So there’s been this brouhaha in the media about whether Labour have an anti-Semitism problem or not.
Meanwhile, as if by magic, a number of other important issues seem to have disappeared from the news.
Take this as an example: on Monday the 25th of April, 4 days before Ken Livingstone’s clumsy intervention in the debate about Naz Shah’s Facebook posts, Tory MPs voted down an amendment to the Immigration Bill calling on the government to take in 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children from Europe.
Let’s repeat those words so we can be clear exactly what they mean.
“Unaccompanied”: they are on their own with no adults to protect them.
“Refugee”: they are seeking refuge from a dangerous situation.
“Children”: they are below an age when they can be expected to take care of themselves.
The amendment was tabled by Alf Dubs, a Labour Lord with Jewish blood who, at the age of six, had escaped the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia by coming to Britain.
Alf Dubs, in other words, knows exactly what it is like be a child fleeing danger.
The two stories are thematically linked. Alf Dubs knows the consequence of real anti-Semitism, and responds to it with a magnanimous amendment to a nasty piece of legislation.
Our own MP, on the other hand, apparently unable to grasp the plight of these vulnerable minors, voted against the amendment.
Neither Ken Livingstone nor Naz Shah are actually anti-Semitic. They are anti-Zionist, which is a different thing altogether.
Not every Zionist is a Jew. Not every Jew is a Zionist. Opposing the policies of the State of Israel is not anti-Semitism, although it serves the State of Israel to pretend it is.
Ken Livingstone was certainly incautious in his use of words, but his main assertion, that the Nazis held talks with German Zionists in 1933, is true.
As for Naz Shah, the Facebook posts which caused such a furore were put there long before she became an MP, which makes you wonder who is trawling through other people’s social media pages to dig out quotes in order to be offended by them later?
I so agree! And you cannot criticise the Israeli government or support for Palestinians without being labelled anti-semitic. Grrr.
Thanks. It took a day to write that as I wanted it to be bullet proof.
Great article that shoul be read by everyone, also semitic people are not just of the Jewish faith the word applies to all people from that region including the Palestinian people.
Thanks Paul. I’ve been very careful about writing this as it was important not to get anything wrong. Even so I posted it on one site and got called an antisemite, which sort of proves my point. If you can share it around, that would be good.
you may have seen this interview with Norman Finkelstein, the American Jewish scholar, on the recent hoo-ha.
Ironically, the satirical map that got Naz Shah into trouble was probably reposted from Finkelestein’s own website.
Well worth a read if you haven’t seen it already.
Dave, yes I saw this. I would have included a reference to it in the piece, but I’m very short of words so have to choose what I write very carefully, but thanks for putting it into the comments. It’s definitely worth noting.