Posts Tagged ‘Hinduism’

My Defence to the Labour Party Against the Anti-Semitism Allegations

August 29, 2021

On Thursday I submitted my defence against the utterly false accusations of anti-Semitism levelled against to the Labour party. Although the complaints procedure is severely flawed, perhaps deliberately so in order to secure convictions of guilt more easily, I felt I had no choice. I had seven days to respond and they were determined to go ahead with the charges even if they didn’t have a response from me. In my defence I not only refute the anti-Semitism charges, but I also voice my criticisms of the entire complaints and disciplinary procedure. I also include a biographical statement making it clear that by upbringing and education I am not an anti-Semite. Here is my defence. Be warned: It is long.

Antisemitism Accusations: Refutation

I have never been an anti-Semite, and, given the horrors perpetrated against the Jewish people, especially the Holocaust, find this form of racism particularly abhorrent. I therefore find these accusations to be nothing short of vile calumny.

The Accusations: Baseless and Insubstantial

I have looked at the accusations and the evidence that have been levelled against me, and find them to be so baseless, contrived and ahistorical that they are actually both personally insulting and an attack on real scholarship by people who I can only surmise are sectarian political propagandists. As you will be aware, I am an historian and archaeologist with a doctorate in the latter subject. I consider historical truth extremely important and have nothing but absolute contempt for those who wish to falsify or deny history. And I am afraid this is precisely what my accusers have done. Let’s go through the accusations.

  1. David Sivier (the Respondent) has engaged in conduct prejudicial and / or grossly detrimental to the Party in breach of Chapter 2, Clause I.8 of the Labour Party Rule Book by engaging in conduct which:  

     
    1. may reasonably be seen to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on religion or belief ;  
  • Engages in stereotypical allegations of Jewish control in the media, economy, government or other societal institutions;  

I should begin by stating that I find this a very poorly constructed document. It seems that you have a list of accusations, which you have decided must be applied to all cases such as mine involving accusations of prejudice, regardless of their individual applicability. Furthermore, you provide no supporting argument for these accusations. You simply reproduce the prohibitions from the party handbook, the blog post which appears to offend you and a list of quotes. Some of these, which you seem to find anti-Semitic, are anything but. For example, with the above quote

“My own preferred view is that anti-Semitism is simply hatred of Jews as Jews, and that no state or ideology should be beyond debate and criticism. This includes Israel and Zionism,”  

Your objections themselves, if I am reading you correctly, show considerable prejudice.

  1. It was Wilhelm Marr who defined anti-Semitism as hatred of Jews as Jews, regardless of religion or ideology. Marr was the founder of the German League of Anti-Semites. Are you telling me that the definition of anti-Semitism, used by the anti-Semites themselves, is somehow anti-Semitic? If so, you are depriving historians of the means to judge and understand the actions and motives of real anti-Semites, people responsible for the most horrendous crimes.
  2. Are you stating that there are certain states and ideologies that are beyond criticism? Does this attitude apply to highly repressive regimes such as North Korea, the Islamic State and the Taliban’s seizure of Afghanistan? Does this principle mean that I may not criticise other, viciously racist, murderous regimes like Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Russia? Or, come to think of it, Idi Amin’s Uganda and Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe or even apartheid South Africa. By adopting this attitude, you appear to be siding with monstrously oppressive regimes rather than the grand, democratic socialist tradition of universalism and human rights.
  3. You seem to believe that Israel and Zionism should be exempt from debate and criticism. But where a state violates human rights and engages in systematic persecution, it should be criticised, as should the underlying ideology. The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which has been foisted on the party, only says that criticism of Israel may be considered anti-Semitic, if similar criticisms are not applied to other countries. But I do apply them to other countries on my blog. You just have selected a single blog post, and decided that it is representative a general attitude of particular hostility to Israel because of the religion of its founders and government. This is not the case.

The accusers seem to mistakenly conflate anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and opposition to or criticism of the state of Israel. But as I have said above, Wilhelm Marr, the founder of the League of Anti-Semites, viewed anti-Semitism as hatred of Jews as Jews, regardless of religion or ideology. Georg von Schoenerer, an Austrian nationalist, stated ‘Religion is only a mask- the foulness is in the blood’. See Peter Vansittart, Voices 1870-1914 (London: Jonathan Cape 1984) XV. Also ‘Anti-Semitism’ in Taylor, James, and Shaw, Warren, A Dictionary of the Third Reich (London: Grafton Books 1988) 37, ‘Der Politischen Antisemitismus’ in Ritter, G.A., Das Deutsche Kaisserreich 1871-1914: Ein Historisches Lesebuch (Goettingen: Vandenoeck & Ruprecht1981)131.. This excludes Zionism. Judge Sedley has also expressed and promoted a similar definition of anti-Semitism as a particular attitude towards Jews as Jews. The racial basis of anti-Semitism was also demonstrated by the Nazis in their persecution of the Jews. Talmudic Jews were persecuted and sent to the death camps because of their race, not their religion. The Karaites were allowed to go unmolested because they are held by some to be descended from gentile converts to Judaism, such as the Khazars.

Zionism cannot be equated with Judaism. Zionism is an ideology, not a religion. Nor can it be viewed as uniquely Jewish phenomenon. The first individuals to argue for the resettlement of Jews in Palestine were fundamentalist Christians. This has continued, to that the largest Zionist organisation in America today is Pastor Ted Hagee’s ‘Christians United for Israel’. And anti-Semites have also supported Zionism.  Witness the scheme of anti-Semites around the time of the Second World War to depart Jews to Madagascar, for example. See ‘Madagascar’ in Taylor and Shaw, ibid, 225. Or the brief agreement Adolf Hitler signed with the Zionists, the Ha’avara Agreement, to support German Jewish emigration to the nascent Jewish colonies.

I have also taken care not to smear all Zionists. You will note that I refer to ‘ultra-Zionist fanatics’. While I condemn utterly and absolutely the Israeli state’s persecution of the Palestinians, I have every respect for those Israelis, who are working for a genuine and just peace between Israel and the Palestinians. My objections are not to the Israeli people, but to their right-wing politicians and military. I respect left-wing Zionists, such as those Israelis who received vile personal abuse for praying the kaddish over dying Palestinian civilians, who had been shot by the IDF.

I also consider Tony Greenstein and the other victims of the witch hunt to be decent people, and do not find anything anti-Semitic in my declaration of support for them or the views and actions of these people themselves. I have seen absolutely nothing to suggest Mr Greenstein has ever been a self-hating anti-Semite. He has rightly shown great pride in the way the anti-Fascists from his home town of Brighton and Hove gave Oswald Mosley and the BUF a damn good hiding when they tried to recruit there. He has also written with pride about the group of former Jewish servicemen, including the hairdresser, Vidal Sassoon, who took the fight against the Fascists to the streets after the War when groups like Mosley’s BUF and the Britons, and others sought to come back. I have also made it very clear that I particularly condemn the victimisation of Jews in this current witch hunt, Many of these, have personally experienced anti-Semitic abuse and assault. I am very much aware that very many Jewish Brits have lost relatives in the Holocaust. Indeed, I personally know Jewish people who have. Which is why I regard the way Jews have been singled out for what I consider to be baseless smears to be especially vile and abhorrent.

And there is abundant and undeniable evidence that Israel is a racist state. It practices apartheid between Jews and Arabs. Intermarriage between the two is discouraged, there are separate roads for Jews and Palestinians, Palestinian farmers and businesses suffer strangling regulations which do not apply to Israelis and their homes, which have been there for millennia, have been and are being demolished to make way for Jewish settlements. This is established fact. Am I to assume that my accusers have decided that I must be anti-Semitic on the grounds that I am repeating facts about a state’s treatment of its indigenous population? In which case, my accusers have shown themselves hostile to objective truth.

Now there is the question of the various statements I cite in the essay that express anti-Semitic or anti-Zionist attitudes. But these come from the historical figures, who uttered them. Are you saying, for example, that the Nazi ideologue, Alfred Rosenberg, did not write in his notorious Myth of the 20th Century that Jewish emigration to Palestine must be encourage?

Are you telling me that Francis Nicosia made up his statement that the Nazis wished to encourage Jewish emigration to Palestine? I understand Mr Nicosia is an entirely respectable, mainstream historian. Please let me know if you do believe that he has falsely represented Nazi policy in this regard, and that you therefore regard him as a possible anti-Semite, so I may inform him and his lawyers.

As you should be aware from reading my blog post and Tony’s article, each quote and extract from a historical text is properly supported with the source from which it is taken clearly cited You therefore seem to be upset that I am discussing aspects of Zionist history that you would clearly prefer kept quiet. But in a properly democratic society and organisation, issues such as this should be open to discussion, even if they are uncomfortable for those who hold them. My accusers seem to wish to sanitise the history of the Zionist movement. Perhaps I should contact the Historical Association and inform them that the Labour party is now engaged in historical censorship and that if they come to power, orthodox, respectable mainstream historians will be accused of anti-Semitism simply for mentioning these uncomfortable truths about Zionism?

The Quotations

You have presented me with a list of quotes, but, as with the article itself, if you have not provided me with any arguments informing me what, if anything, is offensive or anti-Semitic about them. And many of them, if correctly read, are clearly the reverse.

“Zionism was until recent decades very much a minority position among European Jews.”  
This is as I understand it, based on my reading of Jewish history and Jewish socialists. I understand that the Bund, the main Jewish party in pre-War Poland, explicitly rejected Zionism and its members sought to be seen as fellow Poles of the Jewish faith. As did Jewish Brits, Frenchmen, Germans and so on.  See Ilan Pappe’s Ten Myths About Israel, pp. 249, for example, as well as the other historians and historical figures I quote in my article. .The description of Zionism as a minority position is therefore neither a distortion of history nor anti-Semitic. There is nothing anti-Semitic in rejecting Zionism when one also supports the Jewish people’s struggle for dignity and equality at home, in contrast to the attitude of the Nazis, for example. Far from it. It shows that one values Jews as vital fellow citizens.

“it is an internalisation of gentile anti-Semitism, with which it has collaborated, including in the mass murder of Jews, such as in the Holocaust, by real anti-Semites.”  
I consider this statement also to be fair and justified. Anti-Semitism has at its heart the belief that Jews and gentiles are racially distinct and incompatible. This was the attitude of the founders of Zionism, such as Theodor Herzl and Ben Gurion. It was also the attitude of that most notorious of 19th century anti-Semites, Wagner. Wagner had Jewish friends, but hated them as a people and wanted them deported to Palestine. See the book The German Dictatorship by Karl-Dietrich Bracher. And the Zionists did collaborate with the Nazis. The Judischer Rundschau, the main German Jewish Zionist newspaper, praised the vile Nuremberg laws and urged Jewish Germans to wear the magen Dawids forced upon them with pride. The nadir came in the case of Rudolf Kasztner, who willingly collaborated with the Nazis in sending Hungarian Jews to the death camps just so that some could be sent to Israel instead. This is documented fact, not an anti-Semitic slur. Again, the accusation here seems to be another assault on historical truth.

“he had previously not come forward to add his support because he didn’t want people to think that he was a Jew-hater.”  

Again, this is historically true. Pappe explicitly mentions the case of a German aristocrat in his book. Again, documented fact which my accusers seek to deny.


“These quotes clearly show that the criticisms of Israel and the Zionist movement by people like Tony Greenstein and the others are historically justified,”  

Not an anti-Semitic statement – Israel is a state, like any other, and so deserves to be criticised like any other repressive or persecutory state. And I believe by criticisms of Zionism are also historically and politically justified, based on the scholarship Mr Greenstein has cited and which I have personally read. As I have said, Zionism is not Judaism. It is an ideology that has been shared by many gentiles, including anti-Semites, and rejected by many Jews. Any attempt to claim that Zionism = Judaism is a gross distortion of history, and religious and political identity.

“My own preferred view is that anti-Semitism is simply hatred of Jews as Jews, and that no state or ideology should be beyond debate and criticism. This includes Israel and Zionism.”  

There is no anti-Semitism in this statement. Quite the contrary – I have made it clear that no state or ideology should be beyond debate and criticism. The operative words are ‘state’ and ‘ideology’. I have not said ‘religion’ or ‘people’. I have made it clear that my criticisms and condemnation are against the state of Israel and its right-wing leaders and military. I am not against Jews, Judaism or the Israel people qua Jews, Judaism or the Israeli people. I have said that anti-Semitism, in the words of its founder, was about hatred of Jews as Jews, regardless of their religion or the ideologies they may hold. I realise that this is rejected by the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, but this states that criticism of Israel may be anti-Semitic, if Israel is singled out for criticism while other states aren’t. If you read my blog, you will be aware that I condemn all persecution and ethnic cleansing everywhere, including the Holocaust, the slave trade, the Turkish persecution of the Kurds, and the current Chinese genocide against the Uighurs. I comprehensively reject the claim that I am anti-Semite, based on this highly selective reading of this quote.

“I’ve come across the adage, ‘Two Jews, three opinions’.  

