“People do not like Jews,” said Miriam Margolyes on Australian television in response to a question about the rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the country. Her answer troubled me deeply, but I have long suspected this to be a sad matter of fact. Countless times I have listened to casual anti-Semitic remarks from people here in Dublin who have limited or no contact with Jews. People simply do not like Jews, and, as sad and frustrating as this is, it is a fact which rises from long and complex histories within Western and Middle Eastern cultures. Anti-Semitism exists completely independently from the State of Israel, but as Margolyes – a Jewish English-Australian actress – points out, there is a relationship between the behaviour of the State of Israel and the present global rise in anti-Semitism. Again, I fear that she is correct.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party has secured another term of government in Israel, and ‘Bibi’ himself has not been shy in making racist remarks about Arabs and Palestinians in Israel or in the land of Palestine currently under Israel’s illegal military occupation. He has also made it clear that under his administration there will be no Palestinian state. He seems to be under the impression that this election victory is a good thing for Israel and for the Jews in the diaspora.

We can’t and shouldn’t blame Netanyahu for anti-Semitism. It does a good job of existing without his fuel to the fire, but he is fuel to the fire. His blatant contempt for the life and rights of other human beings, tied up as it is with a US economic and military complex, is leading to a deepening sense of despair and anger in the West. I feel it, and I am angry. Anti-Semitism is one response to this frustration. It is wrong, and I certainly do not condone it, but people are not always as smart as we would like them to be – and we are living in a global idiocracy. Netanyahu knows what he is doing, I suspect. He is working to polarise world opinion to manufacture a crisis that need not be there (certainly not to the extent that it is becoming) in order to make his solution necessary.


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