Israel Judaism Politics

Why Anti-Semitism Matters in the British Election



Have a look at this poster?  It is a pro-Corbyn, anti-May poster erected in Bristol this week.  I guess you could just say it is part of the rough and tumble of election politics, although I regard it as indicative of the simplistic dumbed down politics we are being forced to endure.   Apart from that can you see anything offensive about it? Notice what May is ‘wearing’ – two Star of David ear-rings and note the word Balfour. This is a reference to the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which was the basis for establishing the Israeli state today.   It is a profoundly disturbing and anti-Semitic poster. And it is only one sign of an increasing anti-Semitism – not only in its traditional home, the far Right, but now on the radical Left.  Anger over ‘Star of David’ symbol on Labour poster


Wipe Out Israel

Last month I was at a meeting with the Israeli ambassador, Mark Regev in Edinburgh Theological Seminary. It was an enlightening meeting.   The previous night he had been in Glasgow speaking at a University there – he was picketed by people chanting ‘from the Jordan to the sea, Palestine shall be free’. This was a less than subtle reference to the wiping out of the State of Israel.

In August 2016 600 people who were watching a show celebrating Israel’s diversity had to face a large anti-Israel protest outside the Tollcross venue. There are several of Scotland’s cultural and artistic elites who are quite happy to see Israeli artists and musicians banned. Meanwhile on the same month at Celtic Park where Celtic were celtic-palestine-flag_37671201playing an Israeli team – hundreds of people waved large Palestinian flags and sang ‘we are Scottish, we are singing for Palestine and we won’t be denied”.   Whilst there were those who argued that this was just people standing up for an oppressed people one has to simply ask – where were the anti-Chinese flags for oppressing the people of Tibet, or anti-Saudi flags for oppressing the people of Yemen, or anti Burmese flags for oppressing the Rohingya muslims? (or countless other situations far worse).   The fact is that being anti-Israel has become a cause celebre for the British Left and such faux concern for oppression provides a real cover for anti-Semitism.

Watch this channel 4 documentary on the war against Britain’s Jews.

I spoke to a leading representative of the Scottish Jewish community and asked him if my impression that anti-Semitism was on the rise in the UK and even in Scotland (I say even because as far as I know Scotland is the only country in Europe that has never had anti-Jewish laws and, because of our Christianity, we always felt an affinity with the people of Israel). He answered unequivocally Yes.

Let me give two other incidents which help demonstrate this.   Since the Manchester bombing a couple of weeks ago two Jewish cafes in Manchester have been burned down   Something you will struggle to find reported in the British media. I also know a homosexual activist who said that he was thinking of leaving the UK, not because of homophobia, but because of anti-Semitism.

What is causing this increase in anti-Semitism?

I think there are three main reasons.

Firstly there is the traditional European anti-Semitism.

This is something that runs very deep. I have come across it in various forms, not least in one lady who told me that IF the holocaust happened the Jews probably deserved it. I have been astounded at how ingrained anti-Semitism seems to be ingrained in many of our European cultures.  Another man I know – nice, middle class, left-wing and liberal – told me that the Jews were responsible for the evils of capitalism.


There really is no way around this. The primary cause of the increase in anti-Semitism in the UK is because of the increase of Islam. When the film Schindlers List came out in 1993, I asked a Muslim friend if she wanted to come and see it with me at the local Odeon. She flat out refused because she said that the Holocaust downloadprobably did not happen – it was Jewish propaganda. I was astonished because she was as liberal a Muslim as I have ever met.   It began to make sense to me that Mein Kampf is still a bestseller in Turkey. It also made sense to me that several Christians I know who work with Muslims seem very quick to adopt the anti-Israel zeitgeist (although they would deny it was anti-semitic).  They are the ones who engage in the game of ‘what abouterry?’   Every time you mention anti-Semitism they ask but what about Gaza or the West Bank – as though someone this was a justification.

