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June 29, 2011
Rally 'Round Melanie Phillips
It's when you're down and out that you find out who your friends are.
Take a moment, then, to consider visiting the new website of conservative Daily Mail columnist, author and blogger Melanie Phillips. Ms. Phillips just exited the Spectator's blog under highly shrouded circumstances. Fleet Street is abuzz.
Was it journalistic error? Or political persecution? It's simply impossible to get at the facts.
At the bottom of it all appears to be the British ruling class' eroding support for Israel -- a phenomenon not unknown elsewhere in the West. Like Caroline Glick at the Jerusalem Post and Pam Geller of atlasshrugs.com, Ms. Phillips has proved herself to be a great Lioness of Judah in resisting the rot. As such, in today's Western Europe, Melanie Phillips stands out.
As one gleeful Muslim website recounts, this wasn't the first time Ms. Phillips' enemies got a piece of her fur. This second time, a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission was not acted on. Then the lawyers, apparently, were brought in.
On the available -- and highly disputed -- evidence, Melanie Phillips and her host somehow got caught up in the in terrorem coils of British libel laws over something she posted on the Spectator's blog on January 28. Precisely how is a muddle. Ms. Phillips' original post blasted a Guardian contributor and former British government employee who had turned -- as even many Conservative Brits are doing -- against Israel.
Last week, the Spectator posted an apology on its website. It said that some facts in Melanie Phillips' January 28 blog post were wrong. Pretty shortly thereafter, Ms. Phillips exited 22 Old Queen Street at top speed. You can read what she said yourself. Meanwhile, her original source denies any error.
But, while her enemies may have wounded Melanie Phillips, they haven't silenced her. There she is this week on her website, melaniephillips.com, and in the Daily Mail, arguing that British teachers have a duty of care to their students and, therefore, shouldn't go on strike to protest government cutbacks. Last week, Ms. Phillips saluted Michelle Bachman as someone who plainly "gets it" over the importance to the West of the survival of Israel.
Melanie Phillips' best-selling book Londonistan added a word to our political lexicon. Published in 2006, it joined Mark Steyn's Lights Out: Islam, free speech and the West and Christopher Caldwell's Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West in sounding an alarm which needed to be sounded. It also made her a target.
It would be useful to know if Melanie Phillips has just been persecuted as Mark Steyn was in Canada, as Gert Wilders was in the Netherlands and as journalist Andrew Bolt is now being persecuted in Australia. For now, it's anybody's guess. A little transparency is in order.
Because the truth, as the saying goes, will out.
As for me, I intend to go on subscribing to the Spectator. And reading Melanie Phillips. I just ordered her new book, The World Turned Upside Down: the global battle over God, truth and pwoer, just out in paperback from Encounter Books.
Sounds like the lady just might know what she's talking about.
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