ROD LIDDLE: ‘My journey into the darkest depths of British antisemitism’
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ROD LIDDLE: ‘My journey into the darkest depths of British antisemitism’

Journalist and broadcaster Rod Liddle has spent more time than he cares to defending Israel to a rabid antisemitic crowd on social media and attacking Labour on TV. Here's why...

Rod Liddle
Rod Liddle

Call it a ‘personal journey’, if you like. That’s what the dimbo TV documentary producers like to call it. Rod has been on a personal journey, and now he is woke, praise the Lord. Oh, I’m woke all right. Woke to the new antisemitism – which isn’t, when you poke and pry at it a little – terribly different from the old antisemitism. 

I remember 15 years back a report coming out which showed that there had been a steep rise in antisemitic attacks and graffiti in London. The weird thing was, I thought at the time, the producers of the report (it was somehow attached to the Greater London Council) played this headline down. Usually anti-racist organisations scream blue murder at any rise in racism.

Not this time. 

One bloke, involved in the report, was insistent that the antisemitic thing was not really important. That was a man called Lee Jasper. I knew of him as being part of the truly mentalist Labour far left. But still, why would he play down the shocking findings from his own organisation? More importantly, why do others on the far left play it down now?

Yes, I was slow to realise – you guys were on to this long before me.

Enough is Enough demonstrators hold up signs against Labour anti-Semitism

This new rise in antisemitism, which I had thought long dead, was not shaven-headed white imbeciles from the far right. It was Muslims, a large chunk of it. The giveaway was the graffiti the report didn’t show: “Allah U Akbar!” The National Front rarely paint that on walls.

Suddenly I grasped that the British far left didn’t want people to know about antisemitism because it pointed the finger at people they really, really liked. From that moment on, it all fell into place. 

Fast forward 13 years and I was kicked out of the Labour Party, of which I’d been a member for 40 years, for having attempted to explain the party’s strange affection for antisemitism.

It was the consequence, I reckoned, of the growing number of Muslim activists and councillors within Labour (four had just been suspended for making antisemitic statements) and the infantile supposedly liberal far left whose unconditional support for “Palestine” (to the exclusion of every other supposedly persecuted minority in the world) was an even more potent symbol of their status than shopping at Waitrose and eating quinoa. These groups loathe Israel as much as they loathe the capitalism which has given them their comfortable existences. 

Suddenly I grasped that the British far left didn’t want people to know about antisemitism because it pointed the finger at people they really, really liked.

I was at first inclined to believe that this was a different kind of antisemitism from that of Hitler and the Nazis. These left liberals had kind of acquired antisemitism, I thought, as they mixed with the fervid, screeching rabble on demos and in their interminable bloody meetings. It is vile, obviously, but not as deranged and genocidal as the Nazis, surely, I thought.

But my journey was not yet over. 

Time and again the same tropes emerged, the same sort of stuff that Streicher and Goebbels would have commended – and uttered. You can’t tell the truth about Palestine because Jews control the media. They run the government.

And Jews, don’t forget, were the architects of capitalism. And from that a whole bunch of other stuff emerged: the old blood libel business (a favourite of the repulsive Jenny Tonge), the Facebook posts from Labour lefties asking: what have Jews ever done for the world?; or demanding that Israel be demolished and maybe set up in the USA; Ken Livingstone suggesting that Hitler was a Zionist, the only point of such a ludicrous statement being to equate Zionism with Nazism.

Nice, avuncular, Jeremy Corbyn, with his peace badges, happily laying a wreath at the graveside of Palestinian terrorists who murdered innocent Jewish athletes, oh, and much much more. The bigotry spewed out every day, on the hour. 

It is the same antisemitism, exactly the same: the obsession with Israel to the exclusion of everything else, the conspiracy theory paranoias, the derangement. It took me a few years to realise it and I guess you lot knew it all along. So, please: forgive me. It’s just that it was something that seemed hard to believe –in my caring, Socialist, party. 

But don’t forgive them. Here’s the test – if you cannot see the flagrant racism in the BDS movement, and if you are obsessed with the perfidy of the Middle East’s only democracy to the exclusion of all else, you are an antisemite.

That means a good proportion of the Labour Party, including the leader, and almost all of Momentum: no brown shirts, no marching bands, but the same old filth, dressed in the clothes of a polytechnic geography lecturer. 

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