Saturday, January 24, 2009


From the comments at Simply Jews:

Compare this:

"I am standing in a queue waiting to buy a train ticket from London to Canterbury. A well-dressed lady standing behind me informs her friend that she “can’t wait till Israel disappears off the face of the earth.” What struck me was not her intense hostility to Israel but the mild-mannered, matter-of-fact tone with which she announced her wish for the annihilation of a nation."

And this:

"Intelligent woman, on being offered a book dealing with antisemitism and German atrocities: “Don't show it me, please don't show it to me. It'll only make me hate the Jews more than ever.”

Is there a significant difference between the two women? The first quoted could easily be the grandaughter of the second one. Same sort of animus.

Could this sort of loathing and hatred be really motivated by humanitarian concerns for Palestinians?
Before reading that, I commented:
"I am absolutely certain that as an organization Guardian carries the same "background level" of anti-Semitism as it could be measured in the whole of Britain"

That's not my experience, though I'm not saying we don't have a problem. We do have a problem. The Guardian is past the centre mark, by quite a long way.

What worries me, really, is not so much that a smallish percentage of the population are anti-semitic, it's that nobody else seems to have noticed. Where's the sense of crisis that should accompany the recent resurgence of 1930s style hatred?
And I am really, really worried by that. Where is the sense of crisis, now that open Neo-Nazis have demonstrated outside the Israeli Embassy in London?

And Hamas supporters are the true Neo-Nazis. There is a continuous thread connecting them with the Nazis of the 1930s.


Anonymous said...

I'm worried, too. What is it about Jews that arouses such hostility in otherwise normal, mild mannered people?

I was out with a mate a few months back, and the conversation turned to Israel (he's pretty left-leaning, so we often argue about politics). When I defended Israel, he asked me, incredulously, "are you Jewish?".

As if you have to be Jewish in order to be sympathetic towards Israel *sigh*. If he ever brings up the subject of what's been happening in Africa lately, I'm going to ask him if he's a black Zimbabwian.

JuliaM said...

"I'm worried, too. What is it about Jews that arouses such hostility in otherwise normal, mild mannered people?"

There's a question that's always puzzled me too...

bob said...

Wrong question. The right question is "What is it about apparently mild mannered people that makes them hate Jews?"

Peter Risdon said...

I can't help feeling it's even less specific to Jews than that. What is it about some people that makes them latch on to whatever hatred happens to be fashionable at the time?

I suspect the same people would be buying peanuts at a public stoning, or putting on their Sunday best to attend a lynching.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps context is in order. I think the woman was wrong to wish for israel to be wiped off the map, but the continuing conflict in the mideast (thousands of years) is very frustrating in this day and age. Personally, the palestinian argument does not sway me. I have no intention of giving my house to a native american, or a spaniard or anyone else. But, at the same time, I don't think we should be helping Israel monetarily whatsoever. If the zionists want to regain the kingdom of David, so be it. If Israel is wiped out by Iran, so be it. Either way, I don't think we should be funding anyone over there. Maybe this woman is misplacing her frustrations and approaching a lateral solution rather than a hands off solution.