Just before Easter I wrote a blog on the causes of anti-Semitism as an adjunct to a piece done earlier by Mehdi Hasan. It wasn't particularly controversial. Yet, from most of the comments received one can visualize how some racism spreads through a lack of current events knowledge, revisionist history and just plain bigotry.
Hardly any of the comments dealt with anti-Semitism. They instead were firmly anti-Israel, even though some of the comments tried to draw a distinction between being anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. In any case, the topic of my blog wasn't about Israel.
Aside from the obvious ignorance of what I wrote, the warped views of history among these people was scary, to say the least. Is this recipe for hate what UK schools are teaching students?
The UK Jewish population has shrunk to about 250,000 from its peak of nearly a half million just after WW2. On the other hand the Muslim population here is growing and now stands at 2 million.
Some of the comments came from Muslims whose dislike for Jews, based on Israel, seemed to stem from the one-sided view of history and an insufficient current affairs knowledge...the sort of people Hasan may have been referring to in his blog. This could be remedied by proper education, something in very short supply through much of the Islamic world. As long as there hate mongers who spread absurd racial and ethnic falsehoods, anti-Semitism among Muslims will continue.
But, there are probably no racist sentiments as dangerous as those coming from so-called liberals. I mean, you expect right-wing extremists to harbour and even spout out their dislike for minorities. But, what makes the liberal racism so dangerous is having such thoughts concealed, often unknowingly, in rational thought and revisionist ideas to suit the PC moment.
I say this because it's important to remember one of the main differences between a liberal and a conservative, is change. Change is something the conservatives don't like to do and the liberals always do. And a main point of change through recent generations has been the liberal view of Zionism.
What began as a liberal left-wing movement has been demonized today by many of today's liberals, spurred on by the Arab media, as a right-wing fascist ideology with the main goal of dispossessing Arabs. But what really bugs western liberals is the fact a succession of democratically elected right-wing governments has been ruling Israel.
As I wrote in my blog, Zionism had nothing to do with dispossessing anyone. It was aimed at offering a sanctuary for Jews fleeing persecution...these people had never seen Arabs, let alone dispossessed them. That came later as a result of Arab wars against Israel...wars that they lost.
So to clear up this gross misunderstanding, here's how the Encyclopedia Britannica defines the term:
Zionism, Jewish nationalist movement that has had as its goal the creation and support of a Jewish national state in Palestine, the ancient homeland of the Jews (Hebrew: Eretz Yisra el, "the Land of Israel"). Though Zionism originated in eastern and central Europe in the latter part of the 19th century, it is in many ways a continuation of the ancient nationalist attachment of the Jews and of the Jewish religion to the historical region of Palestine, where one of the hills of ancient Jerusalem was called Zion. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/657475/Zionism.
Yet today the term has actually become irrelevant since the Jewish homeland has been established and is thriving, despite the concerted boycott efforts of the Arab League.
However, it remains the a pornographic term in Muslin circles and the kindling for much of the Muslim anti-Semitism. That's because the largely tribal Muslim world has a greater understanding of the strong Jewish ties to Zionism than do western liberals.
To some Muslims in the UK, seeing Israel survive is so frustrating they may feel the only way they can strike back is by racist attacks against Jews here. They trumpet the Palestinian cause as their justification without reasoning there wouldn't be such a cause if there were no refugees from Arab wars that failed to destroy Israel.
"Just because I don't like Zionism doesn't mean I'm anti-Semitic," or "Not all Jews are Zionists," are two comments I received. True not all Jews are Zionists. Many Hasidic and Haredim Jews, who don't believe Israel should exist until the messiah arrives, aren't Zionists. On the other hand, they have no reservations about living in Israel and taking all the freebies they can get from the government. Sounds very British doesn't it.
Recently central London held its now annual St.Patrick's Day Parade. How many of the thousands of UK Irish on hand would deny being Irish or supporting Ireland? How many British Italians and Greeks would deny their ethnic identities or ties their mother lands? Why should Jews be any different, especially given their tragic European history of exile.
You would be hard pressed to find any mainstream Jews, from Steven Spielberg to Alan Sugar who didn't wish the best for Israel.
"In any case Jews are not a race. It's just a religion," is another comment I received. Modern genetics has settled this by proving that Jewish DNA, especially among European males, can be traced back to the ancient Middle East. And, researchers have found the DNA of many present day Israelis is very similar to Palestinian DNA. The Jews who remained in the Middle East after the Roman and Crusader onslaughts retained their Semitic appearance and lifestyle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_studies_on_Jews, http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/dna-links-prove-jews-are-a-race-says-genetics-expert-1.428664
As I said earlier, the UK Jewish population has been declining for years. It may never become as low as the decimated ghettos of Eastern Europe where the past memory of these communities is enough to fuel present anti-Semitism. But, there is a danger here, in air of growing economic hard times, that anti-Semitism may increase among a growing number of poorly educated, depressed and bored young UK Muslims.
The irony of this is the more people heap scorn on Jews, the more Jews are likely emmigrate to Israel...which is also what a major goal of Zionism.