Mainstreaming of antisemitism: blood libel and conspiracy theory in the Daily Mirror

Daily MirrorColumnist Brian Reade was published in the Daily Mirror as follows (5 March):

I want to thank International Development minister Douglas Alexander for visiting the Gaza Strip, and pledging aid. Because it typifies our cowardly subservience to the all-powerful pro-Israel lobby in America.

We looked away as Israel bombed the crap out of Gaza. When the 1,314 dead Palestinians temporarily sated Tel Aviv’s bloodlust, we sent a third-rate politician to pledge millions to replace all the buildings flattened by Israel’s military machine.

Thus putting up more targets for them to destroy the next time they feel the need to convince their people they are hard-liners who won’t be threatened by Arab infidels. At which point we’ll look away again. How proud our foreign policy makes me.

24 Responses to “Mainstreaming of antisemitism: blood libel and conspiracy theory in the Daily Mirror”

  1. m Says:


    Could someone from the UK please give me some context: What kind of newspaper is the Daily Mirror? And how popular / influential is it?

  2. Dave Rich Says:

    It is a left-of-centre tabloid.

    I’m sure that if Britain had refused to give any aid to Gaza, that, too, would have been cited as proof of our “subservience to the all-powerful pro-Israel lobby”.

  3. Toothlight Says:

    When we bombed the crap out of Dresden (over 50,000 casualties) in response to German rocket attacks in WW2 there was no outcry from the World. Thank goodness the Jews did not rule Germany at that time!

  4. wendy kellett Says:

    What an appalling piece of nonsense.
    Having just studied the previous Engage newsletter,I confess to feeling real anxiety about the mindless spread of the ‘anti-semitism’virus.
    The bandwagon rolls on:recently,I was disgusted to see George Galloway fronting a ‘current affairs’ progaramme on Press TV:(sponsored by Iran?),boasting about his aid convoy to Gaza.
    Will the ‘Mirror’ publish a similarly abrasive piece about Chinese repression of Tibet,the destruction of Zimbabwe or what passes for justice in Iran,or the persecution of ancient Christian communities in Iraq?

  5. Nicolette Says:

    And not one mention of the rockets that are continuing to be fired upon Israel!

    Antisemitism is rife in the UK in 2009 except it hides under a new name….Anti Zionism.

  6. Nicolette Says:

    Gobells would be proud of all the anti semitic Jew haters in the UK today but all it does is reinforce the Jewish love and belief in the State of Israel.

    If this antisemitism gets worse then a large number of British Jews will emigrate to Israel in order to live as a “a free people in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem (words from the Hatikvah – the Israeli national anthem).

  7. m Says:


    I’ve said this before here on Engage, but it deserves to be repeated: The casualties during the allied bombings of Dresden were not even close to 50.000 and certainly not over 50.000, but less than half of that. Please stop perpetuating these figures which have been rebutted by historical research.

    The offical “Historiker-Kommison” on Dresden-Causaulties stated that after 4 years of extensive research, some 18.000 deaths have been confirmed and that there is no reason to expect the final numbers to be significantly larger.

    The report in German:

    Here is one of the (many) English websites which took up the news:

  8. Jupiter Jones Says:

    Over the past few months I have become ashamedly used to the virulent, pseudo-intellectual anti-semtism of the type spouted by Brian Reade, that it has reached the point that I can’t be bothered to respond. So lacking in information and intelligence are Reade’s comments, that it would normally be anathema for me to give them even the time of day. My guess is that Reade may well have neither the wit nor sufficient insight to appreciate the extent of his own stupidity. However, expressed as it is in a series of pithy aphorisms, Reade’s nasty, dinner-party anti-semitism is part of the drip-feed of opinion masquerading as fact that is poisoning those gullible enough still to believe in the independent integrity of journalists. Maybe Reade should go and spend the next month sheltering at night with the residents of Sderot before another month with El Fatah supporters in Gaza and then tell us what he has learned – if his grey matter actually extends to being able to absorb fact to the point he is able to learn anything.

  9. Matt Says:

    Truly a disturbing piece, but I wonder about using the term “blood libel” to describe an accusation of “bloodlust.” Normally, it would seem the blood libel would at least be reserved for killing children – an accusation strangely missing from this excerpt – if not for the ritual killing of children.

    I’ve never studied historical blood libel accusations in a serious way — were they more flexible than I’m imagining?

  10. Asher Says:

    What is this ‘All powerfull Jewish/Israel lobby in the US?’
    President Eisenhow and John Foster Dulles were anti-Israel in 1956 Suez crisis. The truth is American Governments do what they think is in America’s best interest.
    Brian Reade’s article ignores the fact that for more than eight years Hamas has been fireing missiles at Israeli civillians whilst hiding behind its ordinance in civllian areas.

  11. David Hirsh Says:

    I think that to accuse Jews of bloodlust resonates with the imaginary of the blood libel.

    I think also that to say that the “pro-Israel lobby” is “all powerful” resonates with antisemitic conspiracy theory.

    That is not to say that this guy knows what he is doing and neither is it to say that he is an antisemite.

    It is just that when you want to articulate hostility to Israel – to the Jewish state – then it so happens that there are a number of ready made ways of thinking which it is tempting to employ.

    In this way antisemitic rhetoric becomes more and more normal yet nobody is an antisemite. But when antisemitic ways of thinking become normal, antisemitism isn’t going to be far behind.

