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Friday, May 07, 2004

The New Antisemitism by Melanie Phillips

with introduction by Carol Gould, editor at CurrentViewpoint.com
Introduction by Carol Gould

I am a member of the London Society of Jews and Christians and was privileged to hear the eminent British writer Melanie Phillips give a talk last week on 'the new anti-Semitism' to the Society at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue.

Regular readers of this site will know that I 'bang on' a lot about British anti-Jewish and anti-American fervour. It was therefore refreshing for me to hear a journalist as respected as Melanie sounding like me.

Her speech appears below.

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The new antisemitism
Talk to London Society of Jews and Christians, 29 April 2004
by Melanie Phillips

The resurgence of Jew-hatred in Britain should be a cause of concern for everybody. Instead, it has become the prejudice that dare not speak its name.

Last year, there were 375 anti-Jewish attacks in Britain—the second highest total since the figures were first collected and a 7 per cent increase on 2002. Jews are being attacked in the street; synagogues and cemeteries desecrated; schoolchildren bullied because they are Jews.

Of course, this is nowhere near as bad as it is in parts of Europe. However, what should concern us is that according to a new survey, while anti-Jewish attitudes are now going down again in almost every country, in Britain they have risen steeply during the past two years. This is surely because Europe is now alarmed enough to acknowledge the problem has arisen and try, however inadequately, to address it. Here, however, the very phenomenon is still denied.

Israel, of course, is the complicating factor in all this. When people think of antisemitism, they think of the Nazis. They believe they themselves think well of the Jews, as Jews. And they certainly don’t take kindly to being told they are antisemites when as far as they’re concerned, all they’re doing is criticising Israel. People like me, they say, are waving the shroud of the Holocaust to conceal the crimes of Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. And a number of Jews say the same thing, too.

But neither I nor anyone else says Israel shouldn’t be criticised, even strongly. What I’m talking about goes far beyond legitimate criticism and turns instead into irrational and malevolent hatred. What we’re seeing now is a new mutation of the virus of Jew-hatred. Whereas previously the aim was to eradicate the Jews, now it is to eradicate the Jewish state. Instead of Jews being demonised, the Jewish state is demonised. Israel, the one democracy in the Middle East, is now viewed with a loathing that is never applied to Arab dictatorships. Anti-Israelism and, in particular, anti-Sharonism are being used as a fig-leaf for hatred of the Jews. And this twisting of the narrative of Jewish victimhood into one of Israeli oppression has legitimised an eruption of explicit prejudice against Jews, which has resulted in a grotesque tacit alliance between progressives, the far-right and the Islamic jihad.

There's more . . .

Please visit http://www.melaniephillips.com