With apologies to the two respective newspapers, I am going to quote at length from two articles. The first is by Nick Cohen and the second, by David Horovitz, amplifies the first:
The Jewish side of my family is my father’s (which is not a help, I gather). My great grandparents fled from the Tsarist Empire at the time of the pogroms, but their son, my grandfather, revolted. He became a Communist and married outside the faith. My father was brought up with no connection to Judaism and, inevitably, so was I.
My sole interest in Jewish concerns came from being a left-wing opponent of the far Right, and the blood-soaked antisemitic superstitions which turned Europe into a graveyard. When I was young, such attitudes seemed unproblematic. You did not have to be a Jew to oppose fascism; everyone I knew did that regardless of colour or creed.
Today the old certainties have gone because there are two far-right movements: the white neo-Nazi parties that the Left still opposes; and the clerical fascists of radical Islam which, extraordinarily, the modern Left succours and indulges. I am not only talking about Ken Livingstone, George Galloway and their gruesome accomplices in the intelligentsia. Wider liberal society is almost as complicit. It does not applaud the Islamist far Right, but it will not condemn it either. From the broadcasters, through the liberal press, the Civil Service, the Metropolitan Police, the bench of bishops and the judiciary, antisemitism is no longer an unthinkable mental deformation. As long as the conspiracy theories of the counter-enlightenment come from ideologues with dark rather than white skins, nominally liberal men and women will not speak out.
Fight back and you become a Jew, whether you are or not. Mark Lawson recently described an argument at the BBC over the corporation’s decision not to screen the charity appeal for Gaza. His furious colleague declared that the only reason Lawson supported the ban was because he was Jewish. Lawson had to tell him that he was, in fact, raised a Catholic.
A furious Labour MP was no different when he told a colleague of mine that I had gone off the rails when I married a â€œhard-rightâ€ Jewish woman from North London. My friend replied that this would be news to my wife, a liberal Catholic from Stoke-on-Trent.
It was kind of him to point that out, but I would no longer protest that I wasn’t Jewish, and I don’t think Lawson should either. It is cowardly to stammer that you are not a Jew because you concede the racist’s main point â€” that there is something suspect about being Jewish â€” as you do it.
Although I want to see every Israeli settlement on the West Bank dismantled, it was clear to me that when Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel it had declared war and had to accept the consequences. I would not have thought that five years ago.
You do not need me to add that mine is a minority point of view among liberals, and that British Jews are living through a very dangerous period. They are the only ethnic minority whose slaughter official society will excuse. If a mass murderer bombed a mosque or black Pentecostal church, no respectable person would say that the â€œroot causeâ€ of the crime was an understandable repulsion at the deeds of al-Qaeda or a legitimate opposition to mass immigration. Rightly, they would blame the criminal for the crime.
If a synagogue is attacked, I guarantee that within minutes the airwaves will be filled with insinuating voices insisting that the â€œroot causeâ€ of the crime was a rational anger at the behaviour of Israel or the Jewish diaspora.
I have no doubt that Cohen is correct.
At a conference in London this week, 125 members of parliament from 40 countries solemnly put their signatures to a document that commendably acknowledges the morphing of anti-Zionism into anti-Semitism, and expresses alarm “at the resurgence of the old language of prejudice and its modern manifestations – in rhetoric and political action – against Jews, Jewish belief and practice and the State of Israel.”
The venue was appropriate, indeed. As Natan Sharansky told The Jerusalem Post from the conference, “If you look at the new anti-Semitism, the leading force is the UK.”
The same UK where, just days before the Conference on Combating Anti-Semitism convened, that bible of the modern Left, the Guardian, allowed the Islamists to further skew and poison its readers’ minds by publishing an op-ed by Hamas’s Health Minister Bassam Naim that bewails the “demonization” of Hamas and duplicitously claims “Our struggle is not against the Jewish people, but against oppression and occupation. This is not a religious war. We have no quarrel with the Jewish people.” (His movement’s guiding charter, Article Seven, proclaims the sorry truth: “The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: ‘The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”)
Naim, incidentally, is the uncle of Anas Naim, who was described as a medic from the Palestinian Red Crescent in the Palestinian media when he was killed during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza City on January 4, but who, as the Post reported this week, is shown in numerous pictures on Hamas Web sites posing with an RPG and a Kalashnikov assault rifle.
COHEN IS correct, but I don’t believe for a moment that the malaise is limited to Britain and its Jews. Indeed, I know directly from Jewish leaders in France, Scandinavia, South Africa and Latin America how acutely threatened some members of their community feel. The wails of concern flood into my e-mail box every day from the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, Venezuela and beyond, from country after country where newspapers place distorted dispatches from Israel’s battle for survival on their front pages – misrepresenting our policies, our actions and the motivations of our enemy – while their home news pages carry features disingenuously bemoaning an upsurge of domestic anti-Jewish sentiment.
And as Israel’s Ambassador to the UK Ron Prosor cautioned his audience at the Herzliya Conference earlier this month, in a talk on the delegitimization of Israel, “where Britain is today, America will be in a few years’ time.”
People of roughly my generation grew up, it now begins to seem, not, as we had fondly believed, in a post-World War II era in which the scourge of anti-Semitism had finally been eliminated, and a sobered international community was truly determined after the Nazi horrors to ensure “Never again.”
That period of relative tranquility was, rather, merely a blip. A scandalized pause. And the interregnum is well and truly over now, with the oldest hatred propelled afresh by the benighted Islamists and seized upon by latent bigots everywhere.
While the very English and hardly Jewish (father’s side) Cohen’s concerns are understandably focused on his doorstep, his warning about the revived immoral readiness to let the fascists come for the Jews applies internationally. But most of all, it applies in the case of Israel itself.
Let’s just slightly rework his key sentences: Israel is the only sovereign state whose destruction international society will excuse. If it came under existential attack, we can guarantee that within minutes the airwaves would be filled with insinuating voices insisting that the ‘root cause’ of the crime was a rational anger at its behavior. Put like this, the position of Israel sounds grim.
Do we doubt any of this? Terribly, we cannot.
Indulged by societies that have lost their moral compass, Iran and the Islamists are banking on nothing less.