It’s time to con­front the hate talk

An­tisemitism flour­ishes in tough eco­nomic times — so we must act now

The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment&analysis - DE­NIS MACSHANE

IRAN’S PRES­I­DENT, Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad, has the an­swer to the world’s fi­nan­cial tur­bu­lence: blame the Jews. Speak­ing at the United Na­tions last month, Iran’s elected leader ac­cused Jews of “dom­i­nat­ing an im­por­tant por­tion of the fi­nan­cial and mon­e­tary cen­tres as well as the po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sion-mak­ing cen­tres of some Euro­pean coun­tries and the US in a de­ceit­ful, com­plex and furtive man­ner”. He is not alone. “It’s dif­fi­cult, if not im­pos­si­ble, for one hon­est in­vestor to neu­tralise the ef­forts of thou­sands of Jewish swindlers,” was a post on a Ya­hoo Fi­nance group site. YouTube hosted a video called The Court Jew­sters and shows a shot of a dol­lar-bill em­bla­zoned with: “In Zion­ist bankers we trusted”.

The myth of the con­spir­a­to­rial in­flu­ence of the Jews re­mains as po­tent and se­duc­tive as ever. Our own home­grown Jew-hater, the BNP leader, Nick Grif­fin, has only one ma­jor pub­li­ca­tion to his name. Called Who Are the Mind-Ben­ders?, it seeks to de­pict Bri­tain’s news­pa­pers and TV un­der the se­cret con­trol of a Jewish lobby whose mem­bers have cun­ningly changed their names to avoid be­ing de­tected.

The rise of a fa­nat­i­cal Is­lamist an­tisemitism has been well-doc­u­mented. From Bin Laden to the Mus­lim Brother­hood’s chief the­o­logue, Sheikh Qaradawi, the con­stant at­tacks on Jews and Ju­daism — and the sup­port for mur­der­ing Jewish chil­dren and women in Is­rael or Jewish es­tab­lish­ments else­where — is cen­tral to con­tem­po­rary Is­lamist fun­da­men­tal­ist ide­ol­ogy.

For many of my fel­low MPs, it is fash­ion­able to think that an­tisemitism died with the Holo­caust. Surely no one in their right mind can be­lieve that Jews are be­hind the world’s ma­jor prob­lems or that their re­li­gion, be­liefs and affini­ties should again suf­fer as­saults which re­mind us of the past?

Yet two of Bri­tain’s ma­jor pro­fes­sional unions, rep­re­sent­ing uni­ver­sity teach­ers and jour­nal­ists, adopted reso­lu­tions call­ing for boy­cotts of Jewish aca­demics and jour­nal­ists in Is­rael. The Nazi slo­gan “ Kauft nicht bei Ju­den” — don’t do busi­ness with Jews — has been seized on by the ex­treme left across Europe as its mem­bers seek to or­gan­ise boy­cotts and cen­sor­ship of Jews who work in Is­rael.

Nei­ther union would con­tem­plate for a nanosec­ond sup­port­ing boy­cotts against Is­rael’s neigh­bours, where the rights of jour­nal­ists, in­de­pen­dent aca­demics, women and gays are sub­ject to bru­tal re­pres­sions far, far worse than any­thing that could be laid at Is­rael’s door. But, as with me­dia cov­er­age which seizes on any fault by Is­rael but glides over what hap­pens in Saudi Ara­bia, Syria or Iran, there is a dou­ble-stan­dard at play, which does no ser­vice to truth and still less to the causes that sec­u­lar, demo­cratic Pales­tini­ans up­hold.

If the left is guilty of one-sided dis­like of Is­rael and turn­ing a blind eye to Is­lamist an­tisemitism, the right is guilty of cre­at­ing the cul­ture of in­tol­er­ance in which an­tisemitism, along with other hates against non-ma­jor­ity races, na­tions and re­li­gions, pul­lu­lates.

In 1938, the Bri­tish pop­u­la­tion stood at 30 mil­lion but the Daily Mail told its read­ers: “The way state­less Jews from Ger­many are pour­ing into ev­ery port of this coun­try is be­com­ing an out­rage.” In 2008, Bri­tain’s pop­u­la­tion stands at 60 mil­lion, though still only 10 per cent of na­tion has been ex­posed as un­sci­en­tific non­sense” as well as other an­ti­semitic nos­trums that would make Grif­fin a per­fect en­voy for the cur­rent pres­i­dent of Iran. But, by this time next year, the BNP could have its MEPs in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and win its first di­rectly elected Mayor in Stoke.

As Bri­tain heads for eco­nomic slow­down and ris­ing un­em­ploy­ment — two hand­maid­ens of ex­trem­ist pol­i­tics — the time has come not just to con­front con­tem­po­rary an­tisemitism, in its open and un­wit­ting forms, but also other forms of hate jour­nal­ism against Euro­peans, asy­lum seek­ers and those who are not white English Chris­tians.

An­tisemitism is the ca­nary in the coal-mine. Lis­ten and the song of tol­er­ance grows weaker and weaker as hate against Jews and oth­ers once again be­gins to fuse into with main­stream po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. De­nis MacShane is Labour MP for Rother­ham and a for­mer Min­is­ter for Europe. His book, Glob­al­is­ing Ha­tred: The New An­tisemitism, is pub­lished by Wei­den­feld and Ni­col­son (£12.99). He chaired the All-Party Com­mit­tee of In­quiry into An­tisemitism and is a UK del­e­gate to the Coun­cil of Europe

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