By Melanie Phillips
Anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism have poisoned British politics. In a world of terrorism, the timing couldn't be worse http://www.JewishWorldReview.com
Everyone knows that Europe is a continent stuffed with craven, terror-appeasing fromages who loathe America. Britain, by contrast, led by the lion-hearted Tony Blair, is full of stalwarts who stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States in the defense of the West. Right?
Wrong. Fury at Prime Minister Blair for being President Bush's "poodle" has reached such a pitch that the most successful Labor prime minister in memory is being forced out of office because of his support for U.S. policy in Iraq and Israel. Labor's members of Parliament say his refusal to break with America by calling for an earlier cease-fire in Lebanon was the last straw. The disturbing fact is that Britain is consumed by a rampant anti-Americanism and an allied hostility toward Israel, which are driving public debate into irrationality, prejudice and appeasement.
BACKLASH TO THE U.S. In a Populus poll last month in The Times of London, 62% said the government should change its policy by distancing itself from the United States, being more critical of Israel and declaring a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq. An August YouGov poll in The Spectator magazine revealed that while 53% wanted a tougher anti-terrorism policy, 45% wanted to be allied more closely with the European Union than with America. Only 14% supported closer U.S. ties.
As a result, the prospects for the alliance between Britain and the United States in the post-Blair era do not look promising. Despite being an instinctive Atlanticist, Gordon Brown, the most likely successor as Labor prime minister, is thought to be only a reluctant backer of the war in Iraq, according to a new autobiography by former Labor minister David Blunkett.
Meanwhile David Cameron, the new young leader of the opposition Conservative Party, made a speech last month distancing himself from U.S. foreign policy and blaming America for fanning the flames of anti-Americanism. The outcome might be that Britain increasingly snuggles up to the EU over foreign policy while an irritated America, bereft of its principal advocate in Europe, moves toward isolationism.
Much of Britain's anti-Americanism is driven by the usual suspects, such as far-left lawmaker George Galloway or newspapers such as the ultra-left Guardian. Galloway, for instance, said during an interview with GQ magazine earlier this year that the assassination of Blair by a suicide bomber would be "morally justified."
Left-wing discourse, now staple fare on the BBC and applauded even by conservatively minded audiences in panel discussions, proclaims that the United States is the fount of Third World oppression and the greatest threat to world peace.
But British animosity toward the U.K.'s most important and historic ally is wider and deeper. Partly it derives from simple snobbery, the long-standing British belief that Americans are vulgar upstarts who lack the gravitas that Britain has accrued from a thousand years of history.
Probe further, however, and you discover anguish at the progressive junking of that history. Schools, for example, no longer teach the history or values of the British nation on the grounds that national identity based on a majority culture is viewed as "racist." Instead, they promote multiculturalism, the doctrine that minority value must have equal status to those of the majority. Loss of confidence in Britain's role in the world has demoralized its governing class so badly that it has come to believe that the nation state is the principal source of all ills from prejudice to war, and that legitimacy resides instead in supranational institutions.
So no international action can be taken without sanctification by that holy of holies, the United Nations. As a result, the British regard Bush's "unilateral" foreign policy with undiluted horror. This is made worse by disdain for Bush himself, regarded as a tongue-tied cowboy who actually believes in G-d — to the post-religious British, the nearest thing to a certificate of lunacy.
The biggest single cause of British anti-Americanism, however, is Israel. Despite being the target for more than half a century of genocidal Arab and Muslim aggression, Israel is widely perceived in Britain as the regional bully, and its acts of self-defense are viewed as the principal motor behind both the Middle East impasse and Islamic grievance because of its supposed refusal to allow the Palestinians to have a state of their own.
Thus John Denham, chairman of the parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee, wrote that Israel's policies were making Britain a target for terror. America brought the 9/11 attacks upon itself, goes this type of thinking, because of its support for Israel — and the only reason Britain is now threatened by Islamic terror is because of Blair's support for the United States.
OPEN SEASON ON JEWS
This has opened a Pandora's box of anti-Jewish prejudice in Britain.
A recent report by the Parliamentary Committee Against Anti-semitism found that since 2000, anti-Semitism is on the rise in Britain. It is now common to read in the news media, for example, that the Jews are engaged in a global conspiracy that has subverted U.S. foreign policy to serve the interests of Israel and put the rest of the world at risk. In April, for instance, The Independent newspaper illustrated an interview on the subject of the "Israel lobby" in America with a picture of the American flag in which the stars of the union were replaced with the Stars of David. The headline: "The United States of Israel." Thus the prejudice against America is inextricably conflated with prejudice against Jews and the Jewish state.
The dismaying truth is that, even after the suicide bombings in London, America's defense of the free world against Islamic terror is widely viewed in Britain as the cause of that terror. The paranoid bigotry that drives the jihad — that the United States and its Jewish puppet masters make up a giant conspiracy of evil — is being increasingly echoed within Britain's non-Muslim population. The very idea that weakening the alliance with the United States would be in Britain's interests is madness. But in a country that has lost its way, rationality is a commodity in short supply.