"Even the Israeli enemy never dared to do to Beirut what Hezbollah has done,” lamented Fouad Siniora, Lebanon's embattled Prime Minister, over the weekend. Yet British bien-pensant opinion - so vocal in its opposition to Israeli actions in Lebanon in 2006 - is strangely silent about the recent outrages.
Why? After all, Hezbollah is one of the world's most ruthless clerical fascist organisations - complete with ersatz Nazi salutes and Iranian-style Holocaust denial. When the legitimate, democratic Government of Lebanon dared to challenge it, Hezbollah went on a sectarian rampage, murdering scores of opponents and destroying much of the country's free media.
Yet there has been not a peep from the concerned humanitarians of the Stop the War Coalition, which boasted of putting 100,000 people on to the streets to protest against Israeli assaults. Nor has much been heard from two of Hezbollah's most high-profile and indulgent British interlocutors - the ex-MI6 officer Alastair Crooke and Michael Ancram, the former Conservative minister.
The other great myth about Hezbollah - peddled by too many of its Western apologists - is that it is an entirely indigenous “resistance” movement: if so, why have pictures gone up of the Iranian leader, Ali Khamenei, and the Syrian President, Bashar Assad, for the first time in Beirut since the Cedar Revolution of 2005? And, given the violent oppression of Sunnis by Hezbollah, why has so little been heard from the Muslim Council of Britain and the British Muslim Initiative, two predominantly Sunni organisations? Don't Lebanese Sunnis deserve a little solidarity from their brethren?
So why does Hezbollah's putsch of 2008 not excite stern criticism - as did Israel's invasion of 2006? It's simple: many “progressives” hate Israeli and Western policy far more than they love Lebanon.