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Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Refugee Tragedy and the next Global Conflict

David Milliband, writing in the Evening Standard on the 4th September 2015 related how, in 1940, his father and grand father fled Belgium to Britain and were “accepted” into the country as refugees. In 1945 his grand father returned to Belgium to find his wife and daughter, both of whom had spent the war years in hiding. He applied with them to immigrate to Britain and was turned down because the Home Secretary said he could not sanction “a flood”.  David Millibands’ interpretation of this event – defining the difference between an immigrant (seeking a better life) and a refugee (fleeing persecution) missed the point entirely. Britain then as now, was antisemitic.

The horrifying revelations around the Shoah made no difference to the hardhearted and bigoted ruling classes, especially, under the Labour Government of Prime Minister Clement Attlee and Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin.  Britain’s Foreign Office (Department of State) and its administrative classes were relentlessly antisemitic and unfailingly pro-Arab.  The Balfour Declaration in 1917 was the twentieth century’s one exception that made the rule. 

The historical reality is that Britain allowed a paltry number of Jewish refugees into the United Kingdom before World War 2 and they all had to have homes to go to so that there would be no burden upon the state.  Britain’s ruling classes made sure that those people who were accepted into Britain were the “right kind of Jews” – they were middle class, intelligent and Western educated and yet the hostility of officialdom remained steadfast.

His analysis of the migrant crisis today is also flawed by his ideological myopia.  So, he refuses to acknowledge either the political antecedents to the current crisis and the historical failures that have left Western nations unprepared for the latest crisis.  Those people trying to flee conflict and the economic migrants that seek a better life have both had their funds plundered by people traffickers and criminal gangs.  But that is only part of the problem that we refuse to acknowledge because to do so would involve, by necessity, a change in international immigration policy and a muscular and wholly unwelcome military response to ongoing international crises.

David Milliband’s selective analysis of the causes behind regional instability – those causes that created the current refugee crisis in Europe - is distressing because without honest debate around those sources of conflict, instability can only grow and create with it, ever escalating disruption and dislocation.  Without addressing the causes of the current crisis the probability of global conflict can only increase.

David Milliband refers to “decades-old wars in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo” as well as in Afghanistan and Syria-Iraq without offering explanation, background or any suggestions for how to stop them.  He refers to “the wider phenomenon of regional instability, the proxy wars causing chaos in Yemen” without mentioning who is the paymaster for that regional instability (it is the Islamic Republic of Iran).  He states that Syria’s middle-classes are ‘fleeing,’ but he fails to join the dots to connect the collapse of the middle-classes with the failure of the state and its consequent future inability to be rebuilt as a stable entity.

When failed nations reassert their independence (in whatever form they eventually take), stability is reliant on the people being in place to lead.  But the core of their communities will probably remain in Europe, enriching European society. This is in spite of the fact that a recent survey disclosed a significant percentage of refugees and migrants, and their second generation descendants are not only disengaged from their host society but also financially dependent on those societies, to maintain their relatively comfortable European lifestyle.

There are lessons to be learned from history. When in 1947-48 the Arab leadership of what was then known as Palestine fled to their gated mansions in Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus, Amman and Cairo the Arab peasantry that remained behind were left beleaguered, largely without leadership and therefore, without guidance.   They were vulnerable to the depredation, malice and greed of local and foreign Muslim gangs who fled to ‘safety,’ once the lethality of the fighting with the Jews of Palestine began to seriously impact the profitability of their enterprise.  Worse was the definition uniquely appropriated to Arab refugees from that conflict; unique in all the history of human conflict, it provided them with a status that could never be resolved.   Despair, false hope and superpower machinations even then undermined regional stability because it would not encourage resettlement.

The Arab refugees from Palestine became victims of their own leaders’ propaganda when the wealthier classes, the local Arab leadership and those racially or religiously intolerant of any future that involved living under Jewish control fled to the neighboring Muslim lands.

The Muslim world, unlike its Western rival, has rarely, if ever, been forced to confront the racism within its society. Its religious bigotry is instead, worn as a badge of honor. There is enormous resentment feeding Muslim interaction with minorities through those dreamed of Muslim empires.  This is the reason that Muslims are so welcoming of vile and murderous organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State (Daesh), al-Qaeda and all of their affiliates.

It is not their fundamentalism that is bereft of morality (although this could be argued is contributing to the outcome) but the inevitable conclusion of extremist thinking that is encouraged by so many of their ideological and functional leadership.  That conclusion is perpetual warfare waged against everyone who cannot prove that they too are “true believers” and of course in that two-word honorific is the root of all suffering.

