Top Ten Antisemitic Slurs of 2010

39 Responses to “Top Ten Antisemitic Slurs of 2010”

  1. Gil Says:

    Perhaps one more slur can be allowed as we reach the end of the year. Clare Solomon, President of the University of London student union: ‘The view that Jews have been persecuted all throughout history is one that has been fabricated in the last 100 or so years to justify the persecution of Palestinians.

    ‘To paint the picture that all Jews have always had to flee persecution is just plainly inaccurate.’

  2. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Thanks to Gil for the link. Note the attempted back-tracking at the end of the Mail article:

    “Ms Solomon…declined to comment when contacted by The Mail on Sunday but told the Jewish Chronicle newspaper: ‘This badly worded comment was something that I wrote in haste on Facebook. I’m sorry for any misunderstandings.’ ”

    Nothing could be written _that_ hastily that comes out as it did, unless there was some sort of intent, however ‘unconscious’ it might have been. The apology is a little lame, as reported. Something more grovelling would be appropriate. As originally written by her, this means that there were no pogroms in the Pale of Settlement, the expulsions from England, Spain, Portugal, the ghettoisation of Venetian Jews, etc, were all figments of Jewish imagination. To what end we can only imagine, as Ms Solomon failed to tell us in her original comment.

    According to _that_, my grandfathers didn’t flee from Lithuania and Warsaw respectively to ensure that they didn’t end up in the Tsar’s army (Poland and the Baltic being under Russian control at the time and they fled sometime between 1895 and 1905 – both my parents were born in the UK in 1907).

    As has frequently been noted in these columns, people do sometimes use antisemitic tropes and phrases, even when they themselves are plainly not antisemitic. It behoves them to consider (and reconsider) their words more carefully. Would they make such comments, however hastily, about other ethnic minorities? about women (if males)? Hardly.

  3. Uri Golomb Says:

    It seems that one “trick” is to provide, side-by-side, two statements — one which can be defended, and another which is indefensible. Take Al-Mutawakil Taha’s statement: “ The Jews have no historical or religious ties to the Temple Mount or the Western Wall. There is no archeological evidence that the Temple Mount was built during the period of King Solomon….” The second sentence might be true: unless I’m much mistaken, there is indeed a debate among archeologists on whether the First Temple in Jerusalem dates back to King Solomon. It might have been built by a later King of Judea. Even if that’s the case, however, the first sentence — alleging no link between the Jews and the Temple Mount — remains indefensible; and I doubt if Taha would be willing to countenance a similar tactic employed (as it easily can be) to cast doubt on *Muslim* links to the Temple Mount.

    A similar point can be made regarding the two parts of Clare Solomon’s statement. There have been times and places where Jews did not have to flee persecution. But it’s still indefensible to brand as “fabrication” idea that Diaspora Jews have been persecuted through much, indeed most, of their history.

    The trick is to take the defensible statement, defend it, and then accuse those who attack the *indefensible* statement for over-reacting/stifling criticism/”crying wolf” etc. I don’t know if this trick had been use in the two cases mentioned above, but I suspect that it has been used in other contexts.

  4. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    “unless I’m much mistaken, there is indeed a debate among archeologists on whether the First Temple in Jerusalem dates back to King Solomon.”

    Uri, this is partly at least because the Palestinians refuse to allow archaeological investigation of the tunnels under the Temple Mount. This might, at the very least, narrow down the time frame within which the First Temple was built. After all, we only have the Hebrew scriptures word for it that there _was_ a King Solomon. I would guess that few accredited archaeologists or historians would actually dispute the historicity of the or a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

    Regarding your later comment that “But it’s still indefensible to brand as “fabrication” idea that Diaspora Jews have been persecuted through much, indeed most, of their history”, of course it is, but then historical accuracy is hardly the strong point of those who wish to deny the claim of Jews to their historical home. If they can undermine, at the very least, this historic claim to an ancient homeland, then their attacks on Israel, Zionism and Jews start to gain, in their eyes at least, some traction and cease to be (or at least _start_ to cease being), again in their eyes, antisemitic.

    What is most obvious is that these people are neither historians nor social scientists in any sense that appropriately accredited historians and social scientists would recognise.

