Parliament yesterday: our government submitted a bill that officially defines the United Kingdom as a nation state of and for the British people.
The bill, intended to become part of Great Britain’s basic law, would recognise the country’s British character, institutionalise Christian law as an inspiration for legislation and confirm English as the only official language.
When I heard the news, I jumped up, punched the air, shouted Yes!!!… and woke up.
Actually the opening two paragraphs came from a Guardian story almost verbatim. (I hasten to reassure you that I didn’t sully my hands with a copy of that awful newspaper. This is something I refuse to do on principle, so thank God for the Internet.)
I only changed a few words because the story wasn’t about Britain. The bill submitted by the Israeli cabinet to the Knesset was about Israel, Jewish law and Hebrew.
The Guardian wouldn’t be what it is if the story’s very next sentence informed the readers that “Arab Muslims and Christians make up 20% of Israel’s population.”
No comment necessary: the proposed law will discriminate against Christians, just like in Saudi Arabia. Hence this practice isn’t indigenously Muslim, as assorted fascists/reactionaries/fossils/Ukip supporters will have you believe.
Clever journalism, that: the fact cited is both accurate and misleading. It’s like saying that 20 per cent of the restaurants in my area are Italian and Bolivian. Without a further breakdown, specifying how many are Italian and how many Bolivian, the information isn’t very helpful, is it?
In Israel’s case, of the Arabs living in Israel only nine per cent are Christians. The rest are variously fanatical Muslims, many of whom are wholeheartedly committed to the destruction of the country in which they live, with the attendant massacre of most people in it.
Prime Minister Netanyahu drew a perfectly valid distinction between civil and national rights, again making me both envious and eager to throw darts at Dave’s picture.
Civil rights, he said, would be equal for all, but national rights would be reserved for Jews only: “It cannot be that those who harm Israel, those who call for the destruction of the state of Israel, will enjoy rights like social security.”
This statement made me think of those thousands of British Muslims dancing in the streets after the destruction of the World Trade Centre and then again after a series of terrorist attacks on London transport.
How many of those dancers ‘enjoy rights like social security’? How many of them vote, deciding who will govern the nation they hate? Just about all of them, is the answer to that.
In the wake of murderous attacks on Israelis in synagogues and streets, Netanyahu also talked about establishing a proper balance between the national and democratic aspects of his country.
This immediately led to an outburst of indignation all over the progressive world. Who cares about national character or indeed survival? Democracy is sacrosanct, it must be worshipped like the surrogate secular deity it has become, and if it proves to be a suicide pact, then so be it (provided it’s not our suicide).
True enough, genuflecting at the altar and kneeling at the guillotine involve assuming the same posture. But the consequences are rather different.
That democracy may be suspended, or at least curtailed, at wartime used to be taken for granted.
It wasn’t democracy but national survival that made the Americans intern all Nissei Americans in camps for the duration of the Second World War. It was similar considerations that led the British to intern all resident Germans in the Isle of Man.
Not many screamed bloody murder then. So why doesn’t Israel enjoy the same latitude? Why don’t Israel’s desperate times call for desperate measures?
Unlike Britain and the USA that were only at war for six and four years respectively, the State of Israel has been under attack for 66 years – from the day it came into being.
Netanyahu feigned surprise at some glaring contradictions voiced by Israel’s critics. On the one hand they insist on the right of Palestinian Muslims to have their own national state. On the other hand they wish to deny the same right to Israel.
That Israel still retains democratic institutions at all, along with equal civil rights for everyone, is a miracle of self-restraint to which one struggles to find any analogues. This in spite of Israel not being blessed with a patina of centuries during which just secular institutions could evolve at an unhurried pace.
Let Peter Hitchens pine for a strong, meaning fascist, leader like Putin. I wish we had a strong leader like Netanyahu, someone who realises the lethal potential of Enlightenment contrivances like democracy in a country struggling for its survival.
My new book, Democracy as a Neocon Trick, is available from Amazon and the more discerning bookshops. However, my publisher would rather you ordered it from http://www.roperpenberthy.co.uk/index.php/browse-books/political/democracy-as-a-neocon-trick.htmlor, in the USA, http://www.newwinebookshop.com/Books/0002752