Friday, July 05, 2013

Friendly Fire: An Open Letter To Melanie Phillips


Melanie Phillips is one of my favorite writers, a sometime correspondent of mine and a woman of rare courage. She originally wrote for the UK's Leftist bible, the Guardian, but 9/11, the London tube bombings, the Islamist influx into the UK and the Left's appeasement in response to it caused her to strike out on a very different path, which included the superb books Londonistan and The World Turned Upside Down.

Lately, she's been involved in something of a controversy, and one that says a great deal about what I prefer to call the War on Jihad.

Some of you know that Pam Geller at Atlas Shrugs and Islamic scholar and prodigious author Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch are two effective and outspoken critics of Islamism and sharia.

Recently, they were supposed to go to the UK to speak at a rally of the English Defense League, but were barred from entering the UK by Teresa May, the British Home Secretary.

In response to that Melanie Phillips wrote blog post in which she came out forcefully against this totalitarian proscription of free speech, especially ludicrous in view of them allowing Muslim jihadis like Australian cleric Shady Al-Suleiman into the country.

Not to mention excluding people simply because they have an Israeli stamp on their visa and happen to be Jews.

But then, she went a bit further, writing:

I do not support the approach taken by either Geller or Spencer to the problem of Islamic extremism. Both have endorsed groups such as the EDL and others which at best do not deal with the thuggish elements in their ranks and at worst are truly racist or xenophobic.

The result has been a serious blow to the credibility of these two writers, with particular damage being done to Spencer whose scholarship in itself is scrupulous. It has also split the defence against Islamic extremism, and handed a potent propaganda weapon to those who seek falsely to portray as bigoted extremists all who are engaged in the defence of the west against the Islamic jihad.

Needless to say, both Spencer and Geller angrily attacked her on their sites,and a number of others have denounced her for what they call 'friendly fire'.

Melanie Phillips is no shrinking violet herself, and responded in kind:

First, you would hardly think from their reaction that I actually opposed – and in the strongest terms – the order banning them from Britain. Furthermore, I spoke of them merely as ‘anti-jihadis’ and gave unambiguous credit to Robert Spencer’s scrupulous scholarship. The only aspect on which I said in this piece that I parted company with them was over their endorsement of

‘groups such as the EDL and others which at best do not deal with the thuggish elements in their ranks and at worst are truly racist or xenophobic.’

I did not call the EDL racist or neo-Nazi. I do, however, believe it contains thuggish elements.

Its leader, ‘Tommy Robinson’, has criminal convictions for assault and football hooliganism.

He is a former member of the unquestionably racist British National Party. Some members of the EDL have been pictured making Nazi salutes at rallies. The EDL exploits the very real threat of jihad, as well as the often violent attacks against its own members, to mask its own demonstrably yobbish behaviour. You can see examples of such behavior, throwing bottles at the police, here or here, where Tommy Robinson decided to go on a bender in Luton and started gratuitously throwing missiles at the police from a distance, boasting he would ‘hit a police officer on the … head’.

It targets mosques indiscriminately for its demonstrations, threatening Muslims regardless of whether they are extremists or not. Robinson has personally threatened:

‘The Islamic community will feel the full force of the EDL if we see any of our citizens killed maimed or hurt’.

I had a few thoughts on this myself, so I thought I'd e-mail her, with what follows below:

Dear Mel,
We've corresponded before and you know I'm a long time fan, but even though Robert and Pam were a bit over the top, I have to agree to disagree with you here.

The EDL has some thuggish elements, even some racist ones..but so does every other institution in the UK. As for Tommy Robinson, yeah, he has a past. But it's NOTHING compared to the jihadis Britannia has been sleeping with for years.

It's the EDL that has had the guts to protect and defend pro-Israel demos on the ground throughout the UK - no one else, not even your police. The EDL is a voice that has sprung up because there is effectively no more free speech in the UK, and the EDL is one of the few organized groups willing to fight the powers that be. They're not out there committing violence against random Muslims, and if Robinson threatened reprisals for violence done to EDL members, he was speaking a language jihadis understand. Remember that he and his family have been subjected to countless death threats.

Robinson has made the point numerous times that he has no problem with peaceful Muslims, but with sharia and jihad. I haven't seen any evidence to the contrary.

Since the EDL is really the spear point of organized resistance to the Islamization of the UK, has it ever occurred to you that someone with your gifts could make a difference? Broaden their stance a bit?

