London Attacks Followed by Same Old Stale Arguments: Jonah Goldberg, National Review, June 7, 2017 — The saddest part about the recent terrorist attacks in the U.K. — aside from the actual horror for the victims and their families, of course — was that there was so little new to say about it.
England’s Islamic Domino Effect: Ron Jager, Arutz Sheva, June 5, 2017 — The current wave of Islamic terror in Manchester and in London only reinforces the general feeling that the excessive political correctness of recent years by the Obama Presidency, by the British Labor party, and the European media has fostered and festered breeding grounds for Islamic terrorists in the heart of England.
A Very British Radical: Ross Douthat, New York Times, June 7, 2017 — The next Donald Trump — the next populist insurgent, the next outsider riding a wave of anti-establishment discontent, the next dangerous extremist with a chance to grab the reins of state — was supposed to be Marine Le Pen.
The British Election: Will Voters Opt for Intolerance and Xenophobia?: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, June 3, 2017 — On June 8, British voters will head to the polls, three years early.
UK Elections: Anti-Semitism and the Labour Party 2017: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, June 6, 2017
Terrorism Shouldn’t Interrupt Election Campaigns — At Least as a General Rule: Colby Cosh, National Post, June 5, 2017
Are Jihadists Taking Over Europe?: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, June 7, 2017
War on Terror vs. Justification of Terror: Ben-Dror Yemini, Ynet, June 7, 2017
National Review, June 7, 2017
The saddest part about the recent terrorist attacks in the U.K. — aside from the actual horror for the victims and their families, of course — was that there was so little new to say about it. But that didn’t stop anyone. Everyone backed into their usual rhetorical corners, filling in the blanks on the familiar post-terror conversation like it was a game of Mad Libs, only none of the answers were particularly funny.
I, for one, could easily recycle one of umpteen columns on how the Left’s response is wrong and why we have to shed our dysfunctional aversion to speaking plainly about the nature of the threat and what is required to fight it. Or I could note that President’s Trump’s response to the attack was less than helpful. But to what end? Who hasn’t heard the arguments a thousand times already? Watching cable news and surveying the algae blooms of “hot takes” on Twitter, it’s hard to imagine anything will dramatically change. We are growing numb to the problem as it becomes part of the background noise of daily life. One of the attackers in London was even featured in a 2016 TV documentary titled The Jihadi Next Door.
Contrast the reactions to the London attacks and to Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord. A writer for The Nation spoke for many when he assured readers that “this is murder” and a “crime against humanity.” No sane liberal condoned the terrorist attacks, but the condemnations seemed rote, while passion was reserved for admonishing those who made too big a deal of them or flirted with “Islamophobia.”
In 2014, Jeremy Corbyn, who has a remote but possible chance of being the next British prime minister, argued that supporting the Islamic State is just another “political point of view” and that the government shouldn’t put up “legal obstacles” to Islamic State fighters trying to return to England. This perspective hasn’t cost him much with his admirers on the left, but I have to wonder what the reaction would be if he described climate-change “denial” as just another political point of view.
But there I go, falling into the familiar trap of scoring ideological points rather than dealing with the larger truth. And what truth is that? Simply that we are in a rut when it comes to terrorism. The Ariana Grande concert attack in Manchester did generate more than the usual passion because lots of pundits and policymakers, never mind television viewers, have teenage daughters they could imagine attending an event like that. But did you hear about the bombing of a popular ice-cream parlor in Baghdad last week? Families taking their kids there for a post-fast treat were blown to bits by the Islamic State. A day later in Afghanistan, the Islamic State blew up a tanker truck in the diplomatic quarter of Kabul. That got some attention because of the brazenness of the attack, the death toll among Westerners, and because the explosion was really big.
