When Samuel Hayek, the head of the Jewish National Fund in the U.K., gave an interview to the Jewish News in December, he said that within ten years, the situation of British Jewry might become intolerable because of the increase in the Muslim population. These are his exact words:
“The process is that maybe in 10 years, maybe less, who knows, Jews will not be able to live in the UK. I don’t think anybody can stop it.” ”It” refers to that burgeoning Muslim presence.
All hell then broke loose. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis denounced him, and 46 members of the Jewish Board of Deputies called for Hayek to be fired. “Chief Rabbi condemns JNF UK chair Samuel Hayek’s ‘no future for Jews’ claim,” by Lee Harpin, Jewish News, January 7, 2022:
In denouncing Samuel Hayek for expressing alarm about the Jewish future in the U.K., Mirvis also praised the support of the Muslim community, alongside that of “countless non-Jewish partners” in the fight against the “scourge of antisemitism” which he said sadly “continues to be an appalling blight upon British society.”
Mirvis claims that everything is copacetic for British Jews, “a vibrant, confident, and contented community,” but at the same time, he admits that “the scourge of antisemitism continues to be an appalling blight upon British society.” So which is it? The “scourge” is there, but at the same time, there is nothing to worry about? And would the Chief Rabbi care to tell us where he thinks that “appalling blight” of antisemitism is coming from? Lager louts, is it, or possibly aging admirers of Oswald Mosley? C’mon, Chief Rabbi, admit that the current antisemitism in the U.K. is coming almost entirely from Muslims who have taken to heart the many antisemitic passages to be found in the Qur’an, which I included in my post yesterday.
Where is that “support of the Muslim community” for the Jews? The support offered to Jews by London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, though welcome, hardly constitutes the “support of the Muslim community.” When Muslims have attacked Jews physically, or ridden in convoys of cars through the Jewish neighborhoods of St. John’s Wood and Golders Green, yelling bloodcurdling antisemitic threats through megaphones to terrify Jews, where was that “support of the Muslim community”?
The Chief Rabbi – one of JNF UK’s honorary patrons alongside other senior political figures including former Labour prime ministers Sir Tony Blair and Gordon Brown – is the most high-profile figure yet to condemn comments made by Hayek in an interview with Jewish News last month.
Asked to clarify a claim that “Jews have no future in England”, which the charity chief made to the Jewish News, Hayek sparked widespread anger when he said that as a result of Muslim immigration “maybe in 10 years, maybe less” Jews would no longer be able to live in the UK.
I disagree with Hayek’s bleak forecast about the future of Jews in England. Jews will be able to live, I think, in the U.K. for many decades to come. But they will do so in an atmosphere that will be increasingly fraught and insecure. What Hayek ought to have said is something like this:
“As with Jews in the rest of Europe, especially in France and Germany, British Jews find themselves more insecure, ore subject to physical assaults and verbal venom on social media, because of the growing Muslim population in their midst. We have seen a 50% increase of antisemitic attacks in our country in just the past year, and the perpetrators have not been neo-Nazis, as some like to assume but rather, Muslims. This truth cannot be denied, and no one is helped by Pollyannish remarks that ignore that reality.”
Responding to Hayek’s remarks, the Chief Rabbi told Jewish News: “It is entirely wrong to suggest the future of the British Jewish community is in question as a result of demographic change in this country.” He’s whistling in the dark.
When there is so much evidence of a steep rise in antisemitic attacks all over Western Europe, when the number of such attacks in the U.K has increased by more than 50% in the last year, when the attackers are almost always Muslims, it may be discomfiting to hear the truth, but why is it “entirely wrong” to connect the future of the British Jewish community” to “demographic change” in the country, that is, to the steady increase in the numbers of Muslims in the population?
“There is no doubt that the scourge of antisemitism continues to be an appalling blight upon British society, but recent years have demonstrated that the Jewish community can rely on the support of countless non-Jewish partners in tackling anti-Jewish hatred, including from within the Muslim community.”
He [Mirvis] added: “It is possible to be realistic about the challenges of contemporary antisemitism in the UK while also believing that we are blessed to live in an overwhelmingly welcoming nation, as one of the most vibrant, confident and contented Jewish communities in the world.”
Chief Rabbi Mirvis’s intervention came after more than 46 elected Board of Deputies representatives signed a letter demanding that trustees of the Jewish National Fund UK charity back calls for chairman Samuel Hayek to resign over his “Islamophobic” comments.
The open letter – signed by deputies and those with under-35 observer status on the Board from across the Jewish religious spectrum, including three United Synagogue representatives – calls for the 11 trustees to take “decisive action” over the JNF UK chair’s inflammatory comments.
It states: “Samuel Hayek must resign, and his Islamophobic comments must be condemned explicitly by you as his fellow trustees.
