Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Candidates to replace George Galloway? "Most had websites exhibiting photos of themselves at pro-Palestinian protests"

This (well worth a read) is Bradford: "Bradford has many major Jewish investors including the Westfield Group, whose founder and non-executive chairman Frank Lowy fought in the Israeli war of independence. “Everybody knows that,” said Green, “because Galloway’s told them all.”"

And this: "Rudi ... was not born in Bradford but in Berlin, where he remembers watching the Nazis marching. Rudi paints a nuanced but troubling picture of life as one of the last Jews of Bradford." (See more below.)

"[Rudi] says it is not paranoid for Jews to be worried about being attacked, but that his life here has been defined more by Muslim friendship than by hate. Rudi has found his Muslim friends have been some of his strongest allies in keeping the synagogue alive. They helped him raise £5,000 ($7,680) for an emergency appeal when the synagogue roof was leaking and faced immediate closure. And he has invited a Muslim friend from the council who organizes school children’s visits to religious sites in Bradford to become a member of the synagogue committee. “They came to the financial rescue when we were in a real crisis. They have been our true friends.”

Rudi says he does not experience anti-Semitism in his daily life in Bradford. “It’s so slight it is hardly worth mentioning. But we now have a police presence that comes once a month when we have services.” The summer of the 2014 war in Gaza saw a number of unpleasant, if extremely minor, incidents. One group of visiting Jews coming to the synagogue wearing kippot were briefly trailed in a car with young Muslim men shouting—“You’re not welcome here.”

But there is one incident that lingers with Rudi. Invisible, he passes through his daily life without any harassment. But on one of the last occasions the Jews gathered visibly in the street outside the synagogue for a funeral something went terribly wrong. The hearse carrying the remains of the son of one the founding rabbis of the synagogue was trying to reach the synagogue, but both ends of the street were mysteriously blocked with traffic. Rudi says then Asian youths burst out and began shaking the hearse. Others saw them fly a Palestinian flag.

“It makes me sad to think we are the last ones,” Rudi said. “Very sad.”

Hang on a moment. This is England. This is 2015. "We now have a police presence that comes once a month when we have services". I think that is worth mentioning.

Let's hope that this is as bad as it gets and that things will improve soon. But what if it doesn't? Rudi, I suspect, is going nowhere: this is where he came to be safe. But if he has grandchildren, do you think they will stay in Bradford? In England? Would you? I'd be checking the US immigration laws and wondering whether living on the beach in Tel Aviv mightn't be too bad after all.

I thought of Mark Steyn, here in perhaps a scare-mongering sort of mood, but scare-mongering has its purposes.

"When you're living history as opposed to reading it, the trick is knowing when to head for the exit. One of the things I appreciate about, say, Mittel Europeans of a certain age is that, when you meet them in their grand Paris apartments or rambling house on the edge of Hampstead Heath, somewhere deep inside is the memory of the 3am knock on the door or a little boy crouched under the eaves in the attic. ...

Much of the world thinks it's beyond all that stuff. Ukraine has a border with the European Union, and many of its citizens assumed that their future lay westward - eventual EU membership, and a Ukrainian flag at tedious Euro-summits listening to Brussels commissioners discoursing on beefed-up regulations on the curvature of cucumbers. Now in southern and eastern Ukraine a little short of a million people have fled. Like the Libyans and Syrians, they have reached that moment when you leave behind everything in your life except what's necessary for the journey and a couple of treasured photographs.

Why should that stop at the EU border? ... Jews cannot safely ride the Paris metro with identifying marks of their faith, or walk the streets of Amsterdam, or send their children to school in Toulouse, or attend a bat mitzvah in Copenhagen. France, in 2015, you can be beaten up for being seen with the wrong kind of book on public transportation. ...

This is Europe now, 2015. What will 2016 bring, and 2020, 2025? And yet France or Denmark is all you've ever known; you own a house, you've got a business, a pension plan, savings accounts... How much of all that are you going to be able to get out with? These are the same questions the Continent's most integrated Jews - in Germany - faced 80 years ago. Do you sell your home in a hurry and take a loss? Or maybe in a couple of years it'll all blow over. Or maybe it won't, and in five years the house price will be irrelevant because you'll be scramming with a suitcase.

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