It is this inhumanity that is demonstrated throughout the Muslim world, every day.  In the United Kingdom between April and June 2015 one thousand cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) were reportedly carried out. And it is illegal in the UK so what would have happened if Britain made FGM legal?  A video also recently surfaced of a father in the Arab world proudly handing his daughter over to a Sharia court for execution by stoning. Her crime was disobedience.

There is a refugee crisis in Europe but one of its main causes, the one David Milliband refuses to be drawn into acknowledging, is the moral blight that has penetrated every section of the Muslim world.

The refugee crisis cannot be solved while we continue to rejoice in our multicultural diversity because all it means is that we are too cowardly to take a stand against barbarism. And a selective stand against injustice is no more than a cynically toadying acknowledgment of our international impotence, a grotesquely judicious application of morality.

If Turkey is unwilling to exercise control over its borders it should be expelled from NATO and allied forces gathered to collect immigrants and refugees and relocate them to a neutral zone in a failed state, to be administered by Europeans (and who-ever else is willing to assist in the task).

It is the only realistic way to:
a)      protect vulnerable people from exploitation
b)      to process large numbers of refugees
c)      to return economic migrants to their country of origin

If Syria cannot be saved it should be re-divided, with appropriate border adjustments to foster stability.  Kurdish self-determination should be granted and separate self-governing cantons established for the Alawites, Shia, Sunni, Christian and Druze minorities, all within the former Syria. At a time in the future the cantonization of Syria will lead to a united nation, perhaps based on the Swiss model.  But for now the toxic ethnic and religious conflicts crisscrossing the former Syria defile any national aspirations that its competing war-lords may have harbored.

To rebuild Arab and the greater global Muslim society, to contribute in a way that meaningfully addresses local concerns and provides wise leadership at all levels of society requires people, many of whom have fled to foreign lands, to return and rebuild the nation.  If that leadership is comfortably domiciled in Europe that rebuilding will be delayed by decades if not longer. Current estimates place the end to the Syrian conflict and a return to ‘normality’ at twenty years into the future.

The flight of the Arab masses from Syria, Iraq and Lebanon are a positive outcome for their regional rivals in Turkey, Iran and even, in Egypt and not just because it debases two Arab, formerly military heavyweights. Unless the world’s superpowers and European nations are willing to radically change their geo-strategic thinking on how to conduct a stabilization strategy within the Near–East that conflict will spill over into Europe and not just Europe but the nations that are on the periphery of the Near-East (Pakistan, [India], Asia and Russia).

It is this failure of imagination that could create the instability that unintentionally leads to the next global conflict.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sweden and the Disease of Prejudice

A prominent peacenik whose family had survived the massacre and ethnic cleansing of the Jews of Hebron in 1929 was being interviewed by Swedish TV at the start of this century.  Suddenly and without warning this also prominent Swedish journalist verbally attacked him.   More than most of us, this man of peace should have had a response but he was shocked and had no response to his Swedish abuser.  Palestinian suffering had become the unquestioned fact of European (and much of the rest of the world) orthodoxy.

The problem is that then as now, Sweden like much of Europe has a national identity that is increasingly porous and ill-defined and progressively more schizophrenic. In its eagerness to appreciate the cultural eccentricities of its newest inhabitants and in deference to those differences, many states in Europe have created a two tier legal system that forgives or turns a blind eye to many crimes that may be attributable to cultural or religious differences.

And a simple example will suffice.  Aside from South Africa / Lesotho (depending on the report) either country of which has an even higher incidence of rape than Sweden has, Sweden is now by far, the rape capital of the rest of the world.  Even worse – reports suggest that the Swedish statistics hide under-reporting of rape by somewhere between 400% and 900%.  At the current rate it is believed that one in four Swedish women will be raped at some time during their lifetime.  That includes those who were children when they were violated.

In 2002 it emerged that 85% of convicted rapists were identified as immigrants or second generation Swedes.  And that figure has continued to go up but no official reports are now allowed to tell the story.

Some forty years ago I was living on a kibbutz and we had some Swede’s temporarily living amongst us. The atmosphere was international and it was exciting but sometimes we even managed to discuss issues of a serious nature. So our Swedish friends said that in their country there was nothing happening to agitate popular emotion and sometimes there was a feeling that Sweden needed a war to awaken its people from their emotional torpor, their intellectual indifference. Sweden has not fought a war for some 200 years (The Swedish–Norwegian War of 1814) nevertheless in this expression of collective Swedish insanity lies the reason behind Israel’s European misfortune.

