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The drumbeat of alarm grows louder for British Jews

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Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to attend next month’s dinner in London to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration confirms what many have long suspected.

His antipathy to Israel goes way beyond hostility to Israeli “settlements” or any romantic attachment to the Palestinian cause. He does not support the existence of Israel at all.

How else to explain his refusal to attend a dinner to celebrate the event which kick-started the (agonising) process that eventually resulted in the establishment of the State of Israel?

And if he thus opposes the self-determination of the Jewish people in their own ancestral homeland, how can he be anything other than hostile to Judaism itself? For Judaism comprises three inseparable elements: the people, the religion and the land. Judaism is, simply and indivisibly, the mission of the Jewish people to form a nation of priests within the land of Israel.

Of course, neither Corbyn and his hard-left cabal, nor the so-called soft-left whose views about Israel may be less extreme but are no less problematic, have any insight into their own bigotry because they have virtually no understanding of what Judaism means (and that goes for many Jews on the left too, who equally deploy the spurious mantra that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism as their get-out-of-jail-free card).

But hey, some folk are very happy with Corbyn’s Balfour dinner snub; there are reports that the JC story about it has been tweeted by Hamas.

Many British Jews are now shuddering at the possibility of a Corbyn-led Labour government. They are heartbroken and aghast at what has happened to the country that for the half-century following the liberation of Belsen they believed offered them not just physical but psychological safety.

Some, like Angela Epstein in this article, are now talking of emigrating should Corbyn come to power.

She describes how her children’s Jewish schools in Manchester were encircled by fences, CCTV cameras and security guards. 

“Elsewhere, every Jewish building now has a guard permanently stationed at the door. In 21st-century Britain — the place of our birth and our home.

“Most Jewish people I know have endured cat-calling as they leave synagogues, schools or other Jewish centres. There have been countless Saturday mornings when, as I walk to synagogue, a car screeches past with the occupants shouting something indeterminate from the window. Friends have had eggs thrown at them.

“My son was subjected to a blistering verbal attack when he recently wore his Jewish skullcap on the London Underground.Little wonder that in a YouGov poll earlier this year for the Campaign Against Antisemitism, almost a third of British Jews said they had considered leaving the country, while one in six said they feel unwelcome here.”

This cultural poison has been swelling for years. The Labour party hasn’t created it but is merely its most visible expression – and as a result is legitimising its further increase. Epstein observes:

“As the Labour Party continues to reveal its toxic underbelly, for many British Jews the question of uprooting our families and leaving Britain is a matter of when, not if… If history has taught us Jews anything, it’s knowing when it’s time to pack.”

Actually, it’s hard to know that. The difficulties and risks of remaining have to outweigh the difficulties and risks of uprooting; and people find themselves at very different points along that sliding scale. But for sure, the drumbeat of alarm among many committed British Jews is growing louder by the day.

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