Down with ‘Enlightenment’ thinkers

kantAt last, I’ve found kindred spirits – and in a most unexpected place: University of London or, to be precise, its School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

The student union at this world-renowned institution has demanded that most white philosophers be dropped from their curriculum, unless really required. And even then they ought to be studied solely from “a critical standpoint”, as distinct from philosophers of other hues who presumably ought to be studied uncritically.

The union has issued a paper entitled Decolonising SOAS: Confronting the White Institution, in which they demand “acknowledging the colonial context in which so-called ‘Enlightenment’ philosophers wrote within.”

Judging by the paper’s style, the study of grammar must already have been abolished long ago, but I refuse to criticise my soul mates. I shan’t even mention that most notable philosophy was written in the pre-colonial age, and nor shall I describe the paper as racist, which some may.

I’m prepared to overlook such minor glitches for the elation I felt when seeing the modifier “so-called” before “Enlightenment philosophers”. Moreover, the word Enlightenment was in quotation marks, which transformed my joy into sheer ecstasy.

At last! Who could have thought! A student union at our venerable university implicitly refuses to accept that the Enlightenment really enlightened. Moreover, they question whether the philosophers of that period are really worthy of the name!

Perhaps refusing to regard, say, Hegel and Kant as philosophers goes a bit too far, but I’m prepared to put that down to the impetuosity of youth. It’s the underlying sentiment that counts, and obviously the students reject out of hand Enlightenment rationalism – as do I!

They clearly share my sentiments that the – so-called! – Age of Reason dealt our Judaeo-Christian civilisation a mortal blow by compromising real reason. They’re obviously striving to return to the patristic roots of Western thought embedded into our cultural soil by the great black theologians.

Tertullian! Augustine! Origen! They were all black or at least off-white. As probably was St Athanasius – I mean they didn’t call him ‘black dwarf’ for nothing. And they, especially Augustine, defined Western thought for centuries to come.

Ever since Augustine declared “I’s not no Manichean no more” (I assume he spoke jive Latin), he uttered all sorts of wise thoughts, certainly more than all those Rousseaus and Voltaires put together.

For example, “dis da sin, not da sinner”, “our heart don’t chill till it chills in Yo” and “an unjust law ain’t no law at all”. Respect!

All of us who construct our thought along Christian lines should applaud this brave, if romantic, attempt to return modern higher education to its Christian roots by jumping backwards to leapfrog the so called Enlightenment, both French and German…

Hold on a moment. My wife is trying to say something… What? I should read the whole article, not just the first couple of paragraphs?

All right, give me a minute… Well, I’ve read it now, and I have to take back regretfully everything I’ve said so far. Apparently, SOAS students weren’t really inspired by Tertullian, Augustine and Origen. Nor did they learn their creed from St Athanasius who may or may not have been black racially.

The seminal statement was actually produced by Ali Habib, the democracy and education union officer, and don’t you just love his title. One wonders if the University of Paris had such a post at the time Aquinas studied there and, if it didn’t, why not. This oversight would explain their shoddy output, wouldn’t it?

Mr Habib cites an altogether different source of inspiration: Frantz Fanon (d. 1961), the Martinique-born trouble-maker who provided the ideological basis for the most radical anti-colonialism in the Third World, and also for Malcolm X and the Black Panthers in the USA.

The name vaguely rings a bell, although I can’t in all honesty claim that I’m familiar with Mr Fanon’s work as intimately as I am with the opera of some of the thinkers destined for the dustbin of SOAS.

However, taking a wild stab in the dark, I just can’t believe that Mr Fanon’s educational value quite compares with that of Plato, Aristotle, Kant or other whitey “philosophers”. Granted, none of those defunct thinkers produced a unique blend of post-colonial and post-coital studies, something for which Mr Fanon is so justly famous, but they’ve been around long enough to have acquired a patina of – respect!

One wonders what’s next on the agenda. The literature produced by Dead White Males was dismissed a long time ago. Now it’s white philosophers, dead or alive, biting the dust. May I suggest that the Royal Academy of Music replace Bach and Beethoven with N**gaz With Attitude, other rap groups and reggae bands?

