Senior diplomat arrested for losing it with “fucking Jews”

Rowan Laxton

Rowan Laxton

The Times:

“News reports today said that Rowan Laxton, 47, allegedly shouted “f***ing Israelis, f***ing Jews” while watching television reports of the Israeli attack on Gaza last month.”

He is – remains – a senior diplomat in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. But who’s going to take him seriously now?

David T adds to a piece by Brett on Harry’s Place:

“This is a HUGELY serious matter. Rowan Laxton is responsible for foreign policy is South Asia: i.e. in Pakistan and India. The Evening Standard reports:

Mr Laxton is still working as normal as head of the South Asia Group at the Foreign Office. He is responsible for all the UK’s diplomacy in that area and for briefing Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who is Jewish.”

Sid on Pickled Politics:

“I think this is far more serious than Carol Thatcher’s “golliwog” comment.

When discussions on PP turns to matters in Zimbabwe, as they sometimes do, I am yet to hear anyone making a comment on the lines of “Mugabe, that fucking n****r!”. And if there were, I am pretty sure that the outrage would be universal and correct from commenters across the board, as it should be. But it is now commonplace to see racist material against Israeli leaders or Jewish people whenever the discussion has turned to the I/P affair, as it often has in the last 2 months.”

Joshua Rozenberg on the application of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act.

Update 28/02 – The FCO has suspended him pending disciplinary.

40 Responses to “Senior diplomat arrested for losing it with “fucking Jews””

  1. David Says:

    I think it’s pretty neat that he outed himself in this manner!!

  2. modernityblog Says:

    given the recent incidents concerning Clarkson and Thatcher, there is very little coverage in the British media of Rowan Laxton’s comments, the right wing tabloids have picked up it, but not the liberal broadsheets or the BBC

  3. Bill Says:

    I’m a little taken a back here. Was he arrested for the F bomb, the J bomb or the F-J bomb? This “inciting religious hatred” has been used too often to suppress valid criticism of authoritarian governments who hide behind an imaginary friend and superstitious thugs in general.

    By all means, fire him in disgrace along and he can cry in his beer like the loser he is. If it can be shown that he discriminated against Frelling Jews, sue him under the appropriate anti-discrimination law till he has nothing to live in but a cardboard box. But arrest him? No. That will make one more “antizionist” martyr.

  4. Bundist Says:

    What an idiot, should be sacked, but arrested?

    The police will be pretty busy if they had to arrest every anti-semite, islamophobe or whatever sort of bigot.

  5. Saul Says:

    It depends with what he is charged. Shouting “Fucking Israel, Fucking Jews” may well be an incitement to racial hatred. Perhaps, someone can tell me otherwise, but I thought that “the Jews” was defined as a “race” for the purposes of the Race Relations Act.

    If he was busted under the new religious act, then, no. Not only because religion should not be protected (any religion) in my opinion, but it is obvious that Laxton was not expressing a theological point of view, but a racist one. It is up there with shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre.

  6. David Says:

    Actually, I’m kind of shocked (as an American) that he could be arrested for merely expressing his hatred. As despicable as his comments are, I don’t see how they even rise to the level of incitement.

    As for shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre, this is absolutely nothing like that.

    This scumbag should be fired and disgraced, but arrested?

  7. Saul Says:

    I take your point about fire and theatre. I do not use it as it is usally meant or as it was used and and the person charged, but in more literal terms as indicating its “imflammatory” nature.

  8. Inna Says:

    On The Times in the comments they have allowed a lot of comments about how this is a free speech issue. So I said what this diplomat said–only about the Brits.

    Think they’ll publish that or will The Times realize that (when it comes to the Brits anyway) stuff like that isn’t a free speech issue?

    Inna

  9. Saul Says:

    I think it is being framed in a free-speech issue (and I cannot see why this would not be so).
    It is the classic liberal notion of “I may not agree with what he says, but I I will defend his right to say it”.
    Unfortunately, it is also in this way that the substance of the content “Fucking Isael, Fucking Jews” is lost.
    A question though: Would his racism have become known had the police and law not been involved?

