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June 2, 2016 7:08 pm

Britain’s Former Chief Rabbi: ‘Antisemitism So Socially Unacceptable, It Can Only Survive Like a Virus, by Mutating’ (VIDEO)

avatar by Ruthie Blum

Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of Britain. Photo: Screenshot.

Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of Britain. Photo: Screenshot.

“Antisemitism is so socially unacceptable that it can only survive the way a virus survives, which is by mutating,” Britain’s former chief rabbi said on Wednesday.

In an interview on BBC Newsnight, Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explained why he believes “anti-Zionism is the new antisemitism.”

“In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated for their religion. In the 19th and 20th centuries, you weren’t allowed to hate anyone for their religion – because this was post-enlightenment Europe – so they were hated for their race. Today, you can’t hate anyone for their race, so you hate them for their nation-state,” he said.

Rabbi Sacks recounted talking to school kids who, like his interviewer, challenged him about the accusations of antisemitism hurled against people who take issue with the policies of the Israeli government: “I said [to them], ‘Hands up; which of you believes it’s legitimate to criticize the British government?’ They all put their hands up. I said, ‘Which of you believes that Britain has no right to exist?’ Nobody put their hands up. I said, ‘Now you know the difference between criticism of the state of Israel and antisemitism.’”

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Sacks also shared his thoughts on tackling allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party. “I think the problem is so simple,” he said. “Just practice zero tolerance, the way you would to any other kind of unacceptable prejudice. So, just do it and the problem is solved.”

Watch the full interview below:

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