Posts Tagged ‘Racial Intermarriage’

My Email Conversation with the Secretary of South Bristol Labour Party over the Trans Issue

July 21, 2022

I sent an email to the secretary of local Labour party last week following the monthly meeting on Thursday in which our local MP, Karin Smyth, was taken to task by the LGBTQ+ officer. Karin has defended the attendance of the anti-trans group, Labour Women’s Declaration at the Labour conference this year. The LGTBQ officer seemed to think they were simply a hate group, who believed that trans people were communists. I sent the secretary an email stating some of the issues involved, like preserving women’s sex based rights, and dignity and safety in schools, prisons and rape crisis centres, as well as their autonomy in sports. And as bonkers as it sounds, unfortunately some extremists, taking their lead from Queer Theory, do see the trans movement as a method of indoctrinating children and others to live ‘queerly’, but not as well-adjusted gay men and women, living in a tolerant and accepting society. Rather they see the ultimate goal of the kind of queer consciousness they wish to promote as a radically unstable sense of identity, dissatisfied with bourgeois society and determined to overthrow it.

A few days ago I got this very kind reply from the secretary, who wrote:

‘David

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts

What do you want me to do with your email as at the moment it is only reaching myself as I monitor this inbox?

I could pass to all of Exec. if you are happy for me to do that and we could discuss how to take forward.

A discussion on this topic at an All Member Meeting would be tricky to chair and I am not sure I could volunteer to do that

A brave attempt was made by Red Line TV here: https://youtu.be/q9pwiS9Tv3Q

The trans debate has become really hostile and closed in my view with many feaful of expressing viewd or even asking questions for fear of being accused of transphobia

Karin gave a robust response to the question.’

I’ve emailed the secretary back, stating that I merely want the email passed on to the LGBTQ+ officer. I also say that because of the toxicity of the issue, I don’t want a debate because we need to be united against everything the Tories are doing to working people.

‘Dear Aileen,

Thank you for your kind reply and the link to the debate on the trans issue by Red Line media. I completely understand your reluctance to chair a debate on the issue because it has become just so toxic and polarising. I’d be happy if you just passed it on to the LGBTQ+ officer. My point in writing is simply to point out that, in my view, Labour Women’s Declaration have a legitimate ethical and scientific case. And also that, as mad as it sounds, there are Marxists who wish to go further and use the gay and trans movements not to promote tolerance and inclusion, but as a form of political indoctrination. 

I was also very impression with Karin’s defence, and have emailed her to tell her so.

I do not wish to cause division in the party over this issue, and especially not as I’m sure there is so much else we all can agree on. And not now when the Tories are so deep on their assault on working people of all colours, sexuality and gender identity. I note from an article in yesterday’s Independent that they have removed a pledge to support abortion and women’s sexual health rights from a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office statement on religious freedom and gender equality. This shows to me that they intend to go follow the Americans in trying to ban abortion, as Karin and so many other people warned on Thursday. I also note from American news on the Net that the House of Representatives is hurrying to pass legislation safeguarding gay and interracial marriage. And right-wingers like Michael Knowles are asking their followers if gay marriage should be the next right to be overturned.

These are grim times, and I hope whatever our respective views on the trans issue, we can all come together to resist Tory profiteering, the cuts to the NHS and its stealth privatisation, the continuing destruction of the welfare state and the attempts to strip women of their rights to abortion. As well as any attacks on gay marriage if they attempt that.

Yours with very best wishes,

Dave Sivier’

i Newspaper Reports that Britain Has Repealed Commitments to Abortion and Female Sexual Health Rights

July 19, 2022

This is another subject that came up at the local Labour party meeting last Thursday. Local Labour MP Karen Smyth and the others were extremely worried what the Tories would do over here after the Roe vs. Wade ruling was overturned last week in the US supreme courts. They were afraid that the Tories were going to try the same thing over here, and wanted to enshrine abortion rights into UK law, regardless of personal conscience. They were not wrong, as this report by Senna Sandhu in today’s I, which states that the government has removed the commitment to abortion and other sexual health rights in a report from the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office. This begins

Government quietly removes commitments to women’s rights after summit on freedom of beliefs

Commitments to abortion and sexual health rights have been quietly removed by the Government from an international pact on freedom of belief and gender equality.

References to repealing discriminatory laws that threaten women’s “sexual and reproductive health and rights” and “bodily autonomy” have been removed from a statement published on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website.

The FCDO told i that access to sexual and reproductive health remained a priority and that the statement was amended to get rid of a perceive ambiguity – but did specify the problem.

Sexual health activists said the amendments raised concerns about the UK Government’s position in the wake of abortion rights being rolled back in the US.

Lisa Hallgarten​, head of policy and public affairs at Brook, which specialises in sexual health for younger people, told i: “The whole point of the original statement is to recognise the need to support the right to religious belief and practice, but ensure it is not at the expense of the fundamental rights of women and girls.

“By changing the language, the purpose and effect of this statement are fatally undermined, and religion appears to trump human rights.”

The original statement was released around the time of the London 2022 International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), hosted by the UK Government on 5 and 6 July.’

