column

Israel’s two-faced allies

America and Britain undermine Israel’s security and defense against existential attack by sanitizing, promoting and funding Palestinian Arabs, whose active cause remains the destruction of the Jewish state.

Marathon #TeamUK. Source: Twitter/British Consulate in Jerusalem.
Marathon #TeamUK. Source: Twitter/British Consulate in Jerusalem.
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.

America and Britain claim to be allies of Israel. There is no gainsaying the deep links between them of military assistance, intelligence and trade. Israel is the invaluable strategic asset for America and Britain in the Middle East, a crucial bulwark in the defense of the West.

And yet, both America and Britain undermine Israel’s security and defense against existential attack by sanitizing, promoting and funding Palestinian Arabs, whose active cause remains the destruction of the Jewish state.

A recent event illustrated this particularly sharply when British diplomatic officials in Jerusalem effectively endorsed the Palestinian Authority’s agenda to eradicate Israel.

Palestinian Media Watch has revealed that at last Friday’s annual “Palestine Marathon” held by the P.A., seven British officials taking part as “#TeamUK” wore marathon T-shirts displaying the P.A.’s map that erases Israel and represents the whole country as Palestine.

The Jewish Chronicle reports that the team consisted of the UK’s Deputy Consul General Alison McEwen and Foreign Office colleagues. A picture of the team was tweeted from the official account of the British Consulate in Jerusalem, hailing “the incredible Palestine Marathon to support #FREEDOMOFMOVEMENT for all Palestinians.”

Palestinian Media Watch observes that this hashtag was conceived to support the P.A.’s demand that Israel remove the security measures it has adopted to prevent the flow of Palestinian terrorists from P.A.-controlled areas into Israel’s cities.

The event was organised by the Palestinian Olympic Committee. A statement on the official website of the marathon says that the run follows the route of the “apartheid wall”.

The event is actively promoted by a group called “Right to Movement”, which campaigns against “the many obstacles that we live daily under fascist racist occupation” and organised the marathon for four years until 2017 when the Palestinian IOC took over.

The race was held under the auspices of the Palestine Liberation Organization Supreme Council for Youth and Sports headed by Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestine Olympic Committee and a man who has been convicted of numerous terrorist offenses and who persistently glorifies Palestinian terrorist murderers.

So these British diplomats took part in an event supervised by a terrorist sympathizer; openly supported the Palestinian Arabs’ lie of Israel’s “apartheid wall”; openly opposed Israel’s measures to protect its citizens against attack; and openly endorsed the eradication of Israel altogether.

The current British government under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak contains an unprecedented number of Israel supporters. So how can its diplomats have displayed such egregious hostility to Israel’s security and even its very existence?

The consular bodies run by both Britain and America in Jerusalem, which provide assistance to the Palestinian Arabs in the east of the city, the disputed territories and in the Gaza Strip, have long been viewed by the Israeli government as working against Israeli interests.

Although former President Donald Trump shut down the U.S. consulate in 2019, the Biden administration effectively restored and upgraded America’s diplomatic mission to the Palestinians when it opened the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs last June and installed Hady Amr as “special representative for Palestinian affairs.”

Amr, who had previously worked as national coordinator of the anti-Israel Middle East Justice Network, had said that he was “inspired by the Palestinian intifada”; that the Arabs “will never, never forget what the Israeli people, the Israeli military and Israeli democracy have done to Palestinian children”; and that “there will be thousands who will seek to avenge these brutal murders of innocents.”

At last month’s summit in Jordan ostensibly aimed at calming the violence between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, which has produced a rising number of Israeli murder victims and near-daily Arab attacks, Amr promoted an American plan requiring Israel to sharply curtail counter-terror operations by the Israel Defense Forces while providing 5,000 Palestinians with commando training as security personnel.

This was despite the fact that Palestinian security forces have been repeatedly involved in attacks on Israelis—hardly surprising since the P.A. is controlled by the Fatah terrorist group whose chairman is the P.A.’s own president, Mahmoud Abbas.

None of this is acknowledged by the Biden administration, which continues instead to sanitize, ignore and even incentivize the Palestinian Arabs’ murderous rejectionism of Israel.

What is the reason for this two-faced attitude? There’s a charitable explanation and a less charitable one.

The charitable one is that neither the American nor British government accepts that the P.A.’s objective is the extermination of Israel. This is because these governments are committed to the “two-state solution.” It requires them to define the problem to which this is the solution as the division of land between two sets of people with legitimate claims to that land.

This is clearly untrue. The P.A.’s own repeated statements, its maps and insignia depicting a state of Palestine that erases Israel, its incitement to seize Israeli cities such as Haifa and Jaffa, and its support for terrorism all show that its aim is Israel’s destruction.

Yet the American and British governments can’t allow themselves to acknowledge this. Partly, this is due to pressure from the Arab world. Mostly, though, it’s due to the implacable liberal belief in conflict resolution and peace processes.

Since the Americans and British can’t allow anything to disrupt such a peace process, they ignore any evidence of a non-negotiable and unconscionable agenda.

So Israel, which has always been willing to negotiate and has indeed offered a Palestinian state on numerous occasions, gets blamed for endangering the peace process when it insists on defending itself against never-ending Palestinian Arab terrorism.

That liberal tunnel vision helps explain why the Biden administration funds the P.A. even though it continues its “pay-for-slay” stipends to terrorists’ families.

The same mindset helps explain the astonishing determination of the Biden administration—like the Obama administration before it—to make a deal with Iran that would enable it legitimately to develop nuclear weapons after only a short delay while receiving billions in sanctions relief with which to ramp up its terrorist activities and regional power grab.

The term for this mindset is cognitive dissonance. Such a denial of reality may be hard to credit. But it’s very real and very frightening.

I came up against it this week in a conversation with BBC journalists, similar to ones I’ve had on numerous previous occasions. They were simply incredulous at my assertion that the BBC’s coverage of Israel is grotesquely unbalanced, selective and distorted and amounts in large measure to Palestinian propaganda.

These conversations are always distressing. This isn’t just because the BBC rarely corrects its distortions, thus effectively abandoning Israel to an agenda of extermination. It’s also because the news outlet genuinely believes that its Israel coverage upholds its core mission to be objective, balanced and truthful.

The reason such people can never grasp that the opposite is the case is because they share the bias. They cannot see the distortions in the BBC’s coverage of Israel because they themselves believe them to be true—and that all who object are themselves biased partisans.

This is frightening because it represents a perfectly closed thought system. No evidence can ever penetrate it. Exactly the same mindset is behind the Orwellian denial of reality involved in race and gender identity politics, and in other liberal causes.

The less charitable explanation, meanwhile, is that some of those promoting the Palestinian Arab cause are motivated by malign hatred of Israel and the Jewish people. In the Biden administration, several such individuals are working in sensitive Middle East policy positions.

In Britain’s Foreign Office, its history of antisemitism going back to its shameful administration of the Palestine Mandate in the last century continues to this day, fueled by anti-Zionist “intersectionality” that has become the orthodoxy in much of Britain’s official class and many of its institutions.

What is the antidote to this madness? To call it out at the highest possible level, to hold feet to the fire and to proclaim the truth at all times.

Can this really have any effect? Yes, if there’s a proper strategy. But for that to emerge, the leadership of the Jewish world must radically up its game.

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.” Go to melaniephillips.substack.com to access her work.

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