  5. Philip Says:

    I take it someone on this site will be criticising this racism, too:

  6. Absolute Observer Says:

    “I take it someone on this site will be criticising this racism”


    You are getting tedious and predictable.
    This thread is about antiisemitism in 2010.
    Your response is silence on antisemtism in 2010. Instead you post something about Israel.

    You contribution to fighting antisemtism is to confuse Israel with Jews and imply that there is somehow an equivalence to what Israelis (Jews) do with the racism that Jews (and not only Israelis) suffer.

    Well, quite frankly, screw you.

    You want to write a post about racism in Israel then do.
    Maybe the moderators will publish it; maybe they won’t.

    In the meantime, stop trying to silence discussions on antisemitism by changing the subject to Israel.

    It is a familiar tactic and is becoming more transparent by the moment.

    It has taken me a long time to realise what I should have spotted immediately. You are nothing more than a troll.

    I await your post on racism in Israel – indeed, there are many groups within Israel that can help you with stats, info, etc.

    In the meantime, if you have nothing sensible to add (other than your normal empty platitudes about how Jews should be treated with respect), then at least have the decency and integrity to shut the fuck up.

  7. Saul Says:

    Thank you for the article Philip.

    I doubt if there is anything within it that those who regularly contribute to Engage would disagree with.

    However, it is a pity that your own confrontational tone does not reflect the tone and content of the article itself.

    Indeed, one can quite imagine that a few decades ago, you would have contributed to a debate about antisemitism by linking to a story about an unscrupulous Jewish landlord or “Jewish capitalist”.

    Such a strategy would have been wrong then, just as it wrong now.


    • Philip Says:


      Glad that you would also condemn this example of racism. I realise that my comment may have come across confrontationally, and I’m sorry for that. However, I think your final comment is a little unfair. I confess that I find the occasional myopia of this site frustrating, but it’s not my intention to excuse antisemitism in any way.

      Kind regards,

      • Thomas Venner Says:

        The “myopia” of this site is just down to the fact that, when it comes to it, this is pretty much a single-issue campaign. The incident described in the article you posted a link to is appalling, and the mayor responsible is an arsehole, and I’m sure nobody here can really disagree with that, but in the end there’s only so much that can be taken on in addition to the main aim of this website. Much as we would all like to deal with the problems of racism and religious discrimination in Israel, the actions of the Israeli government, the growing threat presented by the settlers and so on, Engage has to concentrate on its main stated purpose of confronting anti-Semitism in the UK and can’t really go off on too many tangents from that, in the same way that a group primarily campaigning against the Chinese government’s human rights abuses in Tibet can’t really spend time campaigning against other abuses committed in Iran.

        Most of the articles on this website are written by a small, dedicated group of less than a dozen people, and as a result these articles have to focus on a comparatively narrow range of subject matter.

        Just as you say that it’s not your intention to excuse anti-Semitism in any way, I hope you understand that nobody here has any intention of excusing acts of bigotry such as the one described in the article you found. It’s just a matter of how much the writers at Engage can do within the limits they have to work within.

  8. modernityblog Says:


    If the past you’ve always seem to have had a problem with seeing or defining, etc antisemitism, so is it now your belief that ANY remarks from Helen Thomas, Oliver Stone to Dr. Stankeras are defensible in anyway?


  9. Sarah AB Says:

    Christina Patterson has written a piece in response to her inclusion in the list. I suppose I can understand why she might feel it was unfair to include her, or thought that her comments needed to be seen in the context of the whole article, but I didn’t think today’s piece helped much.

    • David Hirsh Says:

      Thanks for that Sarah.

      It is very strange.

      This is the paragraph that is cited as antisemitic:

      ““I would like to teach some of my neighbors some manners… I don’t care if they wear frock coats and funny suits and hats covered in plastic bags and insist on wearing their hair in ringlets (if they’re male) or covered up by wigs (if they’re female), but I do think they could treat their neighbors with a bit more courtesy and respect. I didn’t realize that goyim were about as welcome in the Hasidic Jewish shops as Martin Luther King, Jr. at a Ku Klux Klan convention. I didn’t realize that a purchase by a goy was a crime to be punished with monosyllabic terseness or that bus seats were a potential source of contamination or that road signs and parking restrictions were for people who hadn’t been chosen by G-d.”

      This is the original piece – for context. What the context shows is that the antisemitism was just a prelude to a load of Islamophobia:

      Here’s the original Engage discussion from the time?

