Sunday, April 06, 2008

British Jews are free from fear...or are they?

Solomon of Solomonia is asking.

The British ambassador to Israel, Tom Phillips, was prompted to write to the Jerusalem Post following an article asserting that the "UK has become European center of anti-Semitism.": British Jews are free from fear. He stated in part:

...The UK deeply values its strong and vibrant Jewish community. Indeed, I find it impossible to imagine a Britain without its Jewish community. For over 350 years now, the world of arts, science, literature, trade etc have all benefited from the invaluable contribution of Britain's Jewish community.

As part of my preparations to come out to Israel as ambassador in the summer of 2006, I spent as much time as I could meeting members of that community. This was at the time that my country was celebrating the 350th anniversary of the re-establishment of the UK's Jewish community. If this community is relatively small in terms of numbers, it is strikingly impressive in terms of quality...

Ha. I've been visiting British Jewish blogs quite frequently and my impression is quite different.

Here is Boycotted UK Academic blog, where he/she records his/her life in academia under the threat and intimidation of boycotting Britannia. Shame on any democratic, modern Western society that allows its citizens to feel subversive and persecuted in the halls of scholarships and disinterested enquiry.

Engage is another excellent resource for monitoring antisemitism in Britain, though many of its contributors are still in a state of suspended denial, thinking they can call themselves an anti racist Leftist website while fighting the antisemitism that has no problem speaking out as "anti-Zionism". The fact is that the people they are fighting do not accept them as part of the British Left. Because fighting antisemitism cannot be divorced today from Israel advocacy. The mental acrobatics people have to go through in trying to persuade themselves and others that they can surgically divide antisemitism from anti-Zionism are almost too painful to read at times.

The rest of Solomon's blogpost is well worth reading, as well as the comments, here:

Mr Phillips says that "my government has a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism" however "my Government" has denied Israelis visitors' visas, threatened them with arrest upon entry and worse. Among them Major General Almog who faced arrest and Moshe Feiglin, head of the Jewish Leadership faction within the Likud party who had no intentions of visiting the UK had not even applied for a visa but received a letter from Ms Smith of "my Government" banning his presence. Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi however has been granted visas on many occasions although he praised terrorist attacks against Israelis and Americans, called for the destruction of Israel, and said that homosexuals should "be put to death".

Yours etc., Janet Clifford


At 8:11 AM EDT, Blogger Candour man said...

Israel is blamed by the so called "Liberal left for Iraq war, they say "Bush wonted the war so Jews would vote for him,they seem unable to understand that most american Jews are Democrats and would not have voted for him anyway.

At 8:12 AM EDT, Blogger Candour man said...

Best of luck with your blog

At 8:20 AM EDT, Blogger bob said...

Issue 1: On being a Jew in England. In lots of ways, it's the best of times. Limmud, Jewish Book Week, Jewdas, Shpiel at the ICA, the Jewish Community Centre, a resurgance of Sephardic and Ashkenazi music traditions playing to all sorts of audiences, the Chief Rabbi very prominent in public life, Jewish characters dominating Big Brother - it's a very culturally vibrant time, unprecedentedly in Anglo-Jewish history. Henry Grunewald, the president of the Board of Deputies, was rightly upbeat in a recent op ed he did in the JPost about being a Jew in Britain today.

Yes, there is polite antisemitism endemic in British elite culture. But it is no worse than it's ever been: it has just shifted to the left.

Issue 2: Engage's mental gymnastics (and mine): I am still not ready to hand over the definition of what is authentically left to the likes of Sue Blackwell. My core values, like Engage's, are about social justice, equality, a deeper version of democracy than that offered by the parliamentary system. These are left-wing values, and so why shouldn't we call ourselves left-wing?

At 11:31 AM EDT, Blogger bob said...

I exanded issue 2 here

At 12:18 PM EDT, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

"had not even applied for a visa" should be corrected - there is no need for a visa to enter UK (for Israelis).

At 12:19 PM EDT, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

Oh, and re that Feiglin visit - I wish they would let him in and keep him - as a souvenir or summat.


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