I am a secular, liberal, identifying British Jew. My parents would have taken great pleasure if my acting talents had landed me a starring role in the primary school nativity play; on Christmas Day, we gather at home eating smoked salmon bagels and mince pies. There is no conflict whatsoever between my religion and nationality. On the contrary, they have always supported and echoed one another in terms of the values and moral structure they promote. Judaism has taught me to value liberalism, education, tolerance, family and charity. All Jewish religious services and celebrations include a heartfelt toast to the Queen, because Jews in this country have felt safe, well-assimilated and, most of all, grateful.There's more at the link.
In August 2001, I turned 21 and my parents gave me a Star of David necklace. Then a month later, the world changed and my mother, with remarkable foresight, began her campaign to rescind the gift, begging me to take it off because she was frightened it would make me a target in the wake of mounting evidence that fanatical Islamism was tightening its grip on the country. My argument was always the same - when I am no longer safe being identifiably Jewish on the tube, I don't want to live in England.
Now it's happening and I am devastated. It was bluster. I am resolutely, irreducibly British. I love Marmite and Labradors and Sunday lunch. If you step on my foot, I will reflexively apologise. New York, where I will go if I have to leave the UK, does not feel like home for me nor, I suspect, could it ever. But as the British establishment sides with the appeasing of Islamism at home and abroad and as the word Zionism is increasingly bastardised, hijacked by a new definition comprising traditional antisemitic libels and demonising conspiracy theories, and as the liberal media and campaigning groups single out Israel disproportionately among all other countries for criticism, perpetuating the myth that Israel is responsible for mushrooming anti-western sentiment, I feel increasingly that I cannot stay.
Also, don't miss Melanie Phillips' latest post as well, "Peace and Hate," on the anti-Israel demonstrations in London.