But even these attacks will be forgotten, absorbed into the gray maw of “the way things are.” Don’t believe me? Do you remember the Paris terrorist attack that took place a month before the Manchester bombing? How about the Stockholm truck attack two weeks before that? The Saint Petersburg bombing four days prior? The Westminster Bridge attack in London in March? The machete attack at the Louvre in February? What about the horrible Christmas Market attack in Berlin? The assaults at Ohio State University; Hamburg, Germany; and Normandy, France? I think people still remember the truck attack that killed nearly 80 people in Nice last year.
Next week will be the first anniversary of the Orlando nightclub shooting. Many people will say, “Wow, has it been a year already?” I suspect we’ll stay in this rut reading from stale scripts for a good while. The hopeful scenario, I suppose, is that Islamic terrorism will eventually be ground down, after years or decades of attrition. Those who kept reminding us that more Americans die in bathtubs than from terrorism will consider this result a sort of vindication. The alternative is that a dedicated group of attention-seeking murderers will react to the blasé navel-gazing and self-absorption of the West by doing something so horrible that we will be shocked out of our torpor.
Arutz Sheva, June 5, 2017
The current wave of Islamic terror in Manchester and in London only reinforces the general feeling that the excessive political correctness of recent years by the Obama Presidency, by the British Labor party, and the European media has fostered and festered breeding grounds for Islamic terrorists in the heart of England. London’s current Mayor Sadiq Khan, a practicing Muslim, could have a significant impact on the minds and hearts of many of England’s young Muslims, should he decide to express what should have been said years ago to Muslims living in England and throughout the Western world by the very Muslims that have enjoyed the privileges and benefits of living and prospering in a Western nation.
In response to this week’s Islamic terror attack in the heart of London, Mayor Khan should have taken the initiative using himself as a role model of what it means to be a Muslim in a Western nation. Mayor Sadiq Kahn is a practicing Muslim and regularly attends the Al-Muzzammil Mosque in Tooting. He has two daughters both raised in the Islamic faith. Khan could have forcibly reinforced the idea that practicing Muslims such as himself are modern citizens who happen to worship Allah, yet do not belong to any kind of belief in the preeminence of Sharia Law which clearly is based on the belief that Sharia Law must be imposed on others, Islamic terror being the logical extension of this imposition.
Mayor Kahn could state that the former would not pose a threat to England or the Western lifestyle while the latter would be a “mortal threat.” The danger facing England and other Western nations from the Islamic wave sweeping the Middle East and beyond arises not from the fact that people practicing the Islamic religion are Muslim, but rather from the degree to which they adhere to the totalitarian, supremacist Islamic doctrine of Sharia.
However, you don’t have to go back very far in Mayor Sadiq Khan’s past to find links with some obviously questionable characters. Some of these associations date back to his time as a human rights lawyer — trying to get England to lift its ban on the American Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has described Jews as ‘blood-suckers’ and called Hitler ‘a very great man’, and speaking at the same conference as Sajeel Abu Ibrahim, a member of the now proscribed Islamist organization that trained the 7/7 bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan.
In 2004, Sadiq Khan appeared on a platform with five Islamic extremists at a conference in London organized by Al-Aqsa, a group that has published works by the notorious Holocaust denier Paul Eisen. In, the same year, Khan was the chair of the Muslim Council of Britain’s legal affairs committee and was involved in defending the Muslim scholar Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. So who is this Muslim scholar so vigorously defended by Sadiq Khan? Among other things, he’s the author of a book called The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam in which he justifies wife beating and discusses whether homosexuals should be killed. Most notoriously, he condones ‘martyrdom operations’, i.e. suicide bombings, against Israeli civilians, which he describes as ‘God’s justice’: ‘Allah Almighty is just; through his infinite wisdom he has given the weak a weapon the strong do not have and that is their ability to turn their bodies into bombs as Palestinians do.’
