Friday, 22 June 2018

Losing the battle against rising Anti-Semitism in Britain.

I recently detoured through London on my return to Israel during a firestorm of events that involved and affected British Jews.
Picking up a copy of the Jewish Chronicle, the traditional national weekly for British Jews, I was troubled to read of an inquiry that had been called by the Board of Deputies of British Jews against a delegate based on her intemperate views on Islam. It is unclear to me what Roslyn Pine said or didn’t say about Muslims and Arabs. She denies having certain Twitter and WhatsApp accounts from which her words were quoted. Pine is accused of being Islamophobic. I don’t agree with her definition of Islamophobia.  She was reported to have said, “There is no such thing as Islamophobia. Islamophobia’ is trying to shut down criticism of Islam.”  Islamophobia is a fear of Islam and on that we may have something in common. Fear of Islam can be rational. As someone deeply researched and involved in the actions and advances being made in the name of Islam I can attest that Roslyn Pine’s fears may not be irrational and blind hate. 

The undercurrent of everything that is going on around Israel is based on a religious hatred of Jews, a Judeophobia if you will, except this phobia takes the form of decades old murder, rape, robbery, and mayhem against Jews. The charge of Israel being the powerful oppressor and occupier of poor Palestinian victims, robbing them of their land, is a propaganda fig-leaf covering the truth of what is at play in the Middle East, namely that both sides of the Palestinian political divide have no intention of accepting any solution that will allow the Jewish state the right to exist as a sovereign democratic state in the region.  And where this applies to Mrs. Pine’s case is that both sides of the Palestinian divide incite violence against Israel using the most inflammatory Islamic and anti-Semitic language.

Does that make me, an Israeli Jew, Islamophobic? You bet it does! I, like millions of my fellow countrymen, live in real fear of the Islamic agenda against us. And this agenda has been exported with the migration from the Muslim countries of the Middle East into Britain.

That should concern more British Jews than Roslyn Pine. It should concern the other BoD delegates, and they should be more open in expressing their concerns, rather than, as one delegate said, brush them under the BoD carpet. As an Israeli colleague, an expert on Islam and Arabic culture and lecturer at one of Israel’s prestige universities, is keen to remind anyone with an open ear, “People do not leave the Middle East for Europe and British. They bring the Middle East with them into Europe and Britain.”  

This is not being racist or Islamophobic. This is stating facts. People come with their cultural baggage. We see British Jews bring their cultural norms and habits when they come on vacation to Netanya and Herzlia in Israel. It is equally natural that the mass of migrants from Muslim countries will bring with them their tribal, ethnic, and religious mores, and these include a long tradition of Jew hatred that preceded the establishment of the State of Israel.

 Jews were treated as inferior citizens within Muslim societies for centuries. The creation of the Jewish state was a pretext for the Muslims to perpetrate violence against them and kick them out of their countries, often accompanied by murderous pogroms, murders, rape, and robbery. Far more Jews suffered expulsion from Arab lands than did Arabs leaving Palestine under the orders of the Arab High Command, when the United Nations voted for the establishment of a Jewish homeland, the official declaration of a Jewish State, and the launch of a massive Arab assault against the nascent Jewish state. The leaders of the Arab regimes vowed to inflict a massacre on the Jews. Yet another justification for Jewish Islamophobia.
I read in my copy of the JC that the new president of the BoD, Marie van der Zyl, told invited members of the Muslim community attending a BoD-hosted Iftar dinner, that her organization would not tolerate anti-Muslim hate. Quite right, though I did not hear her say that Muslims must refrain from anti-Jewish hate, including the brand of Anti-Semitism that disguises itself as Anti-Zionism. As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks recently reminded us during a visit to Israel, “Anti-Zionism is the Anti-Semitism of our time.”

The Board of Deputies has a duty to get behind this brand of Jew hatred. It is not an issue divorced from the Jews of Britain, as some representatives claim. It cannot, as it has in the past, be shrugged off by BoD delegates as an issue concerning Israel and not relevant to their obligations and responsibilities to their British Jewry constituents.

