EVENTS in the Middle East today have repercussions on the streets of Britain and Europe.
Jews are attacked here in Britain, they are blockaded into a synagogue in Paris and the chant ‘Death to the Jews’ is heard in Germany for the first time in 70 years.
But too few people seem to want to notice this or admit what it means. They think this is just about Israel, or just about Jewish people. It isn’t. It is about all of us.
The decision last month by the Israeli government to respond to Hamas rocket-fire from Gaza is the response any government would choose if rockets were fired at its citizens. The Israeli government has the right – as does any government – to stop the bombarding of its people.
However, in recent weeks it has become plain that much of the world expects a different response from Israel. They expect Israel not to fight for the safety, security and survival of their people, but to lie down in front of the Islamic extremist enemy.
The UK government has even – disgracefully – stopped selling some arms to Israel just when the country needs such weapons most. But in expecting Israel to behave differently from the rest of us our societies and governments reveal far more about our own state than the State of Israel.
Because the truth is that behind the demands for Israel to lie down in front of its enemies is a fatal unwillingness of our own to face the problem which is in our midst.
The ambition of the jihadists – from al-Qaeda to Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram and more – is to subjugate the entire world
There are those who think that Israel is somehow the cause of the world’s problems, or that in defending themselves from Islamic extremists Israel is somehow causing Islamic extremism. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The extremists of Hamas are the ideological bedfellows of the extremists of ISIS who are rampaging through Syria and Iraq, crucifying and beheading as they go.
The video of the apparent beheading of American journalist James Foley by an ISIS murderer with a British accent has shocked the world. ISIS or IS are the soul-mates of Boko Haram who kidnap and kill Christian villagers in the North of Nigeria and stole 300 schoolgirls earlier this year.
They also share the exact same ideology – if not yet the same means – as those people who were found in Birmingham earlier this year teaching British pupils to hate wider British society and cut themselves off from non-Muslims.
But it is this last part of the equation which many people seem so incapable of dealing with. They see the millions of Muslims who have come to our continent and see how many of them are radical. But it is a problem they fear they cannot deal with.
They believe that if Israel just gave up fighting and disappeared that the rest of us would be able to live in peace. They see the young Muslims who stormed into a supermarket in Birmingham last weekend, trashing the products and assaulting a British policeman and they think “this is caused by Israel.”
They see young Parisian Muslims throw slabs of concrete at police and set fire to cars and they think “If only Israel weren’t responding to Hamas rocket-fire.” And they see Imams in Germany and Italy preach that all Jewish people must be killed and they pretend that it is not a problem for all of us.
How wrong they are. The problem of anti-Semitism, and Islamic anti-Semitism in particular today, is undoubtedly a problem for Jewish people. But it is only a problem for them first. It is a problem for all of us next.
What is it that lies behind this terrible Hamas-driven rage against Israel? What lies behind the desire for Israel to disappear? Today the world is finding out.
Because behind the flags of Hamas and Hezbollah which have flown at anti-Israel demonstrations in recent weeks is another flag. The black flag of jihad – the black flag most recently being waved in Iraq and Syria by ISIS.
Last month the black flag was flown from a car in London’s Blackwall tunnel as East End Muslims blocked the traffic. At the entrance to a council estate in East London earlier this month there were anti-Israel banners and Palestinian flags. And then, on top of the lot, the black flag of jihad was flown. In Oxford Street last week Islamic extremists set up stall to try to recruit people to rally around the black flag of ISIS.
The black flag is not about Jewish people. Today in Iraq and Syria it is about Christians who ISIS is forcing to convert to Islam at gunpoint or face beheading. Many Christians are being killed by ISIS for refusing to renounce their faith. On some occasions Christians have tried to save their lives by “converting” at gunpoint and ISIS have killed them anyway.
And this is not only about Christians. It is also about other minority faiths in Islamist dominated countries. In Iraq it is also about the Yazidis, the Mandeans and other ancient beliefs which predate Islam.
The ambition of the jihadists – from al-Qaeda to Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram and more – is to subjugate the entire world.
It is now the duty of all decent people – including decent Muslims – to turn on these barbarians and make it clear they will not win.
Rather than offer up beleaguered Israel we should send another message. That the extremists will not win in their desire to take over Israel anymore than they will win in their stated desire to raise the black flag of jihad over Rome, Washington, Downing Street and Buckingham Palace.
Israel is not the cause of the world’s problems. It is simply on the front line of them.
But increasingly so are we all. And if we abandon Israel today then one day – too late – we will realise that in fact what we abandoned was ourselves.