Guest-post – The opinions expressed in the article below do not necessarily reflect the view of Quilliam.
If you’re interested in writing for the Quilliam blog, please email your submission to [email protected]
There is a great film I absolutely adored as a kid. Wild eyed and smirking behind a thick grey beard, Fagin lurks like a fallen angel in the shadowy underworld of Dickensian London. He mutters over gold crowns, speaks in slurred cockney, and is head to toe a completely filthy, disgusting anti-Semitic stereotype. It’s absolutely the most shockingly racist character I’ve ever seen portrayed in western film since Rudolph Valentino’s The Sheikh. They are similar in many ways; lustful, perverted, driven by greed and barbarism against the poor white innocent virgins and children they corrupt. Poor Arabs don’t really get a great wrap, for all the hollering protestations from the It’s-Just-a-Film lot. With dark thick eyebrows and smirking evil laughs, western Jews in film aren’t exactly that different from how they are portrayed in Iranian-Islamist animations. So by all accounts, Oliver should be banned, right? For hate speech?
Aha, no, I hear you say, because the guy who played Fagin was Jewish. Jewish to the bone. Ron Moody was staggeringly Jewish, by gene, faith, culture and profession. A brilliant man, a funny, witty, talented man. If he performed the character, of course it isn’t racist. Of course it doesn’t reinforce anti-Semitic views about them being gold-hoarding-thieving and immoral. Why would a Jew play a character like that?
It’s not a new argument; what is anti-Semitic, and what is just a comment? Creativity? Freedom? I mean let’s face it, Israel has done some seriously gross things. If you try and justify killing a man rather than arresting him in a democracy (even if said person is a massive anti-Jewish Islamist) I’m not going to back you up. Of course there shouldn’t be a bloody great wall between Palestine and Israel. None of that is wrong for you to say, or wrong for you to suggest, same is it wasn’t anti-Semitic of Charles Dickens to mirror a Jewish thief at a time when some Jewish refugees from Russia were behaving pretty badly in London.
So go ahead, tell the world that Madelaine Hanson, open Zionist Jew-loving yid-campaigner with Israeli loved ones and friends gave you permission to criticise Israel and to express the world you see around you, including antagonistic Jews. Because, like every other races on this earth, there are good Jews and bad Jews. There are fat Jews, thin Jews, communist Jews, capitalist Jews, Jews who hate cheese and Jews who believe that a life without cheddar is a meagre existence. Go on, go ahead, talk about them, laugh with them, accept them as humans with the full and thick human soup of ethics and personality that comes with all of us.
But accept when you have gone too far. Accept when you post ‘nuke Israel’ you are supporting the murder of 6 million civilians. Accept you are telling me that you want little babies, children, old people, mothers, daughters, husbands, all dead on account of not liking their government. Accept when you tell my partner that he’s being a Nazi you are telling him he is being the same person who mercilessly killed his ancestors and left his world broken. Accept when you talk about the ‘Jews running the world’ that you are ignoring all the white, Muslim, black and Christian billionaires and governments who commit evil things as much as any Jewish ones.
Accept you are getting your information from sources that regularly issue statements about blood libels (Jewish people making bread from Muslim children’s blood, it’s nonsense.) Accept you are ignoring the many countries where your race, sexuality, gender, religion and nationality means you face genocide, stoning and imprisonment. You may hate Israel for Palestine, but why no outrage for Kashmir or gay Pakistanis? Or Yazidi Christians? Or Sudanese workers in Qatar? Is that not apartheid, oppression? Think about what you share, how much, and why. You may not mean to be one sided, but my Lord it can make you an anti-Semite.
Let me explain.
If I post: The Iranian’s must be PUNISHED BY WAR for their genocide against Christians and Jews and gay people, they are evil Islamists who deserve to be nuked!
You would correctly think I’m a raving anti-Muslim nutter.
If I post: The Israeli scum must be PUNISHED BY WAR for their genocide against Palestinians, they are all evil Zionists who deserve to be nuked!
You may well think it’s more acceptable, or at the very least not anti-Semitic, just political.
But isn’t the context more important? The hatred in the language you use? The issues you choose to care about?
Charles Dickens summed it up the best, I think.
“No one is useless in this world who chooses to lighten the burden of another.”
To read more articles on our blog, please click here.