As Mrs. Van den Zyl was listening to pleasant words from Fijaz Mughal, thousands of Muslim were marching through the streets of London swearing their allegiance to Hezbollah. Regretfully, Mughal does not represent the Muslim street. That belongs to the misnamed jihadi organization, the Islamic Human Rights Commission, who were hosting the growing influential voice of Sheikh Mohammad Bahmanpour who excited the crowd by telling the Jewish State that “Your days are numbered. Either you go yourself, or we will drive you away. That’s a promise. We will wipe you off the map!”
The IHRC organized the Al Quds Day march where provocative yellow flags bearing an outstretched fist clutching an AK47 of an Islamic terrorist organization that threatens and kills Jews were flown proudly through the center of London.

The Board of Deputies were absent. They fail to publicly protest dangerous displays of Jew-hatred, just as they failed to appear with the Jewish counter demonstrators protesting another march in support of Hamas outside Downing Street just a few weeks before.

Instead, British Jews had to rally for themselves. In frustration, British Jews and sympathizers have cobbled together volunteer grassroots groups to stand up to the provocateurs. Courageous people like London lawyer, Mark Lewis, stopped the pro-Hezbollah, anti-Jewish State, march for an hour when he positioned his wheelchair ahead of the marchers in defiance. Mark, who is battling multiple sclerosis with special treatment he is receiving from the Israeli medical team at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, was forcibly removed by police officers. But he made a public statement that the BoD failed to make.

It took Mark Lewis to temporarily stop the Islamic march partly because of the ineffectiveness of the Board of Deputies, and dare I add the British Zionist Federation, in failing to persuade the authorities not to allow public displays of support for Islamic terrorist organizations. Free speech is not free speech when it is hate speech. What does it take for the BoD and the British authorities to get the message?  In France, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Jews have been attacked and killed by the freedoms granted to anti-Israel, and by default anti-Jewish, protesters and demonstrators. Most of the demonstrators are Muslim aided and abetted by the radical Left-wing agitators. Must the resultant violence and harm come to Britain before the BoD wake up?

The BoD, under the leadership of Jonathan Arkush, tried to reason with Jeremy Corbyn about the growth of Anti-Semitism within the British Labour Party. Their publicized meeting was quickly followed by two disgraceful displays of anti-BoD defiance by Jewish fringe groups. A group calling itself Jewda invited Corbyn to a faux Seder, ignoring the fact that the Labour Leader not only calls Hezbollah and Hamas his “friends,” but also that he had attended a special memorial in Tunis at the grave of a Palestinian terrorist who had murdered tens of Israeli Jews. Even worse, another Jewish group held a public Kaddish in Parliament Square in mourning for fifty plus Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists killed by Israeli forces when they tried to lead a mob of forty thousand to breach the border fence with Gaza in order to kill and capture Jews. Such is the disarray within British Jewry. The Board of Deputies recently allowed into its ranks a radical group that notoriously called our brave defenders of Israel “war criminals.”

The BoD may claim, with some justification, that it was not created to defend Israel.It was, however, established for the Jewish communities interests and concerns and when rank and file British Jews have to take to the streets for what they perceive as a threat to their safety and well-being this should drive the BoD into affirmative action. 

The threat is growing in Britain. The Community Security Trust has reported the highest number of Anti-Semitic incidents in that country. Although right-wing hooligans are also perpetrators, the vast majority of anti-Jewish threats and crimes are carried out by left-wing ideologues and from an emboldened Islamization taking place in Britain. Linking the two was the declaration that the Islamic Human Rights Commission that organizes events such as the pro-Hezbollah march, according to Corbyn, “represents all that’s best in Islam.”

Really? Try telling that to Mark Lewis, Roslyn Pine, or the hundreds of Israelis, Americans, and others who have been murdered by the terrorists that IHRC in Britain promote and support.

Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS, and Anti-Semitism,’ available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

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