Hated ‘in’ Britain?

A guest post by Marc Goldberg

article-2439565-1869B7C000000578-142_638x415I’m more than a little bewildered by the amount of controversy surrounding the attack by the Daily Mail on Ralph Miliband, the father of the current head of the Labour Party in the UK, Ed Miliband – the man who looks set to lead his party to victory over the Conservatives in the next  general election. In an attack widely condemned in the UK, the newspaper launched a vigorous attack on the younger Miliband by going after his now deceased father. At one point, Geoffrey Levy, who penned the article, literally claimed that the veteran of the Royal Navy “hated Britain”, a ‘fact’ used in the title “The Man Who Hated Britain”.

The article generated widespread condemnation and some wonder whether there is more to it than a newspaper merely attacking a politician through his father.   You see, Ralph Miliband was a Jew and as a point of fact he was an ardent Socialist. There are some who see the spectre of anti-Semitism rearing its ugly head. If you’re in any doubt as to why some people immediately thought anti-Semitism, simply Google the term “Jewish Socialist”, then “Jewish Communist”, then “Jewish Bolshevik” and you’ll get the idea pretty quickly. Alternatively you can just watch Schindler’s List and count the number of times the Nazis who are killing Jews make those kinds of comparisons;

“An educated Jew, like Karl Marx himself.”

When I read the original article I simply came away from it thinking that Ralph Miliband was a deluded individual blindly hanging on to a dead ideology. I didn’t see anything in it that was offensive to Jews in general, and in fact it wouldn’t even have occurred to me to connect it with anti-Semitism if I hadn’t started hearing it from various directions around me.

With that in mind I read an article in the New Statesman written by Daniel Trilling who said something that really resonated with me, he wrote that;

“The subtext, further reinforced by the way the paper worded its refusal to apologise for running the piece, is that there’s something foreign about Ed Miliband himself. Never openly said, of course, but a series of snide digs that say – watch it, Ed, you’ll never be fully British and don’t you forget it.”

The irony of the fact that Trilling is writing this is that it’s exactly what Ralph Miliband wrote about British society and one of the quotes that was used against him to argue that he was somehow unpatriotic.  Miliband wrote:

“Foreigners, Jews, natives etc are all right in their place and their place is outside . . .”

This perfectly describes the feelings of the 21-year-old me as I left the UK for Israel. Perhaps as Levy suggests, this is the product of having “a giant sized social chip” on my shoulder but the fact that the words written by Ralph Miliband echoed my own thoughts decades later and that this quote was chosen by Levy in the first place as proof of Miliband’s alleged hatred of Britain combined with the fact that Trilling took this as the message inherent in the article is quite a coincidence.

What the Daily Mail has done is disturb a real fault line in the way that Jews in the UK perceive their own relationship with wider British society. This is a Jewish community that never had the same sense of pride at being a ‘British’ Jew or feeling of acceptance as our cousins in the United States at being American Jews.

The British Jewish community has always been of a “don’t rock the boat” mentality and everything will be fine, yet if even Ralph Miliband, the Marxist who left his Judaism way behind him and sired the head of the Labour Party could come under attack for not being British enough, then maybe the rest could too. A very worrying thought indeed. 

History lecturer James Renton: “Britain should apologise for Balfour Declaration.”

Cross posted by the London based blogger, Richard Millett

James Renton and Deborah Maccoby of JfJfP at SOAS

James Renton and Deborah Maccoby of JfJfP at SOAS

A little known history lecturer is quickly becoming the new poster boy of the anti-Israel movement. Last night at SOAS James Renton detailed why he thinks the British government should apologise for the Balfour Declaration. He was invited to speak by Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

The thrust of Renton’s argument is that there should be such an apology because the Balfour Declaration lacked clarity on the meaning of “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, which, he said, unleashed an expectation of statehood amongst Jews that was never intended. He blames the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on this “misconceived, ill thought through policy of the British government”.

