Tanya Gold

I never saw antisemitism in my youth. Now retro Jew-hate is all the rage

After the massacre of innocent Jews, an old hatred is back


LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: People take part in a demonstration in support of Palestine on October 14, 2023 in London, United Kingdom. Groups supporting Palestine protest at Israel's retaliation to Hamas attacks across the UK this weekend despite the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, suggesting that waving Palestinian flags and using popular pro-Palestine slogans could be illegal under the Public Order Act in a letter she sent to police chiefs in England and Wales on Tuesday. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

October 18, 2023 11:03

“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind,” said the Corbynite Jewish Voice for Labour when news of the massacre arrived. (Hosea 8:7). I think they live in the home counties. “Shabbat Shalom and may every coloniser fall everywhere,” said Barnaby Raine, a Jewish anti-capitalist. I think he lives in New York City. 

It’s a comfort, in a way, as listening to their self-deception is almost as irritating as listening to their hate. Almost. There’s an honesty to hate. It has form. “Harvard student leaves lecture on micro-aggressions to attend ‘kill the Jews’ rally,” a parody headline online read. Yes, that is it. Retro, I think, when I’m not sobbing with fury. Let’s party like it's 1290.

I now know my generation of Jews is the luckiest in modern history. I never saw antisemitism in my youth. I know that others did. OK, a boy at my school shouted, “Jew” at me once, but I knew it was lust. Likewise, a boy at my college – a devout Christian – also shouted “Jew” at me once, but I think his DNA test would come up 25 per cent Ashkenazi Jewish at least, and we both knew it. Then I rolled into the Corbynites and their search for the devil. It was 2016 at the World Transformed, a Leftist conference. I was at an event called: “Does the Labour Party Have a Problem with Jews?” The name reminded me of that tabloid headline staple: Stupid Questions to Which the Answer is “No”. (“Was Cleopatra an Alien?”) But the answer was yes.

One speaker said: “Antisemitism is no more special than other forms of racism”. They cheered that. Oh - Jews and their elitist Shoah! I approached an organiser later. Hello, I said, you have a problem. I can help. Want to meet some Jews who like themselves? Educators, rabbis, grouters? Thanks, he said and took my number. He never called, but you know that.

I like to analyse Corbynites because they will not analyse themselves. Call it my service in this time of need. I can do no other. I viewed a decommissioned Hezbollah tunnel in northern Israel once and I banged my head. Then we played with the telephone: “Hi, is that Hezbollah? It’s the Zionists! Sorry about your tunnel!” I don’t think the IDF were impressed. 

Why would Rivkah Brown, the young Jewish correspondent at the far-left Novara website, call the massacre “a day of celebration”? 

(Several days later she deleted the post and apologised because, I think fondly, a friend of the family who is also a lawyer told her she might be committing an offence and Rivkah Brown could not do time. She invented a variant of the working classes in her head: how would she cope with the reality? She said she would “move forward differently”, adding crimes against cadence to the rest. Read some Jane Austen, Rivkah Brown. I recommend Persuasion. I’m sure the UJIA will buy you a copy, second-hand.)

Stupidity is one answer. One Jewish Voice for Labour member told me she had visited Israel. She asked me sadly: Did I know that they had guns? I nodded sympathetically because I let interviewees run on. Guns, you say? Really?

I live in the West and I spend some time monitoring the Frome Friends of Palestine Facebook page. “No anti-semitism or racism of any kind,” read the house rules, adding, “No Zionazi flags or random symbols”.

“It was all planned in advance,” says group member Des. “They allowed them through the border. Even the music festival was relocated with 48 hours' notice to be nearer the border in a less secure location....all deliberate to kickstart an attack on Iran.” Des has three likes.

“If me and you had tried to cross that border carrying a few bags of shopping we would have been picked up in no time,” replies Les. “Those ravers and the (socialist types) in the kibbutz's [sic] were used by Israel as sacrificial lambs so that Israel could raze Gaza in the forthcoming invasion. The whole thing stinks of a setup”. Les also has three likes.

It reminded me of that scene from Blazing Saddles when Bart holds a gun to his head to prevent his lynching. A villager squeaks: “Isn’t anyone going to help that poor man?” 

Mostly, though, they launder their souls through the prism of Palestinian despair. It’s self-serving and decadent, this use of a proxy conflict to purify themselves. If you are a Palestinian woman, or gay, or moderate, you will get no succour from them.

“Do you support Hamas?” asked an onlooker at the Brighton pro-Palestine rally. The aged white man with the microphone looked confused. Then he said, “We could have a week-long discussion between ourselves individually in a group”. It was like a Monty Python sketch. This doesn’t mean I’m not afraid. I am.

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October 18, 2023 11:03

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