Saturday, September 02, 2006

Anti-Semitic Mood Music

Attacks on Jews jump dramatically in Britain.
BRITISH Jews are facing a wave of anti-Semitic attacks prompted by Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Synagogues have been daubed with graffiti, Jewish leaders have had hate-mail and ordinary people have been subjected to insults and vandalism.

Interesting phrasing in that first sentence. Oh, I've no doubt that the increase in attacks is linked to this summer's events. But anti-Semitism is and has been alive and well and growing in Britain and elsewhere for a long time. Prejudice, bigotry and hatred directed at Jews is an old story. As is a tendency to blame Israel for that, whatever it is or is not doing. I'm not saying The Times is meaning to provide a bit o' justification rather than just an explanation. But you can be sure that many of the perpetrators--and those who, if not sympathizing with them, "understand" them and their actions--find comfort in that notion.
On Thursday an all-party parliamentary inquiry will state that anti-Semitic violence has become endemic in Britain, both on the streets and university campuses. The report will call for urgent action from the Government, the police and educational establishments.

Great! Of course, it's a shame that the monthly average of 10-30 incidents as far back as 2000 wasn't taken more seriously (an ounce of prevention, and all of that), but better late than never, I suppose.
The attackers, when visible, are from across society, he said. “When it’s verbal abuse, it’s just ordinary people in the street, from middle-class women to working-class men. All colours and backgrounds. We hardly ever see incidents involving the classic neo-Nazi skinhead. Muslims are over-represented.”

In hate-mail to senior Jewish figures, ordinary Jewish people were being blamed for the deaths of Lebanese civilians. “There are also references to the Holocaust, saying that Hitler should have wiped out the Jews.”

Mr Gardner said that the rise in attacks reflected increased hostility to Israel and Jews in the media and across society: “The number of anti-Semitic attacks reflects the mood music around Jews and Israel.”

Again, that band has been playing a long time. This is just a crescendo.

Just wait for the finale.

Update: David Schraub at The Debate Link raises reasonable points, in response to a particular point in this post.