He also argued that the Declaration was based on the mistaken and anti-Semitic assumption that Jews had great power in America and Russia and that they were mainly Zionist. Therefore, such a declaration would encourage Russia and America against Germany during the Great War.

Renton thinks that there was never an intention to create a Jewish state and he quoted from a letter from David Lloyd George to the then Archbishop of Westminster, who told Lloyd George in 1919 that the Zionists in Palestine were “causing a stink and claiming that the country would soon be coming under their control”. Lloyd George replied to the Archbishop:

“If the Zionists claim domination of the Holy Land under a British protectorate then they are certainly putting their claims too high.”

Renton criticised Britain for advertising that it was a big supporter of Zionism while at the same time promoting national freedom for Arabs but without thinking either side really expected political independence in Palestine. This was because the British viewed both Jews and Arabs as “politically backward”.

You can read Renton’s thesis in Haaretz (contact me in you cannot access the link and I will send you the article).

However, his thesis is facile. For one he contradicts himself by saying both that the British thought the Jews had immense power but that they were also politically backward. Which is it?

For Renton the Balfour Declaration was mainly down to anti-Semitism. As he puts it “Balfour and Mark Sykes said nasty things about Jews” (Sykes was the government’s advisor on the Middle East at the time). And he downplays the role of Christian support for a Jewish state as well as Chaim Weizmann’s efforts in manufacturing ammunition for Britain during the Great War.

This campaign to have Britain apologise for the Balfour Declaration was dreamt up by the Palestine Return Centre. They launched a petition with the view to obtaining one million signatures in support of an apology by the time of the centenary of the Declaration in 2017. Unlike Renton, the PRC thinks the apology should be for the tremendous injustices” the Balfour Declaration has caused to the Palestinian people.

The PRC are now using the recent decision in the Mau Mau rebellion case, where Britain has been found guilty of complicity in the torture of victims in the Mau Mau uprising against British rule in Kenya in the 1950s and 1960s, to give their campaign a boost.

Renton spotted one difficulty with the PRC’s campaign though. He noted that there will be no one alive from the era of the Balfour Declaration to attest. So he suggested to a representative of the PRC who was in the audience last night that the PRC might have more success if they asked the British government for an apology for the Arab losses during the Arab uprising of 1936-1939.

The problem with that is that the PRC’s raison d’etre is the destruction of Israel via the so-called Palestinian “right of return”. They want an apology to undermine Israel’s existence. I doubt that Arabs were killed during that Arab uprising is of great significance to the PRC in the scheme of things. Renton might not know of the PRC’s politics, but there’s a good clue in their name Palestine Return Centre as to why they might want an apology.

Anyway, the wording of the Balfour Declaration is clear. What is meant by “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” if not a state? The clue is in the words “national home”.

Renton gave us a sheet of homework asking all 10 of us in the audience some questions:

1. Did today’s talk differ from your previous understanding of this issue?
2. Has Dr Renton’s talk affected how you think about the Balfour Declaration?
3. What aspects would you challenge, and why?

Maybe you could email him at james.renton@edgehill.ac.uk with your answers. He wants to hear from you.

Are Jews Still Persecuted in Britain Today? Richard Millett on 4ThoughtTV

The following is cross posted at Richard Millett‘s blog

(Editor’s note: Millett was asked to contribute to the following program due, in part, to his affiliation with CiF Watch.)

Tonight at 7.55pm (GMT) on Channel 4 I am in 4ThoughtTV’s slot on whether Jews are still persecuted in Britain today, which is the theme of the week.


There are seven contributions in all. Here is the link to mine and the other six:


1. I spoke about my experiences of harassment at anti-Israel events when I have merely tried to get Israel’s point of view across.

2. Stephen Sizer is an anti-Israel/anti-Zionist Christian Minister. I once went to hear him speak at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign event held in a church. He said, inter alia, that churches that side with Israel have “repudiated Jesus, have repudiated the bible and are an abomination”. On my way out of that meeting I was accosted by an audience member who let out some of the most Holocaust denying anti-Jewish vitriol I have ever heard. She told me, inter alia, that Jews died in the Holocaust from having “had their foreskins chopped off.”