And – while I’m on a roll – perhaps paintings produced by dead white artists should be taken out of the National Gallery and replaced with… well, nothing much. Perhaps the Trafalgar Square building could be converted into a combination of black community centre and mosque – with the square itself renamed after Franz Fanon or Malcolm X.

I also have a less facetious suggestion: the SOAS student union should be disbanded, all its activists, including the redoubtable Mr Habib, summarily expelled and the rest told to strain their underdeveloped mental faculties to a point where they understand the difference between philosophy and rabble-rousing.




US election: who carried the day?

trumpandputinThe CIA, the FBI and the NSA hardly ever agree, but on this they do:

Col. Putin, KGB, “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election” to “undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency…”

Hard evidence to support this claim is forthcoming next week. However, a preview is already available. Russian spies hacked the Democratic National Committee, stole materials compromising Mrs Clinton and leaked them to WikiLeaks and DCLeaks.

Trump himself doesn’t dispute this. He tacitly acknowledges that the Democratic Party’s e-mail servers have indeed been breached. However, he claims that the cyberattacks had “absolutely no effect” on the outcome.

Since my conservative American friends ascribe divine powers to the Donald, I’m not surprised he knows the unknowable: how millions of voters may or may not have been affected by a steady flow of anti-Hillary revelations in the run-up to the vote.

The Donald knows: no matter how many of Hillary’s indiscretions had been pasted all over the papers as a direct result of the Russian thefts, not a single voter swung away from Hillary as a result.

The Democrats “got beaten very badly in the election”, says Trump, and US intelligence conducts a “witch hunt” against him. Since Hillary won the popular vote, I’d question the ‘very badly’ part. However, Trump may well be right that the intelligence community doesn’t like him.

Can’t say I blame the spooks. After all, hardly a day goes by that Trump doesn’t make derisory comments about American intelligence agencies. To be fair, their record vis-à-vis Russia in particular is indeed far from exemplary.

Not to cut too fine a point, US intelligence has failed to predict or understand most major events in Soviet and post-Soviet history. A few examples, out of many: it

  • Dismissed Soviet defectors who had predicted the Nazi-Soviet Pact a year before it happened.
  • Didn’t predict the post-war Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe.
  • Didn’t think the Soviets would invade Hungary in 1956.
  • Took Khrushchev’s bogus de-Stalinisation as real.
  • Had no inkling about the Soviet missiles in Cuba until they were installed.
  • Grossly overestimated the Soviet lead in missile technology in the 1960s.
  • Didn’t understand the nature of Eastern European ‘communism with a human face’.
  • Didn’t realise that the ‘collapse of the Soviet Union’ was largely just a transfer of power from the Party to the KGB.
  • Didn’t anticipate Putin’s annexation of the Crimea and attack on the Ukraine.

However, some of their reports have been correct, and this one probably is – electronic meddling leaves traces, easy for modern counterintelligence to track down.

Nor is there any doubt, at least for anyone who follows the Russian housetrained press, that Putin’s KGB junta favoured Trump over Hillary.

Vindicating both Newton’s Third Law and Pavlov’s theories, the few remaining unofficial publications enthused about Hillary, which defies reason. A more ill-suited candidate for US presidency is hard to imagine and impossible to recall.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Trump should get a free ride if hard evidence bears out the claim that the government of a country openly hostile to America has affected the US presidential election.

He explains that the DNC was only hacked because it was “poorly defended”. That’s like saying that a rape victim has only herself to blame because she walked alone after dark and wore a short skirt.

According to Trump, people are talking about the hacking only because they wanted Hillary to win. And as to Russia, “only stupid people, or fools, would think that it [having good relations] is bad!”

These typically crass statements are both wrong and as tasteless as one expects from a man who thinks Trump Tower is elegant and, which is worse, wears his ties six inches too long.

True, only fools would think that good relations with Russia are bad in principle. However, only Russian agents, witting or unwitting, would think such relations are good no matter what Russia does.

