Posts Tagged ‘yes it really is’

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

Last week, and the week before, I wrote a couple of entries 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. Not always, but often.

Longer opening explanation in those posts, 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, sorry, but people – me among them – are going to justifiably say, “yeah, antisemitism”. Note that: justifiably.

Those entries, and some others in the run going forward, were addressing the falsehood, the flat out lie, that using imagery based upon age old antisemitic tropes is automagically not antisemitic if you replace “Jews” with “Zionists” or “Israel” or “Rothschilds”.

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

Yes. It really is.


Of course sometimes, the allusion is so blatant, the trope so horrifying, the imagery so repulsive, that a perfectly reasonable person sees it and has an understandable reaction of

‘What the Actual Fuck? No… I mean, surely not, no-one could actually mean that, could they!?? It must be a mistake; it must be ignorance.’

Sadly, it’s not a mistake. Sadly they do mean that.

What trope? What imagery? What allusion?

What lie?

Well, let’s talk about The Blood Libel

I’m not quite sure how long this post is going to be, while I’m currently writing it. It could be a long one, and it could end up being running into a post next week.

Because it was only when I started writing this post that I realised that there are three distinct parts to The Blood Libel as it’s been historically used, and continues to be used today.

1. The Blood Libel in and of itself: that Jews kill non Jewish children in order to take and use their blood to make Passover matzoh.

I’ll just pause for a moment to let that sink in, if you’ve not come across it before as bluntly as that.

“…that Jews kill non Jewish children in order to take and use their blood to make Passover matzoh.”

Yes. That’s a thing.

Sorry if you’re just coming to this out of the blue; I know, you were were happily reading a silly story I posted, or read my fuming about the orange poltroon or the blond bullshitter and now you’re about to have a crash course in an antisemitic libel that ranks among the most libelly, erm, libellous, erm…

Anyway.

2. That Jews celebrate the above; that Jews are specifically, uniquely and particularly, bloodthirsty.

Oh yes. That’s an old favourite, derived from 1. above but it’s absolutely staked out its own little territory over the centuries

3. That Jews harvest organs and body parts not limited to, but in the service, of 1. and 2. above.

A modern take on both 1 and 2, again, alluding back but very much of the present.

So, I’m going to take each one in turn, show historical depictions of them and then, as usual, show you the modern identical equivalents, to demonstrate that the use was, is, and always will be, antisemitic in intention and motivation.

All right then.

So…

1. The Blood Libel in and of itself: that Jews kill non Jewish children in order to take their blood to make Passover matzoh.

The canard, the lie, the bullshit, that Jews kill non-Jewish children in order to take their blood to make Passover matzoh is particularly tasteless, if that’s the right word to use.

Here’s a thing, though: the drinking of blood is a strong prohibition in Judaism. Not kidding; it’s absolutely forbidden, under all circumstances.

To pervert that into a religious obligation to drink children’s blood, is antisemitic both in tone and intent; it’s to deny Jews their Judaism by saying Judaism is itself evil and perverted; it’s maliciously false, and whats more it’s saying that Judaism is a lie that Jews know is a lie.

Tasteless barely begins to describe it.

(Perhaps appropriately and amusingly, though, “tasteless” does, in fact, fairly describe matzoh; it’s been said, with some justification, that you get more taste from eating the cardboard packaging.)

This Blood Libel stretches back over the centuries.

No, I mean it: centuries.

In 1144, almost 900 years ago, a young boy who has become known to history as “William of Norwich” was murdered. It was said, and believed by many at the time, that Jews had murdered him for… yeah, you guesssed. The image above is a supposed depiction of the scene as is this.

A century later, almost two dozen Jews were hanged after a young boy was found in a well. In the Italian town of Trent, Jews were burned at the stake, or beheaded after allegaions that Jews had killed a 2-year-old named Simon and used his blood to make matzoh.

I don’t intend to go into a full, detailed history of every example where The Blood Libel became popular among the populace, although I recommend reading up on it in detail when you have the time.

For once, Wikipedia’s article on it ain’t that bad at all. But there are better…

However, while the middle ages may have been the first traceable examples, they certainly weren’t the last.

The Blood Libel reached down through the centuries, infecting new generations and new societies.

Wherever there were Jews, there was The Blood Libel.

And wherever Jews were expelled, there was The Blood Libel.

And wherever pogroms occured, wherever Jews were murdered, wherever Jews were slaughtered, individually or en masse… there was The Blood Libel.

But the antisemitic imagery, in sculpture, in drawings, in paintings, in engravings, continued…

Those last two? Yeah, they pop up quite a bit. You’ll never guess where.

Oh, you guessed.

But surely, I hear you cry, no-one believes that now! No-one spreads that libel, no-one propagates the Blood Libel NOW? No one claims Jews kill children in order to use their blood to make Passover matzoh not NOW? Not these days?

Now, now, you really ought to know better by now.