      But isn’t it extraordordinary? She is accused of antisemitism and she replies by “criticising” Israel? But her antisemitic article had nothing to do with Israel. From today’s “defence”:

      “It doesn’t matter if a UN report says that Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla “betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality”. It doesn’t matter if its soldiers use weapons banned by the Geneva Convention. It doesn’t matter if they use a nine-year-old child as a human shield. It doesn’t matter if its citizens raze homes and build new ones on someone else’s land. Or if they destroy their neighbours’ crops and treat them like criminals. It doesn’t matter what they do. “We stand,” says the Wiesenthal website, “in solidarity.” And we know what they call those who don’t. ”

      David Hirsh on the Livingstone Formulation:

      Why can’t people just respond to the point? She was accused of antisemitism for a paragraph about Jews in Stoke Newington – why can’t she just think about that – and defend it if she thinks it is defensible – or apologise if she doesn’t think it is defensible. Why start saying how pro Israel the Simon Wiesenthal centre is?

      And by the way, why would a centre started by a Holocaust survivor think that Israel is in some sense worthy of support? mmm. I can’t think.

  10. Bialik Says:

    Speaking of the denial of antisemitism, does anybody know what the BBC radio correspondent meant yesterday when he talked about Jean Marie Le Pen “making gaffes about concentration camps”?

  11. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    “[Christina Patterson in the Independent] was accused of antisemitism for a paragraph about Jews in Stoke Newington – why can’t she just think about that – and defend it if she thinks it is defensible – or apologise if she doesn’t think it is defensible.”

    David, I think the following exchange on Modernity Blog (linked to in the comments thread above this one) just about sums all this up and suggests why genuine apologies are rarely, if ever, forthcoming from those accused, with serious evidence, of antisemitism:

    “Beakerkin | 21/12/2010 at 01:39 |

    Has anyone ever stated humbly, “Whoa that was a really stupid and inexcusable comment. Sorry?” If some scholar or person like Tonge ever said it I would have to respect them on a human level.

    modernityblog | 21/12/2010 at 03:54 |

    I don’t think you will ever hear a genuine apology from these people, and essentially they are politicians, it wouldn’t occur to them to ever show contrition, even if they were caught in a car park with their pants down (metaphorically speaking).

    They apologise for being found out, not the content of their views or their racism.”

    viz Vince Cable and the other Lib Dem coalition ministers!

  12. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Reactive racism is indefensible, just as the racism to which it responds, which we might dub proactive racism, is also indefensible. It may be more understandable, because it is, in part, a defence mechanism, but it is still inexcusable.

    However, in a comments thread discussing the claimed 10 worst examples of (written) antisemitism – at least in the English language – in 2010 (other than by self-declared or otherwise identified fascists and similar antisemites), Philip’s link is a little odd, as Absolute Observer, Saul and Modernity Blog have noted. This is especially so as Philip doesn’t offer us any reason for his posting. We are left wondering as to his reasons (I almost wrote motivation, but that might be an assumption too far) for the posting.

    It is as though he wants to say (but, interestingly enough doesn’t) that Jews are as bad as other people. Actually, that last sentence is unfair (I hope): he wants to say there are Jews who are as bad as those who wish Jews to suffer collective harm. Why does he think that this is news, either to us or to anyone else out there not already committed to a view of Jews that is beyond redemption this side brain-washing. There are Jews who are racist, there are Jews who break the criminal law, there are Jews who few would want as friends, however liberal the befriender might be.

    So, what is his point? Given the steps taken to reach this point, one has to begin to suspect that AO, Saul & Mod Blog are correct: Philip’s motive is to draw attention away from the subject. There is the suggestion (but, hopefully, only a suggestion) of blaming the victim for antisemitism: look at this thoroughly unpleasant (Jewish) mayor of Nazareth – how can anyone be surprised at the opprobium that Jews attract when there are Jews like this.

    There is the suggestion here that should the Diaspora cease to be so Zionist, then antisemitism in the Diaspora would diminish, if not actually vanish. The likes of Ran Greenstein (who Philip has defended before now) and Anthony Lerman have been attacked for this very suggestion: the behaviour of the despised out-group has, in fact, never yet altered the behaviour of the prejudiced discriminator.