The traditional Jewish bogeyman is the perfect animator for Sweden’s bored citizens and it allows them to forgive the rapist. It does not mean that we have supplanted the Muslim immigrants’ crimes against women but they can forgive the rapist; it is just Jews (or Zionists) that must bare collective guilt for Sweden’s debasement.  Hence the verbal and physical attacks on Jews and Zionists that occur in Swedish society across the board: The Swedish Church, the Swedish Press, its monarchy and its government.  No narrative that differs from the Palestinian one is permitted in Sweden.  A self-image based on absolute tolerance, ironically, cannot suffer disagreement. But even the Swedes must have their object of hate to alleviate or distract them from the tensions within Swedish society which were brought about by all the impossible contradictions created by a Muslim immigration that rejects much of the fundamental bases of that same Swedish society such as equality and tolerance.

And the Jewish people are a minuscule percentage of the global human population so it does not matter at all what technologies or medical discoveries emerge from Israel. While every year the world’s Muslim population increases at three times the global Jewish population the economic and political power that is represented by that Muslim growth far outweighs any Jewish contribution to global society.  That is the painful reality that Israel must come to terms with.

If Sweden and in fact Europe is a lost cause then Israel must disentangle itself from its European connection and actively examine its relationship with the remainder of global society.

In practical terms it means that in the Western world and at the United Nations antisemitism and its proxy anti-Zionism are both given free range without negative consequences. It means that every lie becomes the new truth. It also means that there are no negative consequences to the inflated Muslim self-image and Islamisms' associated LibLeft fascist accomplices.

To return to the Swedish failure, if all truth is relative to the situation as presented then there is no truth, only narratives.  If history is trivialized then there are no lessons to be learnt from it. Under conditions such as these, the Swedish acceptance of a radical racist Islamic or Arab nationalist narrative is both understandable and almost irredeemable.  This is the sickness that afflicts all of Europe.  The continent that nurtured Western Civilization is dying.

Sweden rediscovered its sense of purpose when it embraced its refugees and their often spurious narrative of victim-hood. Its intoxication with a liberal democratic but essentially amoral social model meant that blame became a non-word in the Swedish lexicon.  Such generosity had to have its scapegoat to distract the people from the negative consequences of their failed social model.

If possession of a holistic group identity is anathema because in a globalized world, nationalism is viewed as a anachronism and therefore it is understood to create a negative emotional space around which nothing good can flourish, then by doing away with the greater national group identity, all crimes can be forgiven because they are the product, not of the group, but of aberrant individual behavior.  According to this narrative, “ethnic identity politics” is good because it is not European while European nationalism is bad because it is imperialistic.  This manipulation of identity makes antisemitism all the more puzzling except when it is viewed as an attack on the individual and not the group.  Zionism is damned because according to the prevalent anti-Western narrative it is an expression of a particular European group identity which should have been suppressed because of its "inherently imperialist nature".  Jews are all “European” (incorrect, but facts are unimportant).  Jews have suffered because of European nationalism so they have no excuse for possessing any belief. The retention of any antiquated concept as part of personal identity simply reinforces the religious prejudices of the morally self-superior Swede. It is a truly all encompassing narrative that reinforces not just Sweden’s but most European antisemitic thinking.

Pan-Arab, Palestinian and greater Muslim group identities are more difficult to brush aside.  Muslim antisemitism is based on a theology of conquest, dominion and domination.  It is therefore inseparable from the Arab and greater Muslim anti-Zionist narrative.  It is impossible to disassemble that paradigm from its religious roots without denying their legitimacy (which would be heresy).  It may be easier to reject the contemporary historical lies which most Muslim are fed.
But in any debate on the issue of Israel-Palestine or inter-religious dialogue there will always be a closed mind that accepts no debate around any inconsistency of approach.  To allow for self-doubt within an atmosphere of political orthodoxy would destroy a consensus that unites a nation whose tremendous internal problems it is unwilling to face up to.   

As Pascal Bruckner has written:

“The die-hard student radicals that Bruckner (a French philosopher) knew in Paris shared a few traits with his father (a French Nazi collaborator), on the other end of the political spectrum: self-certain, righteous anger and the will to expose world-historical villains. Not for nothing was the extreme left infected by antisemitism, because the anti-Semite always knows exactly who is guilty.”  The extreme left and the extreme right are but two sides of the same coin. Their poison has leached into and polluted the centre ground.

Sweden’s malignancy infects the rest of Europe because Europe’s separate societies have steadfastly refused to inoculate themselves against the antisemitic contagion.  The Muslim demographic expansion into Europe has only accelerated the re-oxygenation of this infestation.  I see little chance of any remission in this disease and the current refugee crisis will only exacerbate its symptoms.