Ilan Manor @ Haaretz:
I felt a similar sentiment last week when confronted with anti-Semitism at Oxford for the first time. I moved to the UK more than a year ago to begin my PhD studies. Although I had heard many times that anti-Semitism was rampant in Europe, and that anti-Israel activists were flourishing in UK universities, I encountered neither. Over the past year there have been no anti-Israel protests at Oxford and no calls to boycott Israeli products. Additionally, the BDS activists so often depicted as titans in the news in Israel were nowhere to be seen.read more
But then it happened.
A close friend and fellow PhD student invited me to have drinks with his father. His father in question immediately asked if I was a Zionist. While this is a difficult question under any circumstances, it is even more complicated in the UK, given that it is a code word for "Israeli zealot". If you wear a Super-Jew t-shirt and dream of Naftali Bennett you are what the Brits consider a Zionist. I answered that I was a Zionist, and that Zionism as a movement originally recognized the religious and national rights of the Palestinians.
On hearing this my friend’s father embarked on a tirade. Like the hot-tempered Sonny Corleone he angrily remonstrated: “You went too far! You tried to buy the U.S. elections and the people wouldn’t have it”. When I asked who he was referring to, he explained, “the Zionists of course.”
Apparently, we Zionists had not only backed Hillary Clinton in the elections, but also used our financial leverage to ensure that she would go to war with Russia to increase the price of oil. “Your money also ensured that Russia would lose through your sanctions on Putin. But you lost!” he said, smiling.
By the end of the evening the extent of the Zionist plot against America became apparent. Anglo-Saxons, a code word for white people, had decided to back Donald Trump and avoid Hillary’s war. “But you were not content”, explained the father. According to his theory, this is why the leader of the plot, George Soros, orchestrated protests throughout the world against Trump. “Like most Zionists, Soros is a sore loser,” said the father.
I was not sure how to contend with these comments coming from a successful businessman who was himself a university graduate.
Walking home I was baffled by my friend's reaction. Not only did he fail to counter his father's arguments, but he was actually inquisitive, asking how Soros made his money, how one could manipulate oil prices and why the Zionists had favored Clinton.
The following morning my friend came to apologize, stating that his father often drinks too much. “I’m really sorry," he said, "that my father forgot to pay for the drinks. But I could tell he really liked you. ”