Eve Garrard on contemporary antisemitism in Britain

Eve Garrard

Eve Garrard

Here is Eve’s concluding paragraph.  How she comes that conclusion is a must-read, on normblog – offering a goldmine of links and an outline of what is going on in Britain.

There is not at the moment, so far as I know, a deliberate and conscious anti-Semitic project on the left to undermine the standing of Jews in Britain and elsewhere, and to deny them the rights of self-determination and self-defence which are accorded to others. But there is a significant number of people on the liberal-left behaving as if they were in fact complicit in such a project; who are impervious to the chilling anti-Semitic effects of their behaviour; who are in practice acting as enablers and facilitators for those full-blooded anti-Semites who want to exploit the rich possibilities of this situation. This willingness to prepare the ground for Jew-hatred is in itself a disgusting development on the left, and a betrayal of some of its most basic principles. It is also a proper source of alarm for Jews who are beginning to feel that the brief decades in which being a Jew in Britain was unproblematic may be coming to an end.

Do read the whole piece.

39 Responses to “Eve Garrard on contemporary antisemitism in Britain”

  1. Mira Vogel Says:

    This is great. You always find good questions to think about, Eve.

  2. Eve Garrard Says:

    Thankyou very much, Mira! Unfortunately I feel these questions are being forced on us all, more’s the pity.

  3. Jacob Says:

    “This willingness to prepare the ground for Jew-hatred is in itself a disgusting development on the left, and a betrayal of some of its most basic principles. It is also a proper source of alarm for Jews who are beginning to feel that the brief decades in which being a Jew in Britain was unproblematic may be coming to an end.”

    Sad but true. There is though a precedent for such behavior on the left. Russia after the revolution experienced a brief moment when Jews were allowed to feel that they were equal partners in the new society being created. THis didn’t last long. During the 30’s it had become obvious and even Trtsky had noted it in the late 20’s that antisemitism had returned to Russia with the blessing of Communist officials.

  4. David Hirsh Says:

    If there was antisemitism in the UCU then people like you would most certainly be hounded out of the union Eve.
    http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2008/07/resignation-letter-by-eve-garrard.html

    And people like Hirsh would most certainly be excluded from discussion within the union.
    http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=2066

    And people would rally round to defend union activists who pushed David Duke’s conspiracy theory within the union against a Jewish witch-hunt.
    http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=2064

  5. Jonathan Hoffman Says:

    Antisemitism = racism.

    Any antiracist movement or political party which does not treat is as such is not somewhere where genuine antiracists should be and is certainly not somewhere where Jewish antiracists should be.

  6. Paul Milson Says:

    “If there was antisemitism in the UCU then people like you would most certainly be hounded out of the union Eve.

    And people like Hirsh would most certainly be excluded from discussion within the union.”

    Not necessarily, David Hirsh. if the law didn’t allow overt exclusion because of race or nationality then current antisemitism would manifest itself in other ways short of disallowing membership or excluding you from discussions within the union.

  7. David Hirsh Says:

    Sure Paul,

    but in this imaginary world, where antisemitism in the union really existed, it would be possible for the Jew-haters to find ways of hounding people out of the union and excluding people from the email lists in such a way as it would be difficult for those thus excluded to bring the law to bear. I feel sure that there would be antisemites who would find ways of doing that, and dressing it up as normal procedure. Perhaps they would constantly accuse members of bad faith, of lying, of not saying what they really believed, of conspiracy – they would organize a campaign of bullying which would make life in the union intolerable for somebody like Eve. Perhaps it would be possible to use technical and trivial breaches of the rules as pretexts for pushing out mouthy Jews from the discussions.

    Perhaps the antisemites, in this hypothetical world, would have some influence within the structures of the union – amongst the elected officers and also amongst the paid members of staff. If so then the internal disciplinary procedures could be sealed off and made useless to the Jews.

    Also it would be possible for the antisemites to generate a commonsense view within the union that anti-discrimination law, when applied anyway to Jews, was something controlled by Jews and by Jewish lawyers, something hostile to trade union values and autonomy, and so something dishonourable and disgraceful. It would be, perhaps, an ideology of contrasting Jewish “law” to trade union solidarity or love as inimical values. If the antisemites were successful in inculcating this view of law then activists would find that going to court to defend their rights might isolate them further from the mass of union membership who they were trying to influence.

