Antisemitism is a stain on our society. It is an ugly hatred that deserves to be consigned to the past and yet it seems that it is a spectre that hovers behind many people within this country. It has once again been seen in the words and actions of those prominent voices in our society – particularly from those with a specific political persuasion.
Over the weekend, we all saw the disgusting scenes that came to the fore as protests that nominally were to express support for Palestinians became something quite different. Rather than merely protesting against the actions of the Israeli Government, it quickly became obvious that the true reason many of the protestors were there was simply to direct hatred towards Israel’s existence, its people and Jews generally. It is quite clear that something is rotten when you have a convoy driving around areas of London with high Jewish populations yelling horrible slogans such as “Jews, rape their daughters” or MPs speaking at rallies where specifically anti-Jewish slogans are chanted along with displays of blatantly antisemitic effigies and placards.
This is without even getting into some of the deplorable messaging that has dominated social media. Even as organisations and individuals attempted to disown the stench of antisemitism, they exposed their worldview and own problems further with their mealymouthed, cynical and on the odd occasion antisemitic statements condemning the “extremists”. For example, the NUS decided that it was acceptable to tweet a statement “condemning” antisemitism while at the same time blaming the spike in racism on Israeli government actions. Of course, only earlier the same day the NUS had put out a statement supporting Palestine and condemning the Israeli government for “ethnic cleansing”.
This just goes to show the level of disparity in how Israel is treated in the media. Throughout the course of the past week there has been a frankly disgraceful one-sided message that has dominated coverage of the conflict between the terrorist group Hamas, which controls Palestine, and the Israeli government. It is a message that demonstrates that people still do not understand the causes of modern-day antisemitism.
The message that has been propagated and shared without critical thought by too many people with public positions is that Israel is at fault and that Palestine is under attack. The current crisis was caused by the resolution of a decades long legal dispute that Israel had made every attempt to create a calm solution for.
There is a shocking double standard that is constantly on display. Israel’s military operations only commenced in response to the terrorist organisation Hamas deciding to fire rockets into Israel. Whether or not the evictions should have gone ahead – there is no supporting this decision, nor is there any valid justification.
Whenever the conflict flares up Israel is to blame for targeting civilians, not the Western designated terrorists. Hamas is an organisation that has boasted about using human shields and told its civilians to not move despite IDF warnings about operations against military targets. The IDF constantly undertakes efforts to warn and evacuate civilians of upcoming strikes – for example, like it did before it struck an office block where Hamas was hiding military assets behind the AP and Al Jazeera.
This is a fact that seemed to escape the notice of the journalists that breathlessly reported the attack as a “heinous crime is to silence the media”. All the while that Israel has solely attempted to destroy military targets, it is estimated that 3,000 rockets have been fired indiscriminately by Hamas into Israeli civilian areas resulting in Israeli civilians living in fear and having to take refuge in bomb shelters.
Simply put – here are the relevant facts on the current crisis. Israel and its civilians were attacked by a terrorist organisation. The Israeli government has tried to defend the country by targeting Hamas’ military targets.
And yet, which side is facing mass rallies? Which side’s supporters are far more likely to be targeting completely unrelated civilians with racist abuse?