THE moment actress Miriam Margolyes opened her mouth to opine on anti-Semitism during the ABC’s Q&A this week, the moral rot at the heart of 21st-century leftist thought came on full display. Responding to an audience question on the issue of Jew-hatred, the ever-so-progressive Margolyes indulged in a nauseating exhibition of “blame the victim” pathology. The reason “people don’t like Jews”, she didactically intoned, “is because of the actions of the state of Israel”.
Margolyes declared during a BBC interview in 2010 that she “totally understood” Palestinian anti-Jewish hostility because Israel “foments it”. Using Margolyes’s line of reasoning as a guide, the slaughter of Jews in Paris and Copenhagen should not be blamed on the jihadi fascists who actually pulled the triggers. The true culprits responsible for the shedding of Jewish blood in France and Denmark are instead those dastardly Zionists whose actions incite justifiable Islamic resentment.
This argument reflects a perverse form of patronising bigotry that infantilises Muslims by denying them the capacity for moral agency. By rationalising jihadi terrorism as a defensive reaction to the sins of the West, leftists unavoidably portray Islamic radicals as wayward children who should not be held responsible for their actions.
At the height of World War II, George Orwell assailed British pacifists for being “objectively pro-Fascist”. After all, Orwell reasoned, “if you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other”.
By this same token Margolyes is guilty of being objectively pro-Hamas. Through her uncritical pro-Palestinian activism she provides political aid and polemical comfort to one of the most noxious theofascist movements in the world today.
It’s not just that Hamas has dispatched suicide bombers to murder Jewish civilians in Israel’s cities. In the world according to Margolyes that’s just an unfortunate but understandable by-product of Zionist oppression.
Yet the sad reality is Hamas is no less murderous when it comes to its own Palestinian population, displaying the quaint habit of throwing political rivals off the rooftops of Gaza’s multistorey buildings.
To be fair, Margolyes in passing expressed her dislike for the “Islamic Resistance Movement” — as Hamas is formally known. But then (literally) in the next breath she went on to parrot a mindless mantra about how it was “democratically elected”. As if Hamas models of sharia law and “one-man, one-vote, one-time” have anything to do with democracy as we know it.
Margolyes exemplifies the strange-bedfellows alliance between leftists and Islamists that defies logic and morality. In the Orwellian sense she is barracking for those who wish to kill her twice over and enslave her in the bargain. Margolyes is Jewish, a fact that marks her for death in the Hamas covenant that explicitly invokes a genocidal campaign to kill every Jew on earth. She is also openly gay, another capital offence in the Hamas playbook. And she’s a woman, and thus consigned to second-class citizenship under the strictures of sharia law.
Like any other fallible human enterprise, Israel is as imperfect as the people who created and govern it. But there are nonetheless certain home truths that should be objectively self-evident to those who haven’t lost their moral moorings.
Israel is the sole haven of political liberty in a part of the world that is otherwise dominated by despotism, jihadism or anarchy. It’s the only place in the Middle East where press freedom is unchallenged; the only place where an independent judiciary routinely checks the power of the executive; the only place where gays enjoy full rights as citizens; and the only place where governments peacefully relinquish power after a loss at the ballot box.
Yet just as the Islamic Middle East is consumed by civil war and genocide, Margolyes seeks the downfall of the sole democracy in that tortured region. Margolyes’s ethical disorientation is a symptom of a greater malady. She’s a microcosm of the “long march through the institutions of power” advocated in the late 1960s by Marxist student radical Rudi “the Red” Dutschke.
Across the past half-century much of our media and many centres of cultural authority have devolved into leftist monocultures of self-flagellation that preach moral relativism, the evils of free-market capitalism and the black-armband narrative of Western history.
As a result we’ve become so timidly PC that many of us are incapable of recognising the obvious fact that Westminster democracy is superior to Wahhabi theocracy.
Ted Lapkin served as a ministerial adviser in the Abbott government.