  10. Englender Says:

    Would the same people in Britain who think it’s a “free speech issue” hold the same views if the diplomat had said the same about Arabs or Muslims?

    To me the fact that the Rowan Laxton is a senior diplomat makes it much more than a “free speech issue.”

  11. Bill Says:

    “A question though: Would his racism have become known had the police and law not been involved?”

    The police weren’t involved with the SA Deputy minister “misspoke” and said what was on her mind and not what would pass the “polite antizionist company” filter. Police also weren’t involved when Delich happily linked to DavidDuke.com and we all found out about that one. I s’spect that this would have outed itself rather well with or without the police.

    “To me the fact that the Rowan Laxton is a senior diplomat makes it much more than a ‘free speech issue.'”

    I’d agree with you that it’s more than a free speech issue but not an “arrestable one.”

    And yes, if he were talking about Arabs and Muslims he should still get his sorry kiester fired and be professionally humiliated. And he still shouldn’t be arrested.

    While I recognize banning incitement to “hatred” (as opposed to violence) may be a value to people who want to impose the veneer of a civil society, you’re not going to convince me that it makes a civil society actually happen. If 2-or-so decades of [selectively enforced] speech and “civility” codes haven’t done it in the benevolent dictatorship of the university, it’s not going to beyond the ivy walls, either.

  12. Saul Says:

    “And yes, if he were talking about Arabs and Muslims he should still get his sorry kiester fired and be professionally humiliated.”
    Bill, I’m with you there.
    “And he still shouldn’t be arrested” – a separate issue.
    At this moment and in this context, my interest is with the content of his comments.

  13. Englender Says:

    “I’d agree with you that it’s more than a free speech issue but not an “arrestable one.””

    It’s more serious than that, Bill.

    As the Yiddish proverb has it, “what one person says, many think.”

    This senior diplomat felt free to insult Jews in public. I wonder how many others do so privately in the foreign office, and elsewhere?

  14. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    As the old (up to about 1945 at the very least) saying had it “scratch an Englishman (sic) and you’ll find an antisemite”. Given the background of so many UK diplomats (English, English – ie, very expensive – public school, male and upper middle-class), too much truth in that. And Laxton demonstrates that the old story isn’t as old as it should be.

  15. Portrait of a campus anti-Zionist twinning « Engage - the anti-racist campaign against antisemitism Says:

    [...] something uncontained which affects where I live and work – is that things are going in the wrong direction for Jews here at the [...]

  16. Gordon Says:

    Hehe, way to go man, i agree with you, after all those bastards are doing, at least one person admitted what he thinks,all those dead children in gaza, all those that were left crippled, without parents without homes and without hope,im not a racist but after i saw some children left without eyes or hands,or other limbs, i just cant stop hating fucking jews.

  17. Simon Webb Says:

    Let’s not all get carried away, the word “allegedly” is key and signifies that absence of certainty.

    Regardless, I think to have someone arrested for expressing an opinion is disgusting and absolutely not conducive to the haphazard accusations of anti-Semitism. Nothing he said, if he said it, can be regarded as inciteful or anti-Semitic.

    Mr Rozenberg’s comparison to Fucking N****r is far from accurate. What would be a fair comparison is F***k Englishman or F***k whites. I’m sure you would all agree, far from arrestable comments.

  18. duncan bryson Says:

    ‘as an Englishman’ I have to disagree with you Simon. There is no long and continuing history of anti English racism. Frankly if somone went on about the effing English in my company I would laugh at them (especially in England when I was surrounded by other Englishmen). Many Jews are rightfully a little more fearful of this sort of thing, less able to laugh it off, given where such attitudes have led in the past.

  19. Plan Says:

    I can’t get past the fact that he was ARRESTED for his rant.

