Opinion

The real crisis in the West

In obsessing over Israel’s policies, the free world is looking the wrong way.

A burning car during riots in Paris, France. Photo: Bumble Dee/Shutterstock.
A burning car during riots in Paris, France. Photo: Bumble Dee/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.

Over the past six months, the mass protests in Israel over judicial reform have elicited loud cries in the West that Israel is “in crisis.” In its eagerness to identify such crises, however, the West looks everywhere but in the right direction.

Three years ago, French President Emmanuel Macron said, “Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world today.”

In a video interview conducted in 2022, which has now gone viral following the latest riots in France, Mohammad Tawhidi, an Australian Shiite cleric and Islamic reformist, pointed out that, in general, the Muslim world is doing rather well. The crisis is in the West.

While the extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood cannot operate in Muslim countries like Bahrain and Oman, said Tawhidi, they are operating in Britain, France, Canada and Washington, D.C.

The West imported the “garbage” promoted by jihadis whom Muslim countries were attempting to neutralize, he said. By allowing in this “filth” and even amplifying or glorifying it, the West had made its bed and must now lie in it.

This grim assessment was amply borne out by the riots in France. The violence broke out after a 17-year-old Muslim boy with a criminal background who was wanted by police was shot dead by a police officer during a traffic stop.

This triggered rioting on an unprecedented scale. For five days, Muslim youths torched large numbers of buildings and vehicles. Jewish businesses and institutions were targeted, including kosher restaurants and food shops. Terrified Jews barricaded themselves into their homes as rioters screamed: “Death to the police,” “Death to France” and “Death to the Jews!”

Order was restored only when the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic drug barons called the youths off the streets.

People can see that the French president is no longer in control of his own country and that the scale of Muslim population increase means that France is losing the battle to remain recognizably France.

Similar demographic trends are changing the face of other European countries such as Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Spain and the U.K.

With indigenous Europeans failing to have enough children to reach replacement rate, there are fears that within a few decades European civilization will be lost.

“Europe is one step away from Islamic globalization,” the Algerian writer Boualem Sansal told L’Incorrect magazine. Islamism, he said, was “in the air and in the wifi that the winds of venality, resignation and the woke push in the right directions.”

While Europe teeters on the brink, the U.S. has abandoned its historic role as leader of the free world. Instead, President Joe Biden’s administration is supporting the enemies of the West and undermining America’s historic allies.

Indefatigably and inexplicably, the administration is desperately trying to reach a deal with the Iranian regime that would enable that regime legitimately to build nuclear weapons and funnel billions of dollars into regime coffers to boost its terrorist war against the free world.

In Afghanistan, the U.S. is likewise channeling billions into the hands of the Taliban. This is despite U.N. evidence of a “symbiotic” link between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, which is rebuilding itself in the country.

In Britain, Biden snubbed the coronation of King Charles, sunk a potential U.S.-U.K. trade agreement and backed as the next secretary-general of NATO Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, over Britain’s far better qualified candidate, Defense Minister Ben Wallace.

As for Israel, the U.S. continues to fund the Palestinian Authority despite the P.A.’s “pay-for-slay” rewards to terrorists and their families, as well as its incitement to hatred and murder of Israelis. The administration harasses and bullies Israel over building homes in the disputed territories to which Israel alone is entitled under international law, while failing to condemn the Palestinians for their regular murder of Israelis and repeated daily attacks.

The administration presumes to lecture Israel about democracy, which it suggests is threatened by the judicial reforms. Yet the U.S. is a country in which an attempted coup was mounted against an elected president through black arts deployed by a corrupt administrative class, and where that same class is currently thwarting a proper investigation of alleged corruption by the Biden family.

In the great political and ideological struggle now under way in America, those opposing the Biden approach are themselves in chaos.

In Europe, however, a fightback is under way to save the West that may well transform its political complexion. Many observers believe that public fury over the Islamization of France will bring the ultra-nationalist Marine le Pen to power in the presidential election in three years’ time.

Last week, the Dutch government was brought down because of its perceived failure to curb immigration. Hungary and Poland, meanwhile, are regarded by liberals as neo-fascist because of their policies to preserve their own culture and traditions.

While these countries are authoritarian and antisemitism continues in their societies, Hungary is arguably the safest place in Europe for Jews right now. Neither country has experienced Islamic terrorism.

Although many Muslims in the West simply want to live in peace and prosperity, these achievements by Hungary and Poland are due to the fact that they’ve largely kept Muslims out.

For Western liberals, however, such exclusion is anathema—as is anything that challenges the dogma of liberal universalism and so called “human rights” culture.

In fact, “human rights” doctrine has empowered some very bad people to victimize others. This is the result of the liberal mindset that has hijacked the language and turned words and phrases such as “racism,” “human rights,” “democracy” and even “man” and “woman” inside out.

Most of Israel’s protesters have gone through the same looking-glass. They claim the Israeli government is provoking civil war and ending democracy. Yet the government is merely trying to enact its election promises, while the protest masterminds openly call for organized civil disobedience to bring the government down.

That government has now junked most of the judicial reforms. One of the few remaining provisions, voted into law by the Knesset this week, is a restriction on the Supreme Court’s ability to strike down government actions on grounds of “reasonableness.”

This is being hysterically denounced by opponents as the end of the court’s power to check government overreach by reviewing government decisions. This is also untrue.

Judges will still be able to review the government’s activities. What they won’t be able to do is continue to do what they have been doing: Hijacking and distorting a principle of law in order to undermine the ability of a democratically elected government to do the job for which it was elected.

This is because the legal principle of “reasonableness” has a specific meaning, laid down in a benchmark ruling by Britain’s top court in 1983.

The ruling stated that a decision is “reasonable” unless it “is so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question to be decided could have arrived at it.”

That’s precisely the charge against Israel’s Supreme Court and attorney-general in preventing the elected government from carrying out its pledges to the voters, insisting on other policies or legitimizing the paralyzing disruption of the country by a movement to bring down that government.

Unfortunately, many Diaspora Jews have embraced the looking-glass description of Israel’s crisis. More tragically still, many of the same Jews subscribe to the suicidal undermining of Western culture.

As a result, in the battle lines that are now being formed, many Diaspora Jews will be left stranded as Western civilization fights for its survival.

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