In spite of holding these views, Qaradawi was not an ‘extremist’ in Sadiq Khan’s eyes. In 2006, by which time Sadiq Kahn had been elected to Parliament, Khan was one of the signatories of a letter to the Guardian that blamed terrorist incidents, such as 7/7, on British foreign policy, particularly Britain’s support for Israel. ‘It is our view that current British government policy risks putting civilians at increased risk both in the UK and abroad,’ Khan can align himself with the call for tougher counterterrorism measures suggested by the British PM and be the first to demand that England must not pretend that things can remain the same. Khan can abandon the politically correct rhetoric about Islam and the legitimacy of terror to advance political goals. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, can be that agent of change that modern Islam so clearly needs.
New York Times, June 7, 2017
The next Donald Trump — the next populist insurgent, the next outsider riding a wave of anti-establishment discontent, the next dangerous extremist with a chance to grab the reins of state — was supposed to be Marine Le Pen. In the Western press and Western capitals, there was a summons to the barricade when Le Pen reached the French presidential runoff. The liberal order was in the balance, the whiff of fascism was in the air, the entire French political system was expected to do its duty and keep her out of power. All this even though Le Pen never came within 16 points of her rival, Emmanuel Macron, in any poll between the first round and the runoff, and ultimately lost by nearly 33.
Now, though, in the imminent British election called by an overconfident Theresa May, a different sort of Trumpian figure is closer to victory than anyone expected. This is Jeremy Corbyn, the radical backbencher turned Labour leader, whose campaign was supposed to be a joke but now finds itself, like Trump’s before it, just a “normal-sized polling error” away from a truly shocking upset. Yet at this prospect the Western establishment seems more bemused than actively alarmed. Le Pen was cast as the madwoman in the attic, poised to set fire to the mansion. But outside Britain’s right-wing newspapers, Corbyn is portrayed more as the balmy uncle in the conservatory, puttering around with tulips and murmuring about the class struggle. Nobody exactly thinks he would be a good prime minister, but there isn’t a palpable fear that his election would be an emergency for liberal democracy.
In a way this is a good thing, since Corbyn probably isn’t a threat to the liberal order, and in this Trump-crazed moment we could use a little less hyperventilating about politics. (Also, he’ll probably still lose.) But neither was Le Pen necessarily such a threat, and yet the fascism-in-France freak-out happened anyway. So for the sake of evening the scales, let’s dwell for a moment on what Corbyn’s farther left has in common with her farther right.
First there is the matter of anti-Semitism. Le Pen’s party was an heir to anti-Dreyfusard tendencies and included enough Holocaust-minimizers that one was briefly chosen as the party’s acting leader. If you are troubled by this, good, you should be. But then you should also be troubled by the Corbyn-era Labour Party’s tendency to find itself explaining why its members, activists and sometimes politicians are merely anti-Zionist and not actually anti-Semitic, even as their critiques of Israel or global finance blur into old-fashioned anti-Semitic cliché. Especially since the intersection of left-wing anti-Zionism and Islamist Jew-baiting is probably a more substantial threat to Jewish security in Western Europe than what remains of right-wing anti-Semitism.
Second there is the matter of historical and ideological associations. Le Pen aspired to be Gaullist, but her party retained a Petainist taint, a connection to fascism and a tendency to minimize its crimes, plus the inevitable far-right links to Putin and his nationalist international. But Corbyn’s inner circle has a similar minimizing tendency where the crimes of Stalinism are concerned, plus the equally inevitable far-left affinity for Latin American authoritarianism. If the specter of long-ago Vichy lurked behind Le Penism, the specter of present-day Venezuela lurks not that far in the background of Corbynism.
Third there is the matter of terrorism and political violence. Le Pen, through her father and his allies, had an ancestral connection to the far-right violence of the Algerian war-era pieds noirs. But those paramilitary operations are rather more historically distant than Corbyn’s fellow-traveling with the Irish Republican Army at the height of its bombing campaigns, or his habit (for which he recently offered regrets) of offering comradeship to Hezbollah and Hamas. In the wake of the recent Manchester horror and London attack, the Labour leader has been hitting May from the tough-on-terror right for not adequately funding the police. All’s fair in love and the last week of a campaign, but still it’s a little audacious, since Corbyn clearly has an old revolutionary’s soft spot for a certain kind of terrorist.