    Oh how lucky we are that there are no antisemites in UCU!

  8. Paul Milson Says:

    Perhaps, and perhaps the number of Jewish members who did resign shows that some of it has already come to pass.

  9. johng Says:

    So the allegation is that the left which is not anti-semitic is unwittingly opening the door to those who are. Could it not be true, in the same way, that sites like this unwittingly opening the door to those who favour ethnic cleansing of Palestinians? And would this not be an equally serious matter?

  10. Paul Milson Says:

    johng Says: “So the allegation is that the left which is not anti-semitic is unwittingly opening the door to those who are. Could it not be true, in the same way, that sites like this unwittingly opening the door to those who favour ethnic cleansing of Palestinians?”

    Show one poster here who said that he or she favors “ethnic cleansing of Palestinians?”

    On the other hand Engage posts articles like this one “Dealing with Conflict – an event organised by Wahat al-Salaam / Neve Shalom”

    https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/dealing-with-conflict-an-event-organised-by-wahat-al-salaam-neve-shalom/

    You are suing a tu quoque argument is a sign of desperation, Johng.

  11. Jonathan Romer Says:

    Interesting hypothetical, johng. Do you have any evidence that that is happening and that Engage fails to confront it — or would you rather just leave it dangling as an insinuation? Even if you could offer examples, how would it negate the concerns about left antisemitism?

    There is a moment in the movie Defiance where one of the Bielsky brothers, who has joined up with the Communist partisans to fight the Germans, comes to realise that his new allies are also antisemites. When he confronts them, he receives an ironic apology, addressed to “Comrade Yid”. “Comrade Yid” is what I think of now whenever I read fresh examples from the bigoted left — for whom johng is a happy standard-bearer.

  12. Absolute Observer Says:

    Gosh, Johng trying to change the subject………….surely a first!

  13. johng Says:

    Not at all trying to change the subject. I noted that the article claims that the left is not in fact anti-semitic but is unwittingly opening the door to anti-semitism. Evidently this left does not believe this is the case (or it would not be unwitting). This left also believes that the policies of the Israeli state are tantamount to ethnic cleansing. Many who contribute on this site do not believe this is the case. And believe that making such allegations involves unwitting, or sometimes witting, anti-semitism. They then open themselves up to the charge of the Livingstone formulation in reverse. If the policies increasingly being adopted by the Israeli state were tantamount to ethnic cleansing, with the possibility, as is always the case, of something worse, those whose main arguments consisted in accusing those who most energetically draw attention to it of being either unwitting stooges of anti-semitism, or on the other hand witting ones, would be guilty of precisely the moral failure this site often accuses others of.

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      The difference between your thought experiment and Eve’s is that Eve took the trouble to back hers up.

      It’s not acceptable to make the point you are making without providing a definition of ethnic cleansing, some evidence with respect to the law, and some evidence with respect to the policies or actions of the Israeli government. Otherwise it just looks like you are trying to confuse things.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      johng “This left also believes that the policies of the Israeli state are tantamount to ethnic cleansing.”

      Believing doesn’t make it so. Some people believed that the world was flat: didn’t make it so. Some people believe that the fabrication known as “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” is actually a slice of truth. Believing doesn’t make it so. These idiots are so unaware as not to realise that if there really _were_ such a group, then the Protocols would never have been published: because they controlled the world.

      But sense, rationality and logic have absolutely no traction in the bubble that johng and his equally intellectually challenged” comrades inhabit.

      Pity his bubble is so attractive to many who otherwise appear sane and rational.

  14. Noga Says:

    “This left also believes that the policies of the Israeli state are tantamount to ethnic cleansing. ”

    Please note that John does not deal in sound arguments, recorded facts and verifiable truths. As far as he is concerned, a “belief” can pass for a fact and that factoid, in turn, can be analogized to a known event which people can easily access. As in,

    I believe that “John” likes to tell lies about people and that is tantamount to perjury under the law.

    I don’t have to prove that “John” tells lies. It is enough that I believe it.

    I could leave it at that but, no, in order to turn “John” into a criminal, at least in a hypothetical situation, I compare what I believe is his favourable leisure time activity into an indictable offense.

    Once I have established that he is indictable, I can then take that as my launching pad for anything bad I wish to say about him, or to happen to him, with impunity. After all, hasn’t he been convicted of perjury?

