Today is the first day of Christian festival Greenbelt, which similar to Limmud for Jews, provides an opportunity for Christians to come together, share ideas and debate issues. Taking place over four days in Gloucestershire, there was one speaker on the bill in particular that caught our attention.
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.
David and Ed Miliband's family lost over 40 family members to the Holocaust, the supreme expression of fascism and anti-Semitism. Their late father and their mother barely escaped extermination themselves. What the hell did anyone expect this man to do but resign from a football club whose manager has made the 'Roman salute' and who has reportedly stated, according to the BBC, that Mussolini "was deeply misunderstood".
Current Hollywood hottie and A list actor Mila Kunis admits anti-Semitism was the main reason she and her parents left their native Ukraine for the USA some 20-year-ago. The curious aspect of this not so unusual event is that most Jews in that part of Eastern Europe were murdered during WW2. How could there be strong anti-Jewish sentiment?
The alleged comments made by Lord Nazir Ahmed about a Jewish Conspiracy to explain his dangerous driving conviction are made in an atmosphere of paranoia. It is a paranoia that has gripped the psyche of some within the Muslim community and allowed those in positions of authority to justify their own incompetence and lack of understanding of the modern world.
To the north, two miles away, lies the friendly cosmopolitan Bauhaus bustle of Tel Aviv; to the south some 40 miles distant, lies Gaza. The ancient city of Jaffa has been caught in a warp of time, with a heterogeneous population of Jews, Christians and Muslims all co-existing in an atmosphere of modulated unease.