Now, one can concede all this and still cobble together a case that Le Pen would have been more dangerous to existing European institutions than Corbyn. She’s a French chauvinist; he’s a lefty internationalist. She wanted France out of the European Union; Britain has already taken that leap (and a Prime Minister Corbyn would probably make Brexit somewhat softer). She traded in clash-of-civilizations rhetoric about Islamic immigration; he’s fluent in the pieties of multiculturalism.
But some of this amounts to saying that it’s O.K. to elect an extremist with anti-Semitic and authoritarian and even terrorist connections if he or she just takes the official European Union line on immigration and monetary policy. Meanwhile Corbyn’s habits of mind on defense policy — think Chomsky with a dash of Trump — could threaten as much destabilization for NATO as Le Pen threatened for the Continent’s monetary union. Again, I don’t think it would be a better world if Corbyn were being met with Le Pen-level fear and loathing. The entire populist phenomenon, left and right, is happening because our establishment is in need of serious unsettlement, and that can’t happen unless movements and ideas with extreme or disreputable associations are allowed into the conversation.
Her own very-establishment stumbles and weaknesses notwithstanding, May’s attempt to reimagine conservative politics along more populist, “Red Tory” lines strikes me as a healthier response to the moment than Corbyn’s unreconstructed socialism. But after so much centrist failure, I can understand the urge to give the old socialist a chance. Nonetheless — in allowing the extremes in, we should not be blind to where their worst tendencies can lead. No such blindness is likely where the right’s populists are concerned, since the entire media-intellectual-academic complex of the West has its fascist radar set to “high.”
Where the far left is concerned, though, a haze of elite sentimentality can still settle over ideological impulses that killed people and wrecked countries on an extraordinary scale. So with Corbyn closer to power than Le Pen ever got, spare a thought for the far left’s actual 20th-century record, and remember that when history’s arc bends away from liberalism and consensus, sometimes there’s a commissar waiting at the end of it.
Alan M. Dershowitz
Gatestone Institute, June 3, 2017
On June 8, British voters will head to the polls, three years early. When Prime Minister Theresa May called last month for a snap election, the assumption was that she would win easily and increase her parliamentary majority. Recent numbers, however, show the gap closing between May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn – who was given 200:1 odds of when he ran for the party leadership in 2015 – is doing surprisingly well again. This is despite the fact that Labour has been under fire for anti-Semitism in its ranks, and Corbyn himself has been accused of anti-Jewish bigotry. Corbyn denies having a problem with Jews, claiming that he is merely anti-Israel. Even if it were possible to hate Israel without being anti-Semitic – and I am not sure that it is – Corbyn's words and deeds demonstrate that he often uses virulent anti-Zionism as a cover for his soft anti-Semitism.
For example, in a speech last year, he said that Jews are "no more responsible" for the actions of Israel than Muslims are for those of ISIS. In 2009, he announced: "It will be my pleasure and my honour to host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hezbollah will be speaking. I also invited friends from Hamas to come and speak as well."
The company that Corbyn keeps, too, suggests that at best he gives a free pass to bigotry, racism and anti-Semitism within the ranks of his own party, and at worst, he espouses them. He has shared speaking platforms and led rallies with some of the most infamous Jew-haters. He has attended meetings hosted by 9/11 conspiracy theorist Paul Eisen, author of a blog titled: "My Life as a Holocaust Denier." He has been associated with Sheikh Raed Salah – leader of the outlawed northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, a blood libel perpetuator convicted for incitement to violence and racism – whom he referred to as a "very honoured citizen" whose "voice must be heard." Corbyn was also a paid contributor for Press TV, Iran's tightly controlled media apparatus, whose production is directly overseen by anti-Semitic Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
One of the biggest criticisms of the "Corbynization" of British politics has been the mainstreaming of traditional anti-Semitism. The country's chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, has called the problem within the Labour party "severe." Consider the late Gerald Kaufman, a Labour veteran and close political associate of Corbyn's who touted conspiracy theories about Jews throughout his political career. When speaking at a pro-Palestinian event, Kaufman said: "Jewish money, Jewish donations to the Conservative Party – as in the general election in May – support from the Jewish Chronicle, all of those things, bias the Conservatives." While Corbyn condemned this remark, he refused to yield to widespread demands for disciplinary action against Kaufman. This is in keeping with what a key former adviser to Corbyn, Harry Fletcher, wrote: "I'd suggest to him [Jeremy] about how he might build bridges with the Jewish community and none of it ever happened."
