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Denis MacShane: What Dispatches didn't say about the Israel lobby

Posted by Eagle Eye
  • Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 05:06 pm

Last night’s Channel 4 Dispatches Programme on Jews and their influence in Britain failed to ask or answer one question. (So, too, did the fuller report by James Jones and Peter Oborne). Why, if Jews are held to have such occult lobbying power, are they so spectacularly unsuccessful?

Israel has the worst press of any UN member state in the British media. The Commons is far more likely to hear a denunciation of Israel than any criticism of a neighbouring Arab country, let alone the openly anti-Semitic Hamas. This summer a rigorous, accurate report showed a doubling of anti-Semitic attacks in Britain – cemeteries desecrated, rabbis punched, Jewish kids jostled or spat at. Not a single national paper, let alone the BBC, covered it.

Other British citizens with links to Kashmir or Kurds or Sikhs or Cyprus are allowed to promote their cause. But British Jews cannot express support or affinity for Israel without being accused of forming a secret, money-rich cabal. This is 1930s style prejudice dressed up as modern TV journalism.

But it is part of a European-wide trend to lower the old barriers against depicting Jews negatively. Take Hungary. The main opposition party there is Fidesz, whose MP Oszkar Molnar had this to say about Jews recently: “I give primacy to Hungarian interests over those of global capital, Jewish capital, if you like – which wants to devour the entire world, especially Hungary.” This age-old image of Jewish capital attacking national interests comes straight for the pre-war politics of Nazism.

This willingness to excuse language that only yesterday would have been considered as anti-Semitic is now normal. In Poland, Felip Stanilko works for the policy think tank of Poland’s PiS Party, whose controversial alliance with Britain’s Conservative Party has stirred up passions. Mr Stanilko thinks that Jews control the main left-liberal Polish daily, Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s equivalent of the Independent or Guardian. In an interview with Canada’s Globe and Mail recently, the PiS analyst, speaking English, linked communism and Jews. “The faction of this society were predominately Jew, from Jew origins. You’ve got a Zionist path, you know, the people who created Israel, and you’ve got a communist path, because of the influential model of Marxism as a model of Talmudic thinking. And these people emigrated to the Soviet Union, they returned, they were very well educated by postwar standards, and biographically they are the crucial part of Gazeta Wyborcza.”

Far from being a creature of Moscow, Gazeta Wyborcza was created by anti-Soviet journalists from the Catholic Solidarity union. But the PiS statement is further evidence of the re-entry into European politics of anti-Semitic tropes.

On the eve of the 71st anniversary of Kristallnacht, last week, swastikas were sprayed on a Jewish cemetery in Dresden. Last month the Jewish cemetery in Ottawa was similarly daubed. We should not be surprised. As anti-Jewish remarks and discourses make their re-entry into European politics we can expect a gradual lowering of our guard. Far from “Never Again” the time has come to admit that anti-Semitic politics is back.

Denis MacShane MP is a former Europe Minister. His book, Globalising Hatred: The New Anti-Semitism, is out in paperback (Phoenix, £8.99)

Comments

Re: Two cities - Jedwabne and Kielce.
ron_broxted wrote:
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 09:02 pm (UTC)
Dear Bob, Self ascription as a mark of Jewishness? The Law of return states who is an is not Jewish...basically a Jewish mother (or granny) or full Orthodox conversion. No disrespect as to my fame of lack of it. I am described (elsewhere) as "Left of centre" and "English" by which I guess they mean I'd blog more on Westminster than Stormont. Finally, I have spent half an hour looking for this mythical list. Do you mean Independent Minds? That is open to all L.J account holders. I'll be blogging on this later. The Ukraine? The flu? Jews are suspected...wells have been poisoned near Zhitomir and Lviv.
Re: Two cities - Jedwabne and Kielce.
bob_idle wrote:
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 09:40 pm (UTC)
Dear Ron
Yes the list of Independent Minds on the front page of independent.co.uk (middle column about half way down page)

Jewishness: you know as well as I do that lots of people in the pro-Israel lobby (described on Dispatches) are not Jewish and we don't need a test of maternity, because many of them freely admit they aren't Jewish. There are also many people who freely admit they are Jewish (religious people, rabbis, and lawyers among them) who disagree with the pro-Israel lobby. As I might have already pointed out, quite a few people featured on the programme speaking out against the pro-Israel lobby were self-described Jews. One of them I remember was a Mr Goldberg who said that the Israelis "practice apartheid in the West Bank". There were several others. If you haven't watched the programme it's being shown again at the end of the week please look at the channel 4 schedule for details.

Re: Two cities - Jedwabne and Kielce.
ron_broxted wrote:
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 09:47 pm (UTC)
Yes Rebbe Goldberg was on there along with others, Judaism has a plurality, so one can be vehemently anti-Zionist and still go on aliyah. What Airport Security will do with you is another matter. That column? It is the running thread for Independent Minds. I'd say more than 50% of the bloggers on it are non journalists and not paid. Like myself.
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