Guardian

Guardian contributer suggests that British Jews alarmed about antisemitism are ‘ungrateful’


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Rally against antisemitism, Royal Courts of Justice

In fairness, The Guardian has published a few morally clear articles, op-eds and editorials on the recent increase of antisemitism in Europe and the UK. However, a Jan. 19th Guardian op-ed by David Conn, responding to poll results on antisemitism published by Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA),  pivots towards more familiar Guardian Left territory – downplaying, obfuscating or rationalizing resurgent anti-Jewish racism.

Conn not only responds with disbelief to polls purporting to show that 25% of British Jews have considered leaving the country because of antisemitism, that 58% believe Jews may have no future in Europe and that over half feel “antisemitism now echoes the 1930s”, but counters that he personally has never experienced meaningful antisemitism in his entire life.

Further in the op-ed, Conn writes:

That is not to say of course that antisemitism no longer exists, or that there are not still negative stereotypes about Jews, entrenched over centuries, which linger and will take longer to educate out. But in 2013 the Community Security Trust (CST) recorded its lowest number of antisemitic incidents for eight years, mirroring the long-term decline in prejudice that has been a feature of Europe’s wondrous rebuilding since the second world war….The CST expects to report more incidents recorded in 2014, principally related to protests against Israel’s military activities in Gaza.

Actually, the CST has been clear that not only do they expect – when figures are released next month – an increase in antisemitic incidents in 2014, but expect the highest number of incidents ever recorded.

Interestingly, on the same day Conn’s op-ed appeared, the Guardian also published a news report by Robert Booth (Antisemitism fears grow in UK’s Jewish communities after Paris shootings, Jan. 19th) which correctly noted CST projections on antisemitic incidents in 2014.

Rising anxiety in parts of Britain’s Jewish community comes ahead of figures expected next month that will show antisemitic attacks – mostly non-violent – reached the highest level ever recorded in the UK in 2014, rising above the previous high of 931 attacks in 2009, which included 124 violent attacks, three of which involved a threat to life or grievous bodily harm.

Back to Conn’s op-ed:

Spikes in anti-Jewish sentiment do happen here, the vast majority non-violent, when Israel has mounted operations that have killed Palestinian civilians, including so many children.

That true horror lends another perspective to the good life and peace Jewish people generally are privileged to enjoy in Britain. It feels unreal that people can believe their experience “echoes” the 1930s, which the IJPR said, with some understatement, “most credible scholars of the Holocaust utterly refute”.

Note how Conn’s gratuitous line about the deaths of “so many children” in Gaza is contextualized as a “true horror” in contrast, he seems to suggest, to British Jews’ exaggerated sense of their own victimhood – as if there’s some moral parallel between Palestinian casualties resulting from Israel’s war with Hamas and Britons who are targeted for racist hate due to their religious orientation.  

Conn finishes thusly:

This alarm, which seems to some extent to be feeding on itself, can risk seeming a little ungrateful. Not only for a historically remarkable level of acceptance and opportunity but also to our grandparents, who worked, prayed and fought through the 1930s so that we could experience it.

It’s of course one thing to try and tone down exaggerated rhetoric about antisemitism, and quite another to imperiously deride the fears of a tiny Jewish minority and suggest that they are “ungrateful” to their country, as if their freedoms are not inalienable rights afforded to them as full citizens, but privileges bestowed upon them for which they need always to express gratitude.

Perhaps Dave Conn didn’t get the memo, but the Guardian fancies itself a “liberal” publication, one which purports to instinctively sympathize with the fears and aspirations of historically oppressed minorities. As such, it seems reasonable to expect the concerns of British Jews – who represent less than 1 percent of the British population – to be treated seriously, and not flippantly dismissed.  

Jewish Britons love their country.

They also see Jews fleeing previously safe European capitals due to the increasing acceptance by the “civilized classes” of classic antisemitic narratives and, most ominously, the fear of Jihadist violence.  

I think it’s possible for Dave Conn to keep both ideas in his head at the same time.

