Antisemitism in Western Europe has reached its highest level since the Second World War, according to a report by the Jewish Agency for Israel. In Britain, the number of antisemitic incidents in 2009 was the highest since records began.
Last month Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, invited to speak at Oxford University, was heckled throughout his talk. A British protester carrying a Palestinian flag yelled "Death to the Jews." Students shouted inside and outside the hall "Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea," which, as someone pointed out, effectively called for the destruction of the state of Israel. Several students reportedly attempted to assault the speaker physically and were only prevented from doing so by security men.
Israeli historian Benny Morris was due to speak to students at Cambridge University at the invitation of the university's Israel Society. The society cancelled the talk after protesters accused him of "Islamophobia" and "racism."
When the Deputy Ambassador of Israel was due to speak at Manchester University more than 300 protesters were expected and the embassy had to cancel her visit. All this at Britain's leading universities, once bastions of free speech.
This week is Israel Apartheid Week, described as "a festival of bigotry," "an odious and bigoted annual ritual" and "a global campus hate-fest whose message. . . is in effect a call for Israel's destruction and. . . an incitement to genocide." Well organised meetings will be held on university campuses in dozens of cities.
Jewish students, said to be outnumbered by Islamic students in British universities by eight to one, will be feeling distinctly apprehensive. Strangely, Israel Apartheid Week lasts from March 1 to 14.
Said Dr Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations: "Given the difficulty in applying the apartheid model to Israel, one wonders what the true hidden agenda is behind this campaign. . . Israel Apartheid Week is not about respect for human rights; it is an incredibly hypocritical initiative that ignores the apartheid practised by the Palestinians themselves, who make the sale of land to Jews punishable by death.
"It is also not a movement dedicated to making peace, but rather to denying the historical rights of the Jewish people. The answer to the challenge is to expose the true intentions of its backers, who clearly seek to dismantle the state of Israel and deny its people their inherent right of self-determination."
Meanwhile, student groups such as the Muslim Students Association are being funded by radical Islamist groups, and various university departments in the West are becoming beholden to Islam because of funding from Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.
In the Middle East last week the Syrian leadership hosted a summit with Iranian President Ahmadinejad, the chief of Hezbollah and the head of Hamas. All reportedly vowed the destruction of Israel, whom President Ahmadinejad described as "an insult to humanity."
There was another meeting in Iran last weekend attended by the leaders of Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. President Ahmadinejad said Israel is the origin of all wars, genocide, terrors and crimes against humanity and a racist group that does not respect human principles, and suggested a referendum on the destruction of Israel.
Rumours of war continue to roll around the Middle East. The tragedy is that a people which had to suffer a deliberate attempt at its total annihilation in the Second World War (I refer to Israel and the Holocaust) 65 years later still has to fight for its existence.