The Radical Left

This has led onto another major cause. Traditional ingrained anti-Semitism, combined with Islamic anti-semitism has now been joined by the new kid on the block – left wing anti-semitism. This is seen in the radical left, and especially in the extreme Left of the Labour party. This is now even more significant because of the fact that one of the most extremist Marxist fringe members of the Labour party has become its leader and his organization (Momentum) is in the process of taking over the whole party.   Even more so now that  there is a possibility he could become Prime Minister. Corbyn says he opposes anti-semitism, but he supports those who are clearly anti-semitic – Hamas, Hezbollah and some of the more radical Islamic groups. Read Nick Cohen’s article about how this has infiltrated the Labour party.    

This is never far from the surface.  When Emma Barnett made a fool of Corbyn on Women’s Hour she was accused of being a Zionist!

Cameron Grills Corbyn on Anti-Semitism

It’s not just the Labour party but also other parties.   You would think that the SNP of all parties, as wannbe leaders of an independent small state of 5 million people would be keen to support the independence of another small state of 5 million people facing overwhelming odds. But when has a Scottish government minister ever visited Israel?   How did SNP MSP Sandra White get away with posting a cartoon on twitter showing piglets suckling a large pig with the word ‘Rothschild” written on it, and a bank with the Star of David? Scottish MSP Apologises    Anti-Semitism has also been found in The Tory Party and in the Lib Dems

This is also the case in academia where being pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli is almost a necessary qualification for any self-advancing academic.   How many academic institutions, so impeccably PC on so many issues, have turned a blind eye to the illiberal policies of their sponsors, just because of the money?   How many have turned a blind eye to the implicit anti-Semitism on their campus’s?

Why the Focus on Israel?

I am not a Christian Zionist, although I believe that the Jewish people have a right to their own homeland – especially after centuries of pogroms, persecutions and ultimately the Holocaust, in Europe. I do not think that to criticize the country of Israel is necessarily anti-Semitic. But I do believe that the focus on Israel above all other countries is because of anti-Semitism. I havn’t had the time to check it out yet but I was told by a friend who has,  that the Scottish Parliament has had 59 motions on Israel (despite the Scottish Parliament having no responsibility for foreign policy) , of which 52 have been anti-Israel. Far more than any other country in the world. Here is one example – referring to our earlier story –  MSPs to Debate Celtic Flags

The Peace of Israel? 

If I were Jewish I would be deeply fearful of the possibility of Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum being elected to power in the UK. Not just because of what may happen here but because of the signal it would give to the enemies of Israel whose desire is to see them destroyed.   Can you see Corbyn lifting a finger to help Israel if they are attacked?   Labour’s refusal to deal with the anti-Semitism in its midst, was one of the main reasons I could not vote Labour at this election.    As a Christian and as a Scot I will stand with the Jewish people and oppose with every fibre of my being, this grotesque and evil increase in anti-Semitism.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure.” (Psalm 122:6)





  1. Well said David you are one of the few who see this endemic evil, not only in our society at large, but even in our national church, who have, in the cloak of pro Palestinian aid, have made their dislike of the Jewish state very clear. Scott Rennie the most recent, who posted a picture of a Palestinian flag over Israel on a map of the Middle East. Israel, like every other nation, is not perfect by any means, but they are the only true Democracy in the Middle East where all faiths can worship freely. Their very existence today is a miracle which defies all reasoning other than divine preservation. Their survival in 1948 against immense odds and their amazing victory in the six day war of 1967 defies all logic unless God was with them. Again, in 1973, Yom Kipur, the day of atonement, as many of the soldiers were at prayer in the Siniai desert, they came under a surprise attack from Egypt, who initially pushed them back because of their unreadiness, resulting in in a great loss of lives. But they fought back resolutely, regained the initiative and once again defeated the Egyptian army. Coincidence?
    Today they are surrounded still by enemies who seek their destruction but their resolve to overcome all opposition and their belief that the title deed to the land is God given ( at least to the religious ), has been admired by most. One thing remains for the nation to end all their tribulations is that they would recognise their Messiah. Romans Ch 11 gives me hope that will come to pass. As a Christian I know how much I owe to the Jewish people for my bible, my faith and my Saviour and I am grateful. The Lord Jesus himself said ” Salvation is of the Jews. “

  2. Very helpful. My only quibble would be the text cited at the end; I take this to be transposed by the new covenant into the New Jerusalem which is above and to come.

