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Reasons to be fearful: one, two, three

It strikes me that we Jews are a very easy target. There’s not just one, not even two but three unique and creative ways to insult us. And  sadly this week it seems that between them, politicians, the press and members of the general public have managed to check off all three.

Firstly, there’s the old fashioned type of prejudice, as typified by Gerald Scarfe’s remarkably insensitive cartoon in this week’s Sunday Times. I’m sure you’ve all seen it by now but for those who have been spared, it features Binyamin Netanyahu building a wall using Palestinian blood as cement. Ah, yes, the Israelis using the blood of innocent victims for their dastardly plans! Ring any bells? Intentional or not, this cartoon is deeply distressing for Jewish people and a wildly inappropriate choice to be published on Holocaust Memorial Day.

Then there’s what I like to call the ‘Holocaust as a stick to beat us with’ insult, expertly used this week by David Ward MP of the Liberal Democrats. He lamented the fact that ‘the Jews’ could be inflicting human rights abuses on the Palestinians just sixty years after six million of us were murdered by Nazi Germany. This particular trope follows the argument that Jews simply did not learn the lesson of the Holocaust. We really must be an unpleasant people for millions of us to be gassed, humiliated and dehumanised and still not be experts in human rights and morals. As Howard Jacobson has written, to people like Mr Ward, the Jews are twice damned by the Holocaust – once for suffering it, once for not learning our lesson from it.

And then there’s the third insult; the responsibility all Jews, no matter their nationality, bear for the State of Israel. This one has been ably demonstrated by a correspondent to the Board who emailed the following message to us on Monday morning:

“The MP's remarks are too true for you to understand. Get out of the West bank and let the Palestinians live in peace.”

Out of the West Bank? Now, I’ve been to the West Bank and, as far as I could see, it bears very little resemblance to North London. Or for that matter the rest of the UK where most people represented by the Board live. Being the Board of Deputies of British Jews, that is.

So, pray tell, how could the Board possibly ‘get out of the West Bank’?

I am Jewish. I support Israel as a Jewish State because I believe in the tremendous benefit that this tiny nation can bring to the Jewish people as a whole. But I do not vote in Israel, I do not serve in her army and I bear as much responsibility for her actions as a British Muslim does for Saudi Arabia’s, or the writer of the email does for American drones in Pakistan. To accuse me of responsibility for Israel's actions simply because of my religion is offensive.

So there they are, three ways of insulting a Jew; the traditional trope of blood libel, the accusation of being bad students of history and the collective responsibility for Israel to be borne by all Jews, regardless of their nationality.

And remarkably this week, in Great Britain in 2013, we saw them all.