CST statement on the FA verdict regarding Nicolas Anelka

February 27th, 2014 by CST

Nicolas Anelka has rightly been found guilty of introducing an ugly antisemitic gesture into British football. We acknowledge Anelka’s denial of antisemitic intent, but his action was clear and the FA’s zero tolerance approach to racism meant there could be no other outcome. This verdict sends a strong message to Jewish players and supporters at all levels of the game that the FA will act against antisemitic acts if they are reported.

CST made a formal complaint to the FA on the day that Anelka made his Quenelle salute and we have kept in regular contact with the FA throughout this process, including supplying them with information about the Quenelle and its inventor, the French comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala. Working with our partners in the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, we successfully asked the Home Secretary to ban Dieudonné from travelling to the UK.

We are pleased to see that this process has now reached a satisfactory conclusion with today’s guilty verdict. Although we acknowledge Anelka’s insistence that he did not intend his Quenelle to be antisemitic, the FA has a zero tolerance policy for racism in football and it is vital that this principle is applied equally to antisemitism as it is to other forms of racism. Today’s verdict sends out the right message to Jewish footballers and supporters and we will continue to work with the FA and other partners to eradicate antisemitism from football.

You can read CST’s coverage of this affair on the CST Blog here and here, and a more in-depth analysis by CST’s Deputy Director of Communications here.

Rankin: developments

February 14th, 2014 by Mark Gardner

Yesterday’s CST blog (scroll below, or see here) covered allegations by the celebs’ photographer Rankin about movie stars running scared of the power of American “Jewish zealots“.

Today’s Telegraph carries an apology from Rankin:

In an interview that was set up with The Independent about the launch of [a fashion magazine], I regret responding so glibly to off-topic questions on such a difficult and sensitive subject. Of course this is not my official position and I apologise wholeheartedly for my use of language and any offence this may have caused.

The article includes this quote from CST:

It’s allegations about Jewish power over the media that distinguishes anti-Semitism from other forms of racism.

Rankin may well not be an anti-Semite, in which case he should learn not to spread the stink of antisemitic claims about Jews running the media and Hollywood.

The Independent, which carried the offensive claims, today published this letter from CST:

Your article about Scarlett Johansson (Rankin and a new take on why Scarlett quit Oxfam) and the supposed “power of a far right pro-lsrael lobby within the US” was redolent of openly antisemitic smears about Jews running Hollywood and the media.

Worse, the article relied upon quotes by the photographer Rankin that actually made no mention of “pro-Israel”. Instead, you quoted him saying “the Jewish zealots are so powerful” and “the main problem for me in all this is that kind of extreme Judaism”.

Rankin is as “a humanitarian”, so is no antisemite, but he seems to repeats antisemitic conspiracy theory. What a fitting snapshot of antisemitism today.

All of which should help to draw a line under this, but who would bet how much time will pass before a mainstream UK media outlet carries another such article, in one form or another. (The AIPAC conference starts on 2nd March, so anybody betting beyond that date will likely be on a loser.)

Independent: Rankin’s snapshot of antisemitism today

February 13th, 2014 by Mark Gardner

Today’s Independent carries an interview with celebrity photographer, Rankin. He inadvertently provides a brilliant snapshot of the paradox that underpins so much of today’s antisemitism.

Rankin speaks as “a humanitarian”, so presumably is no antisemite. Nevertheless, he repeats antisemitic conspiracy theory. That is the snapshot. It shows how modern (and old) antisemitism is about conspiracy theory, rather than race theory. As so often, the focus is against American Jews.

This is what it boils down to:

Jewish zealots…so powerful…kind of extreme Judaism…They will blacklist you…pro-Palestinian? F**king forget it…

Single names tend to denote Brazilian footballers, famous dead Russians, or really cool people – Rankin is the latter, a leading British photographer of fashionistas and luvvies.

Entitled “Rankin and a new take on why Scarlett quit Oxfam“, the Independent article by Jenn Selby quotes him as saying that Scarlett Johansson chose the Israeli company SodaStream over Oxfam because:

in America, the Jewish zealots are so powerful. Especially in the entertainment industry…what they could do to her career

Selby interviewed Rankin at length. In her article, she writes of his concerns, because apparently “the power of a far right pro-Israel lobby within the US makes it increasingly tough for creative artists to take the ethical high ground in favour of Palestinians“.

