Here's Arthur Herman writing in the Wall Street Journal …
"Why should we Anglo-Saxons apologize for being superior?" Winston Churchill once growled in exasperation. "We are superior." Certainly Churchill's views of what he and other late Victorians called the "lesser races," such as blacks and East Indians, are very different from ours today. One might easily assume that a self-described reactionary like Churchill, holding such views, shared the anti-Semitism prevalent among Europe's ruling elites before the Holocaust.
But he did not, as Martin Gilbert vividly shows in Churchill and the Jews. By chronicling Churchill's warm dealings with English and European Jews throughout his long career, and his heartfelt support of Zionism, Mr. Gilbert conveys Churchill's deep admiration for the Jewish people and captures his crucial role in creating the state of Israel. Churchill offers the powerful example of a Western statesman who--unlike other statesmen in his own time and ours--understood the malignant nature of anti-Semitism and did what he could to oppose its toxic effects.
His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, had been a close friend and ally to many wealthy British Jews, almost notoriously so, given the rancid snobbery of his circles. The son rarely failed to follow his father's inclinations, in this matter as in others. Jews like the Rothschilds and the banker Sir Ernest Cassel helped to advance Winston Churchill's early career (including watching over his finances after his father's death), and he repaid their support in part by publicly condemning the kind of anti-Semitism that was all too common in England's upper classes. But his actions were not merely an expression of personal thanks.
A student of history, Churchill came to feel that Judaism was the bedrock of traditional Western moral and political principles--and Churchill was of a generation that preferred to talk about principles instead of "values." For Europeans to turn against the Jew, he argued, was for them to strike at their own roots and reject an essential part of their civilization--"that corporate strength, that personal and special driving power" that Jews had brought for hundreds of years to Europe's arts, sciences and institutions.
To deny Jews a national homeland was therefore an act of ingratitude. Churchill became a keen backer of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which broached the idea of creating a Jewish homeland in Palestine. As a friend to Zionist leader Chaim Weizman, and as colonial secretary after World War I, Churchill made establishing such a homeland a matter of urgency. "The hope of your race for so many centuries will be gradually realized here," Churchill told a Jewish audience in Jerusalem during his visit in March 1921, "not only for your own good, but for the good of all the world."
By "all the world" Churchill most pointedly meant to include Palestine's Arabs. As Mr. Gilbert recounts, Churchill was dismayed and disgusted by Arab resistance to Jewish immigration and settlement in Palestine. "The Jews have a far more difficult task than you," he told Arab representatives, since "you only have to enjoy your own possessions," while the Jewish emigrants from Europe and elsewhere would have to carve a society out of a barren wilderness.
Yet Churchill was convinced that Arab civilization would benefit from contact with an entrepreneurial and morally centered people. "Speaking entirely as a non-Jew," he wrote, "I look on the Jews as the natural importers of western leaven so necessary for countries in the Near East." At the same time, Churchill tried to ensure that Palestinian Arabs got their own national homeland. It was Churchill who, as colonial secretary, decided to separate Transjordan (modern-day Jordan) from the rest of Palestine, assuming that Transjordan would become the site of the Arabs' future state and that other parts of Palestine (including the West Bank of the Jordan River) would be open to Jewish settlement.
Churchill was to be disappointed by the results of his Middle Eastern efforts, as Arabs hunted down and murdered Jewish settlers by the hundreds in the 1920s and 1930s--just at the time when Adolf Hitler was building his own regime around the persecution of the Jews in Germany. As early as 1930 Churchill realized that the Nazis' anti-Jewish policies carried the stench of an ancient evil. "Tell your boss from me," he said to a Hitler acquaintance in the late summer of 1932, as the Nazi Party was on the verge of power, "that anti-Semitism may be a good starter but it is a bad finisher."
In December 1942, Churchill--now prime minister--learned from a Roman Catholic member of the Polish resistance, a man named Jan Karsky, that thousands of Jews were being rounded up and sent by cattle cars to what turned out to be the death camp at Belzec, in eastern Poland. Churchill used the Karsky report to compel the Allies, including the Russians, to condemn "a bestial policy of cold-blooded extermination" in Germany--although he understood that the best way to halt the slaughter would be the speedy destruction of Hitler's empire. The chief of Britain's air staff, Sir Charles Portal, warned that any air raids "avowedly conducted on account of the Jews would be an asset to enemy propaganda," and Churchill reluctantly bowed to his advice. Nonetheless, in 1943 he wanted a film that documented the atrocities committed against the Jews to be shown to every American serviceman before the invasion of Europe.
