By Keith Fraser, Trustee, Stand With Us
So anti-semitism is on the rise. Some would say they have never seen the kind of anti-Jewish sentiment quite as it stands now.
The media, the political spectrum and the like, constantly use the word ‘disproportionate’ when describing Israel’s response to the rocket attacks that have rained down on its borders. But what is really ‘disproportionate’ is the obsessive coverage the aforementioned media and politician spectrum has given to this war.
Is it anti-semitic to criticise Israel? Absolutely not. Is it anti-semitic to disproportionately criticise Israel when there are many far worse scenarios around the world and stay largely silent. Absolutely yes.
So is that what is causing anti-semitism? No. anti-semitism has been deeply embedded in the unconscious of many people for millennia. It’s simply no longer politically correct to make overtly anti-Jewish sentiments. But, the modern day covert version, is anti-Zionism, and with this ‘disproportionate’ and biased coverage seen recently, it has re-ignited the fires of hatred.
But let’s be straight, while this latent evil has always been there, what is rarely there, is the will &fighting spirit of us in the UK Diaspora in battling this evil.
In general, what actually do UK Jewry do to fight back, to keep this racial hatred of our people in check? The answer, is virtually nothing.
I saw the cover of this newspaper last week, with Jewish organisations marketing themselves as being the biggest Israel advocacy organisation in the UK, with boasts about a rally for 6,000 people, and a couple of shul meetings. Big deal!
We are a community, with talent, intellect, academics, yet is the best we can do, wave flags at tourists on double decker buses on Kensington High Street, or one or two shul lectures? That’s the equivalent of Lionel Messi playing for Barnet FC, or Roger Federer playing the Hendon Park tennis tournament.
It’s pathetic, least not, worrying.
It’s certainly frustrating for those who actually are doing their bit.
I noted the anger of the crowd at the meeting this week of the so-called ‘Heads of the Jewish Community’ at how ineffective they’ve been and basically nowhere to be seen.
One reason that is obvious? There are simply too many over-sized egos in the community. As an example, look at the name Jewish Leadership Council. Could there be a better title for a group who obviously care more about their self importance than the community they claim to lead.
Where have they been? Or the Board of Deputies? ( or Board of Dead Bodies as they’re often referred to.). The list of other egotistical and ineffective organisations, goes on and on.
This week saw a demonstration outside the Qatar embassy cancelled. Why? Because the word got out, as it was only for a select few to attend. I kid you not. Further proof that the different groups want recognition rather than concentrate on the important job in hand.
Do the Golani Brigade want any acclaim over and above the Givati Brigade? No. It’s an ‘all for one, one for all’ attitude. That unity has won Israel many military wars in the name of protecting Israel and the diaspora.
But it’s not only down to the so called leaders of the community. Most people can recognise they are relative self indulgent and useless as well as overly politically correct to make much headway.
Oh, and not to mention the sections of our community who shoot themselves in the foot, such as the Jewish Chronicle who in my eyes are a complete disgrace for choosing money over morals and loyalty in allowing the ‘Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to run an appeal advert for aid to Gaza. For those who don’t know. The DEC is an umbrella organisation for 14 charities, one if which is Islamic Relief who are reported to help fund Hamas! You couldn’t make it up could you?
But, at the end of the day, it is down to the individual. You cannot carpet the whole world, but you can wear your own slippers so to speak.
To that end, it is down to you, to us, to get active.
But again, how many Jews here are really motivated? There are a few, but surely it is our duty to get active without delay, regardless of whether this current war is over or not.
While the anti-Semitic rhetoric and feeling gets more and more loud and noticeable, what are we waiting for before we take action? The situation to become utterly untenable??
Friends of mine who are well informed, articulate, say to me “I do support Israel in my own way” or “I can’t phone a radio show because I’m nervous,” or “when I listen to the radio phone-ins on Israel I have to switch off” amongst other excuses.
My only reaction to any of you Champagne Zionists out there who claim allegiance to our own by lying on a sun lounger at the Royal Beach Hotel, is, we are lucky our Jewish brethren who put their lives at risk in Gaza fighting for the survival of Israel and indeed, the self-esteem of the diaspora, don’t have the same nonchalant attitude.
What will fire us into action? For the situation to become so uncomfortable that we’ll be forced to go to Israel where military (not intellectual) duty is compulsory? For sure, the intellectual fight is a lot less scary an option.
There are more than fifty synagogues in the United Synagogue movement, yet how many formal addresses have there been to rally the troops into action? Barely a few. I doubt that dovening and shokeling will do the trick.
It’s time you as an individual, and all of us, get off our behinds and take some action.
Ring radio shows, write letters, tell people in the workplace the truth when the opportunity arises, lobby politicians, phone managers of stores who have banned Israeli goods, send money to Israel charities, volunteer in fundraising campaigns, buy Israeli goods, go to hostile meetings and cleverly question their rhetoric, and more.
If you don’t have the skills, then make it your duty to acquire them. Remember, ‘I can’t’ only means I don’t want to. An IDF reservist couldn’t fire a gun until he was compelled to learn how to.
If you care about the future of the community in this country, then do something NOW.
And perhaps the most important thing to do is implore others to do so too. A rolling stone gathers moss, and for sure we need everyone to muck in.
Let’s fight this evil together. Let’s join the IDF – the Intellectual Defence Forces.
- Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org / Twitter – @keithgfraser