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On the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz British author Michelle Shine writes for the W&Y on the rise of anti-Semitism.

The phrase ‘Never Again’ is imprinted on every Jew’s mind. Now, in the week of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, it is timely to reflect on the recent rise of Jew hatred in the UK.

The first time I noticed virulent Jew hatred in print was on social media in 2014 during Israel’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’. I had no in-depth knowledge of politics at the time. I would have laughed if you would have said Israel is an imperialist, apartheid state; she is a democracy, the size of Wales, with citizens who have immigrated there from all over the globe.

I soon learned to despair at the unsupported claims people chose to believe. Jon Snow of Channel 4 News in particular, was a disaster for Israel’s reputation, already darkened by the UN’s perpetual bias against her and misleading headlines around the world that suggest that only in Israel it is the terrorists that are the victims.

Jon Snow, consistently blamed Israel, day after day, for child violence which he reported directly from the perspective of Hamas. He never seemed to mention that Hamas, the terror organisation that controls Gaza, allegedly threatened journalists for reporting how they used civilian sites to attack Israel, a country that has had to defend her citizens from Arab attacks every single day since her creation. 

I hadn’t expected that kind of overt prejudice. It completely blew me away at the time. It was starting to become obvious that the bigotry was coming, not from far-right extremists, but from a new breed of very aggressive left-wing campaigners. It was a discrimination that had even infected the Green Party, the party I had consistently voted for up until 2015. At that pertinent time, I wanted to know their views on Jewish people and Israel and stumbled upon a website called Greens Engage, and in particular, an article entitled In the Green Party anti-Semitism can be affirming. 

Israel’s importance to the Jewish people is not only spiritual – the land of Israel has been the indigenous home of our people for over 3,000 years and touching down at Lod airport when I was a child was an inherently emotional experience – but her survival is also our survival, as a race and as a people.  

Before 1948 Jews had nowhere to flee to when persecution become acceptable in the country they called home. A phenomenon which has happened continually throughout our tribe’s history. As it says in the Haggadah, the book of Passover, ‘In every generation they rise up against us to destroy us’. 

As a young person, I dismissed the religion’s teachings as irrelevant to my safe and secular life in the UK, but when the leader of the Labour Party – a man who could be elected to run our country – enabled a whole army of anti-Semites, I realised humanity had not evolved beyond irrational Jew hatred and Jewish people still need to have the knowledge and the warnings of our religious teachings. 

I had become the recipient of attacks on Jews via social media, mostly recycled Nazi tropes and reposts of articles in magazines like The Canary and The Electronic Intifada. I found it alarming that these postings were coming from my acquaintances and colleagues. Armed with my newly sourced historical research, I countered the attacks with well documented and often incontrovertible facts. My attackers were not concerned with the validity of my argument and retaliated with comments that suggested Jews should be sacrificing their own interests for the NHS and the poor. I had been asked such strange things like, what do I think of Philip Green? And of course, what about Islamophobia? The favourite deflection from Jew hatred.

At the same time, I was becoming aware of Jew hate in UK universities. The leader of the NUS had been accused of antisemitism. Huge crowds of young people were rallying around Corbyn and he became the star attraction at Glastonbury. 

I was incredibly fearful about the possibility of a Corbyn led government and was already talking with my family about leaving the country if he was handed the keys to number 10. Friends asked, ‘But where will you go?’ ‘The only country that will have me,’ I replied. 

With our history, any Jew that isn’t a Zionist is against their own survival, especially when a hostile environment swells around an emblem of power. Those who call for the annihilation of Israel are also calling for the annihilation of our people. The fact that there are Jews who don’t realise this is incredibly difficult for someone like me to understand. As are those who still vote Labour in denial that anti-Semitism exists

As usual, this kind of threatening Jew hatred arrived as a warning to the rest of society. For in Jeremy Corbyn, we have someone who purports to be a man of the people, but to date his words of support have only been for vicious regimes. For example, where is his solidarity for the Palestinian people who are tortured and abused in Syria and also by their own leaderships in Gaza and the West Bank? 

He has consistently voted against anti-terror laws since he became an MP in the 1980s. Has paid his respects at the gravesides of IRA and Islamist terrorists but has never once visited the gravesides of their victims..He is also against the UK’s deterrent weaponry but lauds those who use lethal weapons against ordinary citizens. On a more local level, he has chosen to do nothing about ‘industrial scale child abuse’ happening in his own constituency, despite being alerted to the atrocity by social workers.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing is that ten million people voted for him to become PM in our recent, December 2019 election. It’s not as if his immorality had been kept a secret. The media was full of it. Everyone knew.

Michelle Shine is the author of the novel ‘Mesmerised’


8 Comments on "The Rise of Jew Hatred in the UK"

  1. I agree that Corbyn’s tolerance of anti-Semitism is exasperating and unacceptable. Try not to be disturbed that “ten million people voted for him to become PM” when the main alternative was Boris Johnson – a compulsive liar, sexist and racist. A vast majority of those ten million Labour voters are reasonable people who are just as disgusted as you are by Corbyn’s behaviour. The extent to which he has enabled and emboldened anti Semitism is equivalent to the extent to which the general political climate of the day has enabled and emboldened mendacity, racism, sexism, hate and xenophobia. I wish I knew what the solution is – in my mind it must start with emphasising what unites us, and reaching out to people we consider “other” even if (and perhaps especially if) our instinct is to distrust them.

  2. An excellent and well researched article charting the recent rise of politically endorsed antisemitism in the UK. We had a ‘near miss’ in December and we must once again say Never Again.

  3. This is an excellent and accurate example of what goes on today in the UK. I am of the opinion that the root cause is the lack of education of most (but not all) of the general public,of who the Jewish people are and what they have been through.
    Young people in particular have been influenced by the likes of Corbyn without really being fully in possession of the facts.

  4. I agree with everything Michelle has written this is a very dangerous time to be Jewish with what has been happening around the world. I wish we had the answer to stop this cancer growing.

  5. Spot on analysis, but with 10 million voting for Corbyn, it’s time for Jews to be moving out of the UK and back to Israel.

  6. Charles Benenson | 23rd January 2020 at 3:13 pm | Reply

    Thank you for your insightful article.
    Seldom have the words of Edmund Burke been more relevant than in dealing with the growing cancer of antisemitism that has occurred in todays Labour Party.
    “ The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Attributed to Edmund Burke.
    It is of the utmost importance that a light continues to be shone on the evil that is antisemitism and your well researched article is a most welcome addition to those who are vigilant to such evil.

  7. What a rather biased post.

    You make no distinction between the Zionists and Jews as a group of people. You belittle the valid concerns of those who call out Islamaphobia, especially in the Tory party. Baroness Warsi, for example. Why is it that, whenever Islamaphobia is pushed as a news item, Labour anti-semitism somehow always gets back in the news? What do Labour have to do to make you happy?

    I believe firmly that Jews in the UK have the right to be left alone, as long as they don’t break the law. But remember — this also includes ensuring that Jewish children have a full and rounded education, and are not prevented from seeing the other side. The BBC’s Newsnight, for one, has demonstrated some Jewish schools operate such a bias to ‘give proper direction’ to their childrens’ learning. What sort of a parent would do that?

    I equally think that Israel’s right to exist is tenuous at best, and when you take all things into account (include 3000 years of history) it has no right. But it now has lots of guns, so maybe that counts. Just because I question Israel’s existence. does that make me anti-semitic?

    Yes, any persecution is wrong. I voted for Labour. Are you saying you are disturbed at that because I am one of the 10 million? Well thank you very much. You appear to be as ignorant as those you accuse. Congratulations.

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