The Sussex Thought Police is Ever so Proud

It is one thing to enforce an unjust law reluctantly, it is quite another to brag about it on the Internet. Sadly, this is exactly what the Sussex Police Department in the United Kingdom decided to do on June 20 when it announced the imprisonment of a man who was arrested for posting what it deemed to be hateful posts on Facebook against Muslims.

Over the past few years, Britain has become notorious as a country that prosecutes people for expressing “hateful thoughts”. What constitutes a hateful thought is never articulated with any precision. It can mean anything and everything depending on the whim of the government, the local constabulary, and the ever-fickle public mood.

Democracy has always depended on one thing above all else and that is the ability of citizens to freely express their thoughts, even their ugly thoughts, in without fear of being harassed or imprisoned by their authorities. This is no longer the case in Britain.

It is quite ironic to see exactly how the Sussex Police Department expends its resources and time considering that the subject of police cuts has become a matter of wide discussion in Britain over the past few weeks as the country has been rocked by a number of terror attacks both committed by Muslims and committed against Muslims.

The question arises, what good would more police do if what they spend their time and energy on is chasing harmless citizens who post inflammatory remarks on Twitter or Facebook. One would think that it would be more useful and more helpful to pursue hate preachers who radicalize young Muslims into jihadists, but that does not seem to be the case.

On the contrary, it seems that the British government has decided to make it a priority to silence all criticism of immigration policies and of the various ideologies now prevalent in Britain. Once arresting a man for expressing a thought, however ugly, would have been unthinkable in Britain. Now it seems to be a point of pride as the bragging tweet by the Sussex Police Department clearly shows. They express more pride in arresting this man, so it seems, then they would any real criminal such as a thief, a robber, or someone who commits assault.

This man will now serve 20 months in prison for expressing his views. I’ve no idea what he posted, I don’t really care what he posted, and it is more than likely that I do not agree with what he posted. But I do believe in his right to post what he thinks and to do so without fear of persecution.

Britain is not alone in making laws that limit the scope of human expression. Such laws exist throughout Europe, in Canada, in Australia, and, I’m ashamed to say, in Israel as well. Only in the United States are people truly free to express their views, and this is only because over 200 years ago the Founding Fathers of the United States had the wisdom to enact the First Amendment to the Constitution. If people are to remain free in the West, it is high time for other countries to adopt a similar amendment to their constitutions or legal code.

Until they do, police officers and departments in these countries would be wise to not brag about enforcing laws against “hate thoughts”. By doing so, they reduce public trust in the police and increase resentment both against authority and against other sectors of the population.

Stay Classy, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has always been one of my favorite countries. A country that flogs people for the most minor offenses,  doesn’t allow women to drive and dresses them in what looks like black tents in the oppressive heat of Arabia, and helps propagate an extreme and repressive form of Islam all around the globe – what’s not to love?

Seriously, now, I think nothing of Saudi Arabia and expect even less. Still, their football team managed to surprise even me with their brazen display of contempt yesterday as they squared off against Australia.

The Australians decided to hold a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of last week’s attack in London. An attack that was perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam. You would think the Saudis would take the opportunity to show a kinder side of Islam, but no. They declared that a minute’s silence was against their culture (which is a lie) and proceeded to prance around as the audience and Australian team maintained their vigil.

Only one Saudi player saw fit to stand still as the host team grieved. Kudos to him. I hope he is not punished for his display of humanity.

It would have been appropriate had the Australian team refused to play the Saudis and had them ejected from Australia without ceremony at the earliest possible moment. At least they beat them 3-2. I suppose that’s something.

May Will Not Last Past June

The UK elections projections are in and, if they are borne out by the actual results, the Tories (Conservatives) have won 318 seats out of 650, less than a majority. They are the biggest party by far, but they will need to form a coalition or run a minority government.

The results are a disaster for Brexit supporters, British nationalists, those who oppose the unfettered immigration of practically everyone to Britain, and for British Prime Minister Theresa May.

As I explained in a previous post, it was not enough for May to lead the Tories to victory. She had to enhance their slim majority in Parliament, for that was the reason she called for these early elections. She failed to do that, lost her majority completely, and in fact may end up seeing a Labour party, with the most extreme leader in its history, become the ruling party of Britain.

This is a catastrophe for the Tories, and, personally, for May. She’s the winner on paper, but I doubt she will last for long in her post. Soon, once the dust settles, the Tories will likely choose another leader to replace her. The flamboyant Boris Johnson, perhaps.

Given the long history of British parliamentary politics, it is likely that a prime minister whose term ended in a greater humiliation that Theresa May’s ends up doing will be found, but I doubt that there would be many such examples.

These elections will likely go down as one of the most disastrous and unnecessary acts of Sepuku in British, and perhaps even world history.

How to Win an Election and Lose Your Job

When British Prime Minister Theresa May declared a snap election on 18 April 2017, she was ahead by double digits in the polls over the main opposition party, Labour. Her goal was to win a bigger Tory majority in Parliament to allow her to govern more effectively, without having to woo or cajole every single Tory member to support her policies. (At the moment, the Tories hold 330 seats of the 650 seats in Parliament.)

