On the 2nd of March 2020 I attended a lecture given by an apparently well-known media pundit and university lecturer at SOAS. The title was “How to Argue with a Racist: History, Science, Race & Reality.”
If I had looked at the comments on Dr Adam Rutherford’s’ Twitter feed I would have either stayed away or not have been disarmed. He had one racist’s quote prominently highlighted next to his profile and it was about how all Jews and all Nazis were related.
His principle that we are genetically all related is nothing to argue with. I am certain that most of us are happy to be members of the human race! It is an act of hatred and pernicious mischief however, to go from basic biological connection, to creating an implied, positive association with all Jews with all their persecutors.
The doctor spoke about his thesis without explaining how hate can be defeated, or perhaps, his book title was deliberately misleading. A preachy discourse on biology that may be exploited by bigots to ignore the one thing that separates us from the beast but encouraged too many people to behave as beasts do – our cerebellum. It is a learning machine that has taken us to the next level in evolution. Intellectual capacity is biological, but it is only half of the story. Empathy, psychology, and emotional intelligence may or may not have neuroscientific explanations but creating a sympathetic linkage between the murderer and his victim is specious at best.
We are biologically connected, and this has been the case since Adam and Eve. That did not stop Cain from killing Abel, nor has it ever prevented Jacob from being jealous of Esau.
Two racists joined the speaker at this event, held at the House of Commons. Neither would identify themselves, either by name or, by organisation. “She” was the first to speak and proceeded to read out an unidentified Anti-Defamation League (ADL) statement. No person, no date, no context, or attribution of any kind. She stated, “authoritatively”, that ADL was an Israeli organisation (it is not). Dr Rutherford accepted the speaker’s comments at face value and responded as if the questioner had asked a reasonable question. Perhaps she was primed to ask the question? If this was so, then the so-called academic broadcaster behaved, like an intellectual charlatan. I did something I have never done before in over 12 yeas of attending events at this venue. I interrupted.
I asked her why she was lying in the British parliament. I explained that, “ADL is an American based and American financed organisation, its aim is, to fight prejudice” (and it was founded in 1913, 35 years before the State of Israel was declared). She refused to respond. But Dr Rutherford did, in support of his biological thesis, reiterating that we are all related. The anonymous woman’s friend filmed the event and told me “I should look at the ethnicity of all those who are employed by ADL” – First, I pointed out the racism inherent within his statement; second, I explained that the senior Israeli researcher (in the Israel Office of ADL) is (was) a Muslim, an Arab. He then said, “Look at B’nai B’rith, another Israeli company. The name is Hebrew!” In fact B’nai B’rith was founded in America in 1843, 105 years before the State of Israel was created and if the use of the Hebrew language in a name is all that this antisemite needed to damn an organisation, or person, then I cannot emphasise more strongly, just to what degree this is racism at its most pernicious.
80% of all English names are, or used to be, based on the Bible. Most Jewish places of worship have Hebrew names as do many communal organisations. Hebrew is the language of Jewish prayer. The word “insidious, genocidal bigotry” immediately came to mind. If anything, this anonymous hate monger provided concrete proof that anti-Zionism is anti-Judaism / anti-Semitism. The laziness of the logic displayed by both these interlocutors was frightening in its simplicity and in its ignorance. If, we are going to follow through on these racists and their logic then “tit for tat” would necessitate the global banning of the Arab language. After all, Arabic is the language of the international slave trade and of the Muslim Brotherhood, of Islamic State and it is the language of all those Islamist institutions and cults that globally threaten international stability (both Pre and Post Covid19).
The problem is that the Wild West nature of cyberspace has resulted in the cyberthug and the cyber-Nazi gaining the confidence to transfer their lies from cyberspace into the public, physical domain. They fear no consequences for their actions. And, to be clear on this, by neo-Nazi I mean Nazis on both the Left and, on the Right.
An internal report into anti-Semitism by the British Labour Party, leaked to a British newspaper on 13th April 2020 conceded that “ The events which led to this investigation, including the party becoming host to a small number of members holding views which were unarguably hostile to Jewish people and in some cases frankly neo-Nazi in their nature, are deeply disturbing”. The unstated issue is that for every person referred to the investigators there would be ten who were more discreet but equally racist. That, the unspoken and implied reality, is what is truly frightening. Perhaps then, the principle difference between the two, is that Nazis on the Right are far more likely to be fearful of a reaction against them than Nazis on the Left.
Its results, to paraphrase Jeremiah 5:21, are there for anyone who has eyes and can see, who has ears and listens. At another recent meeting, one Briton, not Jewish, had recently returned from Cornell University in the USA (one of the world’s top higher education establishments). He said that Jews, whether on staff or as part of the student body, and, their supporters, on Campus, were frightened to openly identify as such. The Nazis of the Left have done their job well throughout the Western University universe.
Dr Rutherford’s lecture was a good demonstration of how contemporary fascism is re-writing Jewish history to either exclude Jews or to deny Jews either equality or justice on any issue. It is about returning Diaspora Jewry to a position of institutional inferiority. If you have no “right of reply” then you cannot defend yourself when contemporary Blackshirts come for you. The anti-Zionists are the new Blackshirts.