In this week’s Spectator, Melanie Phillips argued that supposedly anti-Israel protests over the Gaza war have convulsed Europe in the worst scenes of open Jew-hatred since the 1930s. The most appalling aspect is the silence in the face of all this of the political class. Here’s her suggestion for what Ed Miliband should say if he really cared about the rise of anti-semitism in Britain:
‘I am horrified, not just because of the resurgence of the madness from which my own family so grievously suffered in the Holocaust, but also because we on the left bear no small responsibility for this current obscenity.
‘Hamas has placed its rocket arsenals below hospitals, schools and mosques. It is using 12-year-old kids as human bombs against Israeli soldiers. Yet the left isn’t protesting against this depravity but instead demonising the Israelis who are trying to stop it.
‘I am shocked that John Prescott called Gaza a concentration camp and said Israel should be a pariah state. The EU rightly says equating Jews with Nazis is anti-Semitism.
‘But then the left marches side by side with Islamists, who are committed to the persecution of gays and women, while it boycotts Israel, the only place in the Middle East where Muslims enjoy human rights.
‘We ignore Muslim on Muslim violence in Iraq, Yemen, Libya or Gaza. We ignore the 800 or so civilians killed in Ukraine. In Syria, more than 200,000 people have been slaughtered, 2,000 in the past two weeks alone. Yet we don’t march against Assad or Putin, only against Israel.
‘We think we are progressives building a better world. We tell ourselves anti-Semitism is right-wing. We are terribly wrong. Today, anti-Semitism is overwhelmingly on the left.
‘Only now I am starting to understand that Zionism, the movement for the self-determination of the Jewish people, is part of Judaism. Hostility to Zionism means hostility to Jews. We on the left shout “Free Palestine”. But that means “Destroy Israel”. How did we progressives get on the wrong side against civilisation?
‘I am ashamed of the part the left has played in fomenting this evil we now see all around us. Under my leadership these lies and this bigotry will now end.’
Melanie Phillips is a columnist for the Times.
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 2 August 2014