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Peres Sparks Diplomatic Incident

Charged English anti-Semitism in Tablet Magazine; now denies it

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Israeli President Shimon Peres yesterday.(Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)

Shimon Peres (who turns 87 today) provoked “fury” in Great Britain for saying in a magazine interview last week that Britain has a Jew problem: “In England there has always been something deeply pro-Arab, of course, not among all Englishmen, and anti-Israeli, in the establishment,” the 87-year-old Israeli president said. He added: “There is also anti-Semitism. There is in England a saying that an anti-Semite is someone who hates the Jews more than is necessary.” Finally, he implied that some British lawmakers have turned to anti-Israel politics to appease Muslim constituents.

Do Peres’s comments sound familiar? That is because you first read them in Tablet Magazine. (Peres is also a soon-to-be Nextbook Press author.) Israeli historian Benny Morris conducted the interview; we ran it last Monday.

Last night, Peres’s office issued a statement backtracking from his comments: “President Peres never accused the British people of anti-Semitism,” it read. “The president does not believe that British governments are motivated by anti-Semitism, nor were they in the past.” UPDATE: Benny Morris stands by every word quoted in the piece, though he does not agree with the contextualization of the passages quoted in some British newspapers. Peres nowhere said to Morris, as implied by some of the British publications, that the British were an anti-Semitic people or Britain an anti-Semitic country.

Coincidentally, we published Peres’s remarks on the same day that British Prime Minister David Cameron told a group of Turkish businessmen that Gaza was “a prison camp,” though the actual interview took place earlier. Peres “got it wrong,” according to one Conservative lawmaker, and that appeared to be the general official sentiment (though there was also assent from other quarters).

As for that interview: Maybe it demands a fresh read now, hmm? While you are on the topic, you can check out Adam Kirsch’s review of Anthony Julius’s recent book on, yes, English anti-Semitism.

Peres Calls British ‘Anti-Israeli,’ Sees U.K. Anti-Semitism [JTA]
Fury as Israel President Claims English ‘Anti-Semitic’ [Telegraph]
Peres Denies Calling British Anti-Semites [JTA]
Related: Making History [Tablet Magazine]
Albion’s Shame [Tablet Magazine]
David Ben-Gurion [Nextbook Press]

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As if any of us should care what those putrescent gasbags in the British media think.

David says:

“Peres Sparks Diplomatic Incident”

Huh? Why? Peres is speaking the truth. Britain has become a hot bed of anti-Semitism, not just anti-Zionism.

Patricia says:

Yeah, I stopped listening to the BBC years ago because of ever-so-subtle anti-Semitism. And Julius’ book is a very through and careful examination of the Brits and anti-Semitism. They’ve never done any self-reflection on their own colonialism but are perfectly happy to project their own failings onto Israel. I don’t buy British.

Maccabee says:

His original view about the British empire and their establishment is 100% correct, but even in his age, when he don’t have nothing to lose, he don’t have a spinal cord to stand up to this Evil Empire which was the first Christian kingdom to commit genocide of Jews in Europe and to rob and expel the rest. Jews went back to Britain in very few numbers and wealthy only during the dictatorship of Cromwell 1656 and didn’t have nothing to do with his toleration of the Jews. There was interest in Jewish matters in the leadership of the Commonwealth and Protectorate for two reasons, one pragmatic and the other doctrinal. The pragmatic reason was that based on the international trade and commercial connections of the Amsterdam Jewish community it was recognised that a strong Jewish presence in London would be advantageous. With flourishing links to the East and West Indies and to the New World Jewish traders in London could make the city to Amsterdam as a commercial centre.

The doctrinal reason was the belief amongst godly Protestants, including Cromwell, that the conversion of the Jews to Christianity was essential before Christ would return to reign on earth. 1656 was thought by some to be the actual year in which this would happen. The rest is written in the book of John Loftus “The secret war against the Jews”.

TheDevilCanDance says:

So true,in the UK people dress their pet with Swastika armband, I saw it.

janet hiller says:

Listening to the BBC late at night from Australia and what did I hear? News flash about Israel killing a Hamas leader in Gaza. No mention of the prior rocket attack on Ashkelon…

I listen to the BBC alot…. this sort of unbalanced reporting occurs all the time.

