An elderly Jewish friend from London was at a gathering recently, and said someone asked: “Politically speaking, who are our friends?” Nobody had an answer, and the consensus was that Britain’s Jewish community felt lonelier than within living memory.
A couple of months back, I found myself on Cable Street in East London for the first time in years. It was the scene of a famous battle in 1936, when Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, in a crude act of political intimidation, determined to march through the heart of the Jewish East End. They were turned back by a mob of local Jews, Irish Catholic dockers, Commie agitators et al all standing under the Spanish Civil War slogan, “No pasaran”: They shall not pass.
They didn’t. And, although many self-aggrandizing myths attached to the old left’s “Battle of Cable Street” in subsequent decades, that day marked the beginning of the decline of Mosley and the BUF.
Things are different now, as Ezra Levant’s dispatch on the intimidation of Calgary Jews in the heart of their own neighborhood makes clear: There’s no resistance, no old leftist solidarity, no nothing, just a fatalistic shrug as supporters of banned (and explicitly eliminationist) terrorist organizations commandeer private property to compare Jews to Nazis. What can you do? They shall pass, week after week. It’s as if Sir Oswald had marched through Cable Street in triumph, and then decided to make it a twice-weekly event.
By the way, those contemporary lefties who think the Jews should get out of Palestine might note the protest slogans of 70 years ago: In those London demonstrations, the Jews were told, “Go back to Palestine!”