It’s all getting a bit much out there, don’t you find? If it’s not Balfour, it’s sexual harassment. If it’s not one minister resigning from the government because of allegations of sexual harassment, it’s another resigning because of allegations of liking Israel more than is strictly necessary.
If it’s not whether Prince Charles did or did not say something more than 30 years ago which could be perceived as anti-Semitic, it’s real-life horrors such as Miko Peled and Azzam Tamimi peddling their particular brand of hatred, fear and loathing at University College, London — on a Friday night, to ensure the fewest number of Jewish students possible could be there in opposition.
Oh, and let’s not forget, while we are recording hatred, fear and loathing, the utterly cynical behaviour of the Jeremy Corbyn Inner Circle in proceeding to shortlist for a safe Labour council seat in Bradford a woman who asked, in apparent all sincerity, why “history teachers… start brainwashing us into thinking the bad guys are Hitler. What have the Jews done good in this world?”
It is certainly true that the woman in question, Nasreen Khan, a former member of George Galloway’s ill-named Respect Party, has apologised for these repellent sentiments, claiming that since she wrote them on Facebook five years ago she has seen the error of her ways.
Myself, I wonder if she is simply sorry to have been found out, as many of the sexual harassers and other apologists for beastly behaviour seem to be, but then we can’t see into people’s hearts.
Do we know for sure, for example, that the youthful Prince Charles — who by his own admission was “naive” in 1986 — still stands by his 30-year-old belief that “it is the influx of foreign, European Jews (especially from Poland, they say) which has helped to cause great problems. I know there are so many complex issues, but how can there ever be an end to terrorism unless the causes are eliminated? Surely some US president has to have the courage to stand up and take on the Jewish lobby in US?”
What has trickled out from behind the gates of Buckingham and Kensington Palaces down the years gives us ample reason to believe that at least two members of the Royal Family — the late Queen Mother and the equally late Princess Margaret — were not, shall we say, fans of the Jewish community. Charles, on the other hand, has tried to forge good relations in his determination to become “Defender of the Faiths” if he ever succeeds to the British throne, holding out his hand in particular to World Jewish Relief and the Board of Deputies.
So should we pillory him for youthful stupidity — or, purple-faced, accuse him of employing anti-Semitic tropes? Either way, it’s not likely to endear us to him. Maybe we should just keep quiet on that one.
On Peled, Tamimi, and gang, however, and probably on Nasreen Khan, there should be no shutting up.
And as we approach the joys of Chanukah — yes, it’s a mere few weeks away on 12 December — I can’t help but wonder if Downing Street will be welcoming some of us to light lights and eat doughnuts, all joining hands together.
By that stage we Jews might be the only friends this government has.
You can bet your boots Prime Minister-In-Waiting Corbyn won’t be doling out the latkes this time next year.