Does Trump think America should watch nonchalantly as Putin helps himself to chunks of Eastern Europe? Makes nuclear threats to America? Or, as in this case, flagrantly subverts American politics, something that historically has always been regarded as an act of war – irrespective of whether or not the subversion succeeded?

There are several possible courses of action now, depending on the answer to the question of whether or not Trump is indeed in cahoots with Russia.

If he had struck a deal with Putin, promising a quid pro quo, he was a Russian agent during the election and continues to be one now. That means, no matter how much or justifiably one detests Hillary, the election should be regarded as invalid and Hillary sworn in on 20 January.

If no collusion on Trump’s part can be proved, he should become president. If his subsequent actions then show a clear and unreasonable pro-Putin bias, that should be treated as prima facie evidence of collusion and Trump should be impeached, with VP Mike Pence becoming president.

If no such scenario plays out, I sincerely hope the Donald will go on to become as great a president as my conservative American friends claim he will with a passion approaching idolatry. But forgive me for feeling wary at the moment.


Sir Andy Murray? Really?

murrayDon’t get me wrong: I have much respect for Andy Murray. No other British tennis player since Fred Perry in 1934 has risen to No. 1 in the world, so Murray’s achievement must be applauded.

I’m clapping my palms to raw meat even as we speak, which doesn’t prevent me from thinking that his elevation to knighthood delivers yet another slap in the face of the honour system.

What exactly are the criteria for turning an Andy into a Sir Andy? Seeking an answer to that question, I turned to the official website, and this is what it says:

“A knighthood or damehood can be presented for all types of different achievement, but usually the person nominated will have made a major contribution to the country at a national or international level; their work and achievements will be viewed as an inspiration to others; and they may have influenced their peers, industry or the nation through their sustained and outstanding commitment to their chosen area.”

The explanation is as woolly substantively as it is inept grammatically (following the single antecedent ‘a person’ with the plural personal pronoun ‘their’ is political correctness at its most asinine).

Forgetting that for a moment, let’s just say that ‘all types of different achievement’ is too open-ended to mean anything at all.

For example, I know a woman who can pull amazing faces. Should she choose to compete ‘at a national or international level’, she could win many gurning tournaments, while her achievements would doubtless inspire others and influence her peers, other competitive gurners. Would she then qualify for damehood?

Granted, there are different degrees of honours, as there are different degrees of achievement. But where do we draw the line, below which an achievement is too trivial to be recognised by Her Majesty?

Descartes, who notoriously had problems with absolute truth not proceeding from his own musings, postulated that all knowledge is comparative. Let’s generously concede that some knowledge indeed is and compare Sir Andy to others, those who were or weren’t knighted.

For example, Squadron Leader George Leonard ‘Johnny’ Johnson, the last living dambuster, was by-passed in the Christmas list though nominated, and Andy Murray, as he then was, wasn’t.

Johnson made a contribution to the survival of the realm, risking his life in one of the most spectacular air raids of the war. By contrast, Sir Andy made a contribution to his bank balance, risking nothing but a sprained ankle. Then of course Johnson was engaged in a manifestly Eurosceptic activity, which these days must be a disqualifying circumstance.

Another one who never received the honour was Francis Crick who co-discovered the structure of DNA. Crick’s double helix ought to have trumped Sir Andy’s double-handed backhand, but didn’t.

However, while Sir Andy didn’t add much to the international repute of the realm, neither did he subtract from it. That’s more than can be said for assorted pop cretins (Sir Elton, ring your office) who aggressively bring the realm into disrepute by catering to the basest instincts of man.

If a tennis tournament may be seen as a bloodless descendant of the gladiatorial contests of antiquity, a pop concert is a malodorous amalgam of Nuremberg rally, orgy and opium den. On the scale of human achievement, Sir Andy falls somewhere between Frances Crick and Sir Elton, but, on balance, closer to the pop end.

