Uncommon courage 174

A surprising interview. Hasan Afzal, a Briton of Palestinian origin, objects to the vicious world-wide movement to delegitimize the State of Israel.

Hasan tells The Atheist Conservative this about himself:

At present I’m on a leave of absence from the University of Birmingham where I’m studying Political Economy.

I come from a secular Muslim family. Religion was often a private experience with the family only ever becoming overtly religious during Ramadan and the two Eid festivals. Other than that, there were no boundaries on what we could talk about so I had complete academic freedom to talk/think/debate with whatever I liked.

The Israel/Palestine issue was never talked about at home, not out of censorship but it never really came up. When I was at University, I was forced to think about it. I guess I’ve been rather influenced by democratic peace theorists and liberal interventionists (aka Neocons – cough!). Sadly, university degrees are too easy to commit one’s mind too, so I spent most of my time reading around the subject. I read Strauss, Hobbes, Locke.

I began to ask: How could this little democracy, Israel, be all the evils that the hate-preachers say it is? I did my own research, and I found out it wasn’t. I got involved in anti-Islamism and discovered the Israel delegitimisation network.  Since then I have had an almost instinctive sympathy for Israel and sadness for the short-sighted leadership of Palestinians. It’s equally a pragmatic support as well as a little ideological. When I see how skewed the debate has become about Israel/Palestine, it is the Israelis I feel are the victims of a sophisticated delegitimisation network.

In the course of his researches, he met Sam Westrop, our British editor. Together they founded the organization British Muslims for Israel, which is beginning to attract media attention.

Sam and I set up British Muslims for Israel. When something happens in the Middle East – the Jerusalem bomb was a perfect example – we come out and make our point clear and provocative. The hope is that Muslims who are hesitant or unsure of their support for Israel will one day put one and one together and see who their real enemies are.

Undhimmi features the video and comments:

It is not before time that a voice of reason from the Muslim community was heard – particularly in Britain – which is fast gaining a reputation as an anti-Semite’s paradise. The cacophany of uninformed and biased, agenda-driven noise (for that it what it is), emanating from the British media and the Islamo-Left coalition – who are dedicated to dehumanising Israelis and falsely presenting the ‘Palestinians’ as perpetual victims – goes virtually unchallenged here [in the US], Britain and the West [in general].

And Melanie Phillips writes in her column at the Spectator:

A warm welcome to a new and very brave kid on the block – British Muslims for Israel. As I have often said, where someone stands on Israel is for me the litmus test of whether they are a decent and rational human being or pose a threat not merely to Jewish interests but to civilised values. Unfortunately, even among those many Muslims who are opposed to the jihad and support western democracy, animosity towards Israel often runs horrifyingly deep. Any Muslim who speaks up in defence of Israel runs significant personal risks. So those behind British Muslims for Israel, which has emerged from the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy*, merit a huge amount of praise and support. They also offer a ray of hope for the future. They show that there are Muslims who pass that key civilisational litmus test with flying colours.

Listen here to their spokesman Hasan Afzal, explaining that the group was set up to counter the dangerous notion which is gaining ground that Israel should cease to exist at all; that Muslims get a better deal if they live in Israel rather than Saudi Arabia; and even that he would happily volunteer to be involved [in Israeli public relations] in the face of the ‘sophisticated internet campaign to delegitimise Israel’.

We applaud Hasan’s efforts and will continue to cheer him on.

*Sam was also one of the founders of The Institute for Middle East Democracy.