Israeli lawmaker says UK Jews are ‘repeating awful strategy’ of German Jews before Holocaust

Bezalel Smotrich said response to antisemitism ‘must be a strong and secure Israel that can justify the Zionist vision.’

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Bad blood between British Jews and Israeli MK Bezalel Smotrich continued with the leader of Israel’s Religious Zionist party saying UK Jews have their heads in the sand regarding antisemitism.

Smotrich’s UK visit was met with serious backlash by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the community’s umbrella organization.

“We reject the abominable views and the hate-provoking ideology of Betzalel Smotrich,” the Board of Deputies of British Jews tweeted in Hebrew, calling the lawmaker an embarrassment who should go back to Israel.

Smotrich responded to the widespread criticism by comparing British Jews to Germany’s pre-Holocaust Jewish community.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Smotrich said “Those who say the way to deal with antisemitism is to hide who and what we are repeat the awful strategy of German Jewry ahead of World War II, who thought if there is antisemitism, let’s be more like the non-Jews and they will forgive and accept us. The opposite is true.

“It is ridiculous to bring up antisemitism on a day when a report is published on the massive rise of antisemitism in Britain, long before I arrived,” he said.

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Smotrich was referring to the Community Security Trusts annual report on antisemitism which was released this week. The CST, Britain’s antisemitism watchdog, reported the highest number of incidents in one year since it began keeping data.

The report said antisemitic assaults and harassment soared primarily because of Palestinian protests against the 2021 Gaza war. It also addressed COVID conspiracy theories and Holocaust-denial.

Smotrich insisted that the response to antisemitism “must be a strong and secure Israel that can justify the Zionist vision and the belonging of Israel to the Land of Israel and the entire Jewish people, and the strong connection of the Diaspora to Israel, instead of trying, yet again, to find favor with the hegemony and renounce anyone because someone thinks they should, due to warped, progressive, almost sick dictates.”