Britain’s top Jew-haters

Netta

When Netta, a performer from Israel, won the annual Eurovision Song Contest on May 12, 2018, in Portugal’s Lisbon Arena, meaning that this year’s competition would be held in her home country, one thing was beyond doubt: that before the day appointed for Eurovision 2019 rolled around, Israel-haters from every corner of Europe would raise a stink about the venue.

Sure enough, in a letter published on January 29 in the Guardian, fifty members of “the creative industries” complained that although “Eurovision may be light entertainment…it is not exempt from human rights considerations – and we cannot ignore Israel’s systematic violation of Palestinian human rights.” Because of this violation, they argued, the BBC – which airs Eurovision in Britain – “should act on its principles and press for Eurovision to be relocated to a country where crimes against…freedom are not being committed.”

Jeremy Corbyn

The fifty people, most of them British, who signed this reprehensible document are a mixed bunch. Some are relatively obscure writers or musicians who have no prominent record of this kind of activism. Others are pretty famous actors or directors and have long histories of far-left political activity. Several are ardent Communists or former Communists. A number of them are involved in pro-Palestinian causes. Many are fervent supporters of Labour Party leader and notorious anti-Semite Jeremy Corbyn. Here are some of the more familiar names.

Julie Christie

Roy Battersby, a film and TV director, is the stepfather of actress Kate Beckinsale and a former Communist who was active in the Workers Revolutionary Party (so we know that he has good judgment about human rights). Maxine Peake, star of a number of BBC series, is a sometime member of the Communist Party of Britain, won a 2014 award for an Outstanding Contribution to Socialism, and calls Jeremy Corbyn a “beacon of hope.” Alexei Sayle, a stand-up comedian and author, is also a former member of the Communist Party of Britain who still considers himself a Communist and considers Corbyn “morally incorruptible.” Actress Miriam Margolyes is a pro-Palestinian activist who has been active in a group called Jews for Justice for Palestinians. Actress Julie Christie, now 78, won an Oscar for Darling (1965) and is a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).


Caryl Churchill

Among the letter’s signatories, playwright and PSC patron Caryl Churchill has one of the most impressive records of hard-core Jew-hatred. In 2009, she banged out her play Seven Jewish Children in record time so it could be staged while that year’s Gaza crisis was still underway. Writing in The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg described it as “anti-Jewish agitprop” and “a drive-by shooting of a play” that contains a “not-entirely veiled blood libel” and seeks “to demonize the Jewish people.” In the Spectator, Melanie Phillips called it “despicable,” “a direct attack on the Jews” that denies the “Jewish claim to the land of Israel” and depicts Jews as “kill[ing] and persecut[ing] the Arabs out of some kind of strutting power complex.”

Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel, formerly of the rock band Genesis, is no slouch either. Associated with Amnesty International for decades, he’s a co-founder of his own human-rights group, Witness, and, along with Jimmy Carter and others, is a member of a group called The Elders that seeks to resolve conflicts around the world. In 1992, along with such left-wing politicians as Jeremy Corbyn and Tony Benn, he called for British withdrawal from Northern Ireland; in 2014, he contributed songs to an album intended to aid Gaza. Film director Ken Loach has belonged to the Workers Revolutionary Party, the Socialist Workers Party, and the International Marxist Group, has been involved with Jeremy Corbyn and with the bilious Jew-hater George Galloway, has campaigned for a number of boycotts of Israel, and has condemned efforts to address anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood is also a Corbyn supporter. And last but not least there’s Roger Waters, whose virulent anti-Semitism we’ve written about at length on this site.

In short, this campaign to steal Eurovision from Israel is an effort by the usual suspects. When one scans through the letter and picks out the familiar names at the end of it, it’s no surprise to see any of them there. This is what these people are. This is what they’re about. Together, they form an unsavory grab-bag, consisting of fervent fans of Corbyn and Galloway, of longtime card-carrying Communists, of committed Jew-haters. If you’re in search of a gallery of British useful stooges, look no further than this shameful roster of signatories.

