Source: The Independent
On April 21, 2004 The Independent reported, "MPs have warned that the "virus" of anti-Semitism is beginning to infect mainstream politics in Britain, as figures show a record number of attacks on Jews last year. The former cabinet minister Stephen Byers said yesterday that the 'line is now being crossed from legitimate criticism' of the Israeli government into 'demonisation, dehumanisation of Jews and the application of double standards.' In a debate in the House of Commons, James Purnell, chairman of Labour Friends of Israel, criticised caricatures and cartoons of Jews in the media as dangerous. He said: 'Today overt anti-Semitism is still taboo, but anti-Semitism is a virus that once again has started to infect our body politic.' The warnings come after an unprecedented number of attacks on Jews in Britain last year, including desecration of synagogues and cemeteries. Jewish women walking down the street have been attacked by strangers, and Jewish schools and community centres have been put on a high state of alert."