Migration Dynamics & Anti-Semitism

Prejudice was seen brewing against the Jewish communities in the UK, particularly against Jewish financiers, who were seen as having undue influence on government policy, especially on foreign affairs policy.

3 mins read
[Photo: © UNHCR/Roger Arnold]

No one talks about the shortage of quality or qualified labor in the rich Western economies to source cheap farm labor, reasonably priced NHS medical doctors, nurses, care workers, or even software technicians. Nobody elaborates on the existing dependency of the West on already available cheap labor from poorer nations, which is already competing with the unindustrious existing workforce. No mention is ever made of the loss of laborers from the EU after Brexit in Britain or the needs and wants due to the impending aging population in many parts of the West.

It is well-known that quality service is expensive, but businesses are desperate for cheap labor. This is an anachronism, “as if you pay peanuts today, you can only get monkeys.”

History of labor shortage?

The movement of labor began centuries ago, but recently migrants began arriving from South Asia in the early 1960s to work in the declining textile towns of England’s North West. This industry died in the Eighties, along with the coalfields, leaving behind derelict buildings, deprivation, and, in some areas, a racially and religiously segregated population.

Over the decades since, strands of hard-line religious extremists, including from both Hindu India and Islamic Pakistan, and other imported labor from the Gulf, such as Salafism and Wahhabism, often funded by Saudi oil money, clashed with less anti-Western expressions of faith, such as the mystical Sufism and reformist Ahmadiyya community. In some instances, splintering local English communities. Eight years ago, in 2016, concerns grew in Yorkshire and other parts of Scotland that younger Muslims were turning to more extremist interpretations of Islam.

At the same time, India was sending in Computer Software technicians in large numbers to work on short-term contracts for the thriving software industries in the West Midlands and hub centers in London and Scotland. They came in droves, followed or accompanied by university students for graduate study who qualified first as part-time care workers and somehow extended their education stay. Many of them were devout practicing Hindus.

There was an unnoticed “clash of civilizations.” The problem began with affluent Jewish settlers a century earlier who had settled in the jobs now being sought after by the educated migrants from both Islamic and Hindu migrant settlers.

A cocktail of growing unrest?

British Jews came to witness, even experience Anti-Semitism – discrimination, even persecution, as a people. By 2000 and the collapse of the “Age of Cheap Money” in 2008, more recently after COVID-19, increasing tolerance of religious minorities, slowly but surely, Jews were being threatened, perhaps, eliminated from their lucrative legal practice in the law profession, public and civil service employment, and even political representation. Their place was being taken by Muslims and Hindus.

Prejudice was seen brewing against the Jewish communities in the UK, particularly against Jewish financiers, who were seen as having undue influence on government policy, especially on foreign affairs policy.

Anti-Jewish sentiments became widespread in the labor movement, if not the Labour Party. Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories came to the core in the forthright ideology. Studies show there was a pattern of unhealthy attitudes towards ethnic and religious minorities. Heightened animosity towards Jews on the political right was part of the problem spilling into Palestine, with a pervading ideology. The underlying roots are thus complex and include historic attitudes, besides domestic and political tensions, especially the Israeli-Hamas conflict, with the accompaniment of the globalization of this Middle East conflict.

Contemporary Anti-Semitism manifests reports from areas where most Jews live in London, Greater Manchester, and other settled areas. The largest increases are abuses against Jews in the perceived belief that the Jews in the UK are more loyal to Israel than to Britain, that they have too much power in the business world and international financial markets, particularly at times of hardship.

How to get the “genie” out of the bottle?

Getting the genie out of the bottle is no easy task as long as tensions exist. The UK Foreign Office is using all available diplomatic alliances with Arab nations, the United States, and Israel to call for a Cessation of Hostilities with haste and a return of the hostages. The UK Home Office has provided the Jewish community a Protective Security Grant for the security of synagogues, schools, and other Jewish centers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has laid down a plan for Palestinians with no links to armed groups to run Gaza.

The latest initiative is a negotiating Israeli team that arrived in Paris on Friday, 24 February, for a potential Ceasefire in Gaza that could end the five-month-old war.

The pressure on Hamas and Israel to conclude a deal by Ramadan in three weeks’ time is mounting.

At least 29,514 Palestinians have been killed and 69,616 injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza since 7 October 2023.

Victor Cherubim

Victor Cherubim is a London-based writer and a frequent columnist of the Sri Lanka Guardian

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