JVL’s Attack on Miller is Jewish Exceptionalism – The SWP’s Attack is Political Cowardice
Sound of the Police
1. Jews are not discriminated against.
2. They are over-represented in Europe, North America and Latin America in positions of cultural, economic and political power.
3. They are therefore, in a position to discriminate against actually marginalised groups.”
The statement went on to say that:
Many were distressed by some of Miller’s statements in the past which seemed to exaggerate Israeli power but we believed they fell within the terrain of academic freedom. This recent tweet, focusing on Jews, is of a different order and has crossed a line.
Miller was accused of ‘ignoring any historical, international or social context’ but if anyone was guilty of this it was JVL itself.
Miller is one of a number of academics who have been targeted by Zionist organisations and supporters of the Apartheid State and been accused of anti-Semitism. Other academics include Rebecca Gould, also of Bristol University, Goldie Osurie of Warwick University and Shahd Abusalama of Sheffield Hallam University.
Miller however, has always been the Zionists’ number one target. The groups who have engaged in these McCarthyist witchhunts are familiar names. They include the Community Security Trust (a Mossad project) , the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (formed in August 2014 in the middle of Israel’s genocidal Operation Protective Edge, on the initiative of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs), Union of Jewish Students (funded by the Israeli Embassy) and the Board of Deputies.
There were a number of problems with the JVL statement, not least its timing, coming as it did on the eve of Miller’s Employment Tribunal against Bristol University.
The problems in the statement are exemplified by the claim that
Many were distressed by some of Miller’s statements in the past which seemed to exaggerate Israeli power’.
Why should anyone be ‘distressed’ by such a claim?
Would JVL have extended its comfort blanket to Whites in South Africa who were distressed by accusations that exaggerated the power of the Apartheid government in Pretoria? Would JVL have suggested that this was an example of Black anti-White racism?
Not only is a claim of ‘distress’or ‘offence’ so subjective as to be impossible to prove but it indicates that JVL implicitly accepts that there is something Jewish about the ‘Jewish state.’ The idea that Israel is the ‘Jew among the nations’ forms the core of ‘new anti-Semitism’. Whereas ‘old’ anti-Semitism targeted Jews as individuals, the ‘new anti-Semitism’ targets Israel because it is a Jewish state.
As Jacob Ecclestone in his comments on the article noted:
The problem is not exaggerating Israeli power but getting people to understand just how pervasive and controlling it is.
I submitted a comment which was published below the article:
I agree that discussing Jews as a whole can be problematic if you are intending to draw the conclusion that Jews act in a co-ordinated manner to exclude and oppress others but by themselves there is little I find problematic in David’s statements, bearing in mind they are tweets which clearly can’t give the background.
1. It is perfectly fair and accurate to say that Jews in Western Europe and the USA are not discriminated against. Discrimination being state inspired discrimination. I would be interested to know how Jews are discriminated against if that is what the JVL statement is arguing.
2. Are Jews over represented in cultural, economic and political positions? Well if you take Jews as a percentage of the population and then measure this as against the number of Jews in e.g. parliament then clearly they are overrepresented. That does NOT mean that they act as one but given that most Jews describe themselves as Zionists then it is unsurprising that politically Jews are going to form a major part of any Zionist lobby.
… Jews in the UK are overwhelmingly on the right. Under Ed Miliband just 22% of Jews voted for the Labour Party as opposed to 60%+ for the Tories.
As for being in a position to discriminate against (marginalized groups) Let us not forget that a fascist party called Jewish Power is the 3rd largest block in the Knesset.
It was Geoffrey Alderman who wrote that ‘London Jewry is ‘arguably more bourgeois now than at any time since the mid-nineteenth century.’ And in the book The Right, Left and the Jews William Rubinstein [which I wrongly attributed to Alderman] wrote that:
‘The rise of Western Jewry to unparalleled affluence and high status has led to the near-disappearance of a Jewish proletariat of any size; indeed, the Jews may become the first ethnic group in history without a working class of any size.’
