At a recent Stop the West rally (yes, I know, but that’s their real agenda) demonstrators waved placards proclaiming ‘We’re all Hezbollah now’. Really? If so, why were they allowed to parade in Trafalgar Square? In a sane society they should surely all have been arrested as a self-proclaimed army of holy warriors whose explicit aim was to murder untold numbers of innocents, destroy Britain, America and the free world and subjugate them to the dictatorship of the ayatollahs.
Because that’s what Hezbollah is. Literally designated the Army of God, it is a military force funded, trained by and answerable to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Iran that is pledged — as it has been since the Khomeini revolution of 1979 — to the destruction of Israel and the genocide of the Jews, as a prelude to destroying the West and infidels everywhere. The Iran that is steadily developing nuclear weapons so that it can achieve these aims.
But then Britain at this moment isn’t really sane. It is gripped by a kind of collective derangement in which, blinded by hatred of Israel, it thinks that the current war against Israel by Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, and its ally Syria, is a war by Israel against ‘innocent’ Lebanon. As a result, it is quite unable to grasp that Hezbollah’s war against Israel, which is desperately trying to bring Israel to an end once and for all, is a key salient in Iran’s escalating war against the free world.
Because Hezbollah is Iran. Every weapon in Iran’s arsenal is potentially available to Hezbollah. A few days ago the London Arabic daily, Asharq Alawsat, detailed the extensive assistance being provided to Hezbollah by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Hezbollah’s commander Hassan Nasrallah leads an Iranian jihadi army that exports terror round the world. And just as it did with the rival jihadists of al-Qa’eda, Britain — a prime target of Iranian terror — is once again allowing itself to become a theatre of the Iranian jihad and a weak link in the chain of resistance against it.
Many on the British Left mistakenly believe that Hezbollah is merely another Muslim liberation movement to add to its collection. (The thinking which leads the Left to classify genocide as liberation is a story in itself.) As a result, the comrades of ‘Stop the War’ march behind placard images of their new hero Nasrallah, while George Galloway MP proclaimed at the demonstration, ‘Hezbollah is not a terrorist group and I am here to glorify the Lebanese resistance movement.’
What was also notable at that demonstration was that Dr Azzam Tamimi was whipping up the crowd to a hysterical frenzy against Israel. Dr Tamimi is a key official of the Muslim Brotherhood and closely associated with Hamas. The Brotherhood, however, are Sunni Muslims while Hezbollah are Shia — religious and political rivals.
But now the Sunni Brotherhood and the Khomeinist Shia have united in common cause to bring murder and mayhem to the world. Iran is now helping to fund Hamas; at the demonstration the crowd chillingly roared approval when Tamimi screamed that Hezbollah, along with Hamas, was now active on their behalf. Nasrallah has become the new global poster boy for jihadis everywhere. Sunni and Shia are now marching together in the Islamist version of the Molotov/Ribbentrop pact.
In Britain there are thought to be relatively few Khomeinists compared with Sunni terrorists. But there are enough to form a serious potential security threat if Iran decides to unleash Hezbollah against targets in the UK. And that is now a real possibility.
According to German and Israeli intelligence sources, Hezbollah sleeper cells are present in more than 20 countries in Western Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia, and have been told to be ready to carry out terrorist attacks should Israel prolong its military action in Lebanon. The Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has told the Commons that ‘there are indeed concerns’ about Iran-backed terrorists attacking the UK.
Yet the British authorities do nothing about the most conspicuous promoter of Khomeini jihadism in the UK, the jovially named Islamic Human Rights Commission run by Massoud Shadjareh. The IHRC is said to be close to Iran. Its understanding of human rights is to extol Hezbollah, endorse an eclectic assortment of jihadis and promote the end of Israel.
It was the IHRC which sponsored the Hezbollah placards in Trafalgar Square. It is the IHRC which runs the annual ‘al-Quds’ day in Britain, instituted by Khomeini as an event to be held around the world on the last Friday of Ramadan. Demonstrators at this annual hate-fest on the streets of London call for the ‘liberation’ of Jerusalem, carry Hezbollah flags, demand the destruction of Israel, and portray its leaders as demons.
In a briefing on the Lebanon crisis, the IHRC has said that British Muslims can provide Hezbollah with ‘financial, logistical and informational support’ to attack Israeli installations, and calls for the ‘temporary’ occupation of Israel and ‘regime change’ by Hezbollah on ‘self-defence’ grounds.
