Meet today’s useful idiots: Jews opposing IHRA

David Miller (Screenshot from CST's Twitter via Jewish News)
David Miller (Screenshot from CST's Twitter via Jewish News)

The origin of the term ‘useful idiot’ is disputed. Some sources suggest it originated among Italian or Yugoslav Communists while most think it was coined by Stalin. What is indisputable, however, is that useful idiots are alive and well and living…well, living anywhere and thanks to the Internet able to be in instant touch. One common factor is that many useful idiots work in academic institutions.

We  know who Stalin’s useful idiots were. Today’s useful idiots (or TUIs) resemble Stalin’s in being on the far left politically. But the TUIs we’re concerned with here are those who have been sucked in to a fabricated narrative which claims that Jews dispossessed Arab Palestinians and are actively engaged in defaming and demonising Israel with the result that TUIs have lent themselves to the promoting of antisemitism – though I feel sure many are unaware that is their pupose and merely believe they are supporting the Palestinians.

Today’s useful idiots, of course, also include many Jews – or perhaps, more correctly that should be useful Jewish idiots  or  “today’s useful Jewish idiots” or the less cumbersome, TUJIs – many of whom have also been sucked in to that counterfeit narrative, and also believe they are merely supporting Palestinians.

While discussing TUIs, I should also mention that there is a sub-genre of “celebrity useful idiots.” These are actors, actresses, musicians, best-selling authors, etc (occasionally including Jews) who not only perform the extremely “useful” function of participating in defaming and demonising Israel, but in garnering publicity for their activities to help to win new recruits to a hate-filled agenda. They may be litigious so I won’t name them, but we all know who they are. They, however, may not realise they are merely quite famous useful idiots…

Currently, some of today;s useful Jewish idiots – notably those affiliated to JVL – are actively supporting David Miller, who has advanced the idea that the Union of Jewish Students is virtually a sub-division of Mossad. But the TUJIs with whom I am most concerned here are those helping to push back against the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Naturally, they include JVL members but also the head of the Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck, and the 200-plus signatories to the shameful Jerusalem Declaration.

To make it clear how their interpretation is not just wrong, but almost certainly a deliberate misunderstanding, this is what IHRA actually states: “Criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”  The claim, therefore, by its opponents, about it limiting free speech conflicts with objective reality. To all reasonable, sentient people (including legal experts across the globe)  it is clear that the IHRA definition does not limit free speech. It merely seeks to curb the vitriolic abuse directed at Israel at a volume and frequency (and with a focus) unique to the Jewish homeland.

Of course, TUJIs are not alone in pushing back against the IHRA definition. Lots of non-Jewish useful idiots are pushing back against IHRA too. Jews and non-Jews are all parroting the same specious argument. But it is its Jewish opponents who, in my view, deserve the label Especially Useful Idiots as it is the Jewish opponents who are leading the charge in wilfully misinterpreting IHRA. In their sanctimonious and endless restating of a bogus, unfounded interpretation, the Jewish opponents are actively helping to reverse this initiative designed to reduce the avalanche of antisemitism; they are effectively demanding that Jew-haters be allowed to flourish unhindered.

But what I find baffling is that these Jews activel opposing IHRA – who include so many “eminent” Jewish academics – seem incapable of spotting that they are  someone’s useful idiot.

About the Author
Jan Shure held senior editorial roles at the Jewis Chronicle for three decades. and previously served as deputy editor of the Jewish Observer. She is an author and freelance writer and wrote regularly for the Huffington Post until 2018. In 2012 she took a break from journalism to be a web entrepreneur.