From one of my favourite columnists, Mark Steyn. Read it slowly. Read it carefully. But read it all. And then join with me and worry.
For the excessive tolerance of "progressive" politicians is so clearly leading to a time when no tolerance will be permitted whatsoever.
With apologies to Martin Niemöller, let me provide a modern version of his famous poem:
First they came for the Jews.
I remained silent, for I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Christians.
I remained silent, for I was not a Christian.
When they came for the conservatives,
I remained silent, for I was not a conservative.
When they came for the atheists,
I remained silent, for I was no longer an atheist.
Then when they came for me,
I expected someone to speak out,
But there was no one left to defend me.
Mark Steyn: The 'oldest hatred' lives, from Gaza to Florida
Jew-hating pathologies ultimately harm the Jew-hater, too.
In Toronto, anti-Israel demonstrators yell "You are the brothers of pigs!," and a protester complains to his interviewer that "Hitler didn't do a good job."
In Fort Lauderdale, Palestinian supporters sneer at Jews, "You need a big oven, that's what you need!"
In Amsterdam, the crowd shouts, "Hamas, Hamas! Jews to the gas!"
In Paris, the state-owned TV network France-2 broadcasts film of dozens of dead Palestinians killed in an Israeli air raid on New Year's Day.
The channel subsequently admits that, in fact, the footage is not from Jan. 1, 2009, but from 2005, and, while the corpses are certainly Palestinian, they were killed when a truck loaded with Hamas explosives detonated prematurely while leaving the Jabaliya refugee camp in another of those unfortunate work-related accidents to which Gaza is sadly prone.
Conceding that the Palestinians supposedly killed by Israel were, alas, killed by Hamas, France-2 says the footage was broadcast "accidentally."
In Toulouse, a synagogue is firebombed; in Bordeaux, two kosher butchers are attacked; at the Auber RER train station, a Jewish man is savagely assaulted by 20 youths taunting, "Palestine will kill the Jews"; in Villiers-le-Bel, a Jewish schoolgirl is brutally beaten by a gang jeering, "Jews must die."
In Helsingborg, Sweden, the congregation at a synagogue takes shelter as a window is broken and burning cloths thrown in. in Odense, principal Olav Nielsen announces that he will no longer admit Jewish children to the local school after a Dane of Lebanese extraction goes to the shopping mall and shoots two men working at the Dead Sea Products store. in Brussels, a Molotov cocktail is hurled at a synagogue; in Antwerp, Netherlands, lit rags are pushed through the mail flap of a Jewish home; and, across the Channel in Britain, "youths" attempt to burn the Brondesbury Park Synagogue.
In London, the police advise British Jews to review their security procedures because of potential revenge attacks. The Sun reports "fears" that "Islamic extremists" are drawing up a "hit list" of prominent Jews, including the Foreign Secretary, Amy Winehouse's record producer and the late Princess of Wales' divorce lawyer. Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that Islamic nonextremists from the British Muslim Forum, the Islamic Foundation and other impeccably respectable "moderate" groups have warned the government that the Israelis' "disproportionate force" in Gaza risks inflaming British Muslims, "reviving extremist groups," and provoking "UK terrorist attacks" – not against Amy Winehouse's record producer and other sinister members of the International Jewish Conspiracy but against targets of, ah, more general interest.
Forget, for the moment, Gaza. Forget that the Palestinian people are the most comprehensively wrecked people on the face of the Earth. For the past 60 years they have been entrusted to the care of the United Nations, the Arab League, the PLO, Hamas and the "global community" – and the results are pretty much what you'd expect.
You would have to be very hardhearted not to weep at the sight of dead Palestinian children, but you would also have to accord a measure of blame to the Hamas officials who choose to use grade schools as launch pads for Israeli-bound rockets, and to the U.N. refugee agency that turns a blind eye to it.
And, even if you don't deplore Fatah and Hamas for marinating their infants in a sick death cult in which martyrdom in the course of Jew-killing is the greatest goal to which a citizen can aspire, any fair-minded visitor to the West Bank or Gaza in the decade and a half in which the "Palestinian Authority" has exercised sovereign powers roughly equivalent to those of the nascent Irish Free State in 1922 would have to concede that the Palestinian "nationalist movement" has a profound shortage of nationalists interested in running a nation, or indeed capable of doing so. There is fault on both sides, of course, and Israel has few good long-term options. But, if this was a conventional ethno-nationalist dispute, it would have been over long ago.
So, as I said, forget Gaza. And, instead, ponder the reaction to Gaza in Scandinavia, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and golly, even Florida. As the delegitimization of Israel has metastasized, we are assured that criticism of the Jewish state is not the same as anti-Semitism. We are further assured that anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-Semitism, which is a wee bit more of a stretch.
Only Israel attracts an intellectually respectable movement querying its very existence. For the purposes of comparison, let's take a state that came into existence at the exact same time as the Zionist Entity, and involved far bloodier population displacements. I happen to think the creation of Pakistan was the greatest failure of post-war British imperial policy. But the fact is that Pakistan exists, and if I were to launch a movement of anti-Pakism it would get pretty short shrift.
But, even allowing for that, what has a schoolgirl in Villiers-le-Bel to do with Israeli government policy? Just weeks ago, terrorists attacked Mumbai, seized hostages, tortured them, killed them, and mutilated their bodies. The police intercepts of the phone conversations between the terrorists and their controllers make for lively reading:
"Pakistan caller 1: 'Kill all hostages, except the two Muslims. Keep your phone switched on so that we can hear the gunfire.'
"Mumbai terrorist 2: 'We have three foreigners, including women. From Singapore and China'
"Pakistan caller 1: 'Kill them.'
"(Voices of gunmen can be heard directing hostages to stand in a line, and telling two Muslims to stand aside. Sound of gunfire. Sound of cheering voices.)"
"Kill all hostages, except the two Muslims." Tough for those Singaporean women. Yet no mosques in Singapore have been attacked. The large Hindu populations in London, Toronto and Fort Lauderdale have not shouted "Muslims must die!" or firebombed Halal butchers or attacked hijab-clad schoolgirls.
CAIR and other Muslim lobby groups' eternal bleating about "Islamophobia" is in inverse proportion to any examples of it. Meanwhile, "moderate Muslims" in London warn the government: "I'm a peaceful fellow myself, but I can't speak for my excitable friends. Nice little G7 advanced Western democracy you got here. Shame if anything were to happen to it."
But why worry about European Muslims? The European political and media class essentially shares the same view of the situation – to the point where state TV stations are broadcasting fake Israeli "war crimes."
As I always say, the "oldest hatred" didn't get that way without an ability to adapt: Once upon a time on the Continent, Jews were hated as rootless cosmopolitan figures who owed no national allegiance. So they became a conventional nation state, and now they're hated for that. And, if Hamas get their way and destroy the Jewish state, the few who survive will be hated for something else. So it goes.
But Jew-hating has consequences for the Jew-hater, too. A few years ago the poet Nizar Qabbani wrote an ode to the intifada:
You can just about understand why living in Gaza would teach you madness. The enthusiastic adoption of the same pathologies by mainstream Europe is even more deranged – and in the end will prove just as self-destructive.
O mad people of Gaza,
a thousand greetings to the mad
The age of political reason
has long departed
so teach us madness.