The other evening I had a long telephone conversation with a left-wing friend. This is what she did not want to hear.
I am shocked at how the left in general are welcoming an influx of people who espouse the most reactionary, racist and illiberal views circulating on the planet.Antisemitism is embedded within Islam.Committed Muslims worship a man who personally ordered the massacre by beheading of 600 Jews and the enslavement of their wives and children. In the Koran, Jews are referred to many times as pigs who need to be killed.
Objecting to this kind of thing is not racist, but they should no more be welcomed than one would welcome an army of Waffen SS. It is a continuation of the process which began with the ethnic cleansing of Christians and Jews from the Saudi-Arabian peninsula in the seventh century.
The first victims of this, are, as always, the Jews. Both in Malmö and here in Gothenburg, they face constant harrassment, violence and threats of violence (including death and arson threats) and school bullying. It is coming from Muslim immigrants. It is not coming from white power nuts or Breivik types. Half the former 2000 strong Jewish community has fled. Mostly to Israel.
This comes to the second issue, the demonisation of Israel. It is, for a start, a highly selective matter because there are dozens of oppressive regimes about which the same people utter not one word. There is plenty to criticise Israel about but when the spotlight is put on this one country to the exclusion of all others, is has to be concluded that the motivation is nothing other than good old antisemitism. It is a disgrace that the left has gone down this path.
One of the lies that gets put about is that Israel has come about as a result of European Christian antisemitism. That is only part of the truth. More than half of the population of Israel are refugees, or descendants of refugees, from Muslim Arab antisemitism.
This tracks back to the Palestine dispute. There had always been Jews in the area that later became known as Palestine. When the land was conquered from the Byzantine Empire in 637, both Christians and Jews were treated as second class citizens. They were forced to pay special, and very heavy taxes, forbidden to repair their buildings and made to wear distinctive clothing. Both communities suffered periodic pogroms, at least once a generation. This was their condition until the end of the Ottoman Empire, by which time the number of Jews remaining was several tens of thousands.
Arab attacks on Jews in Palestine began in 1920.right at the start of the Mandate period. At that time, the prospect of a Jewish state was next to nil, because the vast majority of Jew were not in the least bit interested. Thus it was based on nothing more than the ingrained hatred of Jews by Muslims, plus paranoia.
There were pogroms in Palestine many times during the 1920s and 1930s, including one which drove the ancient Jewish community out of Hebron in 1929, following a massacre.
During WW2, the Palestinian leader and war criminal Haj-amin el-Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and uncle of Yasser Arafat, met Hitler and the Nazi leaders and encouraged them in their good work in pursuing the Holocaust. On his way, he had visited Baghdad and organised a pogrom in which hundreds of Jews were killed (that was in 1941), and afterwards he went on to organise the Bosnian Brigades, who terrorised the Serbs, thereby stirring up the hostilities which led to the tit-for-tat massacres in the 1990s. They did not pop up out of nothing and nowhere.
The unlovely Hungarian government can also be explained by the historical background. The country was not freed from the brutal Ottoman occupation until 1686. Thus, the fear of the Muslim threat from the east is part of the national folk memory. Remember also that the Ottomans remained on the borders of Hungary and were not dislodged from most of the Balkans until the late nineteenth century. We need to understand why they are jumpy. It is not for no reason.
The same goes for Austrian and Poland. Vienna was besieged for months by the Ottomans in 1683 and was only saved at the last moment by the arrival of the Polish army. Had Vienna fallen, there would have been a slaughter of civilians on the scale of that which took place in Constantinople in 1453.
It also needs to be remembered that the break-up of the Ottoman empire and the establishment of modern Turkey was accompanied by the genocide of a total of at least three million, possibly four million, Greeks and Armenians. These events are only just beyond living memory and not forgotten.
This brings us to the present situation in Syria and Iraq. We should stop blaming the troubles on western intervention. It is an obstacle to understanding the nature of this problem. Western intervention has not helped matters but the region would still be a catastrophe. The problem can be traced directly back to the Muslim Arab invasions of the seventh century, referred to earlier. It is a bitter legacy. Syria, Lebanon and Iraq are a witches' cauldron of ethnic and religious animosities. The Ottoman Empire and its predecessors kept the lid on that cauldron. The architects of the post-WW1 carve-up did not understand that. Politicians all the way across the spectrum still do not understand that. Until they do, all interventions are doomed to failure.
Unrestricted immigration from the area is merely spreading the conflict. It begins elsewhere as gang warfare. In the past couple of years it has escalated to the point that immigrant-dense Gothenburg has the highest rate of shootings of any city in Scandinavia.
Should we ignore people in need? No. But the help needs to be given to people on the spot, in fact, where it is most needed and most useful. As to whom is allowed in - they need to be checked and permission given before they start their journey, so that they are not tempted to make cross the sea in toy boats.
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