But elections are unpredictable beasts, as Hillary Clinton learned the hard way. Now, with two days left to the election, the gap between the Tories and Labour had narrowed drastically. Some polls say the Tories still hold a comfortable lead, while others say their lead is razor thin. It appears that some polling companies are using new methodologies, hoping to better capture the outcome of this election, after having failed to predict the previous UK election and the recent American one, so the results may surprise everyone.

What is clear is that what was at first unthinkable, that the Tories would either lose the election or have to form a coalition government with other parties because they would fail to win a clear majority themselves, is now not unlikely. It is also possible that the Tories will emerge victorious, but with even a slimmer majority than the one they now hold.

In either such scenario, Theresa May will likely have to resign.

Theresa May took a gamble when she called for these elections. She ran a shoddy campaign. She proved an uncharismatic, lackluster leader. She will be blamed should the Tories come out of these elections worse off than they were when they entered them.

Winning the election will not be enough for her to retain her job. She declared these elections to enhance her party’s majority in Parliament. If she fails, even while winning, she will face inter-party pressure to resign, and will likely surrender to it.

So Theresa May may win the forthcoming elections, and end up losing her job while doing so. We’ll know in two days.

London and Black March 2002

Reading about the horrific events in London last night, in which a gang of Islamic terrorists murdered six seven civilians and wounded many more, and with these events coming so soon after the atrocious slaughter of innocents in Manchester less than a fortnight ago, I could not help but remember the month of March  2002, and what life was like in Israel at the time.

I fear that soon, perhaps very soon, such a month might befall various countries in Western Europe and that their societies will be irrevocably changed as a result.

March 2002 proved to be the deadliest month in the terror campaign initiated by the Palestinians against Israel in September 2000, following the rejection of the peace deal made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

In almost daily shooting and bombings attacks, 125 Israelis died and hundreds more were injured. By this time, Israelis were used to the wails of ambulances in the distance and the somber notices in the media that yet another bus, restaurant, or random congregation of civilians had been struck by a suicide bomber.

In addition to the loss of life and the physical and mental wounds sustained by the thousands of injured, the effects of such a prolonged era of terror were wide-ranging.

Guards were stationed at the entrance to each shopping mall, supermarket, and restaurant. Bags and vehicles were checked before patrons could gain admittance to the cinema, theater, or coffeehouse. An alert that a suicide bomber may be on the way to his destination would cause the police to stop traffic on freeways, causing congestion of titanic proportions.

And there was the fear.

People dreaded using the bus. Some bought an extra car for their children, whether they could afford it or not. I chose walking over riding the bus whenever I could. I cannot imagine how many miles I walked in Tel Aviv during the months leading to March 2002, and for a time after.

Restaurants and cafes stood empty or nearly so. People were afraid to venture out, for no place felt safe. Any man wearing a heavy coat made you feel nervous. Could he have an explosive vest hidden beneath his coat? Was this Death coming to claim you? The economy took a nosedive. Morale was at a nadir. The government and army seemed at a loss.

Above all, there was the sense that death lurked behind every corner, that you were playing Russian roulette whenever you went to a nightclub, a concert, or even walked the sidewalk of a busy street. And there was also the certainty that this was how it was going to be from now on, perhaps forever.

This may be what the future holds for Britain now. This may be what Germany, France, Sweden, and other countries will face in the near future. Unless a solution is found, unless terrorism is eradicated, unless the governments of these countries are seen to be taking decisive and effective action — instead of offering platitudes, prayers, and appeals to a unity which seems to be nonexistent — the future in these countries may be bleak. Not just because more people will die, but also because of how fear will lead the population of these countries to change their behavior and lifestyle.

Guards with guns will become ubiquitous. Bags will be rummaged through before you’re allowed onto into a Tube station or a Metro or onto a train. People will refrain from going to crowded places. They will shy away from any place that may attract the next attacker. Tourism will plummet. Businesses will suffer. Foreign companies will reconsider their decision of opening an office in this or that major city. Musicians and artists will cancel their appearances.

Appeals for people to Keep Calm and Carry On will not suffice. People will strive to protect their children and themselves. They will make decisions based on their justifiable fear. Nothing this or that politician will say will change that. Only action will.

Following the Park Hotel bombing on March 27, 2002, in which thirty Israelis were killed, the IDF launched Operation Defensive Shield, a major operation against Islamic terrorism. Israeli forces dismantled terrorist networks in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and brought an end to suicide bombings. But things had not returned to normal. In 2017, there are still guards at supermarkets in Israel. Your bag is still checked at the entrance to shopping malls. Israelis have not forgotten March 2002. I doubt we ever will.

A military operation of the sort carried out by the IDF in 2002 is impossible in Europe. But some form of action — the sort that is potentially effective — will need to be taken. Otherwise, Western Europe might be forever changed.