Recent honour lists have also rewarded those who made ‘major contributions’ to politicians’ campaign funds and/or played sustained labio-gluteal tributes to said politicians. Now I know that the Queen merely rubberstamps PM’s appointments, but for old times’ sake surely greasing Tony’s or Dave’s palm doesn’t qualify as ‘a major contribution to the country’?

Such persons won’t ‘be viewed as an inspiration to others’, nor influence, except in a negative way, ‘their peers or the nation through their sustained and outstanding commitment to their chosen area’, the area in such cases being the body part mentioned above.

This inflation of honours not only devalues them, but it also insults those great men and women, past and present, who have indeed provided vital services to the realm. This irrespective of whether or not they had (Sir Isaac Newton?) or hadn’t (Francis Crick?) received the honour.

Sir Andy is a hell of a tennis player, and I wish I could have one-tenth of his game and one-hundredth of his athleticism. Moreover, unlike some of our footballers, he has monastically dedicated himself to his craft, practising and training hours on end, eating nothing but right foods, taking ice baths and refraining from booze.

That deserves respect but not, in my view, a knighthood. For he, along with those offensive pop ‘musicians’, has already been adequately rewarded by the millions he has made – and I hope he’ll make many more.

Honorary titles, however, should be bestowed on those who have won respect for the whole country, not just for themselves.








Nationalism isn’t a good word

rallyThe dictionary defines nationalism as “an extreme form of patriotism marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries”.

Being innately conservative, I’m wary of extreme forms of anything, but it seems that growing numbers on the political right feel differently. ‘Nationalism’ is ousting ‘patriotism’ as the buzz word of Brexit in the UK and similar developments elsewhere.

Moreover, ‘nationalism’ is yet again fusing with ‘populism’, and one would think this blend would have left a bad taste in the mouths of those who know modern history.

Nuances of phrasing matter: they convey nuances of substance. Hence patriotic opposition to, say, the EU is best expressed both positively, as a desire to uphold the constitution of the realm, and negatively, as contempt for that corrupt and dictatorial supranational contrivance.

However, when animated by hatred of Johnny Foreigner, this otherwise commendable sentiment acquires menacing overtones. Nationalist opposition may well blow the EU sky high, but one wonders what else it may send flying.

The blend of nationalism and populism inclines towards fascism, and we should all be aware of the ramifications. The tendency to produce this blend seems to be global, as most things are these days.

From the US to Russia and everywhere in between, even some good people see nothing wrong with nationalism, as opposed to patriotism. The descending order of their feelings is conveyed in different languages but with roughly the same meaning.

“I love my country” sits at the top, and this is a laudable statement.

Like two siblings who possess a knowledge inaccessible to a stranger, countrymen – regardless of their individual differences – are united by a bond as strong as it may be invisible to outsiders.

Nor is there anything wrong with regarding one’s country as unlike any other. All countries are different; if they weren’t, we wouldn’t have so many countries.

But of course what matters here isn’t the text but the subtext: when people insist that their country is exceptional, they usually mean not ‘different from…’, but ‘better than…’. They’re entitled even to that opinion, as long as they recognise that tastes may differ.

Moving down a step, “I love my country, right or wrong” begins to be problematic. However, the problem isn’t insurmountable: after all, though we like for something, we love in spite of everything. A normal son can’t always stop loving his wayward mother. Nor will a normal mother stop loving her son even if he shoplifts.

Another step down, and we overhear “I love my country because it’s always right, or at least more right than any other.” Between this step and the previous one a line was crossed separating patriotism from nationalism.

Implicit here is tribal, what before the advent of political correctness used to be called Hottentot, morality: if I steal his cow, that’s good; if he steals my cow, that’s bad. It took millennia of civilisation to overcome such tribalism, and evidently the job still isn’t quite finished.

Another step down, and the morass sucks us in waist-high. Here one hears (in America and Russia more than in Britain) “My country is always right because it’s guided by God.”

At this level American ‘manifest destiny’ and ‘a city on a hill’ are joined by the ‘Third Rome’ of Russia (revived after a few decades of communist messianism) and the ‘Gott mit uns’ of the SS. The underlying assumption is that our actions can only be judged by God, and he has given us an open-ended endorsement. Thus anything we do is justified simply because we do it.

