In Britain, a Growing Cancer of Israel Hatred
The rise of anti-Semitism in the UK is the product of a wave of Muslim extremism
In the 11 years I lived in England and served as Rabbi to the students of Oxford University—and in my many visits since—I have become familiar with the growing voice of British anti-Semites. Even in the hallowed halls of Oxford I encountered rabid Jew hatred, as in my debate at the Oxford Union when my opponents accused Israel of being a Nazi state. I happen to love Union debates and have participated in many. But comparing Jews to those who murdered six million of our own is not just a lie but an abomination. So, it came as no surprise to me when the British Labor Party was roiled by public revelations of the anti-Semitism seething within the party.
The history of Jew hatred in Great Britain goes back centuries and included blood libels and massacres before culminating with the expulsion of Jews from Britain in 1290 by King Edward I. Jews were not permitted to return for more than 350 years, when Oliver Cromwell came to power.
Last century, despite the Balfour Declaration’s promise of the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, the British government refused to grant the Jews independence, imposed quotas on immigration that prevented hundreds of thousands of Jews from escaping the Nazis, and went so far as to place the survivors of the Holocaust in internment camps on Cyprus rather than allowing them to enter Palestine. On June 6, 1946, President Truman urged the British government to relieve the suffering of the Jews by immediately accepting 100,000 Jewish immigrants. Britain’s Foreign Minister, Ernest Bevin, replied sarcastically that the United States wanted displaced Jews to immigrate to Palestine “because they did not want too many of them in New York.” It was anti-Semites in the Foreign Office who also vigorously opposed the creation of the State of Israel.
To be sure, the Labor Party has produced extremely good friends of the Jewish state, like Tony Blair. But that now seems eons ago and the party is spewing disgusting anti-Jewish drivel.
Former London mayor Ken Livingstone, one of the great Jew-haters in all of Europe, recently said Hitler supported Zionism. Not content to associate the greatest murderer of Jewish life in history with the national aspirations of the Jews for a country of their own, Mr. Livingstone went on to declare that the State of Israel was “a great catastrophe.” The bad publicity associated with statements by Mr. Livingstone and others led party leader Jeremy Corbyn to reportedly suspend dozens of party members.
But the rot in the Labor Party starts at the top. I do not believe Mr. Corbyn is an anti-Semite, but what kind of message did he send to his followers when he shared platforms with supporters of Hamas—a terrorist organization committed to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews everywhere? Just a few days ago, Prime Minister David Cameron challenged Mr. Corbyn to disavow comments he made in which he referred to Hamas and Hezbollah as his “friends.” Mr. Corbyn refused to do so.
Too many people in Britain—particularly on the left—use hatred of Israel as a foil for hatred of Jews.
The growth of anti-Semitism in the UK is only partly driven by the historical animus toward Jews. It is also a product of a wave of Muslim extremism that has taken root as a result of Britain’s attempt to shed its colonial past and demonstrate it is open to all. Today, there are approximately 300,000 Jews in Britain compared with perhaps two million Muslims. The vast majority of Muslims in Britain are good people, law-abiding and decent, and I salute their commitment to their faith. When I lived in Oxford, I had a warm relationship with the Muslim students, many of whom were regulars at our events. Nevertheless, the number of Muslim radicals in Britain is growing exponentially through the indoctrination of Muslim extremists.
British filmmakers went undercover at the London Central Mosque, considered one of the most prestigious in Britain, and
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