Rubinstein stated that ‘British Jewry had migrated into the upper middle class.’
I don’t believe David is saying anything different. Clearly it is true that many Jews are in a position to discriminate against actually marginalised groups.
That is what happened with Ruth Smeeth and Marc Wadsworth. That is what the Board of Deputies was doing throughout the Corbyn era.
We have to be open and honest about these things. Zionism has pulled Jews to the right politically and in its wake racism has reared its ugly head
Miller has argued very cogently that Jews are not the victims of discrimination. I have not seen any rebuttal of this. The lack of discrimination against Jews should be a cause for celebration, not accusations of anti-Semitism. It is as if some people want Jews to be victims!
Nonetheless there are also questions to ask of Miller such as what is the relevance of his 3 ‘facts’, in particular his third. Surely if the first fact is true, that Jews are not discriminated against, then fact 2, that they are ‘overrepresented’ flows from it?
The second fact is sociologically and statistically true. Jews are over represented amongst billionaires, businessmen and BBC Chairmen come to that! The question is so what? What is their political relevance? Is it suggested that the pro-Israel bias of the BBC is because of the number of Jews or even Jewish Zionists amongst them?
The third fact, being in a position to discriminate against actually marginalised groups, raises all sorts of problems. Are Jews behaving in a co-ordinated way as Jews? Where is the evidence? If Jews are behaving this way is it because they are part of power structures in which they are over-represented? In which case the responsibility for the discrimination rests with the particular group or groups they are part of.
In so far as Jews are in a position to discriminate against marginalised groups then surely the question is whether, but for the Jewish presence, there would be such discrimination.
JVL’s Statement Has Led to False Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against David Miller such as in the Comments Beneath the Article
It is difficult to discern the motives of those who drew up this abysmal statement. The suspicion must be that some on JVL’s Executive were never happy about supporting Miller in the first place because of his trenchant opposition to Zionism, his focus on Zionist power networks and its role in fostering anti-Muslim racism.
The statement gave the opportunity for those who are in the JVL orbit to make explicit what was implicit. Below the statement are 45 comments, the majority of them hostile to Miller.
The Statement Cannot Help But Mean that Miller Has Crossed the Line into Anti-Semitism
Jezz Myers was puzzled as to ‘precisely which line it has crossed’? Iqbal Ram expressed the hope that JVL will not label DM as anti semitic. Julia Bard, who is prominent in the Jewish Socialists Group had no doubts.
‘What line has he crossed? Between what and what? I really don’t think JVL should be so shy about naming antisemitism.’
Dennis O’Malley concluded: ‘So maybe Bristol University were right to sack him, after all?’ Sheldon Ranz also had no doubts. ‘Thank you. Miller crossed the line into anti-Semitism.’ Tom Delargy was
horrified by what David Miller said. His statement constitutes anti Jewish racism… His attitude towards this ethnic group is as racist as is Hitler’s… To say that Jews arent discriminated against is opening the door to anti-semitism.’
Delargy needs to take a course in logic. How is saying that Jews are not discriminated against anti-Semitic? It might be wrong and it might be right but anti-Semitic? I get the feeling that some people have lost the ability to comprehend or view the world other than through the prism of Jews and anti-Semitism.
As Orwell noted, it as if their vocabulary is so limited that they are indifferent as to whether their words actually mean anything. It is a mixture of vagueness and incompetence in which the metaphysical replaces the material.
Arthur Kaletzky too was of the opinion that ‘The line crossed was targeting Jews, an ethnicity, instead of Zionists or Israelis.’
Chris Kaba – shot dead by Police
Margaret West was clear that Jews are suffering from discrimination. Why? Because Jews have ‘been expelled in disproportionate numbers’ from the Labour Party.’ Well Margaret, if this is the limit of discrimination against Jews they’re not doing badly! I just hope Chris Kaba, Joy Gardener and Roger Sylvester are listening, to name but 3.
Ray Packham had to remind people that Miller was dismissed, not for anti-Semitism but bringing the University into disrepute.
