Don’t Mention the War
It was a tough decision.
Should I go for the Cumberland sausage with mashed potatoes and gravy, or the wild salmon with dill sauce? I was sipping my first cask ale of the day and grappling with the choices of the pub’s menu. Such were the tribulations of vacationing in Roydon, a small village in Essex, England, where my sister and her family lived.
I placed my order (and in case you are wondering, it was the sausage), then sat back to admire the traditional solid oak decor, when I was startled by elderly women who entered the establishment and joined the lady sitting at the next table. Now elderly ladies in English Country Inns are not usually a cause of consternation, but the one in question was draped in a Palestinian flag and wore a kufiya around her neck.
I glanced out of the window, across the village green, half expecting to see an anti-Israel demonstration outside. Maybe word had got round to members of the village branch of the Socialist Workers Party that an Israeli was in the area, and a protest was gathering. But no, it was as quiet and peaceful as one would expect from a rural country scene. At that moment, my attention fixed on the war memorial opposite the church. However peaceful, you will not find a village in the UK that does not have a memorial to those who died to keep it that way (actually that is not accurate, there are 14 villages throughout Britain that did not lose any of their sons in the two world wars — the thousands of others mourned their dead). That thought brought me back to the Palestinian-bedecked woman opposite, and a reminder that however far I seem from the trials and tribulations of my Israeli homeland, they are never far away.
I was too imbued with the holiday spirit to converse with the women in question, nor enquire as to her choice of fashion. But if I did, I would have asked her why, with 195 nations in the world, it is the Palestinian persona she celebrated, with all the paraphernalia of a sports fan.
With revelation after revelation regarding anti-Semitism in the British Labour Party, and with the leaders of the Women’s March in the USA snuggling up to the anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, I am forced to ask the question, what is it about the modern generation of left-wing radicals that they cannot stop mentioning the Jews? I am reminded of the famous sketch by British comedian John Cleese from the famous “Fawlty Towers” TV series. In the episode, the proprietor of the hotel has German guests and instructs his staff not to mention the war. But of course, every sentence that he speaks somehow mentions the war. The left-wing anti-Semites seem similarly afflicted; they can’t seem to go onto Twitter without saying something derogatory about the Jews before rushing to claim that they are not antisemitic.
If these persons do nurture a deep dark secret of anti-Semitism in their breasts, one could have expected them to keep it hidden, you know, for practical purposes. But no, a day doesn't pass without another Tweet from some Labour Member of Parliament, Councillor or party member spouting some anti-Semitic bile. Why can’t they just shut up?
So as I started on my second pint of cask ale, I contemplated the question of whether there will ever be a time or place on this planet where the Jews can feel secure. As I write, an Israeli spacecraft on its way to the moon. Maybe it's looking for a place in the universe where we will be left in peace; in the meantime, I’ll have to make do with an English village.