The lowest rung reaches to the bottom of the swamp, where creepy-crawlies take refuge. Here the sentiment is “Because our country is guided by God, it’s our duty to impose our ways on others.” Since no real faith in God underlines this feeling, the clause at the beginning of the sentence may eventually be dropped for being superfluous.

Only Americans and Russians have traditionally descended this ladder below the top two rungs in noticeable numbers. Also specific to America and Russia is the heavy representation of this genre of nationalism in the political mainstream.

In other countries it used to be relegated to the lunatic fringe, an area inhabited, say, by France’s Front National, German neo-Nazis or our own dear BNP. European countries have always had individuals prepared to dive headlong into the swamp of sanctimonious jingoism, except that such willing divers have never represented the dominant ethos.

What’s worrying is that the European lunatic fringe is creeping up into the conservative mainstream, poisoning the well to a point where drinking from it may become bad for society’s health. That tendency is explicable in Newtonian terms.

Newton’s Third Law says that for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. And the widespread post-war action has been directed against patriotism, wrongly equated with nationalism.

This led not only to economic but also political globalism. Rather than forming ad hoc alliances, nations were encouraged or coerced to form permanent unions. Nations were denationalising.

Patriots were demonised for stepping even on the top two rungs of the above ladder; loving one’s country became infra dig. Predictably, Newton’s law clicked in, and people began to react, or rather overreact. Internationalist sabotage created a nationalist response.

This is understandable, but that doesn’t make it any more acceptable. Once let out, the genie of jingoism won’t stay in the bottle, and there may be blood in the streets.

In 1968 Enoch Powell introduced ‘rivers of blood’ into common parlance by quoting Virgil: “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.’”

He was talking specifically about the catastrophic consequences of uncontrolled immigration, but that river can have other tributaries as well. Such as nationalism.

Marine and Vlad: chivalry lives on

The Knight Errant *oil on canvas *184.1 x 135.3 cm *1870

Replace the damsel in distress with Marine Le Pen, the knight errant with Vlad Putin, and the picture becomes complete.

Even though Marine refuses to cater to bondage fantasies, at least in public, there’s no doubt she’s in distress. Her party is trussed hand and foot by lack of funds, that filthy lucre she pledges to redistribute fairly across France’s population.

The poor girl is trying to ride the global populist wave that has washed the Donald into the White House, May into Downing Street and Renzi into retirement – only to see her hopes being frustrated by the same moneybags she promises to dispossess.

You see, talk may be cheap but this particular hope isn’t. It takes money to run a campaign, not as much as in America, but still. And money is to be found in banks.

This simple truth was definitively established in the 1930s by the American robber Willie Sutton. After he was arrested yet again, Sutton was asked why he kept robbing banks. “Because that’s where the money is,” he replied with the sound common sense so characteristic of Americans.

Yes, but getting money out of banks isn’t always easy for those who eschew armed robbery. Marine has certainly discovered that.

She has appealed, hand outstretched, to French, European, British and American banks, only to be turned down. Somehow today’s plutocrats are less willing to finance extremists than were their predecessors in Russia, circa 1910, or Germany, circa 1930.

At least that’s one lesson they’ve learned well. Savva Morozov, the Russian industrialist, was suicided by the same Bolsheviks he had bankrolled, while Fritz Thyssen, who performed a similar service for the Nazis, got off easy: he was merely sent off to a concentration camp.

Such historical parallels leave Marine in the lurch, seemingly with nowhere to go – this at a time when she’s running close second to the Gaullist leader François Fillon. Since Marine thinks she has a good chance of overtaking Fillon, you can understand her rage at being thwarted by a shortage of funds.

Yet, just as this fair maiden is about to be ravaged, there arrives Vlad, his steed galloping, his armour gleaming in the winter sun, his sword raised high, the same weapon that has slain all those Ukrainians and Syrians.

