Howard Jacobson: Try ‘and’ instead of ‘but’ and you’ll find that America and Israel are not to blame for all the world’s atrocities
And so it has been these past few shameful weeks with the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Little by little, day by day, the “But Brigade” has turned its monosyllabic screw until the cartoonists become complicit in their own demise and their murder appals us a little less. Yes the requisite noises are made – free speech non-negotiable blah blah – but the “butters” are quick to invoke instances where we do negotiate it: anti-Semites removed from their positions, for example, anti-Semites not allowed to speak what’s on their minds. Funny how it’s always the freedom to be an anti-Semite the “But Brigade” protects. And finally, in justification of murder, the issue of provocation is wheeled out, though the concept of “asking for it” would not be entertained for a second if the crime were rape.Douglas Murray: I don’t want to live under Islamic blasphemy law. That doesn’t make me racist
Pace the Papa, he who insults my mother might deserve a stern rebuke, but not with rocket launchers and Kalashnikovs. Nor does being rude to someone’s ma equate to criticising his beliefs. I thought we had long ago decided we are all fair game when it comes to the gods we choose to revere, whereas our mothers, like the colour of our skin, we are given. If the Pope has a vested interest in protecting religion from scrutiny, so does the “But Brigade” have a vested interest in drawing attention away from any atrocity that isn’t perpetrated by Americans or Israelis. Except that there isn’t any atrocity which isn’t perpetrated by Americans or Israelis, for who else is ever on the end of the chain of repercussion, extenuation and blame that begins with that malignant “but”?
But let us take a strain from this strained idea and pretend that Muslims constitute a tiny put-upon sect in France and Western Europe, and that for this reason anything which transgresses Islamic blasphemy laws must be recognised as the big guys (cartoonists) beating up the little guys (tens of millions of Muslims). If it is the minority component that is the issue then let us transfer this to a country where Islam does not constitute a minority. Saudi Arabia, say. Or Iran. Or Pakistan. What if a free-thinker were to publish a cartoon of Mohammed there? Would that be Myriam’s and Mehdi’s kind of satire? I cannot help thinking that they and all the other ‘context of these cartoons’ complainers would feel no happier about a drawing of Mohammed done in Mecca, Tehran or Islamabad than one drawn in Copenhagen or Paris. In the same way I can see them being little happier about free Western non-Muslims ‘insulting’ Mohammed if they also did this alongside making more jokes about the Holocaust.Fatah statement urges ‘resistance’ to IDF, settlers
Incidentally the Holocaust detour is a particularly fascinating one. Disturbing too, because it is surprising how many Muslims in particular have in recent weeks responded to drawings of Mohammed with the cry ‘But you can’t draw cartoons that upset the Jews or joke about the Holocaust.’ In saying this they not only confuse denial, diminishment or praise of the murder of six million Jews within living memory with a stick drawing of someone subsequently called ‘Mohammed’. They also give something away. Because although I am sure that Mehdi, Myriam et al are far too moderate to wish to start taunting Jews about the Holocaust, I cannot forget all those banners at anti-Israel parades in Britain where, for instance, the banners say ‘Stop the Holocaust in Gaza’ and so on. And I cannot help thinking that here too the selection of the Holocaust or Jews as the comparison is a little more revealing, or insinuating, than the speakers intend it to be. ‘Taunt my prophet and I’ll taunt your dead family’ is an interesting argument. But after the last couple of weeks I have come to the conclusion that there are more people than I had previously thought who wish to really get stuck in on the Jews and the Holocaust once they get the chance.
But like most other arguments against Charlie Hebdo in recent weeks what this boils down to is a scramble for a justification for why Islamic blasphemy law must be observed even in Western Europe.
In a statement published on Fatah’s official website, the movement’s West Bank branch lambasted Israel’s decision to withhold tax revenue from the PA in the wake of the Palestinian UN bid, dubbing it an act of “theft” that “deprives our people of their daily bread.”Reporter who broke news of Nisman’s death is on his way to Israel
Fatah pledged its support for Abbas’s international attempt to isolate Israel, calling for “an escalation of popular resistance against occupation forces and settlers.”
Abbas has publicly criticized the armed intifada, or uprising, against Israeli civilians, but has endorsed “popular resistance” consisting of large-scale rallies, processions, and the boycotting of settlement products.
The new statement appeared to legitimize physical attacks against IDF soldiers and Israelis living in the West Bank, which have dramatically increased in recent months.
Damian Pachter of the English-language Buenos Aires Herald left the country Saturday, the local journalism group Foro de Periodismo Argentino said.
Pachter told The Times of Israel on Sunday afternoon that he is on his way to Israel. Haaretz reported earlier that he is “planning to take refuge” in the country.
Pachter, who is Jewish and has Israeli citizenship, told a local internet site that “I left because my life was in danger. My phones were being monitored. I intend to return to Argentina when my sources tell me conditions have changed. I don’t think that will happen in the term of this government.”
The Buenos Aires journalism group said Pachter reported on Friday he was followed by unknown people and felt his safety was at risk but did not elaborate.