Look to Trump and Corbyn for the Key to Rising anti-Semitism

Racism, xenophobia and irrational hatred of ethnic minorities all flourish in a climate of ignorance and suspicion - exactly the climate being created by politicians of Trump and Corbyn’s ilk.

Anshel Pfeffer
Anshel Pfeffer
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Republican U.S. Presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign event at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S., August 3, 2016.
Republican U.S. Presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign event at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S., August 3, 2016.Credit: Eric Thayer, Reuters
Anshel Pfeffer
Anshel Pfeffer

On the second page of the report by the Community Security Trust on anti-Semitic incidents in Britain in the first six months of 2016 is a photograph of graffiti in London reading: “Goyim the Holocaust is a lie. Google bankers the fact.” For emphasis, the anonymous scribbler added a little Star of David. Three centuries of Judeophobia in 10 words.

There’s the 19th century, with the implication that Jewish bankers run the world, and the late-20th century theme of Holocaust denial. But instead of being exhorted to kill the Jews, as once would have been expected, goyim are advised to Google the facts.

Out there on the internet, you can find what the mainstream media is concealing from you, the real facts about the Jewish bankers and the Holocaust hoax. This is anti-Semitism in the 21st century, an online quest for the truth those Jews are hiding away. (The poor things have yet to cotton on to the fact that we control Google and the web as well).

The CST report is the gold standard of anti-Semitism monitoring. Unlike so many other groups and organizations which indulge in alarmism, the Jewish community in Britain is blessed with an outfit that soberly analyzes the facts and treads a careful path between dismissing hate crimes and blowing them out of proportion. They don’t rush to classify attacks on Jews as anti-Semitic incidents before first assessing the motives and circumstances.

After investigating, CST determined that over one-third of the potentially anti-Semitic incidents reported to it in the first half of the year did not specifically target Jews and did not include them in its statistics. So while it’s difficult to take most reports claiming a rise in anti-Semitism seriously, CST’s figures are eminently trustworthy. What’s more, its data allow us not only to say whether anti-Semitism is growing or on the wane, but to discern trends beyond the headlines.

The latest report shows an 11-percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the six-month period, compared to last year.

But on closer inspection we find that the number of violent anti-Semitic assaults declined and none of the incidents recorded in the first half of 2016 met the criteria for extreme violence. Acts of damage to Jewish sites and public buildings, including desecration of cemeteries, also declined.

The increase in anti-Semitic incidents during the period involved verbal abuse and most of all online anti-Semitism, mainly on social media. And as not every British Jew who gets a tweet from @goebbels1939 informing him that he’s just switched on his gas oven goes to the trouble to inform the CST, that is probably the most underreported form of anti-Semitic incident. Especially as while the CST reported 133 online incidents in six months, most prominent Jewish journalists in Britain get that many in just a week.

The conclusion that anti-Semitism happens today less in real life than online is not that new, but it does mean we should perhaps start thinking differently about it. Another interesting conclusion from the CST report is the correlation between spikes in anti-Jewish incidents and external events. Previous spikes have coincided with events in the Middle East, including Israel’s conflicts in south Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, which have inflamed passions in Britain as well. The most recent spike, which took place mainly between April and June, coincided with the turmoil within the Labour Party over the loss of trust in Jeremy Corbyn on the part of most Labour members of parliament.

The CST of course avoids making too direct a connection, but its analysis is that the chaotic time in Britain’s main opposition party “was also a period when some Jewish public figures, including politicians and student activists, were the targets of sustained campaigns of antisemitic threats, abuse and harassment on social media” and that “it is possible that a combination of these factors, rather than a single trigger event, contributed to an overall increase in the number of antisemitic incidents.”

Since the CST limits its work to Britain, it is up to us to draw the obvious parallel with what has been happening during the same period across the Atlantic. As anyone who is identified as a Jew, or merely has a vaguely Jewish-sounding name will tell you, you only need to tweet something critical of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to be deluged with vile anti-Semitic tweets in response. There are no statistics yet available for the United States, but there’s no need. The similarities are clear despite the two leaders coming ostensibly from opposite poles of the political spectrum. And it’s not just the fact that the sudden emergence of online hate coincides with the rise of populist extremist politicians.

What is important to note here is that while anti-Semitism has been a symptom of these waves of populist upheaval, it’s not the core of what is happening. It comes with other forms of hatred and racism. In Britain, Corbynites on social media have targeted mainly female Labour MPs who are critical of his leadership with nasty misogyny and one of his challengers, Angel Eagle, also with homophobic abuse. Trumpists online have or course attacked other ethnic minorities, blacks, Muslims and Mexicans, along with Jews. But racism and hate are still only symptoms, not the main motivating factors in the support of politicians like Corbyn and Trump, both of whom insist they are not racist in any way, and they could be telling the truth.

The real problem with the feelings this brand of politician inspires isn’t abuse of Jews and other groups on Twitter. It’s unpleasant and offensive, but ultimately, as the figures show, stays online and rarely if ever results in actual violence.

The hatred is born from a wider phobia that both Trump and Corbyn suffer from. They are haunted by an obsession with the media. Both are convinced that rather than reporting the basic truth — that Corbyn is an incompetent politician with views that were outdated already in the 1980s, and Trump is a serial bankrupt who has made his way through life conning people and pandering to their basest instincts — the media is plotting against them. That’s why Trump’s campaign has revoked the press credentials to cover its events from some of the main news organizations in the United States and Corbyn prefers to campaign on Facebook and in front of adulating rallies of his supporters, rather than answer difficult questions posed by interviewers.

Both men constantly urge their supporters to read fewer newspapers and not believe what is being said about them on television. And while no one is suggesting that the mainstream media is anywhere near perfect, what they are both doing is pushing ordinary citizens towards fringe outlets that peddle conspiracy theories and all forms of nonscientific quacks, from antivaxxers to 9/11 truthers.

Racism, xenophobia, irrational hatred of ethnic minorities, of Jews, Muslims, gays and women, all flourish in a climate of ignorance and suspicion. That is the climate being created by politicians of Trump and Corbyn’s ilk, where you mustn’t believe what you’re told by the mainstream media but the truth is out there. Just Google Jews Bankers Facts.

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