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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 27, 2003

Britain's anti-Israel crusaders

Jewsweek has this disturbing (but not unusual!) story
The Arab-Israel conflict has swept through Britain like a desert wind, and the 280,000-member Jewish community is feeling the lash of its heat. Last July, a synagogue in Wales was ransacked while a professor at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology fired two Israeli academics from a university journal as part of a cultural boycott campaign that caught Israeli professors in the cross hairs. Somewhat ironically, one of the sacked academics, American-born Miriam Schlesinger, is a former chairperson of Amnesty International who makes regular "solidarity visits" to the Palestinian Authority.

The mainstream British media has run stories with conspiratorial themes, such as a recent feature in the Independent, a respected broadsheet, purporting to explain the mechanics of how Jewish money and political lobbying controls the American Congress and the media. Antisemitism here, according to the Board of Deputies of British Jews and a report from the Stephen Roth Institute of Tel Aviv University, is rising.

Violence and vandalism are blamed on Muslims and neo-Nazis. But if it's not surprising that incendiary rhetoric pours from the mosques of London, British Jews are alarmed to know that it's also flowing from the pulpits of churches throughout the country, with radical Anglican clerics who call Israel an apartheid state and accuse it of engaging in terrorism against defenseless Palestinians. Months after allegations of a massacre in Jenin were discredited, they continued promoting the charges on web sites and calling for United Nations forces to intervene on the Palestinians' behalf. And, while publicly repudiating anti-Semitism and espousing nonviolence, they insist, somewhat incongruously, that Palestinian suicide bombers are acting in self-defense. [more]