Please Access today's cover feature by
discusses rampant anti-semitism in contemporary Poland, spearheaded by a notorious Catholic priest and his bigoted radio station. Shades of the period between the two World Wars, when, according to my Polish-born mother (from Crakow, John Paul's home town), anti-Jewish pogroms were not that uncommon. Not to mention the Shoah, when HItler knew that the Polish population would assist him in his Final Solution, which ended with 90% of the Polish Jewish community exterminated.
Out of 30 million Poles, there were 3 million Jews (before the Holocaust), 10% of the entire population. Only 10% of these 3 million survived, including the two people who were to become my parents.
And today, there are barely enough Polish Jews to count on the fingers of one hand. So, what do you call this phenomenon? Anti-Semitism without Jews?
In order to make their point, the paper has used a stark image of a
being trampled by the anti-semitic Catholic priest.
This stark image illustrate both the growing anti-semitic crisis in Poland and The Tablet's own views on the matter.
In a rare instance of responsible journalism, they also contacted me beforehand to ask me if I thought that such an image, bearing in mind their hard-hitting story, would be 'sacrilegious'.
My answer was 'no', and I felt they should go ahead.
However, their query raises some interesting points. Let's go back a few years to 2002.
On 14th January 2002, the left-wing, anti-racist paper
The New Statesman
published an article by
A Kosher Conspiracy?
replete with Magen David piercing Union Jack.
A month later, on February 11, the paper's then editor, no doubt responding to the mass outcry which followed,
wrote this piece by way of explanation
To me, this 'explanation' seems utterly muddled and typical of Britain's complex attitude towards its tiny Jewish community.
Then, in January 2003, we had this prize-winning cartoon of Ariel Sharon devouring a Palestinian baby
again from a left-wing, anti-racist paper:
The Independent (know as the Indy)
in my view, probably the most anti-semitic image to have graced British shores, certainly in the 20th century, (unless you include Rory Bremner's 2005 Channel 4 satire on Conservative Opposition Leader Michael Howard as a barber, slitting people's throats).
Although Huldah (see comment below) has just sent me this, from the
This splendid blogger had a few words to say about that antisemitic cartoon:
The Guardian later said that their target was Israel, and not the Jews. So that's OK then. Especially as half the world's Jewish population now lives in Israel. Talk about being in denial!
Then skip to 6 weeks ago and we have this on Channel 4:
The War on Britain's Jews?'
timely and understated documentary about what life is currently like for Britain's Jewish community, and what it has been like since 9/11.
He actually says
In Britain 2007, it's open season on the Jews
Do note the hunting terminology and also the question mark which seems to be a trade-mark feature of Britain and its Jews.
Because what it seems to say is:
Who on earth are these miserable people, and why don't they just go away?
But long as there are articles like those by John Cornwell today, then maybe there is a glimmer of hope left for the Jews of Europe - let's hope so in any case.