For further information, see https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/government-quietly-removes-commitments-to-women-s-rights-after-summit-on-freedom-of-beliefs/ar-AAZKyib?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=e791c1670503466bbcb25fdbfa5de8fc

This could be the beginning of a very nasty wedge. I gather from a report on YouTube that the House of Representatives over the other side of the Pond are seeking to pass legislation protecting same-sex and interracial marriage. Like any government has any business bringing back slavery era laws intended to protect the purity of the White race as part of a raft of legislation intended to keep White from socialising with Blacks. Or any other non-White people.

I remember that after the supreme court ruling, American conservatives were pouring scorn on the fears of left-wingers like Robert Reich that after Roe vs. Wade, the Republicans would seek to overturn same-sex marriage and other recently won rights. Now I note that Michael Knowles, another American conservative, is asking his followers if they support same sex marriage or not. And there was another conservative YouTuber over there who asked which right the Republicans should strike down now. This included same-sex marriage.

Some of the best videos I saw on YouTube commenting on gays obtaining the right to marry after the legislation was passed came from Christians, who very definitely didn’t see it as a threat. There was a woman stating that she was still in a Jesus-centred heterosexual marriage with her husband. Another was of a bloke poking around in a field trying to see if gays had suddenly dropped out of the sky or were hiding in his hay stack doing ‘homosexual things’. Obviously he couldn’t find any, which was the point. Gay marriage affects only gays. It doesn’t affect anybody else, or derogate from the marriage of husband and wife.

But despite all the denials, it looks like the American right is coming for gay marriage. And where they lead, our Tories follow, as this disturbing article reveals.

It’s been years since same sex-marriage was legalised over here. I’ll admit it still seems strange to me, having been a teenager in the 80s. Despite the growing gay rights movement, there was still a vicious homophobia around. I can also remember listening with incredulity when I was a schoolkid when one of the older lads told us about a piece of Wicker’s World the previous night, when the great travel broadcaster had a covered a gay wedding in Las Vegas.

But the world has moved on. Since the 90s young people have been far more tolerant and accepting towards gays. Straight people have gay friends, and the majority of people haven’t been bothered for a long time about the sexuality of certain slebs and their partners. People like Elton John, Freddie Mercury, Julian Clary, Paul O’Grady, Alan Carr and others. I hope that if they try stripping gay marriage away, they’ll have a fight on their hands.

Just like I hope they have a fight if they try stripping these vital women’s rights away.

A History of Racism in the Islamic Middle East

May 27, 2022

Bernard Lewis, Race and Slavery in the Middle East: An Historical Enquiry (Oxford: OUP 1990).

Bernard Lewis is a veteran scholar of Islam, and this book is an examination of the emergence and development of predominantly Muslim Arab racism in the Middle East. The book is a reworking of two previous studies from the 1970s, one of which was first published in French. It started off as part of an academic examination of intolerance, concentrating on religious bigotry. Lewis, however, believed that issue had been solved and so moved on to racial intolerance. Unfortunately, as the past fifty years have unfortunately shown, religious hatred and bigotry has certainly not died out, as shown here in Britain with the sectarian violence in Ulster.

Arab Ethnic Identity Before Colour Prejudice

Islam is viewed as an anti-racist religion, and the Qur’an states categorically that Blacks and Whites are both equal and should be treated as such. This admirable attitude was maintained by its theologians and jurists. However, with the emergence and expansion of the Islamic empires this began to change and prejudice and racism, based initially in ethnic differences and then on skin colour, emerged. The book argues that the pre-Islamic and early Islamic Arabs, like the other nations around them, had a strong sense of their own superiority against those of the surrounding peoples. This was based on ethnicity, not colour. A variety of colours were used to describe the variations in human complexion, and were used in relative rather than absolute terms. Thus the Arabs saw themselves as black compared to the ‘red’ Persians, but white compared to the Black peoples of Africa. As the new Arab ruling class intermarried with the peoples they had conquered, so there developed an attitude which saw Arabs of mixed descent as inferior, leading to dynastic conflicts between those of pure and mixed race. Muslim Arabs also saw themselves as superior to converts to Islam from the indigenous peoples of the Islamic empire, and a set of rules developed to enforce the converts’ inferior social status. At the same time, the Arabs formed various explanations based on the environment for the ethnic differences they observed among different peoples. An Iraqi writer believed that Whites had been undercooked in the womb due to the coldness of the environment they occupied. Blacks, on the other hand, were overcooked. The Iraqi people, however, were brown and mentally and physically superior to the other two races.

Development of Anti-Black Prejudice

As Islam expanded into sub-Saharan Africa anti-Black racism developed. This did not initially exist, not least because Ethiopia had been one of the major superpowers in the Arabian peninsula with a superior culture. Muslims also respected the Abyssinians for giving sanctuary to many of Mohammed’s followers during their persecution by the Meccan pagans. Over time, however, an attitude of contempt and racial superiority emerged towards Blacks. This racism even extended towards highly regarded Black Arabic poets and the governors of provinces, who were reproached and vilified for their colour by their enemies. Here Arab racist views of Blacks is nearly identical to those of White European racists. They were seen as lazy, ugly, stupid and lustful. The prurient view of Black women as boiling with sexual desire mirrors the racist attitude towards Jewish women amongst western anti-Semites. On the other hand, Blacks were also seen as strong, loyal, generous and merry. They also had excellent rhythm. Although both Whites and Blacks were enslaved, White slaves had a higher status and different terms were used to describe them. White slaves were mawlana, literally, ‘owned’. Only Black slaves were described as slaves, abid, a term that is still used to mean Black people in parts of the Arab world today.

