Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick says of Tony Blair:
Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair is Israel's best friend in Europe. And he's not a very good friend.
Immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, Blair was instrumental in convincing US President George W. Bush to view the Palestinian jihad against Israel as a conflict completely separate from the global jihad. His success in convincing Bush of this distinction turned the anti-Semitic - not to mention strategically disastrous - view that terrorists who kill Israelis should be treated differently from terrorists who kill anyone else into one of the cognitive foundations of the US war on Islamic terror.
I am a huge fan of Tony Blair, whom I see as one of the last bastions of the responsible Left. Although he is clearsighted about the nature of the global jihad against the West, he has a blind spot when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians.
Like most on the Left, Blair operates under the assumption that terrorism against Israelis is somehow distinct in its motives and justification from terrorism anywhere else in the world. It is a tragically naive point of view, one that is implicitly or explicitly held around the world. It is based on the misplaced analogy that the Israelis are to the Palestinians what the former white nationalist apartheid government of South Africa was to black South Africans. In this framework, the Israeli/Palestinian question (and not religious extremism that rejects the existence of the Jewish state) lies at the heart of all problems in the Middle East. In Britain and Europe, reeling from terrorist attacks and looking for scapegoats, this worldview is expressed in a hatred for not only Israel (and by extension, its US sponsors) but of Jews in general. The old anti-Semitism has become fashionable again, only this time it comes from the supposedly progressive Left:
British antipathy towards the US and Israel was clearly exposed in an opinion poll published on September 6 in the Times of London. The poll reported that 73 percent of Britons believe that Blair's foreign policy, and especially his "support for the invasion of Iraq and refusal to demand an immediate cease-fire by Israel in the recent war against Hizbullah, has significantly increased the risk of terrorist attacks on Britain."
More than 62% said that to "reduce the risk of terrorist attacks on Britain, the government should change its foreign policy, in particular by distancing itself from America, being more critical of Israel and declaring a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq."
The day after the poll was published, Blair announced that he would leave office in a year.
Also, on September 7, a committee of members of Parliament released a report on anti-Semitism in Britain. The all-party committee found that that since the Palestinian jihad against Israel began in 2000, anti-Semitism in Britain has become a mainstream phenomenon. Attacks against Jews in Britain were at an all time high over the summer.
In their anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism, the British, of course, are no different from their Continental brethren. And the situation in Europe is alarming. Writing in Frontpage magazine this week, Islamic expert Andrew Bostom reported that in November 2005, Stephen Steinlight, the former director of education at the US Holocaust Memorial Council, told a conference in Washington that on average, Muslims attack Jews in Paris 12 times a day. According to Steinlight, this means French anti-Semitic violence is approaching the level of anti-Semitic violence in Germany during the days of the Weimar Republic.
These attacks against Jews in Europe are accompanied by ever increasing official hostility towards Israel on the part of European governments. On the second day of the war with Hizbullah, Chirac felt comfortable alleging that "Israel's military offensive against Lebanon is totally disproportionate." Chirac then acidly asked, "Is destroying Lebanon the ultimate goal?"
Chirac's remarks opened the floodgates for anti-Israel propaganda throughout Europe. They were followed by the barring of El Al cargo planes carrying weapons shipments from the US from European airports. That prohibition still stands.
For those who have not yet caught on, the forces of global jihad are not going to suddenly abandon their desire to make war upon unbelievers just because those unbelievers favor retreat from Iraq, allowing Iran to go nuclear, or blaming Israel for fighting back "disproportionately" against enemies who want to wipe it off the face of the earth. The jihadists will gladly accept all these concessions as proper tribute to the rightness of their cause, and continue to push for the establishment of Islamic sharia law as the only acceptable form of rule in the world.
The Europeans, and even the British, in their willingness to demonize Israel (which last time I checked was not blowing up trains in their capitals), are selling out the only Western democracy in the Middle East, in the hopes of quelling their restive Muslim populations. And in the end, they will find that they are still targets, willingly co-opted by religious extremists for whom there will be no peace until all the world falls under their rule.
Making Israel the problem lets them ignore the real problem, and maintains the bubble of denial. This denial was on full display recently as the EU decided to back the newly formed Palestinian "unity" government, even though it does not recognize Israel's right to exist, and has not renounced terrorism.
Tony Blair is a little less cynical about this exercise than his counterparts on the continent; I have always seen him as an idealist, who wants to see a just peace in the Middle East but not at the expense of Israel's right to exist. But he is, sadly, the exception. And now he is headed for the exit.