I’ve been in the United Kingdom (England) for about month, and looks like I’ll be here until the chagim (the Jewish holidays in September).
There are times when societies have been more comfortable for Jews, and times when they’ve been less. But what I see happening on a sudden basis is the separation between the righteous and the other side, the good, the evil and those who will fall to the evil through simple indifference. And the separation between the nations and the Jewish people.
The largest of all the grocery food chains are removing all the kosher items. First this was all Israeli products. It’s quickly moved to all Jewish products, and now to non-Jewish products that have kosher supervision. As you might imagine, if the top grocery chain suddenly declares it won’t carry your product – and you added kosher supervision to attract more customers – you’d drop it pretty quick.
The food chains have announced they are doing this to be in “solidarity” with their Muslim customers and with the “poor Palestinians”.
The second largest food chain is Jewish owned, but in this day and age profits win, and they have also announced they are removing kosher products. The kosher consumer now must shop within the religious Jewish neighborhoods of London or Manchester – there simply are no other sources of kosher food available.
Multiple British Members of Parliament, mayors and district councilmen have rushed to join the action. They’ve announced they are reviewing educational materials to make sure they’re appropriately sanitized of anything positive towards Israel or Jews (not that the British were particularly positive towards either in the past). Israeli tourists are actively discouraged from their areas by decree, and while they can’t decree an absence of Jews they can and are making Jewish presence unpleasant. (A number of Jewish day camps and vacationing chassidic groups have been requested to not come or their normal locations refused to rent to them).
There are daily anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, anti-Torah demonstrations across the country. Universities are actively supporting and propping up this behavior, and the police are acting “with a very light hand”.
There are signs of the times everywhere. I am an obviously Jewish chassidic fellow, I literally don’t own non-Jewish clothing styles. Everywhere I walk, for the first time in 30 years, I’m getting stares, comments, and aggressive “get in my face” stances. The Muslim population of the UK is everywhere, in large numbers and in the extreme dress of their religion. These Muslims make a point of letting you know you are not welcome.
I stood up to a Muslim who spit on me, both prepared to defend myself and to engage the authorities. However the local Jewish residents begged me not to take any action – too risky. There is a collapse of anything obviously or outwardly Jewish, it’s “too risky”. Even the Chabad synagogue was forced to change their name and signage – it’s now the “Town Community and Student Center”.
While it’s no longer “safe” to be outwardly Jewish, it’s not only safe but a defense against the authorities to be outwardly Muslim. Burkas and Jalabiyas are everywhere. I mean there are more freaking Muslims here that in the West Bank, certainly more “religious” ones. Yet you can go to jail for calling some a Muslim - its just as bad if not worse that the “n” word in the U.S. It’s discrimination to use it, but all racial slurs are permitted if not openly encouraged when they are anti-Israel and anti-Jewish.
I tremble to think that it may be like stories from our great-grandparents in times before World War II. I pray daily to finish my trip and return home safely. How a Jew in England can survive outside of the main Jewish communities in Manchester and London, I don’t know.