Strangely, as a person born into a Christian family, in an English rural setting in the 1950's, I was brought up with Arabs and Jews.
Of course, by and large, they were not 'real' Jews and Arabs. They were characters from the Old and New testament, in some ways far more familiar than the people in the next village. Characters, whose lives and deeds were referred to so repeatedly and in such detail, that in the minds eye they became as real and close as family members and friends. Indeed it would be no lie to say that I knew more of the life Esau and Jacob and their father Isaac, a family that supposedly lived about four thousand years ago, than I did the life experiences and biography of my own grandfather! And it still remains the case.
I, like perhaps the majority of Englishmen before me, was raised in an ill-defined, but nonetheless deeply influential Christian environment with deep roots in Judeao-Christian tradition. Christian teaching of course grew out of, but distinguished itself from the Jewish faith that preceded it. The characters were Jewish and Arab to a man (and woman) but undoubtedly they were English in our imagination. The words we read on the page were English. The words of those that retold the stories from which were drawn the moral and spiritual lessons were in English. Had we heard them in their native Arabic and Hebrew or even Latin, they would have appeared from an alien planet and been unintelligible and their meaning would have been completely lost to us.
The religious buildings in which we heard these stories and the ritual context in which they were relayed was distinctly European and local. The churches dated from roughly the fourteenth century. The theology was Protestant Reformation with modern twists on a Calvinist interpretation of the deity of Christ, the nature of (sinful) man and salvation through the ancient Jewish belief in sacrificial redemption, except now the animal was replaced by the Divine man, Jesus. Even the images, insofar they were provided, and by and large the visual representation of Christ was frowned upon - again an ancient Jewish and Muslim concept - were European and light skinned in nature.
Repetition and exposition on a regular basis had its psychological and emotional effects. I do not believe they were all bad. It was done in good faith by our elders, for whom the esoteric spiritual world was believed in absolutely and influenced action. These were good people largely free of the many ills that beset people today or even then. It meant that many on grounds of conscience refused to enlist or fight in the Second World War and were reviled for it.
There was an embedded ambivalence, even dissonance, in all this subconscious cultural conditioning, both as regards the narrative itself and the wider contemporary world view. The Old Testament stories were from the Jewish viewpoint and empathetic to it. Nevertheless within this group engaged in a marathon task to enter the 'promised land' with God on their side, there were the 'goodies' and 'badies'. The 'chosen race' was continually being urged by prophets to mend its ways. At the same time this Semitic group was engaged in a brutal and callous campaign against other groups, urged on by a vengeful deity.
Then there is the antipathy between the notion of 'God's chosen people', with the Jews of the New Testament rejecting and finally calling for the execution of the 'Son of God'. Subsequently however it is those same Jewish individuals, principally by tradition St. Peter and 'St. Paul', convinced by Christ's teaching, that bring evolved Jewish theology first to the wider Middle East and later to Rome. However it was not for another three hundred years before Constantine, under the influence of his secretly Christian mother, converted and the Roman Empire with him.
Both he and his son 'Constantinus' or 'Constantine II' carried on an anti-pagan and anti-Jewish policy as violent as the one previously pursued against Christians. The inherent contradiction between claimed beliefs and actions is obvious. We should not feel too superior. Christian countries today are still exhibiting the same hypocrisy albeit wrapped in secular objectives.
So as a child of 20th Century in England, subject by the age of ten to perhaps 16,000 hours of religious and moral teaching along these lines and personally converted to it by the age of ten, besides all the wider embedded Christian culture and symbolism from Sovereign down, what were the remnant attitudes to those of different faiths, and particularly Jews and Muslims? Did we view these two groups in similar light? Were they equally regarded as friend or foe, familiar or alien?
Why I wonder should I be asking myself these questions now? I do so because I believe it is important that we question our native conditioning and the way it impacts on our world view, particularly as it relates to policy in the Middle East today. Nowhere could it be of greater significance than the opinions held by the majority of the 'Christian Right' in the United States as the foremost aggressive military power in the world although it is a significant factor here in Britain also.
The support for a Zionist State of Israel and its actions is in large measure found in this group. It is why Presidential candidates go to extraordinary lengths to woo both the Jewish and evangelical cohorts with incredibly little introspection or critical objectivity. The Christian, Jewish and Muslim exhortation to living peaceably and 'loving your neighbour', are apparently jettisoned without the slightest reservation or hesitation in the face of jingoistic, unsubstantiated claimed threats and meaningless words such as 'freedom'. Recent western action should lead all religious people towards a profound sense of guilt and repentance if their beliefs mean anything.
A consideration of how religious views affect policy and action is not esoteric and irrelevant. It is pertinent and essential. There is a tendency in society to close the discussion down, particularly on the oft quoted grounds of 'anti-semitism'. Nothing could be more damaging to the welfare of people around the world. Religious belief must be subject to critical analysis, as must the actions that flow from the intrinsic beliefs, whilst respecting the peaceful belief systems of others.
