Tuesday evening/Wednesday this week was the first Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism) on which we have had a child in the army, the IDF [Israeli Defence Force] (not that our eldest is a child any more!!). I feel my Aliyah (my emigration to Israel – 2012), my Israeli identity, more today than I think I have ever done. Now that I have a child in the army, I am fully ‘invested’ in Israel – my Aliyah is now complete.
I’m sure that it’s also against the backdrop of the antisemitism in the UK, the hatred, the denial, the ambivalence of and towards antisemitism, that I feel a more substantial sense of my Israeli citizenship. In no other country besides Israel can I, if I want to, walk down the street carrying aloft a board on the front of which are the words “I am a proud Jew” and, on the back, the words “I am a proud Israeli and I love my country” – only in Israel can I do that with no fear whatsoever of being attacked, spat at, insulted or intimidated – that, in and of itself, makes this country, Israel, my home. (For the record, I do not agree with all of Bibi Netanyahu’s Coalition Government policies – I don’t agree with many of them – but that does not, in any way, dilute my love for my country).
Until recently, although I have been an Israeli since 2012, my sense of being British (I have dual nationality) was still strong. Over the last few months, particularly the last few weeks, my sense of being British has waned. I guess I always knew but since Corbyn has raised the curtain on the antisemitism and bigotry in the UK, certainly that on the hard left of the Labour Party, there is no doubt in my mind that to millions of people, I am just “a Jew” (said as a pejorative). I have been struck, over the last few weeks, watching, listening to, reading, witnessing the arguments, debates and battles in the arena of the current ‘Corbyn and antisemitism in the Labour Party’ crisis, struck not so much by the rabid antisemitism in Britain, that’s no shock nor surprise, but by the rivers of denial and the oceans of ambivalence – millions of people couldn’t give a monkey’s about antisemitism. A lot of people are deserting Corbyn, not because of the antisemitism issue but because he is not fighting Brexit. His supporters, as long as he shouts down capitalism, globalization, as long as he demonises the banks and bankers, as long as he ‘attacks’ the Tories, most of them will support him – they don’t care about the antisemitism. Corbyn knows, in fact, that, for him, antisemitism is a vote WINNER.
If people are anti-racism, they must be against ALL manifestations of racism.
There can be no cherry picking!
If you are against racism except when it comes to Jews, you are not against racism, you are a racist!
Antisemitism in the Labour Party, it’s there and it is a fact, not an opinion – to argue otherwise is to dismiss the hurt and heartbreak of Jewish Labour Party members, workers and helpers, many of them associated with the Party for decades, some for generations, to dismiss their pain in the wake of their having been forced out of the Party by Corbynite thugs. These Jews are Labour People, they are not Tory spies alleging antisemitism for political reasons!
There are lots of people, not just in Britain, who honestly believe that they are not antisemitic – if you ask these people, “do you hate Jews?”, they will reply “no”, and they will think that they are being honest. However, ask the question another way, ask questions like, “do you think Jews have too much power and sway in politics, in business, in the media?” or “do you think Jews control the media?”, and many of those people who would have replied, “no” to the “are you antisemitic?” question, some/many of them will reply “well, yes, I suppose so” – their replies will reflect antisemitism.
Jeremy Corbyn has ‘form’, bad ‘form’ – his speeches, his associations / “friendships”, his conduct, it all reflects a singular way of thinking, a singular mindset, a sinister, bigoted, mindset.
Now, I veer from fact to opinion: my guess is that Corbyn, who despises capitalism, he believes the old antisemitic tropes about Jews and money/control, he sees the word ‘Jew’ as synonymous with the word ‘capitalism’, he sees Jews as the demographic, as the people, who are most responsible for cranking capitalism’s engine, as the group of people who, more than any, profit on the back of ‘the workers’ – in this sense, I believe, and it is only an opinion, I believe that he’s, well, not particularly well disposed towards Jews (unless they are self-loathing, Israel-hating, anti-Zionist Trotskyite Jews). There are, as has become more and more evident over the last few months, millions of people who think exactly the same way and those people see Israel as the Jews’ plaything, as ‘evidence’ of what they believe is the Jews’ global control end-game, they see in what they think is a ‘colonialist’ Israel everything that they despise. Furthermore, they see, through the prism of that antisemitism, the Palestinians as victims of the Jewish project, the plan to colonise, to spread, as victims of what they see as Jewish imperialism and delusions of grandeur, of selfishness and greed – ALL of which is 100% wrong!! Trope, trope, trope…
If I wanted to live in the UK again, I would, and I could, return (I have duel nationality), I wouldn’t let the bigots keep me out but I don’t want to return (to live in the UK). For the avoidance of doubt, be assured, I am NOT saying that the whole of Britain is antisemitic. There are millions of people standing up to the likes of the Corbynistas, millions of people who are ashamed of the state of the Labour Party today, ashamed of the societal state of Britain today, the hatred and intolerance, millions of Brits who mourn the current demise of their country/nation. However, the country has, for me, lost its appeal. I’ll remember Britain as it was when I was a kid and a younger man than I am now, as I remember it through the prism of nostalgia, even though I’m sure that racist poison flowed freely back then (e.g. Enoch Powell) but, as I was a kid, I was, fortunately, largely sheltered from it.
I am not saying that the Corbyn cauldron that is the core of the Labour Party has a monopoly on hatred and racism. We are reading some dreadful and heartbreaking stories in this ‘Windrush’ scandal though it does seem to me that it is as a result of disgraceful political policies way back in the 50’s as well as cold, unsympathetic, mechanical Home Office administration rather than actual racist instructions and policy set today (that is not to belittle the devastation and worries being experienced by/in the ‘Windrush’ communities throughout Britain!). Brexit isn’t helping, either – it’s exacerbating the toxic environment. There is a climate of ignorance, intolerance, racism and hatred in Britain and it is severing my sense of Britishness.
I love Israel, warts and all – it’s not perfect or, rather, politics makes it, just as happens in every other country in the world, politics – politicians, many of them – makes it less than perfect but even the bad stuff, it’s OUR bad stuff and we will stick around and try to fix it. I don’t want, in this blog, to get into current government policy vis a vis the Palestinians – it’s not relevant to this blog which is more to do with my feeling about Britain today and my connection to Israel.
As I said above, I do not agree with this Government’s every policy but none of that dilutes my love for my country. Hitler, at the Wannsee Conference, decided upon a ‘Final Solution’ for the Jews – he failed in his endeavours, we’re still here and there will be no more ‘Final Solutions’, no matter how hard our enemies try to foist one upon us.
In Israel, nations can have a great and loyal friend but if they want to fight us, if they want to destroy us, they’ll be making a bad call. Nations who are against us, if they want to make and live in peace next to us, we are ready to make peace (we always have been!) – if they want war, we will give them war and, again, they’ll be making a bad call. We will stand up to all bullies!! Remember, after the Holocaust, people asked (and still ask today), “Why did the Jews go to their deaths like lambs to the slaughter, why did they not fight back (some did, of course, eg the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising)?” Now, we defend ourselves and there are many people/countries who are angry about it! Seems that some people think that the only good Jew is a dead Jew!
May peace, sooner rather than later, reign on Earth and may no family anywhere have to suffer the grief and heartbreak of losing loved ones in war and hostilities.