The fact that a majority of those commenting believed that the line that JVL’s statement was referring to was anti-Semitism was something that must have been obvious to JVL Executive before making the statement.
Some, such as Ieuan Einion, criticised Miller’s use of ‘sloppy language’ and use of language that is ‘open to misinterpretations’ which was fair enough. A few such as Alan Stanton and David Hawkins asked whether Miller had been contacted before the statement was issued and asked to clarify his comments. In a similar vein Graeme Atkinson & Andrew Hornung asked ‘what was the context of Miller’s tweets?’.
Adam Waterhouse wished that JVL
had shown some discretion and sense of proportion, and made the effort to reach out to him personally and engage him in dialogue, rather than publishing an article that impugns his reputation and supports the cause of those who would defame all advocates of Palestinian rights as antisemites.
I suspect that JVL did not want to engage in dialogue with Miller because they don’t share the same political priorities. David Hawkins reminded JVL that ‘Professor Miller was hounded out of Bristol University by a very real Israel lobby.’
This for me is the only issue. How does attacking Miller and bolstering the false accusations of anti-Semitism against him help Black people & Muslims in this country or the Palestinians? The only people it helps are Israel’s Judeo-Nazis and their apologists in the JLM and CAA.
Unsurprisingly it was 3 Black commenters who introduced the necessary corrective to JVL Executive’s obsession with anti-Semitism.
Gavin Lewis, who criticised Miller’s ‘crude generalisations’, warned about the danger of ’reinforcing the tactics and smears of ruthless political opponents.’ Lewis pointed to Jewish dominance in the music media scene and how this had resulted in Black artists
being economically ripped-off and having their work culturally appropriated… in which Jewish capitalist entrepreneurs were prominent.
Gavin was alluding to situations such as in the USA where Jewish teachers and slum landlords came into conflict with working class Blacks over housing and education. Conflicts in which Black people without any power were accused of ‘anti-Semitism’ by Jews with power.
Marc, I assume Marc Wadsworth, accused JVL’s Executive of stripping Miller’s tweet of context, meaning and intent. For Marc, what Miller wrote was ‘entirely fact based and would be uncontroversial in other hands – you are playing the man not the ball.’
Miller was responding to ‘Zionists who exaggerate antisemitism to further their agenda of oppression.’ Jews living in western nations ‘do not suffer significant discrimination’. Quoting Keith Kahn-Harris, Marc explained why:
“…one of the most striking aspects of the monitoring of antisemitism in the UK, US and many other countries is how far certain issues that appear frequently in the monitoring of other racisms are largely absent. Discrimination in the job market, access to housing and social services, differential outcomes in the education system, confrontations with immigration authorities — these are not, in the main, the principle manifestations of antisemitism in Western countries today.”
JVL’s emphasis on anti-Semitism was an example of the hierarchy of racism. In response to Naomi Marc asserted that
the wider context is the past 8-10 years of endless disinformation about antisemitism’ and the antidote to anti-Semitism ‘is socialism not exceptionalism.’
Marc pointed out that hate crime against Jews is not discrimination. He argued for a Marxist and class based analysis, pointedly asking ‘is Graham Bash still with you?’ Jill Azzouzi was also quite clear.
‘There is no jewish Windrush. No jewish refugees demonised and put on prison ships. Sure antisemitism exists. It always will. But muslims are now the target. Jews have put themselves in positions to write laws, against anyone attacking zionist murders. I think you are grossly wrong on this. It happened to him. As a muslim its happened to me too. Well done Miller.
Only jenny mahimbo raised Miller’s more problematic views such as opposing women protesting against the morality police in Iran. It is Miller’s blanket support for the Iranian regime and his support for Political Islam and fundamentalists who wanted to ban Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses which might have been more fruitful topics for discussion. Instead JVL chose ‘anti-Semitism’.
On Saturday I sent a further statement to members of JVL Executive in which I put the controversy in its true perspective. Miller
‘was the victim of a monstrous injustice. The allegations of anti-Semitism against him were entirely devoid of substance and the allegations that he had harassed Jewish students were totally untrue. Criticising the Union of Jewish Students, which repeatedly accused me of anti-Semitism when trying to ban me from speaking on campus, is perfectly legitimate.