Vlad has ridden to Marine’s rescue before. Back in 2014, he released her from bondage by generously offering a €9-million ‘loan’. So chivalry isn’t dead. It lives on in the KGB’s good offices.

Marine’s plight is less dire this time: she only needs a paltry €6 million. To be fair, rescuing her wouldn’t constitute undue hardship for Vlad. He could obtain such pocket change with one phone call to some housetrained oligarch, say the football-loving Abramovich, who probably tips as much every year.

My neighbour Roman knows the perils of recalcitrance. As Berezovsky’s example shows, Morozov’s fate may still befall those who play hard to get.

Having saved the damsel in distress, the knight errant would obtain her hand in marriage. Such is the tradition, and Vlad, seen by so many Western conservatives as one of them, is the last man to buck it.

He too wants to marry Marine, though possibly not in the conjugal sense. For, unlike his medieval predecessors, this cavalier is trained in KGB seduction techniques.

Hence Vlad needs a quid pro his quo. He could demand, and possibly get, Marine’s body, but that’s not what he wants. He wants her soul, and Marine is willing to put out.

In fact, she’s positively gagging for Vlad to knead her soul to his heart’s content. By way of a foretaste, she has already endorsed the annexation of Crimea:

“I absolutely do not believe that it was an illegal annexation,” she has declared. “There was a referendum. The inhabitants of Crimea wanted to join Russia. I don’t see that there is any reason to call the referendum into question.”

She’d possibly see a reason or two if less overcome with passion for Vlad’s rouble.

That referendum, for example, was conducted not before but after the annexation, meaning at gun point. The large Tartar community boycotted it, remembering the murderous deportation their grandparents suffered at the hands of Vlad’s role models. And armed theft of territory belonging to a sovereign state is still seen as illegal in some quarters.

What’s amazing is that Western governments are nonchalant about Vlad’s KGB junta recruiting leading politicians, using the tricks honed by the First Chief Directorate to run them like two-bit snitches.

While it’s not clear that Vlad affected the outcome of the US election, it’s beyond doubt that he tried to do so.

In addition to Marine, he’s also cultivating every ‘populist’ (in fact, typically neo-fascist) European group. Bulgaria’s Ataka, Belgium’s Vlaams Belang, Greece’s Golden Dawn, Hungary’s Jobbik, Italy’s Forza Italia, Austria’s Freedom Party are all locked in passionate embrace with Putin.

They’re easy marks for KGB recruiters, as easy as those Oxbridge intellectuals were 80 years ago. ‘Populists’ tropistically reach for the fascist sun shining out of Vlad’s rectum, and the slightest of pushes will draw them all the way in.

Since Putin’s fan will become US president on 20 January, and Fillon admires Vlad as passionately (if more disinterestedly) as Marine does, it’s conceivable that soon every Western nation with the possible exception of Britain, will be run by KGB agents of influence.

Some will act in that capacity consciously, most will be recruited ‘in the dark’, to use KGB terminology. That’s a distinction without a difference: Vlad will feel free to remedy what he calls ‘the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century’ by putting the USSR back together.

Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, the Ukraine, Belarus – brace yourselves. Poland, prepare to do so. Meanwhile, bonne chance to Marine, even though one wonders how French law feels about foreign countries buying French politics.

A man can be either smart or John Kerry

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 27JAN07 - John F. Kerry, Senator from Massachusetts (Democrat), USA captured during the session 'The Future of the Middle East' at the Annual Meeting 2007 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 27, 2007. Copyright by World Economic Forum by Remy Steinegger +++No resale, no archive+++

“If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic. It cannot be both,” pronounced the outgoing US Secretary of State, leaving one to ponder the natural fit between the mixed zoological metaphors of lame duck and hare brain.

When it comes to Kerry, one wishes that the First Amendment to the US Constitution protected freedom not only of but also from speech. For seldom has a public figure ever delivered a statement so wrong on so many levels.

First, the State of Israel has been both Jewish and democratic for 68 years. Saying that what demonstrably exists is impossible is akin to a hillbilly looking at a giraffe in a zoo and saying “There ain’t no such animal.”

