Anti-Semitism: The disease that never died

There was a naive thought after the Holocaust that anti-Semitism would never return or if it did it would only be present in the margins of society. Unfortunately as recent anti-Semitic incidents in the UK have shown this never happened. My paper for Parliament Street as part of our contribution to the latest inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism into how anti-Semitism is affected by the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians shows that anti-Semitism has just mutated into new forms. In the way it has mutated, it has grown like a bacteria eating at the fabric of British society.

The new anti-Semitism focuses in the main, although not exclusively, on Israel. That does not mean that the majority of those who are critics of Israel or who are anti-Zionist are anti-Semitic, but unfortunately there are a minority of people who critique Israel in anti-Semitic ways. Whereas in the past Jews were seen as the perennial outsiders and manipulators in the societies they lived in, the Jewish state of Israel is now seen as the outsider and conspirator in the family of nations. It has become the Jew amongst the family of nations. Due to a coalition of strange bedfellows which contains Islamic extremists and a number of intellectuals, this new form of anti-Semitism that becomes more virulent at times of conflict, has been allowed to spread in the UK.

This has been worsened by an acceptance of so called moderate Islamist groups by mainstream society, who are helping anti-Semitism spread like wildfire. One such example is the Islamist group CAGE, who until recently praised ‘Jihadi John’ as a beautiful man, was feted as a human rights group. This was despite the fact that two years ago the Community Security Trust (CST) warned the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust about CAGE’s attitude to anti-Semitism. Whilst we give where to buy tetracycline uk succour to these groups who detest Jews, we will be fighting against anti-Semitism with one hand tied behind our back.

The link cannot be ignored when you consider that the CST calculated that in July 2014, when Operation Protective Edge was at its height, there were 302 anti-Semitic incidents. This was the highest monthly number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in the UK and compared to 59 in July 2013. There had been significant rises in previous conflicts as well. As my submission posits, violence in the Middle East often spills out into violence against Jews in the UK.

Regardless of one’s opinions on Israel and the current conflict with the Palestinians it is unacceptable that Jews in the UK and elsewhere are being targeted due to the existence of Israel or the idea that Israel is the devil incarnate.  To treat Israel as a Jewish collective and to treat Jews as if they are working against humanity is anti-Semitic.

It is vital the Government continues to fight back against anti-Semitism as it is already. Furthermore, we need a response by civil society, so that the words ‘never again’ actually mean something. There is an urgency for this when you consider that 70% of UK Jews say that anti-Semitism has grown in the last five years, with a tenfold increase in the amount of anti-Semitic comments recorded on social media channels in the last three years.

It’s time, as the submission calls for, to name and shame those engaging in this new form of anti-Semitism, cut off Government funding to all Islamist groups and to set up an online taskforce to challenge anti-Semitism wherever it rears its ugly head online, so it becomes socially unacceptable.  That way we can tackle the anti-Semites head on by bringing them out into the open.

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Stephen Hoffman 3 Articles
Stephen Hoffman currently works in public affairs. He is an active member of the Conservative Party and Parliament Street’s Director of Middle East Studies. He has previously worked as the Campaigns Officer for the Zionist Federation.

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