and the broader Middle East.

And what if there had never been a British Empire and British occupation of Arab lands, and terrorists had still attacked us? Then it would have been the Crusades, and the long-standing ill-treatment of Muslims at the hands of deplorable Christian warriors.

And what if there had never been a crusade, and they’d still attacked us? I’m stumped at this point to confect an answer, but I can guarantee that whatever it was that would have been said it would have been Britain’s fault...

 



FULL ARTICLES

‘GUARDIAN’ MAN REVEALED AS HARDLINE ISLAMIST

‘Guardian’ man revealed as hardline Islamist
By Shiv Malik
The Independent
July 17, 2005

news.independent.co.uk/media/article299681.ece

The Guardian newspaper is refusing to sack one of its staff reporters despite confirming that he is a member of one of Britain’s most extreme Islamist groups.

Dilpazier Aslam, who has been allowed to report on the London bombings from Leeds and was also given space to write a column in last Wednesday’s edition of The Guardian, is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical world organisation which seeks to form a global Islamic state regulated by sharia law.

It is understood that staff at The Guardian were unaware that Mr Aslam was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir until allegations surfaced on “The Daily Ablution”, a blog run by Scott Burgess. Speculation is mounting that it may have been a sting by Hizb ut-Tahrir to infiltrate the mainstream media.

Late on Friday The Guardian released a statement to The Independent on Sunday saying: “Dilpazier Aslam is a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organisation which is legal in this country. We are keeping the matter under review.” The paper refused to comment further.

In 2001 Mr Aslam wrote in the group’s in-house journal, Khilafah, that: “The establishment of Khilafah [an Islamic state] is our only solution, to fight fire with fire, the state of Israel versus the Khilafah State”.

The day after it was revealed that the London bombers were British, Mr Aslam wrote a column in which he billed himself as “a Yorkshire lad born and bred”.

In the piece, he suggested that second- and third-generation British Muslims were prepared to “rock the boat” and that agitation against British foreign policy would build up “till it can be contained no more”.

At the end of the piece readers were not told that Mr Aslam was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, only that he was a “trainee journalist”. Though Hizb ut-Tahrir is a legal organisation in this country, the group is outlawed in nearly every other country it operates in, including Germany and Holland. It is thought to have between 2,000 and 3,000 members in the UK.

Speaking for the Muslim Council of Britain, Mr Inayat Bunglawala said: “For a party which claims it is open, you’d think this person would have disclosed his affiliations.”

Mr Bunglawala added: “The Guardian has a better record in giving space to minority voices but [by employing a Hizb ut-Tahrir member] it exacerbates the idea that this is a mainstream Muslim voice,” he added.

Sources in The Guardian said that Mr Aslam was employed to increase ethnic diversity within the newsroom under The Guardian’s one-year traineeship scheme.

One source said: “There was a feeling that we genuinely wanted more diversity, and like all national newspapers we were still a bit ‘pale and male’ so we were keen to recruit from different backgrounds.”

In 1994 Richard Gott, a veteran Guardian journalist, resigned as literary editor after he was unmasked as a former KGB spy. He admitted meeting the Russians and going on expenses-paid trips, but denied taking money. Last night The Independent on Sunday was unable to contact Mr Aslam for comment.

 

GLORIFYING THE RADICALS

Glorifying the Radicals
Editorial
The Wall Street Journal Europe
July 18, 2005

Last Friday, British Home Secretary Charles Clarke outlined government plans to ban even indirect statements of support for terror and violence. One can of course wonder whether this might unduly limit freedom of speech. But without a doubt, this legal initiative is the result of the moral failure of British and European institutions, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, to act as gatekeepers and reject extreme positions as acceptable political arguments in Western democratic societies.

Instead of shunning Islamic radicals, many in the mainstream media and political establishment present them as moderates and repeat their justifications for terrorism. The London attacks produced only a brief moment of polite restraint. By Wednesday, less than a week after the July 7 bombings in London that claimed 55 lives, the Guardian apparently had no second thoughts about publishing an article by Dilpazier Aslam, one of its trainee journalists. In it, Mr. Aslam argued that the British have no right to be shocked by the attacks since that would, “suggest that the bombings happened through no responsibility of our own.”

