The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, February 22, 2004

More anti-semitism propaganda from an old source

As I recall, mouth-for-hire Melanie Philips was one of the first to mount the bandwagon of those shouting about the new anti-semitism around the time of French Ambassador Daniel Bernard's shitty little country remark [1].

And here she is again, in the Observer today, true to her theme:
Let us all agree on one thing at least. The more Jews warn that anti-Semitism has come roaring out of the closet, the more people don't like the Jews.

That is a thoroughly nasty piece of work straight off the bat. No evidence, just a flat-out smear.

I suspect (I'm not aware of any polling on the issue) that, in Britain, the campaign of anti-semitism accusation - to the extent it's made any impact at all - would, for the most part, have resulted in boredom and incomprehension, not hatred against anyone. People think they know what anti-semitism is and can't see much evidence of it roaring out of the closet - or anything close - in Britain. A lot of them oppose the policy of the Israeli government - but then, they did that before the anti-semitism campaign started. No cause and effect there - none proved, at least.

The disconnect between fact and propaganda is as striking as that on Iraqi WMD that now afflicts the US and UK governments.

The lack of quantification is worrying: she says, for example,
the Community Security Trust, a Jewish charity, reported the second largest rise in 20 years in attacks on synagogues, cemeteries and Jewish people in Britain.

But fails to give any idea of how many attacks there were [3]. Or place the level of such attacks in any kind of context.

Similarly, she chooses one or two anecdotes -
..a woman said to me one evening, 'I hate the Jews'...
- and expects us to take these as representative in some way.

And then has the chutzpah to thrown in that
Some Jews grossly over-react to perceived anti-Semitic bias.

As if to say - those chaps over there. Not me, of course.

There's plenty more of the old bollocks, warmed up for the umpteenth time.

One experiment that might be done: take a focus group of white Britons who admit to anti-semitic feelings, and explore with them what, apart from the Middle East situation, makes them hate Jews. What about what Jews do in this country. What about the Jews they know? What about Jews in politics, in the media here?

My hunch is that the reasons for loathing of Jews given by self-confessed British anti-semites would be almost exclusively confined to Israel/Palestine.

  1. For the avoidance of doubt, Philips is herself a Jew.

  2. I don't read German, therefore haven't read the product. It's a hypothesis, liable to yield to cogent evidence to the contrary, as hypotheses do.

  3. Though the CST site is unhelpful, Reuters (February 20) has the numbers: for 2003, a total of 375 attacks evaluated as anti-semitic, a 7% increase on the number for 2002. Of these,
    The number of anti-Semitic assaults rose 15 percent last year from 2002 to 54, while incidents involving damage and desecration of Jewish property were up 31 percent to 72.
    The more mathematically minded will have realised that, of the 375, that leaves 249 unaccounted for. Go figure...

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