February 26, 2024
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February 26, 2024
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William Needs to Duke Out Anti-Semitism at Home

It is all jolly good that Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, became the first British royal to visit Israel since the end of the British Mandate in 1948.

Indeed, William visited with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and stopped in at places of almost mandatory foreign-dignitary visitation such as Yad Vashem and the Kotel. And the prince also spent some time in Ramallah with the PA’s Mahmoud Abbas.

And yes, while most of Britain is interested in what is happening on the World Cup pitch in Russia, William hosted a kumbaya soccer game with Jewish and Arab children participants.

If only the Duke of Cambridge would pay special attention to what is happening to the Jewish people of his own nation, where reports show that anti-Semitic hate incidents have reached a record level. The Jewish community was targeted nearly four times daily in 2017, according to the Community Security Trust, a charity that keeps watch on anti-Semitism. The increase in one year from 2016 was reported to be 34 percent, which is the largest increase since 1984.

Conditions in the United Kingdom indicate a perfect storm for a rise in anti-Semitism with an increase of radical Islam, anti-Israel sentiment on the left and the nationalist rise of the extreme right. There is, according to the trust, an increase in harassment, especially at schools, on social media and even on the streets where men wearing yarmulkes seem to be targets for verbal abuse.

Also, the alleged recent anti-Semitic sentiment of the British Labour Party gives further empowerment to the rise in hatred toward Jews. Most of the anti-Semitic acts reported from last year and early this year happened in the greater London and Manchester areas, both the locations of the largest British Jewish communities.

The BBC was even positioned to find its political analyst Andrew Marr guilty of “breaching editorial guidelines” when he absurdly looked to compare the Syrian regime’s gassing of its own citizens to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yes, the BBC acted correctly in its response to Marr, yet the mere fact that this well-known British commentator thought the environs for Israel-bashing was safe for further hatred doesn’t decrease the level of disturbance of his April 2018 comments.

So while we love to see royal visitation to Israel, we would rather that any prince or princess or queen, for that matter, use whatever power a figurehead has to move British society away from anti-Semitism.

The hatred that has seen an increase has been condemned by British government and police, but still there is a lag when it comes to actual prosecutions of acts of anti-Semitism. Prince William has seen for himself a working, successful Israeli society where ideas, faith and history have turned a small state over a relatively short time into a dynamic nation.

But Britain, yes, the same country that produced the Balfour Declaration in 1917, needs to see the trouble that is emerging from underground to the public streets. And Prince William, when he returns home, can help cauterize this festering wound of hatred toward Jews.

As much as we loved that you were in Israel, shaking hands and making the rounds, we need you to be an activist for civility and against bigotry on your own island.

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