British economics writer Alex Brummer, who is currently City Editor of the Daily Mail, also has a regular column in the Jewish Chronicle. Mr Brummer, whose columns usually exude good sense, has erred badly in his latest contribution to the latter newspaper, with a most unworthy, myopic attack on one of the few public intellectuals in Britain, Jewish or non-Jewish, possessing the perspicacity and courage to say what needs to be said regarding the threat to the West and to Israel posed by militant Islam and indeed by the creeping islamicisation of non-Islamic societies.
Namely, that truly wonderful woman, Melanie Phillips.
Regular readers of my blog will recall that Ms Phillips recently made a well-justified condemnation of the Board of Deputies' ill-conceived release of a joint statement with the Muslim Council of Britain (see the latter's stance on Gaza here).
My blog quoted the comment on Facebook that Ms Phillips made about the statement.
She subsequently wrote:
It proudly announced an "unprecedented" joint statement with the Muslim Council of Britain. This said the Middle East conflict should not poison community relations. But it also condemned the "targeting of civilians". The omission of who had supposedly done this targeting implied the Board blamed Israel along with Hamas.
No, protested the Board, this obviously could only relate to Hamas since Israel never targeted civilians. The crucial point, it said, was that the MCB had condemned Hamas.
UK's Jewish leadership has strengthened its enemies
The Board had enabled it to crow – falsely but plausibly – that the Jews had condemned Israel for war crimes. And the MCB could tell its own people it had not blamed Hamas, since the Palestinians were only civilians while all Israelis were military targets.
It reveres Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who has supported suicide bombings outside Britain and claimed the Torah permits Jews to spill others' blood and seize their money and land.
In 2009, its then deputy secretary general, Daud Abdullah, signed the Istanbul Declaration, which threatened violence against Israel supporters and British troops.
Notwithstanding, the Board claims "it gets you nowhere if you only make peace with your friends". Really? Can we expect a historic Board rapprochement with Hamas? Or al Qaeda? Or Iran?
A clue to the Board's idiocy lies elsewhere in the joint statement, which condemns both antisemitism and "Islamophobia" as if these were equal forms of bigotry.
This is a terrible error. While antisemitism is a true prejudice for which there can never be a shred of rational justification, "Islamophobia" is a catch-all phrase used to demonise anyone who makes a legitimate criticism of Islam or Muslims.
So while there may be some who unreasonably hate all Muslims, those who warn about the Islamic jihad or condemn Muslim attacks on women and girls or freedom of speech are condemned as "Islamophobic" to silence such criticism.
Those who point out the virulent antisemitism in Muslim societies are similarly branded. And because the Jewish leadership is desperate to appease Muslims, it is - astoundingly - silent about Muslim antisemitism. Instead, it, too, demonises those who warn against Islamic extremism as "right-wingers" or "Islamophobes".
The Board's spokesman has ludicrously insisted it is right to oppose "Islamophobia" because "racism is racism". It would appear that the Board doesn't even understand that Islam is not a race but a religion.
The Jewish leadership has now invested legitimate criticism of Islam with a status equivalent to the most hateful prejudice in the world. It has thus helped silence criticism of threatening Islamic behaviour and made all in Britain more vulnerable to attack.
Similarly, by awarding a kitemark of respectability to the MCB, it has undermined all who struggle to defend Britain against Islamic extremism. A Muslim academic, Mohammed al Husseini, has expressed his sense of betrayal at the Board's "collaboration" with the MCB.
All decent people, Jews and non-Jews - including truly anti-jihadi Muslims - need to stand shoulder to shoulder against Islamic extremism. Instead, the UK's Jewish leadership has breached the defences and strengthened the foe.' [Emphasis added]Particularly odious is Brummer's contention that
"We are all capable of scouring the worldwide web in search of adverse material that supports our case. Phillips is expert at this and her fondness for conspiracy theories on a range of issues including events in the Middle East are legion"As one very prominent Anglo-Jewish Zionist who is also a member (yes, there are still members who have not caught the dhimmitude bug) of the Board of Deputies remarks on Facebook:
"Alex Brummer – In defending the indefensible you have resorted to a baseless ad hominem attack on Melanie Phillips...
Resorting to playing the [wo]man rather than the ball simply reveals to all how impossible you find it to defend your case. I really thought you were above such libellous smear tactics. Shame.
Melanie Phillips is a thorough and principled journalist and possibly the best asset we have in advocating for Israel and fighting antisemitism...
MCB supports BDS but no boycott of the goods of any other country. So how can its condemnation of antisemitism carry any credibility??"That admirable Deputy also writes:
'Next Sunday there is a motion at Bd Deps: "That the Board supports the Executive in its approval of a joint statement by the Board and the Muslim Council of Britain condemning anti-Semitism"
There are several reasons to oppose the motion.
1. MCB still has as members groups aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and sympathetic to Hamas. The Board should be allying with moderates like Dr Muhammad Al-Hussaini who has roundly criticised the joint statement.
2. The MCB supports a boycott of Israeli goods. How can a condemnation of antisemitism by an organisation that has an antisemitic policy in place have any credibility whatsoever? And why did the President not see that?
3. The Board should not be giving the MCB credibility – it undermines the government’s strategy of bypassing the MCB as far as tackling extremism is concerned.
4. The MCB’s condemnation of antisemitism is meaningless without its confirmation that it accepts the same definition of antisemitism as the Board’s – namely, the EUMC Definition. I have asked it to confirm – no response.
6. One part of the statement was very badly written. It said "The targeting of civilians is completely unacceptable and against our religious traditions". The phrase "against our religious traditions" is in the plural. It therefore includes both Judaism and Islam. It therefore conveys the impression that the Board believes that the IDF targeted civilians, otherwise why the reference to Judaism? (To argue that Hamas' targeting of civilians is against Jewish religious traditions is nonsensical). Of course the Board does not think that the IDF targeted civilians …. but when writing about such a sensitive subject, perception is all important.
7. I am a member of the Board’s Defence Division and one of our responsibilities is interfaith work. Such a potentially controversial statement should have been shown to me and the other members of the Division for comment before it was released. It wasn’t. Yet another example – like the infamous Oxfam project – of the members of a supposedly democratic body being presented with a fait accompli.
If you too oppose the motion please lobby your Deputy to speak and vote against it.' [Emphasis added.]