When I was growing up, I remember meeting people who had left Europe before the second world war and asking them when it was they realised they had to leave. The answers I was given varied depending on the individual’s circumstances. For some it was losing a job, and for others an act of violence. In each case, there was a realisation that it was time to go.
The UK is nowhere near that point. There is no official policy on Jews being prohibited from the Civil Service, or any of the professions. Access to health and education is the same for Jews as for any other part of the population.
There is though, a creeping policy of excluding Jews from certain parts of society where they are clearly not welcome. The claim, which is all too familiar to many is that this is about Zionism and not about Jews. It is Israel which is the brunt of complaint the critics claim, not Jews. This is just nonsense and I do not believe that there are many informed people in the UK today who still believe this piece of propaganda.
The left wing though do believe this, and practice it with fervour. The Labour Party is not a welcoming place for Jews today, certainly not those who wish to define for themselves what is meant by anti-Semitism or for those who believe in Zionism, the Jewish self-determination movement. The continued membership of many plainly anti-Semitic individuals guarantees that.
The University and Colleges Union (UCU), which has 110,000 members, rejected in May of this year the new International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of anti-Semitism, because it “conflates anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel”. This outrageous piece of Jew hate has largely gone unnoticed.
Many Trades Union leaders and activists treat Israel or any idea of a Zionism as so vile, that a visitor to Earth would believe that this issue was the only reason there is no world peace.
Universities, traditionally the home of liberal left wing thinkers are also part of this Jew excluding cabal. The School of Oriental and African Studies has long been the resting place of anti-Semites and this year, the Student Union there voted to refuse to allow Jews to define for themselves what they understand to be anti-Semitic. Outcry in the wider community? No. Too difficult say some, because these were just students exercising their democratic right to free speech.
What is clear now is that these left wing groups and institutions are the new anti-Semites. Their fascistic actions and attitude towards Israel and Zionism have created Jew free zones in politics, education and Trades Unions. Mainstream Jews are being told that there are not welcome in many areas of British Society simply because they wish to define for themselves what is anti-Semitic and to pursue their right to self-determination.
The legacy of the election in June this year for the Labour Party has been the conversion of the party to a homogeneous Corbynesque organisation where moderation is outlawed and any complaint of anti-Semitism is roundly condemned as a vicious attack on the party and worse, fundamentally disloyal.
I am not alone in recognising the reality of Jews being excluded from these groups. Friends and colleagues who are not Jewish have expressed concern to me about attempts to marginalise British Jews. The Government recognises that hysterical criticism of Zionism and Israel as the thinly veiled anti-Semitism that it is.
The UK has many laws in place to protect minorities but it is not enough for there to be laws or rules in place which prevent discrimination. They need to be observed and implemented. Pressure should be put on those with the powers to prosecute hate crime to go ahead and prosecute. Charities which exclude or promote harassment of Jews should lose their status, whatever their size and Universities which refuse to protect Jews should be fined.
What is needed now, is a change of attitude of society as a whole, to those who have created these Jew free areas, and for these fascists to be recognised for what they are. This represents the most serious challenge faced by the Jewish and wider community this century. The fascists of the left may start with the Jews, but as history has taught us, they will not end there.