No anti-Semitism here, either, from what I can see. The saying is actually Jewish, not something that has been applied to Jews by gentiles. It is also the title of a book by Barbara Davis, published in 2019 by Resource Publications. Its ISBN number is 1532673329. This was about the Jewish Community School Network, founded in 1980, which was based on klal Yisrael, the unity of the Jewish people, and intended to unite Jews of different religious views. Hence the title. See the Amazon page here: Two Jews, Three Opinions: Amazon.co.uk: Davis, Barbara Sheklin: 9781532673320: Books

 I believe I encountered the saying in an essay written by two rabbis as part of a two-day symposium called by the American president to combat the rise of Fascism in Europe. Their argument was that Jews are an innately democratic people, who have always valued debate and discussion against enforced political and religious conformity. I make the point that it supports the idea that the Jewish community is not monolithic, but diverse and pluralist – admirable qualities that multiculturalism seeks to promote against anti-Semitism and Fascism. I have also used the quote to demonstrate the admirable pluralism of the contemporary British Jewish community, and the attempts by British Zionists to present British Jewry as some kind of monolithic community is the type of misrepresentation used by totalitarian regimes, such as the Nazis against their opponents.

Furthermore, Jews aren’t the only people, who religious disputatiousness became proverbial. During the Reformation in the Netherlands, it was said that if there were three Dutchmen, two would form their own sects and accuse the third of being a heretic. And yet the Netherlands has a noble tradition of religious tolerance. It was one of the few nations, for example, which didn’t expel the Jews, one of the more famous members of its community being the 17th century philosopher Baruch Spinoza. I believe it to be this tradition of religious debate and pluralism that has made Dutch society, like British Judaism, a solid bedrock of democratic values.

“people, who hold entirely reasonable opinions critical of Israel are being vilified, harassed and purged as the very things they are not, racists and anti-Semites.”  

This is my opinion, based on the published writing of many of the victims of the witch-hunt and my personal relationships with some of them. I have seen nothing in the writings of Tony Greenstein, as I have said, that is, in my opinion, remotely anti-Semitic. Indeed, Mr Greenstein, like so many of the people I personally know, has suffered abuse and vilification for his Jewishness. I also know other Jews and gentiles, who have had the same experience, including real anti-Semitic assault. Or if gentile, they have been abused and vilified for supporting Jews and attacking anti-Semitism. This is my personal experience. I therefore reject the accusation, and regard it in itself as supporting anti-Semitism.

Now let’s go through some of the other accusations levelled against me.

  1. may reasonably be seen to involve antisemitic actions, stereotypes and sentiments;  

Baseless. As I’ve said, I am not an anti-Semite and will not publish genuinely anti-Semitic material. My argument is against the state of Israel and the ultra-Zionists that support it, not Jews or the Jewish religion. If the arguments are used do involve anti-Semitic actions, stereotypes and sentiments, it is most often when I have refuted them, as I have done so in posts against the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, for example. I have also noted the use of ‘anti-Semitic tropes’ as a way of denying political reality. The IDF has a practice of poisoning the wells of Palestinian villages with a noxious substance to make the water undrinkable. This is similar to the medieval anti-Semitic accusation that the Black Death was spread by the Jews poisoning the wells. But the medieval lie should not be used to stop the reportage of current IDF practice. One is fact, the other malign falsehood. What matters is fact and truth. Anti-Semitic Jewish stereotypes should not be invoked to suppress current reality.

  1. Engages in stereotypical allegations of Jewish control in the media, economy, government or other societal institutions;  

In the words of the Comic Book Guy in the Android’s Dungeon in the cartoon, The Simpsons, ‘Hah! You jest!’ This is the only way I can see this accusation, so far is it from reality. I have repeatedly condemned the classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jewish capitalists and control of the media, government and economy in my blog, as expressed in the Nazis’ vile lies about Jewish bankers, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the current Fascist fear that the Jews are importing non-Whites to replace the White population. I have very specific criticisms of the way parts of Britain’s Zionist milieu has sought to mobilise the media and exerted control of the political parties. This is based on my observation of the way the accusations of anti-Semitism were enthusiastically adopted by the wider British political and media establishment in order to discredit Mr Corbyn and his supporters. I have not suggested that Jews control the media, economy or government. I have said that the allegations mobilised by right-wing Zionists were taken up by the British state and press. This was not done through coercion or any form of covert Jewish control, and the quote makes that clear.

  1. Accuses the Jews as people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust;  

I have never said that the Jews or Israel have invented the Holocaust. Far from it, I have always bitterly opposed Holocaust denial. Nor have I accused the Jews or Israel of exaggerating the Holocaust, which is something else that Nazis have done and which I wholeheartedly reject. And I am at a loss to know how this accusation applies to me regarding the above article. The article does not state that the Holocaust was invented or exaggerated. This accusation is therefore inapplicable, and I can only regard as a grotesque smear.

Repeats stereotypical and negative physical descriptions/descriptions or character traits of Jewish people, such as references to wealth or avarice and equating Jews with capitalists or the ruling class;  

My piece was about historical anti-Semitism and its links to Zionism. No discussion of real anti-Semitism can be made without repeating the smears and allegations of anti-Semites themselves. As you should be able to discern for yourself, repeating and discussing the views of anti-Semites does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of them. And the article should, I hope, make it clear that I do not endorse the real anti-Semitic views of the individuals I cite, such as Alfred Rosenberg.

Now let’s turn to the questions you have for me personally. Many of these are innocuous and reasonable, but others are much more sinister. Certain of them remind me of forced confessions of guilt of the accused in the show trials of Stalin’s Russia and the ‘self-criticism’ of dissenters and non-conformists in Mao’s China. The objective seems to secure admissions of guilt, followed by due repentance and contrition following the pattern of inquisitions and ideological persecution down the centuries.

Here are my replies.

  1. Please see the evidence attached overleaf. The Party has reason to believe that this is your Word Press web blog account. Can you confirm this is the case?  

A. Yes, that’s true.

 2)      The Party further has reason to believe that you posted, shared or endorsed these statements yourself. Can you confirm this is the case? If not, each individual piece of evidence is numbered so please specify which of the pieces of evidence you are disputing posting, sharing or endorsing?  

A. This is also true.
 

3)      Taking each item in turn, please explain your reasons for posting, sharing or endorsing each numbered item of evidence included in this pack?  

4)      Chapter 2, Clause I.8 of the Labour Party Rule Book provides:  

“No member of the Party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NEC is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the Party. The NEC and NCC shall take account of any codes of conduct currently in force and shall regard any incident which in their view might reasonably be seen to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on age; disability; gender reassignment or identity; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; or sexual orientation as conduct prejudicial to the Party: these shall include but not be limited to incidents involving racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia or otherwise racist language, sentiments, stereotypes or actions, sexual harassment, bullying or any form of intimidation towards another person on the basis of a protected characteristic as determined by the NEC, wherever it occurs, as conduct prejudicial to the Party. The disclosure of confidential information relating to the Party or to any other member, unless the disclosure is duly authorised or made pursuant to a legal obligation, shall also be considered conduct prejudicial to the Party.”  


What is your response to the allegation that your conduct may be or have been in breach of this rule?

A. I deny that I have breached this rule. At no point do I support or endorse anything in the above article that may be considered bigoted or prejudicial against the above people and groups. As I have made clear, the post is a criticism of Zionism’s historic links to anti-Semitism. It is certainly not an endorsement of anti-Semitism. As for Zionism, I have made it clear that it is an ideology, and ideologies should be open for debate and criticism. 

5)      The Code of Conduct: Social Media Policy states that members should “treat all people with dignity and respect” and that “this applies offline and online.” Do you think your conduct has been consistent with this policy?  

A. The Labour party has a tradition of robust debate and criticism. I consider my post to be entirely within this. Furthermore, I consider the question hypocritical. At the time of writing, members of the party’s right-wing, including prominent supporters of Mr Starmer, have uttered vile comments and smears on social media. I refer particular to Neil Coyle’s tweet vilifying Jewish Voice for Labour as ‘communists’ who should be expelled. I also note that the accusations and expulsions of innocent, decent people smeared by the party as anti-Semites has resulted in them being deluged with the vilest criticism. Jackie Walker, for example, has received messages stating that she cannot be Jewish, because she is Black, and that she should be lynched, set on fire, killed and her body dumped in bin bags. It seems here that the party has a policy of making such contrived accusations, publicising them, but leaving it to others to do the actual dirty work of vilification and harassment.
 

6)      Looking back at the evidence supplied with this letter, do you regret posting, sharing or endorsing any of this content?  

  1. No, because I believe it to be truthful, warranted and necessary.

7)      Do you intend to post, share or endorse content of this nature again in the future?  

  1. So long as innocent people are being so smeared and vilified and Israel’s history is being falsified, then yes, I do.

8)      Are there any further matters you wish to raise in your defence?

  1. I find this attitude to be repulsively partisan, hypocritical and a diversion from the rising prejudice against Muslims, left-wing Jews and people of colour in the party.  I utterly condemn this mercenary use of the accusation of anti-Semitism. As they accuse me of anti-Semitism, real hatred against the Jews is rising in the Labour party, as well as other forms of racism. I note that many of the victims of this scummy witch hunt are decent Jews, like Mr. Greenstein. I note that the Jews and their gentile supporters, who have been accused, also have a proud record of standing up not just against Zionism, but also against other forms of racism. They have demonstrated and denounced apartheid South Africa abroad, and the NF, BNP and domestic Fascists over here. Muslim brothers and sisters in the Labour party are also subject to rising abuse and harassment. One third of our Islamic kin have said that they have experienced such prejudice and maltreatment in the party.

Keir Starmer has also taken no action against the Labour apparatchiks who have abused and bullied Black MPs and activists, like Diane Abbott. This is despite his opportune and cavalier embrace of Black Lives Matter. As a result, Labour is haemorrhaging Muslim and Black members, party workers and supporters. There is a wide belief that Labour cannot be trusted to tackle racism, and has nothing but contempt for its Muslim and Black members. As it has for its left-wing, Jewish members.

9)      Is there any evidence you wish to submit in your defence?  

  1. Please see the personal statement below.

Personal Information

I come from an Anglican Christian family that has always rejected Jew hatred. My grandmother, who was an active trade unionist and member of the Labour party, had a deep respect for the high degree of learning of the Jewish rabbis. One of my uncles, with whose family we used to go on holiday before his sad death in the 1980s, was Jewish, with the almost stereotypical surname of Hyman. I remember him and his wife, my aunt, with warm affection.

From an early age, I was very much aware of the horrors of the Holocaust. I particularly remember a strip in the boy’s war comic, Battle. This was about a group of squaddies fighting their way through Nazi lines until the reached a concentration camp. This strip showed a glimpse of the horrific conditions the inmates were kept in, as the last panel showed the troopers shocked and horrified by the sight of the emaciated inmates.

My father did his national service in Bielefeld in Germany. His best friend while in the army was Jewish, who remarked on Dad’s lack of any animus against Jews. My father is justly very proud of the respect and friendship he earned through his lack of prejudice, an attitude that he has passed on to me. During his time in Bielefeld, Dad visited the remains of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. He photographed the memorial set up to its victims, the legend of which bilingual in English and Hebrew. When I was a child Dad showed me the photographs of the graves and the remains of the camp and told me how the Jews had been murdered there. This has obviously left a very strong impression on me.

I was a junior schoolboy in 1977 when Punk exploded on the British pop scene. Unfortunately, some idiots at the time took it upon themselves to wear swastikas and other Nazi regalia. This was also at a time when war films were popular at the cinema and on British television, along with war comics such as Battle, Warlord, Commando Picture Library and so on. I remember asking my mother about the Nazis and the Swastika. She told me that they were a group of very evil men, and that if she caught me wearing one, she’d spank my bottom. It’s the kind of comment I’ve no doubt was made by many decent parents up and down the country. In my mother’s case, she had a personal reason to detest the Nazis. One of her school friends had a Jewish surname, and during the War the girl and her family had been very much afraid of Nazi invasion and the child’s consequent murder.

I was educated at a Christian, Anglican comprehensive school, St. Mary Redcliffe, by Christian teachers, clergy and support staff. All of whom had a hatred of racism and sectarian bigotry. I can remember a number of sermons preached in assembly that particularly condemned the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland as well as anti-Black racism, referring to the colour bar in Rhodesia. The school taught the Holocaust long before it became part of the school syllabus. At the same time the school was active in trying to dispel prejudice against non-Christian religions. I particularly remember the RE teacher, a vicar’s wife, showing a gentleman from the city’s Jewish community up the stairs as he carried a number of the holy artifacts of his faith, such as the menorah.

I took my first degree at another Christian institution, the College of St. Paul and St. Mary, which I believe has now expanded and gained university status as the University of Gloucestershire. My major was in History, which included a course on the rise of Communist and Fascist Regimes in Europe. This has given me an extensive knowledge of the nature and history of these dictatorial, persecutory regimes and the scholarship behind it. It also gave me considerable insight into the political mobilisation of antisemitism, and the nature of political antisemitism as formulated by its founders and activists, like Wilhelm Marr, the founder of the Bund Antisemiten, the League of Anti-Semites, one of the odious precursors of the Nazi party. I therefore feel justified in some of the definitions of anti-Semitism, which you have chosen to interpret as evidence in themselves that I am a Jew-hater. This, in my opinion, is an ignorant and intellectually dishonest assault on historical fact.

