OpinionIsrael at War

Civilization’s fifth columnists

The depravity shown by Hamas has entered the collective mind of the West itself.

An anti-Israel protest in London in June 2021. Credit: Loredana Sangiuliano/Shutterstock.
An anti-Israel protest in London in June 2021. Credit: Loredana Sangiuliano/Shutterstock.
Melanie Phillips
Melanie Phillips
Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for The Times of London, her personal and political memoir, Guardian Angel, has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, The Legacy, in 2018. To access her work, go to: melaniephillips.substack.com.

At a synagogue vigil in London on Monday evening for the victims of the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom, Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he stood in solidarity with Israel.

Hamas, he said, “are not militants. They are not freedom fighters. They are terrorists. There are not two sides to these events. There is no question of balance. I stand with Israel.”

At virtually the same time he was making his morally uncompromising statement, a mob of around 1,000 people demonstrated outside Israel’s embassy in London chanting the war cry for the annihilation of Israel: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” They were waving Palestinian flags, setting off fireworks and banging drums.

Similar demonstrations were held elsewhere. In Newcastle, a demonstrator called Ahmed held aloft a green flare and declared: “Let there be bloodshed for now. Hamas is a freedom movement. … Israel is an apartheid state.” Dana Abuqamar, president of Manchester Friends of Palestine, said she was “full of pride and joy” at the butchery.

This chilling glorification of the Hamas attack was repeated in demonstrations in America and Australia. Placards waved in New York City’s Times Square justified the rape and murder of women and the beheading of children as “resistance by any means necessary.”

In Australia, a mostly Muslim mob chanted “Gas the Jews” “f*** the Jews” and “f*** Israel” on the steps of the Sydney Opera House.

In Britain, America and Australia, people who were still trying to digest the appalling barbarism of the Hamas pogrom were horrified by this eruption of support within their midst for savages who had burned people alive, raped women and murdered children in front of their parents.

It’s necessary to understand just what was happening at these demonstrations. They weren’t just protests against Israel or supporting the Palestinians. They were frenzies of bloodlust.

The scale and barbarism of the slaughter in southern Israel produced in these demonstrators a jubilant excitement that more Jews would now be killed and Israel would be exterminated.

These shocking scenes, and the horrified and uncomprehending reaction they provoked, illustrated what so many Westerners have always failed to grasp about Islamic suicide bombings: That they are inspired not by despair but by exultation.

Individuals such as the pro-Hamas demonstrators rejoice in the annihilation of people because they subscribe to a death cult because they fanatically hate those they are taught are the “enemies of Islam” and because such murders make them believe that they are winning against those they want to annihilate.

Hamas is barbaric, but what we have now seen is that this depravity has entered the collective mind of the West itself. In universities and other institutions and organizations, people have been blaming Israel for the Hamas pogrom.

Pro-Palestinian groups on campus have been glorifying the slaughter as “resistance to this vile occupation.” In Britain, Sussex University women’s officer Hanin Barghouti told a rally that the murder of Israelis was “so beautiful and inspiring.”

Elsewhere, a neurologist employed by Britain’s National Health Service, Dr. Mennah Elwan, claimed “there are no civilians in Israel,” suggesting that every Israeli was a legitimate target for murder.

In America, student groups at many elite universities, including Harvard, Yale and Columbia, have come out in support of Hamas.

A group of 31 Harvard organizations blamed Israel for the pogrom, writing that they “hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”

Throughout the West, Hamas depravity has been met with silence from people who habitually leap to condemn “micro-aggressions” and other liberal thought crimes. As the British cultural historian Dr. Philip Kiszeley has observed: “Significant portions of the population are now comfortable to publicly sing and dance in celebration of rape, torture and murder. And many highly educated people are happy to frame this abomination as social justice.”

Among self-righteous actors and other celebrities, human-rights groups and feminists who campaign day in and day out against men for sexual assault, the barbarism of the Hamas death squads against women, children and old people has been met with silence.

In Britain, the BBC still refuses to call Hamas mass murderers terrorists. Even though it uses “terrorism” to describe the activities of Al Qaeda and ISIS, it refers to Hamas as “militants.” That implies a justification for the Hamas agenda that the BBC denies to other terrorist groups. And that implies a double standard by the BBC towards victims of terror who happen to be Jews.

Other institutions are paralyzed by ignorance, apathy and moral confusion. The British police stood by and did nothing during the pro-Hamas demonstrations, even though the government has proscribed Hamas as a terrorist organization and it is a crime to glorify terrorism.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has now told the police they must clamp down not just on pro-Hamas symbols and chants but the calls to erase Israel “from the river to the sea” and even the waving of Palestinian flags.

The police, however, don’t get it, because virtually no one in the establishment gets it. Those of us who have warned for years about the scale of extremism and antisemitism in Britain’s Muslim communities have been excoriated by liberals—including the Jewish community leadership—as “Islamophobes.”

When Suella Braverman recently criticized “multiculturalism” for creating communities that were “in the society but not of the society,” she was denounced for racism and “Islamophobia.”

Now we can see the result of this myopic name-calling. The pro-Hamas demonstrations in London, Sydney and American cities have drawn back the veil on a terrifying degree of near-psychopathic support throughout the West for barbarism against the Jews.

In Britain, the majority of Muslims oppose terrorism and embrace Western values. But a frighteningly large minority say they want to live under sharia law, which is inimical to democracy and human rights.

Moreover, according to politics professor Matthew Goodwin, the most comprehensive polling to date has shown that around one-third of British Muslims endorse antisemitic tropes, only 29% think the Holocaust occurred and one in ten openly sympathizes with terrorists.

One-tenth of Britain’s Muslim population is around 380,000 people—more than in the entire Jewish community.

Although many in the West have now had their eyes opened about Hamas, they still don’t grasp that there are no moderate Palestinian leaders. Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority, has openly supported the Hamas pogrom and is urging further attacks.

Yet the P.A., which glorifies terrorism against Israel and teaches its children to hate and murder Jews, is heavily funded by the United States, European Union and United Kingdom, who all promote it as the legitimate future ruler of a Palestinian state.

Support for the Palestinian cause is ingrained throughout the Western liberal world. As a result, generations have been brainwashed into believing the lie that Israel is a colonial oppressor and the Palestinian Arab aggressors are its victims.

That’s why every attempt by the Israelis to defend themselves militarily against the Palestinians results in increased attacks on Diaspora Jews. In Britain, that’s already happening—and as the casualty toll in Gaza mounts, it’s expected to get worse.

British Jews are under siege. Community patrols have been stepped up. A Jewish school in London has told its children not to wear their school blazer off the premises, as it bears an obvious Jewish symbol.

Now we can see how the Holocaust was allowed to happen. When evil people try to wipe the Jews from the earth, millions avert their gaze, fruitlessly wring their hands or even tacitly support those involved in such evil.

Never again? It’s happened again. But this time, there’s a fifth column within the West that the West itself has nurtured, and which it still can’t even bring itself to name.

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