By: Mehdi Hasan
Dear liberal pundit,
You and I didn’t like George W Bush. Remember his puerile declaration after 9/11 that “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists”? Yet now, in the wake of another horrific terrorist attack, you appear to have updated Dubya’s slogan: either you are with free speech… or you are against it. Either vous êtes Charlie Hebdo… or you’re a freedom-hating fanatic.
I’m writing to you to make a simple request: please stop. You think you’re defying the terrorists when, in reality, you’re playing into their bloodstained hands by dividing and demonising. Us and them. The enlightened and liberal west v the backward, barbaric Muslims. The massacre in Paris on 7 January was, you keep telling us, an attack on free speech. The conservative former French president Nicolas Sarkozy agrees, calling it “a war declared on civilisation”. So, too, does the liberal-left pin-up Jon Snow, who crassly tweeted about a “clash of civilisations” and referred to “Europe’s belief in freedom of expression”.
Large demonstrations against Israel’s assault on Palestinians in Gaza were staged across the US on Saturday. The public outpouring of support for Palestinians in US streets suggests that Washington’s pro-Israel policies are becoming increasingly unpopular, a trend supported by a recent poll on Israel’s latest aggression, which finds that young Americans are twice as likely to support Palestinian rights than Israeli occupation.
Tens of thousands of Americans held a demonstration in front of the White House in Washington, DC. Protestors travelled in buses from around the country to join the national rally, waving Palestinian flags and chanting “free Palestine” in the US capital.