    As for the (unstated) implication that the mayor is merely a representative of those who elected him (which, we should note, is not the conclusion that the journalist who wrote the article draws), this is unsustainable without evidence. The mayor is a politician. As such, he takes steps to make sure he is re-electable. This is far from claiming that, therefore, his constituents support all that he does: merely enough to re-elect him (we presume).

    To say more would be to assume, for example, that everything that a trade union leadership (such as that by, for example, UCU) does is supported 100% and wholeheartedly by the membership. There is plenty of evidence that most members of UCU are little concerned about events in the Middle East, or, rather, that such events come some way behind their concerns about their pay and conditions.

    How closely does Philip read these columns? or is it _because_ he reads these columns closely that he posts as he does?

  13. Absolute Observer Says:

    Does anyone know if The Independent monitors its comments section?

    “Don’t sweat it, they are using the antisemite ploy so much that soon people will start to think of it as a compliment. These people are self-righteous, paranoid, warlike, hypocrites, and inveterate liars with no sense of shame. They have been kicked out of every place they settled, and people are waking up to the truth about Israel’s involvement in 9/11 and the insane crusade against Muslims. Soon there will be pogroms and persecution in the US, and they only have themselves to blame.

    You can’t lie forever, they are doomed and the clock is running out on them.”

    “After her last piece of trash about Assange, I’m rather surprised to find myself in support of Christina Patterson in this article. As a person with a Jewish heritage, I agree completely that it is not racist to criticize unacceptable behavior, wherever it’s found. If any people are so thin-skinned that they must stand behind such a false claim, then they need to look at themselves.”

    “Welcome to the real world then because anyone who has being following seriously any matters Israel (mostly about I/E issue) would know that criticising Israel= criticising Jews = antisemitism. And BTW, you are probably Hitler too because Ahmedinejad is Hitler, Goldstone is Hitler, Hamas is Hitler etc. Also be quite careful because they have a very strong lobby
    across the west and would make life almost impossible for anyone who criticises Israel.”

    “I don’t believe that Arabs are ‘vermin’, as Ariel Sharon described them. Nor do I think dropping phosphorus bombs on Palestinian women and children is acceptable.

    Nor do I agree with Rabbi Nachum Shifren, who (as reported in The Jewish Chronicle on Oct. 25, 2010) says of the neo-Nazi English Defence League:

    History will be recorded that on this day, read by our children for eternity, one group lit the spark to liberate us from the oppressors of our two governments and the leftist, fifth column, quisling press, and that it was the EDL which started the liberation of England from evil…

    I guess that means I’m Hitler…”

    “Google Friends of Israel, it makes for some interesting reading.”


    “You seem rather confused by Israel/Palestine. The former occupies, excluding Jordan which is a completely separate kingdom, some 80% of the area. I don’t know how you contrive to include Gaza either, since it is a non-autonomous concentration camp administered by Israel.”

    “You may wax lyrical about the very real atrocities and injustices committed by nations throughout the world, but that is not the discussion at hand and is nothing more than a juvenile attempt at distraction. Likewise we can debate endlessly the minutiae of history from various, always biased, view points. However, it is the current behaviour of the Israeli state that many find hard to stomach. Behaviour that has been repeatedly condemned by the U.N. as well as numerous international organisations and aid agencies for it’s highly disproportionate response and extreme aggression, not to perpetrators of individual crimes but against entire communities. Israel’s deliberate policy of collective punishment, aimed at destroying a people’s ability to house, feed and sustain themselves is what many find abhorrent.”

    “The overwhelming cause of the massive global increase in anti-Semitism today is the current genocidal policies against the Palestinians of Israel. Israel cannot have its cake and eat it also.”

    “I don’t think Hitler was a practising Jew, but he was at least half-Jewish. He was certainly funded for his operations by the great New York banks. It makes you wonder what was actually going on then. Like it or not, his actions did nevertheless result in the creation of Israel.”

    • Gil Says:

      Quite frankly, the comments in the Independent are far worse than what you see on CIF. The moderating on the latter is stricter than it used to be, probably they were shamed into doing so by this site and others. So now all the neo-Nazis and other antisemites are congregating at the Independent and the Daily Telegraph too.

      • Gil Says:

        If anyone has any doubt about the sort of antisemitic scum who comment ‘below the line’ in the Daily Telegraph, they should take a look at the comments to Guy Walters’ shameful defence of Christina Patterson. It was a new low. I spent much time the other day reporting comments to the moderators.

