The continuing jihad of Melanie Phillips.
According to Phillips, the reason why Husain "feels so viciously" towards her is because of her support for Israel, on which Husain is "unbalanced and obsessional". This is a quite extraordinary example of projection, even for Phillips. Husain's views on Israel could hardly be much more orthodox with the average view in this country: he felt that the attack on Gaza in December and January was "disproportionate". In a press release for the Quilliam Foundation, he called for:
"The UK Government cannot seek to win hearts and minds across Muslim communities while failing to stop Israel from murdering Palestinians en masse. Gordon Brown and David Miliband have reached out to Damascus and Darfur in recent weeks in an attempt to bring peace and stand for fairness. That is commendable. And in that spirit, where is the outright condemnation of Israeli atrocities and pressure on Israel to stop its inhumane operations?
Perceived double standards from our Government and the current green light (from Washington and London) to Israel's killing machine will strengthen Al Qaeda's metanarrative and radicalize yet another generation of young Muslims.
Isolating and angering millions of Muslims by sitting on the fence will not aid the PREVENT agenda, or the moderate majority of Muslims. The FCO and Downing Street has a duty to stand, condemn, and call for immediate cessation of Israel's military operations, and end the siege".
Undoubtedly those who are as vociferous in their support for Israel as Phillips will disagree with much of that, yet to second guess someone who has dedicated himself to countering radicalisation, having himself been a major player at one time in the likes of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, doesn't seem to be the best way to deal with jihadist propaganda. The problem is, as Husain himself notes, that Phillips espouses an "Israel First" mindset, where Israel can do absolutely no wrong, regardless of who leads it or regardless of what it does. If Israel tomorrow decided to nuke Iran without any warning, Phillips would almost certainly defend it on the basis that the country had long been planning a "second genocide", another of her own obsessions, and not even pretend to cry crocodile tears for the innocent among the Iranians who hadn't been involved in such plotting.
Whether it's down to a neurosis or otherwise, what's becoming ever more apparent is that Phillips is now associating Israel and the history of the Jewish people with her own persona. If you attack her, you now seem to be attacking Israel itself. In fact, you might even, without having any way of knowing it, be advocating the very destruction of Melanie Phillips. In her latest post, headlined "Two-Minute Hate at the Guardian" (Goldstein, after all, was almost certainly modelled on Trotsky, who was Jewish, which is unlikely to be a coincidence) she even calls the attacks on her a "verbal pogrom", which, as Rhetorically Speaking points out, seems to suggest that she regards criticism of her a form of violence.
Even more hilarious, or worrying, depending on your view, was part of her initial response to Husain. Husain alleged that in Phillips' world view, if you don't support Israel in the same way which she does, then you're with the Islamists who want to see it destroyed. Phillips says this is absurd. Then, err, she says this:
A number of anti-jihadis told me from the start that my support for Ed Husain was misplaced because he had never properly renounced Islamist extremism. To begin with, I defended him as a naif. Even when he came out with boilerplate bigotry against Israel, I put it down to the fact that he had been brought up in that kind of milieu. He was on a steep learning curve, I said. Everyone can change for the better.
It was I who was naive.
Husain then still must be an Islamic extremist because um, he doesn't support Israel in the way which Phillips demands. This is a rather spectacular way to prove Husain's point, and one which Phillips must be immensely proud of. Not that she likely has any idea whatsoever of quite how she's just hoisted herself by her own petard.