Tentacles, Jewish millionaires, Der Sturmer & The Protocols

Mark Gardner at the CST blog.

The front page of this week’s Jewish Chronicle reports that Martin Linton MP and Gerald Kaufman MP had both allegedly made very worrying remarks at a public meeting in the House of Commons. (This story was originally broken on Richard Millett’s blog and was subsequently part covered here at CST blog.)

Linton, chair of Labour Friends of Palestine was quoted as having said

There are long tentacles of Israel in this country who are funding election campaigns and putting money into the British political system for their own ends.

Kaufman, who is Jewish and a stern critic of Israel was quoted as having said

Just as Lord Ashcroft owns most of the Conservative Party, right-wing Jewish millionaires own the rest

The Jewish Chronicle quoted me as having stated on behalf of CST

Anybody who understands antisemitism will recognise just how ugly and objectionable these quotes are, with their imagery of Jewish control and money power. Ask the average voter who had made these comments, and they would most likely answer that it was the BNP, not a pair of Labour MPs.

Linton has reportedly said that he does not recognise the “tentacles” comment. Kaufman has declined to comment.

Upon reflection, if either Linton or Kaufman did say these things, then I can only conclude that either they do not understand antisemitism and the imagery that surrounds it, or they underestimate how offensive many people will find their alleged comments to be.

I have four easy lessons for them.

1. A very small experiment. Swap each other’s reported quotes around and see how they sound:

There are right-wing Jewish millionaires in this country who are funding election campaigns and putting money into the British political system for their own ends.


Just as Lord Ashcroft owns most of the Conservative Party, long tentacles of Israel own the rest

2. The lead article from the July 1933 issue of Der Sturmer. It can (and should) be read in full here.

Near the beginning it explains the respective roles of the main players in the Jewish conspiracy

All the leading Jews of the world will come together. The leading rabbis (they are the political leaders of World Jewry) and the Jewish millionaires and billionaires, the bank and stock exchange leaders, the heads of trusts and major Jews in commerce.

Soon, it stresses the truth of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

…We declare that these so-called “prophecies” are insidious and vile criminal goals. They flow from hatred and a lust for murder, from the lust for non-Jewish money and property. They come from criminal Jewish brains. The people who peacefully go about their work do not deserve to be exterminated. The Jewish people that has such awful and murderous thoughts deserves extermination.

The so-called “Zionist Protocols” are as vile and murderous as these Jewish “prophecies.”

It concludes with this

…He has been uncovered, his criminal plans have been discovered, and a battle is coming like the world has never seen. World Jewry faces Adolf Hitler. World Jewry faces Germany. The Jews will fight without pity. We must also fight without pity against Pan-Jewry. The Jewish people is the people of the Devil. It is a people of criminals and murderers. The Jewish people must be exterminated from the face of the earth.

3. Wikipedia. (Not the world’s most reliable source, but pretty much on the money with this one.) In the section entitled Accusations of plotting to control the world, on the page entitled Antisemitic canard

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is widely considered to be the beginning of contemporary conspiracy theory literature.[24]

Included in this canard is not only written text that seeks to accuse Jews of trying to control the world, but also graphic imagery depicting Jews, or their supporters, as trying to control the world. Examples of this imagery include Nazi cartoons that depict Jews as octopuses, encircling the globe.[25] A more recent example is the 2001 re-printing of Henry Ford’s anti-semitic text, The International Jew in Egypt, with the same octopus imagery on the front cover.[26]

4. In case they still don’t get it, here are a couple of covers of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

18 Responses to “Tentacles, Jewish millionaires, Der Sturmer & The Protocols”

  1. Tales Of Tentacles And Other Racism. « ModernityBlog Says:

    […] example of this problem has been highlighted by Engage and the CST, I hope that readers will take the time to ponder the […]

  2. Absolute Observer Says:

    August 1933, Berlin

    Oh come on. Mark!
    The quote you refer to is nothing but rhetoric designed for internal consumption and to prop up a regime who is worried of losing its initial electoral enthusiasm. It is nothing more that a piece of agitpop. Do you seriously believe that Hitler and the Nazis would “exterminate” the Jews of Germany. There are about a quarter of million Jews in that country! How, pray tell me. would they carry our such a task? Do you really think that the international Jewish community, the United States and other European governments would allow that to happen? Get real would you!