I also added that Miller played a magnificent role in the overturning of the attempt to deport Raed Saleh, a Palestinian cleric who the Zionists have repeatedly demonised. In 2014 Saleh was detained after being invited to speak in this country. The CST provided forged evidence to the Home Office with the intention of having him deported. I wrote that
All the evidence suggests that Miller was targeted at Bristol precisely for his role in helping overturn Saleh’s deportation and for this alone he should be given solidarity not accused of anti-Semitism.
I also wrote that
David Miller has to think more carefully about his scattergun approach. The first thing he could do is to get off Twitter.
I had made it clear to David and Chris Williamson that I consider the Iranian and Syrian regimes deeply reactionary and I completely support the struggle of women against the clericalist regime in Iran. I don’t consider either regime anti-imperialist but recognise that both are subject to attack by imperialism despite the desire of both to accommodate to imperialism…. It is unfortunate that all too many people adopt a simplistic enemy of my enemy is my friend and forsake a class analysis of such regimes.
Whilst making it clear that I saw‘both David and Chris as comrades in the fight against Zionism.’
Norman Finkelstein on David Irving, holocaust denial, Christ killers and a response from Tony Greenstein
David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialists Group adds to the poisonous brew
David Rosenberg of the JSG, joined in implying Miller was anti-Semitic on the basis of misremembering what happened at a meeting 3 years ago at which Miller spoke, alongside Norman Finkelstein, Jackie Walker, Chris Williamson, Marc Wadsworth, Tariq Ali and myself.
Finkelstein, who is a contrarian, praised holocaust denier David Irving as “a very good historian” who has “produced works that are substantive” and “knew a thing or two – or three.” Given he had previously criticised Irving I had no doubt that NF was doing this to be provocative.
According to Rosenberg not one panelist raised an objection to what Finkelstein said. Rosenberg had clearly forgotten his own article Who is David Irving? and the comments underneath, alleging that
after Finkelstein spoke not one of the other panelists… used any of their concluding remarks to challenge Finkelstein’s praise for Irving. Disgraceful. I hope they will do so now
Rosenberg was commenting on a meeting he had not watched. In my closing comments (1.35.35) I did indeed challenge NF’s remarks, not only on David Irving but also his flippant remarks about Jews being accused of being ‘Christ killers.’
But in any case as Graham Bash pointed out:
no panelists know in advance what the others will say, or what subjects they are speaking about. They are given no advance warning. … in the absence of forewarning I think it extremely harsh to judge the panelists in such a term as “disgraceful”. …
That David Rosenberg expects panel members to be responsible for the utterances of others – a strategy of attack which has been so effectively and most often unjustly used against the left in the current witch hunt, including of course against Corbyn, is surprising.
JSG and Rosenberg have always been half-hearted in their opposition to the ‘anti-Semitism’ witchhunt. But on the basis, not of anything Miller had said but his failure to comment on NF’s remarks, Rosenberg attacked him for anti-Semitism, though unlike Julia Bard, not explicitly:
a couple of years ago [in fact it was July 28 2020-TG] I was in the audience of a webinar about the witch hunt in Labour. It included DM among the panellists. I was already very wary of statements he had made before then. One of the other panellists (Finkelstein) extraordinarily included a defence of Holocaust Revisionist/denier David Irving in his comments. None of the panel saw fit to comment on this in their concluding remarks. It was a measure of my earlier strong concerns about him that it was no surprise to me that DM didn’t comment on it.
Rosenberg’s attack on Miller were based on amnesia. As Deborah Maccoby pointed out in the comments 3 year ago:
‘But in fact Tony Greenstein did take up Finkelstein’s comments on Irving. This is what Tony said: “ I agree [David Irving] is a historian – one can’t take it away from him. The problem is that his politics has got in the way of his history and his research – and he clearly did tamper with his sources, if my reading of the libel trial is correct”.
