And, alarmingly, this is already happening in relation to the killing of Mr Paty. It is falling down the news schedules. It is fading from social media. People aren’t really talking about it. This might change later today, temporarily, given that a rally for Mr Paty is due to take place in Paris later on. Perhaps the sight of the good people of France taking to the streets in defiance of the censorious executioners of radical Islam will shame hitherto silent anti-fascists into saying something. But generally, it feels like the killing of Samuel Paty is already drifting from public consciousness. The post-terrorism strategy of playing things down, or flat-out igorning them, or saying that talking too much about this act of violence will itself cause violence, is proving successful once again. Another victory for intellectual cowardice.
The reluctance of self-styled anti-fascists to say anything coherent or principled about Islamist terrorism stands in stark contrast to their response to acts of far-right violence. Whether it was the mosque massacres in New Zealand or the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, so-called Antifa leftists always strongly condemn attacks by white nationalists and try to galvanise people in opposition to the ideology that fuelled them. In these cases they do want to talk about the ideological engine to the violence. They don’t condemn people for saying ‘fascist’ in the way they condemn people who say ‘Islamist’ after Islamist attacks. They don’t say ‘Let’s not get angry’ – they say ‘Let’s get really angry’.