“Like a tunnel that you follow to a tunnel of its own … Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind …”
Global antisemitism is now at pre-pogrom levels. It’s unprecedented in my life-time and I am 60 years old. I don’t believe Israel’s current war in Gaza is to blame. It has simply thrown the mounting chaos into sharp relief and made what was bad, patently worse.
This week, I’ve been personally shocked to read of a double attack on the Belfast Hebrew Congregation in Northern Ireland where the present incumbent is Birmingham-born Rabbi David Singer, one of my earliest childhood friends. Local police are treating the smashing of one window and then its replacement as a hate crime while their colleagues in Manchester have said the same of the desecration last month of the Jewish cemetery in Blackley, north Manchester.
But aside from the U.K., where the Community Security Trust has reported more than 70 antisemitic physical and verbal attacks since the beginning of July, recent months have seen a spike in worldwide antisemitism, including the murder of three people, two of them Israeli, at the Brussels Jewish Museum and last weekend’s attacks on synagogues, a shop and individuals in Paris and Lyons.
Further, I am convinced that the series of anti-Israel demonstrations and the shamelessly distorted reports of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza have all been carefully orchestrated.
The key questions are by whom are they planned and why is there a disproportionate number of self-professed Jewish ‘antisemites’ at the hate rallies and penning the media reports and features?
I don’t suppose I’ll receive a reply from Israeli-born journalist Mira Bar-Hillel, who yesterday morning, Tuesday 22 July, took part in a BBC Radio 4 Today show debate on ‘How Do British Jews Feel About the Gaza Conflict’? with Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to the Movement for Reform Judaism.
The five minute slot was painfully embarrassing, not only because of Bar-Hillel’s plethora of outrageous lies but because the learned rabbi had gone to the studio unprepared and sought refuge in praising those who had been fasting for peace. No wonder Bar-Hillel barely contained her mirth.
Rabbi Janner-Klausner could have asked Bar-Hillel, as she’s so ashamed of her antecedents, why she had retained her Hebrew name . Is it because she knows she sounds more provocative thus labelled?
Rabbi Laura could have explained how Israeli pilots had aborted strikes over proposed Gazan targets when they had spotted civilians in the vicinity. She may also have mentioned that a high proportion of the numbered dead had been terrorists and that Israel had erected a field hospital in Gaza to treat injured civilians but that the Hamas hierarchy had actively prevented them from using it. She could have emphasised that Israel had built shelters and shot missiles into Gaza to defend its civilians while Hamas terrorists continue to hide weapons in homes, mosques and hospitals and to use citizens as human shields.
She could have gone on to describe the nine years of relentless misery exercised by the terror group over the population of southern Israel and of the Jewish kids who have known nothing in their short lives but rocket and mortar induced trauma.
Indeed, the learned rabbi could have reminded Bar-Hillel that probably the only British Jew to have been ostracised by his community for speaking out against Israel lives in an ultra-Orthodox enclave in Salford, Greater Manchester and that some years ago he was widely photographed embracing former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad although Iran is known to be Hamas’s chief source of funding. It is, Iran after all, that is at the bottom of much of Israel’s present troubles.
But Rabbi Laura, a highly trained, scholarly and much respected progressive rabbi, acted so weakly that I suggest she is not competent to speak on behalf of the Jewish community on political issues before an audience of millions. I’m sorry to say that she should be replaced – and fast.
Meanwhile, we must investigate who is behind the concerted attacks on world Jewry and why so many renegade Jews are involved.
Who, for example, took part in the ‘peaceful protest against Israeli genocide’ at the Manchester city centre branch of Marks and Spencer on Saturday 19 July? Further, why did the officers on duty from the Greater Manchester Police Tactical Aid Unit do nothing more than stand around, grinning amiably at the crowd with their arms folded? And who was the “the observer from Barton Moss protest against fracking” mentioned in the description beneath the YouTube clip?
Don’t tell me, please, that those involved were from our friends at rent-a-mob! The old familiar faces from so much other social unrest in the U.K., like the 2001 Oldham race riots, the 2008 UEFA Cup Final riots and the 2011 England riots which affected Salford and Manchester city centre in 2011. Oh, dear. I’m beginning to smell rats in those tunnels. I wonder if Hamas has a branch office in Manchester ….
© Natalie Wood (23 July 2014)