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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ouch!

I don't know whether to be relieved, insulted or confused.

After a lot of soul searching and reflection, I wrote (and rewrote!) a post about my impressions of what is going on in the UK.

Again, the thoughts presented in the post were not truths, accusations or anything more than what I personally felt after visiting with a lot of different Jews in the U.K..

Since the post was published, many former Brits (and an assortment of other people) have weighed in with their impressions.  But unless I've missed someone, not one single British Jew (i.e. someone actually still living in the U.K.) has commented on that post.

I honestly don't know what to think about that.  Either I'm so far off base that my post doesn't deserve to be dignified with a response... or I've hit so close to home that everyone wants to simply sit quietly until someone changes the subject to something a tad less awkward.

Posted by David Bogner on January 14, 2010 | Permalink

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I would say you hit close to home. but being Brits still in Britain no one wants to say anything and they are retaining their stiff upper lip. (I am a Brit, I can say these things)

Posted by: Hadassah | Jan 14, 2010 1:37:12 PM

I did!

Posted by: Gary | Jan 14, 2010 3:31:56 PM

... or not many British Jews read your blog religiously - the way those of us who are obsessed with it do! :-)

Posted by: Tehillah | Jan 14, 2010 3:40:41 PM

I am a 64 year old Jewish Londoner.

When I was a girl, I was English. As I became older, I became British.

Now I don't know what I am.

The fault is not with the indigenous English/British people as a whole, a lot of them feel as confused and alienated as I do. The fault lies entirely with our Government which appears to favour one particular minority group to the exclusion of Society as a whole.

Yes of course you get the rabble rousers in the Guardian and the Independent. Their opinion, along with that of the BBC, is not that of the majority of English/British people, but of a relatively small and extremely vocal group of antisemites who enjoy getting themselves off in print.

And regardless of the nay-sayers amongst the Jewish establishment, the majority of the attacks and the vitriol comes from a rabid minority of a particular non-indigenous group.

Read the newspapers, apart from the terrible two, Israel rarely comes into the equation, and when it does it's treated in a fairly even-handed manner. The British Foreign Office has always been Arabist, and previous Governments have kept a firm hand on it, but we have growing minority with votes here, and they want to dictate not only foreign policy, but also how people in the UK as a whole live.

Is this a place for Jews to be afraid? As a rule, not yet. But in the future? I'm not sure that it will still be a place where the majority of current citizens want to live.

Posted by: chairwoman | Jan 14, 2010 4:34:15 PM

very typical
They don't like being poked.

Posted by: Batya | Jan 14, 2010 5:04:56 PM

"very typical
They don't like being poked."

Am I missing something?

Posted by: chairwoman | Jan 14, 2010 5:09:08 PM

Don`t live in the UK,but have vsited many times,and keep up with it`s media thru the internet.The comments by chairwoman seem to echo my own feelings and observations

Posted by: ED | Jan 14, 2010 6:18:12 PM

British Jews might have to worry about antisemitism but if you grew up in the U.S. you know that American Jews have to worry about assimilation and intermarriage.American Jews are relatively free of antisemitism and they are also free to make the choice of blending into the melting pot. No one will call their children "dirty Jews"since they have ceased to be Jewish. A silent holocaust is taking place in America.At least in England it sounds like the Jews are being reminded of who they are and who they are not.

Posted by: David Tzohar | Jan 14, 2010 8:04:38 PM

I'm with Chairwoman in her assessment (I'm also British). I suspect we are also paying the price of something which is a much bigger issue, the inability of our population to critically analyse the media. At university 25 years ago, I was taught to think and to wrestle with issues, not to blindly accept any dingbat opinion that walked my way.
Today that isn't the case, so political correctness (and I think also fear) has begun to pervade society, especially in relation to the community which Chairwoman alludes to. But that isn't just a British problem, it is Europe wide.

Posted by: Noa | Jan 14, 2010 8:05:33 PM

I agree with Noa about education. As a teacher in Europe, albeit not in Britain, we are not expected to teach students to be critical of much anythingl - not that we all obey. In the end it all boils to a big void as far as criticism is concerned. Funnily enough when PR concerns a topic that is close to peole's hearts they are critical but don't seem to think that it may also concern domains about which they know pretty much to nothing.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Jan 15, 2010 8:10:24 AM

Leave it to a commenter like ED to point out the wonderful benefits of anti-Semitism to Jews! How so very nice of the English to remind the kikes and sheenies to keep in their place. How terribly awful of us Americans to show such loving acceptance of the Jewish people and their traditions.

ED you must have a glass stomach.

Since your head is inserted so deeply inside that would be only way you could see out!

Posted by: anon | Jan 15, 2010 10:22:59 PM

anon-
The comment you are talking about wasn't ED's.
The name of the commenter is under the comment, not above.

Posted by: odm | Jan 16, 2010 9:26:47 PM

May I just say that, as a non-Jewish bloke here in the UK, I have never heard any anti-semitic statements - most people know are more concerned with Islam and the rising Muslim population of Britain. I heard concern about Israel's actions during Operation Cast Lead - because of the BBC's particularly slanted coverage it was seen as being a disproportionate response - but this didn't become - or even seem to reflect - a more generalised anti-Jewishness. My boss condemned an Israeli attack on a school (which obviously turned out to have been a Palestinian PR stunt involving the sacrifice of innocent children) but a few weeks later was extolling the virtues of a programme the Chief Rabbi had presented.

The Guardian, The Independent and the BBC all promote a far harsher critique of Israel than they do of Israel's enemies but I suspect rather a lot of ordinary people here think along the lines of "They're having to deal with those Muslim nutters just like we'll have to."

I'm not for a moment saying anti-semitism doesn't exist - I think the Islamist-Left nexus finds it a very, very useful tool to rally the mob, and this will only get worse when the Labour government are booted out of office and the splintered left will be desperate to create new alliances to bulk up their numbers. But I just haven't heard any anti-Jewish sentiment in my quite ordinary 40 years in England. I hope these words will be taken as reassuring in some ways rather than as an attack on those who do see anti-semitism as a rising problem here. Perhaps I just occupy a particular social milieu though - but I think it's quite ordinary - a kind of 'we're all rubbing along together' attitude prevails, and Jewish wit, intelligence and achievement in many fields(filtered perhaps predominantly through the American Jewish experience)are appreciated.

I wonder if some of the reticence you detected in the people you met at Limmud reflects a wider English discomfort with religious interest of any kind? Our Church Of England is more about cake stalls than God after all - in the 30 or so years before the influx of Muslim immigrants made their voices heard, we were possibly the least-religiously inclined nation on earth.

Posted by: Pete | Jan 17, 2010 2:46:02 AM

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