I'm not saying that Britain isn't crazy about the Jews. I don't have to. The New York Times has done it for me.
It was striking to read in the most-recent Saturday Profile of John Bercow (below), the speaker in the House of Commons, this passage from reporter Sarah Lyall:
Many members of Parliament hate being lectured or reined in, and Mr. Bercow is not universally popular. Some Conservatives actively loathe him. In describing him, his detractors tend to use words like “cocky,” “pompous” and “ambitious” — the last often code for “Jewish” in an establishment with an undercurrent of anti-Semitic snobbery.
For the uninitiated, that last sentence is striking, even if it is true. Because Lyall's piece is a feature, maybe she was given a little leeway to at least tilt her reporter's hat sideways so she can torch the Tories who view Bercow as a little too uppity for their refined tastes. Even in the Times, it's doubtful that line would've made the cut in a news story. Nonetheless, that kind of candor is refreshing.
Bercow, as Lyall mentions is the son of a used-car salesman turned gypsy-cab driver. That he is not to the manor born may also factor in the antipathy toward him. But by inserting that sentence, she makes clear that the Star of David looms at least as large as the lack of an Eton education.
Then there was an interesting feature in yesterday's sports section about an all-Jewish soccer team in the lower ranks of British football, the London Maccabi Lions. They are also the first club made up solely of Members of the Tribe to win an F.A. Cup match. But, as Sam Borden points out, not everybody is happy for them (surprise, surprise).
Though the Lions have had tremendous success in expanding — there are 26 junior teams and 7 adult teams playing under the club’s umbrella — the response from outsiders is not universally friendly. Intolerance remains a persistent problem in Europe, especially as it pertains to soccer, and Lions teams have not been immune to anti-Semitism.
Often, the worst of the incidents are in the youth games, according to Andy Landesberg, the club’s director of football. But even the first-team Lions have experienced abuse. Gold said there had been relatively few problems this season but smiled when asked how he has instructed his players to deal with overt bigotry.
“We tell them, do it on the field, don’t give in,” Gold said. “Then, afterward, when you’re shaking hands, you can say, ‘You’ve been beaten by a bunch of Jews — how do you feel now?’ ”
In your face, goyim!