Jews and money — the slur that re­fuses to die

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY MARK GARD­NER Mark Gard­ner is com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor of the Com­mu­nity Se­cu­rity Trust

THE OUT­RAGE di­rected against Kevin My­ers’s de­pic­tion of women, Jews and money in the Ir­ish edi­tion of the Sun­day Times was in­evitable. At first glance, there ap­pears lit­tle to learn from an eas­ily recog­nised old-fash­ioned an­ti­semitism, but dig deeper and its shabby prej­u­dices help us to un­der­stand the lan­guage that is all too com­monly used about Jews, Zion­ism and money, across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum. My­ers’s squalid ex­am­ple of bla­tant an­ti­semitic lan­guage was swiftly dealt with but the premise of Jews and money and cun­ning re­mains ram­pant. The an­ti­semitic as­so­ci­a­tion of Jews with money is deeply em­bed­ded within Bri­tish lit­er­a­ture and cul­ture. It is also a fun­da­men­tal com­po­nent of an­ti­semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries, in­clud­ing those that em­ploy the word “Zion­ist” where the word “Jew” once ap­peared. This goes back to Jews be­ing blamed for sell­ing out Je­sus (money-chang­ers in the tem­ple, Ju­das’s 30 pieces of sil­ver) and the no­tion of them bear­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for his killing. Since then, the Jews, money and cun­ning theme has been es­sen­tial to ac­cu­sa­tions of Jewish power, ma­nip­u­la­tion and con­spir­acy: whether it is Nazi ac­cu­sa­tions of Jews caus­ing two World Wars, the pop­u­lar­ity of the Pro­to­cols of the El­ders of Zion through­out the Mus­lim world, or the way in which the word “Zion­ist” is rou­tinely used and abused within far-left cir­cles.

The con­ti­nu­ity be­tween th­ese over­lap­ping anti-Zionisms and old-school an­ti­semitism is stark and sim­ple. “Zion­ism” de­rives its wealth from Jewish money. “Zion­ism” de­rives its cun­ning from the same Jewish streets­mart that en­ables Vanessa Feltz and Clau­dia Win­kle­man to earn more than non-Jewish women.

It is all very well then to con­demn My­ers, but there are im­mea­sur­ably more in­sid­i­ous forces us­ing the same lan­guage and age-old myths.

Th­ese forces, whether Is­lamist, far right, far left or New Age, are not try­ing to give some bizarre com­pli­ment about how much they ad­mire Jews. Rather, they use it as an­ti­semites al­ways have — as a means of ex­plain­ing the hid­den hands that run the world, as a means of ex­cus­ing their own fail­ure, while also jus­ti­fy­ing their own ha­tred of Jews, or, now, of “Zion­ists”.

Kevin My­ers came and went this week. The rest of it re­mains.

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