UK elections are the handwriting on the wall for World Jewry

Risng UK anti-Semitism threatens Jews the world over.

Jeffrey Ludwig

OpEds Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (L)
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (L)

In a recent article, Jewish activist and commentator Isi Leibler presented a grim picture of the predicament of Great Britain’s Jews.  The threat to the well-being and safety of that community is real, and he suggests the threat may be worse than at any time since 1656 when Jews returned to that country after having been expelled in 1290.  The need for Jews in that country to hide their identity and provide armed guards for Jewish facilities and events has reached a critical point.  Leibler thinks that making aliyah will be considered a living option by greater numbers than before, but does not expect that to be the option chosen by most Jews in that country.  

Attacks upon Jews have been increasing, but the large vote in favor of the British Labour Party is really the ominous sign.  The leader of that party, Jeremy Corbyn, came dangerously close to ousting Teresa May and becoming Prime Minister.  He is a clear friend of Hamas and is a terrorist partisan.  His surging popularity therefore suggests an imbalanced and negative attitude on the part of the British population towards Israel, and following that, hostility towards the Jewish people.  

Despite disclaimers by Israel’s enemies, the fact is that anti-Zionism or anti-Israel movements, programs, and policies are deeply anti-Semitic in intent, and represent a threat to Jews living outside of Israel.  Imagine this… despite 69 years of sovereignty, despite thousands of years of claims to the Holy Land, Israel is still trying to “prove” its right to exist to people throughout the world.  In fact, such “proof-of-Israel’s-right-to-exist-as-a-nation” would be laughable were it not in fact proof (1) of the sinfulness of the human race, (2) a perverse and neurotic denial of history, and (3) a sign of the intense violence – even of a “death wish” as Sigmund Freud suggested (later called “Thanatos”) – that is deeply embedded in the human psyche.  

Anti-Semitism is clearly alive and well in Great Britain, and throughout the world.

Although it is offending and frightening to see this development in Great Britain, Jews really should never be surprised when otherwise accepting environments start to become centers of Jew hatred.  War is a staple of the human race in general.  Despite the yearning for peace in all mature hearts and minds, and despite a conception of the “noble savage” (as depicted by philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau) who lives in perpetual peace with his fellow man, peace is the exception rather than the rule.

Thomas Hobbes noted that without government, human existence would be a war of all against all.  Even with government, and often because of government, we are driven to kill and maim others.  How often humanity either plays the role of aggressor or defender against aggression.  The Jewish people have had to fight for their existence for thousands of years.  The urge to attack Jews is intimately associated with this murderous impulse of the human race. 

Now the foul stench of anti-Semitism arises again in England and possibly Scotland. On the one hand the British can be very principled and ethical. On the other hand, they can treat colonialized peoples with barbaric contempt. The Jews are not exempt from this British cultural schizophrenia.  The Balfour Declaration represented British justice and wisdom as it provided for a Jewish homeland. The White Paper of 1939 represented British cowardice and expediency. It “reject[ed] the idea of the creation of a Jewish state and the idea of partitioning Palestine. It also limited Jewish immigration to 75,000 for 5 years, and ruled that further immigration was to be determined by the Arab majority (section II).”  

Now, cowardice is ascendant once again. Where is the British leader saying something to the effect that the country must stubbornly and consistently protect and support Jewish fellow citizens from slanders and ignorant lies and denunciations?  

Persecution of our people can begin with a drift towards increased prejudice and sense of offense. This drift is the First Stage of emergent anti-Semitism.  

Then as this "drift" intensifies, it morphs into a Second Stage. At this point, threats and incidents of bullying and intimidation are met with shrugs of indifference by the ordinary citizen as well as government officials.  

History teaches us that no matter how grand, lawful, or civilized governments may seem to be, the theme of Jew hatred does not “just go away.”
Then a Third Stage arises where there are some horrible "incidents" where the order of civilization is shown to be a sham, and the hate for Jews and the malignancy of the human heart reveals itself.  The incidents of persecution in this stage might be "passive" as when Mayor David Dinkins allowed black rioters to attack Jews in Crown Heights and even murder Yankel Rosenbaum. Or they can be active pogroms by the military such as my cousin experienced in Russia under Tsar Nicholas II.  

Finally, a Fourth Stage emerges.  In this stage, there is a full blown persecution of Jews by the governmental authorities.  It can be themed as Nazi genocide or the Arab call to drive the Jews of Israel into the Mediterranean.  

It is a dark day for British Jews and for world Jewry to see the voter response to the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn in Great Britain.  But we need to get past the mentality that if we don’t make an issue over this turn of events, the bad feelings will blow over and just go away.  History teaches us that no matter how grand, lawful, or civilized governments may seem to be, the theme of Jew hatred does not “just go away.”  It is a given in a fallen world.  

Likewise, in the USA, although we have not reached the same pitch of anti-Semitism as Great Britain, we see a BDS movement that seems to some of us as not only anti-Semitic but anti-American.  On many of our campuses, support for BDS is morphing into a virulent anti-Semitism, possibly Stage Two of the four stages that I briefly outlined above.

At the forefront of the fight against these developments in the USA is the Zionist Organization of America under the leadership of Mort Klein and his associates.  The David Horowitz Freedom Center is fighting to make our campuses safer for Jewish students.  Horowitz understands that aggressive presentation of truth is the antidote to violence, not passivity.  These two organizations show us that all major Jewish organizations need to get on board with this issue of growing anti-Semitism in the West and in the USA.