He was referring to Iraq of course. Before joining the Guardian, Mr. Aslam, who calls himself “a Yorkshire lad, born and bred,” had been working for the London-based Web site Khilafa.com. There he coauthored an article telling Muslims why they should excel in sciences: “We will have to run an Islamic state which must lead the world, economically, militarily and politically.”

Last Thursday, the BBC invited Azam Tamimi of the Muslim Association of Britain to present a film about what he considers to be the reasons for the terrorist attacks. In the film, Mr. Tamimi interviews young British Muslims ostensibly angry about Iraq and Palestine and concludes that the way to prevent this “killing of the innocents for the sins of the guilty,” is to change Britain’s foreign policy.

During the subsequent panel discussion, Mr. Tamimi, a former spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, repeated his previous glorifications of Palestinian suicide bombers, but insisted that supporting such attacks could not possibly encourage British Muslims to do the same in the U.K. The BBC presenter, Gavin Esler, only feebly challenged Mr. Tamimi’s support for murdering Jews in Israel. Instead, he gave the last word on this matter to Asghar Bukhari, chief executive of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, who promptly backed Mr. Tamimi without reservations. “I couldn’t agree more,” he said.

Even British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who impressed the world with his near-Churchillian defiance and who now wants to curtail indirect incitement, fell into the root-cause trap when he suggested shortly after the attacks that the Middle East conflict was one of the reasons for terrorism.

The obvious moral fallacy is trying to explain, let alone justify, terrorism with foreign policy grievances some Muslims may have. Even this “anger” that so-called Muslim representatives like to talk about isn’t spontaneous outrage that this community feels for the suffering of their co-religionists wherever they may be. Instead, it’s highly selective. Consider the lack of outrage among such spokespersons over the genocide in Sudan, where already up to 300,000 Muslims have been slaughtered by a radical Islamic regime, or the thousands of innocent Iraqis, including two dozen children last week, who have been killed by Baathists and Islamic terrorists.

Rather, this “anger” is carefully fomented, nurtured and channeled exclusively towards those conflicts where Muslims fight non-Muslims. So simply to point at this supposed fury and demand policy changes is not only morally reprehensible but also disingenuous. This anger at the West that many Muslim leaders encourage is a political tool of radical Islam rather than one of its alleged causes.

Much is being said these days that the Muslim communities in Britain, Europe and elsewhere must do more to ostracize radicals in their midst. In a survey of five Muslim countries by the Pew Research Center, support for Osama bin Laden and suicide bombings has declined but is still intolerably high. Opinion ranges from 18% of those sampled in Morocco to 88% in Jordan who say that violence against civilian targets is justified in at least some circumstances. Another study last year found that 13% of British Muslims support terror attacks against the U.S.

Such polls are tricky, since the circumstances in which they are asked, and the wording, can flip the results. But they give Europe’s political organizers of Muslims a sense of self-justification. The community contributed in great numbers to the millions of people who demonstrated against the Iraq war throughout Europe.

It would be gratifying to see more responsible leadership. Muslim clerics in Britain would improve their image if they emulated their Spanish colleagues who issued a fatwa against al Qaeda after the bombings in Madrid. No better moment than now for truly moderate Muslims who eschew violence without qualification to claim a leadership role from the extremists. A good start would be for them to question the widely held canard among their co-religionists that Muslims are the victims of a Western conspiracy.

But the outlook is not promising. As long as the collusion between leftist journalists and politicians and the more radical Muslim leaders continues, the moderates will have a hard time getting heard.

 

LONDON’S MAYOR: A TERRORIST PUPPET?

London’s mayor: A terrorist puppet?
By David Gelernter
The Los Angeles Times
July 15, 2005

Our hearts go out to London — but not to its mayor. London’s leader, Ken Livingstone, eloquently condemned the recent terrorist bombings. But in the past, he never seemed too concerned about terrorists murdering Israelis. The tale of Livingstone’s ambivalence is a sordid kind of Greek tragedy.

Last year, he welcomed a violently Jew-hating Muslim preacher to London. In so doing, he became a silent partner of Islamic terrorism — which has now turned against his own city. Today, he is an updated Oedipus Rex, accessory to a horrible crime of which he himself is a victim.

