BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
Antisemitism, particularly in Britain in 2018, is inexcusable. Everyone on these islands has ready access – unlike any generations before us – to online video material of primary sources from the Holocaust; footage of concentration camps, hideous Nazi experiments on Jewish babies and first-hand testimony from guards and prisoners, showing the danger of antisemitism taken to its extreme. Basing antisemitism on the Israel-Palestinian conflict (Labour’s current immoveable problem) or the neo-Nazi movement (the problem of the short-cutting numbskulls who join such movements) is wholly inexcusable because, even from a mere quantative standpoint, the grounds on which such antisemitism gets based never cover enough bases to ever mount a wholesale denigration of Jews.
The arguments against antisemitism are ubiquitous and I shall not dwell on them here. Instead, I want to briefly annihilate the “but” argument that so many Brits hold in private – that Jews are disliked because they are such successful business people. (A not-dissimilar position to saying that Al Qaeda and Daesh explode suicide bombers in Britain because the British put boots on the ground in “Muslim lands”, ignoring the truth that political Islamism of that hue seeks global domination by whichever means whether or not British boots go anywhere near lands they consider to be Muslim).
Ask yourselves this simple question: if we remove the element of wealth from the Jews, does antisemitism vanish?
A brief glance at History shows that the answer to this question is no.
Take those poor and impotent Jews who inhabited the shtetels of Russia and Poland from the 17th through to the last century. They were detested, persecuted and many Jewish inhabitants of Russia and Poland were massacred. There was no demarcation between wealthy and poor.
Take the Warsaw Ghetto, where no Jewish businesses existed to be destroyed. The Ghetto was a hellhole of starving Jews with little to no money or possessions of value.
In the Middle Ages there were many attacks against defenceless and poor Jews, who became scapegoated for one reason or another, despite living peacefully.
Why are British Jews getting targeted today when many of them are poor and state dependent?
While Brits are right to look at Labour’s antisemitism as disgraceful and continue to write off the neo-Nazis as extremist numbskulls who are laughably incorrect, they must chide themselves for grouping Jews as in some way earning victimisation.
“Hitler wasn’t all wrong,” is a joke often heard.
Well, he was actually.
Go and get in touch with a Jewish organisation and meet some Jews. Go visit Israel and see what Israelis feel and mean. Go to YouTube and eradicate your prejudices. Go on – even if you’re just a member of the “but” group.
As for Labour, it is lost. Probably forever. What student will ever vote for a party that has an antisemitism problem? The summer of 2017 seems so far away now. Scales removed from decent kids’ eyes. “I didn’t buy into that,” they now argue when accused of anti-Semitic association. The song “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” now necessitates a dear and comma after the “Oh”.
Better to be politically homeless than be described as a member of an anti-Semitic party in 2018. Antisemitism is not cool. Antisemitism, in whatever form, is gross, erroneous and downright embarrassing.
Dominic Wightman is the Editor of Country Squire Magazine.