The expansion of the European states and empires effectively cut off or severely diminished the supply of White slaves, and as a consequence the value of Black slaves began to rise. Unable to afford White slaves and concubines from Europe and the Caucasus, the peoples of the Middle East turned instead to Abyssinians and the Zanj, Black Africans from further south. Abyssinians in particular were prized for their beauty and other qualities, and its from this period that the Arab taste for the beauty of Black Africans rather than Whites developed. And as anti-Black racism developed, so Muslims scholars and authors wrote pieces defending Blacks from racism, not least because many of Mohammed’s Companions had been Black and the emergence of powerful Muslim kingdoms in Africa.

Islamic Slavery and Slave Armies

Islamic slavery was comparatively milder and more enlightened than western slavery. Although technically slaves could not own property and were disbarred from giving evidence in court, there was limitations on the punishments that could be inflicted on them. Muslims were urged to treat their slaves humanely and manumission was praised as a noble act. It was particularly recommended for the expiation of particular sins. At the same time Islam permitted contracts to be made between master and slave allowing the slave to save enough money to purchase his freedom at an agreed date. There were stories of particular Muslims who freed their slaves even in circumstances where punishment would have been expected. One master freed a female slave after she asked him why he was still alive, as she had been trying to poison him for a year. Slaves could rise to high office. The viziers and other chief dignitaries of the Ottoman empire were slaves. Slaves were used to staff Muslim armies, and there were separate regiments for White and Blacks slaves. Sometimes this resulted in battles between the two, as during the dynastic battles where one side used Black soldiers and the other White. The mamlukes, the Egyptian warriors who ruled Egypt and who expelled the Crusaders and stopped the Mongols conquering the Middle East, were White slaves. They were freed after completing their military training and their leaders preferred to purchase other slaves for training as their successors rather than pass on their position to their own children.

Islam’s acceptance and regulation of slavery, like Judaism, Christianity and other religions, as well as the views of ancient philosophers like Aristotle, also meant that there was opposition to its abolition. Muslim defenders of slavery produced the same arguments as their Christian counterparts, including the argument that Blacks and other infidels were better off enslaved as it introduced them to a superior civilisation. When a 19th century British consul inquired of the king of Morocco what steps he was taking regarding slavery and the slave trade, he was politely informed that all the legislation was based on the Qur’an and sharia and that there was no intention of banning slavery as it was permitted by Islam. Indeed, the Ottoman province of the Hijaz, the area around the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, was exempt from the Ottoman ban on slavery and the slave trade after the ulema and nobles declared it to be an attack on Islam, along with legislation allowing women to go in public without the veil. The Turks were declared to be apostates, who could be killed and their children enslaved. Many of the pilgrims to Mecca came with a number of slaves, who acted as living sources of funding. When the pilgrim needed more money, he sold one or two of them.

The Myth of Muslim Non-Racism

In the last two chapters, Lewis discusses the emergence of the view of Islam as completely non-racist and that its slavery was benign. He argues that this was largely the creation of western scholars reacting to the horrors of New World slavery during the American Civil War. Christian missionaries also contributed to this myth. They attempted to explain their failure to make converts by arguing that it was due to Black African revulsion against harsh western slavery. In fact it was due to differences of colour. Islam spread because it was promoted by Black African preachers, rather than White westerners. Particularly influential in the creation of this myth was Edward Blydon, a Black West Indian who was educated in Liberia by the missionaries. He became convinced that Islam was more suited to the needs of Black people, and his books also stressed White guilt, contrasting it with Muslim tolerance. Lewis also believes that the myth is also due to a widespread feeling of guilt among western Whites, which he sees as the modern counterpart to Kipling’s White man’s burden.

Along with the text of the book itself are extensive notes and a documentary appendix containing texts including a Muslim discussion on national character, the rights of slaves and diplomatic correspondence and observations on the 19th century slave trade.

Race and Slavery Compared with Brown’s Slavery & Islam

This book should ideally be read alongside Jonathan A.C. Brown’s Slavery & Islam, as the two present contrasting views of slavery and racism in Islam. Brown is a White, American academic and convert to Islam. While he condemns slavery totally, his book presents a much more positive view of Islamic slavery compared with western servitude and even the conditions endured by 19th century free European workers. He also extensively discusses Islamic abolition and the voices for it, while Lewis lays more stress on Muslim opposition. Brown recognises the existence of racism in the Islamic world, but also emphasises Muslim anti-racist texts like The Excellence of the Negroes. But as Lewis points out, these texts also show the opposite, that there was racism and bigotry in the Muslim world.

