Monday, April 4, 2016

UK: For years, anti-Semitism in Britain was the prejudice that dared not speak its name.

Melanie Philips wirtes @ The Jerusalem Post:

Alex Chalmers
What is that unfamiliar rustling in the British cultural undergrowth? It’s the sound of people suddenly acknowledging a problem with anti-Semitism.

For years, anti-Semitism in Britain was the prejudice that dared not speak its name. The hostility toward Israel endemic in educated circles was emphatically declared to have nothing whatever to do with hatred of Jews. Anyone who claimed a connection was denounced as “waving the shroud of the Holocaust” to silence legitimate “criticism” of Israel.

Jewish students have long run the gauntlet of vicious Israel- and Jew-hatred. “Israel apartheid” weeks, BDS motions and campus conferences declaring Israel is a “settler-colonial state” have morphed into intimidation, stigmatization and discrimination against Jews at university.

VIRTUALLY NO ONE outside the Jewish community has paid this any attention.  Now, though, unease has begun to seep into British national consciousness.

The reason is a shift in perspective. Israel is no longer seen as the world’s major flashpoint. The TV news is instead pumping images of Syrian atrocities and floods of displaced migrants into the living rooms of the nation.

Security officials repeatedly warn of the likelihood of coordinated Islamist attacks in Britain. The terrorist atrocities last year in Paris and most recently in Brussels have ratcheted up anxiety levels.

After the Paris attacks, though, something else changed. Many, from Prime Minister David Cameron downward, expressed their shock when British Jews said they no longer felt safe in Britain, specifically as Jews. How could this be, Britain asked itself in blinkered bewilderment. [...]

Meanwhile, the issue of campus Jew-hatred exploded when Alex Chalmers, the non-Jewish co-chairman of the Labor Party-affiliated Oxford University Labor Club (OULC), resigned with a devastating account of the Jew-bashing in such circles.

“Whether it be,” he wrote, “members of the executive throwing around the term ‘Zio’ (a term for Jews usually confined to websites run by the Ku Klux Klan) with casual abandon, senior members of the club expressing their ‘solidarity’ with Hamas and explicitly defending their tactics of indiscriminately murdering civilians, or a former co-chair claiming that ‘most accusations of anti-Semitism are just the Zionists crying wolf,’ a large proportion of both OULC and the student Left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews,” he wrote.

The Chalmers statement received huge attention from the British media. For the first time, non-Jewish commentators started expressing horrified concern about the swell of anti-Semitism.
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