My minor subject was in Religious Studies. One of the mandatory courses in my first year was on the Old Testament/ Hebrew Bible. As with my secondary school, I was taught by Christian lecturers, who had a deep hatred of Fascism and Communist totalitarianism. I understand that the mother of one of my lecturers, a man who had a deep respect for China and its people, had died in a Maoist concentration camp. The theology lecturer also told us that he had such a deep repugnance to Friedrich Nietzsche, whose philosophy was pillaged by the Nazis to support their vile doctrines, that he was not going to teach it.

Our Old Testament lecturer was a renowned authority in his field who had a very warm affection for the Jewish people. The Holocaust was taught as part of the Judaism course, one of the elective courses in that part of the degree. This particular gentleman was powerfully moved by the sufferings of the Jewish people in this most terrible of anti-Jewish persecution, a feeling he passed on to his students. The lecturer I studied under for this part of the course shared his colleague’s profound respect for the Hebrew Bible and the Jewish people. One of the essays we were set was to explain the Psalmist’s delight in the Pentateuch. At the same time, he was keen for his students to experience modern varieties of Jewish faith and tradition. At the time I was taking the course, there was a pop musician on tour, whose pieces included the Kaddish as played on a synthesiser: “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord forever.” This particular musician was playing in Cheltenham. He described the piece as deeply moving, and urged us all to listen to it. I should also say here that I also took the College’s course on Islam, which was taught by an excellent Indian lecturer who believed in interfaith dialogue and harmonious coexistence. I have Muslim friends, and am particularly worried about the resurgence of islamophobia in British society, of which the accusations against me seem to be a part.

I have had many Jewish friends, and readers of my blog will know that I have repeatedly condemned and attacked real antisemitism. I do not publish articles or comments that are genuinely anti-Semitic, such as those that preach noxious, murderous lies such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the conspiracy theories about Jewish bankers. For an example of this, please see my comments about a video on YouTube by the Irish Nationalists of Eire, whose leader talks about international financial capitalism. This man states he wants Jewish financial involvement in the ‘Irish slave trade’ investigated, which more than suggests he is a supporter of such noxious conspiracy theories. I make it very clear that I condemn it and them.

I have also written for a number of fringe magazines, in which I have also done my best to attack the resurgence of Fascism in fringe western culture. One of these was the return of the Nazi saucer myth, the belief that the Nazis successfully constructed flying saucers.  See, for example, my article ’Gazumrah’s Sons: The Pyschopathology of the Nazi Saucer Myth’ in Magonia, 63, May 1998, 11 -14. Many perfectly decent people have been taken in by this, but among its supporters and propagandists are real Nazis such as Wilhelm Landig and Ernst Zundl. Much of this material is so ludicrous as to make you wonder how anyone could believe it. For example, the conspiracy theories about Jews running the world has been promoted by Hatonn, who purports to be a 9/12 foot tall reptilian alien from the Pleiades, as channelled back in the ‘90s by an elderly American lady. This is noxious and bonkers, but the channeler was not without influence on the American right. Colonel Bo Gritz, one of the leaders of the Militia movement, was among those visiting her to listen to her messages. See the relevant chapter in Adam Parfrey’s Cult Rapture for further information. For my condemnation of this and other forms of Nazism, racism and anti-Semitism, I refer you to issues of the sceptical UFO magazine, Magonia.

Since graduating, I have sought to expand my own knowledge of Jewish faith and the history of Bristol’s Jewish community. I have tried to each myself Biblical Hebrew, for example. I also discuss the archaeology of Bristol’s medieval Jewish community in my 2004 book, Anglo-Saxon and Norman Bristol. I discuss the construction of the houses in Norman Bristol’s Jewish quarter, and the remains of a miqveh, a Jewish ritual bath, which was discovered on Hotwells Road. I am pleased that my city also has a very fine synagogue on Park Row and that one of the neighbouring hotels is named after King David, which surely suggests ties between Bristol’s Jewish community and Israel.

I have also voiced my opposition to the Tories’ persecution of the poor and unemployed by comparing them to other victims of the Nazis. During the Third Reich, the habitual unemployed, amongst others, were denounced as ‘asocial’ and sent to the camps. They were forced to wear a badge, just as our Jewish brothers and sisters were made to wear theirs, on their prison uniform. In the case of the unemployed and arbeitschau, the badge was a black triangle containing a white ‘A’, for ‘asoziale’. I am also greatly concerned with the persecution of religious minorities in Putin’s Russia. Pentecostal Christians were particularly persecuted during the Soviet dictatorship, and now the Arkhiplut has raised similar accusations and persecution against the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Dissenting Christians, such as the followers of Pastor Bonhoeffer and particularly the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists were also martyred in the camps for their refusal to conform to the Reich’s anti-Semitism and disloyalty in rejecting Hitler as a secular messiah. I have no right to wear the Magen Dawid, as I’m not Jewish an don’t wish to be seen to be ‘Jewsplaining’ or cynically exploiting the Shoah.. But I am religious and I have been unemployed, so to show my solidarity with the victims of those persecutions, I made cardboard copies of the badges they were forced to wear in the Nazi camps and posted up a video about is on YouTube. This is at This was my attack on totalitarianism and the persecution that has directly affected people like me. See my video at Protesting Against Benefits Sanctions with Nazi Unemployment Badge – YouTube

I do not expect you to know about my life history or be aware of fringe publications like Magonia. This is why it is dangerous to the accused and the party to make such accusations of anti-Semitism based on a highly selective, prejudicial reading of a single article. I have been also been accused of bringing the Labour party into disrepute. I have not done so. I am simply airing my opinions on what I consider to be a particularly odious campaign of smear and lies against innocent people according to the party’s century old tradition of internal democracy and robust debate. I contend instead that it is my anonymous accusers, who have brought the party into disrepute by their false accusations against fine, anti-racist Jewish and gentile women and men. This is amply shown by the Labour party haemorrhaging members, trembling on the verge of bankruptcy, the failures and bare victories in the local and by-elections and the plummeting popularity of the party’s leader, Keir Starmer.

Blog Posts Attacking Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories

As I have said, I have also published several pieces on my blog attacking real anti-Semitism and noxious anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. These are at the heart of modern Fascism and Nazism, and constitute a real, existential threat to Jews. Here is a selection of such posts.

History Debunked Tears to Shreds the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Simon Webb, the man behind the YouTube channel History Debunked seems to me to be a man of the right. The channel’s devoted to refuting fake history, but much of the myths it debunks are false claims made in the name of anti-racism by Black activists. He also believes that there are racial differences in intelligence, with Blacks on average less intelligent than Whites, and Whites also on average less bright than Asians. In other words, the Bell Curve stuff that has been loudly denounced and refuted over the past decade or so. That said, his videos are always based on solid fact and well argued, and I don’t believe that he is personally racist. Indeed, he has put up a video about home schooling, in which he states very clearly that not only has he done it himself, but he is also helping and giving advice to a group of Black British parents, who wish to do it.

In this video History Debunked takes on the infamous Tsarist forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Webb states that he’s doing this after some of his previous videos were taken down by YouTube, or he was warned that they may be taken down because of their controversial content. But this video is not only historically right, no-one should be able to accuse him of racism or hate speech because of it. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a notorious anti-Semitic forgery, which is at the heart of the various stupid conspiracy theories about the Jews secretly trying to take over the world through controlling the media, banks, business and so on. It was concocted in the very early 20th century by the Russian monk, Nilus, for the Tsar’s secret police, the Okhrana, in order to make Nicholas II persecute the Jews even more harshly. As Nicholas II believed in the Blood Libel, the myth that Jews murder Christians to use their blood in the matzo bread at Passover, it’s hard to see how Nicholas could be even more anti-Semitic. Especially as his attempts to prosecute one Jewish man, Beilis, for this, was worrying his ministers who viewed it as a serious embarrassment to the autocracy.

In the video, Webb shows how the Protocols was based on an earlier book, a Dialogue between Machiavelli and Montesquieu in Hell. This was an attack on the government of Napoleon III of France, who French liberals feared was trying to take over and control everything, including the press and business. He illustrates this through pointing to some of the metaphors that Nilus took from the earlier book. The Dialogue describes Napoleon as having a hundred arms, like the Hindu god Vishnu, each arm extended into some part of society. And here it appears again in the Protocols, which describes the Jewish conspiracy as like the Hindu deity with hundreds of arms extending through society.

Apart from the Dialogue, Nilus also plagiarised Theodor Herzl’s Altneuland Herzl was the founder of modern Zionism, and the Altneuland was his attempt to depict and popularise a Jewish state. In my view, Zionism has caused immense suffering and conflict in the Middle East, and led to the persecution and ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians. I’d say they were entirely justified in despising Herzl’s book. But it isn’t about a global conspiracy or a programme for the mass enslavement of non-Jews, as the Protocols purports to be.

Webb jokes that if there is a Jewish conspiracy as the Protocols claims, then it can’t be much of one if they’ve had to take their ideas from a satire published decades earlier about Napoleon III, and Herzl’s Altneuland. He also states that the other daft conspiracy theories about Jews are ultimately based on the Protocols. One of these is the Kalergi Plan. From what little I know of it, the Kalergi Plan is supposed to be a secret plot by a cabal of European leaders to import non-Whites into the continent and the west in order to destroy the White race. Yep, it’s another permutation of that heap of bilge.

Here’s History Debunked thoroughly refuting the Protocols.

An old French political satire which has, indirectly, had an immense effect upon the world – YouTube

The Protocols are notorious as a forgery, but have been massively influential in spreading real Fascism and Jew-hatred. They inspired many of the Fascist movements that arose after the First World War. At least one of the British papers serialised them, until they saw sense and realized that they were a forgery. Then they published criticisms and refutations. However, even when readers of the wretched book have had it shown to them that they’re a forgery, such is their power that some of them continue to believe that they’re ‘symbolically true’.

The Protocols have been responsible for some of the most horrific anti-Semitic persecution and violence. And unfortunately they’re still being published. Apparently you can’t pick up copies on street corner kiosks in Putin’s Russia, and they were turned into a major television series on Egyptian TV. Way back in the 1990s a branch of Waterstone’s in this country stocked them because they were cited by various UFO conspiracy theorists that Reptoid aliens really were running the world or some such nonsense. One of these books claimed that the ‘Jews’ referred to in the Protocols were really the Illuminati of much contemporary American conspiracy theorising. No, the authors of the Protocols meant to attack the Jews, and whether someone chooses to believe that it’s really about the Illuminati or not, the Protocols are still vile, dangerous, murderous rubbish.

There’s a large body of literature debunking the Protocols. One of the classics is Norman Cohn’s Warrant for Genocide. And this video is also an excellent short but acute refutation of them.

History Debunked Tears to Shreds the Protocols of the Elders of Zion | Beastrabban\’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Conspiracy Book’s Debunking of Anti-Semitic Forgery ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’

A week or so ago I put up a post about The Mammoth Book of Cover-Ups by Jon E. Lewis, and its chapter roundly debunking Holocaust denial. The book is a popular volume on conspiracy theories, describing and frequently debunking 100 such conspiratorial beliefs about the death of Princess Diana, the Men In Black, the assassination of J.F.K., and Martin Luther King, Area 51, Ronald Reagan, the Priory of Zion of Holy Blood, Holy Grail infamy and many more, including Holocaust denial.

Another infamous anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, that also gets thoroughly disproven, is the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which the book gives in its full title, the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, and deals with on pages 433 to 450. The Protocols are a notorious forgery, concocted by the tsar’s secret police, the Okhrana, to encourage Nicholas II to be even more anti-Semitic and persecute the Jews even worse than he already was. It is one of the leading sources of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and was read and influenced many Fascists. It was proven to be a forgery as long ago as the 1920, but even after this was revealed, some of those, who had read it continued to be maintain that it was symbolically true, even if it wasn’t factually. Unfortunately, the book continues to have a very wide circulation, particularly in the Middle East and in eastern Europe.

The history of this vile book is briefly described on pages 433-5. The chapter states that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was first published in 1897 as an appendix to the book, The Antichrist Is Near At Hand by the Russian writer, Sergei Nilus. It claims to be an instruction manual for a cabal of anonymous Jews planning to conquer and subdue the Christian world.

It states that the chief points of the Protocols are that the plot will remain invisible until it is so strong it cannot be overcome; government is to be increasingly centralized; press freedoms shall be restricted; gentile are to be distracted by games and amusements; and all non-Jewish religions will be swept away.

The book was immensely popular in Russia and the rest of the world. One enthusiast was the industrialist Henry Ford, of motor industry fame, who printed sections in his newspaper, the Dearborn Independent. He believed it exactly described the world situation as it was in his time, and used them to try to influence the US senate to stop America joining the League of Nations.