Lewis also recognises that Muslim slaves generally enjoyed good conditions and were treated well. However, the real brutality was inflicted on them during the journey from their place of capture to the Islamic heartlands. He also suggests that this relatively benign image may be due to bias in the information available. Most Muslim slaves were domestic servants, unlike the mass of slave labouring on the plantations in America. There were gangs of slaves working cotton plantations and employed in mining and public works, and these laboured in appalling conditions. It may also be that there were more slaves working in agriculture than recognised, because the majority of the information available comes from the towns, and so ignore what may have been the harsher treatment in the countryside.

He also discusses the absence of descendants of the Black slaves, except for a few pockets, in the modern Middle East. David Starkey in an interview for GB News claimed it was because the Muslim slave masters killed any babies born by their slaves. I don’t know where he got this idea. Lewis doesn’t mention such atrocities. He instead suggests that it may have been due to the castration of large numbers of boys to serve as eunuchs in the harems. The other slaves were forbidden to marry and have sex, except for female slaves purchased for that purpose. Slaves were also particularly vulnerable to disease, and so an epidemic lasting five years could carry off an entire generation.

Importance of the Book for an Examination of Contemporary Racial Politics

I was interested in reading this book because of the comparative lack of information on slavery and racism in Islam, despite the existence of books like Islam’s Black Slaves. Lewis in his introduction states that researching the issue may be difficult and dangerous, as it can be interpreted as hostility rather than a genuinely disinterested investigation. I think there needs to be more awareness of the history of Muslim slavery and Islam. For one reason, it explains the emergence of the slave markets in that part of Libya now occupied by the Islamists. It also needs to be more widely known because, I believe, the emphasis on western historic slavery and racism can present a distorted image in which the west is held to be uniquely responsible for these evils.

History Debunked on Black Hero, Racist and Crook Marcus Garvey

October 7, 2021

Marcus Garvey is a towering figure in Black history, starting up one of the earliest Black rights organisations, the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Black History Month was launched in Britain in October 1987 to mark the centenary of his birth. There are monuments, streets and parks to him in various towns in the UK and in New York. A few months ago a Black writer published a piece in the Radio Times calling for him to be taught in schools. History Debunked has marked Black History Month with a series of video showing that in reality, many of the heroes being commemorated are actually much less impressive. Garvey was very definitely one of these.

The video states that he was born in 1887 and apprenticed to a printer, but didn’t take to it, and spent some time instead travelling around Central America and Britain. He returned to his homeland, Jamaica, where in 1914 he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association, whose aims included inspiring Black brotherhood and the civilisation of the backward peoples of Africa. This ran into trouble, as many Jamaicans dislike the word ‘Negro’ as, in my experience, many West Indians still do. More seriously, he was suspected of using the association’s funds to support himself personally. So he moved to Harlem in New York where he set up his organisation there. This again was massively controversial. Garvey was a racial separatist who hated racial intermixing and Blacks, whose skins were lighter than he is. He became even more unpopular amongst Black New Yorkers by going off to meet the head of the Klan. They got on like a house on fire, as Garvey assured the White racist that they both had the same objective. He wanted Blacks to go back to Africa, while the Klan wanted a White America. But what really brought Garvey down was his attempt to found a Black shipping company, the Black O Line. He was prosecuted for fraud as he was caught selling shares in a ship that didn’t actually exist. Both the judge and the prosecution in the trial were Jewish, as were two members of the jury, or so he claimed. He then made an anti-Semitic rant which blamed the Jews as well as the White authorities for his prosecution. And there the video ends.

I think Webb has been rather selective in the video, choosing some of the worst episodes of Garvey’s career. I understood he was forced out of Jamaica by the authorities, who regarded him as a subversive. Not that it doesn’t mean that he wasn’t also unpopular there for the reasons Webb suggests. Webb does mention that in New York he invented various bizarre uniforms for himself and his followers. The image for the video shows Garvey in one of those uniforms, a hat which makes him look a bit like Napoleon. When I was working at the Empire and Commonwealth Museum one of the boxes of items donated to the Museum contained pamphlets from Garvey’s organisation. And they were weird. One of them seemed to be for some kind of rally and listed a whole series of paramilitary ranks and organisations, such as head of the armoured division. It reminded me of the White British Fascists, who invented grandiose names and titles for themselves but have at most a handful of members. The type of people lampooned in the Jeeves and Wooster books in the shape of Spode and his Blackshorts, who seemed to be always going off to address the Eagle battalion in Minchinhampton. Garvey emigrated to Britain, and certainly wasn’t ashamed of the weird Fascist nature of his organisation. He said in an interview with a British magazine in 1938 that Hitler and Mussolini took everything from him. I don’t think they did, and you would have thought that by that time Garvey would have wanted to keep any similarity between his outfit and Fascism very quiet. But he didn’t.

He also seems to have fancied himself as the self-appointed leader and saviour of Africa. In New York he declared himself to be president of the continent, and he and his lieutenants were the government in exile. This was without any input from the African themselves. He carried on calling for himself to be made the Africans’ leader when he emigrated to England. He made repeated request to the Colonial Department to be made its head. The video doesn’t mention that. Nor does it mention that Garvey also joined the Conservative party after he moved here. As I think Webb himself is a Telegraph-reading Tory, I don’t think he wishes to remind people how Garvey entered the party.