        And the biggest joke of all is Walters’ claim that Christina Patterson can’t be antisemitic because: ‘…[A]ccording to The Independent’s website, she is a “former director of the Poetry Society, and literary programmer at the Southbank Centre”. With these credentials, I hope it is not bigoted of me to assume that Patterson is perhaps not a member of the BNP. For heaven’s sake, she writes a column for The Independent.’

        The last sentence would be considered satirical if not for the fact that he is quite serious!

  14. yesspam Says:

    The real top ten anti semitic remarks of 2010. No 1.

    Dozens of municipal rabbis signed a manifest ordering a halachic ban on selling or renting land and apartments in Israel to non-Jews.

    The document, was endorsed by more than 50 national-religious and ultra-Orthodox rabbis working in municipalities across Israel, and disseminated through the religious press and fliers handed out in synagogues.

    The signatories include rabbis Dov Lior, Shlomo Aviner and Ya’akov Yosef. Most rabbis are public servants working in municipalities and cities across Israel including Eilat, Ashdod, Herzliya, Jerusalem, Kfar Saba, Naharia, and Holon.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Tell me, “yesspam” (interesting that you hide your identity behind a pseudonym that tells us more about you than you might expect), what do you think is antisemitic about this event? It’s lots of things, but antisemitic isn’t one of them, unless you have a unique definition of antisemitism in mind. Perhaps you might share it with us.

      What you are trying to do is distract attention from the purpose of this article and thread.

      You should read Thomas Venner’s comment, posted at 6.42 am today, but higher up this thread. In addition to what I have written, what he has written also.

      • yesspam Says:

        The Palestinian people are a semitic people. This is therefore an anti semitic remark. My post is entirely on topic. Why is there no Top Ten fundamentalist religious remarks of 2010? I will post more here when I get time, since so many of them are agaisnt the Palestinians and non religious Jews.

        • Thomas Venner Says:

          There is no list of the Top Ten Religious Fundamentalist Remarks of 2010 simply because religious fundamentalists are by nature such consistent fountains of bullshit that any attempt to sift ten individual remarks worthy of particular attention from such a mass of gibberish would be a complete waste of effort.

  15. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    “The Palestinian people are a semitic people. This is therefore an anti semitic remark.”

    Oh, please! The reference to the notion that Arabs, etc, are a semitic people is related entirely to questions of language groups. As yesspam knows (or should know, if they are as knowledgeable as they claim) the phrase “antisemitism” was coined by an anti-Jewish, 19th century German, Wilhelm Marr, (although, as the entry below from Wikipedia suggests, this is not uncontested):

    “Although Wilhelm Marr is generally credited with coining the word “anti-Semitism” (see below), Alex Bein writes that the word was first used in 1860 by the Austrian Jewish scholar Moritz Steinschneider in the phrase “anti-Semitic prejudices”.[30] Steinschneider used this phrase to characterize Ernest Renan’s ideas about how “Semitic races” were inferior to “Aryan races.” These pseudo-scientific theories concerning race, civilization, and “progress” had become quite widespread in Europe in the second half of the 19th century, especially as Prussian nationalistic historian Heinrich von Treitschke did much to promote this form of racism. In Treitschke’s writings Semitic was synonymous with Jewish, in contrast to its use by Renan and others.”

    Note the phrase “as used in Treitschke’s writings…”

    However you cut the cake, “antisemitism” is entirely distinct from the notion of “semitic peoples”. Either yesspam knows this and is being mischievous, as I have already suggested, or is being very knowing and is attempting to distract attention from the focus of this thread: antisemitic comments, that is, written attacks on Jews (as I have also already suggested).

    Oh, and if you insist that the events you cite are antisemitic, please, as already requested, give us your definition of antisemitic and don’t just hide behind repetitions of your original claim – without, I note, any supporting argument, let alone evidence.

    Oh, and by the way, the phrase quoted at the start of this comment is not evidence, it is assertion.

    • Bill Says:

      I second Brian on this … AND… This is the third time this month I’ve heard/seen/read someone try to dishonestly redefine the established Marr definition if Antisemitism to, ironically, re-empower antisemites. This time, the bootsting-for-racism is bundled in the name of false multiculturalism as opposed to the original 19th centrury rebranding of Jew-hatin’ to make the bigots look “intellecutal” (of course at teh end of the day, it’s th same motivation).