The first person to show that the Protocols were a forgery was Lucien Wolf. In his The Jewish Bogey and the Forged Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion of 1920 showed that sections of the Protocols had been lifted with only very minor changes from a satire written by a French lawyer, Maurice Joly, Dialogue aux Enfers entre Montesquieu et Machiavelli (“Dialogue in Hell between Montesquieu and Machiavelli”). This was itself influenced by Eugene Sue’s 1843 conspiracy novel, The Mysteries of Paris. The Protocols was also based on the 1868 novel, Biarritz, by the German spy Hermann Goedsche, written under the pseudonym Sir John Retcliffe. This had a chapter describing how a fictitious group of rabbis met at midnight every century in a cemetery to plan the further progress of Jewish world domination.

Lewis suggests the Protocols were probably forged by Matvei Golovinski, one of the agents of the Okhrana. He hoped to justify the tsarist regime’s persecution of the Jews by whipping up a scare about revolutionaries in the pay of the Jews planning the downfall of the monarchy. As a result, pogroms were launched against the Jews in 1905-6. And the truth of the conspiracy described by the Protocols was seen by all too many people as confirmed by the Russian Revolution of 1917, some of whose leaders happened to be Jews.

After the Nazi seizure of power in Germany, Adolf Hitler made the Protocols compulsory reading in schools. Lewis goes to describe how, despite or because of their influence in causing the Holocaust, the Protocols continue to be held as ‘fact’. Egyptian television broadcast a series in 2000 that claimed there was a connection between the Protocols and the foundation of Israel. The Protocols could also been found in al-Qaeda training camps. They’re also popular with Hamas, and in America they’re distributed by Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. That section of the chapter ends

In fact, wherever anti-Semites gather you’ll find well-thumbed copies of the Protocols. That any of these organisations or their adherents could not discover within at most thirty seconds’ worth of research that the Protocols are, as a Swiss court described them as long ago as 1935, “ridiculous nonsense”, forgeries and plagiarism, beggars belief.

The book gives each conspiracy a threat level, according to how apparently plausible they are. You won’t be surprised to find that the threat level of the Protocols is zero.

The chapter also lists for further reading the following:

Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, 1996.

Daniel Pipes, The Hidden Hand: Middle East Fears of Conspiracy, 1998.

Lucien Wolf, The Jewish Bogey and the Forged Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, 1920.

The book provides extracts from the main documents behind or about the various conspiracies, so that readers can make up their own minds. This includes the Protocols, extracts from which are reproduced on pages 436-50. Lewis obviously trusts his readers to follow his entirely correct judgement of the Protocols, and similarly realise that they are a forgery. This is also useful, because opponents of anti-Semitism, racism and Fascism can read them without having to give money to Nazis, anti-Semites and Islamists.

I wondered if they’re shouldn’t be a proper, scholarly edition of the Protocols, written by orthodox historians and opponents of anti-Semitism, aimed not just at debunking the Protocols, but also for decent people interested in its noxious influence on Nazism and other anti-Semitic ideologies. The Bavarian government did something like this a little while ago to Mein Kampf after it came out of copyright. The government had used its ownership of the book’s copyright to prevent its publication in Germany. When this expired, they decided that the best way to combat its adoption once again by neo-Nazis would be to prepare a properly annotated version by mainstream historian of the Third Reich.

The problem with suppressed literature is that it acquires a glamour simply by being forbidden. I doubt very many people in Britain have even heard of the Protocols, but they are published and read by Nazis, and briefly appeared on the shelves of one bookshop in the north of England during the conspiracy craze of the 1990s because they were cited by one of the UFO conspiracy theorists, Bill English, in his book, Behold a Pale Horse. In this situation, it is very good that apart from general books on Fascism and Nazism, there are works specifically dedicated to exposing and debunking this vile, murderous hoax.

Conspiracy Book’s Debunking of Anti-Semitic Forgery ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ | Beastrabban\’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Hope Not Hate: Fascist and Holocaust Denial Literature on Sale at Mainstream Bookshops

I got this disturbing email today from the good peeps at the anti-racism/anti-religious extremism organisation, Hope Not Hate, reporting that some very nasty and notorious pieces of Fascist, anti-Semitic and Holocaust Denial material are being sold by this country’s big booksellers. They’d like this scandalous situation to be brought to more people’s attention on Facebook and Twitter. The email went

David,

I’m not sure you’re going to believe this… these antisemitic, Holocaust-denying, and fascist books are listed right now for sale online at Waterstones, Foyles, WHSmith, and Amazon.co.uk:

Do you think huge, reputable booksellers should profit from hate content — not to mention lend credibility to hardcore racist views? We don’t.

Last week, we contacted these retailers to bring it to their attention. Only Foyles and Waterstones even responded and neither made any commitment to pulling down these extreme materials. So we’re going to take action.

If you agree that major booksellers should stop making hate readily available, let them know. Join us in kicking up a storm on social media now:

These booksellers are acting dangerously. Despite our queries, Waterstones and Amazon’s sites continue to list The Turner Diaries, a book explicitly credited with inspiring the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people.

It looks like our pressure is already working – over the weekend, a number of these titles, including famous Holocaust denial book Did Six Million Really Die?, disappeared from Foyles’ website. If we can make some noise, they’ll listen, and ultimately, act.

Let’s make it clear these booksellers can’t ride this out. Join together to create public outcry at this very urgent concern.

If the images are too small for you to see clearly, they include pictures of the covers of David Irving’s The War Path, with a picture of Adolf on the front, the notorious Tsarist forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, two notorious pieces of Holocaust Denial, Did Six Million Really Die? and Curated Lies – The Auschwitz Museum’s Misrepresentations, as well as the Turner Diaries and Oswald Mosley’s Fascism for the Million.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion are a very notorious piece of the type of bogus conspiracy theories I was talking about yesterday. They were forged by the Tsarist secret police to encourage the already anti-Semitic Nicholas II to persecuted the Jews even harder. It purports to be the minutes of secret meeting of global Jewish leaders discussing their plans to rule the world and enslave gentiles. It successfully deceived many people in the 1920s, before it was very clearly shown to be a fake, with articles demonstrating that this was so in the Times and other parts of the press. Even so, some of the people, who were convinced by it still continued to protest that if it wasn’t factually true, then it was still somehow symbolically true. It’s been a significant influence promoting anti-Semitism and Fascism.

This isn’t the first time there’s been an outcry at it being on sale in a mainstream bookshop. It was quoted at length by Bill English, an American conspiracy theorist, who believed the Illuminati were running things secretly behind the scenes, and aliens were really coming down to abduct and experiment on us. English claimed, however, that where the passages he included referred to the Jews, they were really referring to the Illuminati. This led to a branch of Waterstones in one of the northern cities stocking it. It was also quoted by David Icke in his book, The Robots’ Rebellion. This is why there have been protests and accusations that Icke is an anti-Semite, although Jon Ronson in his Secret Rulers of the World, where he covered one such demonstration in Canada, said that he believes Icke isn’t anti-Semitic, but really does believe the world is being run by evil reptoid aliens.

David Irving is the notorious Holocaust Denier, who ended up losing a libel case against an American academic, who showed up page by page how his book on Hitler and the Holocaust misquoted and distorted the works it cited and falsified history. The last I heard of him, he was serving a jail sentence in Austria, one of the countries where Holocaust Denial is a crime.

The Turner Diaries is a bizarre piece of SF that also became notorious in the 1990s, after it was revealed that it influenced Timothy McVeigh, the America militiaman, who blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma City. It’s written as a series of diary entries by a White race warrior, who is part of violent uprising against ZOG – that’s the Zionist Occupation Government, not Ahmed Zogu, the former king of Albania. The hero and his fellow Nazis are also determined to stop the ‘Zionists” planned destruction of the White race through racial intermixture. There’s an infamous passage in there, where he talks about hanging a whole load of college girls for this ‘crime’, as well as making sure that America becomes a pure White homeland, and Blacks and other non-Whites are either cleansed or put firmly in their place.

Mosley was, of course, the leader of the British Union of Fascists during the Second World War, who then tried briefly to come back into politics as the leader of the Union Movement in the 50s and early 60s. Despite his best efforts, we’re very lucky that his Fascism very definitely did not appeal to millions.

I’m not on Facebook or Twitter, but I’m very happy to publicise this noxious state of affairs.

None of these books should be sold by any reputable booksellers. They are evil and very dangerous, and should be taken off their on-line shelves now.

Hope Not Hate: Fascist and Holocaust Denial Literature on Sale at Mainstream Bookshops | Beastrabban\’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Isaac Levinsohn, Refuter of the Blood Libel

Levinsohn was a 19th century eastern European rabbi, whose book, whose title translates into English as ‘No Blood’ refuted the Blood Libel.

I found this entry on him while flicking through The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, edited by John Bowker, (Oxford: OUP 1997). This states

Levinsohn, Isaac Baer, or Ribal (1788-1860).
Hebrew author. Levinsohn’s literary output was mainly polemical. He was one of the founders of the Haskalah movement in Russia, and he was concerned with the position of the Jews in eastern Europe. His best-known work, 
Te’udah be-Yisrael, (Testimony in Israel, 1828), described the Hebrew language as ‘the bond of religion and national survival’, and he argued against the use of Yiddish. His book considerable influence on Jewish life in Russia, although it was banned by the Hasidim. He also wrote Beit Yehudah (House of Judah, 1838) which was an attempt to answer Christian questions about Judaism, and Efes Damim (No Blood, 1838) which was written to refute the blood libel. (p. 575).

I really don’t know anything about him apart from this article. However, I thought people here might want to know about him because of the way the Blood Libel – the medieval myth that Jews used the blood of Christian children in the matzo bread at Passover – has been a central part of much anti-Semitism. It’s included in the grotesque tsarist forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which has been instrumental in promoting anti-Semitism and Nazism ever since it was cooked up by the tsar’s secret police, the Okhrana, to encourage him to persecute the Jews even more.

There has been a resurgence of Fascism and Nazism across the western world. In America we’ve seen the rise of the Alt-Right and various other White supremacists around Donald Trump, while in eastern Europe there are a number of anti-Semitic and vehemently islamaphobic parties, like Fidesz in Hungary. There has been particular concern this week over Poland, because the present government has just passed a law making it a criminal offence to attribute guilt to Poles for the crimes of the Nazis. And in Germany the very anti-Semitic and islamaphobic Alternative Fuer Deutschland has entered the Bundestag for the first time. This party contains some real Nazis, including one character, who denounced the Holocaust Memorial in Germany as ‘a badge of shame’, and declared he wanted to set up an underground railway to Auschwitz. These are horrifying, vile people, who need to be fought.

Thus, while I don’t really know anything about Isaac Levinsohn, I thought it might be useful to know about him, because he wrote one of the most important refutations of the Blood Libel myth. Just in case there’s anyone out there trying to promote that stupid and murderous lie.

Isaac Levinsohn, Refuter of the Blood Libel | Beastrabban\’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

George Soros and Genuine Neo-Nazi Conspiracy Theories

Left-wing and anti-racism bloggers, commenters and campaigners have pointed out again and again how right-wing conspiracy theories about the supposedly nefarious activities of the financier George Soros, such as those promoted by the far-right Fidesz government in Hungary, conform to the poisonous Nazi conspiracy theories about evil Jewish bankers. Mainstream Conservatives have also blamed Soros’s influence for opposition to their policies in Britain. For example, Jacob Rees-Mogg, apart from accusing John Bercow and another Jewish politico of being ‘Illuminati’ – which has its own anti-Semitic overtones – also claimed that George Soros was financing the Remain campaign.

But the conspiracy theories about George Soros don’t just resemble Nazi mythology. They are a part of it, at least in some of the material that arose from the neo-Nazi fringe in the 1990s. In his book on contemporary Nazi paganism, Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity (New York: New York University Press 2002) Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke discusses the work of Jan van Helsing, real name Jan Udo Holey, and his 1993 Geheimgesellschaften und ihre macht im 20. Jahrhundert (Secret Societies and their Power in the 20th Century). Two years later, in 1995, Helsing published Geheimgesellschaften 2. This consisted of his extended responses to interview questions. As you can imagine, despite Helsing’s avowed denials, it is a deeply anti-Semitic book. Goodrick-Clarke writes

Here he denies the charge of anti-Semitism, claiming Jewish friends and colleagues, before making the disingenuous distinction between Semitic Hebrews and Ashkenazi Jews or Khazars, who are his real antagonists in the persons of Rothschilds, Warburgs, the English royal family (!), Marx, Lenin, Stalin, etc. This ploy recapitulates the progressive disqualification of Jews from their Israelite heritage in Christian Identity doctrine. He then reprints several pages of Dr. Johannes Pohl’s vicious translation of the Talmud that was published by the Nazi Party in 1943 as anti-Semitic propaganda. On the Protocols, Helsing simply denies that their authenticity is an important issue: they exist and they are being applied. To complete his anti-Jewish rotomontade, he reveals that former Chancellor Helmut Kohl was born Henoch Koch and shows how George Soros is ruining East European economies through his liberal economic writ. Helsing’s dubious sources, his constant repetition of Jewish names as members of private and public organisations, and above all his emphasis on the assets and powerbroking influence of the Rothschilds as the top Illuminati family leave no doubt that his conspiracy theories are aimed at Jewish targets. (P. 296, my emphasis).