A few months ago I drew this cartoon of Garvey to express what I consider to be real Fascist elements in BLM and some of the other, supposedly anti-racist movements. Here it is.

I don’t think he was ever a supporter of the Nazis, but the parallel between his organisation and White Fascism is so close that he is features in books on Fascism, including Mark Christian Thompson’s Black Fascisms (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press 2007).

Garvey is an important figure in the history of Black Liberation. The Rastafarian religion grew out of his Negro Improvement Association. But it’s questionable whether he should be celebrated. I suspect there are far worthier figures waiting to be discovered and promoted, who people haven’t heard of.

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.

History Debunked on the Anachronistic Casting of Black Actors to Play Ann Boleyn and Queen Caroline

December 14, 2020

One of the complains raised by some members of the right against the demands for more Black presenters and actors on screen is that it represents a form of cultural colonisation. The past is deliberately being re-shaped to suit the multicultural present. The right-wing internet YouTuber, Alex Belfield, has argued that by the Beeb’s standards, Blacks are actually overrepresented on television. At the moment British Black and Asian population constitutes about 13 per cent of the overall population, but form 22 per cent of the presenters, performers and broadcast on the box. It’s why he choose in one of his videos to attack the Beeb for wasting even more license-payers’ money on someone to head a diversity department. He maintained that the problem wasn’t the underrepresentation of Blacks and Asians in front of the camera. It was that they weren’t represented in the ranks of BBC management, which remained very White and middle class.

There are a number of recent and forthcoming adaptations of classic literature, in which Blacks and Asians have been cast in traditionally White roles. And so Blacks have been cast to appear in the children’s classic, The Secret Garden, Philip Pullman’s Fantasy series, His Dark Materials, and Dev Patel, who played the Master in the last series of Dr. Who, appeared in a colour blind, multi-ethnic version of Dickens and is due to star in an adaptation of the medieval story, Gawain and the Green Knight. There’s also a version of the Lord of the Rings planned by the Corporation, in which a third of the cast will be Black or Asian with Lenny Henry.

But this desire to recast White characters with Blacks isn’t confined to fiction. Channel 5 has announced that it has cast a Black actress, Jodie Turner-Smith, to play Ann Boleyn in a three part series about Henry VIII’s second wife. And Netflix has also chosen a Black actress to play Queen Caroline in its regency romance, Bridgerton.

History Debunked’s Simon Webb has posted several videos about this. He was rather incensed by the decision to recast one of the characters in The Secret Garden as Black, and describes how there was some popular criticism of a similar recasting in His Dark Materials. However, he says that left-wingers and progressives answered that by arguing that the role was fiction, and that Pullman never specified what colour the character was.

That argument, however, cannot be used to defend the false representation of Boleyn and Caroline as Blacks. He views this as a deliberate attempt to colonise the past so that it resembles what he describes as the ‘bastardised’ multicultural present. It is also not being done in a vacuum. There are Blacks, who believe that Queen Caroline really was Black, as was James I of England/VI of Scotland, and Edward III’s son, Henry, the Black Prince. This recasting of real, historical figures has to be resisted because it is actively falsifying history to make it appear that Blacks had a far greater role in shaping history than they did.

Here’s the video about Ann Boleyn.

Jodie Turner-Smith to play Ann Boleyn – YouTube

The idea that Queen Caroline was Black comes from the fact that she was partly descended from a thirteenth century Spanish Moorish prince. The Moors in Islamic Spain – al-Andalus – were Arabs and Berbers, rather than Black Africans. Caroline herself was so far removed from her Moorish ancestor that any Black ancestry she had wouldn’t have been expressed physically. She was a German princess, and so would have been White in appearance.

A black queen in Netflix’ new series Bridgerton – YouTube

See also:

New, multicultural versions of two classics of English literature – YouTube

TV Diversity Is NOT A Problem 🇬🇧 22% 📺 BBC Give Us Back The £100,000,000! – YouTube

Multi-Racial Casting Already in Theatre

I think there are also a number of other factors driving this trend. Multiracial casting has been around in the theatre for a very long time. I think as far back as the 1990s Black and Asians actors were being cast in traditionally White roles in Shakespeare. I remember an article in the Independent or the I came out a few years ago commenting that such casting was accepted by audiences, even when people of different ethnicities played members of the same family. There was also something of a furore a few years ago when the Black opera singer, Willard White, was cast as Odin in Wagner’s Ring. What seems to be happening is simply that this same process is being extended to film and TV. The Dickens’ adaptation that came out recently not only starred Dev Patel as the central character, but also had members of the same family played by actors of different races. It was made by Armando Iannucci, one of the brains behind the comedy news programme, The Day Today and other shows in the 1990s.

