Sunday, June 15, 2008

Antisemitism in British Culture

The Jerusalem Center on Public Affairs has published a must-read interview with Robert Solomon Wistrich. Wistrich is a professor of history at Hebrew University, director of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism and editor of the journal Antisemitism International.

At the request of the Jerusalem Center, bloggers can only repost the introductory bullet points, not the interview itself. Please take the time to click the link to their website (here) and read the interview in its entirety. Its well worth the click.

from the Jerusalem Center on Public Affairs: Robert Solomon Wistrich >>> "Antisemitism Embedded in British Culture"

  • Antisemitism has been present in Great Britain for almost a thousand years of recorded history. In the twelfth century, Catholic medieval Britain was a persecutory society, particularly when it came to Jews. It pioneered the blood libel and the church was a leader in instituting cruel legislation and discriminatory conduct toward Jews.
  • English literature and culture are drenched in antisemitic stereotypes. Major British authors throughout the centuries transmitted culturally embedded antisemitism to future generations. Although they did not do so deliberately, it was absorbed and has had a long-term, major impact on British society.
  • In the new century the United Kingdom is a European leader in several areas of antisemitism. It holds a pioneering position in promoting academic boycotts of Israel. The same is true for trade-union efforts at economic boycotts. There is also no other Western society where jihadi radicalism has proved as violent and dangerous as in the UK.
  • In the UK the anti-Zionist narrative probably has greater legitimacy than in any other Western society. Antisemitism of the "anti-Zionist" variety has achieved such resonance, particularly in elite opinion, that various British media are leaders in this field. Successive British governments neither share nor have encouraged such attitudes-least of all Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. They have shown concern over antisemitism and the boycott movement and tried to counteract them. However, Trotskyites who infiltrated the Labour Party and the trade unions in the 1980s have been an important factor in spreading poisonous attitudes. The BBC has also played a role in stimulating pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli attitudes over the years.


(hat tip: Solomonia.com)

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