The anti-Israel climate in Britain evidenced by the various boycott initiatives against Israeli academic institutions, Israeli-made goods, and harassing law suits against Israeli military officers visiting Britain, has unleashed a tidal-wave of anti-Semitism in Britain fueled by a combination of radical left-wing academicians and Muslim radicals, who in addition to hating Jews, have no love for Britain either and are seeking to remake Britain into a Muslim state that adheres to Sharia law.
Britain’s Labour parliamentarian Denis MacShane discussed in a Washington Post article (9/4/07), the Blue-Ribbon Parliamentary Committee Report on Anti-Semitism in Britain that he chaired. The committee, which included former government ministers and party leaders (Tory Iain Duncan Smith and Liberal Democrat and environment spokesman Chris Huhne) made observations that are most worrisome in a post-Holocaust age. The panel of investigators included fourteen MP’s (none of whom are Jews) called their finding “disturbing.”
The British parliamentary committee’s task of investigating anti-Semitism in Britain was determined as a result of steadily rising anti-Semitic attacks against British Jews. In 2004 there were 530-recorded incidents of attacks against members of the 300,000 strong Jewish community – of which 100,000 are Orthodox, and who bore the brunt of the attacks, took place. In 2006, the number of attacks increased to 594.
The report according to MacShane revealed a pattern of fear among many of the country’s Jews with, “Synagogues attacked. Jewish schoolboys jolted on public transportation. Rabbis punched and knifed.” MacShane pointed out that British Jews feel compelled to raise millions to provide for private security for weddings and community events. “On campus militant anti-Jewish students fueled by Islamic or far-left hate seeking to prevent Jewish students from expressing their opinions,” MacShane reported.
MacShane called “worrisome” the “anti-Jewish discourse, a mood and a tune whenever Jews are discussed whether in the media (BBC in particular), at universities, among the liberal media elite or at dinner parties of modish London.” MacShane added, “To express any support for Israel or any feeling for the right of the Jewish State to exist produced denunciation, even contempt.”
The Observer reported back on September 3, 2006 on the draft document of the report on Anti-Semitism in Britain. The correspondent, Ned Temko, explained, “The report voices particular concern over a minority of Islamic extremists who are inciting hatred towards Jews, and it criticizes recent moves by left-wing academics to boycott links with Israel. Though emphasizing the right of people to criticize or protest against Israeli government actions, it says ‘rage’ over Israeli policies has sometime ‘provided a pretext’ for anti-Semitism.” Temko revealed, moreover, that the Report condemned calls to boycott contacts with intellectuals and academics working in Israel as “an assault on academic freedom and intellectual exchange.”
Picking up on MacShane’s interview on the BBC, Temko quoted MacShane as saying: “British Jews were right to shudder at the aggressive comparison of Israeli policies with the Holocaust,” and the “witch’s brew of anti-Semitism including the far left and ‘ultra Islamist’ extremists who reject Israel’s right to exist.”
The response of British Jewry has been one of deep concern. Britain’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks charged,” The new anti-Semitism is significantly different from the old. That is why it has not been noticed as widely as it should have been. The old anti-Semitism was a product of national cultures. One could talk of a country like Germany, Russia, or Poland being anti-Semitic. Today’s anti-Semitism is global. It is communicated by satellite television, email and especially the Internet.” Rabbi Sacks added, “What makes the new anti-Semitism anti-Semitic, is that it is directed against Jews, not against Israel. Its targets - synagogues, Jewish schools and community centers, Jews in the street - often have nothing to do with Israel.”
Antony Lerman, Executive Director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research maintained that, “Anti-Semitism today (2006) is a serious problem: both for Jews and for society as a whole. Some think it went away after the Holocaust. It did not. Although it did diminish in recent decades, in the last few years it has intensified. And there is clear evidence, stretching back more than 20 years, that increases in the number of anti-Jewish manifestations are linked to periods of heightened tension and armed conflict involving Israel and the Arabs.”
Mitch Simmons, Campaign Director of the Union of Jewish Students summed up the situation Jewish students face on British campuses, “ If a Jewish student feels it necessary to wear a baseball cap on campus to hide his skullcap for fear of physical or verbal assault, then that campus can no longer be considered a safe space for all students. If lecturers feel it appropriate to decide whom they will or won’t teach based on their nationality, then there is no longer equality in education. Jewish students have the right to feel safe on campus like everybody else; we all have the right to expect our universities and student unions to provide a safe environment for all students.”
It is apparent that on both sides of the Atlantic, Muslim radicals and their left-wing partners have launched a coordinated campaign to intimidate Jewish students. In Montreal, at Berkley (California) and of course on British campuses, pro-Israel, or Israeli speakers are greeted with violence and prevented from addressing students. The administrations on these campuses have succumbed to the radical haters demand at the expense of freedom of expression - the cornerstone of academic life.
Europe in general and Britain in particular, caught in the throws of political correctness and guilt over its colonialist and imperialist past, have been willing to look away rather than confront the intolerance, hate-mongering, and oppression inflicted by left-wing and Islamists radicals on campuses and in the streets, on Jewish student and adults, or anyone in support of Israel and the U.S. The lack of reprisals (either expulsion or arrest) against these radical perpetrators and radical professors has created a climate of fear and discomfort for Jews, and has encouraged, under the guise of academic freedom, the radical Muslims and their left-wing partners, to feel that they are untouchable.
Concluding his report on Anti-Semitism in Britain, Denis MacShane said, “Today there is still denial about the universal ideology of the new anti-Semitism. It has power and reach, and it enters into the soft underbelly of the Western mind-set that does not like Jews or what Israel does to defend its right to exist.”
MacShane recommended a counterattack. “My own House of Commons has led the way with its report.” He added, “The 47-nation Council of Europe, on which I sit as a British representative, has launched a lengthy inquiry into combating anti-Semitism in Europe. The European Union has produced a directive outlawing Internet hate speech originating within its jurisdiction.” He also noted, “We are at the beginning of a long intellectual and ideological struggle. It is not about Jews or Israel. It is about everything democrats have long fought for: the truth without fear, no matter one’s religion or political beliefs. The new anti-Semitism threatens all humanity. The Jew-haters must not get a pass.”