Melanie Phillips Knows Score on Anti-Semitism

When people see what’s taking place in Syria, Paris and Brussels and when they hear the hatred spewed by ISIS, they’re concluding that perhaps Israel and the Jewish people aren’t the root of all evil.

By no means a cockeyed optimist, renowned British journalist Melanie Phillips has started to believe that even the most fervent anti-Semitic and anti-Israel factions are coming to a stark realization.
She said they’re realizing that not all their problems can be attributed to the Jews and the country they’ve railed against for so long.
According to Phillips, when these people see what’s taking place in Syria, when they watch in horror while innocents are being murdered in Paris and Brussels and when they hear the hatred being spewed by the Islamic State, they’re concluding that perhaps Israel and the Jewish people aren’t the root of all evil.
That was part of the message she delivered April 6 at Congregation Beth Or in Maple Glen, an event sponsored by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).
Phillips, a columnist for The Times in London and a regular contributor to The Jerusalem Post and The Jewish Chronicle, encapsulated the attitude of not only the Arab world but much of the Western world towards Israel.
Until now, in the minds of many, any actions taken against Jews and against Israel were perfectly acceptable, she said, as they considered Israel evil.
Israelis were oppressing the Palestinians, who claim to be the rightful occupants of the land they had been forced to relinquish, she said. Whatever they did to regain what should be theirs — even if it results in bloodshed and the deaths of children — should be blamed on the Jews.
That was the narrative for ages — certainly since Israel declared its independence from Great Britain in 1948.
“This was all done based on hatred of Jews,” Phillips said. “Anti-Semitism is the signature of a deranged attitude that believes Israel and the Jews should be treated as a pariah.
“There’s no other country where the victim is blamed and the victimizer gets a free pass. If you incentivize and reward aggression, you get more aggression. These people are beyond reason, yet treated as reasonable. They hold the Jews responsible for every single thing.”
Reluctantly, those attitudes are ever so slowly beginning to change.
While Phillips points out that hatred can easily be rechanneled by any Israeli action of self-defense — even if it’s in response to rockets being launched from Lebanon resulting in the deaths of innocent bystanders — the Arab world is finally seeing a bigger picture.
And that picture does not include Israel and the Jews.
“It’s inescapable. There must be changes toward Israel,” Phillips said. “Until two, three, four years ago, Israel was the main motivator in their minds behind things happening. Now they’re seeing Israel is not at the center of it all. This is a seismic civic upheaval. Looking at this upheaval, attitudes are slowly shifting.
“We are living through tumultuous times. It is very complicated, and there are many things happening in that confusion that we can take as signs of progress and hope that Israel is being regarded in a more benign fashion.”
At the same time, she’s concerned about secularism — particularly within the Jewish community.
“We need to recommit kids and young adults to their Judaism,” Phillips warned, fearing an increase in intermarriage and general assimilation. “As part of the Jewish community, they’ve been shying away from observance.”
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