The Banality of Evil

Anti-Semitism never really died after the Holocaust, it just became unfashionable. That is no longer the case. In the wake of the Gaza War and with the global economy in a tailspin, disturbing events have been occurring in Britain – events that do not bode well either for the future of British Jewry or for the future of British democracy.

The war in Gaza combined with the global economic downturn has revealed a dark side to British society as demonstrated by the extent to which the British media, intelligentsia and political class have buckled in the face of the Islamic jihad. On average, according to the Observer, there are seven anti-Semitic attacks every single day in the UK – attacks that have come in the form of graffiti, vandalism, arson, violent assaults on Jews in the streets, and hate e-mails. Jewish schools have been granted extra protection, and the Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Semitism in British society, continues to issue dire warnings. According to British police, Jews are four times more likely to be attacked because of their religion than are Muslims – no surprise given that the Muslim population in Britain is growing ten times as fast as the rest of society. As a result, every synagogue service and virtually every Jewish communal event now requires guards to be on the lookout for violence from both neo-Nazis and Muslim extremists. Orthodox Jews have become particular targets; some have begun wearing baseball caps instead of skullcaps and concealing their Star of David jewelry for fear of being attacked.

Melanie Phillips, writing in the Wall Street Journal (Europe) expressed her concern in historical terms: “Years of demonizing Israel and appeasing Islamist extremism within Britain have now coalesced as a result of the media misrepresentation of the Gaza War as an atrocity against civilians, in an unprecedented wave of hatred against Israel, and a sharp rise in attacks on British Jews” – and the authorities have done little or nothing to quell such incitement. In January, while “pro-Palestinian” demonstrators were permitted to dress up as hook-nosed Jews drinking the blood of Arab babies, the police ordered counter-protesters to put away their Israeli flags. Inanother case, students at Oxford University gleefully proclaimed that in five years, their campus “would be a Jew-free zone,” and in another, the London-based Royal Court Theatre is staging a viciously anti-Israeli play by Caryl Churchill suggesting that the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis on the Jews of Europe is now being constructed by the Jews of Israel for the Palestinians – the implication being that Jews have forfeited the “right” to “benefit” from theguilt and sorrowspun off by the Holocaust – a “right” now properly transferred to the Palestinians.

But these events are not happening in a vacuum. Consider the comment by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the incorporation of Sharia into British law and “getting a debate about religion into public life” – his way of recognizing creeping Islamification and the cultural retreat of the Enlightenment in his own country. Sharia has already been officially incorporated into British financial policy and civil law. Schoolshave begun canceling Christmas in favor of Eid and defending Christianity onBritish radio today can get you fired. Even British prisoners are converting en masse to Islam – for their own safety. Cultural staples like pork are becoming subject to discrimination lawsuits, floggings are becoming commonplace, and there is a wave of honor killings across the country with brothers killing their own sisters.

Contrary to what the politicians tell us ad nauseum, it isn’t silent majorities that drive things, but vocal minorities and the prevailing mood makes Jews and Israel an easy sacrifice. You can attack Jews because there are no Jewish suicide bombers and nothing to fear, but condemning Muslim atrocities (oops – sorry – “anti-Islamic activities”) or the gradual Islamification of Britain – well that’s another matter. As Mark Steyn writes: “While Europe has a high degree of tolerance for intolerant imams, it won’t tolerate anyone pointing out that intolerance.”

Recently, Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders was banned from Britain and demonized by the British Home Office as “a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat” because his film Fitna graphically and honestly documented the brutality of radical Islamists and twinned their actions to specific verses in the Quran. As Bat Yeor wrote recently in National Review Online: “His crime is maintaining that Europe’s civilization is rooted in the values of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, and the Enlightenment — and not in Mecca, Baghdad, Andalusia, and al-Quds. He fights for Europe’s independence from the Caliphate, and for its endangered freedoms.”

In all this, it is becoming clearer with each passing day that Londonistan is no longer a safe place for Jews to practice their religion, nor are many places in Europe which is demographically morphing into Eurabia. In a recent comment in The Spectator, one reader opined: “I for one resent the fact that I can no longer congregate outside my synagogue. I resent the fact that my children attend Jewish school protected by security fences, concrete blocks and guard posts. I resent the fact that my eldest daughter … should feel intimidated on campus and questioned in a hostile, finger pointing manner how she feels as a Jewess on the question of Gaza, and if she supports the Israeli actions.” And a Birmingham school is investigating reports that twenty children chased a 12-year-old girl (the only Jewish pupil in the school) chanting “Kill all Jews” and “Death to the Jews”.

Listening to the hatred reflected in these cries, onecould almost concludethat it must have been the Jews who were behind the 9/11 attacks, burned down the Danish embassies throughout Europe and the Middle East two years ago over the Mohammed cartoons, beheadedscores of infidels, train their children to become “martyrs for Allah”, use the web to incite hatred and jihad, strap explosives to their bodies and self-detonate in restaurants, train stations, subways, pizza parlors, buses, shopping malls, coffee shops, marketplaces, hotels and at tourist centers and resorts in Peshawar, Beirut, Kandahar, Kabul, Mosul, Baghdad, London, Madrid, Bali, Amman, Istanbul, Dar es Salaam, Jakarta, Mumbai, Kuwait City, Tashkent, Bukhara, Nairobi, Manila, Casablanca, Cairo, Mogadishu, Tel Aviv and Jerusalemand are waging a vicious religiously-inspired holy war against “non-believers.”

