During the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, the British tabloid The Daily Mirror published an op-ed by former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party John Prescott which labeled the Israeli military operation a ‘war crime” and described Gaza as “a concentration camp”.
As if the odious accusation that Israel was keeping Palestinians in a “concentration camp” wasn’t bad enough, Prescott doubled down on his Holocaust inversion, and asserted the following:
What happened to the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis is appalling. But you would think those atrocities would give Israelis a unique sense of perspective and empathy with the victims of a ghetto.
As Howard Jacobson argued about critics who lecture Jews on their sub-par post-Shoah moral performance:
“[For such people] the Holocaust becomes an educational experience from which Jews were ethically obliged to graduate summa cum laude, Israel being the proof that they didn’t.”
Well, Prescott just published a new op-ed at The Mirror (‘Western interventions only pour petrol on fires of Middle East unrest – but there are three things we can do, Nov. 14), that somehow manages to find an Israeli angle to the recent attacks in Paris.
First, Prescott, evoking Stop the War Coalition level anti-Western propaganda, suggests that the US and Britain “stoked the unrest that allowed ISIS to emerge and thrive”, and later seems to imply that the ‘brutal’ Western response to terror is morally on par with the savagery of ISIS.
But, that’s not all. Prescott concludes his piece by suggesting that the “anger” fueling ISIS attacks stems in part – from the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
The final thing we can do is show Britain is committed to finding a lasting peace in all of the Middle East.
We cannot let the running sore of ill-feeling and bad blood between Israel and the Palestinian territories continue.
Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live together peacefully. That means putting pressure on both governments to strike that deal.
The best tribute to those who died in Paris is not to send troops and drones to “eviscerate” ISIS and Syria.
It is to channel that anger-fuelled energy to sue for a lasting peaceful solution across that region.
Peace between Israel and the Palestinians is of course a noble goal. However, the suggestion that the savage jihadists of ISIS will cease their practice of sexual slavery, crucifixions, beheadings, and mass terror attacks on European capitals if Israel withdrew to 1967 lines is beyond ludicrous.
Indeed, Prescott’s Israeli-Palestinian explanation overlaps with the widely criticized comments by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, who told Swedish National TV the following an hour after the Paris attacks:
to fight radicalization, we have to go back to the situation in the Middle East, where especially the Palestinians see no future. We either have to accept a desperate situation or act forcefully.
Both Prescott and the Swedish Ambassador grossly misunderstand the root cause of ISIS violence. It is not grievance-based, which would suggest that the violence would cease or at least abate if their (reasonable) concerns were addressed.
Rather, ISIS’s attacks are fueled by a radical, violent and intolerant religious ideology which is impervious to reason, persuasion or self-interest. They certainly don’t desire “peace” and justice in the Middle East. Their goal is quite clear: re-establishing an Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East ruled by Sharia and, ultimately, conquest of the entire world.
It is unclear whether Prescott’s nod to the Jeremy Corbyn-Seumas Milne-style radical left represents a true ideological shift, or if it is owed to his need to make amends for supporting the Iraq War while deputy prime minister under Tony Blair.
However, Prescott’s musings on the Paris attacks do clearly demonstrate one constant within the broader Western debate on how best to deal with jihadism: how the malign obsession with Israel can cause otherwise sober minds to resist even the most intuitive understandings of how to protect the democratic world from those seeking its demise.