Muscle and fists are the way to fight against hate


The fightback against antisemitism should be taken literally - with British Jews being prepared to punch those who attack them.

That was the suggestion of journalist Brendan O'Neill at a debate on the rise of Jew-hatred in Europe.

Mr O'Neill said antisemitism had been allowed to grow because society was unwilling to stand up to the perpetrators.

“Where are the younger Jews and activists? We need young Jews to train up, work out, be visible, and fight back alongside communities that are willing to offer them solidarity," he said.

"We need Jewish muscle to show that the antisemites aren’t winning and that Jews have a long and fruitful future in Europe.”

Mr O'Neill, editor of online magazine Spiked, said: “You have to stop acquiescing to antisemitism and be more confrontational when you see it. We have got to be more up front about nailing it and challenging it."

Sainsbury's store staff who removed kosher items due to fears of an anti-Israel protest last summer should instead have "punched" demonstrators, he added.

His comments came at a discussion on European antisemitism at west London's Central Synagogue last Thursday.

Columnist and think-tank director Douglas Murray said Jewish community organisations had made mistakes in co-ordinating their efforts to counter hatred.

"You have a problem with communal leadership, with too large organisations which often try to stamp down and stop initiatives that do come up. Any young person, Jewish or not, who wants to do anything in this area is stopped by community leaders. It’s not being dealt with, if it was we wouldn’t be in this situation in the UK.

“Jewish Human Rights Watch just sprang up and protested outside War on Want, which is a rabid anti-Israel organisation. This should have happened years ago, but it didn’t because as a community your bar is set so incredibly low.”

Simone Rodan, Paris director of the American Jewish Committee, said it may be too late to tackle antisemitism in France.

“It is a possibility that it is too late. The Jewish community, particularly in the banlieues live in a situation where tiny little things they do are acts of courage - like wearing a kippah in Sarcelles.

“What we need are young, modern Muslims who speak out and are willing to confront a big problem in their community.”

Maajid Nawaz, chairman of the anti-extremism Quilliam Foundation, said community leaders should expect more from their partnerships with Muslim organisations.

He said: “When we reach out for partnerships across the community – I am talking about the Muslim Council of Britain – the bar shouldn’t be set so low that we’re happy with them just because they are saying they don’t want to kill you. That should be a bare minimum.

"One of the things they need to start doing is actually insisting on a liberal, democratic, pluralistic, human rights-based criteria for engagement, and calling it out when it isn’t that, and not just being satisfied by saying we’ve found someone who doesn’t want to kill us.”

WATCH: View the entire debate here.

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