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:
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: