Hezbollah, The war against Israel
Thursday 27th Jul 2006
The responses in Britain and Europe to the current crisis in the Middle East more than ever confirm my view that much of the west is in the grip of a profound moral breakdown. The outward manifestation of the sickness is a hatred of Israel, an irrationality and a willingness to turn objective truths on their heads to a degree which is simply unprecedented. Indeed, the British pathology now runs so deep that the hostility towards Israel's activities in Lebanon is currently far more pronounced than in much of the Arab world, which unlike Britain has grasped what is actually going on in Lebanon and what the stakes are - compared to which, hatred of the traditional Israeli foe takes a very firm second place. This is another first for our upside-down times.
A hysteria towards Israel is rising within the media and so-called educated classes of Britain which increasingly mimics and even rivals, in its intensity, irrationality and bigotry, the prejudices and libels coursing through the Arab world which are the recruiting sergeants for global terror.
Through the distorting prism of this world view - the dominant view of the media and the intelligentsia - Israel is being presented as the aggressor in this dispute, inflicting upon the hapless Lebanese a wholly disproportionate level of punishment.
Clearly, the Israelis are not helping themselves by terrible mistakes such as the killing of four UN observers this evening. In war, though, mistakes like this happen, and this is turning into a savage war for Israel in which it is experiencing considerable difficulty in achieving its objective of defanging Hezbollah to the point where it can no longer launch its attacks upon Israeli civilians with the intention of murdering as many of them as possible.
What is essentially a war of defence and of survival, however, is being presented to Britons in their armchairs as a war by Israel of unconscionable aggression, with all the suffering taking place among the Lebanese who are in turn presented as the innocent bystanders caught up in a war in which they have no standing. The fact that Hezbollah was elected to the Lebanese parliament, holds government portfolios and has been allowed to operate with impunity by the Lebanese as a state within a state to carry out its murderous objectives towards Israel is almost totally ignored. Yes, innocent Lebanese are dying and suffering in this war, and that is awful. Innocent civilians, tragically, are always victims in any war. But Lebanon itself is not an innocent bystander at all. It is an accessory to genocidal terror. We heard this from the mouth of the Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah himself yesterday, when he said:
'I told them on more than one occasion that we are taking the issue of the prisoners seriously, and that abducting Israeli soldiers is the only way to resolve it. Of course, I said this in a low-key tone. I did not declare in the dialogue: "In July I will abduct Israeli soldiers." This is impossible.' Interviewer: 'Did you inform them that you were about to abduct Israeli soldiers?' Hassan Nasrallah: 'I told them that we must resolve the issue of the prisoners, and that the only way to resolve it is by abducting Israeli soldiers.' Interviewer: 'Did you say this clearly?' Hassan Nasrallah: 'Yes, and nobody said to me: "No, you are not allowed to abduct Israeli soldiers." Even if they had told me not to... I'm not defending myself here. I said that we would abduct Israeli soldiers, in meetings with some of the main political leaders in the country. I don't want to mention names now, but when the time comes to settle accounts, I will. They asked: "If this happens, will the issue of the prisoners be over and done with?" I said that it was logical that it would. And I'm telling you, our estimation was not mistaken.'
The BBC in particular has turned into the Beirut Broadcasting Corporation, reporting the war almost entirely from the perspective of a Lebanon that is entirely innocent and victimised (as opposed to Sky which is far more even-handed). All this with scarcely a nod at the scores of Israeli dead and hundreds of casualties, or the thousands of Israeli refugees being taken in by families in the south of the country.
And this despite the fact that those Israeli casualties are being specifically targeted for death, whereas the Lebanese casualties are the inadvertent victims of attacks directed against Hezbollah terrorists and their infrastructure. The Israelis are leafleting Lebanese civilians in advance of their raids to ensure that as many as possible leave the zone of fire. Unfortunately it doesn't always work, but the intention is patently there to avoid killing civilians because this is a war of self-defence against a terrorist army. The Hezbollah, by contrast, is firing its rockets tipped with ball-bearings - designed to murder and maim as many as possible
-in order specifically to kill Israeli civilians.
