Winston Pickett

Why antisemitism is so hard to discuss

By Winston Pickett, March 31, 2013

I have a confession to make: I am obsessed with antisemitism. Try as I might, I can’t get away from it.

It chases me. It pursues me. It invades my thoughts. Thanks to Google Alerts, it clutters my email inbox.

Over time, I’ve come to see this as something less than natural. Then again, obsessions seldom are.


“The Left, the Jews and Israel”

By Winston Pickett, June 25, 2012

This is the subtitle of a new book by historian Robert Wistrich (University of Nebraska Press). As a stand-alone, its apparent neutrality gives little away, reminding me of T.S. Elliot’s Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The topic appears cool and analytical, ‘like a patient, etherised upon a table.'

Until, that is, you look at the full title: From Ambivalence to Betrayal.


Antisemitism & Its Antidotes (5)

By Winston Pickett, June 14, 2012

How do you define a problem with antisemitism that seems to reside in the hazy domain of intellectual subtlety, inferred meaning and suppositions of ill will – so much so that engaging with it threatens to tie even the most experienced brains into knots?

Welcome to the “Great GSCE Religion Question Controversy of 2012.”


Antisemitism & Its Antidotes (4)

By Winston Pickett, June 8, 2012

If talking about antisemitism – and by that I mean discussing or engaging with it as a subject in verbal or written form – poses challenges all its own, certainly one of them is conceptual.


Antisemitism & Its Antidotes (3)

By Winston Pickett, May 31, 2012

Part of the joy that comes with investigation and research is the intellectual ride. You’ve got your topic. You may even have a working hypothesis to test. You prepare your field of inquiry and formulate your questions.

If it’s a newspaper story, you line up your interviews. If it’s a research paper, you fire up your search engine.


Antisemitism & Its Antidotes (2)

By Winston Pickett, May 21, 2012

Teaching can be the ultimate instructor. It is where your most basic assumptions are challenged, amplified – or both.


Antisemitism & Its Antidotes

By Winston Pickett, May 10, 2012

Tonight I begin teaching an eight-week course called “Antisemitism and its Antidotes: From Talk to Action” as a part of a Limmud-inspired, cross-communal study programme in Brighton and Hove called Lishmah Sussex.

I’ve chosen the title for two key reasons, both based on observations I have made over the years.


High priest of Jew-hate is gone, but not his ideas

By Winston Pickett, May 5, 2011

For all the avalanche of analyses and op-eds since the death of Osama bin Laden, it is essential to remember one thing: antisemitism was at the core of his hatred - and remains the basis of the al Qaida ideology.
Most commentators seek to portray bin Laden as universally hateful - an enemy of Western civilization. But this "universal" also hides a specific truth.


The Germans setting Shoah memories in stone

By Winston Pickett, April 7, 2011

Last month, on a sunny pavement in the Wilhelmsdorf-Charlottenberg section of Berlin, some 40 people solemnly gathered outside a block of tidy, well-scrubbed residential flats on Gieselerstrasse 12. They came to commemorate the memory of seven Jews who were rounded up by the Nazis and sent to their deaths in Auschwitz between 1942 and 1944.


Rejecting Extremes: Doing the Right Thing?

By Winston Pickett, March 3, 2011

Much as even the casual tracker of antisemitic ‘bimbo eruptions’ could be forgiven for not being able to keep up with the latest Jew-baiting outbursts from high-profile personas, the events of the past week has been downright dizzying their its global array of hate-filled invective.


New CST Report: The Depth of Antisemitism

By Winston Pickett, February 10, 2011

When it comes to media reporting, the news that broke last week with the publication of
Antisemitic Incidents Report 2010 offered a complex and disturbing picture.


Law exists to stop the bigots

By Winston Pickett, January 31, 2011

Reports of antisemitism in the UK are reminiscent of a certain vertigo that used to throw Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign into a state of heightened anticipation. Betsy Wright, Clinton's acerbic adviser and veteran lobbyist, dubbed it waiting for the next "bimbo eruption".


Is it time to forge legal interventions against antisemitism?

By Winston Pickett, January 31, 2011

By Winston Pickett

This is an expanded version of the op ed that ran on p. 24 of the JC of 28 January 2011

Reports about antisemitism in the UK are reminiscent of a certain vertigo that used to throw Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign into a state of heightened anticipation. Betsy Wright, Clinton's acerbic advisor and veteran lobbyist, dubbed it waiting for the next 'bimbo eruption.'


Heads up: Tonight on BBC’s Panorama

By Winston Pickett, November 22, 2010

Saudi-backed Muslim schools in UK teach sectarianism, extremism, homophobia and anti-Semitism

Veteran reporter John Ware reporting for the BBC’s flagship investigative programme, Panorama will reveal tonight that more than 40 Saudi-funded Muslim schools and clubs in the UK are teaching the official Saudi national curriculum to about 5,000 pupils.

The programme, British Schools, Islamic Rules, airs tonight on BBC One at 20.30 GMT.


Jews, not Israel, are the Islamists' target

By Winston Pickett, November 4, 2010

Now that the latest terror threat has been neutralised - with a little help from the Saudis - we've entered the predictable post mortem phase. This is the political scrum in which government, security, intelligence and law enforcement authorities scramble to apportion blame and devise strategies to keep air travel safe.

For British Jews, there are important lessons to grab hold of before lurching reactively to the next security crisis.


Interview: Robert Wistrich

By Winston Pickett, August 26, 2010

Robert Wistrich, often described as the leading expert on the history of antisemitism, has a new book out on the subject - a 1,100-page brick of a book, in fact. Variously described as a "history" or "encyclopaedia", Wistrich's Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism From Antiquity to the Global Jihad is actually more a lengthy exposition of the ideas behind anti-Jewish hatred - their origins and particularly their cancerous spread through the contemporary world.


Violence vividly detailed

By Winston Pickett, July 15, 2010

Ways of Staying
By Kevin Bloom
Portobello Books, £12.99

The Good Soldiers
By David Finkel
Atlantic, £14.99

These two books go behind the international headlines to demonstrate that there are no easy answers to the world's most vexing conundrums. Kevin Bloom's subject is South Africa; David Finkel deals with the American "surge" in Iraq. After reading their books, no news report on either country will seem the same again.


Thomas's bigotry runs deep

By Winston Pickett, June 10, 2010

The saga of Helen Thomas has served up a pungent lesson on how anti-Semitic ideas can pollute and ultimately force a 58-year career to crash, burn and splutter to an inglorious conclusion.

Thomas, the 89-year-old White House columnist for Hearst newspapers, was caught last week on a homemade video declaring that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go back home to live in Germany and Poland".

On Monday, she announced her retirement following a barrage of criticism - including that of President Obama, who called her remarks "offensive" and "out of line."


So is your voice being heard yet?

By Winston Pickett, December 30, 2009

A decade is a big distance from which to judge the impact of a report — especially when the circumstances that prompted it seem to have taken place in a different era altogether.

More than anything else, the Commission on Representation of the Interests of British Jews — formed by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (IJPR) — and its Communities of Communities report were born out of a frustration and dissatisfaction with the status quo.


Let’s use the law to halt these Nazi slurs

By Winston Pickett, July 16, 2009

In assessing the consequences of antisemitic discourse, are some characterisations worse than others? Are some epithets more offensive due to the depth of the insult, the affront to memory or the power to malign the Jewish collective? If so, how should they be treated?