Is The Independent anti-Semitic?

I don’t think so, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the discussion. After all we have just had to endure a week of radio phone-ins questioning whether England is an anti-Semitic country after Shimon Peres’ less than diplomatic recent interview in which he said that “There is in England a saying that an anti-Semite is someone who hates the Jews more than is necessary.”

That dreadful statement implies that the English dislike the Jews as a matter of course which is not true.

Peres was correct however in pointing to the political advantage for many of being anti-Israel. They’ve done the maths.

Even David Cameron managed to keep tight-lipped about Israel until election-day. He made a point of referring to East Jerusalem as “occupied East Jerusalem” but because he constantly praised British Jews for their contribution to British society they flocked to vote for him and his party.

However, within three months of being elected his true thoughts revealed themselves when he referred to Gaza as being a “prison camp” because of Israel and he called the attack on the Mavi Marmara unreasonable (I doubt Cameron would have allowed an IRA boat to have docked at a British port).

But while England is not an anti-Semitic country there are English people that are anti-Semitic. This anti-Semitism is not merely confined to the BNP but deeply penetrates the far-left of politics also.

The subtle difference is that while the BNP and other far-right groups actively encourage anti-Semitism those on the far-left allow it to flourish unchallenged in order to suit their objectives.

Take the case of the openly and virulently anti-Semitic Hamas. Their Charter talks of jihad and killing Jews but the far-left will never condemn Hamas. Instead they state that although they don’t support Hamas they support the Palestinian people’s elected representatives’ right to govern. This is where the ideology of the far-left and Hamas coincide: the destruction of the Jewish state.

The expressed anti-Semitism of Hamas is left unchallenged by far-left political activists because they see it as having, for them, this benign outcome.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. Down the years far-left politics have helped to destroy many a Jewish life, so why should it be any different today.

But getting back to The Independent. While Peres was taken to task over his unhinged statement The Independent got away with publishing an objectionable article by Chistina Patterson disingenuously headlined The limits of multi-culturalism in which she attacks religious Jews for the capital crime of…..being rude. For example:

“I didn’t realise that goyim were about as welcome in the Hasidic Jewish shops as Martin Luther King at a Klu Klux Klan convention.”

She doesn’t like the way religious Jews clog up the pavements with their prams and children, drive while on their mobile phones and drive the wrong way into supermarket car-parks.

To honour political correctness Patterson then goes on to slam the way Muslims dress before arriving at her real gripe; female circumcision and the lack of prosecutions for it.

Now female circumcision is a far more serious crime among ethnic groups than being rude. I am sure that many religious Jews are incredibly rude but then many non-Jews are also guilty of the same charges of rudeness and driving while speaking on a mobile phone.

So Patterson’s attack on this specific group of Jews is totally gratuitous. Not only that but when one ascribes such miserable traits to just one group of people, like Patterson does, people might have the wholly legitimate right to identify this as nothing less than racist rhetoric. This kind of talk is comparable with the notoriously anti-Semitic “Jews are tight with money” jibe.

Patterson’s gratuitous attack on religious Jews seems to be a cover for her not unreasonable attack on the barbaric but very rare British Muslim practice of female circumcision and as a good liberal Patterson probably wanted to show balance.

By now we are used to The Independent being a totally anti-Israel newspaper. Johann Hari, Yasmin Alibai-Brown and Robert Fisk have spent vast amounts of their journalistic years taking Israel to task. Fisk won’t even compare Israel to Hamas. Israel is far, far worse apparently now.

Sadly, The Independent’s views are more far more ideological than factual about Israel and at times the newspaper itself seems to be a mere extension of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the high-profile anti-Israel lobby group.

But this unscientific attack by Patterson on Jews directly is out of place in a British newspaper. I’m surprised it was allowed to run but then maybe The Independent is unfussed these days in appealing to the people Peres meant to refer to in his interview as being anti-Semitic. After all with its vastly declining circulation it needs the readership.

But where were the phone-ins about Patterson’s objectionable views?

7 responses to “Is The Independent anti-Semitic?

  1. … wenn man die Juden noch weniger leiden kann, als es an sich normal ist
    (roughly: … if one likes Jews even less than is normal)

    this is the version which in Germany has reached almost the popularity of a proverb to describe certain attitudes. I forgot which truly eminent one said it initially (I dimly remember it was an Israeli possibly and ex-German one) but when Peres quoted it he certainly meant it to come across in a very peculiar kind of self-deprecatory attitude and possibly had no idea whatsoever that it was so new to Brits that they of all people wouldn’t get “it”.

    What has the world come to when Germans can beat Brits in the sense of humour competition?

  2. Good article Richard, although Peres was grievously misquoted by the Telegraph. Melanie Phillips has a good discussion of the subject here:

  3. Many of my German Jewish relations were convinced the basis of Nazi antisemitism was the boorish behaviour and distinctive dress of Jews arriving from Poland. The so-called Ostjuden. It had nothing to do with the sophisticated, more German than the Germans, Yekkes (German Jews).

    How wrong they were.

  4. David
    once in a while talk about Israel reminds me of that attitude of old.
    Once I heard a longuish piece how talk about Jews of the East End went. That made me understand it a bit better.

    If you want to make your way in society as a not born into privilege one any association with “undesirables” hinders not only your progress but also the progress of your children and there’s the real dilemma. If you want your children to do so well that they’ll sit as equals at the table of aristos of any kind you are in a bind when members of your group are behaving in a non-exemplary way.

    The difference to Israel however is in my book that anybody who blinks about her will find he/she has given a leg-up to a very undesirable foe which can in no way benefit his/her children.

  5. On the subject of The Independent, you won’t believe this . . .

    Happy Ramadan, one and all!

  6. Hi Richard,
    Saw u at Ahava today butr did not get a chance to speak.
    The EDL support should not be welcomed- have you considerd that they might be 5th columnists for teh oppo.

  7. Hi Inky-Flag
    once they show themselves to be the 5th column I am sure that Richard will know how to cope with it
    Why pre-empt before it’s necessary?