“Once again our people face an exodus,” Angela Epstein of Britain’s Daily Mail news outlet warned this weekend in a grim exclusive column describing the rising concerns of British Jewry. “Not fleeing the pogroms of Eastern Europe, or the jackboot of Nazi Germany, but the prospect of a government that can’t be trusted to care enough.”
The reason can be found in the streets of the United Kingdom, but the final straw for most of British Jewry, it seems, is at the polling stations and in the House of Parliament.
“As the Labour Party continues to reveal its toxic underbelly, for many British Jews the question of uprooting our families and leaving Britain is a matter of when, not if.”
Epstein wrote that anti-Semitism has now become so common that her children – who were all educated in Manchester Jewish schools – have been learning in buildings protected by “fences, CCTV cameras and security guards.” Every other Jewish building also now has a guard at the door as well, she wrote.
British Jews say a prayer for the Queen and Royal family in Sabbath morning synagogue services, and their loyalty is unquestioned. It is the need for the security guards, and all that it implies that Epstein said is so troubling.
“Most Jewish people I know have endured cat-calling as they leave synagogues, schools or other Jewish centers . . .” She described the countless times she was harassed by people in passing cars as she walked to synagogue. “Friends have had eggs thrown at them,” she wrote. Her son endured a “blistering verbal attack” when he wore his yarmulka recently on the London Underground.
“If history has taught us Jews anything, it’s knowing when it’s time to pack,” Epstein wrote. “To the outsider, our response might sound like an overreaction, even hysterical. But that’s not who we are. If anything, pragmatism and forward planning are ingrained in Jewish DNA.”
The Community Security Trust watchdog organization noted that in 2016, the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain reached the highest level on record.
“Many of my friends have already left for Israel, or are investing spare savings in property there, so they have a foothold in the one place in the world that will guarantee an unconditional welcome,” she wrote.
So far, Epstein says she still lives in Britain. But her family is thinking it over.