All Good Things,
Rob Miller@ Joshuapundit

She replied to me, and as always with her, it was a friendly, reasoned response. I won't divulge what she said without her permission since it was a private e-mail between Ms. Phillips, myself, and Obama's NSA. But generally, I can relate that she stands by what she said, particularly about Tommy Robinson.

She included this link...which is odd in a way. In spite of the film being skewed and bending over backwards to paint Robinson and the EDL as right wing extremists, the film inadvertently reveals very clearly how different the treatment meted out by the police to Robinson and the EDL is as opposed to the license given to jihadis in Britain.

The British government is physically frightened of the jihadis and wish to appease them. The only thing they fear about Robinson and the EDl is the same thing they fear about Pam Geller and Robert Spencer- that by engaging in free speech and exposing the truth about Islamism and sharia, it will spark Muslim violence.

I'd also point out that Sir Winston Churchill made a similar decision about alliances when it came to Stalin in WWII. In fact, Sir Winston said he'd ally with the devil himself if it meant defeating Hitler and the Nazis. That might have worked out better than it ultimately did, too, if FDR had not been a deathly sick man at the time of Yalta whose administration was riddled with Soviet agent and their sympathizers.

I have confidence in Melanie Phillips. I think as I think as things evolve, so will she. In fairness, she probably thinks the same where I'm concerned!

I think I'll let Pat Caddell have the final word on this:


Elise Ronan said...

Just as an aside here is my own little Pam Geller story: A few years ago she posted something nasty about able bodied persons trying to get away with things by claiming their "pets" as service dogs. I left her a comment correcting her notion about who gets to use service dogs and why. Explaining that "ablebodied" persons with epilepsy and autism also use service dogs and that she should correct her column. Well she corrected without giving me credit and left my comment up there to be ridiculed, which I was, vociferously I might add, by her many acolytes. I then left a comment telling her that to do that to me was beneath her and rather unbecoming (yes those words exactly.My memory is the great annoyance of the hubby's existence.) She did not answer me. She did not apologize. What she did was to block me from commenting on her site since then.

Not of course that Geller should be banned from the UK, but she is anything but an angel and quite frankly totally devoid of any class.

Meanwhile as far as Melanie Philips. I have sent her emails before too and very promptly received some lovely replies. She is a class act all the way. We do not have to agree with her, I actually nominated her column this past week. But I also posted the Pat Condell video on my blog.

While there are many who think that the UK is lost, I would remind everyone that the UK was a hotbed of pro-Nazis sentiment right before WW2. The Nazis-fascists were the Islamists of their day, including the love affair of the government with the Nazis complete with virulent antisemitism. Luckily during the Nazis era Hitler attacked Britain so it changed the course of history (I shudder to think what would have happened if Hitler had left Britain alone). Hopefully the people of the UK will wake up to the Islamists threat in their own nation before it is too late for the rest of western civilization this time as well.

Anonymous said...

I too was a fan of Melanie Philips until I read this article in the Times of Israel, in which she disses the Tea Party.

Now I couldn't care less about this woman's opinion.

She is like a lot of liberals who get "mugged" and become neo-conservatives, they have a little bit of common sense, but they still cling to leftist groupthink.

Rob said...

I think that's a bit harsh on your part.

And no particularly accurate, if you read the link. She doesn't particularly diss the Tea Party at all, just says that there are a lot of apolitical people on the Right whom don't feel represented by it, FOX News or the GOP.

What you're doing here IMO is the reverse of what she's apparently doing with the EDL - you want to take an ally you agree with on many things and dismiss her because she disagrees with you on a few things.

Reagan was a master in bridging gaps like this.

We need to look for areas we agree on, and concentrate on the big picture IMO.

Rob said...

Also, I wouldn't classify her at all as a 'neocon'.

Rob said...

Hi Elise,
I've had the odd issue with Pam myself on occasion, mostly involving her 'borrowing' and rewriting content.

But she is a courageous person who is doing valuable work.

As for Britain's relationship with Jews and Israel, the less said the better. I think you've read enough of my stuff to know my feelings on that.

But they did eventually take a stand, they did help to defeat Hitler even if they did it for their own self-interest rather than because of what Hitler was doing to the Jews, and in fact they did provide refuge for some Jews.

America did the same, and might have done more except for a craven cabal of influential American Jews like the AJC and Rabbi Stephan S. Wise who deliberately conspired to keep the truth from Americans and American Jews and to give political cover to the Roosevelt Administration for treating the Holocaust and the plight of the Jews as a side issue.

That's why a strong and powerful Israel is necessary. Because no people can or should base their national survival on the good will of other nations.

To me, that's the core lesson Jews should take from the Shoah.