I may have been a bit slow to realise this, but as soon as one becomes associated with a particular cause, one alienates people.
It is a mistake to assume that reasoned argument will win anyone over. People make their minds up for all sorts of reasons – then say “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”
The more rational you are, the more people use distancing strategies to avoid being seduced by your reasonableness. They marginalise you, label you, and grossly exaggerate your position to avoid accidentally considering any of your points.
This principle works both ways. I confess I’ve caught myself doing it, remonstrated with myself, and carried on regardless.
Questioning the wisdom of pandering to Muslims puts one into the dreaded position of Islamophobe.
On the Sunday programme R4 (31:06) I had to listen to Ed Stourton asking a group of Muslims about their voting habits. One was from the Muslim Council of Britain, an organisation I thought had been deemed unrepresentative of the ‘Muslim voice,’ but no matter. The MCB fella said their aim was fighting Islamophobia and mobilising the Muslim vote, though he was also anxious to point out that there is no such thing as a Muslim vote, apart from successfully ousting Oona King that time.
The conversation turned to ‘cavassing’ Muslims and encouraging them to get out and vote. There is a tickbox system to aid selection of your candidate. A helpful suggestion came from Ed Stourton.. ‘What,’ Muslims must ask, ‘are your views on foreign policy, and do you support Israel?’
‘Posh Ed’ presided benignly over a mutually assured consensus that no Muslim should entertain the idea of squandering their vote on anyone who supports the Zionist entity.
Fighting Islamophobia evidently entails embracing a little antisemitism. This reminds me of another incident that erupted on the internet that also revealed Muslim cognitive dissonance.
It involved the last minute withdrawal of an invitation to Douglas Murray to speak on a panel at the NUS conference at Gateshead.
Douglas Murray is an outspoken opponent of radical Islam, and an advocate of Jewish issues. Therefore, he has alienated quite a few.
The Federation of Islamic Student Societies (FOSIS) refused to participate in the conference unless Douglas Murray was disinvited.
Although Douglas Murray’s friendship is invaluable to supporters of Israel, especially when such eloquent champions are few and far between, the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) felt, on balance, that the chance to expose the hypocrisy of FOSIS before an NUS audience was worth the regrettable loss of his participation.
So they withdrew the invitation, whereupon he publicly criticised the UJS for being cowed by the Islamic Students’ demands.
According to the UJS, in the event, the FOSIS rep was well and truly defeated and exposed as a fool and a hypocrite; not a terribly difficult a task given that they host extremist Islamist speakers such as Anwar al-Awlaki at universities, and justify it on the grounds of ‘free speech,’ an argument that self destructs as soon as FOSIS is seen refusing to appear near Douglas Murray.
The argument is about whether it was worth jeopardising the ongoing backing of Douglas Murray, and sacrificing the opportunity to have him speak at the conference, for the sole benefit of exposing FOSIS to a comparatively limited audience. Past performance indicates that FOSIS itself is unlikely to change, and the ephemeral UJS triumph at the NUS conference seems to have evaporated.
It’s unlikely that Douglas Murray would retaliate by withdrawing his backing, but those who appreciate Douglas Murray’s friendship and support, and see its value in the context of the bigger picture, are concerned that the UJS were rude, misguided and unappreciative.
Antisemitic radical Islam infiltrating Britain’s academia is of no interest to the BBC it seems. There was a programme on R4 about rehabilitating radicals, but they are invariably regarded as the exception, not representative of the real Islam, and as misfits and outsiders.
Events suggest otherwise. That they’re not an exception, that they are representative, and they’re gaining ground.
So if you haven’t already made up your mind, ask your prospective candidates whether they support Israel, and if not, don’t give them your vote.