13 replies »

  1. David Conn enjoys impeccably pro-Zionist credentials, so I’m most surprised to read his remarks, particularly as he was educated at a school in Bury, Lancs, U.K., very near where I saw antisemitic graffiti scrawled on a wall shortly before I emigrated to Israel in 2010. Matters have become far worse since. I challenge Conn and others – too many – who think like him to reveal the real truth for speaking and writing as they do.

  2. This article suggests that Jews are only here because of the 1930s but many Jews fought in both World Wars or contributed in their way. My late ‘Uncle was a fireman in the East End of London the night the docks went up! He had nightmares about it to the day he died. Other Jews have contributed through history both here and in other lands. Many of the day to day items used such as computers and mobile phones owe much to Jews and Israel and the same is true of medical treatments. Art as well, All of this is disproportionate from the percentage of the number in the population and, had the 6 1/2 million murdered in the gas chambers survived, just think what would be here today.

  3. This Conn chap is a despicable condescending moron when making statements like the one below about any mainstream contributor (Jews) to the good and success of society, British or other!
    “[This alarm, which seems to some extent to be feeding on itself, can risk seeming a little ungrateful.] Not only for a **historically remarkable level of acceptance and opportunity** but also to our grandparents, who worked, prayed and fought through the 1930s so that we could experience it.” Duh?!

  4. ouch , no , not…. “seemingly ungrateful”.
    tis a low blow that one . Cant be seen to be ungrateful in light of the contributions British Jews have made to British life, culture , education, medicine, the arts , and economics .

  5. Two serious flaws in Conn’s article:
    – not mentioning the overproportionate numbers of Muslims in anti-Semitic incidents.
    – obviously that reference to “ingrateful.”

    Plus an outrageous understatement: the “rough old times” that Man City fans went through until recently.

  6. If Britain is so good to its Jewish citizens, so accepting of them, and appreciates their participation in that society so much, why are British media and universities exposing them to constant slanders about the world’s only Jewish State, turning the truth on its head, and then making excuses for the medieval prejudice that follows? Just asking.

  7. “mirroring the long-term decline in prejudice that has been a feature of Europe’s wondrous rebuilding since the second world war” – this condescending moron needs to wake up to the real world. He needs to stop living in a film, as they say in Israel.

  8. Bloody hell, that ‘ungrateful’ quip is way out of line. And the comparison with the deaths in Gaza with life for British Jews is at best invalid.

    Much more authoritative and disturbing is Robert Booth’s article which, as you note, was published by the Guardian on the same day.

  9. My experiences:

    Someone saying Jews pay rubbish wages
    Someone saying Jews can’t be trusted
    Someone saying Jews are dirty
    Someone saying plagiarism is typical of Jews
    Someone saying that Spurs is the most expensive club in London (it isn’t) because it is Jewish
    Someone saying maybe Jews control mass immigration/multiculturalism
    Someone saying Jews bought the stolen goods from the last riots

    I have never heard any homophobic comments,or racist comments,ie,gays are……,black people are……..

  10. “Spikes in anti-Jewish sentiment do happen here, the vast majority non-violent, when Israel has mounted operations that have killed Palestinian civilians, including so many children.”

    It is nice that so many antisemites are finally being open about the fact they they DO view Jews & Israel to be one & the same. We need to remember this in the future when they attack and lie about Israel, so we can point out that they have confessed who their real target is.

  11. Are British Christians supposed to be grateful for their rights as British citizens? Are British Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.? Or is it only the Jews? Grateful to whom, exactly? Their fellow citizens for letting them be citizens, or what? Have the Jews contributed less to Britain, fought for it less, shown less loyalty to it, than all those other religions?
    Ludicrous nonsense and, yes, with an anti-Semitic flavour. And I don’t know or care whether Conn is Jewish himself.

  12. Conn is just another anti-Semitic Jew, spare me the Zionist credentials part. Peter Beinart also claims Zionist credentials. His blather about Israel is standard Leftist anti-Zionist and hence anti-Semitic prattle.