And I suspect that if the British students who, from the comfort of theircomputers thousands of miles away, can criticize the actions of a beleaguered democracy under siege from terrorists, liken Israelis to Nazis, Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto, and who attended the seventeen sit-ins and demonstrations held at British universities to protest Israeli “massacres” in Gaza had chanted “Death to all Muslims” as they screamed “Death to all Jews” during the Gaza War, the British Left and civil rights organizations would have been all over them demanding staff resignations, boycotts of their schools and colleges, the arrest of the student organizers, and compensation to the British Muslim community. It appears, however,that only the Jews merit such revulsion.

These actions reflect more than an anti-Israel stance. They represent a sickness gaining prevalence within British society – a sickness reflected by the growing social acceptance of the most ancient of religious hatreds. Neither the British media (that excels in the art of whitewashing Muslim extremism) nor British society generally seem to care much that radical Islamists like Hamas are involved in at least twenty-five conflicts going on around the globe including, but not limited to Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Congo, Ivory Coast, Cyprus, East Timor, India, Indonesia (2 provinces), Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kurdistan, Macedonia, the Middle East, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, Russia-Chechnya, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uganda and Uzbekistan. Nor are they especially concerned about child soldiers in Chad and Congo; compulsory sterilization of women in China; rape as a political weapon in Zimbabwe; sex trafficking in Asia or denial of human rights to minorities and women in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.

And as Melanie Phillips has pointed out, the government of Sri Lanka is attempting to eradicate terrorism by a military campaign in which, according to the UN, an estimated 70,000 civilians have been killed, thousands made homeless, hundreds of thousands displaced, and to which, as food shortages grow, the government refuses to allow access to journalists. Despite all this, there are no sit-ins on British campuses against the Sri Lankans, no violent protests outside its High Commission, no calls to boycott Sri Lankan products and academics, virtually no media coverage, and certainly no calls for theannihilation of Sri Lanka.

Nor wasa word heard fromanyonein November/December 2004 when U.S. forces destroyed most of the city of Fallujah and killed an estimated six thousand civilians in pursuit of Islamic terrorists not to mention destroying sixty-five mosques and as many schools that were being used to hide enemy weapons. Alternatively, I do not recall any protests against Hamas for firing thousands of missiles at Israeli cities, towns and villages for years, not to mention terrorizing over 250,000 men, women and children who have spent the better part of the past three years running to bomb shelters several times a day. Somehow, the deaths of 1,300 Gazans (two-thirds of whom were terrorists hiding behind Palestinian human shields) have evoked more outrage in Britain than the estimated two million dead in Congo, the tens of thousands of Iraqis slaughtered by Sunni and Shia terrorists in Iraq, or the massacres of civilians killed by their own governments in Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Burundi, Chad, Afghanistan, Columbia, Guatemala, Haiti, Guinea, Rwanda and West Bengal.

For a country that has never produced a single suicide bomber, never lobbed missiles indiscriminately into Gaza’s cities, feeds and provides humanitarian aid to its enemies in the midst of a war with them (as if the Allies in World War II had sent convoys of supplies to Berlin when it was under siege), andhas gone to the extraordinary length of contacting civilians in Arabic by cell phone telling them in advanceto vacatetargeted areasused by terrorists (as happened during the Gaza war) – that such a country should be so reviled and hated verges on moral bankruptcy.

If anyone should be charged with war crimes in Gaza, it should be Hamas not Israel. The bottom line seems to be – ifyou are willing to excuse terrorist attacks against Jews in southern Israel where a tiny democracy is seeking to protect its people against terrorism, it’s just as easy to turn a blind eye to Jews being attacked elsewhere, even in the streets of London, Birmingham or the suburbs of Paris.

In many ways, Jews are the barometers of the societies in which they live – the canary in the mineshaft of democratic societies – which accounts for why the U.S., Canada and Australia remain resilient, vibrant democracies where minorities continue to thrive. But these countries have become more the exception than the rule. The history of the 20th century suggests that as it has gone with the Jews, so it has gone with democracy, and as it has gone with democracy, so it has gone with the Jews. By that standard, the events surrounding the Gaza War combined with the global economic downturn foreshadow a difficult period ahead not just for British Jewry, but for British (and by extension European) democracy. The results of a recent Anti-Defamation League survey show that31% of Europeans blame Jews for the global economic meltdown (including more than half of Hungarian, Polish and Spanish respondents) and 40% of Europeans consider Jews to have too much power*.

Steven Plaut summed it up well in a recent article: “Anti-Semites and those with totalitarian ideologies always reverse cause and effect. For them, every atrocity against Jews is a righteous protest against Jewish wrongdoing and Israeli misbehavior. Every retaliation by Israel is an unprovoked criminal act of malice and Nazi-like aggression. It is exactly like claiming the Japanese were the victims of American aggression at Pearl Harbor… The real problem is that the anti-Israel lobby does not consider Jews to be human. Therefore Jewish deaths never matter and Jewish lives are expendable. Because Jews are not quite human, they can never be entitled to the right of self-defense or permitted to engage in it. Anti-Zionism has now been thoroughly Nazified. There can be no other word for people who insist that Jewish life is worthless and that Jewish deaths never count.”

There is little doubt that the Gaza campaign merely provided a pretext to unleash deep-seated anti-Semitism in Britain, across Europe, and even prior to the war – led to the slaughters in Mumbai’s Chabad Center. If history is any judge, there is nothing that proves the need for a Jewish state more than the persecution of Jews outside of it. The irony is that, as Europe morphs into Eurabia, the Europeanswill become the new Jews.

*See also: Manfred Gerstenfield, “Behind the Humanitarian Mask: The Nordic Countries, Israel, and the Jews“, Institute for Global Jewish Affairs (

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