In the wake of the Gaza war and with the global economy in a tailspin, disturbing events have been occurring in Britain – events that do not bode well either for the future of British Jewry or for the future of British democracy.
Anti-Semitism never really died after the Holocaust, it just became unfashionable. That is no longer the case in many countries, including Britain. On average, according to the Observer newspaper, there are seven anti-Semitic attacks every day in the UK – attacks that take the form of graffiti, vandalism, arson, violent assaults on Jews in the streets, and hate e-mails.
Jewish schools have been granted extra protection, and the Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Semitism in British society, continues to issue dire warnings. According to British police, Jews are four times more likely to be attacked because of their religion than are Muslims – no surprise, given that the Muslim population in Britain is growing ten times as fast as the rest of society.
As a result, every synagogue service and virtually every Jewish communal event now requires guards to be on the lookout for violence from both neo-Nazis and Muslim extremists.
Melanie Phillips, writing in the Wall Street Journal (Europe) expressed her concern in historical terms: “Years of demonizing Israel and appeasing Islamist extremism within Britain have now coalesced as a result of the media misrepresentation of the Gaza War as an atrocity against civilians, in an unprecedented wave of hatred against Israel, and a sharp rise in attacks on British Jews” – and the authorities have done little or nothing to quell such incitement.
In one case, students at Oxford University gleefully proclaimed that in five years, their campus “would be a Jew-free zone,” and in another, the London-based Royal Court Theatre is staging a viciously anti-Israeli play suggesting the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis on the Jews of Europe is now being constructed by the Jews of Israel for the Palestinians.
And a Birmingham school is investigating reports that twenty children chased a 12-year-old girl (the only Jewish pupil in the school) chanting “Kill all Jews” and “Death to the Jews.”
Listening to the hatred reflected in these cries, one could almost conclude that it must have been the Jews who were behind the 9/11 attacks; burned down the Danish embassies throughout Europe and the Middle East two years ago over the Muhammad cartoons; beheaded scores of infidels; train their children to become martyrs for Allah; use the web to incite hatred and jihad; strap explosives to their bodies and self-detonate in restaurants, train stations, subways, pizza parlors, buses, shopping malls, coffee shops, marketplaces, hotels and at tourist centers and resorts in Peshawar, Beirut, Kandahar, Kabul, Mosul, Baghdad, London, Madrid, Bali, Amman, Istanbul, Dar es Salaam, Jakarta, Mumbai, Kuwait City, Tashkent, Bukhara, Nairobi, Manila, Casablanca, Cairo, Mogadishu, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem; and are waging a vicious religiously-inspired holy war against “non-believers.”
And I suspect that if British students – who, from the comfort of their computers thousands of miles away, can criticize the actions of a beleaguered democracy under siege from terrorists, liken Israelis to Nazis, Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto, and who attended the seventeen sit-ins and demonstrations held at British universities to protest Israeli “massacres” in Gaza – had chanted “Death to all Muslims” as they screamed “Death to all Jews,” the British Left and civil rights organizations would have been all over them demanding staff resignations, boycotts of their schools and colleges, the arrest of the student organizers, and compensation to the British Muslim community.
It appears, however, that only the Jews merit such revulsion.
These actions reflect more than an anti-Israel stance. They represent a sickness gaining prevalence within British society – a sickness reflected by the growing social acceptance of the most ancient of religious hatreds. Neither the British media (which excel in the art of whitewashing Muslim extremism) nor British society generally seem to care much that radical Islamists like Hamas are involved in at least twenty-five conflicts going on around the globe, nor are they especially concerned about child soldiers in Chad and Congo; compulsory sterilization of women in China; rape as a political weapon in Zimbabwe; sex trafficking in Asia or denial of human rights to minorities and women in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.