We must learn to distinguish between beliefs and their outcomes. If the results are violent, abusive or unjust, they must be condemned and resisted. Nor should we be naive as to the lengths influential groups and governments go to enlist the support of religious belief and the people that hold them to pursue their policies, or to subtly try to influence opinions one way or another.
There is no doubt that Jewish Zionists have become past masters in the art of persuasion to the detriment of their neighbours and claimed enemies. Indeed have used every device at their disposal, including the so-called 'false flag' to influence public opinion in particularly America and Europe. The events of 9/11 and their subsequent treatment have proved that. It is summed up by Mossad's motto from Proverbs 24:6 "By way of deception, thou shalt do war." The issue has raised its ugly head yet again in respect of the campaign to dislodge Jeremy Corbyn from his position as Leader of the Labour Party and of 'Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition'.
There is little doubt that what we might call the Jewish Lobby is enormously and disproportionately influential in economic and political matters, particularly the USA and parts of Europe including Britain. The oil-rich Arab states may wield an influence born of wealth and holders of debt but amazingly this accords with Jewish interests and objectives to a greater extent than the interests of its fellow Muslims in lands either occupied or torn asunder by conflict. We witness Saudi Arabia and Israel acting as military partners and deep dishonesty over support and control of so-called ISIS.
The fact that Jews by virtue of religion or descent are found at all levels of British society, in commerce, entertainment, banking, the professions and law does not mean they exercise a questionable influence, but neither should the possibility be ignored or underestimated. Any grouping that considers itself distinct, with common beliefs and loyalties - whether it be 'old school', professions, union membership, religious or political groups, criminal gangs, secret societies, the mafia - none can regarded as totally benign or free of dangers to the commonwealth. By the same token, the huge positive contribution to British society must be acknowledged as indicated by the Wikepedia list here: https://www.stormfront.org/forum/t229415/
However what we seldom hear in the press and media is the prominent role of Jews in the history of particularly American crime which probably continues (Here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish-American_organized_crime; http://listverse.com/2012/05/25/top-10-people-who-give-judaism-a-bad-name/) Concerns over how Jewish criminals have escaped justice in France by using the Israeli 'escape route' (rather conveniently and surprisingly France has no extradition treaty with Israel) is provided by the 'Chikli case' and others. (See: http://www.timesofisrael.com/are-french-jewish-criminals-using-israel-as-a-get-out-of-jail-card/) The number of Jews in prison has increased by 82 per cent since 2002, and now stands at 327 people registered as Jewish in English and Welsh establishments. (See: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/146678/huge-leap-number-jews-behind-bars) However in fairness I should point out that this figure appears to be unrepresentative of Jewish people at large. The most recent census in 2011 showed that Jews make up 0.47 per cent of people in England and Wales, while Jewish inmates constitute 0.38 per cent of the prison population. (See: http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/2015/10/8/on-jews-and-criminality)
Of course no less that the President of British Jews narrowly missed out on a trial for serious criminal charges owing to his mental state when they were finally brought. Another notable Jewish politician, Leon Brittan, has never been fully exonerated regarding allegations of corruption. In both cases the way the matters were treated by establishment and press gave rise to suspicion of protection and collusion by largely Jewish controlled media empire. Sir Philip Nigel Ross Green another prominent Jewish businessman has recently appeared before a Parliamentary Select Committee in connection with the collapse of BHS with a half a billion pound deficit in its worker's pension pot. The disproportionate influence by and sympathy for Israel and Jewish groups can hardly be denied, with 80% of Conservative 'Friends of Israel' (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservative_Friends_of_Israel and http://www.dailystormer.com/how-jewish-criminals-control-the-british-parliament/ How can this be regarded as other than worrying?
So we come to the recent saga of Jeremy Corbyn and his battle to retain his leadership of the Labour Party and Opposition. He has had unprecedented support amongst ordinary Labour Party members. He was unexpected to win the contest, yet as he toured the country, everywhere he went he was met by overflowing halls and general acclaim. Membership of the party soared and by virtue of a recent change in the election rules, he won the election by a wide margin. However from the beginning, about 80% of MP's were unimpressed, and are now in open revolt with most of his 'shadow cabinet' having resigned, including his mentor's son Hilary Benn being summarily sacked in a midnight call. (See: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/26/hilary-benn-revolt-jeremy-corbyn)
Now it would be a brave man to claim this was all an Israeli or Jewish plot but it is strangely synchronous that there has been a high-profile allegation of 'anti-semitism' in the Labour Party followed by further charges against Corbyn himself. We have noticed before how often coterminous timing features in events of importance for Israel. If not actually planned we would have to regard them as evidence of supernatural intervention. (See for starters: http://veaterecosan.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/lies-and-fear-surrounding-911.html)
The row kicked off on the 28th April, 2016 with a comment by Corbyn ally, ex Mayor of London Ken Livingstone:
"It’s [ie, Shah’s comment] completely over the top but it’s not antisemitism. Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism – this before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews."
