With the Queen of England celebrating her Jubilee Year, and the visit to Abu Hamza in a high-security prison, I think the time has come for a few words about what is going on in Britain.
To be quite honest, I started life as an Anglophile.
My bedtime story was David Copperfield. As I suffered and ultimately triumphed with that poor, handsome orphan lad, I was infused with a sense of longing for the streets of London, waiting for the magic moment when my feet would wander where my imagination had long roamed.
My opportunity came many years later in 1981, after I had finished a master’s thesis on D.H. Lawrence. My dear friend and fellow classmate Shoshana and I hurried to take advantage of our husbands’ offer to babysit for a week, allowing us a much-needed break.
Before they came to their senses, we booked two tickets to London.
I’ll never forget that trip.
Everything from the pubs to the accents, to the little parks, and especially the theater, thrilled me with their unique charm. It was all so civilized, I thought.
People were so polite. The streets so clean. The plays were so well performed. It was dazzling.
Believe it or not, despite having made aliya in 1972, I didn’t have a very clear picture of the terrible history of Britain and the Jews of Palestine. The last book I read before leaving the US was While Six Million Died, which detailed the terrible history of America’s passive complicity in the destruction of European Jewry during the Holocaust.
But then came the intifada.
I couldn’t believe my ears as I listened to BBC broadcasters.
The bias and hatred toward Israel were so ugly and so blatant that even slow-boil Israeli government spokesmen were finally moved to protest, accusing the BBC’s Middle East correspondent Orla Guerin of anti-Semitism and “total identification with the goals and methods of the Palestinian terror groups.” After numerous Palestinian terror attacks on Israeli civilians, the BBC decided to air a documentary focusing on… the 1982 massacres in Sabra and Shatilla, dusting off the tired old complaints against Ariel Sharon. The following year I cringed as BBC reporters openly worried whether the PLO terrorists who had invaded the Church of the Nativity – defiling the sanctuary, beating up priests and worshipers and taking them hostage – were hungry, and if they had had a chance during the week to put down their machine guns to take a shower.
“You are not doing harm to the Jewish people. But you are doing harm to yourselves and to civilized norms that history shows will wind up destroying all that is precious to you as well,” I wrote in an open letter to the BBC.
Not long after, a British Jew decided to sing anti- Israel Christmas carols. She was someone I had the misfortune to meet when I attended the London Jewish Book Fair.
By that trip, the streets of London were decidedly less magical than I remembered, the streets dirty and the people basically Third Worlders. The politeness and charm were gone, along with the thrill of being in a place of superior intellectual and moral appreciation.
It was a sad return.
British reality TV programs brought to Israel revealed the ongoing nature of this process. “Tiny Tearaways” showed dysfunctional families coping with out-of-control two-year-olds, while “Brat Camp” showcased these same two-year-olds reaching puberty, drinking, taking drugs and beating up their parents, who then bought them a one-way ticket to the Utah desert. Both programs revealed something that was obvious to all: No one was bringing up British children. In the no-father, single, non-coping parent environment that had replaced normal family life in Britain, the children were certainly no worse than their loutish parent( s). Recent British riots should have come as no surprise to anyone, least of all British authorities.
The sad and precipitous decline in British character and morals from their heights during the London Blitz seems to parallel the decline in British-Jewish relations. Anti-Semitic hate crimes, including physical attacks on Jews in London, are all too commonplace nowadays. The concomitant blindness of the average Brit to Muslim excesses within their own borders is frightening.
Take a recent report from the Islington Tribune by Pavan Amara that “an alarming number of underage girls – some as young as nine – are being forced into marriage in Islington” according to the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organization, and that “hundreds of Islington girls could be suffering sexual, emotional and physical scars as a result of the child marriages every year.”
The powerlessness of British authorities to control what goes on in their country, a result of the radical left-wing poison that has invaded and destroyed common sense in those fair British isles, was also glaringly apparent last year when our own Raed Salah, a Hamas hate preacher who had been banned by the British home secretary, strolled through Heathrow Airport in June, on his way to calmly deliver a lecture organized by Islamist radicals to a large crowd in Leicester and again at Westminster at the invitation of left-wing Labor MPs.
On February 6, members of the Home Affairs Select Committee headed by Labor MP Keith Vaz went to high-security Belmarsh prison to interview Abu Hamza – the cleric who was jailed after telling his followers that the murder of non-Muslims was justified “even if there is no reason” – and then published an uncritical summary of Hamza’s comments.
Also, British authorities admitted their helplessness in keeping terrorist Abu Qatada in prison, announcing his imminent release. A Jordanian who had entered the United Kingdom on a forged passport in 1993, Qatada preached to British Muslims (including Mohammed Atta, the leader of the September 11 hijackers) to kill non-believers, and supported worldwide terror groups and bloody attacks in Jordan.
Because of their distorted laws, the British are about to let him go scot-free, despite recognizing the serious danger he poses to national security.
Is part of the British support for terror simply the inability of the ruling elite to get over its hatred of Jews and of Israel, pushing them into a senseless pattern of behavior that has no peaceful future? If so, perhaps it is time for the Queen to stop this downward spiral by putting her first visit to Israel on her Jubilee agenda.
This conciliatory gesture and recognition of the crimes committed against our people under the British Mandate – including murdering passengers and crew on the Exodus in 1947 before sending survivors back to Germany, re-interring concentration camp victims attempting to start life anew in their homeland and aiding and abetting the Arab terror aligned against the fledgling Jewish state – would be a good way to start the next 60 years, for Britain as well as for Israel.
This article was first published in the Jerusalem Post on 10 February, 2012.