The Discomforts of Re-Reading
Serious readers re-read favorite books, both for pleasure, and also for guidance. Jews in particular are a people rooted in re-reading. There’s a reason to re-visit ground that’s been covered before: events also re-cycle.
Much of Jewish and general history re-revolves. Just as early Islam was spread initially in the Middle East by aggressive desert tribesmen sweeping up others along with it, so too ISIS/ISIL/IS is expanding rapidly and getting recruits from the far corners of the map. In its early days, Islam conquered far and wide, until finally it was stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1529. Today, radical Islam is already deeply rooted in the West via immigration and is exporting fighters from Europe back to its natal Middle East. In a reverse flow, jihad has already returned to Europe, with fatal results.
While the Europeans seem to have progressed little beyond hand-wringing, these days Egypt, Jordan, and even the Saudis are on the phone with Bibi Netanyahu, wondering what to do about ISIS. Middle Eastern regimes rightly fear the ISIS horde of rampaging, raping and beheading Islamist terrorists—which strikingly resembles early Islamic expansion. A chant popular among Islamic terrorists and activists, “Khaybar, Khaybar, ya Yahud”, nostalgically recalls the annihilation of the Jewish community in the Saudi peninsula in Islam’s early days.
Saudi King Abdullah said regarding Iran, we must cut off the head of the (nuclear) snake. Today the problem for Western civilization, including Israel, is that there are also numerous small independent “snakes” operating off the radar. The threat of scattered, loose cannons is too scary, and therefore many Western regimes dismiss them as as minor actors.
Among the small snake deniers is the U.K., which was shocked last week to find out that journalist James Foley was beheaded by an ISIS recruit from pricey Maida Vale. Home-grown small and not-so-small snakes from the U.K. include such “luminaries” as the Underwear Bomber, the Shoe Bomber, the Tel Aviv Mike’s Place Bombers, the Kill-a-British-Soldier-in-the Streets Knife Wielders, and of course the London Transport Big Ka-Boomers. Why were U.K. leaders so flabbergasted by the rapper/beheader’s radicalism?
Also outside of the U.K. there are too many people perennially obsessed with big snake management, including the myth that all Islamic states have one head. President Obama and the U.S. State Department are still focused on “Israel as the problem”. The logic goes that if only Israel would make peace with the Palestinians, there would be “Peace in the Middle East”. The horrific persecution of the Yazidis, as one example, proves that this is not the case.
This week I re-read the excellent Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. Spoiler alert on the big moral of the story: it’s about “well-intentioned” aristocratic British anti-Semites trying to appease the Nazis. Ishiguro based his Lord Darlington character on Lord Londonderry, who entertained Nazi ambassador Joachim von Ribbentrop, and visited Germany several times, meeting with Hitler and his top brass in the late 1930s. The U.K.’s appeasement policy ultimately resulted in the fall of Czechoslovakia and the invasion of Poland.
Yet prominent policymakers today in the U.K., instead of learning from history, are pretending that all the snakes can be charmed, despite ongoing and accelerating evidence to the contrary. In fact, the Brits are snake-charming themselves into complacency and acceptance of a worsening of their home front—and it is indeed a front. Police in Rotherham failed to prosecute the raping and trafficking of 1,400 local, non-Muslim young girls. Officials admitted that since the perpetrators were members of the city’s Pakistani community, prosecution could amount to “racism”.
Let’s admit that racism on the part of the Muslim perpetrators allowed them to abuse non-Muslim girls. Let’s fight the idea that in the interest of “fairness” Muslims may not be deemed culpable or responsible for their actions. Racist liberal “superiors” rationalizing and justifying Islamist criminal actions, no matter how reprehensible, result in more of the same brutality. With that kind of thinking, only when an Islamist outgrows his breeches and joins up with ISIS to kill a member of the privileged press class, is that inexcusable.
But as I hope you have noticed, gentle reader, it’s not about snakes or how large or small they are, it’s about radical Islam. It’s not about the means, it’s about the ideology that drives actions. No matter how “gentlemanly” Ribbentrop was or how badly Germany was treated after World War I, Nazism was pure evil, and so is Islamist ideology, no matter who is doing the killing, raping, or other inhumane acts.
At this point in our recycled history, those at the point of the sword know that they must act out of self-preservation. Those in Europe, America and elsewhere, must choose soon, before complacency becomes complicity, and dithering causes a fait accompli. For the girls of Rotherham, it’s too late, but there is still time for the West to act against the evil ideology that drives mass murder and terror .