Let's be clear: I do not believe that Corbyn's rise in the polls is due to his hatred of Jews and Israel, but rather in spite of it. May called for elections and then refused to debate her opponents. She is running a lacklustre campaign somewhat reminiscent of U.S. Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton's last year. For his part, Corbyn is a populist, like U.S. President Donald Trump. Although politically polar opposites, they have much in common, such as a penchant for shooting from the hip and unpredictability.
Furthermore, many British voters are unaware of Corbyn's anti-Semitic associations. Others know, but don't care. Those on the hard-Left, such as union activists and academics, include knee-jerk opponents of the nation state of the Jewish people and supporters of academic and cultural boycotts of Israel. Many of these favor trade and engagement with such egregious human-rights violators as Iran, Cuba, China, Russia, Belarus and Venezuela. Singling out Israel – the Middle East's only democracy, with one of the world's best human-rights records, rule of law and concern for enemy civilians — for boycotts itself is a form of anti-Semitism.
Corbyn himself has called for boycotts of the Jewish state. He has advocated for an arms embargo, citing Israel's supposed "breach" of the human-rights clause of the EU-Israel trade agreement. He also led the call to boycott Israel's national soccer team in the European Championship in Wales. (Ironically, Israel only plays in this league because it was expelled from the Asian Football Confederation due to the Arab League's boycott.) Corbyn, as well, has been a vocal supporter of the so-called Palestinian "right of return," something that would lead to an Arab majority and Jewish minority within Israel, and render the two-state solution completely obsolete.
Whether anti-Semitism is the cause or effect of the Labour party's problem is not important. What is relevant is that Corbyn not only has not stemmed the tide, but has played a big part in perpetuating it. British voters now have the opportunity to choose where they will go as a nation. Will they opt to move away from stability, rationality and tolerance toward simple mindedness and xenophobia? I sincerely hope not. Bernie Sanders has already made his choice. He is campaigning for Corbyn despite his record on anti-Semitism. Sanders will have to explain why a Jew is helping to elect a bigot with the views Corbyn holds about the Jewish people and their nation state.
UK Elections: Anti-Semitism and the Labour Party 2017: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, June 6, 2017—n 2016 the UK’s Jewish defense organization, Community Security Trust, recorded 1,309 anti-Semitic incidents, the highest total ever and an increase of 36% from 2015. In 2014 there was the previous highest total recorded with 1182 incidents.
Terrorism Shouldn’t Interrupt Election Campaigns — At Least as a General Rule: Colby Cosh, National Post, June 5, 2017— History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce: so said Marx. He was making a joke about the second Emperor Napoleon, and it is still the first thing everybody remembers about the man; it is thus one of the greatest bon mots in the history of journalism. And it is, incidentally, the only law of history devised by Marx that actually works.
Are Jihadists Taking Over Europe?: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, June 7, 2017— "Germany is quietly building a European army under its command," according to some in the media. Apparently German Chancellor Angela Merkel, after her clash with U.S. President Donald Trump, would like to invest, along with France, in a European army.
War on Terror vs. Justification of Terror: Ben-Dror Yemini, Ynet, June 7, 2017 — The finest experts are struggling with the following question: What makes them terrorists? There is no answer. Among the perpetrators of terror attacks in Europe there are people who became radical in mosques, people who became radical in prisons and those who became radical following online propaganda.