  3. Whilst there were those who argued that this was just people standing up for an oppressed people one has to simply ask – where were the anti-Chinese flags for oppressing the people of Tibet, or anti-Saudi flags for oppressing the people of Yemen, or anti Burmese flags for oppressing the Rohingya muslims? (or countless other situations far worse).
    Well, when did Celtic last play against a team from China? Or a team from Saudi Arabia or a team from Burma?Tying criticism of the Israeli government in with anti-semitism plays into the hands of people like Netanyahu. They just love to cover their policies by claiming that anybody who criticises them is anti-semitic. (A bit like Diane Abbott saying that the people who criticise her are racists.)
    On the other hand, how many of your blogposts have mentioned any criticism of Israeli actions in the occupied territories?
    I just find it incredibly sad that a people (the Jews) who were treated abominably are now treating another people (the Palestinian Arabs) in such a disgraceful way.
    For the record I don’t know any Jews (so can’t say some of my best friends are Jews) and am about as far from the Left as Celtic Park is from Ibrox (and I’m not speaking geographically). But ever since I first learned about the Balfour Declaration in the 1960s I have been strongly critical of it.

    1. I’m sorry Mike but that does not make sense. It wasn’t just because they happened to be playing a team from Israel…you and I both know that there would not have been protests at a team from China or Saudi. Your refusal to recognise the anti-semitism helps add to it. Why do you think there has been a ten fold increase in anti-Semitic attacks in Glasgow? As for my blogposts – I’m not sure I’ve ever written about Israel before. The Balfour Declaration is a wonderful think – unless you think the Jews are not entitled to have a homeland.

  4. The following points are not made through outright disagreement so much as an attempt to address a few areas where I thought there was need for more balance in your evaluation of anti-semitism.

    I am a Christian who lives at the heart of the community you mention in North Manchester, Our church is in a community building in the middle of a park where Jews, Muslims, Christians and others are happy to be, and play, among one another. This doesn’t get on the news either – but it is the day to day reality for many of the people in our community.

    I think it essential to allow people to be critical of Israel without being labelled as ‘anti-semitic’ for doing so. It seems that the label is often used as a means of silencing the opposition. We must distinguish between those who oppose actions of Israel (the army, the government etc) and those who oppose people because they are Jews. In doing so, we can also challenge those who presume that ‘Jews’ are to blame for the actions of Israel!

    Further, it is not anti-semitic of itself to have an unbalanced judgement concerning the state of Israel. There may be many reasons for the judgement no matter how unbalanced it may seem. I think we should be very careful how we use the ‘anti-semitism’ label, just as I think people should be very careful how they use the ‘homophobic’ label. There are some clear parallels between how the labels are abused.

    Finally, I think it a problem if we equate Psalm 122:6 ‘Jerusalem’ with modern Israel and thereby imply that we have to favour Israel for some reason. This verse with its ‘and prosperity to the ones loving you’ is abused when it is used to gain the support of countries to Israel in order that those countries will thereby become prosperous. I don’t think it is helpful or right for Christians to apply this quote to Israel or the Jews.

    1. Thanks Jas – I too think it is important to be able to criticise the Israeli government without being considered anti-semitic – I think the article states that. I also agree that we need to be careful about using the label…but we also need to be careful not to hide behind the ‘we are just being critical of an oppressive’ government. I think I explain most of that in the article.