Not all that long ago, a then Conservative Councillor from St Ives – fella by the name of Rawlinson — asked how we could “be absolutely sure that this didn’t occur in some bizarre sectlet of Judaism”.

Yep.

A serving councillor, an elected councillor, in the UK, asked that question. Of me. Well, of me and the others on CompuServe’s UK Politics Forum.

When the wrath of the Forum operators, and – to be fair – almost everyone in the Forum, fell upon him, he responded with the defence offered by all racists:

I was only asking a question…

It was an early lesson to a standard tactic used by antisemites. Not only antisemites, of course; bigots or all stripes use the faux-enquiry bullshit in order to spread their own bullshit.

Here’s a screenshot from a Facebook page entitled Jewish Ritual Murder (subtitled ‘The Truth About Jews”).

In 2014, by the way Facebook decided that the page did not violate their “community guidelines”.

It was finally deleted by them last year.

Last year. 2018.

But the past couple of years? Oh yeah, it’s still around.

And now we come to the “ah, but if I say it’s ISRAEL, it’s not antisemitic, even if I’m using antisemitic canards, antisemitic imagery, used to lie about Jews.”

You know, like saying they delight in blood, that they drink blood, that they employ blood to get what they want… that they kill to get and use the blood…

Like this.

Blood…

Blood…

Blood…

Ah, students… bless them.

 

Look, however angry, however furious, you are about Israel’s actions, the moment you start putting CHILD KILLERS on the door of a British synagogue, don’t pretend it’s not antisemitic. You forfeit that right. Because a) you’re not protesting to the Israelis, and b) you’re not showing your anger: you’re being antisemitic.

And whatever your views on Bibi Netanyahu, however you loathe and detest him, however flat out evil you consider him… if you want to condemn him… is it really necessary to go with the fucking Blood Libel?

Oh, you think it is, do you? Yeah, I’ll say antisemitic… justifiably so.

(What, you thought the vampire thing is a coincidence? Please…)

If you use or promote or even give credence to the idea that Jews kill non-Jews to use their blood to make matzoh, you don’t get to say it’s not antisemitic. You just don’t. Not without lying. Because those who do so know it’s antisemitic.

That’s why they do it.

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.

I did say that this would probably stretch into two posts; more images, on a different expression of the blood libel canard, next week.

But something entirely different, however, and distinctly more pleasant, 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.

(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.

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

I’ve been going back and forth on this one. But last night’s Panorama programme about antisemitism inside the Labour Party tipped the balance.

No, I’m not going to write about that today, neither the programme itself nor the details therein, save for one small reference towards the end of this post; maybe soon, but not today.

Some years ago, I wrote a piece about antisemitism in the UK, and how it’s risen, and how it’s not uncommon – some would aver often – for criticism of Israel (used as a metonym for its government, PM, military, laws, politicians) to ‘cross the line’ into overt antisemitism.

Now, whenever this does happen, whenever antisemitic criticism – not criticism itself, but overtly, blatantly, antisemitic criticism – is highlighted, you can guarantee two responses:

  1. “Oh, you just don’t want any criticism of Israel!”, and
  1. “You’re making up false allegations of antisemitism to prevent any criticism of Israel; you always do that!”

How best to respond?

Bollocks. Oh, ok, yeah, that works.

Unfettered, unmitigated, unreserved… bollocks.

(The second of those responses above is known in the UK, among the Jewish community as ‘The Livingstone Formulation’, since it’s been deployed by Kenneth-of-that-Clan for decades.)

I don’t know how often it has to be said but apparently at least once more is necessary even before I read the comments to this piece: criticising Israel [its government/politicians/polices/military] isn’t per se antisemitic. How could it be? It’s no more inherently anti-Jewish to criticise the actions of a Jewish state than it’s anti-Christian to condemn the UK government – of a still formally Christian country – for the ‘Bedroom tax’, or to criticise its Prime Minister, or to criticise the actions of the UK’s military.

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.

So what do I mean, when I say the ‘same imagery?

Do I mean ‘similar’? Nope, I mean the same. The same hooknosed caricatures of ‘zionists’, the same ‘gorging on blood’ images of Netanyahu (a politician I loathe, not that it should make the slightest difference) that have been used to demean, disparage… demonise Jews via the Blood Libel for centuries.

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

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

Yes. It really is.

You want to criticise Israel? Its government, that government’s policies, its actions, its statements?

Go right ahead; I might even agree with you on the criticisms. I might not, but hey, there’s lots of criticisms on any subject with which I agree… and some I don’t.

Seriously, go right ahead and criticise away. One small thing, though: Just don’t do it antisemitically. It’s not a lot to ask, I believe. Just don’t be antisemitic. Don’t express your criticism, your condemnation, by using the same canards, the same myths, the same fabrications, the same images, used to condemn, excoriate, and falsely disparage Jews for hundreds of years in some cases, longer in others.