Also, you can never ever get a good news report about Israel from the BBC.

Peres is on song

David says:

” TheDevilCanDance says:
Aug 3, 2010 at 5:39 AM

So true,in the UK people dress their pet with Swastika armband, I saw it.”

Oh I get it, British people need to walk around in Nazi uniforms first before we Jews can start to ‘whine’ about Britain being a hotbed of anti-Semitism and Islamist thinking. Thank G-d you set the story straight.

Frayed Knot says:

Methinks the Brit doth protest too much.

TheDevilCanDance says:


Chill out. I was being sarcastic and mocking the paranoids who detect antisemitism under every pile of dirty socks….Antisemitism is real but this is nothing new, some are deliberately inflating its presence in today’s society ,because it serves specific political agendas.Antisemitism is also big business. Polls, governmental & academic studies have shown that in France, the so called rise of antisemitism was bogus,out of 10 incidents,7 were fabrications, lies or acts perpetrated by members of the Jewish community.

David says:

“Polls, governmental & academic studies have shown that in France, the so called rise of antisemitism was bogus,out of 10 incidents,7 were fabrications, lies or acts perpetrated by members of the Jewish community.”

It’s ashamed that Ilan Halimi isn’t around to rebuke that statement.

TheDevilCanDance says:


Nice try…. but I never mentioned all incidents were bogus.

Do you read & speak French ?. I do….

David says:


I want to congratulate on your ability to speak French, I’m sure your French speaking abilities does wonders with the ladies.

Anyway, being Jewish in France is actually worst than being Jewish in Britain…for now. Anti-Semitism is real, and I don’t like throwing the word anti-Semite around lightly. But Europe has and will always be hostile to Jews. It’s embedded in their culture, unlike the United States.

So instead of telling me why I’m being paranoid, why don’t you read this instead.

TheDevilCanDance says:


It doesn’t help me much since I am a girl but I digress…I am not calling you “paranoid” but “misinformed”.

You can point to a particular article but you can also very easily find the exact statistics on the web, Statistics and Data supporting my argument.But,the way this not “my argument”, I am neither making this up nor promoting it because I have a particular agenda, but merely putting things into context. this is up to you, you may chose to believe what pleases you, but you cannot label it truth, if the evidences do not corroborate the claim.

TheDevilCanDance says:


Please read the testimony of “David says:
Jun 10, 2010 at 8:18 AM”, on the page you pointed to me :

The testimony of a French Jew living in France,he rejects what the article alleges

David says:


And if I asked around, I could maybe find someone who wants to leave for the reasons that were mention the essay I posted. So we can play he said she said all day long, but that’s not going to get us anywhere. I’m not saying Europe today is like Czarist Russia, or 1930’s Germany for that matter, but being Jewish in Europe is not as safe as it once was. Ten years a big difference.

Here’s another example, I’m sorry that you want to believe being Jewish Europe is the same as being Jewish in America, its not.

Also, from your posts from the Lee Smith article, its fine to be critical of Israel, but there comes a point where people just become critical for the sake of being critical. Don’t be that person. It’s annoying, and then I to resort to being snarky and rude because that person I’m debating usually can’t find a single redeeming quality about Israel. I’m not going to debate someone who think Israel is pure evil. It’s a waste of my time, especially on a comment board.

Since you probably think I’m some religious fanatic, I’m not. If I were an Israeli citizen, I would be a proud member of the Shinui party.

TheDevilCanDance says:


I don’t agree with you but that doesn’t matter,I still respect you, because you are one of the few reasonable individual I have interacted with, on this forum. Anyone who dares criticizing the policies of the state of Israel is systematically labeled as antisemitic or Jew hater. this is insanity, there are idiots who dislike Jews just because of their Jewishness,but these bigots do not represent the majority,I think there is a sinister pathology among the Jewish community, the desire of feeling victimized,of being victimized. Jews are obsessed with their own identity and convinced that the entire universe is somehow plotting against them. all the time….


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Peres Sparks Diplomatic Incident

Charged English anti-Semitism in Tablet Magazine; now denies it

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