Saturday, October 08, 2005

Political Anti-Semitism in Britain Today

Melanie Phillips brings our attention to the fact that the Chief Rabbi of Britain, Sir Jonathan Sacks, has warned of a new wave of anti-Semitism, saying, that that "there have been times, the first in my memory, when it has been uncomfortable to be a Jew in Britain."
In the message, Sir Jonathan cites calls, backed by Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, to abolish Holocaust Memorial Day because it is offensive to Muslims.

He also refers to remarks with "anti-Semitic undertones" by public figures, the threatened academic boycott of Israel earlier this year and Church debates over divestment from Israel.

He says that Israel and Jews are being cast into the role of scapegoat for the troubles thrown up by rapid global change, even though they are not responsible for them.

The new anti-Semitism differed from the old in being "political rather than racial, focused on Jews as a nation rather than Jews as individuals. But it has adopted and adapted all the old myths, from the Blood Libel to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion."

Although Israel has nothing to do with such events as "the millions of Muslims murdered by their fellow Muslims" in Iraq, Sudan and elsewhere, it is being turned into "the scapegoat of the 21st century," the Chief Rabbi says.

But he adds: "We must not over-react. Not every criticism of Israel, nor every infelicitous remark by someone in public life, is anti-Semitic in intent, even if we find them offensive and unfair."

Jewish leaders were angered by a planned boycott of Israeli universities by the Association of University Teachers in April, which was reversed after it came in for criticism.

In another attack on Israel, the Anglican Consultative Council approved a report in the summer urging the worldwide Church to sell its investments in companies deemed to be profiting from anti-Palestinian policies.

Sir Jonathan's remarks come before a BBC programme on Sunday about the Community Security Trust, the organisation that protects synagogues and other Jewish centres. The trust has claimed that anti-Semitic attacks are on the increase in Britain.
Meanwhile, Nick Cohen has come in from the cold and, having in recent years been hit in the face with it innumerable times, now recognizes the depth of anti-semitism on the British left.
I learned it was one thing being called “Cohen” if you went along with liberal orthodoxy, quite another when you pointed out liberal betrayals. Your argument could not be debated on its merits. There had to be a malign motive. You had to support Ariel Sharon. You had to be in the pay of “international” media moguls or neoconservatives. You had to have bad blood. You had to be a Jew....

One minute I would be talking to a BBC reporter or liberal academic and think him a civilised man; the next, he would be screaming about the Jews...

Politicians I’d admired astonished me: Tam Dalyell explained British foreign policy as a Jewish conspiracy; Ken Livingstone embraced a Muslim cleric who favoured the blowing up of Israeli women and children, along with wife-beating and the murder of homosexuals and apostates.
Cohen attributes this ultimately to the left's loss of direction. He's got a few real gems in the mix, such as the idea that modern anti-semitism arose after the emancipaiton of the Jews from the ghettos. At which point, they took over from the Freemasons as the symbol of societal change, the throwing off of the shackles of stultified societal stratification and the new notions of equality. Which makes a great deal of sense. Read the whole thing if you have the time.

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