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.
(JNS) Many in Britain and the West have been looking aghast at a monster within that has reared up and bared its fangs. They have suddenly realized that they are staring at a civilizational crisis.
After the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom, with the barbaric slaughter of 1,400 men, women and children in southern Israel and the kidnapping into Gaza of more than 220 souls, decent people in the West have been horrified by the massive displays of jubilant bloodlust on the streets of London, New York, Sydney and elsewhere.
They have suddenly realized that there are thousands of their citizens who support Hamas and who call genocide against the Jews “resistance.”
Every day has brought fresh signs of an anti-Jewish psychopathy within their own societies. Countless thousands don’t appear to recognize that Jewish victims of genocidal attack are entitled to human sympathy.
In Britain and America, young people have been tearing down posters bearing pictures of some of the kidnapped Israeli children.
Over the tannoy on a London Tube train, a driver led a chant of “Free Palestine” among cheering passengers on their way to demonstrate against an Israel that is being targeted by genocidal attack.
At George Washington University in Washington, D.C., messages including “Glory to Our Martyrs,” “Divestment from Zionist Genocide Now” and “Free Palestine from the River to the Sea” were projected for two hours on to the side of a library building.
Police and other authorities have been struggling to protect Jews from the rampant antisemitism that is now brazen, open and ubiquitous.
At Cooper Union College in New York, security officers had to lock Jewish students in the school library against threats from pro-Hamas students, eventually using tunnels to smuggle them out.
In Australia, where a mob chanted “Gas the Jews” in front of the Sydney Opera House, the police advised the Jewish community to “stay home” for their own safety.
In Germany, there have been mass arrests of pro-Hamas demonstrators. In France, President Emanuel Macron is threatening to deport Muslim demonstrators with dual nationality.
Those who are shocked and appalled by this savage support for Hamas observe that it is mainly coming from Muslim fellow-citizens but is also echoed by Western “liberals.”
Even though Hamas is committing war crimes by using Gazan civilians as human shields, Western “progressives” are accusing Israel of war crimes. Even though Israel has been warning Gazan civilians to flee for their own safety as required by international law, Israel is being accused of breaking international law.
The blood of decent people has run cold. They understand that the moral degeneracy and bloodlust against the Jews that’s on such widespread display by untold thousands across the West signifies a civilization at the point of collapse.
They are bewildered because they had no idea that so many amongst them—especially the young—are now governed by such nihilism, brutal moral perversity and murderous rage.
But for those with eyes to see, this has been increasingly visible for several decades and is the outcome of two related developments.
The first is support for the Palestinian Arab "cause," which for years has been the default position amongst Western “progressive” classes. Since this cause is based entirely on historical and legal falsehoods, Nazi-style demonization and a genocidal agenda to destroy Israel and murder Jews—an agenda promoted not just by Hamas but also by the supposedly “moderate” Palestinian Authority—such support has knocked the West off its moral compass, aided and abetted by the anti-Western perversities of “intersectional identity politics.”
The second development is what has been the great unsayable: Mass Muslim immigration and the consequent import of radical jihadi ideology that aims to Islamize the west.
For decades, Western governments have refused to face up to this while the liberal mainstream media has sanitized it and punished by character assassination all those who try to call it out.
Benjamin Baird, the director of the Middle East Forum’s grassroots advocacy initiative MEF Action, said in July that as a consequence of “progressive wokeism” an “Islamist-friendly media” was enabling Muslim Brotherhood jihadi groups in America to gain influence and power in the media, law enforcement and government.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, authorities in Britain turned a blind eye to Islamists living in the U.K. who were radicalizing British Muslims. This was because of what was called a “covenant of security,” a tacit deal under which such radicals were allowed free rein to say what they wanted in return for which they would avoid blood on British streets.
It was what might be called a jihadi protection racket overseen by the British security service.
In the wake of the Hamas pogrom, there have been indignant reports that Mohammad Sawalha, a former leader of Hamas in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria, was given British citizenship in the early 2000s after he fled to the U.K. and is now living in a London house he bought on a municipal discount scheme.
According to a U.S. Department of Justice indictment in 2004, upon his arrival in London, Sawalha continued to work for Hamas, holding secret talks about “revitalizing” terrorist acts in Israel and helping to launder money to support such activities in Gaza, Judea and Samaria.
Sawalha’s record has been known for years. Until the Hamas pogrom, however, politicians, the intelligence service and the media chose to look the other way.
Islamic radicalism, they all claimed, was confined to a tiny fringe element. Ludicrously, they maintained that it had nothing to do with Islam. Clearly, many Western Muslims are genuinely signed up to Western values. But a frighteningly large proportion are not.
This has been ignored, downplayed and denied. Mass immigration of Muslims has continued, as has liberal pressure to admit thousands of people from Muslim countries claiming refugee status.
Anyone who objects is denounced as racist and Islamophobic. Under threat of terrorist attack, the media have routinely censored pictures of Muhammad and any proper discussion of Islam’s theology of holy war.
In both Britain and America, Iran has been steadily disseminating its ideology and increasing its influence in Shia mosques. Nine U.S. House representatives recently sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines warning about Iran’s influence in at least four American mosques and Islamic centers.
Over the past two years, the police and intelligence service in Britain have foiled 15 plots masterminded by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). TheJewish Chronicle has revealed widespread IRGC infiltration of British institutions and universities. Yet successive British governments have refused to ban the IRGC or the Muslim Brotherhood.
In a recent lecture, Robin Simcox, the British government’s independent adviser on extremism, said there had been a “normalization” of both anti-Israel extremism and antisemitism, which he blamed on a “failed policy of mass migration and multiculturalism.”
Multiculturalism remains an untouchable shibboleth, while Muslim antisemitism has been totally ignored.
In Britain, the Jewish community leadership has not only been silent on Muslim antisemitism but has denounced as Islamophobic anyone who raises the issue.
Through interfaith initiatives, rabbis have been bending over backwards to reach out to Muslim clerics. Now that those clerics have been attacking Israel rather than Hamas, these naive rabbis feel betrayed.
Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has surprised many by his robust support of Israel’s right to defend itself and his forthright condemnation of the morally debauched reaction to the Hamas pogrom. Many, though, think it is now too late. There are simply too many in the U.K. whose minds have been poisoned. Perhaps the situation is the same in the USA and Canada.
The terrible paradox of a liberal society is that it refuses to take the illiberal measures that may become unavoidable in defense of liberal values. As a result, liberal society contains the seeds of its own destruction. That is what now stands revealed to a horrified West.