If you are at White Hart Lane today to see Spurs v West Ham you risk being arrested for singing “Yid Army” or “Yiddoes”, typical refrains of the Spurs faithful.
Not an ounce of malice is intended, but just because a few with fame and influence, like David Baddiel, have complained about “Yid” being used in this context the Metropolitan Police have taken a stand starting with today’s game.
I’m Jewish. I like hearing Spurs sing “Yid army”. No harm is intended. It is a bit of fun. Spurs have a lot of Jewish supporters and have a Jewish chairman, Jewish directors and once had a Jewish manager in David Pleat. Spurs fans are embracing that positively.
It is a far cry from calling someone a “dirty Yid” which is obviously racist. That prefix makes all the difference.
It is sad that the police have been taken in by Baddiel. When playing Spurs certain opposition fans chant “Spurs are on their way to Belsen” (some Leeds United fans) or hiss to imitate the sound of Zyklon B being thrown into the gas chambers by the Nazis (some Chelsea fans). That’s racism. Arrest those racist thugs, but not Spurs fans who intend no racism at all.
It’s not just Baddiel. The British public is being taken in by the likes of Owen Jones and Jonathan Freedland who are crying “anti-Semitism!” due to that Daily Mail article headlined “The Man Who Hated Britain” about Ralph Miliband, Ed Miliband’s father.
Ralph was Jewish. He was a refugee. He was a Communist thinker. Any of these three aspects have been deadly for Jews in the past, admittedly.
But, does this now mean that we cannot criticise a Jewish person with Ralph’s background, or any Jewish person?
“As others have pointed out, this whole episode reeks of anti-Semitism – of the rootless cosmopolitan Jew with contempt for his country, and so on.”
Even Ed Miliband who has spent the week coming to his father’s defence on radio, tv and in print, doesn’t sense any anti-Semitism in the affair, but to Jones it “reeks” of anti-Semitism? Wow!
Jonathan Freedland digs even deeper in his attempt to make the “anti-Semitic” label stick:
“This is why I…stopped at the reference in Tuesday’s editorial to “the jealous God of Deuteronomy.” That looked like another veiled pointer to both Miliband Sr’s indelible alienness – and his membership of an ancient, vengeful people.”
This is what the Mail actually wrote on that score:
“We do not maintain, like the jealous God of Deuteronomy, that the iniquity of the fathers should be visited on the sons. But when a son with prime ministerial ambitions swallows his father’s teachings, as the younger Miliband appears to have done, the case is different.”
So the Mail is using this biblical reference as an example of what generally shouldn’t happen. That’s all. Based on Freedland’s assertion we should now be careful lest we associate any biblical reference directly or indirectly with a Jewish person. How sad.
And Marc Goldberg is easily influenced by Daniel Trilling’s attack on the Mail in the New Statesman. Trilling writes “The subtext…is that there’s something foreign about Ed Miliband himself”. Goldberg empathises:
“..if even Ralph Miliband, the Marxist who left his Judaism way behind him and sired the head of the Labour Party could come under attack for not being British enough, then maybe the rest could too.”
Even Charles Moore accuses the Mail of “attacking a Jew”!
There are many other examples of this hyperbolic response to the Mail’s attack on Ralph Miliband. Commentators should attack real examples of anti-Semitism before trying to board the “it’s anti-Semitism!” bandwagon.
Alex Brummer, who is a journalist for the Mail, thinks apologies should be made by those who have suggested anti-Semitism by the Daily Mail. He’s right.
As Ed Miliband, himself, said when asked if the Daily Mail was being anti-Semitic:
“I’m always incredibly careful about throwing around the idea that the paper or somebody is anti-Semitic or racist unless there is real evidence for that.”