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January 13, 2009

The Gaza conflict shows us how much of the British left has entered into the most unholy alliance since the Nazi-Soviet pact, argues William D. Rubinstein

Posted by William D. Rubinstein

William D. Rubinstein - professor of modern history at the University of Wales-Aberystwyth and author of Israel, the Jews, and the West: The Fall and Rise of Antisemitism - examines the British left's response to the Gaza conflict.

In the current conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, it is important to understand just what Hamas is and stands for, and why Israeli public opinion - in contrast to some Israeli military actions of the past - has been almost unanimously in favour of the attacks in Gaza.

Hamas (an acronym for "Islamic Resistance Movement") is, as its name suggests, not a secular-nationalist movement like its rival Fatah, which controls the West bank, but an Islamic one. As such, it is typical of the type of violent, extremist political movements which have emerged throughout the world in recent decades. Overwhelmingly, these have been religiously-based rather than founded in a secular universalistic ideology like Marxism or Western-style secular nationalism. (I examine this trend in a book to be published later this year by the Social Affairs Unit, The End of Secular Ideologies and the Rise of Religion. )

It is plainly much more difficult to compromise with such movements than with radical but secular parties and groups; indeed, compromise with them, when "compromise" is deemed to be compromise with "Satan", often appears impossible.

The 1998 Hamas Charter states that its aim is to "raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine" - in other words, to destroy the State of Israel and to replace it with an Islamic regime. Hamas has repeatedly rejected any possibility of a genuine peace treaty with Israel, or recognition of Israel, or of anything more than a hudna (temporary truce), to last no more than ten years, and then only if Israel first withdraws from all of its territories taken in 1967 and allows back all refugees who allegedly fled in 1948. These terms are wholly unacceptable to any Israeli government, even the most left-wing.

The propaganda issued by Hamas is an assembly line of Nazi-like anti-semitism, Jew hatred (and hatred for the "Crusader" Western powers, America and Britain), and Holocaust denial. Within Gaza, Hamas has ruthlessly cracked down on all dissent from anti-Hamas Palestinians, destroyed freedom of the press, and imposed Sharia law, including the systematic relegation of women to ninth-class status and the full range of flying limbs and rolling heads meted out to the lawbreaker. Prior to the current hostilities, Hamas was officially branded as a terrorist organisation by the United States, Britain, Australia, the European Union, Japan, and many other states and bodies.

The current conflict began as a response to Hamas's unilateral ending, on 18th December 2008, of a six month truce with Israel, whereupon Hamas began lobbing rockets into Israel proper. Israel responded exactly as any nation would which has come under attack by a sworn enemy, by retaliating militarily. Britain has not come under attack by any country which has a sworn policy of destroying its government and constitution since Hitler killed himself; Britain's response to Nazi aggression in 1940 was closely equivalent to Israel's response to Hamas.

Israel's incursion into Gaza should thus be supported by anyone who is pro-Western and anti-terrorist, bearing in mind that, obviously, violence and bloodshed are to be avoided whenever possible. In Britain, my sense is that it has at least tacit support on a widespread basis, with the obvious exception of the left and many Muslims. Here, the media bodies controlled by the left - the BBC, the Guardian, the Independent, the New Statesman, and so on - with their invariable and unerring perversity, have reversed right and wrong in order to pillory Israel when it has been attacked.

The recent spate of anti-Israel rallies have been hallmarked by the bizarre alliance which has grown up in recent years between the Western left and what is seemingly its polar opposite on every issue, Islamic fundamentalism, whose protagonists march arm-in-arm in a manner unprecedented since the Nazi-Soviet Pact. In total disagreement on every conceivable issue, especially those related to human rights, they are unified by a common hatred of the West in general, and of America, Britain, and Israel in particular. This state of affairs has existed for several decades, and its importance to political debate is only emphasised by the current conflict.

William D. Rubinstein is professor of modern history at the University of Wales-Aberystwyth. He is the author of Israel, the Jews, and the West: The Fall and Rise of Antisemitism.


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The analogy between German Aggression in the 1930's and the current Gaza conflict is a bit far fetched. Germany was a sovereigh state who posed a threat to the security of the ENTIRE WORLD and their actions lead to the deathe of approx 60 million people in WW". Hamas are a extremist group who have managed to inflict minimal damage to Isreal with crude, outdated weapons. To compare the Blitz to a few home made rockets is insulting.

Posted by: Martin Bewick at January 15, 2009 12:22 PM
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Is it now Mr Bewick? Lets see: Who entered Lebanon and turned a prosperous nation into chaos? It wasn't Israel.

Israel defeated 3x its neighbours' Conventional Armies. The new approach to war by its neighbours is through gang warfare. Hamas, Hzbllh(Party of Allah) Fatah etc. etc. are the New Armies of an Ideology and a Culture that has presently, thanks to the UN and the EU, a presence in all countries around the globe.

The greatest disservice done to the world community is to claim that Islam is Peace. History proves otherwise. 1400 years of lang grabbing and still kicking. Hamas is part of the present day Islamic "army". The Countries of the ME are not using their conventional armies to fight wars; they are using groups such as Hamas and co to do such a job.

You fail to see beyond the real function of these new gangs. Since the 1980s they gather the unemployed fanatic from anywhere in the Islamic world and call it Palestinians. The analogy between Nazism and Islamism is a just comparison. Presently, every country on this planet has a potential "Palestinian" problem. When this problem erupts simultaneously what would you call it then? You can see the similarity between Nazism and Islamism. One is without the other is inclusive of a god-belief. The misery they bring will last longer than Nazism.

Posted by: John Snead at January 26, 2009 08:50 PM
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