Israeli Activist Recounts Experiences With Left-Wing Antisemitism in UK
An Israeli left-wing activist has recounted the vicious abuse received in progressive circles in the UK.
Israeli-born UK resident Adam Ma’anit — a former co-editor of the New Internationalist, author of The No-Nonsense Guide to Corporations and policy analyst and campaigner at Platform — told of the intimidation and harassment he had experienced at a new job.
“On the first day of my new job, I was introduced to a former employee who was held in high regard. Squinting their eyes at me they asked the question most foreigners dread: ‘Where are you from?’” Ma’anit wrote in a lengthy Twitter thread.
On the first day of my new job, I was introduced to a former employee who was held in high regard. Squinting their eyes at me they asked the question most foreigners dread: “Where are you from?” My colleagues just froze in that awkward British embarrassed way but said nothing. 1/
— Adam Ma’anit (@adammaanit) July 5, 2020
After saying he was Israeli, another employee asked, “Don’t you want to burn that Israeli passport?” while making a gesture like flicking a cigarette lighter and grinning.
“Now seriously uncomfortable, everyone staring at me, I meekly said that I didn’t and that it was my only passport,” Ma’anit wrote, and his discomfort led his colleagues to change the subject.
“I felt humiliated,” he said. “I made an excuse to go outside to get some air. I cried. I wanted to call my wife to tell her what had just happened. We had just had a baby, moved house, and I needed this job so badly. I didn’t want to complain, because this person was clearly revered.”
“I have since never been to an office party because they would be there,” he added.
“What astonishes me is that if this was done to a person of any other nationality (we get trainings on this), it would rightly be seen as bigoted othering,” he said. “This is how ‘Zionists’ get dehumanized in progressive spaces. It’s an acceptable, even encouraged, righteous hatred.”
“The person who aggressively othered me because of my nationality had no trouble desecrating a memorial, wanting people to take inspiration from a terrorist group that murders children to ‘bump off’ Israeli politicians, or Nazi comparisons,” Ma’anit noted.
“I’ve worked in lefty activist circles all my adult life,” he stated. “I’ve had to endure numerous such instances of callous dehumanization and disregard. Everything from offensive Holocaust comparisons to justification for terrorism ‘Hizballah’s not that bad,’ ‘Hamas want peace.’”
Among other things, he recalled, colleagues had told him they would never hire a Jew, that they had “never met a good Jew before,” and “Jews sadly haven’t learned the moral lessons of the Holocaust.”
One environmental activist spat in his face and threatened to attack him because of his nationality.
“If anything is going to change, the left need to start listening to Jews (and I don’t mean the few token Jews they Bat-dial in a pinch),” Ma’anit said.
Referring to the former leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, Ma’anit concluded, “After the disaster that was Corbynism, when I see people clinging desperately onto the same tired narratives of ‘smears,’ gaslighting Jews, still defending the indefensible, I know that this won’t shift until enough of us stand up to it.”