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Time for concern

Last updated: 2003-11-21

Rabbi Jeremy Rosen

Rabbi Jeremy Rosen

If Abraham could move on when it got uncongenial, so might we!

I have never been alarmist. I'm a reasonable, liberal sort of bloke. But now I believe things are changing before our very eyes in Europe and we do not realize what is happening. Al Qaeda now officially targets Jews at prayer anywhere in the world. Yet hundreds of thousands of Al Qaeda supporters will be on the streets in London demonstrating against George Bush.

Why is it that the demonstrations against removing SoDamnInsane that mobilize thousands to protest are so significant? It is because they represent a very strange alliance. The marches are sponsored by the British Muslim Association, together with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. I used to march with the CND forty years ago. The CND then was anti American too. Envy of the successful Yanks goes back a long way. Nothing stimulates hatred and envy as much as a deep realisation of ones debt and dependency. Biting the hand that feeds one is an ancient tradition.

The CND then was a predominantly left wing socialist, intellectual, academic movement of overwhelmingly liberal opinion. That such a constituency should join forces with fundamentalist Muslims is deeply disturbing.

I will not mince words. Islam, the once glorious liberal tradition of the great academic centres of Baghdad and Cairo a thousand years ago that gave ancient culture and civilization to Europe, has now become overwhelmingly a crude expression of disenfranchised fundamentalist rage and the few liberal, open minded, progressive Muslims have almost all been bullied into silence.

The disempowerment is entirely due to the repressive and regressive regimes most Muslims live under. But like all sick, totalitarian regimes they survive by finding scapegoats. The universal scapegoat has always been and remains the Jew. We are responsible for the Marxists, the Nazis and every other heinous movement in human history. These are the very regimes that the CND used to condemn. But now united their hatred of anything Jewish they march alongside totalitarians in opposition to a freely elected democratic pleader.

Of course Marxists have always been anti religious and anti Jewish. Now that the Cold War is over, what issues remain for Marxists? Their only causes now are Anti Americanism and anti Zionism. This means that intellect is no longer the issue, only visceral, irrational hatred. But the problem is on our own doorstep.

In London, the Mayor constantly repeats lies and slurs against Israel and speaks a totally different language about terrorists. He continues to allow Abu Hamza to spout hatred and anti Semitism from his streets and does nothing about it. London is now universally known as Londonistan. London is a centre for the recruitment and training of Islamist terrorists, suicide bombers and offers refuge to many who ask for political asylum regardless of their history.

This week The Times quotes him as saying that George Bush is the greatest threat to humanity EVER! This means that Livingstone prefers Hitler or Stalin to George Bush. Now I ask you. He is mad. But he is the elected mayor of the city I live a great deal in. Why would I want to stay if he is re-elected?

And of course Paris is far worse. Sure they talk, talk but they do, do even less than the British. They are terrified of their own Muslim hooligans. For years they have allowed no-go areas in their own cities and have never shown any inclination to act. Talk is cheap. The French love to talk (so long as it is in French) and as always love the diplomatic language of obfuscation and inaction. Chirac has been supplying new missiles to Iraqi dissidents, as the specific one aimed at the hotel Wolfowitz was staying in proves.

The spread of anti Semitic literature and violent talk is now so omnipresent throughout the Islamic world that it is no longer remarkable. But it is now before our very eyes becoming the language of the left. When left and right are united solely by their hatred for the Jews it is time to wonder why we are staying.

The Labour Party is predominantly the party of the inner city. In the next generation their candidates will owe their positions to the inner city electorate. That is predominantly Muslim and left wing working class. The conclusions are clear. And even the so-called Liberals are now no longer Liberal. They are simply anti anything they can find to be anti.

It is true that the test of legality is still to be breached. The Nuremberg Laws must surely have been the clearest sign that it was time to leave Germany. We haven't yet reached that sort of watershed. But we have reached a stage where we are perilously close to being demonised.

Academics like Tony Judt can write with impunity in the New York Review of Books that Jews ought not have their own State and that there is something sick and illegitimate about Jewish nationalism (but has no objection to French or Arab nationalism). There is, it is true, a point of view that says that the same could happen in America. The Muslim vote far outnumbers the Jewish. Given time they may achieve an equal degree of influence. But I think it unlikely. America is a far more variegated society with checks and counter balances. Certainly attitudes to Israel might change but not to minorities within.

Our present leadership in Britain says the right thing and does the right thing about terrorism abroad. But unless this filters down to the grass roots in Europe, it is time to consider the possibility of emigrating to a free, democratic country where it does. That means Eastwards or Westwards and I hope most of us will go east.

Perhaps I am exaggerating, but its a thought worth pondering.

Shabbat Shalom