    It’s an unbeatable line of reasoning. You never have to deal in facts, only in beliefs. You never have to deal in realities; only in what looks, to you, like a reality.

    Johng is a talented gardener. He can grow air-floating flowers, he plants them in mid-air, he waters around them and then watches them grow into perfect flowers of evil.

  15. Saul Says:

    “This left also believes that the policies of the Israeli state are tantamount to ethnic cleansing.”

    “The left” believes and has believed many things. One of the great tragedies of the left is that what it so often “believed” to be the case has, in has been wrong at best, and fantasy at worse. NOwhere is this more the case that matters concerning Jews.

    The (better part) of left believed, for example, that “the Jewish Question” and antisemitism was an irrelevance within the trajectory of history (Second international).

    The (worst part) of the left thought capital was Jewish.

    The left believed the question of antisemitism within national socialism was a clever ploy for the real purpose of the destruction of the working class in the name of advanced capitalism.

    The left believed that it should tell Jews escaping to Palestine to return to the countries where the exterminations were being carried out.

    The left believed that the attempts of Jews for national self-determination was inherently reactionary.

    The left believed the Jews should be given an autonomous territory in the wastes of Asia.

    The left believed Zionist agents were seeking to undermine its goal of its communist utopia

    The left – your party – believes that Israel was and is a colonial enterprise serving the wishes of US imperialism.

    The left – your party for example – believes that a “superstitious and uneducated Arab/Muslim” more progressive than a leftist Israeli.

    The left – your party – believes that Hamas is more progressive than the secular PA/PLO.

    The left – one of your own party and in your own party paper -believes there is a powerful Israel Lobby that overturned the AUT boycott.

    The left – your party – believes forgetting to mention that the nazis exterminated Jews is merely an oversight.

    The left believes that Israel is ethnically cleansing Palestinians.

    So, having got it wrong every step of the way, what the left believes about Israel and Israeli policies as well as antisemitism is, to say the least, questionable.

    Indeed, may be you would be wise to respond to Mira’s request.

    Of course, the problem/comfort of “belief” is its steadfastness in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

  16. Jonathan Romer Says:

    Red herring, johng. You’re carefully avoiding Eve’s well-constructed accusation that the policy and tactics of the boycott-infatuated left blend seamlessly with antisemitism.

    As for “If the policies increasingly being adopted by the Israeli state were tantamount to ethnic cleansing…”, well, the Arab population of Israel is increasing in absolute terms, at least holding its own relatively, and there are no major expulsions of Arabs from Israeli controlled territory, yet your kind of left insists on claiming “ethnic cleansing”. The phrase does not mean what you seem to think it means — so perhaps you should give more attention to the word “if”.

  17. johng Says:

    No I never stated that a belief can pass as a fact. The facts are in fact disputed which is why there is an argument. It is however a fact that many believe this and they don’t believe that they believe it for dishonourable reasons, much less anti-semitic ones. Just as those who believe that the left is colluding with anti-semitism don’t believe that they believe it for dishonourable reasons. It just is true therefore that as long as these facts and their interpretation are disputed these accusations will be mutually incomprehensible. That tends to be the way with political disagreements of this kind.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      johng “It is however a fact that many believe this and they don’t believe that they believe it for dishonourable reasons, much less anti-semitic ones.” (he’s still talking about Israel and alleged ethnic cleansing: alleged as Jonathan Romer notes, immediately above him.)

      It is a fact that I believe otherwise, and for honourable reasons. Which of us is right, and how do you know? Prove it.

  18. Absolute Observer Says:

    OK a geography lesson.

    Eve Gerrard is speaking of the UK, of UK politicians, celebrities, authors, playwrights, filmakers.

    Johng even if he is correct (although I have yet to see any support for ethnic cleansing either on Engage or within the mainstream Jewish “community” (i.e. BoD – unless refusing to meet Lieberman last year was a clever ploy))l is referring to people like myself, saddos with nothing better to do that write comments on a website).

    To compare those who words hit the national press regularly; who have the pages of national newspapers accessible for at least some of the time with the sad gets like myself is simply silly.

    Private citizens are allowed whatever thoughts they want. Public actors have more responsibility – a responsibility that as eve notes, they are betraying with increasing frequency.

