Sunday, September 25, 2005

No More Mr Nice Guy

So British academia has decided to try again to arrange a boycott of Israeli universities. Tony Blair is being advised to scrap Holocaust day and Red Ken gets away with comparing the Israeli army to Hamas. Meanwhile the government is advised that their foreign policy is to blame for the ‘growing resentment and rising radicalism within the Muslim community. You might quite fairly ask how these affect a Chassid living on the Hill, our yeshivas are not recognised anyway, we do not rely on the holocaust to define our Jewishness and Ken has never been our favourite politician anyway? The combination of all these is however sending a very clear message to British Jewry despite the fact that in their typically ingratiating manner Established British Jewry refuses to enunciate it in public.

The reason our wishes, feelings and sensibilities are being ignored is because everybody, from the Foreign Minister down to the mugger on the street, knows that the Jews will not fight back but bend over backwards to prove what model citizens they can be even as the BBC regularly slams our country as some bastard-state. Even as the British government sends officers to the airport to arrest the generals who risked their lives protecting us from the terrorists who have sworn to annihilate us, while terrorist clerics like Yusuf al-Qaradawi are invited to London and given the red-carpet treatment. Like our parents and grandparents in Europe we will determinedly remain silent and good while our rights and lives are stripped away, salami-style, slice by slice. Meanwhile the Muslim community, with none of our snivelling desire to please, will soundly prove that if they do not get their way they will bomb us, together with our hosts the crusaders (the new muslim in-word for Christians or westerners), to hades.

We will stand around smiling as the BBC invites 'Abd Al-Bari 'Atwan, of the Al Quds newspaper based in London, onto Dateline London, a weekly talkshow, to explain that Hamas is entitled to bomb civilians in Israel because it is called resistance. I actually did write to complain, seeing as Tony Blair had announced that all calls to terrorism anywhere were illegal and would be punished. It seems however that I had misunderstood; it was calls to kill WASPs that are illegal. Jews have to understand that they are different. A glib reply from the BBC informed me that they do not take responsibility for what interviewees say.

I am not sure what it will take for the EBJ organisations to actually realise that the water landing on their faces really is gooey spittle and admit it. How long it will take before they realise that all the years of ‘contributing to the community’ and proving to all sundry how ‘normal’ we are were a waste of time. That if we had had been a little more strident and unapologetic we might not have been such a walkover. What they can do about it now is another question. It would be illegal and foolish to argue for a more violent approach for our cause, just as foolish indeed as not to acknowledge it would help. What is realistic however is to take a page out of the American book and stop being so nice.

The real reason I say this is because I am watching the same thing happening in a microcosm called Stamford Hill. Some machers with more power than sense have started a campaign of denying admittance to the religious schools of girls whose mothers commit cardinal sins like wearing denim or looking too pretty. Sadly, because the very act of fighting back is likely to result in permanent pariah status for their entire family, nobody is prepared to fight back openly and the result is that a group of sad innocent little girls cry themselves to sleep each night dreaming of the dubious honour of going to the YHS or Beis Yaakov. The Rabbinate claims it is powerless to help although face to face they admit they disagree with this policy. How more British could they get?

Next week is Rosh Hashana. As we go to shul and contemplate the past year and the possibilities for the coming one I hope we all take a moment to consider what the result of our silence and inaction is and resolve to use the power we do have, whether it is persuasion or influence or just the power of the formerly silent masses, to help us all. British Jewry and Stamford Hill deserves better.

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