Few Explicitly Black Parts and the Metropolitan Bubble

I also believe that it’s due to the fact that there are too few parts specifically for Black and Asian actors. That’s been the complaint voiced by one of the Black activists pushing for the greater inclusion of Black performers when he was interviewed in the I a little while back. Blacks and Asians are minorities, and generally are under represented in the upper ranks of society. Hence the demand for colour blind casting and that directors should be willing to cast Blacks and Asians. It also seems to me to be also partly a product of the metropolitan bubble in which the media and its chiefs live. Over a third of London’s population is Black and Asian, and I think there’s an automatic assumption that somehow this is true of the rest of Britain. Some Black activists and performers have been really shocked to find that there are large parts of Britain with hardly any people like themselves. Years ago the late Black actor and comedian, Felix Dexter, appeared on the panel in an edition of the News Quiz, which came from Edinburgh. He expressed his surprise that there were areas of Scotland with hardly a Black face to be seen. While undoubtedly true, his surprise struck me as also a tiny bit racist in itself. There was an element of complaint in it, as if it was somehow a defect that these places happened to be nearly all White. It reminded me a bit of the comments by Victorian explorers about going into parts of Black Africa and elsewhere previously untouched by the White man. I’m sure Dexter and those, who share his views would have been horrified by the comparison, but I believe it’s a true one.

Selling Programmes to a Non-White Foreign Audience

I also wonder if it’s also driven by a need to sell these programmes abroad. Blacks constitute something like 10-13 per cent of the American population, and together with Asians constitute 25 per cent of the American population. I’ve no doubt that the Beeb will also be seeking to sell the programmes to Black majority and Asian countries, such as Africa, the Caribbean, India and so on. Hence the decision to cast Black and Asian actors may well come from a desire to appeal to foreign, non-White audiences.

Dangers of the Falsification of History

I wouldn’t have a problem with this, were it not for two reasons. I’m afraid that it really will result in a falsification of history. If it was just a case of TV companies trying to reach new audiences in line with present, multicultural sensibilities, I’d be perfectly happy with it. Provided that the audience understood that what they were seeing was fiction. They they understood that Queen Caroline and Ann Boleyn weren’t really Black, and that Victorian and medieval Britain weren’t as multicultural as today’s London. But I really don’t think they do. And this is going to be a particular problem with some Blacks, who believe that their history has already been appropriated by Whites. This is very much the case with Afro-Centric History and ancient Egypt. All the Black people I’ve met have believed that the ancient Egyptians were Black. This isn’t unreasonable. They portrayed themselves as darker than the other peoples further north and east, like the Minoans and the Semitic peoples of Canaan and the Ancient Near East. Examination of human skeletons from ancient Egyptian tombs show that many were more Black African in appearance than previously assumed, and certainly the sculpture of Queen Ty shows her as being very Black. On the other hand the Egyptians portrayed the African peoples further south, such as those of Nubia, to be much darker than themselves. I also don’t think that the ancient historians, like Herodotus, described them as Black. Herodotus was well aware of Black African peoples and tribes, like the Ethiopians, but he doesn’t describe the Egyptians as one of them, at least, not that I can remember. It isn’t unreasonable by any means to believe the Egyptians were Black, but there’s also room for debate. Unfortunately, I’ve heard some really bonkers conspiracy theories about the supposed White appropriation of the ancient Egyptians. One Black American I knew at college claimed that the reason so many statues from ancient Egypt had chipped or missing noses and lips was because the European archaeologists deliberately removed them in order to hide their African identity. It’s a paranoid, ludicrous idea, though you can’t really blame people for believing it. Black people have historically been abused and exploited, so it’s to be expected that this sense of exploitation, and that they are being deliberately denied a glorious history, should extend to one of the most famous and brilliant of ancient civilisations.

But I’m very much afraid that once the decision is taken to cast Blacks as real, historical figures, some people will genuinely believe that these figures really were Black, and that those evil Whites have falsified history once more to hide their true racial origins.

There is also the problem that recasting the past so that it appears more multicultural than it really was may also lead to modern audiences not realising just how hard a struggle Blacks and Asians had to gain their freedom. Nearly a year ago now Mr H of the YouTube channel Mr H Reviews raised this objection to the Beeb’s new adaptation of that horror classic, Dracula. The convent to which Harker flees for help and medical treatment in Budapest is shown as multiracial, with many of the nuns Black and Asian. He felt that this was anachronistic, though I’m told by a friend of mine with a greater knowledge of church history that the Roman Catholic convents in the city were staffed with people from the missions to Asia and elsewhere, so it’s possible there would have been Black and Asian nuns there.

In the case of regency Britain and the upper ranks of society, intermarriage between Whites and Blacks wasn’t unknown, but it was rare. A few years ago back in the ’90s Radio 4 did a programme about the Black son of a White planter or British aristocrat, who had a glittering political career as an MP and ended up, I believe, as the sheriff of Monmouthshire. One the other hand, when Major Moody came to write his report in the 1820s on whether Blacks were ready for their emancipation, he argued that they would never be accepted and treated fairly by White society. Part of his argument was that there were so few marriages between Whites and Blacks among the upper classes. Moody’s wife was Black, and so his report and its conclusion that the enslaved population of the British empire weren’t yet ready for their freedom was a real shock. But if Queen Caroline is presented as a Black woman, it obviously contradicts Moody’s own observation. And his observation and the argument it supports shows just how strong racial prejudice was among some sections of the populace in 19th century Britain.

