Politics & Policy

Gaza and the West

Burning an effigy of the Israeli flag in Paris.
Across Western Europe anti-Semitism is on the rise — and not just among Arab immigrants.

On Saturday, pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters met outside the White House.

Unsurprisingly, tensions escalated. At one point, Manny Vega, a pro-Israel U.S. Marine (retired), was struck by a number of pro-Palestinians. Being a Marine, he didn’t take this lying down. For a few minutes, the protest descended into a mild melee. All of this was caught on camera.

Ironically, however, while the two sides are now blaming each other for what happened, this incident is most notable for its relative moderation. After all, while the scene was unpleasant, the restraint of most of the protesters is undeniable. On the pro-Palestinian side, the protesters had adopted nationalist rather than Islamist imagery (i.e., Palestinian flags rather than Hamas flags). For the most part, pro-Israel individuals are shown moving freely through the larger pro-Palestinian crowd. Moreover, when Mr. Vega is attacked, many of the pro-Palestinian protesters hold back those responsible. The pro-Israel element shows great composure. After the situation calms, two young pro-Palestinian protesters check to see if Mr. Vega is okay. Their parents should be proud.

To be sure, what Mr. Vega suffered was utterly inexcusable. But compare the Washington protest with those currently occurring in Europe. While Americans (apart from the occasional idiot) are exchanging views with heated passion but mostly avoiding violence, across Western Europe rampaging protesters are bearing Nazi swastikas and the flag of Hamas. The Nazi-era “Kauft nicht bei Juden (Don’t buy from Jews) has been revived. Even in Britain, anti-Semitic attacks have reached a five-year high.

These evils puncture the myth of European tolerance. But why is the fatherland of social liberalism manifesting such hatred? A number of reasons.

Embracing destructive class-based societies as a substitute for unified national identity, EU governments have severed the links between minorities and the perceived establishment. Minorities are imprisoned in impoverished dependency and social exclusion, and in response an ideology of venomous anger has emerged. Predictably, anti-Semitism is on the rise. “The Jews” are Europe’s historic scapegoat for social illness. Anti-Semitism has always offered an easy alternative to national introspection.

That being said, this isn’t simply about social fracture. It’s also about the delusional brush with which European liberals paint the world. Consider Jon Snow, anchor for Britain’s Channel 4 News, and Mehdi Hasan, political editor of the U.K. Huffington Post. These men are ostensibly reporting the news. Yet, in reality, both are opinion journalists, spewing anti-Israeli propaganda in the guise of “reportage.” Case in point: Snow’s use of injured Gazan children to give cover to his bias against Israel. These men use pictures to tell a thousand untruths.

There is a warning here for America. Unfortunately, although U.S. media reporting of the Gaza conflict is more balanced, the double standard by which Israel is judged is undeniable. Consider how many American liberals now embrace censorship to conceal despicable human-rights abuses in Islamist societies. Incidentally, as I noted last week, this dynamic links with the rise of “hashtaghypocriosophers”.

Nevertheless, the Vega video should reassure us that America has much to be proud of. Our courage in holding to our ideals remains firm. As Mr. Vega told Breitbart News, “This is America, and I have every right to be here.” He’s right. The confidence, vigor, and relative peace of America’s protest culture isn’t an accident. Rather, it’s the direct consequence of our greatest virtue: We are a single nation made out of many, and bound together by equal devotion to a Constitution of freedom-borne purpose.

Tom Rogan is a blogger and a columnist for the Daily Telegraph. He is based in Washington, D.C., and tweets @TomRtweets.

Tom Rogan is a columnist for National Review Online, a contributor to the Washington Examiner, and a former panelist on The McLaughlin Group. Email him at TRogan@McLaughlin.com

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