  19. johng Says:

    You seem to miss the point Absolute Observer. Eve Gerrard has said that she doesn’t think there is any support for anti-semitism on the left. But does believe that the left is opening the dooor for anti-semitism. I hapoen to think she is wrong about this but its perfectly possible to hold this view in a rational way. Similarly it would be perfectly possible for someone who believed that there was ethnic cleansing going on in Israel and the occupied territories to believe that most people who wrote on Engage certainly did not support such a thing, but that there arguments provided a smokescreen for it and that this was, disgraceful.

  20. Absolute Observer Says:

    Could you then point to the “facts” that are in “dispute” that lead to some who “believe” that Israel is committing ethic cleansing?

    That would be a start.
    But, of course, you are not arguing in good faith, are you Johng?

    This is a thread about antisemitism in the UK
    Again, you are raising allegations against Israel so as to divert attention from antisemitism; the facts of which are not in dispute but are empirically present within your own party.

    So, maybe a comment about the substance of Eve’s comments. You could at least pretend.

  21. NIMN Says:

    Johng.
    1. Do you agree that tropes of antisemitism attaches to criticism of Israel in some cases? (Gerrard’s point)
    2. If you do, why is that the case? (Gerrard’s question)
    3. What is to be done about it? (Gerrard’s question)

  22. Absolute Observer Says:

    “I hapoen to think she is wrong about this but its perfectly possible to hold this view in a rational way.”

    Unless, you have gone all postmodern and fallen for the relativity of values – that there is no objective reality, merely beliefs (rational or otherwise).

    Or you could be arguing that it is perfectly possible to hold irrational views rationally (Eve has produced enough evidence to save her from that criticism). In which case we agree.

    On a more mundane level,
    Why do you think she is wrong?
    You may want to engage with what she links to and the substance of her argument, rather than focus on the style/form of her comments.

  23. Jonathan Romer Says:

    Time to drop johng down a hole — until the next time. He’s had enough opportunity to deal with Eve’s arguments and it is very clear he won’t. Even the escape route he has left for himself is boringly obvious. When he’s cornered or had enough he’s going to say that he wasn’t arguing his own case — he was merely playing devil’s advocate, making the case that “some people” on the left will argue. It’s simply trolling with decent spelling and grammar.

  24. Lynne T Says:

    Johng may believe Eve Garrard is wrong, but here’s what Khalid Abu Toameh, originally a PR official for the PLO who left in disgust with the PLO’s deceit and repression of the truth. Instead, he writes for the JPost (with heavy guard) and posts at Hudson New York:

    http://www.hudsonny.org/2009/03/on-campus-the-pro-palestinians-real-agenda.php

  25. Toby Esterhase Says:

    Johng: “So the allegation is that the left which is not anti-semitic is unwittingly opening the door to those who are. Could it not be true, in the same way, that sites like this unwittingly opening the door to those who favour ethnic cleansing of Palestinians? And would this not be an equally serious matter?”

    No it wouldn’t be true John. And please don’t be so presumptuous as to refer to your own movements which are obsessed by third world nationalist, Stalinist and Islamist flag-waving as “the left”.

    Engage does not flag wave for one side or the other in the conflict between Israel and Palestine, Engage fights for reconciliation and peace instead.

    Engage does not flag wave for, or apologize for, or diminish, or trivialize or deny either the antisemitism of Hamas or the racism of the Israeli right.

    Engage is not, and never has been, in a political coalition with George Galloway or Gilad Atzmon or any racists or antisemites.

    Engage does not campaign for racist boycotts against anybody – Israelis, Palestinians, Muslims, Jews – nobody.

    Engage is careful not to give any political comfort to Israeli chauvinists and Engage is careful not to makes its arguments in such a way which could give encouragement or help to the racist Israeli right. Unlike you, John, and for example the people who signed the “Israel must lose” letter in the Guardian.

    Engage does not find itself linking to racist websites “by mistake” like the anti-Zionists and boycotters do incessently. You will not find Engage making that kind of “mistake”. Because Engage is an antiracist campaign whereas your boycotters and your antizionists are too busy trying to neutralize and trivialize a charge of antisemitism to notice. http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=2055

    Engage does not apologize for or “understand” or trivialize movements which set out to murder civilians. Your political tradition does this routinely, John.

    Engage does not bully people out of the UCU.

    Engage takes seriously what people say and what people believe. Unlike the SWP, which believes that what people say and what they believe is of no account. http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=2007

    Engage is a campaign against antisemitism which does not support Israeli chauvinism.

