Many people have asked us why we have raised the spectre of antisemitism and why we re-iterate the fact that the campaign against antisemitism must be redoubled when our core remit is anti-Muslim hate. Well the answer can be articulately found in a recent phrase that the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mervis, used in a Telegraph article. Whilst we fundamentally believe in human rights and the rule of law, this means that the foreign policies and actions of any nation should be and must be scrutinised. Yet, what the Chief Rabbi is suggesting is that antisemitism (based on a backlash post the Gaza crisis), is an indicator of the levels of tolerance, or one could say, the lack of tolerance in society. The phrase, ‘canary in a coalmine‘ as used by the Chief Rabbi, therefore has a wider meaning for all communities.
The Chief Rabbi is absolutely right when he states that Jews in the UK cannot and should not be held accountable for the actions of Netanyahu and his cabinet and holding a whole community to account is antisemitic. This is based on the simple premise that holding a whole community to a standard because of their identity is prejudicial and this also goes for those who believe that all British Muslims should be held to account for the actions of ISIS or those gangs of young men in Rotherham, Peterborough or Oxford who groomed young girls. It is simply ludicrous and prejudicial to do so, but this does not detract from self-reflection by some within communities.
Yet, what the Chief Rabbi is getting at, is that antisemitism is a warning signal, an indicator that there are groups of people who are willing to target others, graffiti synagogues or make flippant prejudicial comments to Jewish community members going about their daily business. It is precisely this kind of activity that we have also picked up against Muslim communities, particularly post the murder of Lee Rigby and recently after the Rotherham grooming crisis broke in the press. Examples of such incidents can be found here, here and here.
Time and time again, we come across prejudice, hate and bigotry targeted against Muslim communities and where all of the data shows that visible Muslim women going about their daily business, are at a higher risk of anti-Muslim abuse. Thankfully, whilst the abuse is not life threatening it does leave its impacts on those women who are targeted and examples of incidents and attacks are listed here, here and here.