    2. I have some questions for you Jas.

      What type of criticism can be found in the following sentence: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”?

      As a person living in north Manchester, have you noticed the security around Jewish schools or Synagogues? If everything is so nice and bright, why do they need that? Could it possibly be related to expressions as the one I have previously mentioned?

      1. Sorry for the very late response Oren – I missed this!

        “From the river…” is not a Biblical slogan, nor one that I have heard in my neighbourhood, which does not live and breathe the politics of the Middle East. Maybe some do, but I’ve not encountered it in the past 30+ years I’ve been here.

        The security round Jewish schools etc is certainly due to fear of attacks. The church near where I live has bars all round it because people once broke in. Security is a measure of fear, but levels of fear don’t always match levels of crime. And levels of crime certainly don’t always match attitudes of groups towards one another. So: My point was that violent and anti-semitic actions are not the whole picture and the everyday picture I see actually living here is one which contrasts sharply with what you’d see on the news and what you might presume from security at schools.

  5. Well said.. It is much needed.
    There are many within the church who uncritically side with Palestine.
    Where, within Judaism, even in fundamentalist communities , is there a risk of atrocities in Western. Countries?
    Jesus, the true Israelite, the true Israel was annihilated, but not eliminated.
    The fulfilment of the book of Revelation will bring justice and judgment and settlement in the new heaven come down.

  6. Thank you David.

    The Greens are also a hotbed of anti-antisemitism, and I have even encountered UKIP having a streak of it running through them.

    As someone proud of my Jewish heritage, and technically capable of calling myself Jewish (my mother’s mother’s mother was a practising Jew), with about 10% of genuine Jewish blood in me, it is the determination of those such as Hamas to rid the world of every single Jew that particularly worries me – especially when they are called friends by a man who is the leader of the main opposition party in the UK, and by his shadow chancellor. I pray his party is not elected to power.

  7. Its high time people of influence began to warn of the obsessive criticism of Israel. After spending three years living and working there and yes visiting Gaza and speaking with people there too it became clear to me that the biggest obstacle to peace has been the Palestinian leadership itself. Every offer of peace has been rejected. This tiny nation is surrounded by powerful enemies on all sides and a UN which is totally out to undermine It. I left with a deep burden for Israel and a great respect for the diverse communities within Israel that have built a prosperous nation by working together. Of course…..this doesn’t make the anti Israel obsessed news we get fed. Neither do the constant terror attacks until Israel has the audacity to defend herself…..then its grab your torch and pitchfork !

  8. Thanks again David,

    I’m not exactly sure what a Christian Zionist is if it doesn’t involve a belief that the Jews should have a homeland, in what the Old Testament describes as the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That is a wee bit more than a sympathy vote on account of the hard time Jews have had over the last two thousand years (and more – remember Esther).

    When I first arrived in Israel, between the six day and the ’73 wars, I developed a sympathy for the Arab population. Not on account of their aspirations to statehood which were still relatively undeveloped, but for the fact they were on a hiding to nothing. The capability, organization and sheer hard work and determination of the Israelis was always going to outclass the working class Arab (I hesitate to call them Palestinian) preference for ease and internal argument. Twelve years spent later on in Arab middle east did nothing to alter my initial observations.

    But returning to why so many support Palestine, the answer includes more than a modicum of ignorance, with minds blinded by the god of this world. Put simply there is not now and never has been an autonomous state called Palestine. (There is no “P” in the Arabic language and the closest would be the Philistines – Falastini in Arabic. The Philistines were only one of the native tribes in the land, and mainly restricted to what is now known as Gaza.

    The early part of the 20th Century saw the start of Jews returning to their homeland. They bought useless land from locals and made it productive. They started businesses which drew Arab labour from Syria, Egypt and further afield as a result of which the Arab population multiplied – and a significant proportion of those now referring to themselves as Palestinian are not in fact indigenous.