Second, Israel isn’t just a functioning democracy, but the only one in the region. Therefore, whatever deficit of democratic rights may or may not exist in Israel, all its citizens enjoy greater democratic rights than any of Israel’s neighbours.

Third, that roughly 20 per cent of Israeli citizens are Arabs may only preclude the state being democratic if it could be shown that this minority has no democratic rights. However, that’s not the case.

Arabs vote, they have three parties of their own (some of whose MPs openly call for the annihilation of Israel), serve in the cabinet and the armed forces (though not obliged to do so), provide some top officials and army generals.

The presence of an Arab minority no more disqualifies the State of Israel as both democratic and Jewish than the existence of a Catalan minority disqualifies France as both democratic and French.

Fourth, the State Department explicitly acknowledges the possibility of state religion being part of a constitutional dispensation.

Its officials practically dictated the texts of Iraqi and Afghani constitutions, stipulating that “The sacred religion of Islam is the religion of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” and, in Iraq’s case, “Islam is the official religion of the State and it is a fundamental source of legislation”.

If the sham democracies of those two states are allowed their own state religion, why can’t the real democracy of Israel be afforded the same privilege? One smells the rat of bias.

If the denotation of Mr Kerry’s pronouncement suggests he’s a fool, the connotation shows he’s also a knave (yes, one can be both). For his cherished ideal of a two-state arrangement isn’t held up by Israel stubbornly clinging to its Jewish identity. It’s being torpedoed by the Palestinians themselves.

The offer of a sovereign Arab state in Palestine has been on the table for decades, with Israel asking only for two eminently reasonable provisions: one, that the Arabs recognise Israel’s right to exist and, two, that they desist from terrorism.

The less said about the second provision, the better. The Arabs can no more desist from terrorism than the Dutch from consuming mountains of mediocre cheese – and if you disagree, just open a random newspaper on a random day.

As to the first provision, the Palestinian chieftain Mahmoud Abbas has put it better than I can: “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – soldier or civilian – on our lands.”

Allow me to translate from the Palestinian. He means not a final resolution but the final solution: if Palestinians acquire their own state on their own terms, every Israeli will be either massacred or driven into exile.

One would expect Israelis to find it awkward negotiating with a group fully committed to killing them all should a successful accommodation be reached. In fact, their willingness to talk to the potential genocides at all represents a miracle of restraint or, depending on your point of view, a death wish.

After all, talk is cheap, and it’s likely that at some point Abbas’s terrorists will utter a few comforting words, get their state and then proceed with acting on their innermost murderous urges.

Yet instead of praising the Israelis for their dangerously reasonable stance, Kerry rebukes them for refusing to commit summary suicide.

He can’t learn to be more intelligent than God originally made him, but one wishes Kerry learned the meaning of even-handedness. It’s not that difficult.

After all, Jordan occupied the West Bank from 1948 to 1961 without ever finding itself under pressure from Kerry’s predecessors to give Palestinians their own state. Nor did Lebanon go out of its way to do so when housing a large Palestinian minority.

One can understand their reluctance, for the Palestinians systematically turned the jewel of the Middle East into a ruin. Eventually, in 1975, they plunged the country into a bloody civil war that went on for 17 years and cost 250,000 lives.

So why is Israel being singled out for opprobrium? To the mindset so ably represented by Kerry and his boss, third-world savagery is an entitlement to moral ascendancy and preferential treatment.

In some fundamental ways, liberals (in the American sense of the word) detest our Judaeo-Christian civilisation as much as do their Fatah heroes, and they’ve certainly done more harm to it.

Domestic US politics prevent them from being overt about this, but they feel affinity for Palestinians – or for any visceral enemies of the West. A demand for a separate Palestinian state is another expression of the same sentiment that drives the brisk sales of Che Guevara’s t-shirts. What looks like touching concern for minority rights is in fact nihilistic anomie tinged with latent anti-Semitism.

John Kerry may have a bright career in front of him. Why, with luck he may oust Blair as the Middle East peace envoy. One can be both that and an idiot, no conflict there.