Thriving with the J-word
A short while ago I commented on the Biased BBC blog. If Jeremy Bowen doesn’t think what he says is antisemitic [I prefer the term Jew Hatred, myself] what does he think is antisemitic? Then I expanded that enquiry to what does the BBC consider antisemitic?
Is it a term like terrorist that they find hard to define so they essentially forbid its use? Or is it one that can only be safely used in an historical explanation; a location other than Britain; practised by groups the BBC already finds politically incorrect or while denying the BBC suffers from it?
Can we predict what a BBC article on Jew Hatred will look like when Auntie Beeb finally does get around to discussing it? I suspect that Living with the J-word by Michael Goldfarb would be exactly what the BBC would order. The combination of high profile attacks on Jews in Paris and Copenhagen with the report from Community Security Trust that antisemitic attacks on Jews in the United Kingdom are an all-time high made some form of BBC response imperative.
You missed it?
I have a theory that when the BBC feels obliged to cover a story that doesn’t exactly suit their biases they run it briefly then remove obvious links to it on homepages so that unless one knows it was written it would never be discovered. This way, BBC defenders in critical blogs can reply to the charge that the BBC never covers … with a URL link to the story. By contrast favoured narratives remain linked from homepages for weeks or even months.
So knowing BBC output on Israel well [is that a form of masochism?] I would expect they would utilise a non-British source; stick to attacking groups such as European Fascists whom it is ‘safe’ to oppose; include some ancient history and subtly distance the Jews from Israel.
Israel would be mentioned, only as a possible source and justification for Jew Hatred but I would sneak in a photograph of Israeli ‘cruelty’ just in case the message is missed.
The role of the media in promoting Jew Hatred? Not a peep. Granted the BBC has at most a limited impact in the United States but there is no lack of American examples that Goldfarb could have considered. Examples? Former employers: The Guardian, The New York Times and The Washington Post and NPR (National Public Radio).
The ‘M’ and ‘I’ words ‒ Muslim and Islam, would not appear once, although some minor, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hint would be permitted.
The expression, jihadi double tap, is such a hint, one I intend to appropriate for myself. Attacking a soft target in a big city and then finding a Jewish target for a secondary attack.
Calling it jihadi serves a triple purpose. It distances extreme Muslims from the peaceful, presumably not antisemitic majority without ever bringing up any embarrassing connections between jihadis and mainstream Islamic thinking. Some readers may not connect Jihad with Islam ‒ another bonus. It also allows the author to say he has mentioned the source of most violence and propaganda against Jews without resorting to the ‘M’ or ‘I’ words.
The less informed reader could easily take from this that the chief sources of hatred against Jews are working-class yobs†, Christianity specifically Catholics and extreme right-wing foreigners. No skin off the BBC’s goyish nose. [What is the long classically Jewish nose but a classic stereotype, anyway?]
Aunties‡, those ladies of a certain, unmentionable age don’t tend to be openly antisemitic, anyway. Yet they would probably agree that Jews have to live with hatred. “Those people. They’re really not like us, are they”?
However, Michael Goldfarb and I do share a number of areas in common. For a start, we are approximately the same age. I was twelve years old when we won the 1967 Six Day War. Yes, ‘we’, even though I was a sub-teen literally half way across the world, in Australia. The Israelis were and are my people.
Like Goldfarb, I internalised that victory. Almost overnight I transformed from a bullied kid into a fighter although the moving to a different high school than the bullies was certainly a factor. Not that I didn’t have more than my fair share of fistfights and won at least some of them ‒‒ something I only realised at university. The rare J-word was a challenge to a punch-up and understood as that.
Like Goldfarb, I too was a kid from the suburbs. Yet unlike him I didn’t have the back-up of the other Jewish kids in the playground. The now sadly defunct Strathfield and District Hebrew Congregation consisted of less than fifty families at the time.
Christians vs. Jews was not an issue although there was minor jealousy that I was exempted from the compulsory right-of-entry weekly religious instruction. Also in university I learnt that some of my Jewish friends would, as a matter of principle, attend scripture and walk away with all the prizes.
In a general way the Catholics were our allies. Before splitting off to Christian Brothers High School many of them had attended the same state primary (grade) school as I did. Purely from a class basis, the working class Ashfield Boys High and Christian Brothers, Lewisham would join forces against the straw-boatered Methodists of Newington College. The epic battle of Ashfield Railway Station tunnel is a story that will have to wait another time.
Like Goldfarb, I also attended Hebrew School and like him I didn’t exit particularly religious. Indeed thirty years, living in Israel has made me, if anything, less religious, However, I seem to have taken a pride in the J-word that Goldfarb, judging by his BBC piece is missing. I am the descendent, emotionally, if not literally of Moses, Ezra and Rabbi Meir of Rothenberg. Also Spinoza, Salk and Einstein.
I became proto Zionist. Israel to me was not a cause to flinch. I took pride in Israeli achievements: making the desert bloom, absorbing the olim (another word literally going up rather than immigrating) as well as protecting itself from the genocidal attentions of those who Goldenfarb and the BBC avoid mentioning.
By the way I also learnt the origin of Jew. Descendants of the tribe of Judah in what for thousands of years was called Judea until the Jordanians relabelled it the West Bank.
Jew Hatred doesn’t have to be as dramatic as the flung contents of a beer glass on Goldfarb’s friend. It doesn’t matter if it is verbal or physical. The drip-drip of innuendo works, just as well.
Constant hints, including by the BBC, have normalised it. Perhaps, the Jews have it coming to them. Tim Willcox, Jeremy Bowen and now Michael Goldfarb are just asking the question ~ what harm in that?
It is not possible to know whether Michael Goldberg was instructed to write the chosen BBC slant; chosen because the BBC knew what he was likely to produce or edited that way.
I won’t call him a self-hating Jew. Self-pitying is another story.
Mr. Goldfarb, the modern state of Israel may not be the cure for being hated. On the other hand it does take away the cringe.
† Not a Brit? Yobbo or yob is a slang term for an uncouth or thuggish working-class person. The word derives from a back slang reading of the word “boy” (boy or boyo reversed becomes yob or – slightly modified – yobbo). Wikipedia
‡ BBC Written Archives offers the following about the origin of the word “Auntie” to describe the BBC: “A phrase of obscure origin: presumably journalistic, possibly from cartoons. Increasingly used in 1950s to contrast BBC’s prudish, cosy, puritanical “refained” image with that of the much brasher ITV. Certainly had wide currency by July 1959. Hugh Director-General Carleton Greene told Peter Black (Daily Mail, 31.7.1959) that he thought it was “probably” a hangover from Reithian days.”
* One who is fearful and timid, especially in making decisions and plans, in discussions, debates, arguments, and confrontations, and in taking responsibility.