Double Standards on ‘Cultural Appropriation’

My other problem with this is that of the accusation of ‘cultural appropriation’. This only seems to go one way. Black involvement and participation in White culture is actively encouraged and its absence condemned and deplored as a form of racism. But this doesn’t go the other way. When Whites adopt non-White culture, it’s condemned as a form of cultural theft. In the case of those cultures that have been colonised and nearly destroyed by White expansion and imperialism, like the Amerindians and Aboriginal Australians, this is fair enough. But there should surely be no objection to the casting of White actors as Black characters in works by Black and Asian writers and playwrights. Not if it’s done as part of a multi-ethnic cast and avoids the obviously offensive, like blacking up. But I’ve yet to see a White actor cast in a Black part in an adaptation of one of Wole Soyinka’s works, or Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. I therefore feel that Webb has a point when he attacks it as a form of cultural colonisation. Because until Whites are allowed to play Black roles, that’s what it is.

I’m prepared to accept that the portrayal of myths and literary characters on screen is changing as society changes, and that mostly this harmless. Dickens, Shakespeare and medieval classics like Chaucer and Gawain are great tales, and should appeal to everyone, regardless of their colour. But I have grave reservations about the decision to do the same to historical figures.

It might be well intentioned, but too many people may believe it’s fact, and so a mythical, false history created.

Islamophobic Incident in Britain, Anti-Semitic Attack in Italy

January 3, 2020

Here’s a couple of stories from yesterday’s I for 2nd January 2020, which show how the far right is rising in Europe.

One was ‘Anti-Islamic graffiti daubed near mosque’, which ran

Anti-Islamic graffiti was daubed on a building close to a mosque yesterday. Officer were called at around 11 am to the North Brixton Islamic Cultural Centre, north London, after Islamophobic slogans had been spray-painted on a building nearby. An investigation is continuing, police said. 

The other was ‘Fascist attack in Venice condemned’

Venice’s mayor says police are investigating an anti-Semitic attack in which youths punched left-wing Italian politician Arturo Scotto in St Mark’s Square. Luigi Brugnaro said such incidents “won’t be tolerate” in Venice. Youths yelled “Duce! Duce!” in the attack, a reference to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

Islamophobia has been rising ever since 9/11, but my guess is that it’s going to increase even more with BoJo’s election. The Tories are viciously islamophobic, but they’re determined to downplay it as much as possible. You can bet that inquiry into islamophobia in the Tory party that Bozo promised just before the election now won’t happen. It will be very definitely quietly shelved.

As for the Fascist attack, again the Fascists have been on the rise there too, partly as a reaction to the migrant crisis. It’s very clear that Fascists are on the extreme right, but if you believe the British press and various propagandist shills for the Tories and Republicans, they’re left-wing. Because they believed in a planned economy rather than complete laissez-faire. Although Mussolini tried to take it in a left-wing direction during the Salo Republic, Fascism began by stridently supporting private industry and welfare and wage cuts, apart from the smashing of socialism, communism and anarchism. It was backed by the big industrialists and the landowners in the countryside, who used it to smash the peasant unions and organisations. When Mussolini seized power, he declared Fascism to be based on pure ‘Manchester school’ economics. Which meant absolute private industry. The Fascist regime in Italy and that of Nazi Germany were both marked by the mass privatisation of industry, although this was later drastically reversed in Italy as private industry found itself actually incapable of running failing firms effectively. In 1937 Mussolini passed his infamous race laws banning Jews and gentile Italians from intermarrying and forcing Jews out of jobs, the civil service and education.

And right-wing anti-Semitism is very much on the rise over here, including in the Tory party. We’ve seen from the posts uncovered by Jacobsmates from internet groups supporting Bozo and Jacob Rees-Mogg that some of those posting racist and islamophobic comments also blamed the Jews for supposedly allowing Black and Asian immigrants into the country to destroy the White race – a real, neo-Nazi conspiracy theory.

But somehow, according to the press, the Tories and the Israel lobby, anti-Semitism is always somehow left-wing.

Israeli Education Minister Condemns Jewish Intermarriage as ‘Second Holocaust’

July 14, 2019

Here’s another item that shows just how vile the Israeli state is. Last Thursday’s I, for 11th July 2019, reported that Rafi Peretz, the Israeli education minister, had managed to upset Jewish America by condemning intermarriage between Jews and gentiles as a ‘Holocaust’. The article on page 24, by Bel Trew, ran

Israel’s new education minister has likened intermarriage among diaspora Jews to the Holocaust, sparking uproar and accusations of racism.

A spokesman for Rafi Peretz, who is a former chief rabbi of Israeli’s army, confirmed that he said that “assimilation is like the Holocaust” in a cabinet meeting on 1 July.

Mr Peretz suggested that the rate of intermarriage among the American Jewish community was “like a second Holocaust” after ministers discussed the increase in marriage between Jews and non-Jews in the US, the US-based news website Axios reported yesterday.

