Friday, September 4, 2009

How Much Antisemitism is there in Britain? . . . If Any

Antisemitism Embedded in British Culture
Prof. Robert S. Wistrich

Antisemitism has been present in Great Britain for almost a thousand years of recorded history. In the twelfth century, Catholic medieval Britain was a persecutory society, particularly when it came to Jews. It pioneered the blood libel and the church was a leader in instituting cruel legislation and discriminatory conduct toward Jews

More excerpts:

"In the Second World War, Britain was not willing to attempt to rescue the Jews of Europe in any meaningful way. It was not only imperial Realpolitik that made the British close the gates of Palestine. We know that officials in the Colonial and Foreign offices and people in the administration in Palestine were far from immune to antisemitic sentiment while supporting an Arab state after the 1939 White Paper.

"During the war the British government was obsessed by the fear that their fight against Hitler could be construed as a war on behalf of the Jews. To avoid ‘fighting a Jewish war' became a kind of alibi for the British authorities to do almost nothing for the Jews. Britain's solemn commitment to create a Jewish National Home in Palestine was in fact betrayed in the hour of greatest need for European Jewry. This is a serious stain on the British record, which until then had many positive sides."


"After 1945-in the three years before the creation of the state of Israel-relations between Britain and the Yishuv, the Jewish community in Palestine, reached their lowest point. For example, in 1946 the commander of British Forces in Palestine, Lt. Gen. Evelyn Barker, ordered his men to avoid fraternization with Palestinian Jews and to ‘punish the Jews in the manner this race dislikes as much as any, by hitting them in the pocket, which will demonstrate our disgust for them.'[1] Antisemitism was also very virulent in Britain at that time.

"After the Mandatory Government in Palestine executed members of the Irgun, a Jewish underground organization, the latter reacted by hanging two British sergeants. This led to anti-Jewish riots in 1947 in a number of British cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, and London. No lives were lost, but it was a very nasty time. Britain was far from immune in this postwar period to the kind of antisemitism that existed elsewhere on the European Continent, in the Americas, or the Middle East.


James McDonald, the first American ambassador to Israel, who had been actively involved in the refugee issue in the 1930s. In London, on his way to Israel in August 1948, he had a conversation with Bevin. McDonald mentions in his diaries how shocked he was by the antisemitism emanating from the British foreign secretary. It was hatred of Israel, of the United States and, in particular, of the Jews.


"During the Second World War, Churchill was in favor of the White Paper and kept it in place, despite his strong condemnation of it in 1939 when in opposition. His wartime actions regarding the Jews were no better than those of Franklin D. Roosevelt, which is to say, unimpressive. Nor, after becoming prime minister again in 1951, was Churchill's record on Israel particularly brilliant, though he had the historical vision to understand that Israel's re-creation was a major event in modern history. In expressing its meaning Churchill was at his best."


"In the 1970s, I [Robert Solomon Wistrich] was actively involved in such debates when I wrote my doctorate at University College, London. The campus war had heated up and was at full blast in 1975 after the UN ‘Zionism is racism' resolution. There were efforts to ban all Jewish societies on British campuses. This was stopped by a militant and determined campaign. The time was not yet ripe for the brazen antisemitism of the kind we find today in Britain and much of Europe, but it was certainly there beneath the surface.

"In the 1970s, the anti-Zionists in Britain-some of them Jews and expatriate Israelis-were already vilifying Israel as an ‘ethnic cleansing' and ‘racist' state. Even then there were claims that Zionism equals apartheid. Among the most extreme demagogues were Jewish Trotskyites, who were the most vitriolic in their loathing for Zionism."


"Trotskyites are organized in the Socialist Workers Party, which was very active in the 1970s. It has become a larger political factor in recent decades. I watched the huge antiwar demonstration in London in February 2003. The two main organizers were the Muslim Association of Britain-close to the Muslim Brotherhood-and the Socialist Workers Party. They formed a Marxist-Islamist alliance against the war in Iraq and on the issue of Palestine-which was a major unifying factor. In my forthcoming book on global antisemitism since 1945 I analyze this ‘Red-Green Axis' at considerable length.


"There is also a relatively new party called Respect led by MP George Galloway from Scotland. He was on the left of the Labour Party before he went independent. Galloway at one time received generous assistance from Saddam Hussein and defended him regularly on British television. He has always been a militant anti-Zionist, an antiglobalist, and is ferociously anti-American. The actual name of his Islamist-Marxist movement is a complete misnomer. The Respect Party shows no respect for anyone, much less for Jews or Israel, which it constantly vilifies.