This is not so much a challenge as an expansion, qualification and clarification – but in fact all Finkelstein said was that, in his view, Irving is a real, substantial historian – a judgment with which Tony agreed. This doesn’t mean that Finkelstein does not agree in his turn with Tony that Irving has tampered with sources and that his politics have got in the way of his history and research.’
Faced with this clear evidence that he was wrong, Rosenberg asked JVL to delete his comments above. In a ‘note for clarification/information’ he wrote that he nowregretted his remarks which
‘was a scattergun condemnation of Miller’s action by omission rather than commission’ andthat his ‘anger about that should have stayed principally on Finkelstein’.
But Rosenberg still asserted that no one had criticised NF’s comments
‘we need an anti-Zionist politics, here, and beyond Britain’s borders, that focuses relentlessly on justice for Palestinians but also fully acknowledges all racism… and understands ordinary Jewish people’s genuine fears about it…’
In response I wrote that
David’s limitation on the boundaries of anti-Zionism also contradicts his commitment to opposing anti-Semitism…. Zionism undermines any possibility of such a fight
I gave as an example Chapter 18 of my book on the neo-Nazi Argentinian Junta that ruled between 1976 and 1983 and which murdered up to 3,000 leftist Jews. Israel and the Zionist movement not only refused to condemn the Argentinian regime but they actively defended it. Today the ADL in the US whitewashes neo-Nazis in Ukraine. Zionism has never had a problem with genuine anti-Semitism.
David doesn’t understand that Zionism represents an abandonment of the fight against anti-Semitism and again if he turns to my book he will see that the Zionist fighters in Warsaw, Bedzin and other ghettos did so against the explicit instructions of their movements in Palestine which did their very best to remove them from the fight against the Nazis, as even Dina Porat admits.
Rosenberg spoke about ‘ordinary Jewish people’s genuine fears about anti-Semitism’. I asked, ‘What is the ‘anti-Semitism’ that British Jews are fearing?’ A CAA/You Gov survey in 2015 found that a majority of Jews believed that antisemitism in Britain echoed that of the 1930s.
I responded by quoting the comments of Anshel Pfeffer, columnist for Ha’aretz, who wrote that if British Jews believed that anti-Semitism today is similar to that in the 1930s ‘then it’s hard to take anything they say about contemporary anti-Semitism… seriously.’ adding that if Jews:
‘think that the situation in Britain today echoes the 1930s when Jews were still banned from a wide variety of clubs and associations, when a popular fascist party, supported by members of the nobility and popular newspapers, were marching in support of Hitler, when large parts of the British establishment were appeasing Nazi Germany and the government was resolutely opposed to allowing Jewish refugees of Nazism in to Britain…, then not only are they woefully ignorant of recent Jewish history but have little concept of what real anti-Semitism is…’
Pfeffer described those holding this belief as showing a ‘a disconnect from reality which borders on hysteria.’ British Jews’ perception of anti-Semitism today is subjective with their belief that Corbyn was anti-Semitic. I pointed out that a
considerable section of British Jews support the far right, just as is the case with French Jewry. You can’t fight antisemitism if you don’t know what it is and all too many British Jews don’t know what it is or think it’s to do with opposition to Israel and Zionism.
I concluded my response to JVL by noting that Miller had approached the question of British and Western Jews
completely cack handedly, over generalised and failed to differentiate and analyse its different components. I too have raised the question of racism within British Jewry and this should not be ignored or glossed over. Although there is no statistical evidence there is certainly empirical evidence for the belief that Islamaphobia and anti-Arab racism are rife in the Jewish community as is anti-Black racism.
The real question is not anti-Semitism, which is at a historic low, but the widespread racism among British Jews which is ignored. Unfortunately Rosenberg is not a Marxist and therefore does not have a materialist analysis of anti-Semitism today.
JVL’s attack on Miller can only be of help to the Zionists. David Rosenberg is not an anti-Zionist but JVL claims to have adopted a more radical position. However what it has consistently failed to do is to acknowledge that in Britain and Western Europe anti-Semitism is a prejudice NOT a form of state racism. It has also failed to acknowledge that Jews today are part of the oppressors not the oppressed.