Don’t do it using a decades’ old, sometimes centuries’ old, antisemitic trope. Don’t do it with classic antisemitic themes, antisemitic imagery or antisemitic canards.

If you’re going to do that, then, yeah, folks – me among them – are going to justifiably say, “yeah, antisemitism”. Note that: justifiably.

So… in some blog entries over the remainder of this run, this place is going to give examples of antisemitism that – in some cases pre-dating Israel’s existence – criticise Jews and then show exactly the same modern criticism, only with “Jews” clumsily replaced by “Zionists” or “Israel”.

Ok then. Let’s get started.


Let’s start with: Cephalopods

I don’t know what antisemites have against cephalopods; I really don’t. They seem pretty harmless to me, although an octopus’s three hearts do really freak me out, I’ll be honest.

But cephalopods (the octopus, the kraken, the squid) have been used as a symbol of “Jewish power” by antisemites for over a century.

It’s used, I guess, to indicate, both the alleged secret way Jews have supposedly infiltrated everything from any established previously ‘clean’ system – the media, banks, the press, democracy – to a named county, to even a planet. (No, you didn’t misread that. Yes, I said a planet.)

And also, I guess again, that Jews somehow cling on to things?

I dunno.

Logic and facts are not two things antisemites are that fond of, I’ve found.

(Someone I know wondered a while back where all the smart, intelligent antisemites were, because they only came across “fucking idiots” online. I have some sympathy with that view, but I think that, dark humour aside, it’s giving the ‘smart’ ones far too much credit.)

But anyway, take a look at the first set of pictures below.

They’re old, really old, and are explicit in their Jew hatred.



Hitler – yeah, be fair; you knew he’d be along sooner or later – made plain his views on Jewish power, metaphorically using… oh, you guessed.

“If our people and our state become the victim of these bloodthirsty and avaricious Jewish tyrants of nations, the whole earth will sink into the snares of this octopus; if Germany frees herself from this embrace, this greatest of dangers to nations may be regarded as broken for the whole world,”- Mein Kampf

The next pic comes from that time….

(Sometimes they start with an octopus and I dunno, figure a spider is better… or they can’t draw tentacles?

But yeah, a hook nosed, caricature of a Jew. (And of course the spider has links to ‘vermin’ and lots-of-people-are-scared-of, which may form another post in the run.)

But the pics above are just half a dozen of literally thousands, if not tens of thousands, of examples in history.

Oh, let me quickly address one apparent confusion among some:

Two pics:

The one on the left (on top if viewing on mobile) is the Israeli Flag. The one underneath (on the right) is the Star of David I wear around my neck, a 21st birthday present. The former is the symbol of The State of Israel. The latter is a symbol associated with Jews and Judaism back to the days of the Bible. In Hebrew, it’s not called a Star of David, but a Magen David (pronounced Moggain Dovid), a Shield of David, because that’s what was painted on the shields of King David.

The two share a six pointed star. The former has details not on the latter: a white background, a specific colour, stripes above and below.

If you use the magen david without all of the above…? Don’t pretend you’re referencing Israel; you’re not. You’re referencing Jews. And you know it.

Here’s another, more recent, picture.

Recognise anything?

Now, those who use, promote and post the pic would almost certainly – do, in fact – insist it’s aimed at Israel (the AIPAC in the background would ostensibly seem to agree.) And it may well be ‘aimed at Israel’… but it’s not only aimed at Israel. Which is the point.

It’s using age old antisemitic imagery used for centuries to attack Jews as well, and the people who created the image and those who promote it, distribute it, send it around, use it on social media, defend it… they know it means Jews.

But surely they don’t always know?

Let me introduce you to Kayla Bibby who posted the attached on social media.

OK, it’s the facehugger from Alien movies, but it’s just the latest iteration. Hey, look, there’s a Star of David… not on a flag, not with a white background, not with stripes above and below.

Huh. How about that?

But did she know that it means ‘Jews’?

Well, for once we have a concrete answer to the question. The image comes from a far right website which was crystal in its clarity that yes indeed it was about Jews. The article it accompanied described Jews – not zionists not Israelis, but Jews – as “parasitic” and said they were to blame for “financial heists of entire nations”.

Ah, but how was Ms Bibb–

She contacted the site and specifically asked permission to use it.

Ah. Yes, ok then.

Ms Bibby actively sought this image out, requested its use… from a site which specifically said it was about Jews.

(By the way, the Labour Party first said that the image wasn’t antisemitic, and that neither was she, and chose to not even suspend her; they merely issued a “reminder of conduct”. Only after outrage at this decision – and her MP, Louise Ellman, raising it at a parliamentary party meeting – was she eventually, over the original protests of the leadership’s office, suspended.)

If you use those images, any images like them, you don’t get to say they’re not antisemitic. You just don’t. Not without lying. Because those who use it know the images are antisemitic.

That’s why they use them.

Two final points to make today.

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, and its government, ministers, military, etc., 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, 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.