Sometimes I find the landscape a little overwhelming. What I do notice when discussing antisemitism within the community, is that each person stands in his own political corner, and focuses on the antisemites that swarm amidst his own personal ‘political enemy’. Activism against antisemitism is often ‘contained’ by political bias. This means that against Nazis on the far-right, there is a clear consensus, but when it comes to discussing the importance or level of Jew hate within other elements of the spectrum, that consensus breaks down.
It is a dangerous situation. The current problem is not an issue with the rise of the far right. Nor is it an issue with the rise of the far left. It is a combination of factors. These also include social media bubbles, colonial guilt, the import of antisemitism within immigrant communities, and an anti-Muslim backlash. It is only when all the factors are mixed, do we begin to visualise the ‘antisemitic union’ that threatens us. If we are not looking at the ‘bigger picture’, then most of the solutions we find, or strategies we devise, will fail us.
History shows us that the truly dangerous times are not one dimensional. It isn’t about one man who takes control and leads his people into an antisemitic fury. To treat antisemitism as if it is just about keeping the next ‘Hitler’ at bay and then trying to identify that ‘Hitler’ is a grave error. Firstly, the next Hitler is unlikely to look anything like the last. More importantly, if all the pieces are aligned, the resulting antisemitic tsunami brings the leader with it.
These are just a few events from this week:
American Embassy 6th January
A gathering in London, outside the US Embassy, to help Palestinians defend ‘Jerusalem and Al Aqsa’. This was organised by several Islamic groups in the Birmingham area, along with the ‘West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign‘ (WMPSC). They are a particularly active and vicious branch of the PSC. This protest is one of various set up since Trump announced US recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel.
As is always the case in this type of Muslim led protest, the ‘Al-Aqsa‘ aspect is deliberately highlighted, as it stirs up religious anger by implying the ‘Al-Aqsa‘ mosque is somehow under threat. These same tactics have been used to promote violence against Jews for 100 years, and many massacres in British Palestine and then Israel, were rooted in false claims about Jews taking over, attacking or even destroying the Mosque. Friends of Al Aqsa (FOA) are another group that frequently play on this issue. Screaming that ‘Al-Aqsa is in danger’, invariably brings crowds onto the street. This is an image from the protest:
There were several pro-Israeli activists who turned up, thankfully to record some of the speeches. As is always the case, a couple of Marxist Jews, provide the protest with a legitimacy that permits almost any level of religious hatred. Some of the speeches were in Urdu. This is a translated extract from one of them:
‘Judaism was supposed to be the religion to claim justice in the world. But they didn’t do that. But they incited violence and unrest. In places where there was only peace, they only created violence. They have forgotten their own history. Now they do not even realise what kind of torture they are doing to the Palestinians. They are raping Palestinian women. They are killing Palestinian children in front of their mothers. And now they’re doing the biggest injustice. Jerusalem which is the right of Palestinians. Baytul Muqaddas (‘Holy place’, the phrase for the Temple Mount) which is the right of Palestinians, now they are taking it over. They must realise that now the Muslim world is very anxious. Once the Muslim world becomes united, the Jews will have no place to go. So the Jews had better realise their mistakes.’ –
As most people researching antisemitism know, the word ‘Zionist’ is an English Language issue, and as soon as you begin to listen to speakers in a Language other than English, it doesn’t often exist. Instead, the word ‘Jew’ is openly used, and this speech clearly carries lies, antisemitism and threat. We (Jews) ‘had better realise our mistakes’ – or what, exactly? Words freely spoken on the streets of London.
Oh do shut up, Mira Sucharov
Then there was the BDS ‘black-list’, in which Israel published a list of organisations that were no longer going to be allowed the privilege of entering Israel. BDS is a movement that seeks the end of Zionism, which means the end of Israel. It’s supporters go to Israel to gather information that they then distort and use to further that cause. BDS does not seek peace, compromise or negotiation, far from it, and as someone who has for years, researched those who support the movement, I am under no illusions as to the make-up of BDS activists. This is a short clip uploaded by a BDS Twitter account:
Recently in Scotland, there were a few protestors at a Radiohead concert, angry because Radiohead were going to perform in Israel. I did a check of those at the protest, and found that several were Holocaust Deniers. All my research into BDS activism in the UK, has highlighted high concentration levels of antisemites at gatherings. When the Palestinian flag is waved in England or Wales, the level is at least 40%, and in Scotland, it is even higher. As I have often stated, it is difficult to believe these movements would exist as we know them, were it not for the antisemites providing the fuel.
Yet on the soft-left, BDS is not always seen for the animal it is. It is reasoned that boycott is a legitimate form of protest, and this is how BDS advertises itself. However, this ‘protection’ is given not because of some inherent ‘right to boycott’, (on the left, they would view a boycott of Israel from the far-right as illegitimate) but because some of those on the soft-left, identify with a limited boycott themselves. They live with the false idea, that they can separate the boycott, into bits they like and bits do not like. If the boycott is viewed as antisemitic, how can they display their dissatisfaction with Israeli settlement building. Therefore BDS must not been viewed as antisemitic. This is one example of how the fight against antisemitism is restricted by political positioning.
