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Saturday, August 9, 2014

The West is ignoring the practitioners of 'disproportionate’ violence

...News editors think it is too complicated for our poor little Western telly-watching heads to be told that large chunks of the Muslim world – e.g. Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia – hate and fear Hamas and the dislocation, misery and death it brings. You do not have to be a huge fan of these governments to see that such feelings might be justified.

Earlier this week, newspapers carried photographs of masked, armed Isis gunmen attending the funeral of an Islamic Jihad comrade in Gaza. They could do so, obviously, only with the permission of Hamas. This same Isis (which has now extended its geographical claims by calling itself simply Islamic State) is trying to convert, expel or exterminate Christians and Yazidis in Iraq, an atrocity so appalling that even President Obama has bestirred himself to intervene.
No doubt theologians can point to significant differences between the beliefs of Hamas and Isis, but these distinctions are like those of Soviet Russia and Mao’s China in the Cold War. The main point of which the world needs to take notice is the similarity. Both the Russian and the Chinese governments were Communist – implacable enemies of the Western way of life. Both Hamas and Isis are Islamists – implacable ditto. Communist ideology preached world revolution, and Communist countries incited it through subversion. Islamist ideology and Islamist organisations, ditto.
So let me return to the word “disproportionate”. The whole range of moral obloquy is hurled at Israel. At the posh end is the decision by the Tricycle Theatre in north London to withdraw its traditional hospitality for the UK Jewish Film Festival because the festival is, as in the past, part-subsidised by Israel. The theatre says it “cannot be associated with any activity directly funded by a party to the [Gaza] conflict”. Why? How many arts organisations normally refuse subsidies from dictatorships, such as, say, China? Israel is not a dictatorship, and does not fund terrorists, yet its money is declared tainted...

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