One of the most shocking images in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in 2001 was the sight of Palestinians dancing in the street. Who would have known the murder of 3,000 Americans would elicit such delight?
A larger number of Palestinians were on the streets of the West Bank in January 2015 following the slaughter of the staff of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Their angry placards and bellicose chants weren’t condemning the two Islamist gunmen who had committed the crime but the fact that the same magazine had, in defiance of the terrible attack, published a caricature of the Prophet in its next issue. “France is the mother of terrorism, America is the mother of terrorism,” the protesters chanted.
Five years later an Islamist in France knifed to death a teacher outside school as a punishment for showing a similar cartoon during a class discussion on freedom of expression. In his eulogy to Samuel Paty, President Emmanuel Macron criticized “violent extremists who distort the religion and commit violence within Islam.” There was a furious response across the Muslim world with protests in Turkey, Pakistan, Syria, Bangladesh and Gaza.
Palestinians appear to have more than the odd prejudice. A 2013 global survey reported that while homosexuality was morally unacceptable for 14 percent of French and 17 percent of Britons, in Palestine the figure was 94 percent. That was 1 percent more than the number of Palestinians who expressed antisemitic views in a global survey in 2014 about the world’s oldest hatred.
One wonders how many of the demonstrators in London, Paris, Berlin and other European cities are Palestinians. A fair number, in all probability. Between 2011 and 2016 an estimated 85,000 Palestinians left Syria for Europe.
The majority of demonstrators in European cities are not Palestinians, though evidently they wish they were, judging by the flags they wave and their chant of “we are all Palestinians.” Police in Paris are investigating footage taken in the metro in which people can be heard singing: “Fuck the Jews, long live Palestine…we’re Nazis and we’re proud.”
The deification of Palestine in the West is most pronounced among the political class. The Twitter feed of the (formerly Labour) MP for Leicester East, Claudia Webbe, is an extraordinary insight into the minds of these men and women who appear to believe their constituency lies in the Gaza strip.
As of writing, the last time Webbe appears to have referenced a domestic issue was on October 10, about the exploitation of Leicester textile workers; since then it has been all Palestine. Webbe was one of the estimated 100,000 people who marched through London in support of Palestine last weekend. “In our thousands, in our millions we are all Palestinians,” she tweeted.
Arguably no politician has embraced the Palestinian cause quite as fervently as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the left-wing La France Insoumise. His party doesn’t describe Hamas as terrorists, referring to them instead as a “Resistance Movement.” Recently Mélenchon was accused of using antisemitic rhetoric — which he strongly denies — although his party was embroiled in a similar scandal in 2022. The previous year Mélenchon had cast doubt on whether an Islamist really shot dead three small Jewish children in their Toulouse playground in 2012, insinuating it was the work of the deep state.
The tragedy for Mélenchon is how swiftly he has sold his soul. He knew most of the murdered Charlie Hebdo staff and he spoke eloquently at the funeral of one: “Charb, you have been murdered as you knew you would be by our oldest, cruelest, most constant and most narrow-minded enemies: the religious fanatics,” said Mélenchon.
Within five years Charlie Hebdo and Mélenchon had become mortal enemies; the magazine accused him of chasing the Muslim vote by championing “Islamophobia”; in other words he no longer defended liberty of expression. Mélenchon’s ideological shift worked in the sense that he took 69 percent of the Muslim vote in the 2022 presidential election.
The philosopher and writer Pascal Bruckner wrote recently that the progressive left in the West has abandoned the white working-class in favor of Islam, “the religion of the oppressed…and anything goes in the name of the world revolution, including the savage slaughter of oppressors.”
Mélenchon’s response to the Hamas massacre a month ago has not been appreciated by the majority of the French. A poll this week revealed that Mélenchon has overtaken the right wing Eric Zemmour to become the most reviled politician in France. People understand that what Hamas did to Israelis on October 7 was what the Islamic State did to Parisians on November 13, 2015 but on a much larger scale: the indiscriminate slaughter of the infidel. In a radio interview on Tuesday one of Macron’s MPs, Karl Olive, described Mélenchon as “a danger to society” and an individual who should be placed under state surveillance.
While Mélenchon’s stock is falling among the French public, Marine Le Pen’s is rising; another poll found that if a presidential election was held any time soon she would comfortably come out on top. One broadcaster reacted to the findings by asking: “Marine Le Pen at 30 percent, the frightening poll?”
It was an odd word to use, evidence that the message still isn’t getting through to the left-leaning mainstream media in France. It’s not Le Pen who voters should be scared of, it’s the far-left, who have allied with the Islamists and made France a terrifying country for Jews.
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.