In case any of this sounds remotely credible, it’s worth noting that the royal family aren’t Jewish and neither were Lenin or Stalin. Stalin definitely not – he was a bitter anti-Semite. Helmut Kohl, the former German chancellor, wasn’t Jewish either. Van Helsing also believed that there’s a secret Nazi underground base in Antarctica, as well as colonies of other Reich Germans in the Canaries, the San Carlos area of Argentina, the Bermuda Triangle and the Himalayas. They also have a standing army of 6 million soldiers, including immigrants from Aldebaran. Yes, van Helsing believes the Nazi saucer mythology, in which Adolf and his band of thugs were helped by aliens from the star Aldebaran, who told them how to build flying saucers. Of which the Reich Nazis have an armada of 22,000.

When Jacob Rees-Mogg or the other Tories rant about George Soros, they are repeating an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory and should be criticised for it. But Conservative anti-Semitism has received nowhere near the amount of attention as the anti-Semitic smears against Corbyn and the Labour party. This is despite anti-Semitism being far lower in Labour. John Mann, the Tories’ anti-Semitism tsar, has shown himself completely uninterested in investigating it in the Tories, and blocked and called the children’s poet, Holocaust educator and broadcaster Michael Rosen a troll when he tried to draws Mann’s attention to some examples.

This shows how fake the Tories’ concern about anti-Semitism really is, just as the inclusion of George Soros in van Helsing’s wretched, vile anti-Semitic conspiracy theories show the real Fascism in similar fears about the financier in Tories like Rees-Mogg.

George Soros and Genuine Neo-Nazi Conspiracy Theories | Beastrabban\’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

These are a selection of some of the posts about this subject I have published on my blog. I could list many more, but I hope these will be sufficient to show that I am definitely no anti-Semite, and that the charges against me have no validity.

Kim Leadbeater – A Vapid Candidate for a Vacuous, Manipulative Leadership

July 3, 2021

Okay, the Batley and Spen by-election has happened, and the results are. The good news is that the extreme right-wing parties, who went there hoping to clean up, have all done spectacularly badly. I saw something that said they only got two per cent of the vote, and lost their deposits. So well done to the good voters of that constituency. More problematic is the fact that the Labour candidate, Kim Leadbeater, won, scraping through with a majority of 360 odd votes. As Mike’s pointed out in his piece about the election, this has effectively turned a Labour safe seat into a marginal. But Starmer has hailed it as a great victory, and according to one of the papers has told everyone that Leadbeater is the ‘future of Labour’.

I profoundly hope he’s wrong, but I fear that under is persecutory, opportunistic and factional leadership, he might be right.

Leadbeater was apparently parachuted into the constituency on a shortlist of precisely one. She was not even a Labour member until four months ago. She’s another Blairite Tory – I won’t say Tory lite’, as these scumbags may be more extreme in their views than the true Tories. Also according to Mike, in 2017 she was telling disabled people that there was no magic money tree for them. Despite the fact that the Tories raid the magic money tree whenever its convenient for them or their patrons, the superrich. Then there’s a whole orchard of the plants. As for her policies in this campaign, the Preston Journalist posted the video below analysing her electoral video. In it she talks about fighting local problems like litter and dog mess. This is all well and good, but as the Preston Journalist points out, it’s local authority stuff. MPs deal with bigger issues like attracting investment to the area. He also argued she made a mistake, in that, as the local council was Labour and so should have been tackling these issues, she’s attacking her own side.

I think there’s a simple reason behind her failure to articulate a set of policies: under Starmer, Labour doesn’t have any. There’s a policy review going on at the moment, but Starmer was elected promising to continue the great manifesto polices set by Jeremy Corbyn. Which he then promptly broke, ditching the policies, suspending the Labour leader and going on yet another witch hunt against his supporters. Like Blair, Starmer doesn’t really have any different policies. He’s a Tory, as are his supporters and the Blairite party bureaucracy. They have nothing to offer working people except more privatisation and the destruction of the welfare state and NHS for corporate profit. Like Blair, his whole election strategy seems to be to appeal once again to the middle class, swing voters and corporate donors, with the promise that somehow his administration will be more efficient at carrying out Tory policies than the Conservatives themselves. But as he has no real policies himself, he’s constantly flailing around trying to find an issue that he can jump on. The last one was trans rights. Before then he opportunistically took the knee to support BLM, even though he dismissed it when it broke out last year. Worse, he has shown himself entirely complacent and unwilling to confront real racism, and particularly the bullying of Black MPs and activists like Diane Abbott, in the party. Hence Black people are deserting the party in droves. So apparently, are Muslims.

One of the issues at the election was Kashmir. Simon Webb, the man behind the History Debunked Channel, produced a video discussing this in which he sneered at the Labour party. I’ve said many times before that Webb is a Torygraph reading Conservative, although he also said he didn’t have much time for Boris’ crew either. He’s a staunch critic of multiculturalism, and so said that it was a peculiar situation when an election in an English town could be decided by the situation in a country thousands of miles away. He also talked about pro-Palestinian demonstrations by Labour supporters in a neighbouring area, and then repeated the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism’s line that most Muslims are anti-Semitic. Webb is very pro-Israel, and he says he spent some time in Israel when he was younger working on a kibbutz, as many idealistic young people did way back in the 80s or so. He claimed that Muslim antagonism to Starmer’s leadership was anti-Semitic. They hate the Labour leader because his wife’s Jewish and his children are being raised in that faith. This is the first I’ve heard of it, and quite honestly I don’t care about the personal religious beliefs of himself or his family either. What matters far more is that Starmer has declared himself a firm Zionist, and continued the witch hunt against decent, anti-racist folk, including Jews and gentiles, who have fought real anti-Semitism, who have dared to make even the mildest criticism of Israel. As for Kashmir, Modi is a Hindu supremacist, whose party persecutes not just Muslims, but also Sikhs and Christians, as well as liberal Hindus concerned about his assault on democracy, plurality and interfaith tolerance. There are good reasons why people of all three of those faiths, and not just Muslims, should be sceptical about Starmer’s apparent backing of Modi. Muslims have an especially good reason to despise Starmer, because of the brutality of the Indian occupation. A month or so ago, Private Eye did a ‘Letter From Kashmir’ about it. Among other atrocities, this mentioned how Indian troopers were rounding up Muslim youths and then raping them. It’s a very good reason why people, who care about human rights, should be concerned about Starmer and his support for the Indian prime minister. But I doubt you’ll hear a word about this from Starmer.

Webb’s comments about Muslims, Kashmir and Palestine also shows the double standard behind the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism. According to this, which the Board of Deputy and its allied Zionist organisation were so keen to foist on the Labour party, it is anti-Semitic to claim that Jews are more loyal to another country. In all too many cases, this is true. Central to the real, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories is the belief that Jews have no love or loyalty to their host nations, and are really more loyal to rival nations. At the time of the First World War, Jewish German businessmen like Mond were suspected by the xenophobic right of being more loyal to Germany, while in later years it’s been Israel. When the fear hasn’t been that the Jews are just more loyal to each other, of course, and are actively plotting to enslave their non-Jewish compatriots.

But that example of anti-Semitism also raises problems, as there are Jewish Zionists, who made no secret that their primarily loyalty was to Israel. One of the most notorious of these was the casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson, who made no secret that his first loyalty was not to his home, America, but to Israel. There’s a double standard in Webb’s attitude in that I assume he would find it anti-Semitic for Jews to be accused of such conflicting loyalties, but not British Muslims.

Back to Leadbeater, it seems to me that she was selected primarily because she’s the sister of the late Jo Cox, assassinated years ago by a Nazi. She’s also a lesbian, and while this shouldn’t make any difference to whether someone’s suitable for a political career, I think support for gay rights and anti-racism are also a part of the Blairite political ideology and one of the few areas that mark the Labour party as a party of the left. It’s been pointed out that Blair was a liberal, not a socialist. He ditched the party’s Clause IV, pledging it to nationalisation, but retained the concern for tackling prejudice against minorities, which is a liberal policy. But Starmer’s complete lack of interest in retaining Black and Muslim voters shows that he’s not really interested in anti-racism either. And as the Tories also claim to support gay rights since David Cameron’s leadership, and Johnson has marked Pride week or month by decorating the front of No.10 in Pride colours, I don’t know how far support for that issue differentiates the two parties.

The mad right-winger, Alex Belfield, also couldn’t resist the opportunity to take another swipe at Diane Abbott. Abbott, apparently, congratulated Jeremy Corbyn for Leadbeater’s victory. To Belfield, this is yet another demonstration of how stupid she is. Well, I can’t say Abbott is my favourite MP, but I think she’s right. Under Corbyn, Labour’s majority in the constituency was 8,000. I think Leadbeater’s election was helped by the scandal about Hancock’s affair and subsequent resignation, but I’m sure that it was also helped by some of those, who had voted Labour under Corbyn, continuing to support the party.

Before the election, people were predicting that Labour would lose and it would spell the end of Starmer’s leadership of the party. That hasn’t happened, and it looks like he’s still going to hang on. But it’s not a stunning victory, and the Tories know it. Sargon of Gasbag and his fellow Lotus Eaters put up a video afterwards laughing at how terrible the result was. While it’s good that Labour was able to hang on to the seat after the humiliation of the previous elections, it’s still doesn’t dispel the fears of further electoral disaster.

Together, Leadbeater and Starmer decimated the Labour majority in Batley and Spen, showing how much of a busted flush Blairism is and why Starmer still needs to go as party leader. But he’s determined to hang on, and so we can expect further and worse results in the future.

Irish Docker Is Buried Alive in a Fairy Fort to Prove There Are No Fairies

June 7, 2021

I found this remarkable piece of news film on the channel CR’s Video Vaults on YouTube. It’s from 1966, and is about a dock worker, Tim Hayes, from Wexford, who spent 101 hours underground in a fairy fort to disprove the existence of the wee folk. His stunt was to open the village fete at Ballymore, but the other villagers didn’t want to dig his grave. The video begins with an old man telling the interviewer that he would definitely not wish to dig into or disturb a fairy fort, and he would be greatly upset if anyone else were to do so, or disturb the field in which it’s situated.

Then it goes to the docker himself at his work place, who explains he’s determined to show that there are no such things as fairies. He describes as ‘a yarn’ a letter he received from a woman in Douglas, who said she saw a fairy 30 years ago and hasn’t had any luck since. He was buried underground in a coffin with a ventilation tube to allow him to breathe, as well as telephone to speak to people outside. He also took a couple of books down there to read, one of which was Dracula. He also tells the interviewer that he’s spent much of his time thinking about people who’ve died – well, you would, wouldn’t you? – and when asked about toilet facilities, states that there’s no problem at all in that department. The film also shows him being dug up, and the men rescuing him putting warm woollies on to protect him from the colder air above ground.

His mother is one of the onlookers. When asked how she feels about her son, she tells the interviewer that she’s ‘died a thousand deaths since he went into the ground’ but that ‘he’s marvelous’ and she’s very proud of him.

When asked if he’s worried about others trying to outdo him, he has the attitude that they can try and last 100 hours underground and that he’ll come back and do it again.

I think this comes from a time when these kinds of endurance feats were all the rage. There have been Indian yogis, who’ve had themselves buried alive. I think one lasted for two weeks underground – an impressive feat, if true. Back in the late 1970s-early 80s the Fortean Times reported crowds gathering in one of the African countries after the return of an African holy man from a sojourn buried alive. He did so to prove the truth of indigenous African religion, and the crowd believed he had actually returned from the dead. More recently, in calls to mind the antics of David Blaine in the 90s, which was sent up on Jonathan Creek. In that episode, Klaus, Creek’s slimey partner, has himself buried alive. But there’s a passage down to a glass plate in the coffin so that people can see him. Unfortunately, Klaus has to be dug up and face the beak because the vibrations from the underground trains cause him to judder and twitch himself. Two women visitors saw him do this, and have accused him of, er, pleasuring himself.

Belief in the fairies always has been strong amongst the Irish and the other Celtic peoples. A century ago the American anthropologist and Theosophist, Evans-Wentz, wrote his classic study, The Fairy Faith in the Celtic Countries. Although Ireland is now as rationalist and secular as any other western country, or almost so, the fairy faith still remains strong amongst some Irish people. Way back in the 1980s, when DeLorean wanted to open a car factory in Northern Ireland, they wanted to pull down a fairy tree growing on the site. The workers refused and threatened to go on strike if the tree or bush was disturbed. The company had to back down.

A decade later in the 1990s one of the British papers – I think it must have been the Daily Heil – reported that a Sinn Fein councillor in one of the Ulster villages had asked an archaeologist if he could investigate the local fairy fort, as some of his constituents had seen things.

