The leftist journalists’ narrative is that Tony Abbott might be prime minister but he is not as cerebral or scholarly as the leftist journalist. The latest mocking of the PM for equating the Islamic State with the Nazis is a case in point. What Tony Abbott said was this:
“The Nazis did terrible evil but they had a sufficient sense of shame to try to hide it”.
This is such an incontrovertible truth that I have no idea why anyone would contest it. Thus, Holocaust deniers exploit the fact the Nazis covered their genocidal tracks at almost every turn in order to give credence to their “case”. Because the Nazis were relatively furtive in their evil endeavour, we must rely on an overwhelming convergence of evidence, rather than 100 percent, slam-dunk proof to corroborate the claim that 6 million Jewish people were slaughtered during the time of the Holocaust. That’s not Tony Abbott claiming that or this writer saying that – that’s the teaching staff at the education wing of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.
The Age’s James Massola approvingly quotes Malcolm Turnbull’s characterisation of the Islamic State back in July of this year as “not Hitler’s Germany, Tojo’s Japan or Stalin’s Russia” and that “we should be careful not to say or do things which can be said to add credibility to those delusions.” The Islamic State group, as Turnbull infers, lacks the firepower of the Wehrmacht at its zenith, but on January 30, 1933, Hitler’s official army – the Reichswehr – consisted of no more than 100,000 men. Moreover, there was no Air Force and an inconsequential navy. The Islamic State group – and its Salafi jihadist counterparts — has not yet occupied Paris, as per Hitler in 1940, and yet the Charlie Hebdo massacre of January 7, 2015, not to mention the Paris kosher deli attack three days later, strikes me – at any rate – as a touch ill-omened on that score.
The Sydney Morning Herald’s national security correspondent, David Wroe, had gleefully reported that the Communication Minister Turnbull’s July speech hit “a jarringly different tone” from PM Abbott’s tough talk on terrorism and the warning that the Islamic State was “coming after us” and “coming…for every person and every government”. Here was Turnbull’s call for some perspective: “Just as it is important not to underestimate, or be complacent about, the national security threat from Daesh, it is equally important not to overestimate that threat.” Fair enough, I suppose, if Malcolm Turnbull could bring himself to name the dreaded organisation in question instead of hiding behind the PC cravenness of “Daesh” – unaware, apparently, that Daesh is the Arabic acronym for al-Dawlah al-Islamiyah fi al-Iraq wa-al-Sham. Would the term Islamiyah have anything to do with the word Islam? The Minister for Communications asks Australians not to fear an organisation he remains too faint-hearted to mention. The “Dark Lord”, Mr Turnbull, is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Many will correctly note that PM Abbott himself has a penchant for using the Daesh or ISIS label, but that only underscores the enormity of the problem facing the West. The current “He-who-most-not-be-named” character of Islamic revivalism, and Salafi jihadism in particular, only goes to show the enormity of the challenge. President Obama, the apotheosis of leftist PC rectitude, refuses to make any link whatsoever between religious fanaticism and the actions of Salafi jihadists. In Syria and Iraq, for instance, extremists “randomly behead people”. These “extremists” who slaughter in the name of their religion are at most “zealots” – and so it was, according to Barack Obama, “violent” and “vicious” characters who, on January 10 this year, “randomly shot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris”. The eliminationist anti-Semitism, intrinsic to Islamic jihadism, must be ignored to the point of absurdity. When Josh Earnest, White House press secretary, was later quizzed on President Obama’s “random” remarks, he replied: “It is clear from the terrorists and some of the writings they put out afterwards, what their motivation was. The adverb that the president chose was used to indicate that the individuals who were killed in that terrible tragic incident were killed not because of who they were, but because of where they randomly happened to be.” Please.
A full year has passed since Prime Minister Abbott made the astute observation in Parliament that the Islamic State was an “apocalyptic death cult”. It was as if Abbott had been meticulously studying Richard Landes’ Heaven on Earth (2011), a intriguing book that makes the case for defining Hitler’s monstrous regime as an episode of millennial psychosis:
And when the Nazi ideologues developed their notions of the Third Reich as a millennial kingdom, they knew precisely to what they referred.
Landes made the further claim that Salafi jihadists, including Hamas or the Islamic Resistance Movement, could also be described as apocalyptical millennialists. I reviewed Heaven on Earth for the December 2011 edition of Quadrant in an article titled “The Millennial Psychosis”. All of this occurred before the Islamic State in its current arrangement saw the light of day, and yet the apocalyptic lunacy of its plush magazine, Dabiq, was entirely predicatable. Each month brings another instalment of the psychosis – “The Flood” being the title one month and “Shari’ah Alone Will Rule Africa” the next – that seduces young Muslims from around the world.
The bloodcurdling irrationality of the Islamic State expresses itself not only in the annihilation of Christians, secularists, modern women, smokers, archaeologists, Yazidis, Kurds, Druse, Shiites, Alawis, historical landmarks, ancient manuscripts, foreign photographers and aid workers, homosexuals, adulterers, suspected Sunni apostates, but also in its exterminationist anti-Semitism. Thus, the call to “liberate” Jerusalem (al-Quds) refers to the drawing near of Islamic “End Times” and has nothing to do with achieving a two-state solution for the Israeli-Arab conflict (or East Jerusalem as the nascent capital of an Islamic Republic of Palestine). Abbott’s depiction of the Islamic State as an “apocalyptic death cult”, then, appears to be right on the money. Conversely, the accusation by leftist journalists and commentators in Australia that Tony Abbott’s analysis is mere hyperbole, intended only to boost lagging popularity at home, can be dismissed as a combination of ignorance and political point-scoring on the part of the commentariat – the very things, ironically, they accuse the Prime Minister of doing.
