Stephen Pollard’s Strange View of Antisemitism

Mehdi Hassan piece cross posted from the New Statesman blog, original here.

Stephen Pollard has a rather strange piece in the Daily Telegraph. In a surprising and misconceived attempt to defend (!) Polish MEP Michal Kaminski from accusations of anti-Semitism, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle ends up making this rather bizarre point in the very final paragraph:

“Far from being an anti-Semite, Mr Kaminski is about as pro-Israeli an MEP as exists.”

Eh? Why on earth does he suddenly refer to Israel here? Is he really so naive that he thinks supporters of Israel can’t be anti-Semitic at the same time? If so, I would point him in the direction of the pro-Israeli, but nonetheless anti-Semitic, BNP. As Ruth Smeed, of the Board of Deputies, has said:

“The BNP website is now one of the most Zionist on the web – it goes further than any of the mainstream parties in its support of Israel and at the same time demonises Islam and the Muslim world.”

Or, perhaps, is he implicitly arguing that being pro-Israeli is now a litmust test for being a philo-Semite, rather than an anti-Semite? If so, he is treading down a dangerous path. Critics of Israel are often accused of blurring the line between Israelis and Jews, of conflating Zionism and Judaism, but, as I have often argued, it is Israel’s supporters across the world who often do so – and do so in such a brazen and shameless manner.

I, for example, am a supporter, admirer and friend of the Jews but a longstanding critic of Israel. Mr Kaminski, on the other hand, seems to be a supporter of Israel but a longstanding opponent of the Jews. Does Mr Pollard get the difference?

(On a related note, the irony, of course, is that the ideological forefather of Israel, and founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl surrounded himself and his political project with some of Europe’s leading anti-Semites, stating in his “Diaries” that “Anti-Semites will become our surest friends, anti-Semitic countries our allies.”)

ps
see here for Jewdas listed as a ‘reason to be cheerful’ in the New Statesman Blog

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2 thoughts on “Stephen Pollard’s Strange View of Antisemitism

  • from the artice:

    “There are few things more despicable than anti-Semitism, but here’s one of them: using a false charge of anti-Semitism for political gain.”

    it ain’t get better then that..

  • Good article! I have often wondered if the “West’s” blind support for Israel has its basis in wanted the Jews “over there” rather than “over here”.

    Can one be neutro-semitic? Isn’t it possible that one neither likes nor dislikes a person on the basis of faith/sex/race /whatever, but on the basis of her/his actions. I dislike Netanyahu, but admire Daniel Barenboim, but not on account of religion, race or national identity.

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