I read years ago that the fairy forts are in reality early medieval Danish forts left over from the period of the Viking invasions. However, the word rath means an ancient enclosed farmstead. These commonly consist of a circular raised bank, which have held a fence or palisade, inside which were the houses and other buildings of the occupier. They can date from as far back as the Bronze Age, but most date from the early Christian period 300 AD to 1100. They’re not scheduled, as there are about 30 – 40,000 of them in the island of Ireland.

I do wonder how delicately the archaeologist phrased his reply. Archaeology as a science can’t prove the supernatural, though I don’t believe it’s within its competence to disprove it either. All it can do is uncover the remains of past ritual and religious belief, which may include magical objects and practises. See books such as The Materiality of Magic, edited by Ceri Houlbrook and Natalie Armitage (Oxford: Oxbow 2015). I wonder how the archaeologist told the good councillor that if he did excavate – which could be illegal if it was scheduled ancient monument – all he would be able to say was that it was a monument of a particular type, probably dating from such and such a period, and that he probably wouldn’t find any trace of the Little People.

It also struck me that if this had happened over this side of the Irish Sea, it would have been excellent material for the type of comedies Ealing was pumping out at the time. These were about small communities faced with some kind of bizarre threat or other event, frequently at odds with modernity. Or later in the 1980s with the great Scots film, Local Hero. Perhaps here’s a suitable subject for the Irish film industry. It would make a break from all the episodes over here of Mrs Brown’s Boys.

Bristol South Labour Party Passes Motion of Solidarity with Indian Farmers

February 16, 2021

Bristol South CLP held its monthly meeting last Thursday, and passed a number of motions. Due to the Coronavirus, these are now held over Zoom, like many meetings up and down the country generally. A number of motions were debated and passed during the meeting, one of which was solidarity with the Indian farmers. Explaining the issues was a guest speaker, Dal Singh, from the Sikh community. According to Mr Singh, the central issue is the poverty caused by the BJP’s government’s privatisation of the state purchasing apparatus for agricultural goods. The Indian government had a state organisation that bought up the farmer’s produce, giving them a fair price. But now Modi is handing this process over to private entrepreneurs, who are paying starvation prices for the produce purchased. Singh said that as a result, the farmers are going to be in debt for the rest of their lives. The farmers affected and involved in the protests aren’t all Sikhs, but Sikhs form a majority of those affected. When asked what the attitude of the Sikh community was to it, Mr Singh seemed to indicate that they were more or less resigned to it. He called it a ‘genocide’ several times, and said that Sikhs regarded it as part of the long history of their people’s suffering going back to the horrors of the partition of India and the British occupation of the Punjab. He also described how the police and armed forces were being used by the Modi government to brutalize protesters and muzzle the press, with the arrest and beating of journalists covering the protests. As well as explaining the situation, Mr Singh also gave details of charities to which people could donate to help the affected farmers, though I’m afraid I’ve forgotten what they were.

I had absolutely no problem supporting the motion. Socialists are internationalists, as the Style Council song reminds us, and we have to stand in solidarity with working people around the world. ‘Workingmen of all countries, unite!’ as Marx and Engels said in their little Manifesto. I am very pleased that others agreed, and that the motion was passed.

Someone at the meeting commented that the Indian farmers were yet more victims of Neoliberalism. Absolutely. Around the world, working people are being pushed further and further into poverty as wages are slashed, hours increased, rights at work taken away, industries privatised and deregulated. The book Falling Off the Edge, which is a critical examination of this process, the poverty it’s causing, and the violence and terrorism that it engenders as a backlash, describes very clearly how its affecting the average Indian worker. And this poverty is the creation of Modi’s BJP Hindufascist government.

Hindufascist? Yes, absolutely. The BJP is a nationalist organisation, which actively persecutes non-Hindus like Christians, Sikhs and Muslims. One of Modi’s fellow BJP politicos was the governor of a province, which took absolutely no action when pogroms broke out against the Muslim population back in the 1990s. The BJP also have connections to the RSSS, a Hindu nationalist paramilitary outfit modelled on Mussolini’s Fascists. Not only has the BJP followed the standard Neoliberal policies of privatisation, deregulation and low wages, they’ve also been trying to abolish the affirmative action programmes intended to improve the conditions of the Dalits, the former ‘Untouchables’. Debt slavery was one of the forms of exploitation and servitude that afflicted many Indians, and Mr Singh’s comment that Modi’s privatisation will mean that farmers will not be able to get out of debt certainly makes you wonder if the scumbag is actively trying to bring it back.

It’s not only non-Hindus and the lower castes Modi is persecuting. The BJP, or at least parts of it, have a real, bitter hatred of Gandhi and his influence on Hinduism, because he preached tolerance and the inclusion of the Muslims rather than turning India into a Hindu state. The party also actively persecutes liberal Indian journalists and writers. Tony Greenstein, the long term campaigner against Zionism, racism and Fascism, has also rightly criticised Labour party leader Keir Starmer for supporting Modi. Yes, I know – India is now a global powerhouse. Yes, it’s a vital trade partner with this country. But the country’s prosperity should not come through the exploitation of its working people. Just like ours shouldn’t. But this seems lost on Starmer and the rest of the Blairites.

I am very glad, however, that my local Labour party has made this gesture of support for the Indian farmers, and hope this will give them strength in their struggle with a Fascistic, exploitative government.

Historical Ignorance and Prejudice on Sadiq Khan’s Monuments Panel

February 12, 2021

Sadiq Khan has been at the centre of more controversy this week. The Tories hate him with a passion because he’s a Labour politico, and they can’t tolerate the idea, let alone the reality, of someone from the left being mayor of London. And so he has joined his predecessor, Ken Livingstone, the head of the GLC when Thatcher was in power, as the target of right-wing hate and venom. They also dislike him because he’s a Muslim, and so in the mayoral elections a few years ago we had the noisome spectacle of Tory candidate Zack Goldsmith implying that Khan was a radical Islamist cosying up to terrorist or terrorist sympathisers to bring down Britain. All rubbish, of course, but there are still people who firmly believe it.

Following the attacks on Colston’s statue in Bristol and the campaign to remove other statues of slavers and other British imperialists elsewhere in Britain, Khan has set up a panel to examine the question of doing the same in the capital, as well as renaming streets and other monuments with dubious historical connections. The panel has fifteen members, but it has already been denounced by its critics as a panel of activists. There have been articles in the Depress, Heil and Torygraph strongly criticising its composition and the selection of its members. The Torygraph’s article complained that it contained no historians, who could set these monuments into their proper contexts or any Conservatives. This is actually a fair point, because the actions of some of the panel’s members strongly indicates that those individuals have zero knowledge of the history of slavery.

One of Khan’s choices for membership of the panel is Toyin Agbetu, who managed to cause outrage in 2007 at a service in Westminster Abbey to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade. Agbetu disrupted the service and tried to approach the queen, shouting that it was all a disgrace and You should be ashamed. We shouldn’t be here. This is an insult to us’. I think that he was outraged that the British were congratulating themselves were ending the slave trade when they should never have been involved in it in the first place.

Another appointee is Lynette Nabbossa, a business academic and head of an organisation to provide role models for young Blacks. She has claimed that White supremacy is rooted in British history. In October she wrote that the UK was the common denominator in atrocities across the world, and

‘No matter where you find examples of white supremacy, all roads lead back to my country of birth.

‘It was the UK’s racism that birthed slavery and colonialism. We say it is in the past but our schools, colleges, universities, streets, museums etc have never stopped honouring the enforcers of our oppression.’

These are statements of historical ignorance and racial prejudice which should cast severe doubt on the suitability of these individuals for membership of the panel. 

British imperialism was based on the notion that the White British were superior to the non-White nations they conquered and ruled over, and this country and its ally, America, have been responsible for propping up various horrific dictators and murderous despotic regimes around the world. But neither Agbetu nor Nabbossa seem to know or understand that slavery existed long before the British empire, and that White supremacy wasn’t just a British phenomenon. What about the Spanish, Portuguese, French and Dutch empires? Apartheid has its origin amongst the Afrikaners, who were Dutch colonists. Britain only gained Cape Colony, the founding settlement of what later became South Africa, in 1800, seizing it from the Netherlands during the Napoleonic Wars. And we were hardly responsible for atrocities in Africa committed by some of the newly independent African regimes, like Idi Amin’s Uganda, the Rwandan genocide or Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

They also don’t seem to realise how near-universal slavery was as a global phenomenon. It was a part of many African societies before the establishment of the Atlantic slave trade. Muslim slavers transported Blacks slaves north to the Arab states of north Africa, while African and Arab traders exported slaves from east Africa across the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean to Arabia, India, and south east Asia. The first Black slaves in Europe were imported, not by White Christians, but by the Arab-Berber states of al-Andalus, Muslim Spain. And the campaign against slavery began in White, European culture. This has been stated repeatedly by western Conservatives and attacked and denounced by their opponents on the left. But it’s true. I haven’t been able to find evidence of any attempt by a non-western society to abolish slavery before the Europeans. The closest I found is a document in one of James Walvin’s books, a complaint from a Muslim Egyptian against the enslavement of the Black Sudanese. This was not an attack on slavery as a whole, however. The Egyptian objected to it in the case of the Sudanese because they were Muslims, and under sharia law Muslims are not supposed to enslave other Muslims. The author of the complaint does not object to the enslavement of non-Muslims.

Part of the rationale behind British imperialism was the campaign to stamp out slavery around the world, particularly in Africa. When Jacob Rees-Mogg made a speech in parliament claiming that BLM had shot itself in the foot and that people were now interested in the careers of imperialists like Gordon of Khartoum, he had a point. Gordon was sent to the Sudan by the Anglo-Egyptian authorities to put down the Mahdi’s rebellion. All very stereotypically imperialist. But the Mahdi wasn’t just rising up against infidel oppression. He and his followers were slavers and slaveowners. Slaving was an integral part of Arab Sudanese society and trade, and they were outraged when the British tried to stamp it out and protect the indigenous Black peoples.

Slavery was also part of the African societies further south, in what became Rhodesia and Malawi. The Kapolo slaves there, apart from other indignities, had to use broken tools when working and eat their food off the floor. And the explorer Richard Burton, writing in the 1840s, says in his book Wanderings in West Africa that the condition of the slaves on that part of the continent was so wretched and the enslaved people so starved that if Black Americans saw them, they’d give up all ideas of freedom and be glad of their lives in the west.

As for slavery being the product of White British racism, the opposite is true. According to scholars of western racism, such as Sir Alan Burns, the last British governor of Ghana and the author of Colour and Colour Prejudice, and books such as Race: The History of an Idea in the West, there was little racism in Europe before the 15th century. White racism and modern ideas of White racial supremacy arose after the establishment of the Atlantic slave trade to justify the enslavement of Black Africans. But this all seems lost on Agbetu and Nabbossa.

Now they are only two of Khan’s panel. There are 13 others, and it’s probably that the Tory press seized on them to make mischief. The others may well be more moderate and informed. I’ve certainly no objection to the inclusion of a Star Wars actor, who outraged Tory sensibilities by describing Boris Johnson as a ‘c***’. It’s not the word I would use, and it is obscene, but Johnson is a thoroughly nasty piece of work, as is the party he leads. I’d therefore say that, barring the language used to express it, it’s an accurate assessment of the vile buffoon. Tom Harwood, chief catamite at Guido Fawkes, has also been stirring with the claim that the panel was considering the removal of a 16th century statue of Queen Elizabeth. This is something he seems to have pulled out of his rear. The panel has not said anything about Good Queen Bess’s statue, and it’s just Harwood trying to cause trouble by lying. Which is standard Guido Fawkes’ practise.

But the inclusion of Agbetu and Nabbossa does cast severe doubt on the panel’s expertise as a whole and the suitability of its other members to make informed judgements on controversial historical monuments. But the ignorance and racial prejudice of the two also shows that we really need to have the global aspects of slavery taught. The deeds of the past should not be covered up, but they should be placed in context. It needs to be made very clear that slavery is a global phenomenon, that it was not invented by White Europeans preying on Black Africans and that it was also deeply ingrained in many African societies and practised by the Islamic states and empires as well as Hindu India. Such knowledge might be a shock to people like Agbetu, who seem to labour under the illusion that Africa was somehow free of it before the European invasions, but that is no reason why it should not be taught.

Otherwise you get bad history and the politically correct anti-White racism these two promote and demand.

History Debunked Tears to Shreds the Protocols of the Elders of Zion

November 28, 2020

Simon Webb, the man behind the YouTube channel History Debunked seems to me to be a man of the right. The channel’s devoted to refuting fake history, but much of the myths it debunks are false claims made in the name of anti-racism by Black activists. He also believes that there are racial differences in intelligence, with Blacks on average less intelligent than Whites, and Whites also on average less bright than Asians. In other words, the Bell Curve stuff that has been loudly denounced and refuted over the past decade or so. That said, his videos are always based on solid fact and well argued, and I don’t believe that he is personally racist. Indeed, he has put up a video about home schooling, in which he states very clearly that not only has he done it himself, but he is also helping and giving advice to a group of Black British parents, who wish to do it.

