CAPTION: THE BRITISH-BRED terrorists before they set out to bomb Mike’s Place – Hanif on the left and Sharif on the right. (Reuters/Jerusalem Post Archives)
The heart of any feeling human being must go out to the shaken Brits. They have duly earned our most compassionate commiseration. Out of the blue they were suddenly confronted, most unpleasantly, with the information that American journalist James Foley had been beheaded by a born and bred Londoner. Ouch!
Intelligence analysts at MI5 and MI6 think the decapitator in-the-most-hallowed-name-of-Allah is 23-year-old Abdel-Majed Abdel-Bary, who joined the Islamic State jihad in Syria last year.
The widespread sentiment uttered by the usual politically correct chorus of politicos (whose electoral prospects now to no small measure depend on Muslim votes) was one of utter consternation. It’s a no-no not to chime in with the accepted multicultural babble about the delights of diversity and not to aver that British Muslims are loyal members of British society. It’s jolly de rigueur to claim that they abide by western codes of democracy and decency.
Hence the declamations of dismay at the nasty surprise that the rapper L Jinny could be “Jihadist John” – the executioner who brought Foley’s life to a cruel end.
Of course all those who now wring their hands in astonishment could have been expected to be just a smidge less trusting. L Jinny’s father after all is, Adel Abdel-Bary, an Egyptian-born terrorist accused of complicity in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya. He was extradited from the UK to the US in 2012.
It’s not too irrational to suspect that the son might be a chip off the old block, but then again our western decency – one that the Abdel-Barys clearly do not share – is that the sins of the father shouldn’t even warrant vigilance about the son.
Even so, could the Brits have genuinely been knocked for a loop? Doubts about their sincerity are awfully thick on the ground and that’s without even mentioning the 7.7. 2005 attacks on London’s public transport.
The fact is that Britain had been exporting jihadist terror for years while pompously upholding its pluralist posture.
Could sanctimonious Britain have truly forgotten the 2002 decapitation in Pakistan of another American journalist, Daniel Pearl? The similarities between Pearl’s and Foley’s horrifying fates are surely too overpowering to be disregarded – even by those most inclined to ignore inconvenient truths.
But apart from all the common denominators, one glaring fact looms: both beheaders were British nationals. Pearl was murdered by Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh who grew up in the lap of luxury in north London. He regarded the spilling of Jewish blood as morally justified and had Pearl identify himself as the son of Jewish parents before decapitating him.
There’s another British component in the Pearl case. He initially travelled to Pakistan to try and follow “shoe-bomber” Richard Reid to al-Qaida. Reid too was a Muslim with Her Majesty’s passport. He tried to blow up a plane in midair by igniting explosives concealed in his footwear.
And there is a much more recent attempted beheading in the British context – solider Lee Rigby’s Muslim slayers in a central London street sought to sever his head as they screamed “Alahu Akhbar.”
But it was easier to pass this off as a disconnected gory episode by two nutcases rather than another manifestation of global jihad. That allows the multicultural sham to persist as decorum dictates.
Two British Muslims also paid a lethal visit to Israel in April, 2003. Asif Muhammad Hanif, the suicide-bomber who took three innocent lives at Mike’s Place on Tel Aviv’s sea front was a London lad. His absconded accomplice, Omar Khan Sharif, came from Derby, where he attended posh private schools and enjoyed all the best that the UK could offer.
But in their case, there was no British shock or shame. Atrocities against Israelis can always be explained away and even forgiven. The ultimate expression of this mindset was enunciated by Cherrie Blair, then-resident at 10 Downing Street, as Tony’s better half. Her husband keeps himself busy after his retirement from the premiership by serving as the Quartet’s special envoy to the Middle East and he serially churns out plans for peace and for Palestinian rights.
Mrs. Blair argued during the bloodiest days of the Second Intifada that suicide-bombers are driven by utter desperation. Israeli occupation, she intoned, had rendered the poor, hungry, direly oppressed Palestinian masses, straining piteously under Israel’s brutal yoke, so hopeless that they were ready to detonate themselves.
Cherrie had nothing to say about the bombers’ victims and she vehemently denied that she was making excuses for terror, stressing – with just the right tone of righteous indignation – that we need to examine what made young people despair so.
Her moral stance ostensibly ruled out anti-Semitism. British anti-Semites, as the Yishuv’s “bloody natives” learned in Mandatory pre-state days, defined as anti-Semitic only those who hated Jews “even when it wasn’t absolutely necessary.” An anti-Semite was one whose dislike of Jews was somewhat excessive, beyond the realms of refined taste.
