The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment & Analysis -

When I opened my copy of the JC and saw the front-page head­line ( Oslo opens flood­gates to con­spir­acy mad­ness, July 29), I ex­pected to read about how the main­stream west­ern me­dia had falsely — from right through to left — ini­tially blamed Mus­lim ex­trem­ists for the ter­ri­ble events in Nor­way.

In­stead, space was given to what are es­sen­tially ob­scure and mar­ginal voices who blame the Jews for ev­ery­thing. At this point in time, we should be soul-search­ing about the in­tel­lec­tual and cul­tural at­mos­phere that en­ables Is­lam­o­pho­bia to flour­ish.

But read­ers of the JC were treated to the un­re­flex­ive writ­ings of Me­lanie Phillips, who re­fuses to see the his­tor­i­cal par­al­lels be­tween ha­tred of Jews and prej­u­dice against Mus­lims. The for­mer, she ar­gues, is ir­ra­tional, the lat­ter “all-too-ra­tio­nal”.

In the hey­day of mod­ern an­ti­semitism — roughly the hun­dred years be­tween the 1840s and 1940s — an­tisemites de­nied any mal­ice on their be­half: they blamed Jewish be­hav­iour or Jewish dif­fer­ence for their own in­tol­er­ance. The same is true to­day of our jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for an­tiMus­lim at­ti­tudes.

The Nor­way tragedy shows that ha­tred in the end will de­stroy all that it comes into con­tact with — very few of Breivik’s vic­tims were Mus­lims. Prej­u­dice, whether against Jews, Mus­lims and oth­ers has to be fought. The first battle is within our­selves. (Pro­fes­sor) Tony Kush­ner Di­rec­tor, Parkes In­sti­tute Univer­sity of Southamp­ton

It is to­tally un­nec­es­sary to de­fine our­selves in terms of what our en­e­mies say, many of whom are sim­ply off the wall. Pay­ing loonies so much at­ten­tion ( JC, July 29) sim­ply mag­ni­fies their im­por­tance.

In Is­rael, a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, with rel­a­tively low un­em­ploy­ment and a bur­geon­ing econ­omy in many hi-tech sec­tors, is won­der­ing why things cost more than they do in the UK and the USA.

Olim like my daugh­ter, who went with Zion­ist prin­ci­ples, are won­der­ing why their salaries seem so low and do not buy much. Is that Herzl’s Zion­ist dream?

Let’s hear about such dif­fi­cul­ties as these faced by the Is­raelis, per­haps as a re­sult of competition be­ing squeezed by the oli­garchs, and shut up about the an­tisemites. Hazel Stein Hazel­stein@aol.com

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