» Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Prime Minister:

I think that there are really two parts to this. I think there are people who are anti-Semitic in Europe and there has been a growing rise of anti-Semitic attacks which are appalling and terrible in different parts of Europe. But I think there is another strain of opinion, and this is the reason I devoted some of my speech to doing this, that just doesn’t see it from Israel’s point of view at all, I mean just doesn’t understand what it is like to be a country surrounded by a lot of people who basically want to deny your right to exist, and in a way I think that is part of the problem. And I also think it then gets run in with the issue to do with anti-Americanism because of America’s support for Israel. And again I said this in a speech I made a couple of months ago, the only way you ever confront this is confronting the basic ideas.

What I said in that speech, let me try and explain this, a lot of what happens in the western debate, in the European debate very specifically, but also in other countries too, less so in America but still in parts I guess in the American system, is that everybody abhors the terrorist method, people don’t get up and support terrorism but they kind of buy half way into some of the ideas that they are putting forward in the sense that they say yes well you do have a real sense of grievance against America and its allies, but you shouldn’t blow people up in pursuit of it. And my point the whole way through is we are never going to defeat this until we say actually that is wrong, you have no sense of grievance.

In Afghanistan and Iraq we have billions of dollars waiting there to help reconstruct the country, the country is a democracy, where is the suppression? You know the Taliban down in the south where British troops have gone in to try and clear out the Taliban, they have literally taken teachers out in front of their class and executed them in front of class for teaching girls. Now where should the sense of grievance be – against us who have actually helped those countries and those people get democracy for the first time, or these absolutely brutal murderous terrorists who want to send them back into some sort of feudal time?

In other words unless we are prepared to stand up and say, ‘No actually what you think about America is nonsense’, I mean I said this to some people the other day and it was difficult, but you have got to say it. I said look, as far as I am aware people in America are free to practise their religion as Muslims, and they certainly are in Britain, what is the sense of grievance?

Now we may disagree about this or that aspect of foreign policy, but that is not the same as saying that our purpose in going to Iraq and Afghanistan was something to do with the fact that those countries were Muslim, it was to do with the fact that they were threatening our security. That is where this is difficult.

So the answer to your question is yes, there are real worries about anti-Semitism, but I think that the problem is slightly different from that, if I am frank about it, it is that there is a world view there that is very, very, well I would call it somewhat soggy and unable just to see the realities of what is happening. And that is what you have to confront, not just the activities of the terrorists, but their ideas, because far too many of their ideas have some purchase on opinion in the western world.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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