In Yemen, the Arab intelligentsia, too, was asked to believe that a Jewish invisible hand was smacking the ancien régime. On March 1, Ali Abdullah Saleh, the dictator of that wobbly American ally nation, told a crowd of academics and students that "[t]he wave of political unrest sweeping across the Arab world is a conspiracy that serves Israel and the Zionists" and also that "the control centre for destabilising the Arab world is in Tel Aviv." Remarkably, credence was given to this assertion by none other than an associate editor of the Guardian. On March 3, Seumas Milne said of the accusation, "That is easily dismissed as a hallucinogenic fantasy now. It would seem less so if the US and Britain were arming the Libyan opposition. The Arab revolution will be made by Arabs, or it won't be a revolution at all." How imposing a no-fly-zone would make the Zionist plot to overthrow Gaddafi any less of a hallucinogenic fantasy, Milne didn't elaborate.
On February 18, Libyan Al-Jamahiriya TV broadcast a Friday sermon that laid the blame for the rebellion squarely at the tent of a non-Bedouin tribe: "[The rebels] were drawn by the deceiving media, and they took to the streets to sow corruption, thus assuming the character of the Jews, who spread corruption upon the land." How the Jews can have partnered with al-Qaeda, Gaddafi's other bugbear, went blissfully unexamined in the broadcast.
Consistency may not be Gaddafi's strong suit, but there's no harm in trying to pin his current misfortunes on the oldest MacGuffin of modern times. Norman Cohn, that great scholar of millenarian hysteria, once observed of anti-Semitism that it lived in "a subterranean world where pathological fantasies disguised as ideas are churned out by crooks and half-educated fanatics for the benefit of the ignorant and superstitious." Israel's endurance as a calm and secure democracy in a neighborhood of tottering Arab despotisms has only made the subterranean bubble right back up to the surface.
- ONLINE ONLY: Academic Boycotts Teach Us Nothing
- ONLINE ONLY: Send in the Clowns
- ONLINE ONLY: Thatcher, Reagan and the Dictators
- The Resolute Courage of Margaret Thatcher
- America's New Isolationists Are Endangering the West
- An Alternative To Our Reckless Energy Gamble
- The Family is the Key to the Future of Faith
- Persecuted Muslims Who Love Life in England
- They Were the Future of the Tory Party, Once
- The Parable of the Stupid Samaritan
- Pope Frank: In the Footsteps of St Francis
- The Middle Kingdom's Problem with Religion
- We Abandon Christians in the East At Our Peril
- Feminism Or Islamism: Which Side Are You On?
- At Last: Gove Goes For the Culture of Excuses
- Is There a Way Out of the Tories' Modernising Mess?
- Online Only: The Kenyatta Dilemma
- Cameron is the Euro's Best Hope for Survival
- Census That Revealed a Troubling Future
- The Servant of the servants of God Departs in Peace