By William Shawcross
It took US President George W. Bush to tell the truth to Britain about the massive plot to blow US-bound airliners out of the sky. In his first comment on the apparently foiled attempt to explode airliners flying from Britain to the US, Bush put it simply: “This was a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists.”
|An “llegal, fascistic military machine” in Lebanon|
He is right. But in the early news reports in Britain the words “Islamist” or “Muslim” were hardly emphasised. Let alone “extremist” or the dread word “fascist.” Instead the common code words on television were that the 24 men arrested were “British-born” and “of Pakistani origin”.
No mention of their Islamist ideology. Did the BBC think they might turn out to be from Pakistan’s embattled Christian minority? I don’t think so.
In Europe, the truth is so terrible that we are in denial. Perhaps it is understandable. We simply do not wish to face the fact that we really are threatened by a vast fifth column – that there are thousands of European-born people, in Britain, in France, in Holland, in Denmark, everywhere – who wish to destroy us.
You see this denial in the coverage of Israel’s war against Hezbollah.
Civilian deaths in Lebanon are utterly tragic. But if you watched only British television, particularly the BBC, you would be hard-pressed to understand that Israel has been forced into a war for its survival, one in which Iran has empowered its proxy, Hezbollah, to undertake the final solution of “the Zionist entity.”
The fact that since Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon six years ago, Hezbollah has been allowed to hijack the whole area to create a vast attack station whose purpose is only to destroy Israel, is taken for granted and certainly not shown to be a cause for opprobrium.
Protesters in London have been marching through the streets carrying banners proclaiming “We Are All Hezbollah Now”.
Do they know that every Lebanese child killed is a triumph for Hezbollah and a tragedy for Israel, as well as for Lebanon? Do they know that among the prisoners Hassan Nasrallah demands that Israel release is a man arrested after rejoicing in smashing out the brains of an Israeli child?
Do they know that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the eager seeker of nuclear weapons, considers the utter destruction of Israel an Iranian priority? Or that Hezbollah’s Nasrallah has said that he wished all Jews would gather in Israel so they could all be destroyed at once; and that there is no creature more disgusting in the world than a Jew, “and note that I said a Jew, not an Israeli”?
The awful thing is that many of those who march in support of Hezbollah may well know such things. Those who don’t know them don’t want to trouble themselves.
And it’s not just the extremist marchers. Reasonable, conventional armchair critics concentrate on the mistakes of Israel rather than the evil ideology of Hezbollah. They refuse to acknowledge that a small, decent society is now literally under the threat of death from an illegal, fascistic military machine built throughout the hills, valleys, towns and villages of southern Lebanon.
There is a kind of moral madness at work here.
We refuse to admit that there is a pattern to global terrorism. European papers are frightened to publish cartoons which some Muslim leaders demand we censor, but are happy to portray the Israelis as latter-day Nazis.
In a live BBC interview recently, I called Hezbollah “Islamo-fascists”. The interviewer said nervously, “That’s a very controversial description.” I replied that it was merely accurate. She brought the interview to a swift close.
But how else should one describe a military machine that marches under the banner of a demagogic leader who seeks above all to kill Jews?
It’s not just Hezbollah, of course. The same ideology of hate and destruction motivates al-Qaeda, perhaps the inspiration, if not the controller, of the arrested British bombers.
In Britain, we are actually quite lucky. We have a prime minister who, in my view, has committed many, many errors at home; but abroad Tony Blair has a clear vision, both moral and pragmatic, of the threat that we face.
And for this he is mocked and abused as nothing more than Bush’s “poodle”.
In a thoughtful recent speech in Los Angeles Blair spoke of fighting an “arc of extremism.” That extremism is Islamic extremism, whether it is inspired by al-Qaeda or by Teheran, whether its foot soldiers are Sunni or Shi’ite, whether they were born in Britain, or southern Lebanon, or Iran, or Saudi Arabia, or anywhere else.
As Blair said, the battle is over the values that are to govern the future of the world. “Are they those of tolerance, freedom, respect for difference and diversity; or those of reaction, division, hatred?”
“This is war,” said Blair.
Alas, it is. Wherever they were born, the men who want to blow up airliners, who want to destroy Israel and, not coincidentally, who want to kill all hope of a decent society in Iraq – are Islamo-fascists who are united in hatred of us.
The sooner we understand that, and that they must be defeated, the safer everyone – Christians, Jews, Muslims, and non-believers – will be.
William Shawcross is a British author and journalist. His latest book is Allies – Why the West Had to Remove Saddam. © Jerusalem Post, all rights reserved, reprinted by permission.