Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Tuesday 16 September 2014

"We Need To Remind People That What Began With A Campaign Against Jewish Goods In The Past Ended With A Campaign Against Jewish Lives"

In my previous post, on why a ""Yes" vote in the forthcoming Scottish referendum is greatly to be feared, one of the screenshots of Facebook messages by Scottish Palestinie Solidarity chief  and fanatical "Yes" vote proponent Mick Napier  shows a contemptuous reference to  "Tory Gove".

"Tory Gove" is Scottish-born Conservative MP Michael Gove, one of the most admirable of David Cameron's team.

A few days ago Mr Gove delivered a gung-ho speech before the Holocaust Education Trust denouncing antisemitism.

Inter alia, he said:
'.... I grew up in the Church of Scotland, learning the story of the Jewish people as one of the most inspiring, moving, tragic and yet life-affirming stories of all mankind....
We need to stand together against prejudice, against hate, against the resurgent, mutating, lethal virus of antisemitism, now more than ever....
We need to join hands across parties and stand together against hatred and prejudice as one – united – British family. Now more than ever....
We should never forget what we are commemorating. Wars generate crimes, conflict breeds horrors but no crime is as wicked as the Holocaust, no horror as enormous....
Before the war, antisemitism had been alarmingly commonplace. In Britain, even respected writers such as T.S.Eliot and Graham Greene had regularly, almost casually, indulged in antisemitism. That would surely now cease. Adorno might be refuted. Poetry would still be possible, but it would be purged of the poison of pre-war antisemitism. Belatedly, mankind had developed new sensitivities.
Or so it seemed, back then.
Today, across Europe, there has been a revival of antisemitism which the enormity of the Holocaust should have rendered forever unthinkable.
In France, in July of this year more than 100 Jewish citizens had to be rescued from one synagogue and another was firebombed. The leader of an antisemitic party – the Front National – is France’s most popular politician. Heroes of popular culture – like the comedian Dieudonne Mbala Mbala – try to make hatred of Jews a badge of radical chic.
The virus is spreading across other European nations. In Germany Molotov cocktails were lobbed at one synagogue. In Belgium a cafe displays a sign saying “dogs are allowed but Jews are not” while a doctor refuses to treat Jewish patients. And in May of this year four people visiting the Jewish Museum in Brussels were killed by a jihadist terrorist.
We must all remember where this leads. Now more than ever.
And we must not think that Britain – gentle, tolerant, civilised Britain – is immune. CST, the Community Security Trust, monitors instances of antisemitism throughout the UK.
It is careful to distinguish between explicitly antisemitic incidents and more general protests about Israeli policy. The latter, even if many of us would regard them as profoundly misguided, are legitimate expressions of opinion in a democratic society. But once they transgress into antisemitism, all legitimacy ceases. When banners at pro-Palestinian rallies carry slogans such as “Stop Doing What Hitler Did To You” or “Gaza is a Concentration Camp” then a line has been crossed.
In July this year, CST [Community Security Trust] recorded 302 antisemitic incidents, a fivefold increase from July 2013.
In 101 of those cases, there were explicit references to the Holocaust including attempts to equate Israel’s actions in self-defence with Nazi crimes. On our streets our citizens have marched with swastikas super-imposed on the Israeli flag.
Devaluing the Holocaust devalues our humanity.
We need to be clear about what is going on here.
There is a deliberate attempt to devalue the unique significance of the Holocaust, and so remove the stigma from antisemitism. The historian Professor Deborah Lipstadt has spoken out about the way in which Holocaust comparisons are used “politically, glibly”. She explains that Holocaust denial now takes the form of “comparisons of Israel to the Nazis”. These are “terrible and outrageous and most importantly incorrect. You can believe that Israel was wrong to go into Gaza, but to call it a Holocaust is wrong.”
And even as this relativisation, trivialisation and perversion of the Holocaust goes on so prejudice towards the Jewish People grows.
The Tricycle Theatre attempts to turn away donations which support the Jewish Film Festival because the money is Israeli and therefore tainted. In our supermarkets our citizens mount boycotts of Israeli produce, some going so far as to ransack the shelves, scatter goods and render them unsaleable. In some supermarkets the conflation of anti-Israeli agitation and straightforward antisemitism has resulted in Kosher goods being withdrawn.
We need to speak out against this prejudice. We need to remind people that what began with a campaign against Jewish goods in the past ended with a campaign against Jewish lives. We need to spell out that this sort of prejudice starts with the Jews but never ends with the Jews. We need to stand united against hate. Now more than ever.
I believe that in the face of this prejudice there has – so far- been insufficient indignation: an insufficient willingness to recognise that civic freedom is indivisible: that an attack on one is an attack on all.
On a North London pavement
The British rightly pride themselves in their long and relatively peaceful political evolution based on a widespread acceptance of British values. But this can have an unfortunate consequence: complacency in the face of threats from those who care nothing for peace, democracy or British values. Antisemitism is an obvious early manifestation of the growing threat and we are all in this together....
We know that in the twisted world view of Islamist extremists antisemitism is a central strand, but we also know that when Islamist extremists embrace violence they have us all in their sights.
That requires a robust approach from us – at home and abroad.
Because we know that the jihadist terrorists responsible for horrific violence across the Middle East are targeting not just Jews and Israelis but all of us in the West.
They hate Israel, and they wish to wipe out the Jewish People’s home, not because of what Israel does but because of what Israel is – free, democratic, liberal and Western. We need to remind ourselves that defending Israel’s right to exist is defending our common humanity. Now more than ever....
There is an iron law in history – the more secure the Jewish people are in a nation, the freer and happier that nation is. Throughout world history, the test of which nations are most advanced and most liberal is the security of the Jewish population. Whether it’s been the Netherlands in the seventeenth century, England at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries or America now – the health of a country’s Jewish population is a badge of freedom.
And the corollary of that is when a Jewish community feels less secure in any nation then that nation is moving into darkness....
We should never allow darkness to encroach again. We must – all of us – stand firm for our precious freedoms and stand alongside our Jewish neighbours. Now more than ever....'
Read the entire speech here

And on that theme, here's look at antisemitism in France, and how it is driving many Jews to make aliya:

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