Should Jews leave Britain? The question is prompted by this piece written by the Israeli journalist Caroline Glick.

Glick recently came to London to take part in an Intelligence Squared debate. The debate was about Israeli settlements. Glick and Danny Dayan attempted to explain to the London audience that Palestinian rejection rather than Jewish settlement in the West Bank is the primary reason there is still no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. The debate is now available on Youtube and there you can see the deeply rancorous tone of the discussion. At one point Lord Levy’s son, Daniel Levy, (arguing against Glick and Dayan) has to be almost physically restrained by his own co-debater (William Sieghart). Levy’s frustration appears to come from being pulled up on an allegation he casually makes against Israel for which he turns out to have absolutely no evidence.

But the audience go with him, and go against Glick and Dayan in the final vote by a factor of 5 to 1. As Glick notes in her bitter farewell to London, the audience was so hostile towards her argument that when she even mentioned the matter of Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini and his involvement with the Nazis during World War II she was booed down by the audience. They – having been presented to her as open-minded – turned out to be so close-minded and partial that they would not even hear a historical fact about a Palestinian figure who was an actual Nazi. Glick writes:

‘I was prepared to conduct a civilized debate based on facts and reasoned argumentation. I expected it to be a difficult experience. I was not expecting to be greeted by a well-dressed mob.’

I suppose that there will be those who think Glick’s recommendation to Jews to be over-statement:

‘There is no future for Jews in England.’

But after the events of the last week you do have to wonder.

After all it was a week in which David Ward, the Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East, used the opportunity provided by Holocaust Memorial Day to punish the Jews for the Holocaust:

‘Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.’

And on the day itself the Sunday Times saw fit to publish a cartoon by the witless Gerald Scarfe showing the Prime Minister of the Jewish state building a wall consisting of bloodied and dying Palestinians.

Much of the comment on these latter cases has focussed on the ‘inappropriateness’ of running an anti-Semitic cartoon or making an anti-Semitic comment so close to Holocaust Memorial Day. I cannot help thinking that this is missing the point. Ward and Scarfe should be excoriated not for their sense of timing but for the fact that they are wrong. Wholly, completely and outright wrong. There is absolutely no connection between, for instance, the liquidation of hundreds of thousands of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto and the treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank. There is absolutely no connection between the situation in Gaza and the herding of six million Jews into concentration camps. The wonder then is not over Scarfe or Ward’s sense of timing, but why at any point in any year they would be so keen to spread lies and to bait Jews by comparing the actions of the Jewish state with those of a genocidal doctrine of Nazism which sought to annihilate the Jews.

Rupert Murdoch has apologised for the Scarfe cartoon and Ward now seems to be reluctantly towing what Liberal Democrat party line can be held. But Glick’s question returns. What sort of future is there in Britain for Jews? I would submit that there is a future. But what is becoming increasingly clear is that the price of that future is that Jews will increasingly be expected to distance themselves from Israel. There is a fair amount of evidence from the Jewish community suggesting that this process is already underway. Once it is complete then those ‘good’ anti-Israel Jews will be able to proclaim victory. But the same force that they encouraged to come for their co-religionists will then just as surely come for them. And then where will they hide?

Tags: Anti-Semitism, Britain, David Ward, Gerald Scarfe, Israel, Palestine