There are leaders such as Theresa May, and Netanyahu is doing it more now, that are speaking out against anti-Semitism. The problem with this is the are only speaking, there isn’t enough action to justify their speeches. In the UK anti-Semitism rose by 36% and reached record levels in 2016.
To be fair to Theresa May, she is trying to make inroads in this area by committing £13 million to support security at Jewish-faith schools, synagogues, and communal buildings. May outlined three factors underlying the basis of her policy; defeating anti-Semitism means punishing those responsible for it, the Jewish people must be kept safe, people must be educated to fight hatred and prejudice in all its forms.
But what’s the point when you can have a whole party like Labour that don’t regard the BDS movement as wrong and unacceptable and don’t care enough to sort out their own problems with anti-Semitism. Ostensible criticism of the Israeli government morphs into anti-Zionism and, by extension, into anti-Semitism masquerading as legitimate political comment. This is the quagmire into which Labour has blundered, rather foolishly.
Penalties for anti-Semitism have been imposed but they’re not exactly much of a penalty. There’s a man called Garron Helm, whose hero is Adolf Hitler, and is part of the far-right party National Action, got sentenced to four weeks in prison for sending anti-Semitic messages to a Jewish member of Parliament. How is that a proper punishment for hatred?
When my mum used to tell me off, sometimes I wouldn’t really listen and then go and do the same thing again because I only got a warning or a small punishment, if she had been more forceful and given me a more severe punishment then I would have seriously thought twice whether I wanted to do it again or not. Where is the severe punishment for anti-Semitism? What is the deterrent?
I don’t have an answer as to what should be done. But surely it can be agreed that something must be done. As with anything, the first step is probably admitting it, and then to actively try and avoid it, but for those who partake in the abusing of Jews, they need to be dealt with in a more severe manner.
“Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?… If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh?” Shylock, The Merchant of Venice