It is unfortunate that David Miller instead of instigating a debate on these matters confused them.
David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group Reluctantly Withdraws His Allegations – At Least About Me!
David Rosenberg repeated his allegations of 3 years ago writing ‘none of his [Miller] fellow speakers criticised Norman Finkelstein’s ‘defence’ of Irving.’ This despite my previous comments and those of Deborah Maccoby. I wrote to him.
Being charitable I can only assume that you had forgotten the comments of Deborah and myself three years ago … Yesterday… you doubled down on what you had said, stating that ‘While I do still feel strongly about what was not said by panellists, including Miller, after Finkelstein’s remarks in that particular meeting in 2020…’
I told him that ‘I genuinely find your behaviour puzzling’ since he was
‘persisting in repeating what is clearly untrue. Perhaps you have difficulty psychologically in accepting that because of our political differences over Zionism that I am as opposed to anti-Semitism as you are. ‘
Nonetheless I wanted to give David the opportunity to set the record straight and I asked him to:
i. withdraw his allegation that none of the panellists commented on Finkelstein’s remarks
ii. that he acknowledge that I did criticise Finkelstein at the time and
iii. that he you also apologise for not acknowledging this at the time and repeating this falsehood.
On Wednesday David replied expressing astonishment at Finkelstein’s comments about Irving after which, somewhat grudgingly, he withdrew his allegations but without offering an apology:
I am happy to acknowledge that I was mistaken to say that “nobody” on the panel addressed his remarks, as you clearly did, though I do feel that your challenge to them was understated. compared with the way that you have taken a stand against, for example, Gilad Atzmon’s Holocaust revisionism.
I feel that your comment that you did make about Irving that “his politics got in the way of his research” was weak, though I also acknowledge that you were maybe as surprised as I was that Finkelstein had made these comments at all, and you were on the spot as the first panellist to respond afterwards. You did reference his “Christ killers” comments, which i could have mentioned to in my initial response. You explained that Nancy Astor used it in a clearly antisemitic way, though you added “we all have our own opinions… that is an esoteric debate I don’t want to get into…” which I feel took the edge off the criticism a bit.
None of the other panellists, nor the chair, challenged Finkelstein’s remarks or indicated if they agreed with your comments re Finkelstein…
I am happy to amend what I claimed, to say:
“With one exception (Tony), nobody on the panel, took issue with Finkelstein’s favourable comments re David irving, or indeed Finkelstein’s comment ‘I don’t know what a Holocaust Denier is’. Tony did say of Irving that ‘his politics got in the way of his research’, which I do acknowledge now, but continue to regard as an understatement.” it was my mistake in not noting Tony’s response in my initial remarks, which I regret, but would like to assure you was not intentional.
The SWP, Despite Marching With Zionists for the Past 6 Years, Assumes the Mantle of Anti-Zionism in Order to Attack David Miller
It is no surprise that the latest issue of Socialist Worker, has attacked David Miller as anti-Semitic. The SWP has always taken the line of least resistance. Opportunism and social chauvinism are the SWP’s distinguishing feature.
In the 1950s its forerunner, Socialist Review, came up with the slogan ‘Neither Washington nor Moscow’ as a means of avoiding having to challenge McCarthyism. It took a neutral stance on the Korean War even though the United States was in Korea in order to roll back the Chinese revolution which had shocked US imperialism. Being neutral was easier than supporting the enemy.
During The Troubles in Ireland the SWP consistently failed to give any support to the Republican Movement, for fear of being accused of supporting the IRA. The SWP engaged in virtually no solidarity work with the nationalist community in the North of Ireland.
The article’s subheadline states ‘Anti-Zionism is not antisemitism. Saying Jews are ‘over represented’ in positions of power is.’ Yet the facts suggests otherwise. There are 66 ethnic minority MPs in Parliament, around 10%. Yet if the 13% of ethnic minorities were represented in proportion to their population size there would be 85 such MPs. In contrast there are 22 Jewish MPs, some 3.4% of the House of Commons yet the number of Jews in the population is 271,000 (0.5%)/
In other words there are 7 times more Jewish MPs in parliament than their number in the population would warrant. Over-representation? Well it’s certainly not under-representation!