      Is there a talking points memo on this floating around, or what? It makes me wonder what’s on tap for January.

  16. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    “Why is there no Top Ten fundamentalist religious remarks of 2010?”

    Because this website is devoted to the fight against antisemitism (as already defined in my last post), particularly in the UK, and is disinterested (look up the word and not take is as “couldn’t care less) in matters not pertaining to the core concerns relating to that.

  17. yesspam Says:

    The Palestinians are a Semitic people, they are a Semitic race. Racism and prejudice against them is anti semitism.

    You have not answered my question which I repeat. Why is there no Top Ten fundamentalist religious remarks of 2010?” I did not refer to this website, (though I cannot see why you would object to anti Palestinian prejudice being listed here.) I ask again, can anyone tell me where the Top Ten list of religious fundamentalist remarks is published? I am not suggesting that it should be the job of this site. But surely a group of people devoted to exposing prejudice and intolerance would be able to point me in the right direction. Jewish fundamentalists make many anti semitic remarks and they use violence not just against the Palestinians but against non religious Jews. Examples are women being attacked for sitting on the wrong seat of a bus, and women having chairs thrown at them for praying at the Noble Sanctuary (aka the Western Wall.) There are many ‘anti semitic’ websites. Where are these fundamentalist religious anti semites exposed? Thank you.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      “The Palestinians are a Semitic people, they are a Semitic race. Racism and prejudice against them is anti semitism.”

      Yesspam, you have already been told in no uncertain terms that there is no such thing as “a Semitic people” or “a Semitic race”. In this context, “semitic refers, as you’ve already been told, to a language group. Stop repeating your assertions, and, if you really believe this, produce the evidence to the contrary. You have been told by me, by Bill and by Thomas Venner that antisemitic refers to Jews and only Jews. Anything else is mischief.

      As for the rest of your comment, why don’t you start your own blog on the topic of religious fundamentalist quotes of the year? You have already noted that your question wasn’t directed at Engage. After all, you say above that “I did not refer to this website”. If so, why do you keep repeating the question? We are the wrong people to ask, in your own view. So go and find the right group to ask.

      If you don’t, you merely confirm that those who consider you to be mischievous are correct.

  18. Mark G Says:

    Trying to take a few days off from antisemitism, but this Christina Patterson stuff is just too annoying; with the added annoyance that the Wiesenthal Top 10 reminds me of the (pro-Hizbollah group), Islamic Human Rights Commission, who do a similar thing re alleged Islamophobes. (And what a bizarre coup for Patterson if she were to win an IHRC ‘award’ for the same article!)

    On Patterson, at the time, I wrote this, below. On re-reading it, I see that I’d forgotten how bad the original article was, and how inadequate the single paragraph was to depict it. (Stamford Hill Jews are the gravest threat to UK multiculturalism….errr….)

    (And also, Patterson’s reply, at the time, to accusations of antiemitism, which then caused me to write this ‘kvetch update’

    Volvos, pushchairs and the Jewish threat to multi-cultural Britain
    August 2nd, 2010

    In the Monty Python sketch, “Hell’s Grannies”, an earnest TV documentary presenter investigates ruthless gangs of grannies, who rule the streets by spreading fear and terror amongst healthy young men and women, clobbering people with their handbags and walking sticks.

    I was reminded of the sketch when reading a startling article entitled “The Limits of Multi-Culturalism” in The Independent newspaper (28 July 2010). It begins with this:

    I would like to teach some of my neighbours some manners

    These neighbours (and the article’s author, Christina Patterson) live in Stamford Hill: a fascinating multi-cultural neighbourhood, with many different types of people and not insignificant amounts of criminality on its streets. Out of all these various people who live in and around Stamford Hill and who populate its pavements, roads and street corners it is the orthodox Jews that concern Patterson.

    “Hell’s Grannies” came to me when I read Patterson’s take on orthodox Jewish women who “roam” with “pushchairs and vast armies of children”:

    I would like to say to the women who roam the streets with double-decker pushchairs and vast armies of children, that it’s sometimes nice to allow someone else to get past

    There is nothing wrong with writing an article that asks a group to do more to integrate with the surrounding society. This article, however, goes much further than that. It treats Muslims and Jews as nothing more than uncivilised mirror images of one another; and ranges, seamlessly, from genital mutilation to castigating Jews in Volvos with mobile phones, bad manners and “chosen” people haughtiness.