    Christine Muir has the rights of it. Jordan doesn’t want a return of the West Bank and Egypt doesn’t want Gaza back either. The rest of the Arab world has ensured that the “Palestinians”, generation after generation remain refugees. More Jews were evicted from Arab lands in 1948 than Arabs left “Palestine”, at the urging of their Arab neighbours (who vowed to destroy Israel in a fortnight, so they could return) and against the pleadings of many Israelis to stay. The displaced Jews and their descendants have been absorbed, mostly I think into Israel although many will have gone elsewhere, while the Arab “Palestinians” are still kept as refugees. The Arab “Palestinians” have not been well served by either their leaders or their fellow Arabs.

  9. “As a Christian and as a Scot I will stand with the Jewish people and oppose with every fibre of my being, this grotesque and evil increase in anti-Semitism.”

    Quite so. Although you also work towards them not being Jewish. Just in much more peaceful way.

      1. Probably not – apart from Paul! But it is a theological position. I know of many Messianic Jews who follow Jesus…Love it when atheists try to school us in theology..

      2. A bit harsh, no? You are in danger of conflating being religiously Jewish and being genetically Jewish – something that the anti-Semites make part of their stock-in-trade. I am the latter, but not the former. Those who are religiously Jewish I want to throw aside their Judaism and follow Christ.

    1. “Really. And is there a Rabbi or Synagogue that shares that theological position. That Jesus was the Messiah?”

      Kehilot of Messianic Jews … or were you confining your definition to Rabbinic Judaism?

  10. Very well said Mr Robertson!

    Pray that Jerusalem may have peace and felicity,
    Let them that love thee and thy peace have still prosperity

    I also worship Jesus the jew!

  11. Don’t Jews who follow Jesus as their Messiah call themselves Messianic Jews.
    There are a group of them near where I live, who are ostracised by the local Hasidic community
    It is a joy to witness their Davidic dance in worship of David ‘ greater son, Jesus.

  12. The fundamentalist American Christian Zionists who support the Khazars now occupying Israel have much to answer for.

    Arab governments, because of the American theological / geographical fantasists, have cracked down on indigenous Christians and, as a result, that peaceful pre – Islamic group are soon to be no more.. Irony abounds, of course, as the Middle Eastern, Mizrahi Jews, who do have a claim to today’s Israel (if you believe that every race should go back 2000 years in homeland reclamation ) have been marginalised by the descendants of King Bulan’s Khazaria.

  13. Dominic, please consider the possibility that Jews / Judaism cannot simply be bifurcated by Race / Religion. Judaism, in its peerless group evolutionary strategy, is, in essence, a highly successful racial creed, and, as such , is deserving of admiration.

    Jews, disputatious to to fault, argue endlessly intra – group, but it must be remembered that the most vexed question remains ; “What’s good for the Jews.”

    1. There is something deeply unpleasant about your comment. Not least the sweeping comment that ‘Jews [are], disputatious to a fault’. I am surprised that David allowed it to be put up.

  14. My comment , Dominic , obviously contains that ‘je ne sais quoi’ you know so well.

    It must be remembered that in the Babylonian Talmud , a Rabbi debates Yahweh and is deemed to be the winner of the argument.

    Also, in Islam , Moses (Musa ) is credited with reducing Allah’s daily prayer requirement from 50 times to 5 times . This is the Isra and Mi’raj segment in which Mohammed ( pbuh ) was the bemused intermediary between the deal – making, disputatious Jew and the Semitic Deity.

  15. I am late to the party, but would like to thank the author for this piece.

    If I was to have a slight quibble, it would be with the description of left-wing antisemitism as “the new kid on the block”. There has in fact always been an antisemitic element on the left – not the whole of the left, not unique to the left, and opposed by many on the left – but still there. (This is a key book on the topic: What is new, however, at least in the UK, is that it is now increasingly in the mainstream.

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