In 2019 Jews had the highest median hourly earnings (£17.56) compared with those of no religion or any other religion. According to the Office for National Statistics Jewish employees had the highest median hourly earnings of all religious groups in England and Wales as they had in 2012 and 2018 (£15.17 and £19.22 respectively).
In 2016/17 Jewish people (60%) were more likely to be employed in high pay occupations than those of any other religion. Since 2010/11 the proportion of Jews in high pay occupations had increased from 51%.
Jews are not victims of police violence in Britain or the US. No one has even suggested it, yet Black people are seven times more likely to die at the hands of the British police than White people.
There are no Jewish Windrush scandals, nor are there Jewish deaths in custody. There is no evidence that Jews are singled out by the Police for discriminatory treatment compared to Black and Muslim people.
According to the IJPR Report Child poverty and deprivation in the British Jewish community unemployment rates among Jews are low.
the issue of child poverty in the British Jewish community hasn’t been investigated in any depth in recent decades.
One of the reasons given for this is ‘that the scale of the problem is so small that it does not merit costly research by the community.” In short British Jews enjoy an above average standard of living, lower child poverty and do not face discrimination economically or politically.
According to the Sunday Times rich list for 2014, Jews made up around 20 per cent of the 104-strong rich-list — with a combined fortune of more than £67bn out of the total £301bn. Between one-fifth and one-third of billionaires in the world are Jewish.
The first two of David Miller’s statements are factually correct. That raises the thorny question, is or can anti-Semitism be true? The real question is what one does with such statistics. If Miller was suggesting numerus clausus to limit the number of Jews in a profession or university then that would undoubtedly be anti-Semitic.
Miller is doing no such thing.What he is doing is showing the false basis of the anti-Semitism scarecrow that posits British Jews as oppressed. Further that because most Jews are pro-Israel, and the British Jewish community especially, this finds an outlet in pro-Israel bias in the media.
SW introduces its article with the statement that ‘Socialist Worker stands unequivocally for Palestinian freedom’, a particularly anaemic statement. I expect most Zionists would agree to such a statement! One way the SWP demonstrates this support is by allowing far-right Zionists to march annually on the annual Scottish Stand Up To Racism marches.
The SWP statement says that ‘the tweets which the academic David Miller posted on 7 August are examples of antisemitism.’ Why? Because ‘Such allegations lump together all Jews without any recognition of class or other differences.’ This is absurd. To say that Jews are not discriminated against no more lumps all Jews together than to say Black people are discriminated against lumps all Black people together. It simply means that on average Jews do not face discrimination.
This is the SWP’s nefarious logic according to which virtually any article about Jews could be said to ‘target’ Jews. The IJPR produces numerous reports and articles about Jews. Are they anti-Semitic? These are the crude politics of the SWP that passes for Marxism.
The SWP complains ‘Miller targets Jews, not the actual ruling class, and plays on the idea of Jews as ultra-rich and manipulative.’ All that is missing is the word ‘trope’. All Miller has done is to point to the fact that Jews do not suffer discrimination and I would add that on average British Jews are privileged economically.
The SWP accused Miller of refusing to see ‘the very real existence of antisemitism which, along with Islamophobia, has become a standard feature of far right propaganda.; Yet this is nonsense. Islamaphobia is the established policy of both major political parties. Anti-Semitism isn’t. It is an example of SWP flattening – equating Black people who do suffer systemic racism with Jews who are White in Britain.
The SWP’s anti-racism analysis has always been crude. They fail to understand the difference in forms of racism between, as Sivanandan explained, the racism that kills and the racism that discriminates or offends.
I am regularly sent mailings by the fascist/neo-Nazi Patriotic Alternative. Their theme is that White Lives Matter. I have not yet seen a ‘Non-Jewish Lives Matter’ banner. The overwhelming majority of fascist propaganda is directed at Black and Muslim people not Jewish people.
