A Controversy Involving a British Athlete Shows Britain’s Inability to Discuss Muslim Anti-Semitism

Azeem Rafiq, a Pakistan-born British professional cricket player, recently made waves after testifying before parliament about the racism and prejudice he suffered from teammates earlier in his career. Shortly thereafter, a decade-old correspondence between Rafiq and another cricketer came to light in which Rafiq made multiple anti-Semitic comments. Melanie Phillips observes:

Let’s park judgment for the moment on Rafiq himself. What was striking was the sharp difference between the reaction to the claims of racism against him and to the odious behavior by him. His racism claims led to instant anathema being pronounced upon the cricketing personalities he named. Yet the revelation of his past anti-Semitism—for which he instantly and abjectly apologized to the Jewish community—produced no such reaction.

Generous-minded people will want to believe that Rafiq is genuinely sorry for his past anti-Jewish prejudice. But [his former teammates] weren’t given the benefit of the doubt for their own shows of contrition. They were hung out to dry, with speaking engagements and radio appearances cancelled. So why the difference?

The real reason is surely the widespread refusal to acknowledge that Muslims might harbor bigoted attitudes. This is despite repeated evidence that a disproportionate number of Muslims hold anti-Jewish views. In 2019, a worldwide poll commissioned by the U.S. Anti-Defamation League found that Muslims in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK were on average almost three times more likely than the general population to accept anti-Semitic stereotypes.

Yet in all the recent sound and fury over anti-Semitism, this factor has almost never been mentioned. This is because of the “intersectionality” dogma that black- or brown-skinned people can’t be racists. And so those drawing attention to Muslim anti-Semitism find themselves anathematized instead as Islamophobes. [Even] Jewish leaders almost never mention it.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anti-Semitism, British Jewry, European Islam, Sports, United Kingdom

 

Israel Can’t Stake Its Fate on “Ironclad” Promises from Allies

Israeli tanks reportedly reached the center of the Gazan city of Rafah yesterday, suggesting that the campaign there is progressing swiftly. And despite repeatedly warning Jerusalem not to undertake an operation in Rafah, Washington has not indicated any displeasure, nor is it following through on its threat to withhold arms. Even after an IDF airstrike led to the deaths of Gazan civilians on Sunday night, the White House refrained from outright condemnation.

What caused this apparent American change of heart is unclear. But the temporary suspension of arms shipments, the threat of a complete embargo if Israel continued the war, and comments like the president’s assertion in February that the Israeli military response has been “over the top” all call into question the reliability of Joe Biden’s earlier promises of an “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security. Douglas Feith and Ze’ev Jabotinsky write:

There’s a lesson here: the promises of foreign officials are never entirely trustworthy. Moreover, those officials cannot always be counted on to protect even their own country’s interests, let alone those of others.

Israelis, like Americans, often have excessive faith in the trustworthiness of promises from abroad. This applies to arms-control and peacekeeping arrangements, diplomatic accords, mutual-defense agreements, and membership in multilateral organizations. There can be value in such things—and countries do have interests in their reputations for reliability—but one should be realistic. Commitments from foreign powers are never “ironclad.”

Israel should, of course, maintain and cultivate connections with the United States and other powers. But Zionism is, in essence, about the Jewish people taking responsibility for their own fate.

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship