Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Antisemitism in the UK and beyond

Denis MacShane's article in the Washington Post has left me thinking.

Why the complacency about the rise of antisemitism in the UK and in parts of Europe beyond that which has been documented by a UK Parliamentary report? Could it be that those who might normally be expected to speak out are, in fact, the source of much of this sentiment, which comes in the guise of attacks on Israel and its supporters?

And why the complacency about Cambridge University Press' folding to Saudi pressure? Could it be that those who generally are most forceful about academic freedom dislike what the authors of Alms for Jihad have to say and the fingers they legitimately point?

On some level I am as much concerned by the silence as I am by the perpetrators of antisemitism and terror. Maybe this resonates with me because so much of my work on the Holocaust deals with bystanders.

Ultimately I find bystanders as, if not more, infuriating than perpetrators.



We need to recognise that whenever different ethnic groups live together in the same housing areas then you’re going to get domestic type squabbles and name-calling. Whilst these mostly verbal disputes are highly unpleasant for those concerned we need to ask are they worth investigating or a Police call out. You do not need psychic ability to be able to recognise that if you insist on speaking Hebrew in your religious services, or English / Yidden amongst yourselves, wear 17th century Polish nobleman’s chassidiche dress, insist your wife wears a heavy wig in the height of summer, keep a kosher home and wave a Star of David flag in Joe Palookavilles hometown, then your going to create trouble for your community- because, ordinary Joes say to themselves’ they left Russian in the 1880s, that’s approx 125 years ago and many of them have made no real effort to integrate and [they will then add for good measure] for proof of this look at the way they dress and keep together.’ I know someone’s going to reply "Jews have the lawful freedom to practise their beliefs as they see fit", but in practice this is a myth and always was, and if you do so you can expect as sure as rain will fall reprisals. May I add that last week a local synagogue advertised in local newspapers ad-columns a talk by a Rabbi on the subject of "Intermarriage, its causes and prevention", which raises the question was this wise? [Fairplay]

Deborah Lipstadt said...

You have a very narrow view of how people live. Who decides what is allowed and what is not? I would not want to live in the world you describe.

Simply put you are wrong... very wrong.


O' come on Deborah, asking me [quote] "Who decides what is allowed and what is not" is surely a bit naive, when we both know we are surrounded by formal and informal 'deciders'. Society thrives on listening to deciders speak and pontificate - yourself being a good example. Every major politician is a decider, also religious figures. Judges and policemen do it as part of their job, housewives and mothers specialise in it [Your not climbing that tree, wearing that lipstick, or going out with him] and closer to home Jewish Religious Councils [the Beth Dins] write it down in triplicate and pin it on their hearts. In the 19th century Mrs Astor with her 400 members club even made it fashionable - she decided who was in and who was out. In my post I meant 'When you have melting pot societies then you’re going to always have an undercurrent of racist behaviour and incidents. This does not mean I myself approve of segregation, or apartheid, or such acts, and If you want to wander around Harlem or Watts wearing a yarmulke and carrying a tallis bag then thats your right - but was it wise? And incidentally and proof of my past-life of goodness to all men [said reaching for the salt pot] I am a Jewish convert and for 46 years have been a quiet observer of the UK Jewish community, a reader of Jewish newspapers and dare I say it Jews in private are just as racist has any other community, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

hockey hound said...

"and dare I say it Jews in private are just as racist has any other community, and I wouldn't have it any other way."

That's great PR work, Fairplay. Very prudent of you. And you talk about "create trouble for your community."

I was once a personal body-guard for an Orthodox Jew, and I will tell you here that he and his family treated me with the utmost respect. My wife and I attended his son's Bar Mitzva just last summer. The entire service was in Hebrew, everyone wore 17th century dress, and I even got in trouble from the Rabbi for whispering to an old Jewish friend during the service, but we loved it. It was a blast. Did we feel out of place? Oh, yeah. But we're Gentiles, right? We're supposed to feel out of place. Think Pesach. Think brit. It's in the Torah.