Yet the British media, led by the BBC, reflects none of this. Instead it is presenting the conflict as an Israeli offensive -in every sense -and is throwing all vestiges of objectivity to the winds to do so. As Stephen Pollard protested in the Times on Monday, Andrew Marr's AM programme last Sunday on BBC TV featured four interviewees virulently hostile to Israel
-with no-one putting the other side at all. A reader writes to say that on BBC TV's Hard Talk, the ex-Lebanese Prime Minister was allowed to say that the problem was 'the occupation' by Israel and nothing could be done until it ended. But Israel pulled out of Lebanon six years ago - a fact not pointed out at all by the presenter.
Much has been made of the fact that the Israelis hit two Lebanese ambulances. This was most regrettable and tragic. But the claim made by reporter after reporter was that the Israelis had deliberately targeted these vehicles. What is the evidence for this claim? None. What logical reason would the Israelis have for targeting an ambulance and attracting the opprobrium of the world? None. And the converse of this unfounded assumption of the most diabolical Israeli motives has been virtually no reporting of Israeli casualties, no heart-rending stories of the suffering of those targeted for death purely for the crime of being Jews in a Jewish nation state.
Here is what the writer Douglas Murray has written to me following a visit in the last few days to Northern Israel:
Most appalling though was visiting the Northern town of Safed and getting Katyusha-d while in the hospital. The children there in particular were just appallingly traumatised. One boy with great gashes from exploded glass down his head. Hit while he was watching television, recovering from another wound in his hospital bed. Pregnant women about to give birth were sheltered in the hospital basement, but others had to take their luck on other floors.
One man had been badly scarred by a Katyusha on the Friday, and then been blown out of his bed while trying to sleep in the hospital on the Sunday.
When I saw him on the Tuesday the sirens went again and we had about ten seconds to shelter before the rockets began to land again. And I get back to Britain and find not a word about this, and Jeremy Bowen [the BBC's Middle East editor]
walking around picking up teddy bears from Beirut apartments and pretending he's giving news.
So far, Douglas has failed to interest any British newspaper in running his report.
The crucial point about the casualties in Lebanon is that the Hezbollah is using the civilian population as human shields, deliberately siting its rockets and other weapons in the basements of apartment blocks, schools, mosques and so on. It is therefore impossible to destroy these weapons without hurting some civilians. Even a UN official hostile to Israel has now admitted this. Jan Egeland, head of the UN's humanitarian effort and who has criticised Israel's 'disproportionate' response - a claim given 'disproportionate' coverage on the BBC - acknowledged:
'Consistently, from the Hizbollah heartland, my message was that Hizbollah must stop this cowardly blending... among women and children,' Mr Egeland said. 'I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians bearing the brunt of this. I don't think anyone should be proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men. We need a cessation of hostilities because this is a war where civilians are paying the price,' said Egeland as he headed to Israel.
Stephen Pollard reports that this admission was buried obscurely on a BBC site. I have to say that I couldn't find it there at all. As of this evening, the BBC News website story reporting Mr Egeland's criticism of Israel did not include one word of his acknowledgement of Hezbollah's use of civilians as human shields.
There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that the cumulative effect of the BBC's poisonous distortions is to incite hatred of Israel in anyone who knows little about the region and is exposed for long enough to its TV and radio bulletins. The impact this is having on the general population is bad enough. The likely effect on those Muslims who are already prone to a hysterical sense of grievance against Israel and the Jews as a result of the propaganda pouring out of the Arab and Muslim world - and who believe that the BBC is to be trusted, heaven help us, as the voice of truth and objectivity - cannot be exaggerated in its potential for fomenting yet further evil. The BBC has now become one of the most potent weapons of the enemies of civilisation. It is the most prominent cultural symbol of a society that has turned upon itself and is hell-bent on committing collective suicide.
But the moral crisis in Britain extends far wider and deeper than the wretched BBC and other media. The surreally distorted response by so many to Israel's attempt to destroy the would-be purveyors of genocide raises the question of whether Britain will ever again support a just war - because it no longer knows what a just war is, and no longer has the intellectual capacity to know. This is in large measure because moral agency has disappeared altogether from the analysis. Intention, the essence of moral actions, is now tossed aside as of no significance.
All that matters are the consequences of an action. This is in accordance with the prevailing amoral consensus which has negated moral agency altogether in order to remove the burden of personal responsibility. What someone intends to do is therefore held to be of no account. All that matters is the consequences of their action.