In this video History Debunked takes on the infamous Tsarist forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Webb states that he’s doing this after some of his previous videos were taken down by YouTube, or he was warned that they may be taken down because of their controversial content. But this video is not only historically right, no-one should be able to accuse him of racism or hate speech because of it. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a notorious anti-Semitic forgery, which is at the heart of the various stupid conspiracy theories about the Jews secretly trying to take over the world through controlling the media, banks, business and so on. It was concocted in the very early 20th century by the Russian monk, Nilus, for the Tsar’s secret police, the Okhrana, in order to make Nicholas II persecute the Jews even more harshly. As Nicholas II believed in the Blood Libel, the myth that Jews murder Christians to use their blood in the matzo bread at Passover, it’s hard to see how Nicholas could be even more anti-Semitic. Especially as his attempts to prosecute one Jewish man, Beilis, for this, was worrying his ministers who viewed it as a serious embarrassment to the autocracy.

In the video, Webb shows how the Protocols was based on an earlier book, a Dialogue between Machiavelli and Montesquieu in Hell. This was an attack on the government of Napoleon III of France, who French liberals feared was trying to take over and control everything, including the press and business. He illustrates this through pointing to some of the metaphors that Nilus took from the earlier book. The Dialogue describes Napoleon as having a hundred arms, like the Hindu god Vishnu, each arm extended into some part of society. And here it appears again in the Protocols, which describes the Jewish conspiracy as like the Hindu deity with hundreds of arms extending through society.

Apart from the Dialogue, Nilus also plagiarised Theodor Herzl’s Altneuland Herzl was the founder of modern Zionism, and the Altneuland was his attempt to depict and popularise a Jewish state. In my view, Zionism has caused immense suffering and conflict in the Middle East, and led to the persecution and ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians. I’d say they were entirely justified in despising Herzl’s book. But it isn’t about a global conspiracy or a programme for the mass enslavement of non-Jews, as the Protocols purports to be.

Webb jokes that if there is a Jewish conspiracy as the Protocols claims, then it can’t be much of one if they’ve had to take their ideas from a satire published decades earlier about Napoleon III, and Herzl’s Altneuland. He also states that the other daft conspiracy theories about Jews are ultimately based on the Protocols. One of these is the Kalergi Plan. From what little I know of it, the Kalergi Plan is supposed to be a secret plot by a cabal of European leaders to import non-Whites into the continent and the west in order to destroy the White race. Yep, it’s another permutation of that heap of bilge.

Here’s History Debunked thoroughly refuting the Protocols.

An old French political satire which has, indirectly, had an immense effect upon the world – YouTube

The Protocols are notorious as a forgery, but have been massively influential in spreading real Fascism and Jew-hatred. They inspired many of the Fascist movements that arose after the First World War. At least one of the British papers serialised them, until they saw sense and realized that they were a forgery. Then they published criticisms and refutations. However, even when readers of the wretched book have had it shown to them that they’re a forgery, such is their power that some of them continue to believe that they’re ‘symbolically true’.

The Protocols have been responsible for some of the most horrific anti-Semitic persecution and violence. And unfortunately they’re still being published. Apparently you can’t pick up copies on street corner kiosks in Putin’s Russia, and they were turned into a major television series on Egyptian TV. Way back in the 1990s a branch of Waterstone’s in this country stocked them because they were cited by various UFO conspiracy theorists that Reptoid aliens really were running the world or some such nonsense. One of these books claimed that the ‘Jews’ referred to in the Protocols were really the Illuminati of much contemporary American conspiracy theorising. No, the authors of the Protocols meant to attack the Jews, and whether someone chooses to believe that it’s really about the Illuminati or not, the Protocols are still vile, dangerous, murderous rubbish.

There’s a large body of literature debunking the Protocols. One of the classics is Norman Cohn’s Warrant for Genocide. And this video is also an excellent short but acute refutation of them.

Supernatural and Psychic Powers in Buddhism

November 24, 2020

Here’s something a bit different before I get on to the heavy political stuff. It seems that Buddhism has a particular term for the supernatural powers of its mystics and holy men and women. This is iddhi, rddhi, from the Pali and Sanskrit words ardh, ‘grow’, ‘increase’, ‘prosper’, ‘succeed’. The entry for it in Bowker’s Dictionary of World Religions, which describes it as

Paranormal, psychic or magic power in Buddhism, where it is one of the six kinds of higher iknowledge (abhinna). Canonical writings contain a standard list of eight forms of iddhi: the power to (i) replicate and project bodily-images of oneself, (ii) make oneself invisible, (iii) pass through solid objects, (iv) sink into solid ground, (v) walk on water, (vi) fly; (vii) touch the sun and moon with one hand, (viii) ascend to the world of the god Brahma in the highest heavens. They are described in e.g. Vissudhimagga 12. These powers were said to become available to the meditator upon achieving the the fourth jnana. They were possessed by the Buddha and many of his monks and nuns. However, the Buddha regarded them equivocally because some non-Buddhist ascetics possessed them too; they were a sign of meditational attainment only, and not a spiritual qualification; and they could be put to bad as well as good use. He, therefore, attempted to lessen their importance by making it an offence for monks or nuns to display them before layfolk, and by providing an alternative interpretation of iddhi to mean the application of equanimity (upekkha) and mindfulness (sati) in the face of all situations. Nevertheless in Vajrayana they are prominent as a demonstration of perfect control over the body. (p. 464).

Knowledge gained through paranormal perception is also included as a form of knowledge, alongside more conventional forms, in the Buddhist idea of knowledge, jnana, from the Sanskrit for ‘knowing’. The paragraph on this in the article on Jnana in The Dictionary of World Religions says

Knowledge based on extra-sensory perception is one form of paranormal knowledge . This is called ‘going beyond the human’ (atikkanta manusaka, Digha Nikaya 1. 82). Five kinds of higher knowledge (pancabhinna) fall into this category (Anguttara Nikaya 2. 17-19). These are (i) psychic power (iddhi-vidha), (ii) divine ear (dibbasota); (iii) telepathic knowledge (cetopariyata nana), (iv) knowledge of previous existence (pubbenivasanussati), and (v) clairvoyance (dibbacakkhu) One can attain this state if one’s mind is purified of five impediments (pancanivarana, see Nivaranas – covetousness, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and doubt, Majjhima Nikaya 1. 181,270, 276) and on attaining the fourth Jhana. (p.504).

I think that fascination with the supposed paranormal powers acquired through Buddhist meditation and similar disciplines in Hinduism was one the features that attracted westerners to these religions from the 19th century onwards. They were certainly influential in the growth of the New Age religions, like Theosophy, although this was strongly influenced by Hinduism rather than Buddhism. The French explorer Alexandra David-Neel popularised these powers in her account of her sojourn in Tibet. Such ideas have also had their effects on comics, Science Fiction and Fantasy. The Marvel superhero, Dr. Strange, ‘Master of the Mystic Arts’, gained them through studying under the Ancient One in Tibet. Some of the accounts of Buddhist sages with these powers seem to me to be just legends, but if there are any adepts who truly have them, and could demonstrate them in a laboratory and before stage magicians, so there could be no possibility of cheating, we might be on the way to proving the existence of the paranormal at last.

But that might also be a shock to the secular, atheist materialists, who use Buddhist ideas about mindfulness for nothing more than attaining inner peace. You can imagine the panic it would cause members of the Skeptics’ movement if suddenly they found themselves able to read minds, make themselves invisible, walk on water and so on.

Who Decided ‘Jewish Community’ Meant ‘United Synagogue’

November 19, 2020

Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension was lifted yesterday and he was readmitted to the Labour party. So there was, unsurprisingly, a mass outcry by the usual troublemakers, liars and smear merchants. Starmer responded by fudging the issue and refused Corbyn the Labour whip. This is, as Mike has pointed out, gross political interference of the type which the EHRC report into anti-Semitism in the Labour party condemned in the first place. He has also broken any number of Labour party internal regulations, as the Skwawkbox has clearly demonstrated. He’s done absolutely no good, except to annoy people with an unacceptable compromise. Unacceptable, because Corbyn’s supporters are still outraged by his unjust treatment of the Labour leader, while the smear merchants won’t be satisfied by anything less than his expulsion and the complete prostration of the Labour party to their own ultra-Zionist views.

Margaret Hodge

Among those crawling out from under the rocks to attack Corbyn were Margaret Hodge, Jessica Elgot, Rachel Riley, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Community Security Trust, none of whom are unbiased by any means. Hodge is the stupid, lazy and arrogant Labour MP who got herself suspended for calling Corbyn a ‘f**king anti-Semite’ in parliament. She then got herself readmitted after she started bleating about how terrifying her suspension was, and that it must have been like the terror experienced by German Jews under the Third Reich when they were waiting for a knock from Gestapo.

Her treatment was nothing like that horror, and she insulted the victims and families of those, who really had been imprisoned in the concentration camps. Her suspension was extremely lenient, no doubt helped by the fact that the media was very definitely on her side. Others would have received far harsher punishment. And her stupid, facile comments prompted an outrage response from Jews and gentiles, whose relatives had been victims of the Nazis.

But we shouldn’t be quite so surprised at her tactlessness. This is a woman who signally failed to do anything about real Nazism and anti-Semitism in her constituency. So much so that when the BNP had seven members elected to the local council in Tower Hamlets, their leader, Derek Beacon, sent her a bouquet of flowers in appreciation. She was also responsible for suppressing a report into child abuse in the council, then tried to blame its suppression on Corbyn. Apparently she was threatening to the leave the party if Corbyn was readmitted. If she did, it would be no loss to anyone, but unfortunately she hasn’t.

Jessica Elgot, Israel Lobbyist

Jessica Elgot is another Blairite, and if memory serves me right, she used to work for one of the Israel advocacy organisations. Which should immediately tell you that she isn’t concerned about genuine anti-Semitism, but simply protecting Israel.

Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, Gaza and Islamophobia

The same applies to the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and its odious boss, Gerald Falter. Falter founded it in 2014 or thereabouts because he was shocked at the way British public opinion had turned against Israel because of the bombing of Gaza. His wretched organisation is tinged with Islamophobia. On its website it declares that most anti-Semites are Muslims, and one of its patrons is a Hindu bigot who hates Islam, Christianity and those at the very bottom of the Hindu caste system. This character founded Operation Dharmic Vote to mobilise right-wing Hindu voters partly because he was outraged that high-caste Hindu doctors had to treat the people previously described as ‘the Untouchables’.

Community Security Trust and Violence Against Protesters

Then we come to the Community Security Trust, a volunteer police force set up to protect Jews and their property from attack. This would be all well and good, if that was all it did. But its members are supposedly trained in self-defence by the Israeli security forces and have been responsible for instances of violence themselves against protesters demonstrating against Israel. In one case Jewish and Muslim demonstrators were forcibly separated. Others were struck and beaten, including women, the elderly and a rabbi.

There’s also more than a little racial favouritism being shown in the establishment of the CST. I don’t know of any other ethnic group, which is allowed to have its own volunteer police trained by a foreign country. It can be argued that other ethnic groups deserve such a force more, as this is relatively little anti-Semitism compared with the prejudice against Blacks, Asians and Muslims. Can you imagine the reaction of our absolutely unbiased right-wing press if, say, Britain’s Black community had their own police force organised and trained by the Jamaicans or Nigerians? Or the Hindus trained by the Indian army? Or British Muslims with Saudi Arabia, Iran or Pakistan? They’d have a screaming fit and yell that we were being taken over by foreigners. But the CST is allowed to continue with the full cooperation of the British state and police.

Rachel Riley

As for Rachel Riley, this is a woman, who seems to have a visceral, personal hatred for the Labour leader and his supporters. She was on Talk Radio yesterday telling the world how terrible the Labour leader was, because he laid a wreath on the grave of the Palestinian terrorists responsible for the murder of the Israeli Olympic team in 1974 when he was attending some kind of gathering in Tunisia. This would have been extremely difficult, as Zelo Street has pointed out, because those monsters are buried in Libya.

Corbyn’s critics have been presented as representative of the British Jewish community as a whole. They aren’t. They are representative only of the right-wing, ultra-Zionist British Jewish establishment. Corbyn had many friends and supporters in the Jewish community, as have others, who have been smeared as anti-Semites, like Ken Livingstone. Corbyn was particularly respected by the Haredi community for his help in preserving their historic burial ground from redevelopment. He was also supported by Jewish Voice for Labour and Jewdas, with whom he spent a Passover Seder. Which enraged the Board of Deputies, who claimed it was a snub to the ‘Jewish community?’

