Sep. 14, 2005 21:59 | Updated Sep. 14, 2005 22:11
How much more Muslim intolerance is the civilized world willing to tolerate? A lot, if two events this week are any indication.
In the first case, British Prime Minister Tony Blair rejected the suggestion of senior advisers that he scrap England's Holocaust Day, on the grounds that the annual commemoration of the Shoah offends the country's Muslims.
In the second case, the International Committee of the Red Cross drafted a proposition according to which Israel's Magen David Adom would assimilate its logo into a more "neutral" crystal shape that wouldn't offend Muslim countries as much as its red Star of David does now.
It is certainly a positive sign that Blair had the good sense to quash the idea of subsuming the Holocaust into a larger "Genocide Day" that would, presumably, become a staging ground for pro-Palestinian protests. What is worrying, however, is that Blair's senior advisers lacked the same good sense to do so as well. That they would even entertain such an idea just goes to show how much Europe is caving in to Muslim anti-Semitism.
It's the same with the Red Cross story. Magen David Adom has been fighting for decades for recognition as a full member of the Swiss-based humanitarian movement over the objection of Arab member countries. Again, it is their Muslim sensitivities that must be appeased.
They refuse to accord the Jewish state's medics, operating under a Jewish symbol, the same privileges and immunity that they enjoy as members of the ICRC. This, despite the fact that Muslim member countries' organizations won the right to use a red crescent as their symbol instead of a cross.
Over the past five years, while the ICRC was stubbornly denying official status to the MDA, the Red Cross was pumping dozens of millions of dollars each year into the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS).
Of course there is nothing essentially wrong with the PRCS except for one small breach of humanitarian principles: PRCS ambulances were used to smuggle weapons and bomb belts to terrorists and to transport gunmen to their targets, including at least one person (Waffa Idris) who blew herself up in a suicide attack inside Israel. The MDA, meanwhile, was providing blood to the PRCS at its request, and ferrying Palestinians to Israel for urgent medical treatment.
No one has suggested that the PRCS be made to forfeit its Red Cross membership and desist from using its protected logo for these offenses. And, with the exception of the American Red Cross, far too few ICRC members have suggested that Israel's humanitarian heroes be accorded recognition for the noble work that they do under the symbol of the Jewish people.
It is obvious that values the West holds dear, such as fairness, equality, and cultural pluralism are simply thrown out the window when resisting the intolerance of a billion Muslims is weighed against offending a few million Jews. Further, it is assumed that compromising Western values at the Jews' expense is simply that â€“ a Jewish problem.
It is not. The intolerance shown toward Jews can be and is shown toward Christians, such as the recent rampage against Palestinian Muslims against Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem. The massacres of Christians in Sudan is another example, as is the destruction by the Taliban of the ancient Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001.
Europe is hardly immune from such predations, as the continent is belatedly discovering.
In England, where the Holocaust Day repeal was initiated, larger things are afoot. The main impetus for the drive came from the Muslim Council of Britain which has justified Palestinian suicide bombers and glorified extremist preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
Across Europe, governments have refused to admit the extent to which fundamentalist Muslims have been responsible for anti-Semitic violence.
Similarly, they have been reticent to confront the increasingly brazen fundamentalists within their midst.
Europeans should know, however, that the fundamentalist Muslim community in Europe which seeks to delegitimize Jews and the Jewish state is the same community that evidently spawned the murderous bombings in Madrid and London. The fight for freedom from Islamist terrorism begins with basic insistence on the rights of all non-Muslims, including the Jewish people. The alternative, appeasement, has not worked well in the past, and is likely to invite even more Muslim intolerance in the future.