    Look, Mark, antisemitism is a worry in today’s times. We have seen that with the rise of the BUF in this country. But, by propogating scare stories like this, you are devaluing the coinage of the word “antisemite” and doing Jews who really are involved in fighting fascism a disservice. Fantasy is never a substitute for reality; and, by pushing the fantasy of Jewish” extermination you are doing more harm than good.

    Perhaps your time would be better spent in requesting German Jewry to tone down their opposition to the National Socialists. The more hysterical their claims, the more they invite this type of response and the more Hitler’s view of the Jews attacking Germany is given weight. In other words, far from challenging antisemitism, you are, in fact, adding to it.

    Ever since the end of the First World War, Germany has suffered nothing but humiliation at the hand of the Imperialist powers and of Britain and France in particular. Whilst I may not agree with everything the National Socialists do or say, they do, at least, offer a challenge to the hegemony currently ruling Europe. As such, Mark, you need to ask whose interests you are really serving in focussing exclusively on the side issue of Hitler’s framing of the “Jewish Question”.

    “The Jewish people is the people of the Devil. It is a people of criminals and murderers. The Jewish people must be exterminated from the face of the earth.”

    “Israel should be wiped off map”, says Iran’s president


  3. Jonathan Hoffman Says:

    No “allegedly” about it. I was there and this is what they said. There is a recording.

  4. Jonathan Hoffman Says:

    In five weeks Linton will be an ex-MP. His constituents will throw him out just as he threw me out from a meeting for protesting about Kasrils’ antisemitic comment.


    Good riddance.

  5. Mark Gardner Says:

    Absolute – that is genius, you’ve got me banged to rights.

    Jonathan – yes, so I’m told.

  6. Jonathan Hoffman Says:

    How dare Linton claim he “does not recognise” the ‘tentacles’ comment.

    Both Richard and I were there and heard it. At least five other Israel-defenders were there and can witness it too. And there is a recording.

    He is not fit to be an MP.

  7. Mark Gardner Says:

    Linton has now apologised for his language to the Jewish Chronicle. I’ve updated CST’s blog to show this (and also edited the opening para’ to include the fact that Jonathan Hoffman’s JC blog originally ran the Kaufman part of the story.)

    My update (and of course CST’s blog was by no means the only place that Dispatches was exposed on):

    On 2 April, the Jewish Chronicle reported that Linton had apologised to the paper for having caused “unintended offence” by his language. Nevertheless, he cited Channel 4’s “Dispatches” programme on the pro-Israel lobby in defence of his overall view and looked forward to the day that his own pro-Palestinian lobby would have such influence. (Numerous previous postings on CST blog have shown the failings of Channel 4’s programme, which was cleared by Ofcom – largely due to the wording and provenance of the complaints received.)

    Linton’s reported quote in full

    I’m sorry if a word I used caused unintended offence because of connotations of which I was unaware, but completely understand and sympathise with. On the substantial issue I was echoing the findings of a recent Channel 4 programme on political donations and lobbying, which has recently been cleared of bias by the broadcasting regulator Ofcom.

    I set up Labour Friends of Palestine after visiting the West Bank and seeing that there is a highly effective lobby for Israel but no equivalent lobby for Palestinians in the Labour Party. I hope one day Channel 4 will have cause to do a programme on the effectiveness of our lobby.

    I hope the JC will now get back to discussing the issue of the meeting on March 23rd which was the eviction of Palestinian communities from what is and always has been and always should be the shared capital city of Israelis and Palestinians.

  8. Susan Says:

    Linton gave a typical non-apology apology. “I’m sorry I caused unintended offense” is not a real apology. This is not just about the use of one world. It is the thinking behind the use of the word, tentacles. Then he tries to deflect attention from his antisemitic attitude onto the Israeli government,

  9. Absolute Observer Says:

    “Apologies, wrong word, but there really is a powerful Israel Lobby that controls UK elections and I just wish we did.”

    The problem is not his languguage, but the views underpinning it. This excuse is no better than the whining, “I said “Zionist” and not “Jew”.

    Linton really believes what he says – the “Zionists” have their tentacles in the UK election system.
    His only problem, is the the tentacles are not his.

    This is typical antisemitic worldview. A serious analysis of antisemitism will tell you that the antisemite dreams and desires to be just as powerful as “the Jew” of his or her imagination.
    This is exactly what Linton is saying.