    Reade should know better if he’s writing in public. And if he doesn’t know better then he should learn. And if he is unwilling to learn then he takes one step towards being a conscious antisemite.

    This is the best thing I know on the blood libel, is a version of a chapter from Anthony Julius’ upcoming book:

  12. Matt Says:

    Thanks, David. I certainly agree regarding the conspiracism. And in that context, certainly the charge of bloodlust is more troubling than it might be otherwise. And it is a charge – whenever it is labeled at a broad swath of people, this should be obvious – that it already troubling. But I’m still not sure it’s illuminating to refer to such a charge as a blood libel. I’m grateful to you for highlighting what is indeed the mainstreaming of antisemitism. (And, admittedly, both elements of blood and libel are present. But that’s an “October is the eighth month” argument.)

    But Blood Libel has a more concrete meaning for me, and I find it awkward to fold this into that. I think there are other examples from history – Shylock or the “eye for an eye” slander against Judaism (see link below) – that are more illuminating. There is a traditional stereotype of cruel and vengeful Jews that seems quite apart from the Blood Libel.

  13. Alec Says:

    M, I don’t think Toothlight was perpetuating David Irving style misinformation. For a start, this commonly hovers around 150,000; and secondly Toothlight was almost certainly supportive of the bombing. I agree that the death-toll is likely about 50% of the figure given, but 25,000 is hardly something to welcome.

    Incidentally, I am currently reading Richard Frank’s Downfall: the End of the Imperial Japanese Empire which opens with deeply distressing vignettes about the fire-bombing of Tokyo. Although I am glad this and the A-bombs took place, I would not have done them myself and do not loose sight of the horrendous suffering which occurred.

    On the subject, highly unpleasant. I recently saw the use of “Jewish conquest” in a minor Scottish local newspaper. I submitted a refutation, but it hasn’t been published.

  14. James Mendelsohn Says:

    When is that book being published?

  15. m Says:

    “M, I don’t think Toothlight was perpetuating David Irving style misinformation. For a start, this commonly hovers around 150,000; and secondly Toothlight was almost certainly supportive of the bombing.”

    Agreed. Still, 50.000 vs. 20.000 is quite a difference.

  16. Dectora Says:

    David Irving has certainly been forced to admit to moving the decimal point a bit in relation to casualties in Dresden. He also conflated the number of dead with those who had left the city as refugees. I’d take any figure accepted by Richard Evans, a real scholar.

  17. Gwunderi Says:

    When Tel Aviv’s now temporarly sated bloodlust will resurface, why not look for Brian Reade?
    (but as I’m not Jewish, I have nothing to say in the matter …)

  18. Bialik Says:

    Could the ‘all-powerful pro-Israel lobby in the US’ fix the banking crisis, cure AIDS and reverse climate change please?

  19. Saul Says:

    “Gobells would be proud of all the anti semitic Jew haters in the UK today but all it does is reinforce the Jewish love and belief in the State of Israel.”

    Actually, he would be somewhat disappointed. He would be disappointed bacause the UK government is not antisemitic and its making a stand against antisemitism. He would be disappointed becasue Jews are subject to no legal restrictions; he would be disappointed because there are no antisemiticm thugs patrolling the street etc. and so forth.

    Antisemitism is a problem, yes, but it is not nazism, nor is the UK anything like nazi Germany or Weimar.

    Your comments are extremely unhelpful for anyone serious interested in what is going on now.

    It is precisely the inability to think through what was novel about nazi antisemitism that left so many people unarmed (in so many senses of the word). It would be equally dangerous to make the same mistake now.

  20. Avi in Jerusalem Says:

    It seems to me as an observer from Jerusalem that we are going back to the pre Holocaust period where anti semitism was an acceptable political and social position in polite civilized circles. What scares me is that we have already seen what that can lead to. This situation today is very different to what it was at the beginning of the twentieth century, but the willful denial on the part of those who choose to ignore the reaction of the Jews to attacks on them and on Israel does not bode well for any of us.

    The concerted attacks on Israel in academia have been going on for years, certainly since I studied in the UK in the mid seventies. The rest of us went off and got a life, but the Trots and their fellow travelers found a suitable place to incubate their dangerous venom which seems to have spread further through the body politic.

    I agree with those who see the renewal and acceptance of anti semitic attitudes in public as a guilty reaction to the enormity of the Holocaust. By blaming the Jews for what happened to us and creating moral equivalence between Israel and the Nazis the intelligentsia can absolve their conscience and get back into the old groove of “Jew despising” for being different and not accepting whatever the reigning dogma of the day is.

  21. Samir S. Halabi Says:

    If the jewish lobby is so powerful with influence, money and worldwide power, which it isn’t and never was, no holocaust of the jewish people would have taken place during world war two.
    Futhermore if as these stupid ignorant antisemites insist that there is a worldwide jewish conspiracy for world domination by the powerful jewish capitalists who own all the industries etc. oil, Banks, automobile factories, the press it goes on and on. If that is the case why would these antisemitic thugs be employed by their jewish employers, they would undoubtedly be given the push.
    Therefore these antisemitic troublemaking thugs are just lying rabble rousing liars.

  22. gary ashton Says:

    it’s journalism like this (if you can call it journalism) that makes israel so important to jewish people all over the world. if jews can’t be safe and secure in israel where can they be?
    certainly not europe, again.

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