Too many Europeans are ambivalent, like Livingstone. Terrorists, they figure, are evil; but if their preferred victims are Jews and Americans, how bad can they really be? As Europe prepares its own destruction, it resembles Germany in the early 1930s: Jew-hatred everywhere, on a low boil.

Last year, Mayor Livingstone welcomed Egyptian cleric Sheik Yousef Qaradawi —the “Theologian of Terror” — to London. The sheik has called suicide bombings “heroic operations of martyrdom” and has urged Muslims to “destroy the aggressive Jews.” Livingstone called the sheik a man of “moderation and tolerance.” In an Op-Ed piece, the former editor of London’s Asharq al Awsat Arabic-language newspaper begged to differ: “When it comes to political matters, Sheik Qaradawi represents the utmost degree of extremism.”

But maybe there’s a reason for the mayor’s lack of concern about a theologian of terror. Many Europeans love to run on about Jewish terrorism in 1940s Palestine, during Israel’s struggle for independence from Britain. Israel owes its creation and continued existence, Livingstone says, to “systematic violence and terror.” Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is a “war criminal who should be in prison.” (And President Bush is “the greatest threat to life on this planet.” London’s dapper mayor has a good word for everyone!)

It’s time to dispose of the endlessly repeated Jewish terrorism story. You’ve heard about sins of omission. Jewish terrorism existed and was unforgivable, but describing it without mentioning the official Jewish response is a lie of omission.

There were repeated confrontations between Palestine’s Jewish community and Jewish terrorists. A famous one followed the 1944 murder in Cairo of Lord Moyne, the British minister-resident in the Middle East, by the terrorist Stern Gang. In response, the shocked and revolted Jewish community hunted down terrorists relentlessly, turning over more than 700 names to the British.

There were truces too, when the Jewish authorities (desperately outgunned and outnumbered in their war for independence) tried to co-opt two terrorist groups, the Stern Gang and the Irgun, into the regular army. But the Sternists and the Irgun invariably returned to terror, shattering the truce.

Jewish terrorism was stamped out at last after a U.N. mediator was assassinated in late 1948. Israel’s new Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion ordered: “Arrest all Stern Gang leaders. Surround all Stern bases. Confiscate all arms. Kill any who resist.” Soon afterward, the Irgun also bit the dust.

An Israeli private citizen summed things up following an earlier terrorist attack. “None of the barbarities the Arabs have committed in the past months can excuse this.” (And the Arabs had committed plenty.) Ben-Gurion laid it on the line: “There is no compromise, no equivocation. The way of terror or the way of Zionism.”

Israel is no more a “terrorist state” than Britain, France, America. Livingstone isn’t soft on Jew-hating clerics because Israel is a “terrorist state.” There’s a better explanation.

Europe has followed a simple rule for thousands of years: Find the worst thing a person can do, then accuse the Jews of doing it.

In medieval times, bubonic plague wiped out whole towns; naturally, Jews were accused of spreading plague. The French imprisoned Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus on phony charges of aiding Germany at a time when aiding Germany was the worst crime France could imagine. The Nazis persecuted Jews on phony charges of sabotaging Germany. After World War II, colonialism and Nazism seemed like the worst of crimes — so Israel was denounced (still is) as colonialist and Nazi. In 1975, racism was crime No. 1; the U.N. dutifully denounced Zionism as racist.

Today, terrorism is our top crime; more and more Europeans are bound to join Livingstone in calling Israel a terrorist state. Jew-hatred is Europe’s eternal flame.

But now London’s mayor might think twice before welcoming another theologian of terror. The theologians themselves should carry government health labels. “Warning: Terrorists don’t only kill Jews.”

 

WHY BLAME THE TERRORISTS? APPARENTLY WE CAN AGREE THAT IT’S BRITAIN’S FAULT

Why blame the terrorists? Apparently we can agree that it’s Britain’s fault
By Gerard Baker
The Times of London
July 15, 2005

www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,19269-1694666,00.html

Right after September 11, a question widely asked in the American and European media was: Why do they hate us? It was not, to be sure, the first question out of the mouths of most Americans. That question was: “What are their names and addresses and how quickly can we dispatch a B52 to their neighbourhood?” But it was an important question nonetheless, deserving of serious attention by all who sought to end the threat from Islamist terrorism.