This caused outrage as any comparison or affinity between Israel and the Third Reich is hotly contested for obvious reasons by both Jews and Israel. The fact that Livingstone was later largely vindicated in his claim by historians admitting there had been such contact, and him strenuously denying the charge of anti-semitism, claiming he distinguished between Israel, Jews and Zionism, he was promptly expelled from the party and an investigation under the chairman of
Today (4.7.2016) Jeremy Corbyn has condemnedLivingstone’s controversial claims that Adolf Hitler initially backed Zionism. He said, “No I think we have to condemn the way he made the remarks and the remarks themselves and the equation of Hitler and Zionism at the same time.” Referring to a remark he had made at an earlier press conference (Jews were “no more responsible for the actions of Israel” than Muslims were for the “various self-styled Islamic states or organisations”) that had also cause caused furore, he said, “It would have been better, with hindsight – and many things are much better with hindsight, as every one of us around this table is well aware – if I had said Islamic countries rather than states.”
Jewish News Online reports that "at last week's press conference, Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth walked out after an activist accused her of “working hand in glove” with The Daily Telegraph. Mr Corbyn said he “was not aware she had left at that stage” and added that the comments from Marc Wadsworth which prompted her walkout were “inappropriate and wrong”. The Labour leader also expressed regret about previously calling Hezbollah and Hamas as his “friends”."(http://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jeremy-corbyn-condemns-ken-livingstones-claim-that-hitler-backed-zionism/)
The prominence given to the emotional reaction by Ruth Smeeth, a Jewish MP (see: ) is itself somewhat suspicious. I take that we should always be wary of tears in politics. I would contend they are almost always contrived for a purpose, the most recent example by Angela Eagle immediately prior to launching herself for Party leadership contention. Anyway further intrigue is added by a claim by Mark Steele on Twitter, that her husband works for the semi-secretive right wing "British-American Project" (See: http://www.newstatesman.com/node/149147) It almost goes without saying that "Right Wing" in America is synonymous with Zionism.
George Robertson, Chris Smith, Mo Mowlam, Peter Mandelson and Liz Symons. Jonathan Powell, Blair's chief of staff, Matthew Taylor of the Institute for Public Policy Research and Geoff Mulgan of the No 10 Policy Unit and Jeremy Paxman and James Naughtie of the BBC, Trevor Phillips, and the Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore are all listed as past 'graduates'.
At the launch of the Shami Chakrabarti, inquiry into anti-semitism, that effectively cleared it of the charge, Corbyn said: 'Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu Government than our Muslim friends are for those of various self-styled Islamic states or organisations.'
This was immediately interpreted by Jewish religious sources, in similar vein to those by Livingstone, as equating Israel to ISIS, which of course is not what he said. Both the existing and former Chief Rabbi condemned the remark.
And former chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks was reported as saying: "Jeremy Corbyn’s comparison of the state of Israel to Isis is demonising of the highest order, an outrage and unacceptable. That this occurred at the launch of the report into the Labour Party’s recent troubles with antisemitism shows how deep the sickness is in parts of the left of British politics today." (See: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3667717/Don-t-talk-Hitler-Corbyn-publishes-anti-Semitism-inquiry-tells-Labour-members-resist-Nazi-metaphors-compares-Israeli-government-ISIS.html)
Unfortunately for these protesters, and despite Corbyn rejecting the interpretation of his remarks, as I have previously alluded, there is significant substance to the claim that Israel is deeply embroiled in the whole ISIS business. Some informed sources even claim that the letters stand for "IsraeliSecretIntelligenceService"!
Apart from the circumstantial evidence of not a single ISIS offensive action against Israel despite it surely being the chief enemy of Islam; of Netanyahu's statement that he would, "prefer ISIS to Iran" (See: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/01/19/israeli-defense-minister-if-i-had-to-choose-between-iran-and-isis-id-choose-isis/) or that Israel is documented supporting ISIS alligned Al Nusra Front (See: http://www.timesofisrael.com/yaalon-syrian-rebels-keeping-druze-safe-in-exchange-for-israeli-aid/) and that NATO member financed ISIS by buying its oil (See: https://www.rt.com/news/326567-is-export-oil-turkey/); it is only one of the many jigsaw pieces that suggests ISIS is the creation of an alliance of western and middle eastern countries of which Israel is a part and that the deception imposed on the British people and other nations, knocks the Suez fiasco into a cocked hat.
After fifteen years, the Chilcot Inquiry (See: http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/) belatedly offers some hope of a glimmer of light into the circumstances of the illegal Iraq invasion (not to mention the unjustified invasion of Afghanistan!) Before the ink is dry, there should be another into the whole ISIS fabrication and Israel's part in it.
So although we should all refrain from unjustified or ill-tempered abuse of "Semites" (which of course alludes to all Arabs in that region, and ironically excludes many non-semitic Jews and residents of Israel) the pejorative term "anti-semitic" should equally never be applied casually or as often happens a blanket slur just to prevent the facts being discussed or the truth being allowed to escape. Only when we escape our cultural conditioning and that of the media, enabling our reason to take command of our emotions, will the truth emerge and some degree of justice for those currently suffering be afforded.