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Britain is one of the least racist countries on Earth. It’s a privilege to live here


A week ago The Independent published a letter signed by 84 BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) and migrant organisations. This bizarre diatribe against ‘racist’ Britain reads as if it were copied straight from the Islamist handbook.

I am not denying that the signatories have experienced racism but these claims are difficult to account for without evidence, of which there was none in this letter. Britain is also one of the least racist countries on Earth. Minority rights are enshrined in law and BAME citizens and immigrants are not treated as second-class citizens. Britain couldn’t be more welcoming to them. The assertion that racism ‘renders our communities invisible’ is insupportable when considering that London mayor Sadiq Khan is Muslim, while Birmingham, Leeds, Blackburn, Sheffield, Oxford, Luton, Oldham and Rochdale have all had Muslim mayors. Ten new BAME MPs were elected last year, an increase from 41 to 51. But such facts don’t chime with the victimhood narrative of the signatories.

As an immigrant to these shores myself, I have to question why so many of those who signed this letter came to Britain if they see it as such a hateful and racist country? If they were fleeing war and persecution in their homelands, surely they should be grateful to these islands which have given them sanctuary? Their argument is tautological – the fact that the UK gave them refuge shows that it is not a racist country. Their slanderous lies against such a generous and kind nation are unforgivable.

Most of this letter could have been written by a confused schoolchild. I am curious to know what is meant by injustices in Britain ‘based on colonialism’. This is a nonsensical claim and so is the bizarre hyperbole that ‘racism forms an integral part of British policies’. Given that the British are continually made to feel guilty for colonialism, I doubt if anyone uses it as a vehicle for racism.

Surely it’s time to put to bed the association of controlled immigration policies with racism. Uncontrolled immigration is destructive, strains public resources and drives down wages for the poorest working class members. And no matter how awful the Grenfell tragedy and the Windrush scandal were, this continual politicising of victims’ misery and suffering is immoral. Not every tragic event can be blamed on racism, and attempts to do so risk compassion fatigue.

But these are distractions from the real purpose of this letter – the imposition of the Islamist narrative about Israel on to the rest of us. The dramatic inference that the Palestinian cause is being silenced is laughable. Our media is full of sycophantic pieces about Gaza and the West Bank. Most reporting on Israel is scathingly critical and based on half-truths and lies.

Palestinian nationalism was born when the USSR created the PLO as part of the propaganda war against America. The mandate of Palestine referred to land that would be divided up into Israel and Jordan. There is no ‘colonial history of the Palestinians’. And when did imposing Palestinian nationalism in British schools, at the expense of historical accuracy, become a human right?

For those raised on a diet of the BBC and the Guardian, I suggest reading this measured article by Denis McEoin. His excellent account shows how opposition to the creation of Israel stems from Islamist ideology. Israel is viewed as an insult to Islam because it has been built on what is wrongly claimed as Muslim land. This explains why the legitimacy of Pakistan, created at the same time, is never questioned. Relinquishing their claims on the Jewish state is not an option for Islamists and they have proved this with their insidious and long campaign to destroy Israel. History cannot be a narrative based on distorted opinion, but must be based on evidence and fact.

The duplicitous attempt to connect Israel with racism is part of the Islamist narrative to delegitimise and ultimately destroy the Jewish state. What is equally execrable is the signatories’ attempt to subvert the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism by insisting that it denies the Palestinian narrative. Not only is this a lie, but the attempt to pit one minority group against another is risible. By supporting Labour’s obtuse refusal fully to implement the IHRA definition, the signatories are revealing themselves as anti-Semites.

Given the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)’s financing of anti-Semitic hatred in Palestinian school textbooks – in which Jews are denied their history and demonised as child killers – is it any wonder Donald Trump wants to dismantle this abhorrent organisation?

If these groups were really concerned about racism they would be protesting against anti-Semitism, which is the most virulent form of hatred in the UK today, and ironically is propagated by some of the very same groups which have signed this letter. The Cordoba Foundation is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the co-founders of Hamas. The Palestine Return Centre is a proxy for Hamas.

Today: UNRWA to legitimize Hamas front group at UNHRC panel

Decolonising Our Minds is a student organisation at SOAS University of London, where Jewish students are too scared to wear the symbols of their faith in case they are attacked.

EuroPal Forum is another Islamist organisation which uses tropes such as the ‘Israel lobby’ and publishes articles by Ben White, who advocates the apartheid libel against Israel. I suggest that members of Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants don’t visit Gaza – homosexuality is illegal there under Hamas rule.

I question the ability of some of these signatories to distinguish between racism and reality. The Society of Black Lawyers seems mainly to be run by Judge Peter Herbert, who complained of racism when he was disciplined by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office. I am not doubting Herbert’s obviously hurtful experience but question his lack of judgment. Herbert denounced the decision to bar Lutfur Rahman, former mayor of Tower Hamlets, from political office as ‘racist’. Rahman was banned for electoral fraud and corruption. The rights of the electorate to transparency should not be trumped by disingenuous claims of racism. This is London and not Tehran.

Despite protestations, BAME and migrant rights are not being taken away and neither are they being silenced. The fact that this inflammatory letter has been published in a national newspaper proves this, even though it deserves nothing more than to be scrunched up and thrown away. Not only for its poisonous anti-Semitic rhetoric but also for inciting hatred against the very people who gave them sanctuary – the British. It’s a privilege to live in the UK, not a human right.

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Karen Harradine
Karen Harradine
Karen is an anthropologist and freelance journalist. She writes on anti-Semitism, Israel and spirituality. She is @KarenH777on Twitter.

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