With depressing predictability, the anti-Semites are out on the streets of Britain again, in the absurd guise of condemning Israeli ‘aggression’.
Any excuse for another round of Jew-baiting.
In what kind of insane parallel universe can mass murder, rape and hostage-taking by a bloodthirsty Islamist terrorist organisation be interpreted as a legitimate act of ‘resistance’? It takes a unique strain of psychosis to justify the slaughter and capture of hundreds of innocent men, women and children on Israeli soil and then appropriate these atrocities as a club with which to beat British Jews.
Yet over the past couple of days there has been no shortage of support for Hamas from the usual suspects, coupled with a resurgence of anti-Semitic activity.
In West London, Hamas groupies celebrated by dancing in the street. In Golders Green, North London, at the heart of London’s Jewish community, pro-Palestinian slogans were scrawled on railway bridges and a kosher restaurant was attacked.
People take part in a demonstration in support of Palestine at the Israeli Embassy in Kensington, West London on Monday night
Palestinians celebrate on a destroyed Israeli tank at the Gaza Strip on Saturday
A Palestinian runs amidst the debris after an Israeli airstrike on buildings in the refugee camp of Jabalia in the Gaza Strip on Monday
Police say they are treating that incident as a burglary — the cash register was taken — not a hate crime, even though it is perhaps no coincidence that the restaurant is in the shadow of a bridge freshly painted with pro-Palestine graffiti.
I can understand their reluctance, but wonder if they’d have reached the same conclusion if it had been a curry house next to a bridge daubed with anti-Islam slogans.
To be fair to the Met, they have stepped up patrols around potential Jewish targets after reports that threats have been made against synagogues and schools. The police were out in force last night as ‘Free Palestine’ fanatics laid siege to the Israeli embassy in Kensington.
There have been smaller pro-Hamas demonstrations in Brighton, Newcastle and Manchester. In Glasgow, a section of the crowd at Celtic’s Parkhead ground waved Palestinian flags and unfurled a banner reading: ‘Victory to the Resistance.’
Social media is awash with vile anti-Israel, anti-Semitic abuse. Maggie Chapman, a Scottish Green MSP propping up the SNP government, shared a tweet which read: ‘Don’t let the Western media fool you into thinking it’s terrorism, this is decolonisation . . .’
Broadcasters have had no difficulty finding Hamas apologists spouting similar drivel, blaming Israel’s ‘aggression’ and ‘occupation’ of Gaza, completely ignoring the fact that the only entity ‘occupying’ the Gaza Strip is Hamas, backed by Iran.
As I’ve been pointing out for years, the BBC still refuses to use the word ‘terrorists’, insisting on referring to Hamas, Hezbollah and the like as ‘militants’.
Palestinian protesters head to the Israeli embassy in London on Monday night
A local Kosher restaurant had its windows smashed over night, but the Met Police is treating this as a burglary rather than a hate crime
Yesterday I dug out a column I wrote here in 2006, when Israel was forced to defend itself against a barrage of Hezbollah rocket attacks from neighbouring Lebanon.
‘Hezbollah has started a war it knows it can’t win in the certain knowledge that there will be civilian casualties. Its stated aim is to kill as many Israelis as possible and if innocent Lebanese get caught in the crossfire, tough.
‘These fanatics have little or no regard for human life. Their tactic is to hide among civilians; to use terrified women and children as human shields; to deploy school playgrounds as rocket launch sites; hotels and apartment blocks as command centres; homes as weapons dumps; mosques as air-raid shelters.
‘I’ve heard reporters referring to Hezbollah as a ‘‘resistance’’ movement. Just as they insist on calling terrorist murderers ‘‘radicals’’ or ‘‘militants’’ — as if there’s no difference between them and Aslef train drivers on unofficial strike.’
Substitute ‘Hamas’ for Hezbollah and ‘Gaza’ for Lebanon and I could have written the same piece today. Some things just don’t change.
The following year I made a documentary for Channel 4, titled The War On Britain’s Jews. In it, I exposed the growing anti-Semitism fuelled by an unholy alliance between Islamist extremists and the Hard Left.
Time and again, I heard people protest that they didn’t hate Jews, they were simply opposed to the policies of the Israeli government. It was a glib, get-out-of-jail-free excuse to cover their thinly disguised anti-Semitism. I didn’t believe them then, and I don’t believe them now.
In the years which followed, the problem became increasingly worse — indeed, going mainstream following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. Corbyn described Hamas, an internationally proscribed terrorist group, as his ‘friends’. Under his leadership, Palestinian flags were waved in the Labour conference hall.
On Sunday, confronted by reporters in Liverpool, Corbyn again refused to condemn his ‘friends’.
To his credit, Keir Starmer, has attempted to purge the party of its virulent anti-Semitic streak. Palestinian flags have been replaced — some might say, cynically — by Union Jacks.
Corbyn has had the Labour whip withdrawn, but he still commands considerable support among the grassroots, who share his loathing of Israel.
Scratch the surface and you will soon discover plenty of Hamas stooges. At a fringe event, a speaker who praised the ‘resistance’ received a warm ovation. And the Palestine Solidarity Campaign stand has apparently been doing brisk business. Labour backbencher Apsana Begum was photographed posing with activists after the Hamas incursion.
Starmer may have driven the anti-Semites underground, but — as Gerry Adams said in another context about the IRA — they haven’t gone away, you know.
Nor should we forget that, whatever he says now, Starmer campaigned for Corbyn to become Prime Minister in 2019 and would have been happy to serve in a Hard-Left Cabinet hostile to Israel and openly friendly towards Hamas and Hezbollah.
What has always baffled me is the way in which British Jews are routinely blamed for the actions of the Israeli government. Yes, our Jewish community has deep ties with Israel. There are more than 30,000 British passport holders living there. One of the soldiers murdered by Hamas at the weekend was a young man from Barnet, down the road from me in North London.
And let’s not forget, either, that at least ten British citizens are presumed dead or missing at the hands of Hamas.
Yet the idea that all British Jews are uncritical backers of the Israeli administration is fiction. There are as many vocal opponents of Benjamin Netanyahu and his hardliners as there are supporters.
So why should they be blamed en masse for policies decided in Jerusalem? And why must it spill over into violence and vandalism? Indelibly ingrained anti-Semitism can be the only credible explanation.
After all, the Left — and it is almost exclusively the Left — don’t hold all British Muslims responsible for the excesses of the Saudi regime. Or attack Chinese restaurants over Beijing’s treatment of Uyghurs. Where are the protests outside the Russian embassy about the illegal war on Ukraine?
What also baffles me is why the Left make common cause with fascistic, paramilitary organisations such as Hamas, which represents and practises everything they claim to abhor, including rampant misogyny. How can they make excuses for a terrorist group which rapes and kills women and children?
And why would they take to the streets of Britain to demonstrate that support? The police are right to be vigilant.
Two years ago, an Islamic State-style convoy swept through North London waving Palestinian flags and Hamas scarves, and screeching anti-Semitic abuse through a megaphone. As I wrote at the time, how long before drive-by shouting becomes drive-by shooting?
What is unfolding in Israel is a human tragedy on an epic scale, sparked by a nihilistic terrorist organisation funded and trained by a theological tyranny in Tehran, hell-bent on erasing Israel from the face of the earth.
It shouldn’t be an excuse for gormless Guardianistas in fashionable intifada scarves to parade their juvenile political prejudices, or a licence for extreme anti-Semites to target British Jews.
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