At almost every event I attend I see antisemites. But why are those that hate Jews given such legitimacy. Why is it so hard to extract even one rabid politician from a mainstream party? These are the defenders of the Jew haters. Sentinels of the antisemites. Academia is occupied, media is lost and the politicians will always sway to the demographic changes.
As I grew up in the UK, I viewed antisemitism as a minor, defeated issue. I knew it still existed, indeed I had my own run-in with local Nazis, but believed that it had been pushed out into the far-right shadows. I could also see it within Arab discourse about Israel, but wrongly assumed that it remained within the context of an ongoing conflict.
Back then, I never imagined for one moment I would witness rising antisemitism in the 21st century. Never thought for a day, that as an adult I would be ‘out there’, personally facing down Jew hatred on London’s streets just as my grandparents had done 80 years before.
But then in those days, the Holocaust was the one global event that for me was ‘beyond explanation’. I never thought I would ever understand how it happened. It has been a brutal awakening to realise how slippery the slide towards oblivion is.
Last week I spent three days in Cork, Ireland, attending a conference with about 150 people that hate Israel. I do it because if we are not there, we delegate the narrative, our narrative, to our enemies. Emotionally, I am still recovering. I go and witness, record and write, and I try as the atmosphere descends into mob driven Jew hatred, not to internalise the abuse. When I return to a safe space, I fall apart for a while.
It is difficult to describe the feeling to someone who does not witness this abuse first hand. It all comes at a cost. When they begin the tirade against the Zionist, the Jew, they are pointing the finger at me. The suggestion that was aired, that my mother deliberately deprived me of love to ensure I would be sufficiently inhumane, is a direct and personal attack. The conference at Cork is proving a particularly difficult episode to recover from.
The hate at Cork
The conference brought together a long list of those who say they hate Israel, and many of those clearly do have an issue with Jews. Jewish history was denied, the Jewish people had their identity stolen from them. Even the Hebrew language was appropriated. Israelis were turned into non-human monsters who deprive their children of love. We were compared to those who committed genocide against us.
I sat among a group of people who make up stories about Jews by using Israel as a proxy. Yet, it wasn’t the presence of the antisemites that scared me, it was the legitimacy this hatred is given by the others in the room, by the organisers, by the hosting venue.
2014 saw the loudest outpouring of blatant antisemitism in Europe since 1945. In 2017 hard-core anti-Jewish hatred is dished up on the university campus. 9/11 conspiracy theories are shared inside lecture halls. An academic at a conference can claim that European Jews are fake Jews and Hebrew is a Palestinian language. Each comment of this type receives applause. Antisemitism isn’t hiding in the dark anymore.
Livingstone and Zionism
This week of course, we also saw Ken Livingstone receive an extended ‘time-out’ from the labour party. This as several vocal labour groups fight against the punishment. What Ken Livingstone said was historically wrong and brutally insensitive. It follows a pattern of the former London Mayor making comments that appear to be both specifically directed towards Jews and designed to hurt.
The man appears to enjoy goading Jews. To make offensive comments about Jews and the Holocaust. If he baited women, he’d be a sexist, if he baited blacks, he’d be a racist, but he doesn’t, he baits Jews.
Let us swiftly deal with Livingstone’s remarks. Hitler saw Zionism through the same lens through which he saw all Jews. Some of his thoughts from ‘Mein Kampf’:
“They have no thought of building up a Jewish State in Palestine, so that they might perhaps inhabit it, but they only want a central organization of their international world cheating, endowed with prerogatives, withdrawn from the seizure of others: a refuge for convicted rascals and a high school for future rogues.”
Yet for a while Zionism and the Nazi’s existed within the same historical period and geographical locations. This means that even within the context of the Nazi’s genocidal hatred of Jews, the two ‘met’. This gives rise to all sorts of false accusations built on twisting facts and the removal of context.
Like most of the anti-Zionist narrative, truth becomes smeared through the distorting effects of a brutal antisemitic prism. Or put it another way, antisemites are scouring through the archives trying to find ways of using the way Jews reacted to genocide 70 years ago, to attack Jews today. Below, as evidence of this strategy, is an email recently sent out by UK anti-Zionist Tony Greenstein, calling for a translation of a 1935 newspaper:
Giving Jew hatred the airtime
Two days ago, LBC radio gave Ken Loach airtime to defend Ken Livingstone. Loach described Livingstone’s claims as “an interpretation”, this as Loach himself used half-truths and carefully selected quotations to protect the paradigm that both he and Livingstone exist within.
Over the past few days I have been exchanging comments on Twitter with Piaras Mac Éinrí, one of the ‘organisers’ of the Cork conference. He has suggested my account of what occurred was ‘false’, ‘misleading’, ‘mendacious’, and ‘inaccurate’.
Just yesterday, as evidence of the false paradigm that Piaras is now living in, he retweeted a post suggesting that ‘the most successful recent attacks on free speech have come from Zionist organizations seeking to suppress *any* criticism of Israel’.
Note use of the word ‘any’. This the classic straw man, and you will often see this false logic used against Jewish complaints of antisemitism. Nobody suggests every negative comment about Israel is antisemitic. Nobody. It is a ‘non-argument’ put up to create an environment where ALL criticism of Israel, however antisemitic, becomes allowed. You open the door without a filter and in the end, like Piaras, you need to suggest criticism against the environment you create is ‘false’, ‘misleading’, ‘mendacious’, and ‘inaccurate’. Whether aware of it or not, Piaras gave Jew hatred airtime and now apparently needs to deflect criticism of antisemites to protect his own reputation.
