55 minus 30: Yes, it really is (Part the Second)

Posted: 18 July 2019 in 55 minus, antisemitism
Tags: , ,

(For part the first, click here; for part the third, click here)

Last week, I wrote a piece about how despite the claims of antisemites and those who defend, support, and campaign for them, some imagery which they claim not to be antisemitic often is.

Longer opening explanation in that post, but, basically:

…criticising Israel [its government/politicians/polices/military] isn’t per se antisemitic.

BUT… if that criticism is expressed using the same words, the same lies and/or the same imagery, as has been used for literally centuries to demonise Jews, yeah that’s antisemitic, Israel references or no.

And if you insist on expressing your criticism by using classic, age old, antisemitic tropes and themes, antisemitic imagery or antisemitic canards…

Well then, yeah, folks – me among them – are going to justifiably say, “yeah, antisemitism”. Note that: justifiably.

That entry, and some others in the run going forward, was going to address the flat out lie that using imagery based upon age old antisemitic tropes is magically not antisemitic if you replace “Jews” with “Zionists” or “Israel”.

Or, say, “Rothschilds”.

Because it is [still] antisemitic if you do that.

Yes. It really is.

So let’s talk about The Rothschilds

Ah. Yeah. I suppose this was an obvious and inevitable one to do.

Don’t know who they are? They’re a very wealthy family. Like lots of others.

They’re also Jewish. Like not quite so many others.

Like not quite so many other people.

On a slight tangent, the true number of Jews in the UK, in the US, on the planet(!) has become more widely known in recent years, but even now, people usually hugely overestimate the number of Jewish people in the UK.

Intelligent, sensible people, when asked “how many Jews do you think there are in the UK?” often, surprisingly often, get the number not only wrong, but wildly so.

I’ve asked friends of mine on occasion.

Just the straight questions: how many Jews are there in the UK? (And if they’re from Scotland or Wales, ‘how many Jews live in your country?’)

Stop just for a second, if you need to, and take a wild guess.

OK, guessed?

Well, the numbers suggested to me over the years by friends, by people I know, have ranged from ‘a million’ in the UK, to ‘…three million?’. A million and a half is the usual number offered. For context, that’d be about 2 percent of the population.

And in Scotland? A very Scottish, very smart, friend recently admitted he didn’t have a clue, but said he’d be ‘amazed’ if it was 250,000 Jews in Scotland, but that was his top range guess. (Higher than the usual suggestion of around 150,000. 150,000 is about 2½% of the Scottish population)

A Welsh friend recently suggested 15k for Wales, about the average offered to me for Wales; about half a percent of the population.

The actual numbers? About 280,000 Jews in the United Kingdom, under half a percent of the total population.

In Scotland? Under 6,000 Jews live there, almost all of them in Glasgow and Edinburgh; that’s about 0.1% of the Scottish population

In Wales? 2,000… in total; about 0.06% of the population of Wales.

Anyways, as I always say when I’ve spent longer on a digression than I intended.

Anyways… back to The Rothschilds.

For once, we have a pretty definite date for the creation of a specific antisemitic myth. Not the whole ‘Jews and money’ thing; that goes back more generations, more centuries still, and maybe I’ll do a post on that later.

But The Rothschild ‘myth’, and its use as a specific antisemitic trope, dates back to 1846, thirty years after The Battle of Waterloo.

Yeah, almost 200 years. It’s nothing new, and the pretence that using “Rothschild Zionists” means that the term isn’t antisemitic fools no-one, David Icke… but then, of course, it’s very much not meant to.

There’s a pretty good – and understandable – history of the trope, the lies, the provable falshoods, here: The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?

My only quibble? It hasn’t been dismissed, not at all; for, sadly, the libel and antisemitic trope is still alive and well.

But let’s go back into history for the first set of images.

Remember the first pic in the Cephalopods post last week? Here it is again:

Now look at the following three pics, all of which pre-date the establishment of The State of Israel in 1948.

See any familiar names?

That’s a caricature of… James de Rothschild.

How about in the following?

So, a centuries old antisemitic conspiracy theory about the wealthiest family secretly controlling banks, governments, countries.

Let’s bring it up to date.

(Note the ultimate puppet-master in that last one. It’s notable that as some – not all, but some – have realised that ‘shit, they’re on to us if we use ‘Rothschilds’… they’ve switched to using the name of Soros… but yeah, even then it often comes back, in the end, to guess who?)

Here’s a modern post using a “Jews stabbing in the back’ image from the end of the first world war… Of course they had to make it even more specific, because why wouldn’t they?

Oh, and the numerous “The Rothschilds own all the media organisations!” as well.

And then there’s this, still doing the rounds today.

Huh. A reference to Waterloo; what, you thought the ‘Napoleon’ reference was a coincidence? It’s never a coincidence.

Oh, by the way, I wasn’t exaggerating for effect when I said it’s still doing the rounds today.

The wording on the image of Jacob R – the nonsense about central banks, the financing north sids of wars, the 500 trillion dollars (I’ve seen it with ‘500 trillion pounds’ as well) – has been comprehensively debunked so many bloody times, and yet somehow that hasn’t stopped the bullshit being propagated.

Because of course it doesn’t. Debunking antisemitic tropes, smears and libels, never stops the antisemitism. Because antisemites like being antisemitic. I’m surprised how often that point is missed.

If debunking antisemitism and antisemitic tropes stopped antisemites being antisemitic,

  1. there’d be no antisemitism any more and
  2. my hat¹, life would be a lot easier for Jews.
  3. Antisemites wouldn’t be able to be antisemitic; and they really, really like being antisemitic.

(¹No, I don’t own a hat. No, I’m not going to buy a hat. Stop telling me to buy a hat!)

Here’s another image, this one on Facebook, reposted by a Labour councillor in October 2016. Look familiar?

An Australian candidate for the Senate had posted something similar, in the same October:

And in 2017? A serving Labour councillor – and former parliamentary candidate… oh, and a confirmed ‘it’s not antisemitic if you don’t say JEWS!’ Labour member…

He posted it saying it “had a lot of truth”.

And then protested that he wasn’t antisemitic.

Thing is, if you use or promote any of the images above, you don’t get to say they’re not antisemitic. You just don’t. Not without lying. Because those who use them know they’re antisemitic

That’s why they use them.

As with last week, two final points.

So how can I criticise Israel without being antisemitic? Glad you asked. There are loads of good sites out there on the subject; I like this one, as it happens: How to Criticise Israel Without Being Anti-Semitic.

Secondly, and following on from the above, it’s so easy to criticise Israel, Zionism, and indeed capitalism, without being antisemitic, that when folks do insist on using antisemitic canards, tropes, and imagery…

…one is forced to conclude that it’s the antisemitism that’s important to them, not the criticism.

More images, a different trope, a very, very nasty one, next week.

But something entirely different, however, tomorrow.

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to my fifty-fifth birthday on 17th August 2019. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here.

  1. […] part the second, click here; for part the third, click […]

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