The real antisemitism underlying the boycotters

By Stephen Pollard
May 29, 2007

One of the more unpleasant aspects of the existence of Jewish communal organisations is that they are subjected to outbreaks of antisemitism. Some of it is physical, some verbal.

The website of the Board of Deputies has this statement as its current main post:

LONDON - (16 May 2007): A delegation from the Board of Deputies of British Jews recently met with Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett to discuss a range of issues including nuclear proliferation in Iran, the humanitarian situation in Darfur, antisemitism in the Ukraine and in the Arab media, and the next UN World Conference Against Racism.

The delegation was headed by Board President Henry Grunwald, QC, Vice President and Chairman of the International Division Flo Kaufmann, Vice Chairman of the Division, Alex Brummer, Chief Executive Jon Benjamin and Public Affairs Officer Nadia Lipsey.

...On the subject of

Darfur , Mr Grunwald mentioned the recent launch of Darfur: A Jewish Response published by The Pears Foundation, and the particular resonance of this issue amongst the Jewish community, given their experience of the Holocaust. Mr Grunwald expressed the hope that the Government would continue to urge the international community to intervene in Darfur and to support sanctions against . The Foreign Secretary said she had raised these concerns during discussions on

Darfur at a recent UN Security Council meeting.

An unexceptional statement, albeit one well worth making, with - as it is properly described - "the particular resonance of this issue amongst the Jewish community".

To some, however, such words feed other thoughts. By 'some', I mean antisemites.

JCI (Jewish Community Information) is a service provided by the Board of Deputies. The site has a 'contact us' facility. As you might imagine, not all the comments which are received are, to put it mildly, healthy. But even these can be instructive. Controversy is raging at the moment about the push for various boycotts of Israel. The NUJ has already voted for one. On Wednesday, the UCU will vote on an academic boycott. It seems a near certainty that the union - a merger of the 3 old academic unions - will vote in favour of a boycott, given the hard left stance of the old NATFHE and the make up of the new UCU executive.

Those arguing for a boycott seek to present themselves as opponents of Israeli government policy rather than antisemites. Yes, it should go without saying that it is perfectly possible to oppose the policies of the Israeli government without being antisemitic. I do it myself. And it is, at least in theory, perfectly possible even to be anti-Zionist and oppose the very existence of Israel without being an antisemite.

But do not be fooled about what is going on. Some of those supporting a boycott are clearly the ‘useful idiots’ of the antisemites; they are not themselves antisemitic but are too blinded with hatred for to realise the real nature of their allies. But it is - and I'll put it no stronger than this - quite remarkable how many of those who call for a boycott, on whatever grounds, turn out to be plain old antisemites.

On Saturday, JCI received an email from one Pamela Hardyment, reacting to this stance on

Darfur . And it is, as I say, instructive. Her email gives the game away, exposing how much of the support for a boycott is suffused with antisemitism, pure and simple:

From: Pamela Hardyment

Sent: 26 May 2007 13:53




You are worried about Dafur!!!!!!!!!!! Yet you have in a wonderful Nazi like killing machine (thousands of palestinians have died or are incarcerated in camps, including Gaza and the West Bank) backed by the world's richest jews and , you are joking about

Darfur aren't you?

Whatever you say, and I don't want to hear what you have to say because it will be the same old rhetoric, we in the UK have had enough of Israel, we (the NUJ of which I am a member) have finally voted to boycott Israeli goods (I have been doing this since 1957 so it just legitimises it and spreads the word, all items with 7.29 in the bar code, Jaffa Carmel, etc) - universities will bring in an academic boycott and architects are now joining in too. It won't stop there, we will do all in our power to make sure that you do not take any more land (you have already taken mine and refuse to pay for it). We can no longer send money to the PLO or Hamas, but we are sending people, we are not afraid of your wall, your evil soldiers (and you worry about one missing soldier, ha!) and will continue. We used to be mild, respected you because of the so called holocaust (a nice round number 6 million, what about the homosexuals, gypsies, deformed, dissenters, they NEVER get a mention and my family were among them)

So yes, we are very angry, we are working against Israel whereas before we supported you, and we will do all in our collective power to make life as uncomfortable for you as you make it for the Palestinians, shame on you, shame on all jews, may your lives be cursed

Yours with no shame whatsoever and no fear

pam hardyment

Ms Hardyment’s sentiments are representative of the underlying views of many boycott supporters. The references to the “Nazi like killing machinea¦ backed by the world's richest jews and America”, the so called holocaust (a nice round number 6 milliona¦)” and “shame on all jews, may your lives be cursed”, may be more obvious than some of the more sly proponents of a boycott, who are careful to couch their arguments in apparently reasonable language; but antisemitism is antisemitism, whatever the tone in which it is expressed.


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