  10. Absolute Observer Says:

    Linton is misrepresenting the JC in a manner now familiar to those who read Engage. He implies that the JC talks about antisemitism (his antisemitism) in place of, instead of, the situation in the ME; as if the JC has nothing to say about “Jerusalem”. That is the myth “Jews” talk about antisemitism and not Israel and Palestine.

    Looking over last week’s virtually the entire first part of the paper is taken up with the question of Jerusalem, the Palestinians and the recent spat with the US.

    True, the JC’s position is not one that Linton would necessarily agree with, but that is not the myth he is pushing.

    As to this uncritical acceptance of a flawed TV programme – it is not the first time that myth plus myth is said to equal truth.

    And, not a word from Kuaffman or the Labour Party – This is truly disappointing.

  11. Thomas Venner Says:

    What Linton has said is nonsense. There is no powerful “Zionist lobby” in the UK. If there was, it would have to be the single most incompetent political lobbying group in history, seeing as it has clearly failed to achieve a single one of its supposed aims (not to mention the fact that if it was as powerful and dangerous an opponent as anti-Zionists claim it is, they would be running as fast as they could in the other direction rather than “confronting” it).

    Also, of course there is no substantial (genuine) pro-Palestinian lobby. There probably never will be. This is due to the simple fact that there is very little genuine pro-Palestinian activism still going on in this country, it has all been taken over by much more hard-line “anti-Zionists” (and the two are not connected, the most pro-Palestinian people I know are all in fact proud Zionists) whose agenda is concerned solely with attacking Israel and not with helping Palestine – look at the boycott campaigns, for example, which if successful would do just as much damage to Palestinians as to Israelis.

  12. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    re anna’s comment and link, and all of this further ignores the abject poverty of the Jews who fled Eastern Europe from the 1880s onwards to the US and the UK. I know where my parents and their siblings were brought up, I know the poverty my grandparents lived in, both in eastern europe and in the UK, as did my parents for many years, even if they did finally escape into “respectable” upper working class/lower middle class positions. And all the while, there were those purveying the inventions of the Protocols.

    Pity such people refuse to recognize reality. It would make our lives so much easier.

  13. Thomas Venner Says:

    The whole thing about the supposed power of “Big Jewish Finance” is an absurd lie anyway. Yes, there are a few major Jewish bankers around, and yes, major-league bankers on the whole do have a fair amount of ability to influence government policy-making, but what about the fact that the overwhelming majority of bankers are not Jewish? Only a tiny minority of the world’s top bankers are Jewish. Why would they have so much more power and influence than all the rest? It’s nonsense.

    Also, a lot of the traditional claims about Jewish businessmen “controlling society” and so on originate from nothing more than good old-fashioned jealousy. As Anna and Brian pointed out, the majority of Jews in the UK, USA and other places where they went as refugees started off with nothing, and became successful through sheer hard work and determination. Whenever you have someone who works hard and succeeds, there will always be lazy people who feel bitter that they, despite having not done the work, aren’t getting the same rewards handed to them, and so they accuse the people who have put in all the hard work of being the ones who are “stealing” wealth or success from them.

  14. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    The tale about the “Jewish world conspiracy” resists facts and enlightment because it is a way to explain complex realities in a very simple way. The fact that the Soviet Union used it and that a lot of “antizionists” who profess to belong to the Left use it is making it much easier for the extreme right to spread it’s antisemitic poison.

  15. Inna Says:

    You don’t need to be well-versed in the Protocols to know that comparing a people to octopi is not very nice just as you don’t need to know anything about the long, sordid history of anti-Semitism is Europe and the UK to know that saying that a people “own” a process is more than a little un-kosher. You just need a tiny bit of common sense or empathy. At a minimum, one can say that neither of these honorable gentlemen has any common sense or empathy.

    Whether individuals so lacking should be entrusted with the public purse is for the British voters to decide.

  16. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Given that the unlovely Linton has a majority of 124, we can probably wish him a fond farewell sometime between 10.00 pm, May 6, (when the polls close) and dawn May 7.

    It’s just a pity that his defeat at the hands of the democratic process will have nothing to do with his inability to distinguish between fair comment and a rehash of “The Protocols…” and everything to do with the party label beneath his name on the ballot paper.

    Incidentally, is Gerald (Livingstone formulation) Kauffman standing down? Or is this just wishful thinking on my part?

  17. Thomas Venner Says:

    He’ll probably blame the International Jewish Conspiracy for his election defeat.

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