This is what betrayal feels like

When Israel was attacked on the 7th October this year the Western world generally reacted with horror and disgust. There was universal condemnation from nearly every political party leader in the UK and for once, there was a sense for us Jews that we mattered. The Conservative Government was solid in its support for Israel and it is reassuring that this hasn’t changed.

What has changed as we know is the attitude of the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland – Anas Sarwar – and the Mayors of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham and Greater London, Sadiq Khan. Despite it being well recorded that Hamas would use any ceasefire to re-arm and re-group, on the 27th October, just less than three short weeks from the appalling attacks on Israelis, these three turned their backs on the Jews.

I say Jews, because this is what the war in Israel is about. It is a holy war by Islamists against the Jews and their state. And that war has been brought here. Every week since the massacres and kidnapping, the Jew haters have taken to the streets of London, Manchester and other towns and cities calling for a ceasefire. The familiar chant of ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ has been heard extensively.  For those not familiar with this it simply means that between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea there will be no Jews. In light of the events of the 7th October it is not difficult to work out how that will come about.

For Mr Sarwar, Mr Kahn and Mr Burnham, all of that is of no interest. For London and Manchester it could just be that they want the Muslim votes and if they don’t press for a ceasefire to give Hamas the opportunity to re-group then those votes could be lost. So there you have it, the physical safety of our community compromised by Labour leaders who have claimed for years to support the Jewish community and pledged their support to fight antisemitism only to cave in to pressure from the Jew haters in less than three weeks.

I am sure they will claim to be concerned about humanitarian issues but I believe that we can all see that this is just a smokescreen.  We are back to the all too familiar scenario of how everyone loves dead Jews, it is the living ones they are not sure about.  And here it is now, in front of us, support for Israel when her citizens are gunned down and then when Israel exercises her right to defend herself, with living Jewish soldiers, that support disappears like the melting snows of spring.  The votes of the Muslim community, so much bigger than ours are clearly more important than simple issues of integrity and decency.

What is most upsetting is that we thought that the dismissive approach to our community as experienced when Jeremy Corbyn was Labour leader had gone.  At least under Corbyn we knew where we stood, unprotected and friendless.  With Mr Khan and Mr Burnham we had been led to believe that those days had gone. We got that wrong.  It was so easy to believe them, that they really did have our best interests at heart.  Well, they did as long it meant not having to do something difficult to follow that through.  When tested, these self-acclaimed fighters against Jew-hate failed and I am left with the feeling that I should never have believed them in the first place.

About the Author
Robert Festenstein is a solicitor based in Manchester with considerable experience in Court actions. He is active fighting the increase in anti-Semitism in the UK and is President of the Zionist Central Council, an organisation devoted to promoting and defending the democratic State of Israel.
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