Here is a transcript of an interview with several Dutch boys. I have made a few changes for reasons that will become clear.
Boy 2: I’m happy about bitches being murdered. I am being really honest.
Interviewer: You are satisfied?
Boy 2 : Yes.
Boy 1: Me too.
Boy 2: What some men say about those bitches. You’ll see they are right when the slags are put in their places. That day will come.
Boy 1: We hate bitches because they try to take over and tell everyone what to do. It’s not natural.
Interviewer: You think it’s justified, to murder women, indiscriminately?
Boy 1: Yes, because what they are doing to millions of people.
Interviewer: Do you know any women?
Boy 2: No.
Interviewer: How can you say that, if you don’t know any women?
Boy 2: You don’t have to know any bitches to say something about them.
Boy 1: It’s freedom of speech.
Interviewer: I am in favour of freedom of speech, but I am really interested in how you got these opinions. On the basis of what? From the internet?
Boy 2: From friends.
Boy 4: I have many friends who do not like slags.
Boy 4: Nobody in our school likes bitches. I mean it.
Interviewer: So you use ‘women’ as a cursing word, as part of name-calling?
Boy 2: Yes, if you call somebody names, you really wish them bad things. For example, cancer. People curse with the word cancer because you wish them the worst. It’s the same with words like ‘slag’ or ‘bitch’. Those names equal evil, that’s why we use those words. Woman equals evil.
Interviewer: How can you say stuff like that? You shock me. Do you understand the concept of harming, even murdering innocent people?
Boy 2: If they are women, yes. I hate women. Period. You cannot get that thought out of my mind.
If that really happened, you’d expect howls of outrage from feminists, and quite right too – it’s outrageous. Substitute terms such as ‘nigger’, ‘wog’ or ‘paki’, and you picture a bunch of meathead skins. But, hang on, I hear you cry, this is so outrageous I must be making it up, mustn’t I? Sad to say, I am not. Just substitute ‘Jews’ in the above and you get the real thing, this interview with several Dutch teenagers. This interview caused not a ripple (UPDATE: the interviewer has since received death threats and has had to go into hiding.) The reason, I suspect, is that while it’s indeed a very bad thing (and it is) to be rude about women, or indeed any minority, Jews are fair game. The same people who campaign for equal rights for all seem curiously blind when Jew-hatred is mentioned. Although some of us toil tirelessly for equality of representation between the genders, poring over the minutiae to such a degree that terms such as ‘unconscious bias’ come to light, there is an area of public life in which the bias is entirely conscious and nobody is doing anything about it. Now, I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s hypocrisy.
Now, these Dutch boys – all Turkish immigrants, or the sons of Turkish immigrants – might have the lame excuse that they are ignorant. They admit that none of them has ever knowingly met a Jew. One listens to the pubescent poutings of these moronic louts and moves on, hoping that age and wisdom will temper their bile. Not that one hopes for much there, either: when Lord Ahmed was convicted for various driving offences, he blamed his predicament on a Jewish conspiracy. (He has since apologised.) This is no inner-city yob. This is a Peer of the Realm, a
Pillock Pillar of the Community, and someone who has a part in creating this country’s legislation. The Labour Party has suspended Lord Ahmed while it ‘investigates’ the affair, but one doesn’t hope for much change either. He’s been suspended before for similar outbursts, but reinstated. The Liberal Democrats have their skeletons, too, such as the MP David Ward and the Peeress Jenny Tonge. In all cases, punishment for such outbursts has been lenient and temporary.
One might almost think that there’s a norm in our political culture that saying unpleasant things about Jews is a mark of some wilful eccentricity, such as believing in homeopathy or crop circles, and needn’t really be taken as seriously as, say, expressions of misogyny or racism more generally.
Those who are unwilling to grasp the nasty truth will no doubt lay much of the blame on Israel. If Israel didn’t do such bad things to the Palestinians, they will say, people wouldn’t say rude things about Jews. The vile outpourings discussed above are laced around with references to Israel and Palestine. In other words, the Jews have visited this upon themselves, and those in public life and elsewhere, from the schoolyard to the House of Lords, have – if not an excuse for their outbursts – then they can say they have been provoked. Gee, Officer Krupke, I’m distoibed.
At this point I can hear people shuffling to join the long queue, such that when they reach the front, they clench their buttocks tightly together, point fingers, adopt a supercilious holier-than-thou tone, and say that criticism of Israel has nothing to do with antisemitism. In other words, it’s OK to say anything you like about Jews, because what you are really doing is criticizing Israel. That such a stance is pure drivel is easy to establish.
First, yes, Israel does Bad Things. But so do many other polities, and worse. I hear that in some parts of the world, women are treated as slaves and possessions and, if you can believe such things, can be stoned to death for adultery, and criminals can be beheaded. People are killed for the crime of wanting to teach little girls how to read and write. But criticism of such places from those who criticize Israel in the name of humanity and equal rights is muted and sporadic, whereas the torrent of abuse against Israel – a country that is democratic, and with a robust free press – is unrelenting. It seems clear to me that this criticism of Israel is largely driven by antisemitism.
Second, antisemitism antedates the establishment of Israel. The widespread idea that the Jews are somehow involved in a worldwide conspiracy to run things is ancient and prevalent. The infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, known to be a hoax, is still believed in many quarters, and the idea that there is a well-organized but largely secretive Jewish Lobby has traction even among our most admired academics. Here, for example, is Richard Dawkins:
When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous I am told – religious Jews anyway – than atheists and [yet they] more or less monopolise American foreign policy as far as many people can see. So if atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence, the world would be a better place.
Now, one cannot say from this statement that Dawkins is antisemitic. What it does show, however, is a vague sense of the idea, taken as a matter of course, that Jews are running the show, an idea that is so taken for granted that it’s not worthy of comment.
Third, the well-rehearsed mantra that criticism of Israel is separate from antisemitism isn’t even observed by those who make that claim. Here for example is a reported exchange between columnist Danny Finkelstein and Michael White, editor of the Grauniad, in which Michael White waves the Israel card against Finkelstein’s assertion that Israel has nothing to do with Lord Ahmed’s driving offence. And this is where British academia comes in (pace Dawkins). The University and College Union (UCU), the Labor Union that represents academics in the UK, has had a long-running boycott of Israeli universities. I was tangentially involved in the setting up of this website, a response to the academic boycott. I was brought in because private correspondence I’d had with a senior member of the Royal Society was quoted in the Guardian without my knowledge or consent. When I complained, I had a weasly letter of self-justification from the hack responsible, but nothing at all from the editor. The Guardian‘s own reader ombudsman found in my favour however, and they printed a microscopic apology on an inside page.
If you’d care to peruse the voluminous archive of Engage Antisemitism you can see that the UCU’s line between antisemitism and anti-Israel rhetoric is sometimes so thin that it vanishes altogether. A ruling in a long running-tribunal in which mathematician Ronnie Fraser, director of the UCU’s Friends of Israel, has taken his union to court over its alleged somewhat slippery definition of anti-semitism, is due imminently. It is no longer possible to be a Jew and be in UCU, Fraser has claimed.
There is something rotten in the heart of British academia. Because of the prevalent social attitudes to Jews, and because antisemitism is tolerated as an eccentricity rather a hate crime, academics don’t even realise it’s there. Either that, or they accuse Jews of being sensitive, and over-reacting – rather in the same way that people once blithely said that black people weren’t as clever as white people, but boy, did they have a sense of rhythm.
UPDATE: This article in the New Statesman, sent to be by Mr A. S. of London, looks at the Lord Ahmed case and the prevalence of Islamic antisemitism.