If you want to disimprove the fragrance of your day, have a listen to Professor Steven Rose here (scroll down to 0840). He was on the Today programme this morning with Shalom Lappin, and John Humphrys was talking to them about the increase in anti-Semitism. Rose agrees that it is increasing. However, with only a few minutes to say his piece on the subject, how does he focus the responsibility for it? Not on those who attack Jews or hold prejudicial attitudes towards them. No, on the actions of the Israeli government; and then, when challenged by Humphrys with the observation that the government of Israel is not the same thing as Jewish people at large, on the 'Israel lobby' - who treat Judaism and Zionism, he says, Judaism and support for Israel, as identical, thereby making 'a rod for their own backs'.
Leave aside the elision there from the 'Israel lobby' to all those people on the receiving end of anti-Jewish hostility - like schoolchildren in Manchester. But if there's growing anti-Semitism it's due to a confusion perpetrated by Jews (those who don't agree with Steven Rose's views on Israel). On the resurgence of an age-old form of hatred, not one single word about any other source of it, and not one word of criticism or blame for anybody other than Jews. It's poisonous stuff.
How does an educated man come to be able to speak publicly like this? I can't pretend to know the answer, having no personal acquaintance with him. But here's a hypothesis. The clue could just lie in his reference to members of the aforesaid 'Israel lobby' attacking him as a 'self-hating Jew'. It's not a category I've ever been fond of or found useful, but that's by the by. What the remark suggests is that Rose might think the question concerning a rise in anti-Semitism is about him: about the arguments he's had and what's been said against him. It's a strikingly repellent kind of self-love, in fact, to go on radio to talk about a rather pressing problem, one that affects the lives and the sense of security of many people, and be unable to see that problem except through the lens of your own positioning in a nexus of argument and counter-argument.