Rowan Laxton was watching news of Israeli military activity in Gaza on television while working out on an exercise bike at his central London gym. What happened next unnerved fellow gym patrons: “F-ing Israelis. F-ing Jews,” he screamed repeatedly, interspersing his rant with demands for Israeli troops to be “wiped off the face of the earth”. He was still bellowing when the police arrived several minutes later to arrest him on a charge of inciting religious hatred.
This bizarre episode is worth recording for two reasons. First, because it is an example, albeit extreme, of how anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism have become conflated. Second, because the 47-year-old ranter is not a low-life Jew-hater who had just crawled out from under an antediluvian rock. Rowan Laxton is a high-ranking British diplomat, a former deputy ambassador to Afghanistan and now head of the South Asia Group at the Foreign Office (currently suspended), reporting directly to his (Jewish) boss, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
To view the full article please visit The Huffington Post.
Originally published at The Huffington Post on the 2nd of May, 2009.