Post-Brexit, the liberal media lashed out with myriad hysterical predictions of economic meltdown and threw around bitter accusations of xenophobia, with the New York Times leading the charge. Well, those dire predictions of crisis have not exactly panned out, but the Times is back trying to pump some life into the libel, by labeling any violent crime against any immigrant in England as Brexit-related.
In Friday’s New York Times, Dan Bilefsky wrote: “Fatal Beating of Polish Man Fuels Debate Over Xenophobia in Britain.” The text box read: “Fears that the ‘Brexit’ vote has unleashed a wave of violence.” More like fear among sore losers in the press, who still can't grasp how they could have lost an election where everyone they knew voted the morally correct way.
Two Polish immigrants were eating takeout pizza against a brick wall on a muggy night in Harlow, a working-class town about 20 miles northeast of central London.
As they chatted in Polish, witnesses said, a group of young boys and girls attacked them. The group repeatedly pummeled and kicked one of the men, Arkadiusz Jozwik, 40, a meat factory worker, in the head. He died two days later from his injuries, in a killing that the police are investigating as a possible hate crime.
Six boys from Harlow -- five 15-year-olds and one 16-year-old -- have been arrested on suspicion of murder in the attack, which occurred shortly before midnight on Saturday. All have been released on bail. The police have appealed for witnesses to come forward, and they said they were investigating reports that the attackers had hurled racist abuse at the victims.
The brutality of the killing and its apparent targeting of immigrants shocked many Britons and prompted soul-searching. It renewed alarm among Eastern European immigrants that the campaign leading to Britain’s decision in a June 23 referendum to leave the European Union, known as “Brexit,” has unleashed a wave of xenophobia.
The voting age in the United Kingdom is 18, making it unlikely that the teenaged hooligans took a principled stand on the matter one way or the other. But let's not let that get in the way of Bilefsky's silly game of guilt by association.
Before the vote, members of the far-right who supported leaving the bloc played adroitly on concerns about unchecked immigration, warning that the union’s open borders threatened the British way of life, made the country vulnerable to terrorism and hurt workers. One poster, released during the campaign by the far-right U.K. Independence Party, showed a seemingly endless line of migrants and the words “Breaking Point.”
Poles constitute the largest number of foreign-born residents of Britain, with 831,000 of them in the country, and the assault in Harlow added to a string of attacks against them. In June, shortly after the referendum, the Polish Social and Cultural Association in the Hammersmith district of London, home to a large Polish community, was vandalized.
Bilefsky strung together some anecdotes to prove Brexit instigating beatings.
He said his brother, who came to Britain four years ago to work, had been targeted because he was Polish. “The police have told us he was attacked because they heard him and his friends speaking the Polish language,” he said. “He was standing, eating pizza, and they picked on him because of that. He does not speak much English.”
He added, “After the Brexit vote it has got worse -- I have seen people change -- it is hard at the moment.”
Cynical left-wing European parties certainly took advantage, trying to use the violent acts to smear anyone who supports national sovereignty.
The killing has reverberated in Poland. The left-wing political party Razem posted a statement expressing solidarity with the victim’s family. “The racist and xenophobic attitudes are reaping an increasingly horrid harvest,” it said.
Pawel Robert Kowal, a former member of the European Parliament, told the Polish news channel TVN24 BiS that the scapegoating of minorities by politicians had empowered hooligans. “Today, those who use anti-immigrant rhetoric, even if innocently, are doubly guilty,” he said.
According to the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the number of reported hate crimes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has jumped 46 percent, to 1,831 in the week after the June 23 referendum from the comparable week a year earlier. More recently, in the period from July 22 to 28, reports of hate crimes had jumped 34 percent from a year earlier. The police cautioned, however, that the rise could be attributed in part to higher awareness of hate crimes.