This blurring of the lines in never clearer than when listening to Jews or Israelis on the mid-to-far left of the spectrum. They sit in political wilderness, and view the electoral control of the Israeli right with growing frustration. They speak of the boycott and settlements in one breath, as if the boycott is about Israeli settlements. BDS is not about the 1967 lines. BDS is about the elimination of Zionism. Despite being a minority, these Jews sit in the grey area between opposition to BDS and support for a settlement boycott, and every time Israel takes any action, there will always be a handful of Jews who fall off, and suggest ‘ this is the action that crosses the line’. This time it was the turn of Mira Sucharov.
After the black list announcement Haaretz published a comment piece titled: ‘BDS Blacklist: Sadly, Now Might Be the Time for Jews to Boycott Israel‘
If any North American Jew is willing to jump on the boycott wagon, you can trust Ha’aretz to given them an entire page to air their rant. Ha’aretz love blurring the lines of the boycott, because they too are becoming increasingly frustrated in the political wilderness. Sucharov’s argument is typical self-righteous nonsense. Mira sits inside a country that blacklists those that seek to cause it harm. She herself is not endangered by the threats to Israel. She just wishes Israel would behave more nicely, so she could show it off to her friends. She wants Israel to exist in a fairy-tale. She hates the fact Israel doesn’t behave as if its neighbours are Switzerland, and she wishes it would take far more risks in order to seek peace. Risks of course that her own nation, would never take.
Always remember that these left wing groups, were the ones pressuring Israel to give up the Golan in the 1990’s. We need to be thankful Israel doesn’t listen to them.
So Mira – no, it isn’t the time for Jews to boycott Israel at all. It is the time for Jews in the West to understand that their own nations have always closed the doors to those that seek to harm them. And the streets they live in, the streets you live in, are more secure because of it. A time for Jews to recognise Israel is a real state, with real world dangers. Perhaps it would be wise not to deny Israel, the very protection you enjoy. So please, do shut up.
Alison Chabloz and the Nazis, trial 10 Jan 2018
Then there was the Alison Chabloz trial. Alison is on trial at Westminster Magistrates Court and facing five charges related to broadcasting offensive anti-Semitic songs on the internet. Chabloz is nasty, her songs, like ‘(((survivors)))‘ are vile, Holocaust Denying, vicious compositions, designed to insult Jews. Many of them are played to traditional Jewish tunes. The trial itself is fascinating because it shows how far behind modern technology the law is, and how desperate it is to catch up. Arguments over how something is posted, whether it is embedded, where it is posted, all far more relevant to the issue of guilt – than the content itself.
As the trial is mid-way, and will continue in March, I am going to talk about the public gallery. This was where the action was happening, and it was there, amongst the Chabloz followers, that hard-core antisemitism could be felt. As the room was packed, one of the Chabloz supporters arrived late and found few empty seats. As he took his place he proudly commented that he hoped “he was sitting on the Nazi side”. These people know what they are.
Listening to the commentary as the trial unfolded was sickening. Groans every-time a comment was made about inclusivity or democracy. As the prosecution witness (I am deliberately refraining at this point from providing details), illuminated the court on the specific slurs in the Chabloz videos, those in the gallery nodded in agreement. Of course Jews control the word, of course they are devious. During the breaks, discussions broke out – regarding how the UK has ‘diluted it’s population’.
They called witnesses ‘bastards‘ while they were testifying. They laughed as witnesses donned ‘kippot‘ for the witness assertion. One called a Jewish lady “a stinky Jew” in the seating area outside the Court. When CAA influence was mentioned, one shouted out ‘because you do’. As a witness spoke of his organisation communicating with the government, audible groans went up. Instead of normal societal interactions, what these people heard, was about Jewish secret control, manipulating the British Government. They live in a conspiratorial world, where the witness was part of a global elite, pulling strings above them.
When a Chabloz video was played, most of the gallery tapped their feet, smiled and when it was finished, broke out in loud applause. The judge silenced them, but it gave a clear indication of the make-up of the crowd. Of the 50 in the gallery, about 40 were Chabloz supporters.
It was truly a sickening experience sitting in that gallery, amongst people who whilst they deny the Holocaust, all wish one would come along now.
At the Chabloz trial there were familiar faces. In theory there shouldn’t have been. This is a hard-core, Nazi swamp, and my own ‘haunts’ are mainly within the self described ‘humanitarian left’. How is it then that I recognise some of these faces? One of those in the Chabloz gallery, who stopped to acknowledge and talk to a notorious antisemite, was even at the Jewish Voice for Labour, Free Speech on Israel event in Parliament (more on that to follow). These are the ideological unions that we have to pay attention to, wherever we sit on the political map.
The three events, all from this week, highlight some of the separate elements I experience that bring signs of danger. It may not be wrong to suggest one element, or particular corner, presents more danger than another – but it is surely wrong to have blind-spots. I didn’t even address student activism, or the dangers of widespread Marxist antisemitism in the Labour party. This was my week, the week of a Jew researching antisemitism. How was yours?
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