Last week Israeli historian Professor Benny Morris spoke on the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 at the London School of Economics. I posted a video of the occasion: http://daphneanson.blogspot.com/2011/06/professor-benny-morris-on-israels.html
In an article in The National Interest Professor Morris describes what happened before, during, and after his talk. This is the bit that particularly caught my eye, but do read the entire thing:
'I was invited to lecture on the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948. A few hours earlier, a fire had broken out in a nearby building and Kingsway was sealed off, so the taxi dropped me off a few blocks away. As I walked down Kingsway, a major London thoroughfare, a small mob—I don't think any other word is appropriate—of some dozen Muslims, Arabs and their supporters, both men and women, surrounded me and, walking alongside me for several hundred yards as I advanced towards the building where the lecture was to take place, raucously harangued and bated me with cries of "fascist," "racist," "England should never have allowed you in," "you shouldn't be allowed to speak." Several spoke in broken, obviously newly acquired, English. Violence was thick in the air though none was actually used. Passersby looked on in astonishment, and perhaps shame, but it seemed the sight of angry bearded, caftaned Muslims was sufficient to deter any intervention. To me, it felt like Brownshirts in a street scene in 1920s Berlin—though on Kingsway no one, to the best of my recall, screamed the word "Jew."' http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/curbing-muslim-intimidation-5496
The other article is by Dr Samuel Lebens, now studying in Israel for the rabbinate, concerning the medium-sized Midlands city in which he grew up:
'I grew up in a Jewish community that felt safe within this multicultural environment.Leicester has never been home to a large number of Jews. But we've always been proud of our association with it. Indeed, the number of Jewish mayors that have graced Leicester's City Hall is vastly disproportionate to our numbers.Growing up in that community, habituated to the tolerance around me, gave me a confidence in my minority identity. I owe that to the city of Leicester.
But let me describe to you another city. At best, it can be described as a city that tolerates the anti-Semitism in its midst. In the past few years, I have found it is almost impossible to walk down its main streets without having anti-Semitic abuse hurled at me and my family. Cars slow down, with windows opened, in order to unleash a bloodcurdling howl of Jew-hatred. I don't feel comfortable to dress, outwardly, as a Jew in that city. It is a place to which I fear to bring my children; I don't want them to know the face of anti-Semitism.
A young relative of the Rabbi, in that city, had a pellet gun shot at him indiscriminately. The synagogue there has been the target of repeated acts of vandalism.Recently, anti-Semites located the home of its only Orthodox Rabbi. They hurled bricks through its door in the middle of the night.
The fear that such an attack can strike into the hearts of a young family is barely describable.When will the next brick come? Will it still be a brick, or will it, God forbid, be something worse? How are they supposed to explain the attacks to their children? It is the sort of fear that can drive a family, and even a community, out of a city. The city I'm now describing is also Leicester; the Leicester of my adulthood. Not since Simon de Montfort, who was known for his Jew-hatred, has Leicester been so overcast with the shadow of anti-Semitism.
....Very few of Leicester's Jews dress outwardly as Jews (in skull caps, and fringes on the corners of their clothes). But, when a Jew does walk around dressed in traditional garb, there's almost bound to be to be a confrontation. Community cohesion might be good, generally, but if even one religious identity cannot flourish there, then it cannot be said to be a city that "does diversity"....
Many of the anti-Semites who have confronted me in Leicester were of clear religious affiliation, and belonged to ethnic minorities themselves. They should have known better. I haven't a clue who's responsible for this most recent spate of attacks; I certainly won't jump to any assumptions.... Until the rank and file membership of faith groups in Leicester take this lesson to heart, those communities have a duty to do more than issue reassuring quotes, however heartfelt. I appreciate their support but what are they actually going to do?....' http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/Leicester-getting-racist/story-12789760-detail/story.html