After the war, Churchill felt that the most fitting response to the Holocaust would be to punish those guilty of the most horrific crimes against the Jews and to fulfill the promise of a Jewish homeland that he and Britain had made almost 30 years earlier. When Ernest Bevin, Britain's Labour Party foreign minister, hesitated to recognize Israel nine months after its founding, for fear of inflaming Arab opinion, Churchill swung back hard: "Whether the Right Honorable Gentleman likes it or not, the coming into being of a Jewish State in Palestine is an event in world history to be viewed in the perspective, not of a generation or a century, but in the perspective of a thousand, two thousand, or even three thousand years." Israel was just recompense, Churchill felt, not only for what the Jews of Europe had lost but for what they had given to civilization over the centuries.
This view, of course, no longer prevails. Today the existence of Israel is apparently something to be regretted, even deplored, not only in Arab capitals but in European ones and on American university campuses. Paradoxically, such feelings intensified after 9/11, an event that should have made us all aware of who the friends of Western civilization really are--and who its enemies. Martin Gilbert's book reminds us that anti-Semitism is the dark turn of the modern mind against itself, and a form of cultural patricide.
And, coincidentally, our own Melanie Phillips writes in the City Journal …
In August 2006, as the war in Lebanon raged, a gang of teenage girls confronted 12-year-old Jasmine Kranat and a friend on a London bus. "Are you Jewish?" they demanded. They didn't hurt the friend, who was wearing a crucifix. But they subjected Jasmine, a Jew, to a brutal beating-stomping on her head and chest, fracturing her eye socket, and knocking her unconscious.
According to the Community Security Trust, the defense organization of Britain's 300,000-strong Jewish community, last year saw nearly 600 anti-Semitic assaults, incidents of vandalism, cases of abuse, and threats against Jewish individuals and institutions-double the 2001 number. According to the police, Jews are four times more likely to be attacked because of their religion than are Muslims. Every synagogue service and Jewish communal event now requires guards 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.
Anti-Semitism is rife within Britain's Muslim community. Islamic bookshops sell copies of Hitler's Mein Kampf and the notorious czarist forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion; as an undercover TV documentary revealed in January, imams routinely preach anti-Jewish sermons. Opinion polls show that nearly two-fifths of Britain's Muslims believe that the Jewish community in Britain is a legitimate target "as part of the ongoing struggle for justice in the Middle East"; that more than half believe that British Jews have "too much influence over the direction of UK foreign policy"; and that no fewer than 46 percent think that the Jewish community is "in league with Freemasons to control the media and politics."
But anti-Semitism has also become respectable in mainstream British society. "Anti-Jewish themes and remarks are gaining acceptability in some quarters in public and private discourse in Britain and there is a danger that this trend will become more and more mainstream," reported a Parliamentary inquiry last year. "It is this phenomenon that has contributed to an atmosphere where Jews have become more anxious and more vulnerable to abuse and attack than at any other time for a generation or longer."
At the heart of this ugly development is a new variety of anti-Semitism, aimed primarily not at the Jewish religion, and not at a purported Jewish race, but at the Jewish state. Zionism is now a dirty word in Britain, and opposition to Israel has become a fig leaf for a resurgence of the oldest hatred.
Language straight out of the lexicon of medieval and Nazi Jew-hatred has become commonplace in acceptable British discourse, particularly in the media. It resurrects the libel of the world Jewish conspiracy, a defining anti-Semitic motif that went underground after the Holocaust.
The New Statesman took a straightforward approach in 2002, printing an investigation into the power of the "Zionist" lobby in Britain, which it dubbed the "Kosher Conspiracy" and illustrated on its cover with a gold Star of David piercing the Union Jack. The image conveyed at a glance the message that rich Jews were stabbing British interests through the national heart.
The British media accuse Israel of a host of crimes. The Guardian published a two-day special report painting Israel as an apartheid state, ignoring the fact that Israeli Arabs have full civil rights. Another Guardian article, by Patrick Seale, portrayed Israel's incursions into Gaza as a "destructive rampage." Dismissing or ignoring the rocket attacks, hostage-taking, and terrorism that those incursions were trying to stop, Seale concluded instead that Israel "deliberately inflicts inhumane hardships on the Palestinians in order to radicalise them and drive the moderates from the scene." When the National Union of Journalists, joining a number of other academic and professional groups, voted last April to boycott Israeli goods-a move that it has since reversed-one of its members, freelancer Pamela Hardyment, described Israel as "a wonderful Nazi-like killing machine backed by the world's richest Jews." Then she referred to the "so-called Holocaust" and concluded: "Shame on all Jews, may your lives be cursed."
