Miriam F. Elman is an associate professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, where she is a research director in the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration.
In the last few months, the tone on my Facebook feed has changed. There’s more fear being expressed, and some friends won’t go to events at a synagogue or Jewish community centre now because of the security aspect…Three Faiths Forum works with about 10,000 young people a year. Over the past few months, their questions have become more pertinent and can lead to very challenging discussions. Questions we’ve had to Jewish speakers include: ‘You said Jews believe in charity—do you also believe in killing Palestinian babies?’ and ‘Why do Jews keep money under their hats?’ We had to explain that the man the student had seen was probably just adjusting his kippah under his hat, and that Jews keep money in pockets just like everyone else.”It’s a lot of awful. Which is why for many British Jews the recent cancellation of a blatantly anti-Zionist and BDS-promoted conference at the University of Southampton has been cause for celebration.
The idea [of the blood libel] is absurd, not least because even the tiniest speck of blood in food renders it inedible in Jewish law.”As explained by Sacks, the libel was an English invention, originating in Norwich around 1144. It was introduced into the Middle East in the 19th century, where it helped instigate the targeting of innocent Jews in Lebanon and Egypt (and, most famously, in Syria with the Damascus trials of 1840). This violence and hatred against Jews happened decades before the first wave of persecuted European Jewish refugees arrived in pre-state Israel seeking refuge in their ancient homeland. Zionism didn’t provoke it.
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