    Fire the guy, embarrass him in the media, make sure he doesn’t work in a position where he’s going to have an effect on British foreign policy. Fine. But arrest him?

    There’s absolutely no evidence his little speech came anything close to “incitement.” Incitement makes it sound like he was standing in a room surrounded by jihadis, raising a fist toward the TV and looking for some Jews to murder. It is not a word you use to describe an angry little man on a treadmill yelling at the TV above the objections of the people around him.

    The claim that he made a threat is also thin. His desire that Israeli soldiers be killed is no different than what’s said all the time at anti-war rallies around the world. Could you imagine if the FBI arrested every NPR-listening, Volvo-driving weekend radical for wishing death on “Marine babykillers” during their costume parties-slash-protests?

    And what can you say about a country where citizens can be arrested for having an opinion? Don’t you think that’s awfully dangerous, especially when politicians start adding more illegal opinions to that list? I see another commenter wondered above why a UK newspaper would “allow” comments calling this a free speech issue — as if it’s somehow illegitimate to suggest that having an opinion is anything but a criminal act, and should be punishable with a prison sentence.

    You’re all insane.

  20. Guy in Chicago Says:

    The jews go into Gaza and commit genocide, a guy watching it on TV is outraged, so they put him in jail for his inability to control his emotions. Absolutely amazing.

    The hate crime in this story is the need of the jews to kill Palestinian children whenever and wherever they can. The end game for the jews in the middle east is the extermination of the Palestinians and perpetually living off of the American taxpayer. They have been doing it for over 60 years and get better at it as the years go by.

    Your boy got it right, a jew killing a Palestinian baby is a fucking jew. That ain’t a ethnic slur, it’s a fact,

  21. fleshisgrass Says:

    When Jews are violent, it’s because they’re Jews, is that what you mean?

    Well then, what is your plan for these demons? What is to be done with them?

  22. Saul Says:

    Guy in Chicago; don’t be silly. now there’s a good little boy.
    You are talking rubbish now aren’t you what with you talk of “genocide”, the killing of Palestinian children “wherever and whenver they are”.

    But, of course, since you place the attack on Gaza it in the tradition of the blood-libel. it is only logical that you should then not only object to the term “fucking jew” as if it were an empirical reality, but also support it as a legitimate comment.

    Your absurd rant exhibits clearly illustrates the slippage between political criticism and the irrationality of antisemitism, as well as the latter being treated as the former.

    Next time, do try to think before speaking.

  23. Absolute Observer Says:

    “The Jews” go into Gaza, do they? Really? I thought they were Israelis. But for you people, there is no difference is there. So, according to your logic, the term “fucking idiot” is an adequate description of yourself. Get it?

  24. Neocon economics Says:

    “The end game for the jews in the middle east is the extermination of the Palestinians and perpetually living off of the American taxpayer.”

    All your hard earned dollars, and and they’re taking their time about it! 60 years and they still haven’t managed it yet!

    I think you are quite right (if politically perverse) to demand more efficiency for you buck. How you must miss Reagan!

    (Love the reworking of Jews as parasites, by the way – “living off”, class, real class!)

  25. NIMN Says:

    The comment “fucking Muslim” is now apparently a legitimate comment to make at what is going on Iran.
    “fucking black” is not a legitimate comment to make if a case where a black man has been accused of rape in the US
    “fucking black” is not a legitimate comment to make is response to Mugabe.
    etc. etc.

    These, apparently, now “ain’t ethnic slurs” they are “facts”.

    If I recall correctly, this is the same defence that John WIght defence of his use of the term “international Jewry” when he linked to a neo-nazi site.

    My, what good company the “guy in Chicago “is keeping

  26. NIMN Says:

    Plan,
    “you are all insane”
    Who is insane exactly?
    “Engage” did not arrest him; many here do not agree with his arrest.

    Interestingly, though. those such as yourself and others who adopt the US position could be accused of seeking to impose US hegemony other other independent nations. I think that would be a silly argument. But one made regularly in defence of regimes far more reactionary than the UK.

