Posted by: Lister | April 28, 2007

The Danger of Melanie Philips

Jonathan Freedland, in the Jewish Chronicle, criticizing Melanie Philips. He hasn’t taken on a tough job. Skipping the easy shot against a journo who writes about Independent Jewish Voices under the title “Jews for Genocide“….

But it was a sentence in Melanie’s January JC column that really got me going. “Individual Palestinians may deserve compassion,” she wrote, “but their cause amounts to Holocaust denial as a national project.” Read that line again. I have, along with the entire piece that preceded it. Think about what it means: that the Palestinian urge for national self-determination — their desire to have what we Jews yearned for so long, a homeland of our own where we might govern ourselves — is nothing more than a collective plot to deny Jewish suffering. So those Palestinians living under curfew and hemmed in by checkpoints aren’t angry about this hardship or desperate to throw off a 40-year occupation. No. Their shared desire, their national project, is to join David Irving in pretending that Hitler did not murder six million Jews. Of course, it follows that such people — a nation of neo-Nazis — deserve nothing, let alone a state of their own.

It seems very common, and I fall into it too, that neither side can see any honest motive on the part of the other. There is absolutely no trust between the Israelis and the Palestinians and (for the most part) their supporters act in the same way.

Perhaps that’s understandable. What is missing is an arm-twisting friend of both sides who will force both sides to peace. I don’t see this dispute ending without real pressure from the international community.

Anyway, the danger part of the criticism:

In the United States, Melanie has a substantial following, with thousands logging on daily to her website or lining up to hear her lectures — several of the leading lights of American Jewry among them. They snap up copies of her book Londonistan, in which Britain — a rotting, decayed island awash with amorality — is on the brink of an Islamist takeover. Above all, they swallow whole her insistence that Europe is back in the 1930s, and that Britain now seethes with Jew-hatred.

I hear this from several well-placed leaders of Britain’s Jewish organisations, who have had to hose down their American counterparts. “I understand it’s not safe to walk down the street here as a Jew,” one US Jewish bigwig told a British colleague.


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