Any malady which is not seriously treated can soon develop into major life threatening diseases with fatal results…writes Michael Kuttner.
As every doctor can testify early detection of symptoms increases the chances of successful treatment and hopefully a cure. Most people are cognizant of these elementary facts when it comes to their health. However for some unexplained and mysterious reason the same logic seems to escape those confronted with manifestations of the longest existing virus known to the human race.
As we wind down another Jewish year and prepare to face the uncertainties of a new one it is instructive to examine a landscape which is littered with untreated outbreaks of Judeo and Israel phobia and which is displaying clear symptoms of carcinogenic consequences.
The most visible sign that this infectious affliction is now taking hold in sectors of society hitherto seemingly inoculated against it is evident in those countries where left wing socialist parties are succumbing. For the last two millennia it was accepted that hatred of Jews emanated only from right-wing fascist type groups and at the end of the Holocaust years this seemed to be the case. However it did not take very long for the virus to mutate and infect those political parties ostensibly fighting against the very racism which decimated Jewish communities.
Thus, the British Labour Party on assuming power in 1945 and in direct contravention of its previously articulated supportive sentiments, imposed a blanket ban on the survivors of the Holocaust from entering mandated Palestine. Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, displayed his open antipathy to Jews and rigourously enforced the ban even returning Jews to camps in Germany. The important point to remember is that neither Prime Minister Atlee nor any significant part of the Labour party revolted or forced a change to this blatant example of Jew hatred. It continued unscathed right up to the moment Britain threw in the towel and the Jewish State was born. In fact in the hope that the British artificially created country of Transjordan would crush the Jews the Labour UK Government imposed an embargo on any weapon sales to Israel and instead provided the Jordanian forces with weapons, ammunition and expert advisers.
Given this history and despite subsequent “friends” such as Harold Wilson, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, today’s party has reverted to 1940’s mode. Taken over by the hard left and those who call themselves progressives the party which portrays itself as fighting racism and fascism is now, under the leadership of a man calling Hamas and Hezbollah his friends, drowning under a swamp of foul smelling behaviour. Every day reveals more jaw dropping revelations with tweets & twitters claiming Zionist conspiracies and libels against the Jewish State. Instead of a major revolt by the appalled minority, polls seem to indicate that Jeremy Corbyn is on track to possibly becoming the next PM. This proves that despite a belated rear guard campaign by UK Jewish leadership most of the country is not interested and prefers instead to believe the economic paradise which the party promises to deliver.
Meanwhile across the ocean the Democratic Party in the USA is also being taken over by progressive socialist millennials whose consistent mantra is opposition to Israel and avid support for terror facilitating Islamic groups. It is not surprising that given 75% Jewish support there should be a sizeable percentage who also has hopped on the anti Israel bandwagon. Unlike the British Jewish community which still has a strong core of committed members the assimilation rate amongst US non orthodox Jews has reached anywhere between 70% to 75%. It is therefore inevitable that with weakening knowledge and commitment to anything Jewish, identification and support for Israel will falter.
US Jewish leaders prefer to pin the blame on Israel itself but that is really ignoring the reality of local steadily diluting Jewish identities. Given current trends including anti-Zionist violence at universities, the socialist left’s blind obsession with anti Israel policies and the rise in right-wing hate, American Jews will face a stark choice. Many (mostly Orthodox) are already returning to their Jewish home. The rest will as in past history close their eyes, grit their teeth and hope it will all somehow disappear. It won’t.
Meanwhile neo-Nazis are once again openly parading in Berlin protected by police and Jews are warned not to wear kippot in public.
Elsewhere conspiracy theories are once again in vogue.
A senior Turkish official has blamed “Zionist bankers” for the collapse of the lira. He is quoted as declaring “theworld is managed by the cash notes printed by twelve families of Jewish-originated Zionist bankers numbering not more than 300.”
In Venezuela the train wreck of an economy and hyper inflation has also been blamed on “Zionists,” a term interchangeable with “Jews.”
These modern versions of the old medieval blood and well poisoning libels fall on fertile ground. Unfortunately it also means that those countries’ Jewish communities are doomed.
Three recent surveys have revealed disturbing results.
At a World Jewish Congress meeting in Israel it was disclosed that more than 40% of young Germans have no idea what Auschwitz was.
At least 20% of Hungarians hold anti Jewish views.
In Canada a survey found that 15% or 5 million Canadians expressed views which could be considered anti semitic. The survey found that even though the Jewish community of Canada makes up less than 1% of the population; around 13% to 18% of Canadians believe Jewish people in Canada have “too much influence” in various areas such as the business world, the Canadian government, and the global media.
These findings are dismissed as “fear mongering” by many communal leaders. Ignoring or down playing erupting symptoms has never worked in the past and as today’s situation of Jews in Venezuela, Turkey and Iran testifies missing the bus is very easy.
A united fight back by UK Jews has a chance of success. They managed to defeat the Mosley fascists in the 1930’s and given a chance could do the same with the current crop of Corbynistas.
The USA is a different case altogether. Unless the “progressive” 75% majority of genetic Jewish Democrats can scuttle the takeover of their party by anti Israel socialists the prognosis is bleak. Given the weakening of Jewish identity it is a toss-up as to whether this can be achieved.
In other parts of the democratic world Jewish communities need to be on guard and pro-active as soon as manifestations of this virulent malady appear in their midst.
The biggest difference these days is the existence of Israel. Despite all the challenges and with all its faults it still remains a bastion of hope for those Jews determined to fight back and who wish to fulfill their destiny in the very places our ancestors dwelt thousands of years ago.
Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.