    “Hate speech” is a contested issue, both in this case and others. Here, though, some of the more ignorant seem to think that the term itself is an adequate reflection of reality. To my mind, that is the problem. In other words, some stupidoes have argued here that the term “fucking Jew” is an acceptable part of the political debate on Israel and Palestine and has no relationship with the contested terrain of hate speech. That’s the problem with liberalism, it gives the racists a coat tail to hang on to, in this instance, around issues concerning Israel and who then claim “freedom of speech” for their garbage.

    I can bet you that these same oafs would see nothing wrong with calling Jack Straw, Emmanual Rahm “fucking Jews” on the grounds that they are Jews. After all, Avram Grant was called similar and he’s only a soccer coach; or is this now to be a legitimate comment about the “beautiful game” since Grant is both a Jew and a coach that won no sileverware.

  27. rupert Says:

    what is actually wrong with expressing a dislike for a “race”, if you do not express a desire to do them harm. As a british foreigner in France I have abandonned the idea of refusing hatered. Everybody has the right to detest the you and your race. The police can, and will enter everywhere that stupid, politiaclly correct, safety over-conscious, citizens will let them.

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      I think most anti-racists have abandoned race because they now understand it as itself a racist construct. Identity is too complicated to generalise about in that way – and if the generalisation is negative, then this is even more the case.

      I think if concerns about liberty conflict so badly with concerns about racism that we are tempted to abandon the latter, then we will soon be in trouble. Because the groups which get picked on are the groups who are the most in need of the state’s protection. I think your ‘thin end of wedge’ argument is definitely worth consideration, but I’d respond with a ‘baby out with bathwater’ argument.

      • Mira Vogel Says:

        I also think your distinction between hate speech and hate acts is worth thinking about. It’s not always the case that hate speech is put into practice on the streets. But it is sometimes the case, and it’s also true that discourse – here, the way people talk about other groups on the basis of identity – affects the way groups understand and relate to each other.

  28. jo Says:

    Everybody should have the right to free speech. if someone says fucking jews, because they murdered palestinians
    it’s a normal reaction because people died ,including children. no matter who or what you are. What’s not normal is when someone ,including a foreign minister ,who does not share your point of view about politics and you are not happy about it finds a dishonest way to shut you up. Killing someone is wrong. No matter what they believe in. A jew that kills children and women, men should say that they did it because of personal political reasons and asume what they did.
    NOt try to take down anybody who does not share their point of view like they just did… Sorry! You can’t blame the holocaust for you killing anybody! Anybody has the right to hate someone for killing someone else, even if you are a jew.

  29. zkharya Says:

    “if someone says fucking jews, because they murdered palestinians
    it’s a normal reaction because people died ,including children. no matter who or what you are.”

    Oh dear.

    Another person who thinks some Israeli Jewish soldiers of the Jewish state of Israel=the Jews in general.

    Do you go around publicly shouting “Effing Americans, Russians, Sri Lankans, Arabs, Muslims, Pakistanis etc”?

    Why not?

    They kill and have killed far more men, women and children than any Israeli Jews.

  30. zkharya Says:

    For that matter, do you go around shouting “Effing British”?

    Why not?

    How many civilians do you think have died in Iraq and Afghanistan?

  31. zkharya Says:

    It’s odd. Laxton has a great afinity for Muslims, of one kind, or another. Nought wrong with that.

    It’s just that 90% of the 11 000 000 Muslims killed since 1948 have been killed by other Muslims.

    By contrast Israelis have killed around 0.3%, or about 35-40 000 Arabs for 17 000 Israelis.