That isn’t to say that their leaderships aren’t anti-Semitic and hold to Jewish Conspiracy Theories including the White Replacement Theory [WRT] with its adjunct that Jews are the ones organising the replacement. But here’s the rub. Many prominent Jews are also Islamaphobes. Former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks singled out Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe, which supported the WRT, as his favourite book. The senior-Vice President of the Board of Deputies Gary Mond was a virulent Islamaphobe.
The SW article argues that
One example is the repeated antisemitic speeches from Hungarian prime minister—and Tory favourite—Viktor Orban.
Well firstly Hungary isn’t Britain, at least last time I looked! Secondly Orban is also a Zionist favourite. Orban and Netanyahu have an illiberal bromance. Hungary is Israel’s strongest supporter in Europe, along with Poland’s anti-Semitic Law & Justice government under Mateusz Morawiecki. The Zionist movement and Israel are in the same bed as Orban. That’s why the Board of Deputies will criticise Corbyn as ‘anti-Semitic’ but not Orban.
Tommy Robinson has built his career and wealth on virulent agitation against Muslims. Yet he was welcomed onto the last pro-Israel demonstration in May 2021 by Jewish and Zionist demonstrators. There are many British Jews who have no problem holding hands with Robinson. Katie Hopkins, the virulently racist former columnist for the Daily Mail and Sun was a guest at the Zionist Federation’s Gala Dinner.
Most British Jews are White and conservative. At the last election 93% of British Jews refused to vote Labour. Only the SWP, refuses to face the fact that Jews are not victims of state sponsored discrimination and repression like Muslims or Afro-Caribbeans. The SWP’s crude economistic politics cannot see that there is a difference between prejudice against a section of the White population and state racism against the most oppressed and exploited groups in Britain.
Socialist Worker complains that Miller’s analysis is devoid of ‘any recognition of class or other differences’ but that is the problem with the SWP. They equate prejudice with state sponsored racism. Living in a political time capsule the SWP have failed to see that since 1945 Jews have been migrating from the East End of London to Hendon, Edgware, Redbridge etc. A move not only geographically outwards but socio-economically upwards.
The SWP fails to mention why the Home Office gives the CST £15 million a year to protect Jewish schools and synagogues. This year it gave them an extra £1m under Suella Braverman, whilst spending £1 m in total on mosques and Muslim schools. The Government press release for which read: Home Secretary ramps up security measures to protect Jewish communities
I don’t recall a similar press release on government measures to protect Black or Muslim communities or indeed refugees and asylum seekers.
Even if the SWP doesn’t understand the difference between anti-Semitism and racism today the Zionists do. The main Zionist group charged with protecting British Jews, the CST, invited as guest of honour to their annual dinner one Suella Braverman. That’s right. Cruella herself. The very embodiment of state racism with her Rwanda Scheme and Barges.
The SWP, JSG and JVL don’t seem to understand that racism changes its colour and contours. The anti-Semitism of my father’s generation, when the Police tried to force a fascist march through the East End of London 87 years ago, when the British state was anti-Semitic and Jews were the victims of Police and fascist violence, is not the anti-Semitism of today.
The CST, which ludicrously tries to pretend it is the successor to the 43 Group, works hand in glove with the most racist section of the British state, the Home Office. The 43 Group was subject to severe police repression. But the SWP sees none of this. It is trapped in the slogans of the past. For them a new Jewish holocaust is around the corner.
The SWP has now done what it usually does. It finds an excuse for retreat and betrayal. It doesn’t even know how to spell ‘solidarity’. It has said that the Zionists at Bristol University were right. David Miller was anti-Semitic.
The irony is that a decade ago the SWP was holding hands with a died-in-the-wool anti-Semite, Gilad Atzmon. They put on his shows, issued joint statements, organised joint meetings and denied that someone who questioned the holocaust was anti-Semitic! See for example Time to say goodbye. Times change but the SWP remains the same old opportunists.