The British media uncritically regurgitate Palestinian propaganda even when it is demonstrably false. In April 2002, many outlets labeled Israel's assault on the refugee camp in Jenin a "massacre" with thousands dead; in fact, some 52 Palestinian men had died (of whom the great majority were terrorists), along with 23 Israeli soldiers. In last year's Lebanon war, the media propagated manifestly false Hezbollah claims of Israeli massacres that later proved to have been staged.
During the same war, the Guardian published a cartoon depicting a huge fist, armed with brass knuckles shaped like Stars of David, hammering a bloody child while a wasp representing Hezbollah buzzed around ineffectually. The image suggested that Israel was a gigantic oppressor, slaughtering children in brutal overreaction to Hezbollah, a minor irritant. It was reminiscent of an earlier cartoon in the Independent that showed a monstrous Ariel Sharon biting the head off a Palestinian baby, which won first prize in the British Political Cartoon Society's annual competition for 2003. By showing Jews killing children, both cartoons employed the imagery of the blood libel-the medieval European calumny that sparked many massacres of Jews by claiming that they murdered Gentile children and used their blood for religious rituals.
The BBC, despite its claims of fairness and honesty, is just as marked by hatred of Israel, and much more influential. It reported the Lebanon war by focusing almost entirely on the Israeli assault upon Lebanon, with scarcely a nod at the Hezbollah rocket barrage against Israel. Its reporters blame Israel even for Palestinians' killing of other Palestinians. Last December, in a briefing for other BBC staff, Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen wrote of the incipient Palestinian civil war in Gaza: "The reason is the death of hope, caused by a cocktail of Israel's military activities, land expropriation and settlement building-and the financial sanctions imposed on the Hamas led government."
In a lecture in 2001, the archbishop of Canterbury's representative in the Middle East, Canon Andrew White, observed with concern that propaganda accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing and of systematically "Judaising" Jerusalem had assumed great authority within the Church of England. The Church, he said, was undergoing not just a spell of Israel-hatred but also a revival of theological anti-Semitism. Last Christmas, several Anglican and Catholic churches replaced their traditional nativity tableaux with montages of Israel's security barrier, carrying the unmistakable message that the Palestinians were the modern version of the suffering Christ being crucified all over again by the Jews. And earlier this year, the Catholic weekly The Tablet revealed that almost 80 percent of British Christians polled did not believe that Israel was fighting enemies that were pledged to destroy it.
Like the media and the churches, Britain's political and academic Left is making common cause with Islamist radicalism. The Islamists oppose the Left's most deeply held causes, such as gay rights and equality for women. Yet leftists and Islamists now march together under such slogans as "We are all Hezbollah now" during rallies protesting the Lebanon war, and even "Death to the Jews" outside a debate over whether Manchester University's Jewish Society should be banned.
This is an extract from a much longer article which can be found here.
The GOS says: The thing about the Left is that it couldn't exist, move and have its being without "a cause". It needs to campaign, it needs to shout slogans, it needs to march, it needs to believe that it is right and everyone else is wrong. This is the reason, for instance, that the British Left has seized on Global Warming so avidly.
And this is why it has so gratefully espoused anti-Israel rhetoric. It can't allow itself to condemn the culture, practices or beliefs of the Moslems because that would mean a U-turn from the multi-cultural policies it has promulgated so disastrously for many years, but Israel, now, Israel is another matter.
Israel is a democracy, and democracies are soft - you can attack them and insult them and they take you seriously just because they're democratic and believe that all viewpoints are valid. Israel is rich. Israel is involved in a war with its neighbours who are of a different race or tribe so there is immediately a racial or even a genocidal element to the struggle. Israel has stood up for itself, which has often meant behaving in a draconian, arbitrary and aggressive way to other nations. Israel has gone down the military route in seeking a solution to its terrible predicament - a predicament that we as a nation helped to create, which makes us feel embarrassed and guilty. What better way to hide our embarrassment and guilt than by attacking the very thing that causes them?
So all round, Israel is the perfect target for the Left, a ready-made patsy, a no-brain alternative to all the other issues like immigration, racial conflict, freedom of speech and religious intolerance they dare not tackle for fear of offending their own political-correctness. Israel is easy.
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