Thursday, May 12, 2005

Shmuley Boteach: British Jews must stand up to UK Jew-hatred

The point that the AUT is anti-semitic is clear, but Boteach points out that the passive methods used by British Jewry to combat hate are not working.
Britain's attacks on Israel have nothing to do with a specific anti-Israel focus and have everything to do with good old-fashioned anti-Semitism. The country that was once the most enlightened in the world and gave civilization the idea of parliamentary democracy is now witnessing the steady rise of contemptible Jew-hatred.

The Jewish community in Britain is very different than its American counterpart. It believes in being low-profile, not making waves, and always trying to reason with its opponents. There is no British equivalent of AIPAC, for example, a body that exists solely to lobby the American government on behalf of Israel. Several such organizations have attempted, and failed, to garner mainstream British Jewish support, because British Jewry believes that this kind of overt pressure is counterproductive, and may even foster anti-Semitism. For this reason, British Jews usually shy away from calling developments like this new academic boycott anti-Semitism. But this is hardly a time for diplomatic niceties.

But if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck. When British academics talk like anti-Semites and demonstrate a visceral hatred for a law-abiding and virtuous democracy that happens to be a Jewish state – while showing an affection or an indifference to brutal Arab regimes – then it's a fair guess they're anti-Semites. Israel is the Jewish homeland, and unfounded hatred of Israel is motivated mostly by hatred of Jews.

Not that the British hate Jews per se. They just hate proud Jews. Jews who stand up for themselves. Jews who believe in their own right to nationalism and self-defense. It's Jewish autonomy that drives them crazy and, hence, Israel is their foremost target. They're used to obsequious Jews, and indeed, tons of them, sadly, exist in Britain. Jews who believe that Judaism should be practiced quietly. Jews who believe they are guests in someone else's country, even though such sentiments contradict the very principles of democracy which states that no person is less a citizen than another.

Anti-Semitism in Britain must be combated forcefully. The old way of doing it quietly has failed. Jewish students should get together and organize massive protests against the British Association of University Teachers and call their boycott what it is: out and out Jew-hatred. The ringleaders of the boycott should be named as anti-Semites. Saying that they're merely ignorant of the real facts in the Middle East, which is what we're already hearing Jewish leaders in Britain proclaiming, is preposterous. Academics are not a rabble. They are not ignorant. They're very profession is to know. They have come out against Israel not because they don't have the facts, but because they have malice.

It is time for the world Jewish community – especially in Europe – to pursue a policy of zero tolerance for anti-Semitism and every other form of racial prejudice. Thousands of years of Jew-hated is enough. This can't continue indefinitely. Let us stand up to it, forcefully and effectively. We should learn from our brothers and sisters in the African-American community who will not tolerate an iota of racism. Just imagine what would happen to a group of British academics who decided to boycott Morehouse or Spellman College? They would rightly be called racist bigots. Hatred of Jews should earn no less a condemnation.