Anti-Anti-Jewish conspiracies


This article in the Grundian is interesting.

But this paragraph worries me:

“Often, anti-Jewish conspiracy theories don’t explicitly talk about Jews or ‘the Jews’ as a group. There’s some kind of code word or symbol that’s used in place.”

I think this way thinking makes criticism of Israel and indeed any Jewish individual almost impossible and I think this idea is at the heart of many Jews response to criticisms of Israel by the left in the UK and the USA.

The problem with the idea is that it means that some people are actively seeking to attribute anti-Semetic motive to statements that are not in and of themselves anti-Semetic. This means that almost any proposition or statement about anything can be construed as anti-Semetic if an anti-Semetic motive can be constructed or implied.

I don’t think most of the Republican right* in the USA hate Soros because he is Jewish. They hate him because he is a rich liberal who openly supports leftist causes and is thus a threat.

Most of the time it is the Republican right who have the support of billionaires like Soros and it is the Republican Right who benefit from the influence the wealth of men like Soros buys them. In this context Soros is seen as sort of ‘class traitor’ who is betraying his fellow billionaire oligarchs. It seems to me that this is the source of the vitriol against him by Fox and the right wing media, rather than his religion.

It appears that this week over a dozen letter bombs were sent by the right-wing nutjob Cesar Sayoc and the thing that linked all the victims was not their religion but their opposition to Trump. Thus to try and frame these attacks as motivated by ‘anti-Semitism’, as the author does, is frankly a disingenuous rhetorical construct and is counterproductive in the important fight against the evil that is anti-Semitism.

I am pretty sure that very soon someone in the mainstream media will claim that the attacks on Sir Philip Green are motivated by anti-Semetism. It is true that Philip Green is Jewish and that many people hate him. But his Jewishness has little or nothing to do with why people hate him. Ordinary people hate Green because he is a manifestation of the greed, sneering superiority, irresponsibility and sociopathy at the heart of neoliberalism. He’s not alone in being condemned and most people who hate him won’t have even registered that he is Jewish. His religion is nothing to do with anything. Ordinary people are sick of the shenanigans of the entire global oligarchical wealthy elite who are defined not by their ethnicity, sexuality or religion but by their class interests.

Anti-Semitism is real and, like all racism, is wicked and needs to be confronted whenever it appears. But the constant ‘search’ for anti-Semitism in ‘coded’ symbols and words is fraught with dangers.  For a start as a way of thinking it is in danger of mimicking the characteristics of the very paranoid conspiracy theories it is designed to confront. But more importantly after the Nazi Holocaust calling someone ‘anti-Semetic’ is one of the most potent and damning labels you can attach to a person. Perhaps only trumped by calling them a paedophile. Thus if someone is criticising the global elite for their greed and selfishness and is then accused of anti-Semitism, this most morally damning of all accusations, then they are understandably going to be extremely resentful towards their accusers. Constantly framing all attacks on the global elite as attacks on Jews is not helping the fight against anti-Semitism on the contrary it undermines attempts to more accurately challenge the dangers of anti-Semitism and racism on our streets and in our communities.

(*I am using the phrase ‘Republican Right’ to distinguish from the ‘Alt-Right’ who openly use explicitly racist rhetoric. Mind you even the Alt-Right’s attitude to Jews and Israel is today far more complicated than it was in the 1930’s. Much of the Christian Alt-Right for example are passionate supporters of a Jewish Israel because of their biblical ‘end times’ narrative. Similarly the right-wing Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu is cosying up to some very unsavoury proto-Nazi characters in the USA and Eastern Europe.)

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About I Am Not A Number

I Am Not A Number is written by Chris Jury. For 30 years Chris Jury was a TV actor, director and writer best known for playing Eric Catchpole in over 60 episodes of the BBC’s antique classic, Lovejoy, and for directing over 50 episodes of Eastenders. In 2008 he was appointed as the Senior Lecturer in Recorded Media in the School Of Music & Performing Arts at Bath Spa University. He currently presents, Agitpop, a pop & politics radio discussion programme on North Cotswold Community Radio http://www.agitpopradio.org.uk He is currently the Communications Officer for UCU at Bath Spa University and a UCU SW Regional Rep at SWTUC.
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