Joseph Massad, Jew-hating propagandist

His 2013 article “The Last of the Semites,” published on the website of the Al-Jazeera TV network, has been described by The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg as “one of the most anti-Jewish screeds in recent memory.” Paul S. Appelbaum, a Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine, and Law at Columbia, maintained that the essay reflected a “profound ignorance of Jewish history” and that it had, in fact, represented a deliberate effort to “slander…Jews and Christians simultaneously.”

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Joseph Massad

We’re talking about Joseph Massad, the Columbia University professor who, as we saw yesterday, is a vile and dishonest anti-Semite. This is, after all, a man who has argued that “all the good Jews were killed in the Holocaust” and has claimed that early Zionists collaborated with the Nazis, to wit: “The Nazis’ Final Solution initially meant the expulsion of Germany’s Jews to Madagascar….It is this shared goal of expelling Jews from Europe as a separate unassimilable race that created the affinity between Nazis and Zionists all along.” Scholars who are actually experts in the history of Nazism and Zionism have thoroughly refuted Massad’s claims – and expressed contempt for them: “Zionism, according to Massad, emerged not as a response to European anti-Semitism but in sympathy with its racialist precepts,” writes columnist Liam Hoare, who views Massad’s equation of Nazism and Zionism as “the statement of a sick and disordered mind.”

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Columbia University

When he was up for tenure, Massad insisted that, one student’s accusation to the contrary, he had never equated Israel and Nazi Germany. Such an equation, he said, would be “abhorrent…reprehensible.” But after he had been granted tenure, Massad saw no further need to misrepresent his views: in a 2009 article entitled “The Gaza Ghetto Uprising,” he charged Israel with planning to “make Israel a purely Jewish state that is Palästinener-rein” – a formulation that explicitly identified Israel with Nazi Germany. He’s also maintained that the Israeli Defense Forces are composed of “brigades of baby-killers.”

For Massad, Israel isn’t the Jewish homeland – it’s an outpost of American imperialism. And though the Jordan-born Massad has found great success in America, he appears to have nothing but contempt for it. In a 2004 article for the Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram, he depicted America as an apocalyptic nightmare of misogyny and “violent racism.” He referred to the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War as “the US invasion of Vietnam” and wrote about that war as if the U.S. were the sole, or at least by far the worst, aggressor. He complained that while Westerners “never tire of speaking of sexism and women’s oppression in the Arab World, including the Western horror at ‘honour crimes,’ it might be time to address the rampant Western misogyny which disdains all that is feminine and posits women as the terrain of male conquest.”

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Abner Louima

He suggested that women in America are in greater danger of being murdered by their husbands and boyfriends than their counterparts in the Muslim world. He argued that the American military systematically “freminise[s]” Iraqi men. He cited the bizarre 1997 case of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima, who was rectally violated by a broomstick wielded by sadistic New York City policemen, as proof “that white American male sexuality exhibits certain sadistic attributes in the presence of non-white men and women over whom white Americans (and Brits) have government- sanctioned racialised power.” And he argued that the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers at Abu Ghraib, far from being unreflective of American military conduct in general, was “emblematic of American and British imperial cultures not only at present but also historically.” In short, Americans are “rednecks” who view Muslims and Arabs with a “concentrated spirit of hatred” that causes them to act upon “the most savage and barbaric of instincts.”

To read Massad, one would think that Palestinians were innocent victims, that Saddam’s monstrous acts of violence against his own people had never taken place, that Arab and Muslim cultures are peaceable kingdoms – oases of civilized conduct and respect for women beside which American society is primitive, brutal, and permeated with rape. “[T]he content of the word ‘freedom’ that American politicians and propagandists want to impose on the rest of the world,” he wrote, “is nothing more and nothing less than America’s violent domination, racism, torture, sexual humiliation, and the rest of it.” No Taliban propagandist could have put it better.