    In the first two paragraphs, Patterson complains of orthodox Jews

    * They are ill-mannered and non-communicative to others.
    * Don’t say “please” or “thank you”; and would rather not sell fish to others (especially black others).

    The third paragraph picks up the pace

    * Their little boys make women feel like pariahs because they “leap up as if an infection from the ebola virus was imminent” when a woman sits next to them on the bus.
    * Their “women who roam the streets with double-decker pushchairs” block the pavement.
    * “They could treat their neighbours with a bit more courtesy and just a little bit more respect.”

    Patterson’s next paragraph moves well beyond Monty Python territory – and was extracted by The Independent to highlight the article

    When I moved to Stamford Hill, I didn’t realise that goyim were about as welcome in the Hasidic Jewish shops as Martin Luther King at a Ku Klux Klan convention

    I take the King and Klan references not so much as seriously comparing orthodox Jews with terroristic racist murderers, but rather as a more extreme version of the tired old joke, ‘about as welcome as a pork pie at a Bar Mitzvah’. However, the use of the single word “goyim” troubles me far more: as it always does when journalists use it to invoke the notion that Jews believe others to be inferior beings.

    The motif of “chosen people” (and therefore “goyim”) is a core historical element of antisemitism throughout the ages. An article entitled “Why There is ‘Anti-Semitism’”, (subtitle: “The Average Man’s Guide to the Jewish Peril”), in the January 1965 edition of the neo-Nazi publication Spearhead explains why:

    4) The Jews regard themselves as a master-race.

    …As the ‘chosen people’, they intermarry very little with non-Jews, and wherever possible form ghettos where they can live a life apart from the ‘inferior’ Gentiles, whom they call ‘Goyim’ (cattle).

    Sure enough, Patterson immediately uses the word “goy” again: and does so with a follow-up sucker punch about the “chosen” people.

    I didn’t realise that a purchase by a goy was a crime to be punished with monosyllabic terseness, or that bus seats were a potential source of contamination, or that road signs, and parking restrictions, were for people who hadn’t been chosen by God.

    Patterson says that “none of this is a source of anything much more than irritation” (although she could have fooled me) and adds that she is made “sad” by eight year old boys who have “presumably…been taught” that “a normal-looking woman” (ie her) “is dirty, or dangerous, or, heaven forbid, dripping with menstrual blood”. From this, she also goes on to say how “sad” she is about “three year olds in hijab, who want, of course, to look like mummy”.

    Having acknowledged that you cannot legislate against what “parents, or rabbis” teach their children, Patterson then veers off into an impassioned polemic against “one thing I will never accept”: female circumcision within the Muslim community. This concludes with

    There is, I’m sure, nothing in the Koran to indicate that hacking off a girl’s labia is an all-round great idea, just as there’s nothing in the Torah to say that Volvos should always be driven with a mobile phone in hand, and goyim should be treated with contempt.

    This seamless comparison between the brutality of female circumcision and Volvo-driving Jews who treat “goyim…with contempt” is shocking. Stylistically, however, it neatly sets Patterson up to demand laws against anyone breaching her notion of what is a “civilised society”. This is no longer about female circumcision: we are back to Jews and Jewish practises again. Having previously insisted that she is merely “sad” about such things, she now rails against them as “crazed whims”

    ….a civilised society will have laws to indicate what is acceptable… A properly civilised society would also ensure that children are not subject to the crazed whims of their parents, and hived off into “faith schools” where they’re taught that the world was created in seven days, or that they need special gadgets to switch on the lights on a Saturday, or that women who show their face are sluts.

    This is not a Richard Dawkins style atheist argument against all religions, Patterson fondly recalls

    lovely little C of E schools were once an excellent place for children to learn about the religion that shaped their culture, art and laws

    Patterson bemoans that if you are to close down “the madrassa run by the mad mullah next door”, then you must also shut the C of E school. Her silver lining, however, is that she would replace them with “compulsory state secular education” in which all children are taught to get on with one another; and that “the culture of the country they’re living in was, for 2,000 years, largely based on one.”

    If the old age pensioner branch of the British National Party published this kind of stuff, then nobody would bat an eyelid. It simply won’t do, its simply not how we do things here old boy. But The Independent?