As for Lebanon, it says that any support for Hezbollah there is lawful under international law. Force against Israel must be sufficient to stop ‘Israeli aggression’ and can include the destruction of installations ‘on the territory held by Israel’, as well as ‘financial, logistical and informational support of Hezbollah’. The IHRC is thus inciting Iranian-sponsored terrorism against Israel on the spurious grounds that supporting the army which started hostilities by launching a slew of unprovoked rocket attacks against Israel’s northern towns is ‘self-defence’. Isn’t such incitement to violence a crime?
Although it goes to some lengths to pretend that it is hostile only to Israel but not to Jews, its real agenda is all too plain. Thus it claims wholly falsely, in a libel straight out of the manuals of Jew-hatred, that ‘Israel’s state ideology is based on a racial concept of the superiority of the Jews over all other humans. This leads to Israeli army soldiers shooting freely at children, women or ambulance drivers.’ Isn’t such incitement to racial hatred a crime?
When Shadjareh was challenged about the fact that he was once photographed wrapped in the Hezbollah flag, he said, ‘We are not supporting or opposing Hezbollah or anybody else. The wearing of the Hezbollah flag is neither uncommon nor controversial among activists.’ As the placards at the Trafalgar Square rally said, we are all Hezbollah now.
Many believe that Britain’s support for Israel and America is turning the UK into a target for terrorist attacks. There is no doubt that the passions inflamed by Israel’s strikes in Lebanon — and particularly the way these are being reported — raises the temperature to boiling point and provides the Islamists with a further pretext for terror. As the Prime Minister bluntly put it, ‘When people stand up and fight, people will come after you.’
But the belief that there would be no threat to Britain or America without these recent events is demonstrably false. Way back in 1994 Shadjareh spoke on a platform in Trafalgar Square draped with a banner which read, ‘Death To The Enemies Of Islam’.
Until 11 September 2001, Hezbollah was responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist organisation. It is known or suspected to have been involved in the suicide truck bombings of the US embassy and US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut in 1983, the bombing of the US embassy annexe in Beirut in 1984 and the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 en route from Athens to Rome. And it is said by various intelligence agencies to have kidnapped over 30 Westerners between 1982 and 1992.
Its principal targets, however, are Jews. This is in accordance with the core belief that drives the global jihad: that the West is a conspiracy to destroy Islam and that the puppet-masters of the West — and the embodiment of cosmic evil who must therefore be obliterated — are the Jews.
So in 1992 a human bomb attack destroyed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. In 1994 in the same city, a car-bomb attack on a Jewish community building was the largest single incident of terrorism against Jews since the second world war. Eight days later, the Israeli embassy in London was car-bombed by two Palestinians linked to Hezbollah.
Now British Jews, who already have to be guarded against Islamist terror at every communal event, find themselves even more threatened as British counter-terrorism officials say they are raising the alert for attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets in Britain.
And now Iran has explicitly singled out Britain as a target for attack — not because of Lebanon or any other recent event, but because of the British Balfour Declaration of 1917, which led eventually to the restoration of the Jews to part of their ancient homeland in the state of Israel.
In an Iranian TV interview on 23 July, Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that ‘England was the founder of this sinister regime’ (Israel) and, like America, was ‘an accomplice to all its crimes’.
This ignores the fact that Britain actually reneged on its promise to found a Jewish national home in mandatory Palestine, sided with the Nazi-supporting Arabs and eventually abstained in the UN vote on establishing Israel. The country that actually swung it for the Jews happened to be the Soviet Union — so the proper target of Ahmadinejad’s grievance should surely be his current patron, Vladimir Putin.
But hatred of Israel is itself a proxy for the Islamists’ hatred of the Jews. According to Nasrallah, ‘If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice I do not say the Israeli.’
Alas, Britain does not notice. All it sees and hears is Hezbollah’s sophisticated propaganda, uncritically transmitted by a credulous and prejudiced media. So it is in grave danger of missing the big picture altogether.
According to Shia tradition, legitimate Islamic rule can only be established following the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam, a kind of Shia messiah. Khomeini taught that the Twelfth Imam would appear only when the believers had vanquished evil.
Ahmadinejad is driven by the desire to bring about his arrival on earth through promoting Armageddon. The night before 22 August is when the Prophet Mohammed is said to have ascended to heaven from Temple Mount, when a ‘great light lit up the night sky’ over Jerusalem. The date on which Ahmadinejad has said he will respond to the EU’s ultimatum over his nuclear programme is 22 August. Will his response be to light up the sky over Jerusalem?
Doubtless any attempt to prevent this would be damned in Britain as ‘disproportionate’. But if Israel were to lose to Iran, it would herald a catastrophe for the entire free world.
This is no longer England, however. It is Lemmingland.
Melanie Phillips is a Daily Mail columnist and author of Londonistan (Gibson Square).
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated August 5, 2006