This certainly wasn’t true of Cherrie because she had found reason to be cross with Israelis. She basically told us that the slaughter on our streets didn’t constitute terrorism but was a legitimate struggle for freedom. A blunter way of putting it would have been that we had it coming and that we brought it on ourselves.
Cherrie never wondered out loud – and neither did her likeminded fellow UK pundits – what motivated Pearl’s British executioner? Was he victimized by Jews? And for that matter, what deprivation and what Jewish transgression had robbed the Mike’s Place bombers of the last tatters of joie de vivre?
These chaps, fine products of British democracy, who had so much of the English good life to look forward to, also enjoyed all the liberties and prodigious opportunities, which according to an entire British/European school of thought, Israelis deny Palestinians. So what could account for their bloodlust?
Suspected accomplices to Mike’s Place atrocity were furthermore subsequently rounded up in Derbyshire, far from Israeli tanks. Just then leaflets were circulated in various UK cities calling on local Muslims to join the suicide-bombing jihad.
Sharif’s erstwhile neighbor told the Daily Telegraph that “the community” approved of suicide-escapades because “martyrdom is honorable in Islam.” He judged that it was only a matter of time till the faithful replicated in London the heroic deed perpetrated at Mike’s Place. That warning eerily came true but Britain nevertheless managed to be flabbergasted just the same.
Tim Sebastian, who was to become the moderator of the New Arab Debates and the Doha Debates, interviewed a fiery-eyed British Muslim lawyer on the BBC and calmly listened to him as he advocated killing Jews in Britain too. “Why just in Israel?,” the solicitor inquired. He thought Islam should rule the UK and that Muslims were entitled to regain hegemony in Spain.
Even Cherie and her concurring compatriots might have trouble connecting such rhetoric to Israel. This perhaps accounts for their penchant to dismiss jihadist ideology as insignificant extremist ravings that shouldn’t be exploited to cast aspersions on moderate law-abiding Muslims.
The problem is though that these judicious middle-of-the-road Muslims are exceedingly elusive. This, despite the obligatory lip-service by the more media-savvy Islamic functionaries who tell us that the beheaders don’t represent authentic Islam. Yet when pressed, these spokespersons will invariably express understanding for their famously suffering co-religionists in Palestine, while heaping calumny on Israel.
Crimes against Israelis aren’t weighed on the same scales as the more headline-grabbing abominations committed in Iraq and Syria and the latter gain resonance only when the revulsion becomes high-profile enough by western criteria.
When an American of renown isn’t involved and when the executioner isn’t a son of Britain, odds are that everything will pass right under the radar of the many current subscribers to Cherrie’s Israel-bashing syllogisms.
Last November, for example, a video posted on the Internet for all to see and be suitably impressed featured two members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) holding up a bearded man's head before a cheering ecstatic throng in the Syrian city of Aleppo. It was yet another among numerous beheadings by the purported rebels, whom not too long ago much of the free world celebrated as defenders of the “Arab Spring.”
International opinion has learned to live quite calmly with the Arab/Muslim fondness for decapitation and thus there was no cause for this clip to kick up undue commotion.
What would eventually be revealed as a case of macabre mistaken identity began at an Aleppo hospital, where a wounded man lay rambling incoherently. Somebody claimed he blurted out the names of Shiite holy men. Since Shiites constitute the military mainstay of despot Bashar Assad and his Alawite loyalists, nothing further was required to seal the fate of the semi-conscious patient.
He was dragged out of bed and it was off-with-his-head – as simple, as speedy and as savage as that.
Shortly later, however, it was realized that the head hoisted to the barbaric amusement of the populace belonged to none other than a comrade-in-arms, Mohammed Marroush – a volunteer-cum-mercenary for ISIS’s own sub-faction. Marroush was in a drugged state when he was said to have uttered the forbidden Shiite names. By the stringent criteria of Arab jurisprudence, no further proof of guilt was needed.
But western agenda-setters – the very ones who fume at the mouth when blueprints are commissioned for Jewish homes in Judea – find discussion of Arab bloodlust to be too politically incorrect for polite society. Multicultural refinement demands we all pretend that the denizens of the Middle East are progressive, enlightened and largely pacifist.
If the facts negate the façade, the genteel thing to do is to obligingly look away and make believe that Arab mobs and their Muslim adherents from far-flung settings unstintingly uphold humanitarian principles and inhabit the same moral high-ground as do genuine democrats. And when reality slaps disingenuous credulity hard in the face, Britain and its European twins feign befuddlement.
That said, if the incident doesn’t feature prominent western protagonists or cannot be blamed on the Jews, it’s obviously altogether unworthy of attention, outrage and revulsion.
Debunking the Bull, Sarah Honig’s book, was recently published by Gefen.