The sentinels of the antisemites
Cork, both City and University, became engaged in protecting antisemitism when agreeing to host the conference. Last month the LSE gave stage to an attack on British Jews by inadvertently squeezing them between Richard Falk and Gilad Atzmon.
With Labour, we see an entire political party willing to self-destruct over its inability to detach itself from antisemitism. The response to Livingstone’s remarks took far too long to unravel, and when it came, it merely highlighted how lost the Labour party is.
Exeter university, SOAS, UCL, the University of Kent. The Independent, the Guardian. The Labour Party, Momentum. The National Union of Teachers. All directly or indirectly protecting Jew hate. These just a few examples. Look at this disgraceful article from the BBC. ‘Chilling repression’? Blaming the victims for not suffering in silence. The list is a long one.
Jew hatred should not be up for discussion. There is no meeting antisemites half way. Had what occurred in Cork involved racist comments against blacks, it is doubtful the conference would have been allowed to continue beyond the first outrageous comment. It is certain the BBC would not refer to efforts to cancel it as ‘chilling repression’. Yet when it comes to attacks on Jews, through strategic use of the ‘Livingstone Formulation‘, racism against Jews is accommodated and protected in a way that no other racism is. It is not only argued that *all* criticism against Israel is legitimate, when that door is open, NO FILTERS are ever placed on what is acceptable and what is not. All Jewish discomfort is cast aside as being Israeli funded ‘hasbara’. The Israeli embassy pays us all to protest.
There are antisemites, and then hiding behind misquotes & decontextualised arguments there are the defenders of those that hate the Jews. Sentinels or gatekeepers of the antisemites.
The Dublin gambit
Nowhere can this be more clearly highlighted than in a recent call for papers from Trinity College, Dublin. An academic attempt to legitimise use of the Livingstone Formulation. This from the 2016 paper from David Hirsh:
“It (the Livingstone Formulation) is a means of refusing to engage with an accusation of antisemitism; instead it reflects back an indignant counter-accusation, that the accuser is taking part in a conspiracy to silence political speech. The Livingstone Formulation functions to de-legitimise scholarly or political analysis of antisemitism by treating analysis of antisemitism as an indicator of anti-progressive discourse.”
The absurdity of the proposed conference in Trinity College is an extreme example of psychological projection. In Chinese, they use the expression ‘做賊喊抓賊’ or ‘thieves calling someone a thief to deflect attention from their own thieving’. Projecting what you are doing wrong onto your opponent, has long been attributed to the hard left. Those seeking to understand this strategy should read ‘Rules for Radicals‘.
Those involved in the proposed conference, boycott Israeli academia, and stifle free speech. More worryingly, with regards to a proper academic conference, BDS activists, such as some of those putting together this event, work explicitly on a ‘no to normalisation’ platform. That means ‘no’ to providing a forum where the Israeli argument can be fairly heard.There is no way any university of any merit would possibly accommodate a conference when the organisers proudly suggest they will not provide a platform to substantive academic opposition.
However the proposed venue Trinity could not be more apt. Just recently, a talk by the Israeli ambassador at Trinity was cancelled following a protest. Trinity is not alone. UCC in Cork of course, just held their very own ‘hatefest’. And the video footage below from NUI Galway, shows the response to the appearance of Alan Johnson, widely recognised as someone who struggles for peace and is a solid supporter of the two state solution:
Ignorance, ignorance everywhere
The level of ignorance that can be witnessed on the campus both in the UK and US is frightening. The level of protection this ignorance provides Jew hatred makes it dangerous. And although the university is the very place that we would expect the hatred to be challenged through discussion and study, campus is where all dialogue is being closed down. ‘No to normalisation’!
But the protection provided to Jew hate isn’t only on campus. Political groups pushing nothing but utopian ideals stand alongside dark forces in a perverse strategic alliance. Thus we see the reluctance of elements within the Labour party to break up the union. Jewish protests will be cast aside if political expediency demands it. Not directly of course, excuses will be found, the Livingstone Formulation will be deployed.
We also have those who are either not part of the Jewish community, or sit at the fringes of it, used to suggest the problem is the Jewish community. Criticism is directed towards all the publicly identifiable representatives of the Jewish community; the Board of Deputies, Chief Rabbi, Jewish Chronicle, Holocaust Education Trust. Using fringe elements of Jewish society to blame the Jews. People who have never stepped inside a synagogue are called ‘real Jews’ because they detest Israel, whilst the vast majority of British Jews are given the label ‘fake Jews’, even on a university campus. To loud applause of course.
Academia is occupied, media is financially crippled and the politicians will sway to the demographics. This deteriorating situation demonstrates not just Israel’s ‘right’ to exist, but the underlying ‘need’ for Israel to exist. There is no greater advert for Israel, than the dark undercurrents currently pulling at us from under the surface of society. Come sit with me, witness the hate. You will never question Israel’s need to exist again.
No, it isn’t the early 1930’s, but then nor would it be. History doesn’t replicate, it merely presents familiar patterns. Segments of academia, mainstream media and major political parties have already become sentinels, gate-keepers, for antisemites. Jew hatred is clearly protected. It is time to be very concerned indeed.
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