Actually, nowhere is Rankin actually quoted as saying “far right pro-Israel“. This appears to be Selby’s paraphrasing or interpretation of his remarks. Did the Independent notice this? Did Selby? It all shows how permeable the boundaries are. Rankin is also quoted as saying:

The main problem for me in all this is that kind of extreme Judaism.

What is this “kind of extreme Judaism“? He continues:

That extreme belief that this [ie Israel / Palestine] is their homeland and those people [ie Palestinians] are worthless to them. That’s very powerful in America. They will blacklist you. Its worse than McCarthyism. Are you pro-Palestinian? Forget it?

(The website version goes further than the print version, quoting, “You are pro-Palestinian? F**king forget it“.)

Of course, we can presume that Rankin is no antisemite. He tells us he is “fascinated from a humanitarian perspective” and is “just about human beings“. Nevertheless, here he is aping the blatant antisemitic smear about Jews running the media and Hollywood. It is all so typical of what Brendan O’Neill recently described as:

not a resurrection of old, explicitly racial fears of the Jews, but rather the mainstreaming of the [antisemitic] conspiratorial imagination

The antisemitic conspiratorial imagination is amplified by Rankin’s explanation of how this all supposedly works:

People have said to me that if you go to Palestine you will be put on a list and it doesn’t matter if you’re a humanitarian. You will be put on a list…I’m just about human beings.

Note the opener, “people have said to me…You will be put on a list“. And that is the conspiracy done.

Like all good photographers, Rankin has captured the essence of things.

Rankin names nobody. Not Steven Spielberg, not Aaron Sorkin and certainly not Woody Allen. Had he done so, perhaps the Independent’s lawyers would have stepped in on libel grounds. Instead, we can join the dots:

Jewish zealots…so powerful…kind of extreme Judaism…They will blacklist you…pro-Palestinian? F**king forget it…You will be put on a list.

Finally, it is deeply depressing to see this in the Independent. Any newspaper that regularly publishes Howard Jacobson’s stunning deconstructions and analyses of antisemitism cannot be simply dismissed as unknowing, far less as antisemitic. Similarly, its recent articles on French antisemite Dieudonne have been amongst the most impressive of any UK media outlet…and yet, it still photoshopped and published this repellent snapshot.

 

CST hate crime report: good news, but the heat is still on

February 7th, 2014 by CST

The Jewish Chronicle carries this opinion piece below by CST’s Director of Communications, Mark Gardner, analysing CST’s latest annual Antisemitic Incidents Report (download report pdf here).

For once, the antisemitism headlines are good news, “CST reports incidents down by 18 per cent”.

At CST, we welcome the fall, but know that many of the 529 incidents involve very upsetting cases. Furthermore, surveys show that only one in four incidents is actually reported, either to CST or to the police.

Nevertheless, 18 per cent is a good decline by any standards. So what happened and what does it mean?

The quick answer is that antisemitic crimes did indeed fall, but don’t read too much into it. To explain why, consider three overlapping factors.

Firstly, the worst antisemitism increases surround Israel and major Jewish issues. Thankfully, 2013 was relatively peaceful, with no big “triggers” for antisemitic surges. But ongoing Israeli-Palestinian talks end by May; and the situations with Syria and Iran could easily worsen. Here in Britain, wide-eyed anti-Israel passions continue, as do malign chatter against Jews and Zionists. The lid stayed on the antisemitic pressure cooker in 2013, but the heat is still on.

Secondly, Government statistics show a fall of 10 per cent in crime levels overall for 2013. Anti-social behaviour orders are having a real impact against the type of thugs who often perpetrate antisemitism. Confusingly, the pattern is inconsistent. There were falls in London, Hertfordshire, Birmingham and Glasgow. Manchester, Leeds and Gateshead were almost static. Liverpool worsened.

Thirdly, and far harder to measure, there is the impact of CST and our many partners. The effect of constant, resolute opposition to antisemitism can only be positive. For example, the reactions against Nicolas Anelka’s recent gesture in support of French antisemite, Dieudonné, have been far better than we would have expected even five years ago, showing that our messages about modern antisemitism are getting through.

Fittingly, all of this learning comes together on campus. In 2013, campus incidents fell by a hugely welcome 73 per cent (from 33 to nine). Student fees and budget cuts were simply bigger issues than Israel.

