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Londonistan By: Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, May 12, 2006

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, commentator and author, whose columns appear in the UK in the Daily Mail and who writes a blog at www.melaniephillips.com. She is the author of the new book Londonistan.

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FP: Melanie Phillips, welcome to Frontpage Interview.


Phillips: Thanks. It’s a pleasure to talk to you.


FP: So what inspired you to write Londonistan?


Phillips: I was just appalled by the fact that, not only had Britain become the key European hub of Islamist extremism and terrorism during the 1990s under the noses of the British authorities, but even after both 9/11 and last year’s suicide bombings in London the British political and security establishment is still appeasing Islamist extremism, and remains in a state of denial about the threat to the west. After the London bombings, when home-grown British Muslim boys set out to murder as many of their fellow British citizens as possible, a senior London police officer went on TV and said that the words Islam and terrorism did not go together.  If a threat is so badly misunderstood in this way, it will not be defeated.


FP: Can you talk a little bit about the collapse of traditional British identity and of the destructiveness of multiculturalism?


Phillips: This is absolutely a key issue. Multiculturalism has turned Britain’s values inside out – and the root cause of the problem is the deconstruction of Britain’s identity.  For decades, the British elite has been consumed by loathing of its national identity and values which it decided were racist, authoritarian and generally disagreeable. Much of that was due to our old friend, post-colonial guilt. The elite was therefore vulnerable to the predations of the left, which had signed up to Gramsci’s insight that a society could be suborned by replacing its normative values by the mores of those who transgressed them or were on society’s margins.  


This gave rise to multiculturalism and minority rights, which held that all cultures were equal to each other and which thus provided minorities with an enormous weapon with which to force the majority to give in to their demands. One of the consequences of this was moral inversion, which holds that since minorities are weak they must always be victims of the majority because it is strong. So even when minorities behave badly, it’s always the majority’s fault. Translate that onto the world stage, and you arrive at the view that even when third world people commit terrorist outrages against the west it must be the west which is to blame. That’s why multicultural Britain said, after 9/11, that America ‘had it coming to them’ – and why, after the London bombings last July, it said the reason British Muslim boys had blown up the London transit system was because of Britain’s support for the US in Iraq.


FP: Describe for us Britain’s culture of appeasement. What do you think engendered it?


Phillips: Various factors. First, the kind of moral inversion and cultural slide I’ve just been talking about. Next, sheer funk. Then there’s Britain’s deep reluctance – which it shares with the US – to get stuck into issues of religion. It’s a kind of fastidiousness that religion represents private space into which a liberal society should not intrude –which is fine, all other things being equal, but which of course here they are not.


On top of that, Britain – like so much of Europe – has signed up to the idea that the nation is a Bad Thing because it does war – and war must be avoided at all costs.  So war must be replaced by law, the authority of the nation must yield to supra-national institutions – hence the obsession with getting the approval of the UN, which is in the fact the world’s Club of Terror -- and confrontation must be replaced by concessions.


Finally, don’t forget that before a certain Winston Churchill came along and inspired the ‘bulldog breed’ who stoically endured the Blitz and saw off Hitler,

Britain in the 1930s was cheering to the echo Neville Chamberlain’s ‘peace in our time’. There is an insularity to the British that leads them to think that, provided they don’t upset anyone beyond their island fastness, nasty people in far-away places will leave them alone. And besides, the British ruling class have always done appeasement. Think of their betrayal of the Jews and kowtowing to the Arabs in Mandatory Palestine; think of Aden, Malaya, Northern Ireland.


FP: What is your perspective of the alliance of the Left and radical Islamism?


Phillips: It’s remarkable, to put it mildly, that the left – with its obsessions with issues like gay rights, equality for women and sexual licence – should have forged an alliance with radical Islamists who preach death to gays, the subjugation of women and the stoning of adulterers. It is an eye-opener to see, on the streets of London, so-called ‘progressives’ marching shoulder to shoulder with radical Islamists under the metaphorical banner of human rights and the literal banners of Hamas. Both the left and the radical Islamists have put aside their differences because they recognise the value of using each other in pursuit of their common objective, the destruction of western society.