“Until such a time that this happens, we will advise our synagogues and organisations to withdraw cooperation with JNF UK and the programs it funds and supports. We will also advise members of our synagogues to ensure their children do not take part in programmes run or funded by JNF UK.”
What a fantastic, hysterical reaction to Samuel Hayek’s sober remarks, which identified a real problem facing British Jewry, even if his timeline was a bit too grim, and needed to be lengthened. Instead of taking his remarks as a point of departure for the candid discussion of the effect of an inexorably increasing Muslim population on British Jewry, everyone lined up to denounce him as the bearer of outrageous — because very unwelcome — tidings. Denunciation followed denunciation. Everyone is calling for Hayek to be fired for his “inflammatory comments,” his “bigoted remark,” his “racism,” his “Islamophobia.” No one wants to consider that he may just have a point.
The letter [signed by those 46 members of the Board of Deputies], sent to JNF UK trustees on Tuesday, states: “It is chilling that Hayek echoes Great Replacement Theory – an ideology used historically against Jewish communities – that ‘the white Christian majority is shrinking… to a degree where there is a point it cannot protect itself anymore’.”
Hayek says nothing about, nor does he “echo,” the “Great Replacement Theory.” He points out that Muslims have been growing in number in the U.K., but does not say that they will “replace” the white Christians. He says only that this increasing Muslim presence will make life considerably more difficult for Jews, and that at some point Jews in the U.K. will find the situation has become intolerable. Is that false, or is that true? Had he stopped there, many would agree. But when Hayek added that within “ten years, or perhaps less,” life for Jews in the U.K. could become “intolerable,” that struck many as much too grim, and Hayek opened himself up to criticism on that point alone — but not on the thrust of his melancholy message.
The letter [from the 46 members of the Board of Deputies] signed by Masoreti, Reform Judaism, Liberal Judaism and Habonim Dror, UJS and Yachad representatives, adds: “These bigoted remarks have no place in our community. If we have come to expect zero-tolerance of antisemitism, we must show zero- tolerance of racism and Islamophobia.”…
Every version and sect of Judaism in the U.K. appears to have consigned Hayek to the outer darkness. He is accused repeatedly of “Islamophobia,” of “racism,” of uttering “bigoted remarks.”What did he do? He said there is a problem with Islam. Jews in Germany say they have a problem with Muslims who attack them on the streets. Jews in France say they have a problem with Muslims who have been not only attacking, but murdering Jews – a dozen in the last few years – solely for being Jews. The celebrated French philosopher and writer Alain Finkielkraut noted in 2018 that “we [French Jews] should not leave,” he said, “but maybe for our children or grandchildren there will be no choice.” How does that differ, except as to expected time of arrival, from the prediction of Samuel Hayek? Does Chief Rabbi Mirvis think that Alain Finkielkraut is “bigoted,” a “racist,” an “Islamophobe”?
No doubt the pressure will force Samuel Hayek to resign. It’s called shooting the messenger. But his message will remain, hanging in the air, to haunt those Jews who refused to listen, but will eventually be forced within a few years, as things worsen, to recognize the bleak truth of what Hayek, ahead of his time, had predicted.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis will not allow himself to think that Samuel Hayek just might have a point. His method of dealing with this bearer of bad tidings is to clap his hands over his ears and let others mouth the scurrilities that he hopes will shut Hayek up: “Islamophobe,” “bigot,” and “racist.” He reminds one of Dicken’s Mr. Podsnap, who had a similar way of dealing with disagreeables:
“Mr Podsnap was well to do, and stood very high in Mr Podsnap’s opinion. Beginning with a good inheritance, he had married a good inheritance, and had thriven exceedingly in the Marine Insurance way, and was quite satisfied. He never could make out why everybody was not quite satisfied, and he felt conscious that he set a brilliant social example in being particularly well satisfied with most things, and, above all other things, with himself.
“Thus happily acquainted with his own merit and importance, Mr Podsnap settled that whatever he put behind him he put out of existence. There was a dignified conclusiveness–not to add a grand convenience–in this way of getting rid of disagreeables which had done much towards establishing Mr Podsnap in his lofty place in Mr Podsnap’s satisfaction. ‘I don’t want to know about it; I don’t choose to discuss it; I don’t admit it!’ Mr Podsnap had even acquired a peculiar flourish of his right arm in often clearing the world of its most difficult problems, by sweeping them behind him (and consequently sheer away) with those words and a flushed face. For they affronted him.”
Samuel Hayek has uttered disagreeables about Muslims and the future of British Jewry, and they have “affronted” Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who has reacted just like Podsnap: “I don’t want to know about it; I don’t choose to discuss it; I don’t admit it!”