    It was, however, only in March and June of last year that two different Independent journalists wrote about the power of the “Jewish lobby” in America. Furthermore, the same newspaper twice warned against Jews serving on the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War. Now, it seems that Jews are also threatening London’s multi-cultural tapestry. Whatever will these Jews subvert next? No doubt The Independent will let us know soon enough.

    Note – Miriam Shaviv’s deconstruction of Patterson, on the Jewish Chronicle blog is well worth reading. It is here, and begins

    I feel like I need to wipe the spittle off my face. I have just finished reading one of the ugliest, most vile pieces ever published in the British press. It is actually dripping with venom.

    And if, like me, you need cheering up after all of this, then click here to watch the aforementioned Monty Python granny sketch (scroll in by about 24 seconds to reach the start).

  19. Bialik Says:

    Venner, you’re spot on. I wish I’d said that. Only I don’t engage with trolls, I haven’t the patience that some of the contributors to this site have for explaining stuff.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Bialik, of course you’re right about the trolls. Except that I know that it’s not just us (serial or occasional) commenters who read these pages. Others, who will never comment, do so as well. They do so for a variety of reasons: they may enjoy it as a blood sport (whose is being spilt depends on one’s ideology, I suspect); they may need reassuring that people like them are out there, fighting the good fight against antisemitism, the boycott, etc; they may be looking for arguments for the next time they have a dinner party or coffee with pro-BDS types; or…fill in the space.

      That’s one of the reasons why I comment. Also, I can’t abide irrationality; mere, unsupported assertion; antisemitism; mindless demands to boycott Israel or parts of it; stupid conspiracy theory (except that it’s sometimes witting) about the supposed ‘Israel Lobby’. And I’m retired with some time on my hands, and (hopefully) the intellectual skills to contribute to the fight against the trolls.

      Hopefully, also, I do some good. Those of my friends who read (but don’t comment here) these columns tell me I do. So, while I still have these skills, I’ll continue the fight.

      No pasaran!

  20. yesspam Says:

    Anti-Semitism is a term which the most common usage by far is to describe anti-Jewish statements or beliefs. However, it is increasingly used by people who apply the word in reference to Semitic people also in the linguistic and genetic senses.

  21. yesspam Says:

    Semitic (less commonly), Shemitic
    1. a branch or subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic family of languages that includes Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic, Amharic, and such ancient languages as Akkadian and Phoenician
    2. denoting, belonging to, or characteristic of any of the peoples speaking a Semitic language, esp the Jews or the Arabs
    3. another word for Jewish

  22. yesspam Says:

    Anti-Semitism is a term whose most common usage typically is to describe anti-Jewish statements or beliefs. However, it is increasingly used by people who apply the word in reference to any Semitic people, especially as a reference to anti-Arabism.

  23. yesspam Says:

    To the linguist, archaeologist and anthropologist, Arabs and Jews are two semitic peoples with close links and similarities.

  24. yesspam Says:

    A Semite is any descendant of the original inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula,

    Read more:

    • Richard Gold Says:

      Yesspam – This is a silly point. The argument you put forward is used by people to claim that as Palestinians and Arabs are also semitic people that they can’t be antisemitic, that they can’t be antisemitic / racist against Israeli Jews or other Jews. If you accept this silly argument then likewise Jews can’t be racist against Palestinians or Arab people as they are all semitic and therefore can’t be antisemitic. But we all know that Jews can be racist against Arabs and Palestinians and that Palestinians and Arabs can be racist against Israeli Jews and other Jews. So please go away as i’ve better things to do than moderate this rubbish based on semantics.

  25. Professor Gibbs, Failure To Address The Issues. | ModernityBlog Says:

    […] clever people making intelligent points and I confess to being a fan of Engage, where some witty or informative exchanges are to be found. I had hoped that this guest post would be equally sharp and illuminating, sadly it […]

  26. wolfhound Says:

    I don’t get the furore over the Patterson piece. So she found the Jews of Stoke Newington or wherever rude and standoffish. What’s your problem ? I’m Irish and if an English journalist wrote a piece about a particularily drunken Irish area of London, most of the blogs in Lreland would have two reactions :
    1) English racist…how dare she !!
    2) She’s right… our culture unfortunately is too bound up in it.
    But here it’s the giant chip on the shoulder thing. I don’t get it.

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