In other, less topsy-turvy times, the rest of the country would have raised an eyebrow at such an alliance and at the noxious views it is spewing out, which in turn so closely reflect the views of neo-fascist groups and white supremacists: hatred of Israel, Judeophobic tropes about a global Jewish conspiracy that endangers the world, loathing of capitalism and America. But alas, such is the extent of Britain’s moral and cultural slide, and so poisonous has been the effect of the opposition to the war in Iraq, that far from being denounced such views are finding expression in mainstream society and public debate.


FP: What is your view of the New Anti-Semitism?


Phillips: It’s currently open season in Britain on Israel and the Jews. People put Israel in one box and anti-Jewish prejudice in another, and resolutely deny any connection between the two. But the Israel issue is being used as a camouflage for Judeophobia. Much of the problem is gross ignorance. Many in Britain are wholly ignorant of the history of the Jews and of the restoration of their ancient homeland in Israel, and as such have come to believe that the propaganda put out by the Arabs, which so grievously misrepresents and distorts both the history and the present situation of the Middle East, is true. With so many in the intelligentsia and the media deeply hostile and ignorant, Israel has been successfully demonised and delegitimised in Britain on the basis of lies and libels, a treatment afforded to no other nation.


And this has in turn legitimised open anti-Jewish feeling and the expression of anti-Jewish tropes, such as sinister global Jewish power. Even more startling, Jews who try to defend Israel from such calumnies and moral inversion are accused of having ‘dual loyalty’. In other words, their British identity is conditional upon their expressing the approved view of a foreign conflict in which Britain has no locus. No other minority is subjected to such treatment. The final twist is that some of the principal cheerleaders of this anti-Jewish bigotry are themselves of Jewish ancestry, a particular Jewish pathology which goes back to the ‘conversos’ of the Middle Ages.


This is a tragedy for Britain’s Jews. But it is also a tragedy for Britain, because its failure to grasp that Israel’s fight is the west’s own fight, that Israel is not in a separate box labelled ‘land dispute’ but is in the same box that the west is in which is labelled ‘jihad against the free world’, and that the hatred of the Jews that is central to the Arab and Muslim world is at the very heart of the jihad against the west, is undermining its own ability to defend itself against that threat.


FP: The British government has a current strategy of getting into bed with radical Islamism. Why? How much should this matter to the US? What should be done about it?


Phillips: The British establishment, as I have said, has a historic proclivity towards appeasement. It takes the cynical view that there is no group in the world whom it cannot buy off one way or another. In addition, it has an absolute blind spot about religious fanaticism. It refuses to acknowledge the religious nature of Islamic fascism -- maybe because to do so would mean facing up to horrendous challenges, or maybe because the British elite simply cannot take seriously something that sounds to its super-sophisticated ears so absurd as the restoration of the medieval Caliphate and the Islamisation of the world. It thinks therefore it is using Islamist radicals to see off the threat of terrorism, but in fact it is being used by them.


Yes, this should matter to the US for a number of reasons. First, it might imperil Britain’s alliance with the US. After Tony Blair departs from the Prime Ministerial stage, his successor may well want to distance Britain from the US and its proactive defence of the west. Second, some of these destructive British social trends – such as the obsession with minority rights – are present in the US too. If Britain succumbs, these forces in the US will be strengthened. Britain after all is the American cultural mother-ship; it is where the concepts of liberty, democracy and the rule of law were first developed. If Britain turns out all its cultural lights, the resulting gloom will envelop America and the whole of the free world.   


FP: Thank you Melanie Phillips.


Phillips: It was a pleasure Jamie.


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Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He is the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet Union and is the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of The Hate America Left. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left Illusions. His new book is United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror. To see his previous symposiums, interviews and articles Click Here. Email him at jglazov@rogers.com.

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