UK is ‘European centre of anti-Semitism’
He identifies the cause quite straightforwardly as ‘a growing and increasingly radical Muslim population, the weak approach taken by a timid British Jewish leadership, and the detachment of the British from their Christian roots’.
Professor Wistrich notes that the expulsion of all Jews from Britain in 1290 by King Edward I following years of anti-Semitic violence was the first major expulsion of any Jewish community in Europe. Jews were banned from Britain until 1656, when Oliver Cromwell, who had overthrown the monarchy, authorised their return.
Somewhat obsessively, the professor then blames the continuing influence of ‘anti-Semitic stereotypes’ in Chaucer, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Dickens, Trollope, TS Elliot, and DH Lawrence, which he asserts ‘continue to impact British society hundreds of years later today’.
Cranmer rather doubts this. There are so few schoolchildren who are now taught Chaucer, and even fewer have ever heard of Marlowe, and Shakespeare is simply reduced to bite-sized chunks or turned into a trendy ‘rap’ such that students comprehend very little of the complex social dynamics at work in these texts. And when it comes to the population at large, it would be a minuscule percentage who may be even remotely familiar with The Merchant of Venice.
And obsessively further still: ‘During World War II, the British refusal to rescue the Jews of Europe and their decision to close the gates of Palestine stemmed not only from a policy of realpolitik but by anti-Semitic sentiments’.
The assertion is so facile that Cranmer is not going to waste his continuing death on the matter.
Where the professor is right, however, is in his assertion that ‘today's British media has taken an almost universally anti-Israel bias, especially but not exclusively on the BBC, with context removed from description of Israeli military actions, and Islamic jihadist activity such as suicide bombing never connected to ideology.
‘Under no circumstance will a Palestinian act of terrorism be referred to as terrorist. They are militants similar to the floor-shop dispute in Liverpool whose workers have decided to go on strike.
‘Palestinian terrorism is portrayed as a minor pin-prick compared to “massive” retaliation of this “rogue” state (Israel).
‘You cannot read a British newspaper without encountering a variant of the libel that Zionism is racism or Zionism is Nazism. With the media and the elites skewed against Israel - aided by former Israeli academics who routinely condemn the Jewish state and who have attained historic dissident status and are listened to as the authentic voice of Israel - the whole discussion of anti-Semitism has become distorted in Britain, with the accuser becoming the accused.
‘If you bring up the subject of anti-Semitism you are playing the anti-Semitism card and you are (seen as) a dishonest deceitful manipulative Jew or lover of Jews who is using the language of anti-Semitism to disguise hide or silence criticism of Israel.’
Britain now has 1.6 million Muslims compared to about 350,000 Jews, and the Qur’an is better known and more revered in the media than the Torah. Professor Wistrich notes that ‘the straying of the British from their Christian roots has also created a changed reality in the Anglo-Israeli relationship with no Bible-based reasons or raison d'etre for a Jewish presence in the Holy Land.’
He cites the recent support of the Archbishop of Canterbury for the adoption of parts of Shari’a: ‘The loss of Christian identity in what was the most Bible-believing culture in its day is one of the deeper layers of what has happened here.’
He notes some of the biblical remarks of prominent British leaders such as Lord Balfour and Lloyd George would be viewed as anathema today: ‘You cannot speak or act that way today, or you would be considered the “biggest threat to civilisation” as American Evangelicals are.’
Cranmer is not sure who, apart from Osama bin Laden and President Ahmadinejad, views American Evangelicals as ‘the biggest threat to civilisation’.
They pale into insignificance against the likes of New Labour.