    And yet, I doubt he goes round muttering, let alone publicly shouting, “effing Muslims”,

  32. mike Says:

    I dont see why this is an issue. People are pissed at isreal for killing citizens just because the so called insurgents were in tunnels underneath them. Its a simple fact that they didnt strategically take out the so called insurgents (i say so called since they didnt actually insurge on anything, check the def). Isreal also used white pospherous, which rest of the world declared an illegal chemical warfare weapon, check it up. So how is it surprising that people are saying fuckin jews, especially if they know how many innocents were killed, thats excluding the soldiers or the reasons. Picture this, your inside your house cooking the small potato you saved from last month (because food shipment was forbidden by the Isreali navy and army), and BAM a fuckin javelin missile blows up your front yard and your son that was playing outside.

  33. Inna Says:

    Mike–

    If you don’t see a problem with this then you also do not see a problem with applying similar epithets to Palestinians (who blow up buses, murdering hundreds of people many of the Palestinian and vandalize coffee shops in London for example) nor do you see a problem with applying such epithets to (say) Britons because (to name one incident) a Briton attached to special forces threatened to shoot a Taliban prisoner during interrogations. Or should such epithets be reserved for Jews only in your opinion?

    Notice that I am giving you the benefit of the doubt for being ignorant about the situation in Israel/Palestine. I am assuming that you are blissfully unaware (say) that weapons are being smuggled via those tunnels and that you are also unaware of the Egyptian wall (built for the same reason Israel built its fence) just as you are unaware that Egypt is right now torturing Hamas prisoners…

    In other words, I am not asking you why you are giving Egypt a “free pass” on this. I am assuming that you are doing so out of ignorance, not anti-Jewish prejudice.

    Regards,

    Inna

  34. Zkharya Says:

    White phospherous is not illegal as a marker, which is why it was used. People smuggling weapons to prosecute Hamas’ eternal jihad until Israel’s extinction are hardly medecins sans frontieres. Who doesn’t accidentally or incidentally kill civilians in war? Israel is letting in food supplies regularly. The Javelin is a surface to air missile, Israel doesn’t use them and, in any case, if your son was killed, that is unfortunate, but Gazan militants often play in that kind of area themselves.

    I suggest you listen to Tim Collins’ view of the matter:

    news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/8470100.stm

    Other states have acted far worse, and killed far more than Israel, yet people managed to resist the urge to resort to violent obscenities against entire peoples or ethnic groups, in public, especially employees of the FCO.

    I suggest your personal lack of self-control betrays an inability to curb your darkest desires as strong as your inability to spell.

  35. Sarah B Says:

    @mike – he didn’t say ‘fucking Israelis’ though – and he isn’t living in Gaza.

  36. phil Says:

    “But who’s going to take him seriously now?”

    I do, this man spits the truth. Israel is the cause of terrorism. You think about it, if a country has invaded the US or Canada or wherever you come from, bombed your people, restricted their movement, killed MANY innocent civilians, have the system set up that they can build illegal houses on your land that they have taken away from you, put their people in these nice buildings while 20 feet away your left with no water or electricity, no job, no money. ANYONE who doesnt say they would be pissed off is just lying to themselves. Most of these people dont even have money to buy food, instead of weapons to fight back. They cant afford guns or tanks or F16’s like israel so you see them throwing rocks. When you put all of these situations together, extreme poverty, war, pretty much genocide, then you are going to create terrorist because they feel that they have nothing else left in their life and there is no other way to strike your enemy better than blowing themselves up. People seem to forget this alot these days

  37. Jonathan Romer Says:

    “But who’s going to take him seriously now?”

    I do

    Should anyone be surprised? You’re wrong on essentially everything that passes for a “fact” in your comment (and no, I’m not willing to spell out the lies and distortions to you one more time — you can’t be unaware of them) and you don’t have the balls to address the actual fact, front and centre in the post itself, that Laxton’s loathing for Israel leads him to froth about the “fucking Jews”. Or is it the other way around: Which one is the object of his hate, and which is the collateral damage in his personal war?

  38. Jerry Solomon Says:

    Fucking Jews was not an anti semite statement as his remarks were not intended to cast a slur on the semetic arabs but on the apartheid regime occupying the land of the Palestinians


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