Jonathan Sacks, Sectarianism and the March of the Flags

What Jewish community? As many Jewish left-wing bloggers have pointed out, there is no monolithic Jewish community, and the Board of Deputies only seems to represent the United Synagogue. And many of Corbyn’s other critics seem to be members, such as the former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks. Sacks died last week, and obituaries appeared praising him and his work. I’ve no doubt he was an excellent fellow in many respects, but he was also a sectarian bigot with a fanatical devotion to Israel. He caused outrage a few years ago when he, an Orthodox Jew, declared that Reform Jews were ‘enemies of the faith’. This is the language of religious hatred, uttered by bigots before launching terrible attacks on their victims. Christian anti-Semites no doubt have said the same when persecuting Jews. Sacks was also an opponent of homosexuality, before opportunistically changing his mind and declaring that people had to be more open and accepting. He also led a group of British Jews on the annual March of the Flags in Jerusalem. This is the Israeli equivalent of the various Orange marches in Northern Ireland, when the Protestants of the Orange Order march through Roman Catholic areas. In the case of the March of the Flags, it’s when Israeli boot-boys march through the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem to provoke and intimidate them. During these marches, Palestinians are insulted and abused, and their property vandalised. Liberal Jewish organisations asked Sacks not to go, but he refused. But what I also found interesting was that he seemed to be another member of the United Synagogue. The obituaries mentioned that he belonged to the Union of Hebrew Congregations, which looks to my inexpert eye as the United Synagogue by any other name.

The United Synagogue and the Corbyn Smears

Some of the Jewish journos, who took it upon themselves to write pieces smearing Corbyn as an anti-Semite are also members of the United Synagogue. The I published several of these pieces, noting at the bottom of the article the writer’s membership of the denomination. Which raises a few questions.

Are all, or the majority of those smearing Corbyn as an anti-Semites members of the United Synagogue? And if they are, who decided that the United Synagogue and its members spoke for all of Britain’s Jews? After all, it’s as if someone decided that only Tory Anglicans represent British Christianity. And when they produce stats claiming that Israel is important to the identity of 77 per cent of British Jews, is this really representative of all of the British Jewish Community? Or is it once again just confined to the United Synagogue?

All of Britain’s Jewish community deserve to be heard on the issue of Corbyn and Israel, not just Tory-voting ultra-Zionists and the United Synagogue.

French Muslims Form Anti-Terrorist Group to Protect Cathedral

November 8, 2020

After the recent Islamist terrorist outrages following the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, here’s a much more positive piece of news. Yesterday’s I, for Saturday, 7th November 2020, carried a piece by Angela Charlton, ‘After Nice attack, Muslim group protects cathedral’ reporting that a French Muslim was so angered by the terrorist attacks in Nice that he got together with other local Muslims to protect his town’s cathedral. The article runs

As a French-born Muslim, Elyazid Benferhat’s stomach turned when he heard about a deadly Islamic extremist attack in Nice. Then he decided to act.

Mr Benferhat and a friend gathered a group of young Muslim men to stand guard outside their town’s cathedral, to protect it and show solidarity with Catholic churchgoers. Parishioners in the town of Lodeve were deeply touched. The parish priest said their gesture gave him hope in time of turmoil.

Mr Benfarhat said: “I am also Muslim and we have seen Islamophobia in tis country, and terrorism.” He said he always has a pit in his stomach because every time Islamic extremist violence strikes, French Muslims face new stigmatisation, even though “we had nothing to do with it”.

After the Nice attack, he said “we needed to do something beyond paying homage to the victims. We said we will protect churches ourselves.” They recruited volunteers, and after co-ordinating with police, guarded the church.

This reminds me of the ‘Don’t Touch My Mate’ protests in France a few years ago. This is the English translation of the slogan for a movement a few years ago in which French White youths marched and demonstrated in solidarity with Blacks and Muslims. It was kind of like the White marchers and protesters in the Black Lives Matter demonstrations just a month or so ago. Now Benferhat and his friends are doing something similar for the Catholics in their part of la Patrie.

I’ve also heard of Muslims protecting churches and their worshippers in other countries as well. Such as Israel. A few years ago Channel 4 screened a documentary in which a Black British priest went off examining other religion’s attitude to Christ and Christianity. He talked to an archaeologist excavating a Pagan Roman temple to Mithras, Muslims, and Hindus before going to Israel. Most of those he talked to had positive attitudes to Christ. The archaeologist talked about the supposed similarities between Mithraism and Christianity. The Hindus he met also worshipped Christalongside the traditional Indian deities, showing the syncretistic tendencies within Hinduism. And Jesus is revered by Muslims as the prophet Isa. It was when he went to Israel that he encountered hostility.

The programme showed a mob of Orthodox Jews marching on a church, which I understand was being used by a group of Messianic Jews. Messianic Judaism is a form of Jewish Christianity, in which Christ is worshipped as the Jews’ Messiah but the Mosaic and rabbinical laws are still observed. If I understand it properly, it seems to be rather like the form of Christianity practised by the gospel-writer, St. Matthew. His gospel is traditionally considered the Jewish gospel partly because, according to tradition, he was himself Jewish. But the gospel also shows a particular concern for Christ as the Jews’ saviour and assimilates the Lord’s teachings to that of the ancient rabbis. According to the historian of the early church, Eusebius, Jewish Christians also had their own bishop, Hegesippus.

The Israeli mob were prevented from causing trouble by the church’s Muslim doorman, and apparently that’s not uncommon. As well as attacks on mosques and Muslim Palestinian homes and property, Israeli fanatics and extremists have also attacked Christian churches and monasteries. These have often been protected by their Muslim staff. It’s understandable that, after centuries of Christian persecution, some Israelis have a hatred of Christianity. The inveterate Jewish opponent of all forms of racism, including Zionism, Tony Greenstein, on his blog quoted the comments of one extremist Israeli rabbi. This vile piece of work declared that Christian churches in Israel should be demolished as temples of polytheism and idolatry. The man’s clearly a member of fringe minority, but it is a minority that is closely allied with Benjamin Netanyahu and his ruling Likud coalition.

But you won’t hear about such bigotry from western Zionist groups, such as Pastor Ted Hagee’s Christians United for Israel. In terms of membership, this is the largest Zionist organisation in America. Many young Jewish Americans are turning away from Israel because, along with liberal Israelis, they despise the Israeli state and the Likudniks for its brutality and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. It’s why the Israel lobby is apparently concentrating its efforts on winning the support of fundamentalist evangelical Christians rather than Jews.

I applaud Monsieur Benfarhat and his fellows, just as I do everyone whatever their religion or lack thereof, who is attempting to reach across ethnic and religious divides to bring people together against the forces of hate, bigotry and violence. May then win against all the Fascists, butchers and terrorists.

Blasphemy Laws and the Muslim Protests Against France

November 3, 2020

Over the past week or so we’ve seen mass protests across the Islamic world, including the Islamic community in Britain, over the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. These have followed the assassination of school teacher Samuel Paty for simply showing his class the cartoon as part of a lesson about free speech. It’s been pointed out in articles in the I that Paty was far from a racist or Islamophobe. He had taken lessons in Islam in order to understand his Muslim students better, and had warned the Muslims in his class what he was about to do so they could leave to avoid being offended. One girl remained, told her father, her father told the local mosque, the mosque told the community. And a Chechen Islamist heard them, and took matters into his own hands. Other Islamists have carried out further attacks on innocents, who had absolutely no part in the affair. Three people, including a priest, were stabbed to death in a church, simply for being Christians, and there have been shootings in other nations.

The murders of these innocents has not been denounced by the Muslim protesters, however. Instead we have seen former cricketer Imran Khan, now leader of an Islamic party and the president of Pakistan, denounce Macron for the publication of the cartoon. He has been joined by Turkish president Erdogan, another leader of a Muslim party Who wouldn’t know free speech if it came up and bit him on the elbow. Tunisia has also denounced France, and when I looked online last night, Islamists in Bangladesh were giving their government a few hours to sever links with France.

It’s been reported that Khan has been complaining about the hurt felt by Muslims around the world about the publication of the cartoons. Supposedly the right to free speech does not mean the right to offend. But others have pointed out over and over again that that is precisely what it means. The type of free speech that only permits what is inoffensive is no free speech at all.

At the heart of this are the Muslim blasphemy laws. This is an attempt to impose them on France and, by implication, other western nations. However, Muslim are a minority in Europe and so the only arguments Khan and the others can use against Europeans is that their feelings are hurt, and that there will be political repercussions.

I looked up the article on blasphemy in The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, ed. by John Bowker (Oxford: OUP 1997). This provides information on the concept of blasphemy in Christian, Judaism and Islam, its punishments, and the problems of enforcing such laws in Britain. It runs

Blasphemy (Gk: ‘speaking evil’ ). Impious or profane talk, especially against God; and in many western legal systems , the offence of reviling God or Jesus Christ or an established church. To be blasphemous a publication must be intended to shock and endanger the moral fabric of society; one that is merely anti-religious (e.g. denying the existence of God) is not. In England in 1977 the editor of Gay News was convicted of blasphemous libel for publishing a poem which portrayed Christ as a practicing homosexual. This was the first successful prosecution for blasphemy since 1922, and showed the difficulty of objectively applying the common law definition. The appearance of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, raised the issue whether blasphemy should be extended to become a more general offence (in the UK), or whether it is an offence in the domain of inciting unrest.

‘In Judaism, ‘blasphemy’ is speaking scornfully of God (Heb. gidduf, heruf) and is described euphemistically as birkat ha-shem (‘blessing the name’, i.e. God). According to Leviticus 24. 10-23, the penalty for cursing God is death, but in discussing this passage, the rabbis defined blasphemy in such a way that it became an improbable crime-and thus the death penalty did not need to be invoked. Excommunication (herem) became the punishment in any case once legal autonomy had been lost…

‘The nearest equivalent in Islam is sabb, offering an insult to God. Qur’an 9.74 condemns those who sear by God that they said nothing but in fact spoke a word of rejection (kalimat al-kufr) after they had become Muslims. This relates blasphemy closely to apostasy (ridda). The expression of contempt for God, the Prophet Mohammed, the angels, or the traditional explications of revelation constitute the offence. Accidental blasphemy is not usually excusable (though Malikites allow it if it is expressed by a recent convert to Islam).. The punishment varies between different Schools of Islamic Law -e.g. the Hanafites remove the offenders legal rights, declare his marriage invalid, and declare any claims to inheritance or property void; the Malikites demand immediate execution of the death penalty.,’

The British prosecution for blasphemy mentioned in the article was brought by Mary Whitehouse, who made it her professional duty to be offended about everything. The gays on the opposite side took this as an attack on them, and launched their own protests against Whitehouse. There’s a comic aspect to this, as Whitehouse recalled that she woke up one morning to find militant gays marching about her garden waving placards.

I think the enforcement of the blasphemy laws is more or less impossible. They’re a dead letter, if they haven’t been repealed. As an example, just consider how many TV comedians since then have expressed their own contempt for Christ and his followers. The comedians Lee and Herring regularly did so on their BBC 2 programme, Fist of Fun. It came as a surprise to me a few years ago when Muslims around the world were again up in arms demanding the execution of blasphemers because of something Pope Benedict said about Mohammed in a speech when one of the two appeared on television attacking Islam. When they were interviewed by the short-lived mag Comedy Revue in the 1990s, they were asked about their attacks on Christianity and whether they would do the same to Islam. They laughingly made it clear that they definitely wouldn’t because they were afraid of violence and attempts on their lives. And thought themselves very clever for doing so. Which shows the British media establishments general attitude to Christianity.

The Muslim blasphemy laws are extremely dangerous. At the moment there are 200 people on death row in Pakistan on charges of blasphemy. Most of these are probably entirely spurious. They’re brought for entirely cynical reasons, such as getting rid of an opponent in a dispute over a completely unrelated issue. Muslims have also claimed that their attacks on Christians were also motivated by the outrage they felt at blasphemies committed by their victims. But some of it seems to me to be an attempt to enforce the Pakistani caste system. Indian and Pakistan Islam has a caste system like Hinduism, only not as severe. Most of the Christian community in Pakistan are of the lowest caste, and many are bonded labourers in brickyards, effectively slaves. One of the Christian women accused of blasphemy was accused after she brought water from a well to a group of Muslim women. Along the way she took a sip of the water. It looks to me that the real crime here was that she broke their laws of caste purity, and that the accusation of blasphemy was added on after this offence.

The ex-Muslim vloggers the Apostate Prophet and Harris Sultan have also pointed out the hypocrisy in Khan’s denunciations. When western countries have criticised Pakistan for human rights abuses, Pakistan has simply told them to mind their own business. But when France defends the publication of cartoons Pakistan and its Islamic leadership find offensive, suddenly he’s justified in interfering in their affairs. He has also denounced the closure of radical mosques and the expulsion of extremist imams as an attack on Islam. It isn’t. It is simply France protecting itself against Islamist violence, in the same way right-wing terrorist groups are banned. And Khan is again being hypocritical in his denunciations. When the Taliban made a series of bloody attacks in Pakistan a few years ago, the armed forces and security services cracked down hard. According to the two above vloggers, they went from house to house in the province of Waziristan arresting anyone with a beard. I haven’t linked to the two because I don’t want to offend any Muslims reading this blog. But you can Google the articles on YouTube if you want to find out more.

Macron should stand firm against all this. Blasphemy laws are a severe attack on free speech, and the penalties inflicted for it and the flagrant abuse of such accusations are particularly dangerous. Freedom of speech and conscience, including that of Muslims, is far too important to be sacrificed because of hurt feelings and outrage.