A millennium's worth of European anti-Semitism spawned much dark humor. "Who is a Philo-Semite?" went the question: "Someone who hates Jews only as much as it is necessary." Based on that definition, there is plenty of "love" to go around in the United Kingdom these days.
*** The UK is the country where Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn remains the favorite of his party's rank-and-file despite -- or because -- of his failing to do anything effectual about endemic anti-Semitism in Labour, his declaring Hamas and Hezbollah are "our friends," and his recent "slip of the tongue" comparison of Israel to Islamic terrorist regimes.
*** The aversion to even mention Anti-Semitism was on full display when Councilor Simon Cooke put forth the following motion to the Bradford Council it to consider its "awareness and response to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia"; as well as support for new migrant communities facing prejudice, challenging the demonizing of white working-class communities and addressing homophobia. A fiery debate ensued and the measure failed to pass.
*** The UK is where a British Muslim, Malia Bouattia, has been elected president of the National Union of Students with barely a beep of protest despite her having described Birmingham University as a "Zionist outpost" and her supporting not only BDS but "Palestinian resistance"--meaning violence. She also refuses to condemn ISIS.
And now -- in the midst of the bloodiest Ramadan rampages by ISIS, during a week in which a twelve-year-old American Israeli girl was butchered by a Palestinian terrorist while she slept in her bed, and when 10 orphans had to bury their father after another deadly Palestinian attack -- Scotland Yard swung into action by treating visiting former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni as an accused war criminal.
Her crime? Defending serving her country honorably during Operation Cast Lead to protect Israeli civilians from Hamas rockets, suicide bombers and terrorism. This was British authorities' third try to move on a 2009 indictment of the former senior Israeli official who is still a prominent leader of Israel's Left- leaning peace camp.
Curious. When Palestinian Authority(PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, now in the 11th year of his 4-year Presidency, last visited London in 2012, he was never confronted about the PA's incessant incitement against their Jewish neighbors or veneration of Palestinian terrorist mass murders as heroes, with streets and schools named in their honor.
Instead, Britain condemns Israeli settlements as "deliberate vandalism." That comment on Jewish settlements was delivered by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who prefaced his one-sided anti-Israel broadside by saying there was no stronger supporter of the Jewish State than himself.
To top it off: The mainstream anti-Israel animus cloaked with a classic anti-Semitic screed of Jew-control has now been embroidered into the commentary by Rupert Cornwall in The Independent. He uses the death of renowned Holocaust Survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Eli Wiesel to attack Wiesel's love of Zion: After bemoaning the alleged "grip that Israel had on the politics of America," Cornwall convicts Wiesel of moral indifference to the Palestinians, charging him of failing to understand "that a people who had suffered so much should understand the miseries they were inflicting on another people."
Cornwall's biases blind him to the truth of which he makes a mockery. In fact, in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Wiesel said these words:
"And then, too, there are the Palestinians to whose plight I am sensitive but whose methods I deplore. Violence and terrorism are not the answer. Something must be done about their suffering, and soon. I trust Israel, for I have faith in the Jewish people. Let Israel be given a chance, let hatred and danger be removed from her horizons, and there will be peace in and around the Holy Land."
Anti-Semitic attacks in the UK rose from 95 in 2013 to 141 in 2014.Then the London Metropolitan Police reported a 61.5 percent increase in 2015. Eleven percent of UK Jews reported that they considered leaving their home country following the January 2015 Paris attacks. Statistics aside, without a Brexit of anti-Jewish attitudes in the UK, lovers of Zion are right to ask if there is any place for them in their native country's future.
This essay was co-authored with Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder, Simon Wiesenthal Center and historian, Dr. Harold Brackman