    Boycotts and antizionism are campaigns against Israelis – and only Israelis – and they routinely apologize for, trivialize and give support to racist movements.

    • Mira Vogel Says:

      And Engage posts post after post about co-existence movements in Israel, and between Israelis and Palestinians.

      JohnG, what the sam hill are you on about?

    • Jonathan Romer Says:

      Toby — best post today.

    • Anthony Says:

      ‘Engage takes seriously what people say and what people believe.’

      Some of you do Toby. But I’ve just had first hand experience of how untrue that can be. Maybe you should send that line round to your members to remind them that when someone genuinely puts forward a serious alternative point of view, streams of vituperation and the occasional ‘screw you’ don’t accord with taking what people say and believe seriously.

      Just like the ‘left’, some of your people are straight up, dignified and walk the walk, and some are downright unsavoury. You are no cleverer or stupider than your opponents, you just have different points of view.

      • David Hirsh Says:

        “But I’ve just had first hand experience of how untrue that can be.”

        No you haven’t Anthony. You have got into arguments with people in the comments boxes at Engage.

        Engage is not responsible for them any more than we are responsible for you. We do not know who many of the people who choose, sometimes anonymously, to comment on our website are. We do not have “members”.

        Engage is responsible for what is written “above the line”.

        True, we moderate, imperfectly, and we make every effort to delete racist or dumb comments. But time available for this task is limited and sometimes we will make quick and wrong decisions. Although I don’t think we get it wrong much.

        You should not judge Engage by the people who comment on Engage. You should judge Engage by the posts on Engage.

        You will never, ever, find a racist post on Engage or a post which supports antisemitism or any other racism. You won’t find us linking to racist websites or pushing chauvinist material or conspiracy theory or exclusions based on nationality. You won’t find us engaging in chauvinist politics. You won’t find us saying anything which could help people who embrace chauvinist politics.

        Read “about Engage” here: https://engageonline.wordpress.com/about-engage/

  26. hasan prishtina Says:

    In Eve’s superb thought experiment “we would expect to find Israel’s crimes singled out for ferocious hostility while […]worse ones elsewhere notably failed to arouse the same fury and venomous animosity.”

    The “worse ones elsewhere” that Eve cites are Darfur, Chechnya and Zimbabwe. Of course, this is just a thought experiment; the real hard left vocally defends al-Bashir, Putin and Mugabe.

  27. Absolute Observer Says:

    “Some of you do Toby. But I’ve just had first hand experience of how untrue that can be. Maybe you should send that line round to your members to remind them that when someone genuinely puts forward a serious alternative point of view, streams of vituperation and the occasional ’screw you’ don’t accord with taking what people say and believe seriously.”

    Get over it will you!

    I have no idea why “Anthony” thinks that calling for the exclusion of Israel Jewish academics – and only Israeli Jewish academics (at the moment) is worthy of a “respectful hearing”.

    Maybe when the discussion moves to a question of whether a boycott should extend to the “supporters of Israel” (see today’s letters in the Guardian (as signed by Jenny – the Zionists are taking over the Lib Dems) “Anthony” will winge on and on about having a “respectful discussion” about that too.

    Excluding Jews – and only Jews – is not one “respectable” position amongst many (like should the goverment increase or lower tax; should people be allowed to walk their dogs in the park) with legitimate arguments for and against mediated by polite rules of “debate” – but a form of racist exclusion.

    So, again, as I said before you – screw you. You are not that special.

  28. Absolute Observer Says:

    btw; I am not a “member” of Engage.
    I post here because a. I agree with its analysis of antisemitism; I agree with its position on Israel and Palestine; and it gives me a chance to read jerks like you in such a context.

    If you don’t like it, look at yourself before you look at others!

  29. Inna Says:

    Actually, to me it isn’t the anti-Semitism in and of itself that is so frightening; it is the lack of sensitivity to expressions of anti-Semitism. I participate on many Internet Fora and often I use a formulation if I judge that I am conversing with an anti-racist: I repeat his/her words exactly… but substitute Jews/Zionists with some other group. When I do that, almost invariably, the racism in the statements becomes crystal clear.

    But it is perfectly acceptable (and hence not at all clear) when applied to Jews.

    That is the very (to me) troubling bit.

    Regards,

    Inna


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