The price of join­ing po­lite so­ci­ety

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT - Jenni Frazer

IHAVE had enough. I am sick of be­ing told by peo­ple who haven’t the faintest idea of my be­liefs and cir­cum­stances what I ought to think or feel. And that es­pe­cially goes for the peo­ple who’ve never been closer to Is­rael than a packet of dates in Waitrose. I am sick of be­ing told by the bi­en­pen­sants in Bri­tain’s so­ci­ety what an­ti­semitism is, could be, or is not. am sick of peo­ple like Yas­min Alib­hai-Brown, who in a bleat­ing and self-serv­ing col­umn in the In­de­pen­dent last week­end, claimed that she only didn’t go on Satur­day’s Gaza march be­cause she was ner­vous of be­ing ac­cused of be­ing an an­ti­semite, and then went on to de­fine what she thought was an­ti­semitism.

Well, Yas­min, aw, did­dums. Wake up and smell the dis­tinct whiff of hypocrisy. A very good rea­son for not go­ing on the Gaza march is be­cause the slugs come out from un­der their stones at these events, with their ban­ners read­ing “We are all Hizbol­lah now.”

Want to ar­gue that Hizbol­lah don’t hate Jews more than strictly nec­es­sary? Good luck with that.

Poor Yas­min. She couldn’t, she said, “get my head around the way in which ex­treme and even rea­son­able Zion­ists were point­ing to an­ti­semitism as a way of shut­ting down de­bate.”

Here’s the thing, Yas­min, and it’s re­ally kind of you to make a dis­tinc­tion be­tween “ex­treme” and “rea­son­able” Zion­ists. (Clue: I’m not feel­ing very rea­son­able at the mo­ment.) We Jews are the ones who know what an­ti­semitism is, and we are so­phis­ti­cated enough, on the whole, to un­der­stand it when it is di­rected at us.

It’s not you or Ge­orge Gal­loway, and all the other usual sus­pects, who will de­fine it. Be­lieve me, I don’t cry an­ti­semitism un­nec­es­sar­ily. But I know it when I see it.

Here it is in another form, af­ter the Brighton and Hove Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity cam­paign was asked for a re­sponse to the var­i­ous daub­ings and usual dis­grace­ful be­hav­iour that has taken place in the city in the wake of the Gaza vi­o­lence.

The PSC’s spokesman said: “The real is­sue here is that there needs to be a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to the oc­cu­pa­tion of Gaza and the West Bank. We would like the mem­bers of the Brighton Jewish com­mu­nity who do not agree with Is­rael’s poli­cies to stand up — as 150 in Brook­lyn did the other day, and many oth­ers have done — to show that there is not a di­vide be­tween Jews and nonJews.”

I’m sorry, anony­mous PSC spokesper­son. What that would show is that there are “good Jews” and “bad Jews”, “good Jews” who are, as the Guardian suc­cinctly put it, ready to pay the price for en­ter­ing po­lite so­ci­ety, “good Jews” who are pre­pared to be the “beards” for those who wish to dis­crim­i­nate against main­stream Jewish so­ci­ety.

And the “good Jews” – well, you know who you are. You are the ones who are ready to jump up and down, metaphor­i­cally cry­ing, “Me, me!” in your ef­fort to get to the front of the queue in de­nounc­ing Is­rael. Do you think it will make the non-Jews who are dis­posed to hate us, love you more? Get real.

Ask your­selves, by the way, why there aren’t mir­ror or­gan­i­sa­tions on the other side, of out­fits like Jews for Jus­tice for the Pales­tini­ans. It is be­cause you are be­ing used.

Just be­cause I am not an apol­o­gist for Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu’s govern­ment doesn’t mean that I am ready to at­tack Is­rael in pub­lic, or let at­tacks on Is­rael, with their hid­den agenda of an­ti­semitism, be­come my pass­port to be­ing a good Bri­ton.

I read a piece in the Is­raeli news­pa­per Ha’aretz last week which could al­most have been a com­edy script, sug­gest­ing sonorously that those who or­gan­ised the Gaza marches in Lon­don were tak­ing se­ri­ous steps to pre­vent an­ti­semitism.

Oh, please. These events are just an ex­cuse for the scum to rise to the top. I am sick of jus­ti­fi­ca­tions be­ing found for racist be­hav­iour and ex­pres­sions, sick of dis­tinc­tions be­ing made by Jews who should know bet­ter, the ones who are so pa­tri­cian that they might have au­di­tioned for bit parts in The Hon­ourable Woman.

Too bad for you if you don’t like be­ing Jewish. An­tisemites, in the end, don’t care.

It’s Jews who knowwhat an­ti­semitism is, not Yas­min

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