Nick Cohen thinks that the sections of the media and the political establishments of the “liberal-left” which reflexively supports and patronises Islamist theocratic movements (largely because they are “politically correct” stevedores of anti-semitism) will ultimately be dismantled with the same lightning speed as with the unravelling of the Murdoch media empire. Can he be right?
When you watch Baroness Jenny Tonge for the Liberal Democrats, Jeremy Corbyn for Labour or the Muslim Council of Britain, Cage Prisoners or – and I am ashamed to say this – the “liberal” press where I make my living, you see them deploy two tactics. The first is a determined refusal to admit the nature of radical Islam. They never discuss the misogyny, homophobia and antisemitism, let alone stir themselves to confront it.
Second, they pretend that anyone who does describe and condemn it is a part of the supernaturally powerful “Israel Lobby” – or the “International Jewish Conspiracy,” as previous generations called it.
And they get away with it. Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg do not withdraw the whip. Polite society does shun them. I have never forgotten the deference with which the production team of Any Questions treated Baronnes Tonge. They had invited me on to the programme with her, perhaps because they thought it a bit of laugh to sit someone called ‘Cohen’ next to someone who had updated the medieval blood libel and suggested that an inquiry was needed to ascertain whether Jews were stealing the vital organs of Christian earthquake victims. Certainly, they did not see anything bizarre or shameful in the spectacle of self-declared liberal leftists endorsing and indulging reactionaries.
I wonder how long this toleration of hypocrisy will last. It seems a permanent feature of leftish British life that has been with us for so long no one can imagine a new Britain where the alliance between the white left and the Islamist religious right is challenged and exposed.
Yet Britain can change with incredible speed. We have seen the festering scandals of MPs expenses and Rupert Murdoch’s excessive power explode like lightning from a clear sky. Issues that small groups shouted about for years went mainstream almost overnight. The same will happen with the liberal-left’s support for the Islamism. It won’t be the issue of Israel that provokes a change – the actions of the Likud government deserve no sympathy – but the issue of Iran, where antisemitic hatred is a part of the theocracy’s official ideology.