A week after July 7, I have the same question. Why do they hate us? But the “they” of my question are not the al-Qaeda slaughterers, the jihadis from Leeds and elsewhere and their sympathisers across Europe. I think we know by now why they hate us. The “they” of my question are the massed ranks of so many British opinion-formers.

I don’t mean the perennially opportunist sort like the Galloways and the Kennedys. Nor do I mean the pure, certifiable lunatics who inhabit the ideological theme parks at the Socialist Worker and the editorial pages of The Guardian. I mean a sizeable chunk of serious, influential British opinion, from across the political spectrum, who act in a way that suggests they honestly think this country is the principal author of the bad things that happen to it.

It has been evident, of course, in the BBC’s now infamous decision to eliminate retroactively the word “terrorism” from its coverage of last week’s bombings in London. The BBC was supposedly the model for the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and I can’t think of a better recent example of pure Orwell than this painstaking effort at rewriting the verbal record to fit in with linguistic orthodoxy. The BBC clearly intends that a heretical thought should, by careful editorial nurturing and rigid enforcement of the “guidelines”, become literally unthinkable.

But lest I be accused by my former colleagues at the BBC and by others of merely indulging my current employer’s commercial interests by attacking the BBC, let me also cite an example from this very newspaper. On Tuesday the paper published a cartoon on this page by its highly distinguished cartoonist, Peter Brookes, which made a point with his usual pellucid clarity. Two figures — one an Islamist terrorist, the other a sinister-looking military officer bearing the flags of Britain and the US, each nursing a large bomb and titled “Spot The Difference”.

To be fair both to my colleague and to the BBC, these are not extreme political positions, but views widely held throughout certainly the British media and widely expressed in the past week.

The common thought behind them is essentially this: our nation’s military action in Afghanistan and Iraq is morally indistinguishable from the terrorists, so don’t call one terrorism and not the other. Instead, say London and Baghdad have both been “bombed”.

Further, of course, since we have almost certainly killed more civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq than the Islamists have killed in the West, what happened to us last week is actually our own fault.

I would try to explain why this is dangerously flawed thinking but it’s been evident for some time now that any real effort to contradict this idea would be pointless. That is because this thirst for self-blame among this sizeable section of Britain’s thought-leaders is literally unquenchable.

Imagine this. Suppose we’d never invaded Iraq, and terrorists had blown up London in pursuit of their cause, what would the apologists have said about last week’s attacks? In fact we know exactly what they would have said because many of them did say it after al-Qaeda attacked the US on September 11 — long before any American or British soldier set foot in Afghanistan or Iraq.

They said it was because of our support for Israel and its “brutal occupation of Palestinian territory”, our complicity in the victimisation of Arabs from the Balfour Declaration to the ascent of the Jewish lobby in America.

But what if there had never been an Israel and instead a Palestinian state existed peaceably in the heart of the Middle East, and the terrorists had still attacked us? What would the apologists have said then? They would have said, of course, that we were to blame for having abused the Arabs and Muslims generally for decades through our colonial ambitions and economic exploitation of Arabia and the broader Middle East.

And what if there had never been a British Empire and British occupation of Arab lands, and terrorists had still attacked us? Then it would have been the Crusades, and the long-standing ill-treatment of Muslims at the hands of deplorable Christian warriors.

And what if there had never been a crusade, and they’d still attacked us? I’m stumped at this point to confect an answer, but I can guarantee that whatever it was that would have been said it would have been Britain’s fault.

This English self-loathing would be less objectionable if it had not been so prominent in its less virulent form, in so much British policy and public life, for the past 60 years. In its less virulent form, it was the driving force behind the misguided anything-goes multiculturalism of the 1960s and 1970s and the desire to shed vestiges of British or English nationalism within the European Union for 40 years now.

Especially curious is that it is an oddly British, or perhaps Anglo-Saxon phenomenon. The French elites certainly don’t succumb to it, or the Russian, or the Chinese, though all three of them have a fair bit to answer for in their own histories.

And that’s the irony: the most painful irony of all in this English self-loathing is this simple truth. The beauty of human freedom that so many in the world now enjoy, the wonder of so much prosperity, the legacy of the Enlightenment, the very principles of cultural and political tolerance and free inquiry, owe more to Britain, and latterly our Anglo-Saxon allies who have taken on the baton in the past century, than to any other country on Earth.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.