Is 'globalist' an antisemitic dog-whistle? Well it depends who's using it

If a Jew says it's OK does that make it so?


Hungarian-born US investor and philanthropist George Soros answers to questions after delivering a speech on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos on May 24, 2022. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

October 25, 2022 15:05

What seems like a decade ago but was in fact last Wednesday, the Home Secretary Suella Braverman suddenly and sensationally resigned. Well, not sensationally, because in fact the scale of the government meltdown was such that people barely had time to notice she’d gone.

Except Nigel Farage noticed. Some of his fellow presenters on GB News noticed. Richard Tice, leader of the Reform Party and a ubiquitous presence on TV talk shows noticed. Braverman, who famously told a party conference meeting three weeks ago that she dreamed of planes taking off deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda, had been replaced - in what Farage tweeted was a “coup” – by Grant Shapps, who Farage labelled a “Remainer” and a “Globalist”.

The GB News presenter Dan Wootton took time off from spreading vaccine disinformation by tweeting that “the globalist remoaner coup continues. The excellent and brave Suella Braverman is being replaced by Grant Shapps… Shame on Liz Truss. We backed you to keep them out. They’re now in control. Dark days for the UK”.

Tice bracketed together the departures of Kwasi Kwarteng and Braverman and called it “a coup by pro-EU pro-unlimited immigration globalists”.

Grant Shapps is Jewish. Not a few British Jews, all too aware of how terms like “globalist” or “cosmopolitan” have been used as euphemisms for “Jewish conspiracy” (as in Jews who plan to replace white populations with migrant ones or – going back further – to “mongrelise” and therefore weaken the Aryan race) protested. This to them felt like the old dog whistle about how the Nowhere race seeks to undermine its Somewhere hosts.

Last Friday the UnHerd comment website decided that it would seek top-level guidance on whether the word “globalist” bore any antisemitic connotations. “Just yesterday”, an anonymous editor wrote, “Jewish groups came out to criticise Nigel Farage for labelling the new Home Secretary Grant Shapps, who is Jewish, a ‘globalist’. We caught up with Israeli political philosopher Yoram Hazony, an expert on nationalism, to see if he finds the term useful or problematic.”

Was the term ‘globalist’ antisemitic? “No, it’s not”, replied Hazony, “The overwhelming majority of time, ‘globalism’ is used to express a concept in political theory, international relations, and political economy. In its normative usage, it has no anti-Semitic valence…”

So that’s that. Farage et al are excused. Hazony should know. He’s a Jew, an Israeli and an expert. Case maybe not closed, but a lot more closed than before.

Readers however may not have realised what a very particular choice the UnHerd editors had made in consulting Hazony. He may be a Jew but he is one carefully curated Jew. A philosopher (and oh, philosophy, what nonsenses are uttered in thy name!) whose principal contribution to historical revisionism seems to have been to argue that Hitler was an imperial internationalist, and not a nationalist - an absurd analysis, not shared as far as I know by any of the many great historians of Nazi Germany.

This kind of insight is then deployed in support of a form of radical conservatism based on a majoritarian cultural nationalism that regrets, for example, an emphasis on gender, race and faith equality. Recently he addressed an audience of American right-wing conservatives, telling them “When you say: we've had enough. We're going to restore Christian public life in this country - that's the day we start rolling back woke neo Marxism.” 

Meanwhile, GB News excused its presenters by claiming that when deploying the word “globalist, Farage and Wootton “were referring to the Oxford English Dictionary definition of the term globalist, meaning ‘advocating the operation or planning of economic and foreign policy on a global basis’.”

This is disingenuous rubbish. Grant Shapps, for example, advocates no such thing. And in Farage’s and Wootton’s utterances the use of the word is always used as a term of disapprobation, usually linked to other words such as “Remoaner” and “unlimited immigration” and now invariably associated with the word “coup”.

Coups, of course, are plotted; thus Globalists are plotters. Globalists like Shapps, Farage is clearly saying, plot to bring in immigrants to undermine our sense of nation and to subordinate us to outside powers. And what kind of person does that? Apart of course from George Soros the “Hungarian” who Farage accused in 2018 of wanting “to break down the fundamental values of our society (because), in the case of Europe, he doesn’t want Europe to be based on Christianity”.

Does Farage carry in his mind prejudices about Jews? During his political career, he has consorted with people who have moved in and out of antisemitic parties. I have no window, though. 

Underneath that unbylined Hazony interview, the first comment is from an R. Wright. Who says that it baffles him “that those claiming to represent the Jewish community seem to instinctively lash out when terms like this are used”. Such reactions, he says, “end up feeding the very conspiracy theories they are subject to”.

Ah right, R Wright. I get you.

October 25, 2022 15:05

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