In his 4Thought clip Sizer claims it’s important to be able to criticise certain Israeli policies without being accused of anti-Semitism. Let’s be clear: criticising Israel’s policies is legitimate, just like it is legitimate to criticise the policies of any country.

Sizer and his ilk are accused of anti-Semitism because they want the world’s only Jewish state to disappear. This is completely different to criticising Israel’s policies. Instead, they single out the Jewish state, the collective Jew, for destruction. So, Sizer is being highly disingenuous. If he were truthful he would have admitted he wants the Jewish state removed.

3. Another who wants the Jewish state removed is Ahron Cohen, of the extremist religious Jewish sect the Neturei Karta which believes that Jews should only go to the Holy Land once they have received a direct order from God to do so. The Neturei Karta also embraces Iran’s Holocaust denying President Ahmadinejad who repeatedly calls for the destruction of Israel. Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei has referred to Israel as “the Zionist cancerous tumour in the heart of the Islamic world”.

In his clip, Cohen blames Palestinian terrorism “on the very existence of the sectarian state known as Israel”.

4. Mike Marcus has also fallen for the myth that “The Zionist lobby uses the label of anti-Semitism to silence their critics”.

5. Jose Martin correctly blames the media for whipping up anti-Semitism due to its unfair reportage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

6. Yisrael Abeles, a Holocaust survivor, also blames the media for driving much of what has, these days, become “institutionalised anti-Semitism” as opposed to street anti-Semitism.

7. The most moving clip is by schoolgirl Eden Simones-Jones who says that she still suffers from depression and anxiety due to anti-Semitic harassment. She finishes:

“If people say there is no problem with anti-Semitism, I think they should wake-up, open their eyes and really look about what’s going out there because they’re obviously sheltered in their own little dreamland where everything’s rosy, because anti-Semitism’s everywhere. You’ve just got to know what to look for.”

Sadly, she’s right. Anti-Semitism is everywhere. In Britain today anti-Zionism, an attack on Israel as the collective Jew, is the modern updated version of anti-Semitism, the attack on Jews as individuals. “Anti-Zionism” is a label that has been adopted by many of Britain’s  academics, journalists, politicians, religious leaders and charities to hide their true feelings about Jews. This is the “institutionalised anti-Semitism” referred to by Yisrael Abeles.

The English Defense League: The New Face of Europe?

This essay, by A. Millar, published by Hudson New York, represents an alternative view of the English Defence League from the ones previously presented at CiF Watch.  As always, your comments are welcomed.

A group of extremist Islamists attacked the returning soldiers as “butchers of Basra,” “baby killers,” and “terrorists” during a homecoming parade not long ago in the city of Luton. With years of anti-British “political correctness,” and a political class that has failed to tackle Islamism with seriousness, this proved to be too much: the crowd that had turned out to cheer on the soldiers was soon making their disgust known to the Islamists; the two groups had to be held apart by police. Within a few days, a video was floating around the internet, showing the aftermath: calling themselves the “United People of Luton,” thousands of (mostly) young men had taken to the streets in a rowdy, and chaotic show of anger and frustration, chanting “no surrender to the Taliban,” “we are Luton,” and, directed at the Islamists, “scum.”

A short time later, the English Defense League [EDL] emerged from the United People of Luton, and, in a little over the year since its founding, has become the largest street protest movement in Britain.

The EDL has also inspired the recent establishment of independent leagues in the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, and other EU states; the movement is attracting international attention – including from the Israeli-based Haaretz and the US-based Dissent.

Strident opposition to integration — from politicians, the media, and Islamist extremists — has led to serious social problems, not only for long-settled British citizens, but also for immigrants and the children of immigrants. These range from the high rates of unemployment among Muslims, the forced marriage of school girls (and to a lesser extent school boys), to honor violence against women and girls, and violence against homosexual Muslims. Opponents of integration know of these problems, but ignore them. It would appear that their intention was not to make life easy for immigrants, but to make life easy for themselves.