Years of consistent hard work by CST, Jewish students and others have helped persuade universities and student unions to emphasise inclusivity; and many hate speakers have been calmly turned away.

Of course, circumstances can change, but for now let us be totally positive in our Jewish identity, whether on campus or anywhere else.

CST Antisemitic Incidents Report 2013

February 6th, 2014 by CST

Incidents Report 2013

CST’s Antisemitic Incidents Report 2013 is published today and shows an 18% fall in the number of antisemitic incidents recorded in the United Kingdom in 2013 compared to 2012.

CST recorded 529 antisemitic incidents across the country during 2013, compared to 649 incidents in 2012. A further 465 reports were received but were not deemed to be antisemitic and are not included in this total.

CST has recorded antisemitic incidents in the UK since 1984. The highest annual total in that period came in 2009, when 931 antisemitic incidents were recorded by CST.

There has been no change in CST’s recording systems or patterns of incident reporting to explain this fall, which is most likely to reflect a genuine decrease in the number of antisemitic incidents that took place in the United Kingdom during 2013, when compared to 2012. The previous year had seen two ‘trigger events’ that caused the number of recorded incidents to temporarily increase, or ‘spike’. These were the shooting of three Jewish children and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, in March 2012, and an escalation in fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza and southern Israel in November 2012. There were no such spikes in 2013, which is the most obvious explanation for the overall decrease in incidents.

It is likely that there is significant underreporting of antisemitic incidents to both CST and the Police, and that the number of antisemitic incidents that took place is significantly higher than the number recorded in this report. The EU Fundamental Rights Agency 2013 survey of Jewish experiences and perceptions of antisemitism in the EU found that 72% of British Jews who had experienced antisemitic harassment over the previous five years had not reported it to the Police or to any other organisation; 57% of British Jews who had experienced antisemitic violence or the threat of violence had not reported it; and 46% of British Jews who had suffered antisemitic vandalism to their home or car had not reported it. The same survey also found that, over the previous 12 months, 21 per cent of British Jews had suffered antisemitic harassment, 3 per cent had suffered antisemitic violence or the threat of violence and 2 per cent had experienced antisemitic vandalism to their home or car. Similarly, the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimates that around 40% of all hate crimes come to the attention of the Police.

The 529 antisemitic incidents recorded in 2013 included 69 violent antisemitic assaults, the same number as was recorded in 2012 and the lowest number of antisemitic assaults recorded in a single year since 2003. None were classified as ‘Extreme Violence’, which would involve a threat to life or grievous bodily harm (GBH).

There were 49 incidents of Damage & Desecration of Jewish property; 368 incidents of Abusive Behaviour, including verbal abuse, antisemitic graffiti, antisemitic abuse via social media and one-off cases of hate mail; 38 direct antisemitic threats; and 5 cases of mass-mailed antisemitic leaflets or emails.

The most common single type of incident in 2013 involved verbal abuse randomly directed at visibly Jewish people in public. In 185 incidents, the victims were ordinary Jewish people, male or female, attacked or abused while going about their daily business in public places. In 89 of these incidents, the victims were visibly Jewish, usually due to their religious or traditional clothing, school uniform or jewellery bearing Jewish symbols.

Eighty-six of the 529 antisemitic incidents recorded involved the use of social media to transmit antisemitic threats or abuse, compared to 81 such incidents in 2012. Incidents involving the use of social media are only recorded by CST if they have been reported by a member of the public who fulfils the role of a victim or witness; if the comment shows evidence of antisemitic content, motivation or targeting; and if the offender is based in the United Kingdom or has directly targeted a UK-based victim.

The number of antisemitic incidents recorded in Greater London fell by 23%, from 318 antisemitic incidents in 2012 to 246 in 2013, while in Greater Manchester the number of recorded incidents rose slightly, with 172 incidents recorded in 2013 compared to 170 in 2012.

The Antisemitic Incidents Report 2013 can be downloaded in full here (pdf) and the Executive Summary can be downloaded here (pdf).

HighWycombe2

Antisemitic graffiti, High Wycombe, September 2013

 

The Unwelcome Arrival of the Quenelle

January 30th, 2014 by CST

CST’s Dave Rich has an article in the forthcoming edition of Fathom journal that discusses the new type of politics represented by Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala and the quenelle salute:

Originally from the political left, [Dieudonné] has moved via anti-Israel rhetoric and the fascist Front National (FN) to the establishment of his own Parti Anti Sioniste (PAS, or Anti-Zionist Party). Alongside him in the PAS is essayist and filmmaker Alain Soral, who underwent a similar journey from the Marxist left to the FN before finding a political home with Dieudonné.

