Britain - "Attacks on Jews soar since Lebanon" (London Times)
(In case you're dubious about this explanation, it was helpfully reiterated by Steven Rose in a recent BBC interview. But to anyone who has been reading the Guardian or the New Statesman or the Independent for the past decade, the logic is clear. Thanks to Engage for alerting me to this article from the London Times.)
The Times (London)
September 2, 2006
Attacks on Jews soar since Lebanon
Synagogues and citizens have been targeted
By Joanna Bale and Anthony Browne
British Jews are facing a wave of anti-Semitic attacks prompted by Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Synagogues have been daubed with graffiti, Jewish leaders have had hate-mail and ordinary people have been subjected to insults and vandalism.
On Thursday an all-party parliamentary inquiry will state that anti-Semitic violence has become endemic in Britain, both on the streets and university campuses. The report will call for urgent action from the Government, the police and educational establishments.
Mark Gardner, of the Community Security Trust, said: “In July, when the conflict in Lebanon began, we received reports of 92 incidents, which was the third-worst month since records began in 1984.” In 2000 the monthly average was between 10 and 30 incidents.
The former minister Denis MacShane, who chaired the parliamentary inquiry, said: “These figures confirm the evidence given to us that anti-Semitic attacks are a very real problem.”
The Board of Deputies of British Jews submitted evidence to the inquiry that anti-Semitism in Britain was at its worst level.
The July incidents “were more dispersed than usual”, Mr Gardner said. “It is usually a small number responsible for a large number of attacks, but these were very widespread across the country and included graffiti attacks on synagogues in Edinburgh and Glasgow.”
The attackers, when visible, are from across society, he said. “When it’s verbal abuse, it’s just ordinary people in the street, from middle-class women to working-class men. All colours and backgrounds. We hardly ever see incidents involving the classic neo-Nazi skinhead. Muslims are over-represented.”
In hate-mail to senior Jewish figures, ordinary Jewish people were being blamed for the deaths of Lebanese civilians. “There are also references to the Holocaust, saying that Hitler should have wiped out the Jews.”
Mr Gardner said that the rise in attacks reflected increased hostility to Israel and Jews in the media and across society: “The number of anti-Semitic attacks reflects the mood music around Jews and Israel.”
There have been several attacks in Golders Green and Hampstead Garden Suburb in North London, where there is a large Jewish population. La Maison du Café in Golders Green Road was targeted two weeks ago by two young men who threw chairs at the restaurant, punched workers and threatened to kill the owner, Ruth Cohen, with a knife.
Ms Cohen, 34, said: “They asked if it was a Jewish restaurant. They said they were going to kill me and called me a ‘dirty Jew’, a ‘stinking Jew’. One of them had a knife. A colleague came out. They started punching him and throwing chairs.”
In Hampstead Garden Suburb, swastikas and the words “Kill all Jews” and “Allah” were daubed on the house and car of Justin Stebbing. Dr Stebbing, who works at a hospital, said: “I felt violated. It’s horrible.”
Jon Benjamin, of the Board of Deputies, said: “The problem is the spin that Israel is an irredeemably evil regime, and we are concerned that it may become common currency to connect British Jews with this.”
The Association of Chief Police Officers said: “Our National Community Tension Team are alert to recent incidents. We are working with the CST. We are strongly encouraging reporting of incidents.”