So the fact that Israel is at war solely to prevent the deaths of innocents is dismissed. All that matters is that the consequences of its actions are that Lebanese civilians are dying. The fact that the Israelis do not intend them to die is irrelevant. Those deaths are deemed to be the equivalent of the deaths caused by Hezbollah. The fact that Hezbollah deliberately sets out to murder innocent Israelis is irrelevant. Thus the only thing that matters is which side has more dead people. The fact that there are more dead Lebanese than dead Israelis settles the matter. The Israelis are in the wrong, are behaving disproportionately, are committing war crimes, are the villains of the piece. The fact that they are actually the victims of unprovoked genocidal aggression is deemed irrelevant. Thus the moral bankruptcy of Britain's post-modern cultural desert.
Of course, the only reason there aren't more Israeli deaths than the few score who have been killed and hundreds who have been injured is because around one third of Israel's population is virtually living in shelters.
And the only reason there is such a well-developed network of shelters is because Israel's citizens have endured a state of siege for half a century from a genocidal Arab world that wants to wipe them off the map.
Today, one third of Israel has effectively been shut down. To use this self-protection born of lamentable necessity as an argument that they are not actually the victims of this situation is beyond grotesque.
What the Lebanon crisis finally exposes as a sham is the mantra that the Middle East crisis is caused by the absence of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Hezbollah and Hamas, along with their patron in Iran, are explicitly and by their own account in the business of wiping Israel off the map, and the Jews of the world along with them, before they start on everyone else.
But now in Britain voices are being heard - in articles, and in the letters pages of the newspapers - actually agreeing that Israel's creation in 1948 was a terrible mistake. Thus the real agenda behind the hostility to Israel
- which has masqueraded for so long as frustration at the absence of a two-state solution -- is revealed in all its malevolence.
In Britain, such malice towards Israel is in part a cultural legacy of Britain's shameful history as the mandatory power in pre-war Palestine, when it betrayed its solemn undertaking to the Jews to create a national home in their historic homeland and sided instead with the Nazi-affiliated Arabs to keep the Jews out and sent them instead to their deaths in the Nazi extermination camps. In Britain today, therefore, one might conclude that nothing much has changed.
Such prejudice is not only despicable. It is also nationally suicidal.
For such is the hatred of Israel that - fantastically - a world war is under way in which the designated victims don't even realise it is happening. For Israel is not fighting some rackety terrorist grouping.
It is fighting the army of the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Amir Taheri wrote in the Sunday Times:
'The Israelis would be foolish to think they are dealing with nothing but a bunch of mad fanatics,' says a former Iranian diplomat now in exile.
'Hezbollah in Lebanon is a state in all but name: it has its territory, army, civil service and economic and educational systems.'
And that state within a state is Iran:
Over the years the Lebanese branch has been woven into Iran's body politic.
Many Hezbollah militants and officials have married into Iranian religious families, often connected to influential ayatollahs.
Dozens of Lebanese Shi'ites have worked and continue to work in the Iranian administration, especially in the ministries of security, information and culture. Since the mid-1980s, most of the Lebanese Shi'ite clerics have undertaken training in Iran. In exchange, thousands of Iranian security officers and members of the Revolutionary Guards have lived and worked in Lebanon. As Ali Yunesi, Iran's former intelligence minister, said: 'Iran is Hezbollah and Hezbollah is Iran.'
Now the question is whether Israel can do enough damage to Hezbollah to stop its attacks, and whether America will allow it time to do so. Talk of a ceasefire is clearly useless, since the Hezbollah has stated that it will not agree to the only terms on which a ceasefire is morally justifiable -
ie, its total surrender and dismantling as a terrorist army. Any other type of 'ceasefire' is merely a euphemism for surrender by Israel and the confirmation of its status as a sitting duck for Hezbollah's rockets to continue to murder its citizens - in due course doubtless enhanced with a chemical or nuclear capability. Iran's ayatollahs have now issued a fatwa declaring that the use of nuclear weapons against its enemies is legitimate.
The ceasefire being demanded by moral cretins in Britain and Europe is the starting gun for the second Jewish Holocaust.
For years America has looked the other way from Iran and Hezbollah, despite the attacks carried out by Hezbollah against American interests over recent years. Now we read that President Bush sees a wider opportunity in Israel's desperate war of self-defence. According to Secretary of State Condi Rice, the war in Lebanon is an opportunity to create a new Middle East (again) by eradicating terrorism. What that means is that Israel is to be used to eradicate it. Israel is to do America's dirty work for it - the work from which America has flinched in the past and continues to flinch, in failing to address the real terrorist godfathers of Syria and above all Iran. So Israel's sons are being sent to die so that America can restructure the Middle East by remote control, without committing any of its own to this terrible fight. And Israel is now sweating on America's permission for more of its sons to be sent to die on the Lebanese killing fields, because the alternative for Israel is so much worse.
