There Is No Equivalency between Tory Islamophobia and Labor Anti-Semitism

Dec. 11 2019

In a rhetorical move that has become so common as to be a cliché, writes Douglas Murray, political commentators create a parallel between two opposing positions and then claim themselves to be the reasonable and independent-minded people in the middle. Yet such thinking often relies on a false equivalency and, worse still, “attempts to repackage an act of astounding political cowardice as some kind of admirable moral stance.” Murray sees this tendency on frightful display in discussions of Britain’s national election, which takes place tomorrow—as pundits equate the anti-Semitism systemic to the Labor party with instances of “Islamophobia” among Tories:

[W]hat would the Conservative party have to be guilty of in order to be the subject of this one the one hand/on the other–ism? [The Tory prime minister] Boris Johnson would have had to have laid flowers at the grave of Baruch Goldstein (who massacred 29 Palestinian Muslims in 1994), plausibly the equivalent of Jeremy Corbyn laying a wreath at the grave of the Munich Olympics murderers. Yet, to date, no photograph has been found showing the Conservative leader making a pilgrimage to the outskirts of Hebron in order to perform this act of homage.

In 2017, Darren Osborne drove a truck into a crowd of worshippers leaving prayers at a mosque in Finsbury Park. And yet, to date, Boris Johnson has not campaigned that Osborne should not have been charged, found guilty, or sentenced for this appalling crime. So far as I am aware, no elected member of the Conservative party has pretended that Osborne is some poor, misguided innocent.

And yet this is the sort of act that would have to be found in the ranks of the Conservative party in order to find an equivalence to Jeremy Corbyn’s support for Samar Alami and Jawad Botmeh—two men who were convicted for a car-bomb attack on a London Jewish charity’s headquarters in 1994. While Corbyn acted as a long-time defender and indeed character referee for the anti-Jewish bombers, no senior Conservative appears to have made Darren Osborne into some kind of sick campaigning cause.

So why this strange emphasis from members of the commentariat who like to pretend that they are independent-minded, that they cannot vote for either main party because they are in some way equally bad? [The most] likely explanation is that many of these “independent-minded” columnists are simply far more tribal than they would like the rest of us to think. . . . And so they come up with ways to reorient the political landscape to present themselves as the only people remaining stable while everyone else is disoriented.

Read more at UnHerd

More about: Anti-Semitism, Boris Johnson, Islamophobia, Jeremy Corbyn, Labor Party (UK), United Kingdom

When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount