Modern anti-Semitism

January 27, 2008 at 11:07 am (anti-fascism, Anti-Racism, anti-semitism, israel, Jim D, palestine, Racism)

This attitude is, unfortunately all too typical of the ultra-right organisations that claim to speak on behalf of British Muslims:

“The Muslim Association of Britain welcomes and fully supports the stand taken by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the main umbrella organisation in Britain, in boycotting the Holocaust Memorial Day functions…”

Even more despicable, this attitude is reflected on the so-called “left”:

“Holocaust Memorial Day has been an annual event in this country since 2001, marked each year on the anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation by the Red Army on January 27 1945.

“It is sponsored by the British government and, besides a national event, local events are held around the country sponsored by local government and various religious and civic groups.

“Among the millions of victims of the nazis were Jews, Gypsies, gays, communists, trade unionists, the disabled, mentally ill – and the Palestinians.

“In fact, the Palestinians hold a unique place as the Holocaust’s forgotten victims, at least in the eyes of those charged with maintaining the objective of colonising the Middle East in the interests of Western neoliberalism.

“in short, the long-suffering Palestinians have been sacrificed upon the alter of the West’s continued blind support of that apartheid state otherwise known as the state of Israel.”

(John Wight, ‘Holocaust Hypocrisy’, Morning Star, January 26 2008).

As a supporter of the Palestinians’ right to a viable state alongside Israel, and an opponent of Israel’s treatment of these oppressed people, I was going to write a point-by-point rebuttal of Wight’s argument. But then an overpowering sense of disgust and nausea overcame me…his foul words (printed, remember in Britain’s only “socialist” daily paper) surely speak for themselves?

Let’s not mince words: this is the form that modern anti-semitism takes.

While we’re on the subject, may I recommend Walter Russell Mead’s extremely nuanced and fair review (in the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs) of Mearsheimer and Walt’s The Israel Lobby:

“Beyond these faults, the insensitivity that the authors too frequently display in their handling of difficult topics will leave many readers convinced that, despite their frequent protestations to the contrary, the authors are sly and malicious ant-Semites. These charges – made inevitable though not accurate by the authors’ unwitting and innocent use of certain literary devices that trigger unhappy memories – are generating an ugly, ill-tempered, and thoroughly pointless debate about the authors’ character and intentions. I can stand behind Mearsheimer and Walt. This may be a book that anti-semites will love, but it is not necessarily an anti-Semitic book.” 

After you’ve attended your local Holocaust Memorial Day event, send me your comments.

CORRECTION: Since I wrote the above piece, Jules has pointed out in the comments that the opening quote, from an MAB press release, dates from 2005 and I understand that both they and the Muslim Council of Britain have since amended their policies and no longer have the postion of boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day. I am happy to acknowledge this mistake: I should have checked the date on the press release. I have not re-written the piece because I think it’s important to note that in 2005 these “mainstream” organisations did hold such a vile position, and because I don’t want to seem to be trying to cover up my mistake.

14 Comments

  1. Jules said,

    “This attitude is, unfortunately all to typical of the ultra-right organisations that claim to speak on behalf of British Muslims”

    Well not really, considering that the MCB has reversed its policy and decided to participate in Holocaust Memorial Day this year. Jim must have been aware of this development (it was widely reported) but decided to quote a press release from 2005 instead – couldn’t be anything to do with stirring up a little “left” islamophobia could it Jim?

    Salma Yaqoob seems to have been the main protagonist in initiating this change but Jim Denham was happy to denounce her for doing this for “Islamist opportunist” reasons – damned if they do and damned if they don’t it seems.

  2. Jim Denham said,

    You’re right Jules and I have no hesitation in acknowledging my mistake: I honestly didn’t notice the date on the press release. I may even revise the original posting accordingly when I get time (I’m writing this very hurredly in an internet cafe). If I’d wanted to decieve people to “stir up islamophobia” I wouldn’y have linked to the item, complete with date, would I? I must admit that I was surprised when I read it, because I thought I remembered reading about the change of line, and not being too impressed by the reasons given by Salma in particular. But,as I say, I got it wrong: I didn’t notice the date.
    the ‘Morning Star’ quote, however, is from yesrerday’s edition.

  3. modernityblog said,

    two points:

    “considering that the MCB has reversed its policy and decided to participate in Holocaust Memorial Day this year.”

    as far as I can see, this change of policy was merely tactical, to allow them to potentially receive governmental funding and take the pressure of them

    we shall see whether or not MCB’s change of heart is genuine, in the future

    concerning John Wight in the Morning Star.

    Comrade Wight is frequenter at SU blog and his contempt for all Israelis ozzes from his posts.

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=1408

    the influence of Soviet “anti-Zionism” is all too apparent from John Wight’s writings on these matters, but I do hope that comrade Wight has the time to cover the “Doctor’s Plot” in his future work, or the fate of the Jewish antifascist committee?

  4. voltaires_priest said,

    It’s also apparently the case that Salma Yaqoob was prominent in the debate which got the MCB to reverse its position, arguing for the change that has now happened. Regardless of whether or not you take her motives at face value, that can only have been a good thing.

  5. modernityblog said,

    if you want to see some rightwing attitudes just pop over to comment is free and review comments on Stephen Smith’s article http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2247301,00.html

  6. johng said,

  7. modernityblog said,

    it is ashamed that modern-day anti-Jewish racism isn’t taken very seriously, with some groups even pandering to racist demagogues (Nasrallah, Tamimi, etc) when it suited them

    this is an area which the Left need to address and take seriously, but the lack of education in this area is depressing so it’s good to read Steve Cohen’s That’s Funny You Don’t Look Anti-Semitic http://www.engageonline.org.uk/ressources/funny/

    it is a free download and no one need have an excuse for not reading it.

    also this page is handy and provides further links to resources on anti-Jewish racism:

    http://www.engageonline.org.uk/archives/index.php?id=40

  8. resistor said,

    Denham’s confused brain now fails to grasp his new position, which is the ‘ultra-right organisations that claim to speak on behalf of British Muslims’ now support Holocaust Memorial Day. Have they ceased to be ‘ultra-right’ or does Denham now oppose Holocaust Memorial Day because it receives ‘ultra-right’ backing?

    Denham claims to be ‘a supporter of the Palestinians’ right to a viable state alongside Israel’, however he doesn’t support their (UN resolution backed) right to return to their homes. Now that’s what I call ultra-right wing politics.

  9. Duncan Money said,

    Now that’s what I call ultra-right wing politics.

    Then you lead a very sheltered life resistor.

  10. voltaires_priest said,

    “Life” is probably too strong a word to use in that case, Duncan. ;)

  11. resistor said,

    What else would you call denying people their fundamental human rights in the name of nationalism and colonialism Duncan? As you get out so much, what’s your answer?

  12. Duncan Money said,

    resistor,

    I don’t wish to get involved in what appears to be a deeply personal obsession with Jim Denham and his politics, but I personally regard ‘ultra right-wing politics’ to indicate neo-Nazism, fascism or other forms of racial supremacy.

    To label someone who is actually a member of a far left Trotskyist group as ‘ultra right-wing’ suggests either a real eagerness to use hyperbole on your part or a profound ignorance about the political spectrum that would result in your being perpetually outraged at the opinions of the mass of the world’s population.

  13. Dr Paul said,

    ‘… a real eagerness to use hyperbole on your part…’ — perhaps a bit like the originator of this thread using the term ‘anti-semitism’ to describe practically anyone’s outlook on Palestine/Israel that doesn’t coincide with his?

  14. voltaires_priest said,

    Duncan; it suggests that Resistor may be a tosser. He’s basically someone who only ever comments on this blog about this kind of issue (or at least who rarely talks about anything else), at the same time as proclaiming himself to be a “Tribunite”. Perhaps he has pictures of Jim on his bedroom walls, who knows…

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