Such a proxy war by the US is not only distasteful and cowardly. It may well not succeed. Israel is currently experiencing difficulty in getting on top of a foe that is experienced, cunning, well-equipped and utterly ruthless in its use of human shields. But even if Israel succeeds in pushing Hezbollah back from the border so that its rockets no longer hit Israel, this can only be a short-term solution. Even if a multinational force were to be assembled in Lebanon and Gaza that - miraculously - would prevent Hezbollah and Hamas from continuing to wage war upon Israel, the root problem of Iran (and Syria) would still remain. Israeli intelligence reports that the Hezbollah has a well-established global presence, and that Iran will unleash a terror war against targets around the world. Iran steadily moves towards gaining a nuclear capability. And the only country that can deal with Iran once and for all is America.
Peace will not come to Israel and the world unless and until there is regime change in Iran.
In Britain, rampant anti-Americanism and hatred of Israel prevent many from understanding just what is at stake in the Lebanon crisis. But something is nevertheless shifting in Britain. There are now two reactions running simultaneously alongside each other. On the one hand, hatred of Israel -
particularly among the educated classes -has reached an unprecedented pitch of hysterical distortion, even by the degraded standards of the past six dismaying years. But on the other hand, a heartening number of citizens who are neither Jews nor evangelical Christians - until now, the only constituencies which have defended Israel against the collective libels and scapegoating- are now saying that they support Israel in this great battle, that they understand very well that it is the front line against an Islamic threat that menaces all of us, and that they are astounded by the savage distortions of the BBC and other media.
A small anecdote from today illustrates a trend which I had been noticing since the current crisis developed. On a bus in London, I was accosted by a middle-aged, West Indian gentleman on the adjacent seat.
Recognising me, he congratulated me warmly on what I had been writing about Israel. He had wanted to attend last weekend's Israel solidarity demonstration organised by the Board of Deputies but had been unable to find where it was being held. But friends of his had attended and shown him photographs they had taken of the event.
'What no-one has reported', he said, 'was that there were many black people, Sikhs and Hindus at that demonstration because we all understand what is at stake here. We all realise that what Israel is fighting is Islamic terrorism, and that this threatens Jews, Christians and all of us. We local people all get it. What I can't understand is all this stuff about Israel being 'disproportionate'. Why don't those people understand what is going on here?'
Why indeed. What this man understood was what so many in Britain don't grasp
- that this war in Lebanon (and in Gaza and in Iraq too) is not about three kidnapped soldiers; it is not about the Israel/Palestine conflict. It is about whether Iran will control the Middle East and thus hold the rest of the world as a nuclear hostage while it exterminates Israel and moves on to clean up the rest of the planet.
Further evidence that Britain just doesn't get it was shown by the silence which has greeted this story in last weekend's Mail on Sunday:
Border guards seized a British lorry on its way to make a delivery to the Iranian military - after discovering it was packed with radioactive material that could be used to build a dirty bomb. The lorry set off from Kent on its way to Tehran but was stopped by officials at a checkpoint on Bulgaria's northern border with Romania after a scanner indicated radiation levels 200 times above normal.
The lorry was impounded and the Bulgarian Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NPA) was called out. On board they found ten lead-lined boxes addressed to the Iranian Ministry of Defence. Inside each box was a soil-testing device, containing highly dangerous quantities of radioactive caesium
137 and americium-beryllium.
The soil testers had been sent to Iran by a British firm with the apparent export approval of the Department of Trade and Industry...Last night a DTI spokesman confirmed: 'Exporters do not need a licence to transport this sort of material to Iran. It is not covered by our export controls.' In August last year there was a similar incident when a Turkish truck carrying a ton of zirconium silicate supplied by a British firm was stopped by Bulgarian customs at the Turkish border on its way to Tehran, after travelling from Britain, through Germany and Romania, without being stopped.
What on earth is the British Department of Trade doing, giving the nod to radioactive material to be sent to Iran- twice? And where is the outcry?
The man on the London bus knew that, in the struggle between America and Israel on one side and Iran on the other, his life and liberty depended upon America and Israel. The BBC and the British chattering classes, by contrast, appear to prefer Iran.
VIEW MORE ARTICLES >>