“There is only so much you can take.”
A leading British lawyer emigrated from the United Kingdom to Israel this week, saying he and his partner were fleeing rising and sometimes violent hatred of Jews.
“Europe in my view is finished. Every day you see people being attacked in one way or another across Europe,” Mark Lewis told an Israeli TV station on landing in the country. “You see people murdered in museums in Belgium, people murdered in schools in France, people attacked in England. There is only one place for Jewish people to go.”
Lewis, 54, is one of the top libel lawyers in the United Kingdom. He said that he and his partner, Mandy Blumenthal, were impelled to leave their home in the United Kingdom because they faced growing abuse for being Jewish, including online death threats. He suggested that some of the British Jews they left behind were in denial about the severity of their plight.
“We’re a wandering people, and it’s time to wander again,” he said. “People just don’t want to see it.”
“There is only so much you can take,” he added.
Last month, Lewis was fined by The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for sending “offensive and profane” messages in response to anti-Semitic trolls on Twitter and Facebook.
Lewis and Blumenthal first went public with their plans to immigrate to Israel in an interview with the BBC in August. The couple said they knew other Jews who were also considering leaving because of anti-Semitism and largely blamed the left-wing Labour Party under its current leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
“Jeremy Corbyn moved the rock, and the anti-Semites crawled out from underneath the rock,” said Lewis. “They’re not going back.”
“There’s been a total climate change,” Blumenthal said. “It’s become acceptable to be anti-Semitic. It’s brought out people’s feelings to the surface.”
In response to the couple’s interview, a Labour spokesperson said Corbyn is a “militant opponent” of anti-Semitism and committed to uprooting it from the party.
But Corbyn had made such claims before, and yet scandals over anti-Semitic or hateful anti-Israel comments by Labor members have continued to pile up. British Jews, along with some Labourites, have accused Corbyn of not seriously addressing the problem, and of being part of it himself.
Before becoming Labour leader, Corbyn repeatedly met with or attended events alongside Palestinian terrorists with blood on their hands. In 2009, he invited Hezbollah and Hamas operatives, whom he called “friends,” to visit the British Parliament. In 2014, he was photographed holding a wreath near the graves of Palestinian terrorists involved in the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
Corbyn has brushed off most of the incidents and denied he was honoring the terrorists. But he did express regret for the “friends” incident.
In recent years, prominent Jews have increasingly worried aloud about their coreligionists’ future, or lack thereof, in Europe. Longstanding anti-Semitism on the continent has been exacerbated by large-scale Muslim immigration, and Jews have been singled out in the spate of recent Islamist terrorist attacks.
By comparison, the United States has remained friendly toward Jews. But especially in the wake of the deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October, some have pointed to growing signs of anti-Semitism on both the American left and right.