Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Melanie Phillips Speaks at UCSC

Time: Jan 23 2007 - 7:30pm
Place: Merrill Cultural Center
For more information contact Tammi Benjamin at:

Award-winning British journalist and author, Melanie Phillips, will speak about her recent book "Londonistan" in a free lecture on Tuesday, January 23rd at 7:30pm in the Merrill College Cultural Center, UC Santa Cruz.The suicide bombings carried out in London in 2005 by British Muslims revealed an alarming network of Islamist terrorists and their sympathizers. Ms. Phillips exposes the threat of radical Islam and the growing anti-Semitism in England, Europe and beyond, and she discusses how the advance of the global jihad is facilitated by the collapse of Western values, self-confidence and national identity.

This should be a really interesting event. I was going to give a link to an article about Phillips on, but there were technical difficulties. So here are some excerpts from the article entitled 'A modern Cassandra' by Anshel Pfeffer (Jerusalem Post; Jan 5, 2007)

Melanie Phillips has never been an official spokeswoman, but in her 
writing over the years she has never shied away from her Jewishness,
and she is currently one of the most outspoken voices in a community
which traditionally has been very careful not to rock the boat...

As a leading columnist for the Daily Mail, Phillips has been at the
forefront of the anti-establishment campaign trying to convince Britons
that their country is being threatened by a wave of radical Islamism
that has found in London and other cities not only a physical safe
haven, but also a convenient center for the dissemination of its ideas
and a source of many eager new converts.

Her latest book Londonistan analyzes the rise of a new generation of
Muslim youths, radicalized by fanatical preachers who found shelter in
Britain thanks to a lax immigration policy and the blind eye of the
authorities, a situation that led to the bombings of London's public
transport in July 2005 by British-born suicide bombers. Phillips
connects the loss of national and religious values in British society
and the culture of moral relativity and political correctness with an
environment which continues to allow the activity of these preachers
and their followers, even after the bombings.

In the media and in person, Phillips cuts an austere, almost
puritanical image. She is very quick to correct her interviewers,
making absolutely sure they understand her precise message...

Her journalistic output of long, opinionated and carefully argued
columns in the Daily Mail, the Jewish Chronicle and the Spectator and
an extensive on-line diary on her personal Web site is prodigious. She
enjoyed a meteoric rise at the Guardian, Britain's major left-wing
newspaper, at the start of her career, but her stubborn questioning of
various policies, such as family values and educational standards, led
to a rapid alienation from her former colleagues. Today they are among
her many detractors in Britain, where she is widely regarded as an
outspoken extremist.

An adjective often applied to her is "shrill," a consequence of her
incessant challenges to the prevailing wisdom and confronting the media
and political establishment with a constant supply of uncomfortable
facts. She is fully aware that many in her own community see her as a
troublemaker. She insists that despite the headstrong image, she is
capable of self-criticism.

"I question myself all the time. And of course they regard me as an
extremist because I rock the boat, I make life uncomfortable for them.
They will have to tell me what I say is untrue or exaggerated, and I
will deal with these claims one by one."

PHILLIPS IDENTIFIES the radicalized and growing Muslim community as
only one factor leading many British Jews to consider emigration.

"It's also not entirely because of the perception that non-Muslim
Britain has become very aggressive towards Israel" she says, "though
these are very important contributory factors. In my view, a very
significant driver is simply the increasing Jewish awareness among
British Jewish youth. There's been a dramatic increase in my lifetime
of the number of Jewish children being educated at Jewish schools, a
very considerable rise in Jewish awareness and learning that is all for
the good. And such young people increasingly feel in large numbers that
there is no future for them, or to be more precise for their children,
in Britain, that it's not possible to live the kind of fulfilled Jewish
life that you can live in Israel."


Blogger Zev said...

So what did everyone think of the event? Don't hide it, I know I saw a bunch of the UCSC Jew Crew out there in the audience... yea amidst the mid aged crowd of conservative locals and die hard young commies (sorry for the generalizations and lack of pc-ness). I actually felt it was a rather eclectic crowd and it definitely made for an interesting Q and A session at the end. What did you guys think of her arguments though?

Tue Jan 23, 11:31:00 PM 2007  

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