"Galloway is an intellectual lightweight and rabble-rouser. He sees a revolutionary potential in the Muslim immigrants in Britain, a kind of ‘substitute proletariat' that could help revive the lost dreams of international socialism. Being against Israel and America is what brings the far Left and radical Islamists together. They have very little in common on issues such as feminism, attitudes toward homosexuals, or secularism."


"Since the Second Intifada, the BBC as well as some major British newspapers have reported daily on Israel in an often tendentious, biased, and one-sided fashion. Under no circumstances will the BBC refer to any act of Hamas or other Palestinian terrorist organizations as terrorism. These killers are always referred to as militants, which has trade-union connotations in Britain. It is the term used when, for instance, shop stewards advocate a factory strike.

"Within the distorted BBC system, the reporting of Israeli civilian fatalities and Palestinian suicide attacks made them seem no more than minor pinpricks compared to the retaliations by Israel, the definitive ‘rogue state.' The BBC invariably disconnects jihadi terrorism from any notion that it is part of a hate culture and the result of ideological indoctrination. The explanation is that these murderous deeds are driven by the relentless, ‘racist actions' of the Israeli government. It is Palestinian misery and oppression that allegedly brings about suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks. I believe this is a false, simplistic, and one-sided account. Terrorism is mentioned without connection to an ideology and the issue of antisemitism in the Arab or Islamic world is virtually nonexistent."


"What is interesting is that in Britain, as in much of Europe, the proclaimed antiracism of the left-wing variety often feeds the new antisemitism-which is primarily directed against Israel. Of course, if one suggests that such leftists are antisemites in disguise, they are likely to become enraged and retort that one is ‘playing the antisemitic card.' This has become a codeword for saying, as it were, ‘You are a dishonest, deceitful, manipulative Jew' or a ‘lover of Jews.' Zionists supposedly use the ‘accusation of antisemitism' to distort and silence the fully justified criticism of Israel and its human rights abuses. The word ‘criticism' in this context is misplaced. It is a euphemism or license for the demonization of Israel. And that in turn is a major form of antisemitism in our time."


Read the Entire Article at:
Antisemitism Embedded in British Culture
Prof. Robert S. Wistrich
Published June 2008


I, Leslie White, do not agree with all of Prof. Wistrich's opinions as expressed in this interview with Manfred Gerstenfeld. Specifically, his view regarding the BNP (British Nationalist Party)

. . . the far-Right British National Party sees a climate emerging where it might do better than in the past. The fascists would frankly like to see a Britain without Muslims. On the other hand, they also see eye to eye with many Muslim extremists on issues concerning Israel and the Jews. These British fascists admire Osama bin Laden."

I am still ambivalent about the BNP, unable to give it my full endorsement but aware that there elements in this party who are are not Jew-haters. On the other hand, the BNP is, at this time, the only hope to keep the Islamic invaders of the UK from forcing sharia on the British people and making "this scepetered isle" another Islamic entity.

And . . .

Prof. Wistrich's take on Tony Blair and Gordon Brown ss expressed in his:

"There are exceptions to the anti-Israeli attitude. The most important was former prime minister Tony Blair, who was as sympathetic to Israel as one can reasonably be under the circumstances. The paradox is that, while Blair and his successor Gordon Brown have been pro-Israeli and pro-Jewish, Britain is still one of the leaders of current European antisemitism. That is the sobering reality and it needs to be honestly addressed.

"There is much to be said for the claim that Blair's support for Israel during the Second Lebanon War was the straw that broke the camel's back and brought him down as prime minister. He was undefeated in elections yet had to resign under pressure from his own party. Blair and Brown fit into a line of statesmen who came out of the British Christian tradition, which has a historic affinity with Zionism. These leaders include Arthur Balfour, David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, Harold Wilson, and Margaret Thatcher-individuals of vision and great political talent. In my opinion they represent the best in the British political tradition.

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, their domestic politics aside, are not benefiting Jews in the UK nor the Jewish State of Israel by having been and being soft on the Moslems that are intent on taking over the British Isles and making them into another Islamic outpost in the jihad against Western civilization.

For a possible--and uplifting--scenario of what will become of Israel, read
A Picture of Things to Come
The Trial

by Paul Eidelberg

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