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Is the British Jewish Community in Danger?
Last uploaded : Tuesday 2nd Nov 2010 at 09:41
Contributed by : Carol Gould



In the wake of the Yemen bomb plots destined for Jewish community centers in Chicago I thought I would look at the anti-Jewish atmosphere in Great Britain. Notwithstanding the resounding success of Jewish, pro-Israel novelist Howard Jacobson, who won the prestigious Man Booker Prize in October 2010, there is still a problem in the United Kingdom that just does not seem to want to go away.

During the lead-up to this year’s British election campaign Martin Linton MP hit the news because he had suggested that the campaign would be spoilt by the “tentacles” of Israel. What I find laughable about the obsession Britain has about the power of the Zionist lobby is that 1) the total number of individuals who ascribe to being Jewish in Great Britain is numbered at approximately 280,000 and 2) Britain has just about the most buttoned-up and decorous community in the world. They remain dignified and often appear in the eyes of communal critics moribund, and in no way possess the clout AIPAC and the ADL possess in the USA.

In pre-election Britain activist organizations like the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK were trying as hard as they could to unseat what they described as “Zionist” Members of Parliament. Even MPs who have a peripheral connection to Israel -- for example, they might have lit a Chanukah candle at a local school in 2006 -- were being targeted as enemies of Palestine who must be removed from office. ( It is rather spooky that “Zionist” MP Ashok Kumar was found dead in March. I could name one other MP on the “hit” list who had to hire twenty-four hour protection but at his request will not.) Thankfully their efforts did not bear as much fruit as they had hoped but go to the website of MPACUK and see how they march on with obsessive “Zionazi“-hatred.

But let’s go back to a story that first broke last year, has made headlines in 2010 and is to me the most disturbing of all the tales to come out of Blighty this past twelve months because self-hating Jews figure in the scenario. It involves Professor Michael Baum, Britain’s foremost authority on breast cancer. He has spent his long life devoted to saving lives and most recently pioneered a revolutionary method of administering radiotherapy with a one-off “zap” of the breast during surgery known as intraoperative radiotherapy.

In 2007 an accusation arose from various human rights groups that the Israeli Medical Association had been complicit in the torture of Palestinian prisoners. Speaking at Limmud 2009-10, a Jewish cultural conference held each year in the UK, Professor Baum told a packed audience in a paper entitled “The academic boycott of Israel: are the Jews among the worst anti-Semites?” that he had first come under virulent attack from human rights activists after he had written an article in the British Medical Journal in June 2007 in which he had argued against an academic boycott of Israel.

According to the 'Jewish Chronicle' what ensued was a protracted campaign against him instigated by an assortment of angry opponents that culminated in his seeking help from the Community Security Trust and in his breaking down in tears in a meeting with the Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom. During this past three years of hell Professor Baum has endured condemnation by (wait for it) Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Physicians for Human Rights Israel. At the height of this nightmare Professor Baum received death threats and hate mail; he said “The views I got were extremely hurtful and extremely abusive. It was also the first time I had experienced anti-Semitism in my life.”

Dr Derek Summerfield, the British physician who had begun a concerted effort in 2008 to unseat Israeli Dr Yoram Blacher as head of the World Medical Association, set up a meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine with Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Physicians for Human Rights Israel which, according to Baum, culminated in a letter being sent to the BMJ website that insinuated Blacher and other Israeli doctors and their supporters could be lumped with Josef Mengele, the Nazi concentration camp doctor who performed sadistic experiments.

Whilst Summerfield and his Jewish supporters were trying to dislodge Dr Blacher from the WMA in 2008-09 Baum, by defending Israeli doctors, was accused of being complicit in wrongdoing and that his license to practice medicine should be revoked. Baum noted that the actual letter condemning him was written by a Jew. A campaign then got under way to petition the General Medical Council to have Baum struck off the register. His attempts to defend himself only generated more terrible abuse through email, the post, the BMJ and The Lancet. As of this writing Baum is yet to lose his license but Israel-hatred continues unabated and permeates a vast swathe of the British academic, medical, architectural and literary world; defending Israel even in a casual aside can result in serious loss of job security.

What I find so appalling about these stories of relentless Zionist-baiting is the extent to which Jewish rights activists will go to condemn fellow Jews in an increasingly anti-Semitic world. When I suggested on a a Press TV panel that it was time for Palestinians to use Israel as a model for getting their act together and building a successful nation, members of the audience from Jews for Boycotting Israel shouted “You are a racist! Shame on you!” at me.

Out-and-out anti-Semitism from true haters hit an all-time pitch when Dudu Awat, the Israeli-born goalkeeper for Spanish team Real Mallorca, was showered with so much abuse from the crowd this season that no less than five requests for it to cease had to be made on the public address system at one match. He told the 'Jewish Chronicle' newspaper that in his seven years of playing in Spain he has never known anything like the level of hatred directed toward him as in this pre-Champions League season. Fans waved Palestinian flags and shouted “murderer” and “Jewish bastard” at him in Pamplona in December, resulting in the Spanish Football Association fining the opposing team Osasuna $8,000.

Meanwhile in Gateshead, England the Jewish boxer Dmitriy Salita, who lives in New York, was stunned not so much by the 76-second finish to his midwinter fight with Briton Amir Khan but by the deafening abuse from the angry crowd. He told the press “The crowd being so against me left me shocked.” A Salita supporter told the press “There was hate I‘ve never experienced in England before.” It was reported that orthodox men in the crowd were physically attacked and Khan fans were surging forward shouting “f^^ing Jew.”

So, what does this all mean? If Jews are perpetrating hatred against one another is there any point in emigrating to Israel? Should they all move to Nebraska and be amongst genuine Christian Zionists? When all is said and done it is the hatred shown by non-Jews that matters. The fact that a serving MP can feel relaxed about accusing the Jews of spreading their “tentacles” sends a sinister message. Recently I took a taxi and the driver informed me that British voters have no clout because “Jews bankroll all the political parties and the policies are run by them.” Notwithstanding the fact that the road along which we were traveling consisted of almost exclusively middle eastern establishments, he seemed to feel the ultimate enemy of Britain is the Jews. Scary.

Plus ca change…


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