George Szirtes in his blog entry of 2.8.06 (On Apologising) linked to an article in The Scotsman on Mel Gibson’s anti-Jewish remarks on being arrested for drunk driving. But the issue isn’t so much Gibson. Even the sherriff who arrested him (who is Jewish) felt that the booze was talking. We can think of Mel Gibson whatever we like.
However, the real issue is on the comments board at the bottom of the article. I wouldn’t have thought there was much anti-semitism these days among Scottish people. I would have thought it to be a non-issue. Of course, people may be angry about what the Israeli Government is doing in Lebanon and in the Palestinian territories, and it’s fair enough that these issues are vigorously debated. But the idea that people in Scotland hold hostility towards Jews, just because they are Jews, wouldn’t have struck me as realistic these days.
The comments have shown me otherwise. As examples:
Given the punishment the Jews are currently handing out to their neighbours I would feel that some dignified silence might be in order but we'd never get that from a jew…
pity they [the Lebanese] aren't as rich as the jews as then he [Mel Gibson] wouldn't have to grovel.
Mel only said what a lot of Europeans think about the Jews; that they start a lot of wars.
It must be embarrassing for the Americans to be dominated by the Jews in their own country. Fortunately in Europe although there are a lot of Jews we're not affected by them.
That said, what is really more offensive: [Mel Gibson] risking the lives of others by drinking and driving, or voicing an unpopular opinion about Jews?
That’s quite shocking, I think. There is racism is Scotland, which erupts in violence sporadically between white Scots and the large Indian/ Pakistani/ Bangladeshi community, and in some tabloid-fuelled hostility towards asylum-seekers, but I had honestly never before even considered that people still held these kind of views in Scotland against Jews. I can only hope they are a tiny minority, but they made up a significant proportion of those who entered opinions in the comments box.