The same commentariat insisted last week that Robert Groot, Executive Council of Australian Jewry president, was keen to “lash”, “lambaste” and “slam” Prime Minister Abbott. Groot later explained in response to a query from Quadrant Online editor Roger Franklin that this had not been his intention at all. He had, in fact, been “careful not to accuse the PM of downplaying the Holocaust”. His note is reproduced below.
Groot’s central point – simply put – is that comparing the horror of an “industrial-scale extermination of an entire people based solely on their supposed race” with any other historical event, however malevolent, is likely to be problematic. Thus, a “systematic state-sponsored genocide”, resulting in the extermination of six million Jewish people, does not equate to “organise acts of terrorism” committed by the Islamic State that (so far) involve thousands of deaths rather than millions. It is impossible, in the opinion of Groot, to view the Islamic State as in any way “worse than the Nazis” and the Prime Minister’s attempt to do so – on the basis of the IS group’s shameless disclosure of its evil – was “injudicious and unfortunate.” Nevertheless, in his missive to Quadrant Online, Robert Groot reaffirmed his opinion that the “Islamic State is a profoundly evil organisation” and agreed that “IS needs to be fought militarily and with the truth”.
I agree with Groot about the uniqueness of the Holocaust and that appropriating it for other political ends is a dubious endeavour at best. As the late Elie Wiesel remarked, “The Holocaust is not man’s inhumanity to man – the Holocaust is man’s inhumanity to the Jews.” Consider, for instance, the absurdity of Baroness Catherine Ashton’s 2014 Holocaust Remembrance Day address as vice-president of the European Commission. She conspicuously failed to mention the word Jews even once, despite warning of the need “to keep alive this tragedy”. More important for Baroness Catherine Ashton, apparently, was the PC meme concerning “the dangers of hate speech” and “any form of intolerance”, both of which could only be overcome if European societies placed greater emphasis on “diversity”.
The two most shocking misappropriations of the Holocaust are (a) Holocaust Denial and (b) Holocaust Inversion. In the West, at least, polite society tends to regard Holocaust Deniers as pariahs. In the case of Holocaust Inverters, on the other hand, the current situation is more complicated. In the article “Hamas’s Propaganda by Deed in Gaza” (Quadrant, October 2014), I wrote at length about the theme of Holocaust Inversion pursued by the Sydney Morning Herald during Operation Protective Edge. Glen Le Lievre’s July 26 cartoon was so obvious in its grotesque stereotyping of a Jewish person, who was using a remote-control device to blow up houses and people in Gaza, that the Editor-in-Chief, Darren Goodsir, felt compelled to “apologise unreservedly” for Le Lievre’s “serious error of judgement”. The cartoonist’s mistake – it turned out – was caricaturing a Jew rather than an Israeli Jew. Mike Carlton’s accompanying article, “Israel’s Rank and Rotten Fruit is Being Called Fascism”, was more subtle in its distinction between Jews per se and Israeli Jews in Operation Protective Edge: “Call it genocide, call it ethnic cleansing: the aim is to kill Arabs.”
Pointedly, Carlton ran into problems with Fairfax management — not because of the article, mind you, but due to his subsequent abuse in private emails of – moment to clear throat – “Australian Likudniks”. Holocaust Inversion, in a nutshell, is the reconfiguring of Israeli Jews as modern-day Nazis and Palestinian Arabs as the Jewish victims of the Third Reich. Surely the appropriation of the Holocaust by Mike Carlton, the Fairfax management, the ABC and the whole Holocaust Inversion line-up totally eclipses any alleged transgression committed by Tony Abbott.
The line I keep coming back to is Robert Groot’s commendable insistence that the “IS needs to be fought militarily and with the truth”. His inference, we assume, is that the Prime Minister’s linking of the Islamic State to the Nazis is an exaggeration since the IS militia controls little more than a stretch of desert in the hinterlands of Syria and Iraq. That is not an entirely unfair claim, although we might add that like-minded Salafi jihadists have serious claims in places as far-flung as northern Nigeria, the Sinai, Libya, Lebanon, Gaza and so on, and that’s before we talk about the IS group’s hold on the imagination of too many young minds throughout the Muslim world and the Sunni diaspora. Common to all Salafi jihadist movements, the Islamic State included, is a chilling rendering of Nazi-style exterminationist anti-Semitism.
Yes, Mr Groot, there is something appallingly singular about the Holocaust and we should never disregard that. But closing our eyes to the connections between the anti-Semitic and apocalyptic roots of both Hitler’s Nazi movement and the phenomonenon of the Islamic State serves no useful purpose. On the contrary, Tony Abbott’s deep moral sense that the Nazis and the Islamic State are somehow cut from the same evil cloth – notwithstanding their obvious differences – should not be lightly dismissed, if not out of respect for the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust, then for the sake of the six million Jews who presently dwell in the State of Israel.
Daryl McCann has a blog at http://darylmccann.blogspot.com.au