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A resurgence of the oldest of ancient hatreds.
Anti-Semitism never really died after the Holocaust, it just became unfashionable. That is no longer the case. 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.
The war in Gaza combined with the global economic downturn have revealed a dark side to British society as demonstrated by the extent to which he British media, intelligentsia and political class have buckled in the face of the Islamic jihad.
On average, according to the Observer, there are seven anti-Semitic attacks every single day in the UK attacks that have come in 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. 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. Orthodox Jews have become particular targets; some have begun wearing baseball caps instead of skullcaps and concealing their Star of David jewelry for fear of being attacked. 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, the police even told pro-Israel demonstrators to put away their Israel flags because they were 'inflammatory,' yet they allowed anti-Israel demonstrators to scream support for Hamas, and even to dress up as hook-nosed Jews "drinking" the blood of Palestinian babies. In another, 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 by Caryl Churchill that Melanie Phillips described in The Spectator as reminiscent of anti-Semitic plays performed in the Middle Ages portraying Jews as demonic Christ-killers.
These events form part of a disturbing trend suggesting that Britain is slowly succumbing to Islamic d'himmitude motivated in large measure by Muslim intimidation the latest expression of which saw Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders banned from Britain by the British Home Office as "a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat" because his film Fitna graphically and honestly documented the brutality of radical Islamists and twinned their actions to specific verses in the Quran. As Bat Yeor wrote recently in National Review Online:
"His crime is maintaining that Europe's civilization is rooted in the values of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, and the Enlightenment and not in Mecca, Baghdad, Andalusia, and al-Kuds. He fights for Europe's independence from the Caliphate, and for its endangered freedoms. He had received serious death threats even before Fitna was released."
In all this, it is becoming clearer with each passing day that Londonistan is no longer a safe place for Jews to practice their religion, nor are many places in Europe which is demographically morphing into Eurabia. In a recent comment in The Spectator, one reader opined:
"I for one resent the fact that I can no longer congregate outside my synagogue. I resent the fact that my children attend Jewish school protected by security fences, concrete blocks and guard posts. I resent the fact that my eldest daughter ...... should feel intimidated on campus and questioned in a hostile, finger pointing manner how she feels as a Jewess on the question of Gaza, and if she supports the Israeli actions."
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 Jews".
Listening to the hatred reflected in the cries of "Death to the Jews", one could almost imagine 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 Mohammed cartoons, planned and executed the suicide bombing attacks on the London tube and Madrid railway stations, decapitated Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg and scores of other infidels, train their children to become "martyrs for Allah", use the web to incite hatred and jihad, strap twenty pounds of explosives to their bodies and self-detonate in restaurants, subways, pizza parlors, buses, shopping malls, coffee shops, marketplaces, hotels and tourist resorts in France, London, Bali, Yemen, Jordan, Kenya, Algeria, Istanbul, Dar es Salaam, Mumbai and Israel and are waging a vicious religiously-inspired holy war against "non-believers."
I suspect that if the British students who attended the seventeen sit-ins and demonstrations held at British universities to protest Israeli "massacres" in Gaza had chanted "Death to all Muslims" (just as they screamed "Death to all Jews" during the Gaza War), 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. But it appears 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 (that excels 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 including, but not limited to Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Congo, Ivory Coast, Cyprus, East Timor, India, Indonesia (2 provinces), Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kurdistan, Macedonia, the Middle East, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, Russia-Chechnya, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uganda and Uzbekistan.
Nor are they especially concerned (as Phillips points out) that the government of Sri Lanka is attempting to eradicate terrorism by a military campaign in which, according to the UN, "many civilians are being killed", thousands made homeless, hundreds of thousands trapped, and to which, as food shortages grow, the government refuses to allow access to journalists. Despite all this, there are no sit-ins on British campuses against the Sri Lankans, no violent protests outside its High Commission, and no calls to boycott Sri Lankan products and academics. Nor do I recall any protests against Hamas for firing thousands of missiles at Israeli cities, towns and villages for years, not to mention terrorizing over 250,000 men, women and children who have spent the better part of the past three years running to bomb shelters several times a day.
Somehow, the deaths of 1,300 Gazans (two-thirds of whom were terrorists hiding behind Palestinian human shields) have evoked more outrage in Britain than the estimated two million dead in Congo, the tens of thousands of Iraqis slaughtered by Sunni and Shia terrorists in Iraq, or the massacres of civilians killed by their own governments in Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Burundi, Chad, Afghanistan, Columbia, Guatemala, Haiti, Guinea, Rwanda and West Bengal.
If anyone should be charged with war crimes in Gaza, it should be Hamas not Israel. But not according to British public opinion. The bottom line seems to be - if you are willing to excuse terrorist attacks against Jews in southern Israel where a tiny democracy is seeking to protect its people against terrorism, it's just as easy to turn a blind eye to Jews being attacked elsewhere, even in the streets of London or Birmingham.
In many ways, Jews are the barometers of the societies in which they live the canary in the mineshaft of democratic societies - which accounts for why the U.S., Canada and Australia remain resilient, vibrant democracies where minorities continue to thrive. But these countries have become more the exception than the rule. The history of the 20th century suggests that as it has gone with the Jews, so it has gone with democracy. By that standard, the events surrounding the Gaza War combined with the global economic downturn foreshadow a difficult period ahead not just for British Jewry, but for British (and by extension European) democracy.
The results of a recent survey show that 31% of Europeans blame Jews for the global economic meltdown (including more than half of Hungarian, Polish and Spanish respondents) and 40% of Europeans consider Jews to have too much power.
There is little doubt that the Gaza campaign merely provided a
pretext to unleash deep-seated anti-Semitism in Britain, across Europe
and beyond. Under these circumstances, there can be no better
justification for the existence of a Jewish State than the persecution
of Jews outside of it.
This article was published February 18, 2009 on the Arutz Sheva website and is archived at
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/8589 Mark Silverberg is a former member of the Canadian Justice Department and a past Director of the Canadian Jewish Congress (Western Office). He served as a consultant to the Secretary General of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem during the first Palestinian intifada. A foreign policy analyst with the Ariel Center for Policy Research (Israel) and the International Analyst Network (Australia), he is the author of "The Quartermasters of Terror: Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Jihad" (Wyndham Hall Press, 2005). His articles and book are archived at www. marksilverberg. com.
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