Mass immigration into Europe, is, in some sense the “Americanization” of Europe, according to Christopher Caldwell, author of Reflections on the Revolution In Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West, who has said that over the last few decades – especially over the last ten years – Europe has become increasingly multi-ethnic, and multi-religious, and multi-everything. In this sense, it resembles the US, especially its cities, such as New York; however, because the EU was intended as a “counterbalance” to the US – and an exemplar of a more socialistic, statist, and allegedly moral and ethical way of doing things – Europe has enacted immigration and integration in an almost opposite way. Consequently, as immigration has increased, instead of becoming more like the US, Europe has become less like it.

In the US, newcomers may be encouraged to feel proud of America’s achievements in the world, its democracy, its opportunities. Immigrants might retain significant aspects of their culture, their religion, or values from their former homes, but, largely, they are also proud to be American, and proud to have democracy, liberty, free speech, and the other opportunities for which they came. In Britain, however, immigrants have been encouraged to remain separate from the rest of society, to refrain from learning the language of the host culture, and from integrating. The Archbishop of Canterbury appeared to encourage the adoption of some sharia into Britain in 2008; a few months later, Stephen Hockman, QC, former chairman of the Bar Council, called for aspects of sharia to be formally incorporated into British law.

The routine devaluing of British culture is a gift to Islamists who want to separate Muslims from non-Muslims in the UK – or, worse, who intend to impose sharia on everyone, like it or not. The organization hosting Hockman, as he delivered his appeal for a sharia-lite Britain, was none other than the now-banned Islam4UK, an Islamist group descended from al-Muhajiroun, which has been linked to one in seven convicted terrorists in the UK [pdf]

Read rest of the essay here.

Is Britain Anti-Semitic?

Is Britain Anti-Semitic?  By Soren Kern, writing at Hudson New York.

Britain’s political class is debating its attitudes towards Jews and the Jewish state.

Consider British Prime Minister David Cameron, who recently jumped on the anti-Israel bandwagon by declaring that Israel has turned the Gaza Strip into a “prison camp.” Or consider Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who has a long history of bashing the Jewish state. Or consider many British opinion shapers, whether on the political left of right, in government, the media or academia, who have for years exhibited an unhealthy obsession with Israel.

Or consider Queen Elizabeth. Although she has been on the British throne for almost 60 years, during which she has made over 250 official overseas visits to 129 different countries, she has never made an official visit to Israel. (Nor, for that matter, has a single member of the British royal family.)

The row started after Israeli President Shimon Peres told Tablet Magazine, a Jewish online publication, that Britain has a Jewish problem. In an interview with Israeli historian Benny Morris, Peres said there that has always been something “deeply pro-Arab” and “anti-Israel” in the British establishment. Asked whether this was due to anti-Semitism, Peres replied, “Yes, there is also anti-Semitism. There is in England a saying that an anti-Semite is someone who hates the Jews more than is necessary.” He added: “There are several million Muslim voters [in Britain], and for many members of parliament, that is the difference between getting elected and not getting elected.”

In the face of a media storm, Peres later clarified his remarks, saying that his comments were taken out of context, and that he “never accused the British people of anti-Semitism.” Nevertheless, his comments hit a raw nerve and unleashed an angry wave of denials from all sides of Britain’s political spectrum.

On the Left, for example, Labour MP Denis MacShane, who chaired a parliamentary inquiry into British anti-Semitism in 2005, said Peres was mistaken: “While there has certainly been a growth of anti-Semitic attacks in the UK and too many MPs and civil servants refuse to acknowledge the growth of neo-anti-Semitism, I do not consider Britain to be an anti-Semitic nation any more than it is an Islamophobic nation, despite some ugly words and actions against both Jews and Muslims.”

See rest of the essay, here.