This blog was initially written by Tony in 2008
There are very few openly pro Jewish and pro Israel politicians in this country. There are many in the USA. Is this because there are too few Jews in the UK to count politically whereas there is a critical mass of more than 6 million Jewish people in America, not afraid to make themselves clearly heard? Or, could it be, there are many non Jewish people who would take a Philo Semitic stance based on the facts, but are scared to do so in the UK as there are perceived to be a very voluble contrary group here, namely the Muslim community?
Many people are terribly afraid to defend Israel especially when it’s been hard to do so against a rising current of hate and vitriol.
Recently there had been more than a whiff of anti-Semitism in the way some members of Britain’s Labour party had described leading Conservative and Jewish politicians Michael Howard and Oliver Letwin, particularly in their printed material.
There has recently been major political debate about Britain’s faith schools. The point has been made that Islamic schools should employ a more inclusive curriculum, taught in English as Jewish faith schools do. Of course Islamic schools could teach prayers in Arabic just as Jewish schools teach their prayers in Hebrew.
There is in Britain a commonly accepted perception amongst Jewish people that there was and remains a lack of impartiality at the BBC where it concerns Israel. Whilst we all recognise that there is some desire among certain areas of the Corporation’s leadership to correct this imbalance there is a long way to travel before our desire for the BBC’s impartial destination is reached.
We shall shortly be celebrating Israel’s 60th birthday and all those who have fallen to defend her. It is amazing how much this little country has achieved in that short time, and despite all the odds against it. We can all be proud of Israel and her people. They have done remarkably well in almost impossible conditions.
Despite this the British academics again seek to sever connections with Israel’s universities. Of course this ban is abhorrent to any right thinking person. How can anyone protect the right of the Palestinians by taking away the rights of academic congress with Israel? Even Palestinian academics have argued against this ban and were joined by every British newspaper. Even normally anti Israel papers such as the Independent have been firm in their rejection of this ban,
Ask yourself how this ban would be communicated if Israel were really ostracised. You wouldn’t be able to do so without Israeli technology in your mobile phone, nor would you be able to send an email since the processor in your computer is likely to have been designed in Israel, and a great many other technologies were produced in Israel and so on. Who loses if Israel were ever cut off from this country? Probably this country.
This type of ban and the logic for it has no basis in reality. What it’s really about is anti-Zionism and it borders on anti-Semitism. Does anyone seriously believe the spurious reasoning behind this ban? If they were then why is there no ban on academic centres in countries like China for what they did and still do in Tibet or Tiananmen Square. How about Iran, Syria, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Burma and thirty or forty other countries for their abuses of human rights, torture, arrest without trial etc?
We deal with insidious anti-Semitism posing as anti-Zionism all the time. I make it my business to fight it wherever it appears. It is awful that I have to report that this situation is worsening all the time. You would be upset and perhaps as horrified as me to witness this in all its abhorrent forms. Suffice it to say students are being victimised and bullied purely because they are Jewish. I have received threats, and I am not alone, for having the temerity to state that there is another point of view.
Even some Student Unions have joined in this behaviour resulting in a wide variety of insults, physical assaults, threats and intimidation. Remember I am not talking about pre-war Berlin, but present day Britain.
It seems to me that there is a direct correlation between extreme Islamic radical student groups; a hard left union agenda and unreasoning, unceasing and total hatred of anything Israeli. Presently there is some potential for a peace deal in the Middle East. Even some hard line terrorist groups have ceased, albeit begrudgingly and temporarily, attacking Israel; but not the AUT. They choose now to continue their attacks on Israel. What it means is that Israel can never do right in their eyes. There really does appear to be two sets of rules, one for every other country and another for Israel. In addition one feels compelled to ask if the overt racism being experienced by Jewish people in this country today, particularly in our university campuses would be acceptable if visited on any other racial group. Sadly we know the answer. We have to put a stop to this.
Three hundred and fifty years in this country and we are still fighting.