Once again, the Jewish community in the U.K. is expected by antisemites to answer for events in the Middle East. This was culminated in the Finchley Road car convoy calling in broad daylight in one of London’s most Jewish areas to rape the daughters of Jews. The convoy exposes a number of problematic challenges that face the Jewish community in Britain with serious implications for inter-communal relations between minorities in the U.K. generally.
There are questions that need to be answered by the culprits, politicians and the security services, most notably the Metropolitan Police.
The culprits have taken over a legitimate right to protest about the Israel Gaza clashes and turned it into a most reprehensible display of antisemitic intimidation. The car convey came a day after a mostly legitimate protest in London which included both antisemitic as well as anti-Arab displays.
To see an MP like Jeremy Corbyn standing by an effigy of a UAE leader dressed in Arab garb is a blatant incitement against moderate Arabs and Muslims who call for an end to the Arab Israeli conflict.
Corbyn and other politicians have taken over a legitimate right to protest and turned it into a racist display of racism. The mere presence of Corbyn next to this effigy would have legitimated and even encouraged racists to take this a step further as we have seen on Finchley Road.
If Corbyn really cared about Palestinian lives, he should have asked that antisemitic chants should stop and the Arabphobic effigy removed before he went onto the stage.
Equally important to answer is why did it take so long for the Metropolitan Police to act against the alleged culprits and only after a social media uproar?
Would the antisemitic incident have been tolerated if it was not so widely reported on social media and the victims be left to deal with its consequences on their own? Given the reluctance of the police not to act against non-violent extremism, the culprits would have probably correctly assumed that their despicable actions would go unpunished.
The current situation may be convenient but is not sustainable. I myself had to deal with extremist threats and whilst the police investigated, it never went further. This is seen by extremists as a green light not only to continue with spewing extremist venom amongst communities, but an invitation to take the intimidation further. Inaction over non-violent extremism will eventually lead to violent extremism.
The racist events over past few days should be seen as a warning sign to lawmakers and the security services that the current situation needs to change if we are to preserve peace amongst Britain’s minorities in general.
The Jewish community sadly finds itself once again at the front line of the fight, for no fault of its own. For years, non-violent extremism, intimidation and incitement by Islamist extremists has largely been tolerated by the police.
“We know them, we are watching them” have become almost generic responses that the police gives. Is this because the law needs to catch up with a fast changing modes of intimidation? Is it about lack of police resources?
Or is the police over sensitive about upsetting communities if it acted against extremists?
Any of those answers is a problem on its own. Muslim-Jewish relations in Britain are exemplary and countries across the world look at how strong they are. But only a very small minority of extremists is capable of changing this. If we let this hate fester, all of Britain’s communities will be affected.
Lawmakers, security services and the communities need to work together and make it more difficult for extremists to operate, because now, extremists are capable of wreaking havoc. We must all work together to stop them.