There are not many political movements that can embrace the neo-fascist right, the anti-capitalist left, and Iranian revolutionary Islamism. Dieudonné is close to FN leaders—Jean Marie Le Pen is godfather to one of his children—while also attracting fans who consider themselves to be left-wing radicals. He was a guest in Tehran of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and received Iranian funding for a film project. Historically, movements that successfully pulled off this kind of balancing act have tended to rely on anti-Semitism as their glue, expressed through the lingua franca of conspiracist anti-Zionism, and PAS is no different.

Strikingly, for a party that calls itself anti-Zionist, PAS’s political program makes no direct mention of Israel or Palestine. This is parochial, patriotic anti-Zionism, in which Zionism is portrayed primarily as a subversive, corrupting presence in French society. Zionist influence, domination, pressure, and advocacy must all be eliminated from “la Nation,” in order to establish a society of justice, progress, and tolerance. Only then can  French power be restored at home and abroad. In 2009 PAS contested the European Elections on the slogan, to “Keep Europe free from censorship, communalism, speculators, and NATO.” In 2010 Dieudonné told Iran’s Press TV that France has been taken hostage by “the Zionist lobby.”

Dieudonné’s political vision could be mistaken for belonging to Europe’s radical right, but for the omission of immigration as a grievance. He could sit easily on the populist left, but for his friendship with the FN. His views carry echoes of the Third Positionist ideas developed by Nick Griffin and Roberto Fiore—who have both sat in the European Parliament—in the 1980s. He is emblematic of the a new, postCold War, post-9/11 radical politics, described by David Aaronovitch as “a loose coalition of impulses: anti-globalisation, broadly anti-modernist and anti-imperialist,”’ and bound together by an “anti-Israel tinge.’”

The article can be read in full here on the website of Dissent magazine.

BNP: genetics and Jewish vampire conspiracies

January 28th, 2014 by Mark Gardner

The British National Party has long suffered from image problems. Now, they have another image problem. It is on their website (see here), subtitled “arrested on the orders of international Zionists” and looks like this:

bnp_golden_dawn_77

The shadowy background figure is taken from the well known 1922 German horror film, Nosferatu: a Dracula take off. The Star of David and “TRANSNATIONAL JUDENSTADT” (Judenstadt – Jewish state) are not in the film. Neither is Nikos Michaloliakos, leader of the notorious Greek neo-Nazi group, Golden Dawn – he is the chump clutching the manbag, arrested by two masked law enforcement officers.

The anti-racism group Hope not Hate suggest that the BNP took this image from a dreadful antisemitic website called endzog that thinks Jews run the world. In its skinhead (pre-Internet) marching days, the BNP was not too shy about this kind of thing. More recently, with elections to be fought, the BNP has aped “anti-Zionism“, tending to avoid hook-nosed Jewish blood-suckers imagery.

It is hard to think of the BNP as having been affected by political correctness over the years, but that is exactly what has happened. This once overtly neo-Nazi party now tries to appear respectably nationalist, not even racist: but the BNP’s instinctive groping for the bosoms of Greek and Hungarian neo-Nazis and fascists (ie Golden Dawn and Jobbik) says far more about its true nature than any amount of PR spin ever can.

Groups such as Golden Dawn and Jobbik have strong, charismatic leaders. These men and their groups tell it like it is, and if that makes them sound a bit Nazi, or like dangerous revolutionaries, with ugly antisemitism and racism chucked in for good measure, daring them to arrest you, shaking up the system, scaring minorities and those in power – then so what. Isn’t that what its all about?

Of course, there is also opportunism. It has been a while since BNP leader Nick Griffin had the opportunity to go on BBC Question Time. If a Golden Dawn or Jobbik leader had been given such an opportunity, you can be sure that afterwards nobody would have mocked them for sounding like David Brent.

Squeezed between the EDL and UKIP, the BNP’s opportunities had been shrinking faster than a vampire in daylight. Whatever the BNP was trying to be, hoping to be, or pretending to be, it has simply been losing its relevance. The more powerful and dangerous these European neo-Nazi and fascist groups become, the more the BNP will be drawn towards them: it is a matter of genetics.

 

 

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