In the Be Careful What You Wish For department, John Dickerson forwarded a Daily Mail story about a race riot in Birmingham featuring rioting drunken anti-Muslim nativists who have appropriated the title of Meir Kahane’s Jewish Defense League in their own group’s name, English Defense League. The coverage features a picture of the lily-white demonstrators proudly waving an Israeli flag. With ‘friends’ like this does Israel need enemies?
Let me be clear about what I’m saying and not saying. Very few advocates of Israel, no matter their ideology, would embrace such support. I’m not saying any of Israel’s defenders have made common cause with scum like this. Nevertheless, it is important to understand how the racist nativists throughout Europe and the west see Israel. They see it as their bulwark against the hated dark Muslim hordes. Certainly, part of the reason is the anti-Muslim ideology espoused by members of the Israeli government and political right. It is due to the astonishing level of violence with which Israel has met resistance from Arab and Muslim groups and nations. Certainly, it is due to those with whom Israel chooses to make alliances. There should be little doubt, for example, that if Israel chooses to lie down with militant Christian fundamentalists who also espouse deep hatred of Islam in the context of religious war, it will rise up with ‘fleas’ like the English Defense League which understand such an alliance as a tacit embrace of their own philosophy.
Dickerson also notes another story about an Anglo-Indian Muslim retiree bashed to death outside a local mosque in front of his 3 year old grand-daughter. The murderers didn’t wave any Israeli flags in the midst of their attack.