How I became a hate 'suspect'
For a moment I thought it was a Purim spiel. The Guardian devoted an entire story last weekend to the claim that I was being investigated by both the Press Complaints Commission and the police. The Bedfordshire police.
My crime apparently lay in what I had written on my Spectator blog about the massacre of Udi and Ruth Fogel and their three children, 11-year-old Yoav, four-year-old Elad and three-month-old Hadas, who had their throats cut at home in the Samarian neighbourhood of Itamar while most of them were asleep.
I had written about the moral depravity of the Arabs who almost certainly committed this atrocity - and also the savagery of the Palestinian Authority whose institutions incite hatred of Jews and the murder of Israelis, and which honours such murderers by naming streets and squares after them.
The complaint was that I had thus accused every single Arab in the world of being savage and depraved. This was totally absurd. As was obvious from the context, I was referring specifically to those Arabs behind the atrocity and those who incite and glorify such deeds.
I felt I had wandered on to the set of a surrealist Bunuel film
The complainants also airbrushed out of the picture the unstoppable torrent of deranged, Nazi-style vilification of Jews which pours out of the Arab and Muslim world and which fuels the genocidal hysteria behind such attacks. All of this, plus the fact that the Arab world has been murdering Jews in the land of Israel for more than nine decades in order to drive them out, means that to refer to "Arab moral depravity" is more than justified.
To tar this as a racist slur against every single Arab is as absurd as to claim that referring to the moral depravity of the Germans or Japanese in the 1940s is a racist slur against every single German or Japanese individual.
And what on earth had this got to do with the Bedfordshire police? You may well ask. A clue was surely provided by the Muslim activist, Inayat Bunglawala, one of the PCC complainants, who raged that I had defamed the entire Arab people.
Bunglawala lives in Luton, Bedfordshire. Might it be, therefore, that Bunglawala had gone to his local plods to complain? I don't know why otherwise the Bedfordshire police would be asked to avenge this alleged insult to the entire Arab nation.
But, at the time of writing, I have not heard that either the police or the PCC is in fact investigating these complaints. It would appear that the Guardian simply took what Bunglawala told them and published it as fact.
Moreover, for Bunglawala to accuse me of racism is a sick joke. For he has serious form as a Jew-hater. In his younger days he described the TV executives Michael Green, Michael Grade and Alan Yentob as all belonging to "the tribe of Judah" whose close friendship gave the lie to a "free media". He also claimed that the "Zionist movement" was "at the core of international banking and commerce". Ed Husain, in his book, The Islamist, describes how Bunglawala used to take him to weekly meetings of Muslim extremists where Jew-bashing was "part of the curriculum".
Hate-crime legislation, which has turned the police into a thin blue inquisition against dissent, provides such people with the means to smear their chosen targets, and encourages them to try to silence views with which they disagree.This is given rocket-fuel by the current frenzy of demonisation, dehumanisation and delegitimisation against Israel.
And the leader of this baying media mob is the Guardian, whose reporting of the Itamar massacre claimed that the Fogel family were "hard-line settlers" a comment that insinuates that they were responsible for their own slaughter.
Such malevolent indifference to Israeli victimisation is matched by the paper's excitement at the chance to smear the person who protests at the moral depravity of both the culture that produces such acts and those westerners who endorse it.
My impression that I had wandered on to the set of a surrealist Bunuel film deepened with an attack from a quite different direction. According to the anti-Islam site, Jihadwatch, I was in hot water because I had referred to the Fogel family murderers as depraved Arabs, whereas I should have referred to them instead as depraved Muslims.
And the reason I had not done that was - wait for it- that I suffered from "lingering" political correctness.
Don't tell the Guardian: it might get in the way of the hate.
Melanie Phillips is a Daily Mail columnist