The inflammatory comments have piled pressure on relations between Israel’s Orthodox community and the more liberal streams within America’s large Jewish population.

Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League, a US-based pro-Israel organisation, said: “It is inconceivable to use the term ‘Holocaust’ to describe Jews choosing to marry non-Jews. This… does little other than inflame and offend.”

Jay Ruderman, the president of the Ruderman Family Foundation – a US-based Jewish organisation that aims to strengthen the relationship between Israel and the US – said it was “irresponsible and disrepectful to talk about US Jews without talking with them”.

Okay, very many Jews are worried about the rate of intermarriage in their communities. The rate of intermarriage for Jewish men has been estimated as 75%, although the rate for Jewish women is much lower. This has led to some Jews worrying about the extinction of the Jewish people.

And Peretz is by no means alone amongst the Israeli state and its organisations in his attitude towards it. Civil marriage is not recognised in Israel, thus preventing marriage between Jews and non-Jews as equal partners. There is also considerable opposition to it. Tony Greenstein a while ago put up a piece about this, commenting on the outcry that occurred when a Jewish presenter on Israeli television married an Arab. Books about romances between Jewish women and Arab men are banned from the Israeli school curriculum, and there are religious organisations set up to deter Jews from marrying Arabs. These frequently cooperate with municipal authorities and police departments. Apparently Israeli television even carried a helpline at one time for a Jewish organisation that helps Jewish women get out of marriages or relationship with Arabs.

And this fear of racial intermixing is one of the reasons, I suspect, why various Israeli rabbis, secular authorities and pro-Israel groups in the West have been loudly claiming that there is rising tide of anti-Semitism here comparable to the 1930s. According to these fanatics, it’s all due to the socialist Left and Islam. For their safety, European Jews should head to Israel.

Some of this propaganda – which is all it is, there’s no truth behind any of it – is to solve demographic problems within Israel itself. The Jewish and Arab populations are near parity, and as the Arabs generally are more fertile than Jews, the Arab population could pass the Israel soon. Demography is destiny, and so the Israeli state is appealing for more colonists from Europe. Or rather, attempting to frighten them into emigrating by lying about their gentile fellows.

But I also believe part of this is also an attempt by the Zionists to preserve a pure Jewish race by isolating it from contact with gentiles and their shiksas. That’s the Yiddish term for gentile women. It’s not a compliment, as it comes from the Hebrew for ‘whore’, according to Tony Greenstein. The Zionists would like diaspora Jews to move to Israel, where they would be insulated from the temptation to marry and have children with gentiles.

And one method of doing that is to frighten them about the rise of anti-Semitism – but only from the Left and Muslims. The real anti-Semites on the Right are their allies, as they admire and support Israel as the kind of ethno-nationalist state they would like to make their own nations. And so we see the Zionist witch-hunters loudly denouncing genuine opponents of anti-Semitism and racism, like Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters, while defending genuinely Fascist regimes as ‘good friends of Israel’, as the Jewish Chronicle’s editor, Stephen Pollard, has done for Poland’s Law and Justice Party.

Israel, the Nazis and the Condemnation of Racial Intermarriage

February 27, 2019

A little while ago I wrote a piece about how the Raelians’ original design for their embassy in Jerusalem was becoming increasingly accurate as a symbol of the increasingly fascistic nature of the Israeli state and its persecution of the Palestinians. The Raelians are a new religious movement, a sect that believes its leader and founder, Rael, real name Claude Vorilhon, was contacted and given a message for humanity by space aliens. These extraterrestrials, according to Rael, are the Elohim, one of the names for the Lord in the book of Genesis in the Bible. According to Rael, these aliens are due to return to Earth, where they will bring about a new age of peace and prosperity. Under their guidance, only certified geniuses will be allowed to rule, and all the menial work will be done by a specially genetically engineered slave race. The Holy City was chosen as the site of their embassy because that’s where Rael and his followers expect the Elohim to land and establish their centre of power on Earth.The society’s belief in ‘geniocracy’ – rule by the intelligent – has left it open to accusations of fascism. An accusation that probably wasn’t helped when they chose this as the design for their embassy in Jerusalem.

Yes, you’re seeing this correctly: it is a swastika in a Magen Dawid, a Star of David. And no, I don’t know why they chose this design. I suspect it’s because Rael, like a number of other new religious movements and occult sects since the 19th century, may have been impressed and drawn on eastern spirituality. In Hinduism and Buddhism, the swastika is a symbol of good. It also used to be like that over here before the rise of the Nazis. I think there’s even a town of Swastika in Canada, or there was.

Obviously, this didn’t go down at all well with the Israelis, who were justifiably and understandably outraged. The Raelians were forced to change their design, which is now a nice swirly galaxy in the Star of David instead.

But the symbol nevertheless suits the Israeli state, as it becomes more racist and Fascistic. And that Fascism has become blatant with Netanyahu’s new choice of coalition partners. A few days ago, the dedicated Jewish anti-Fascist and anti-Zionist, Tony Greenstein, blogged about how Netanyahu had made the Otzma Yehudit merge with another far right party, Jewish Home, which represents the settlers, so that they could join his wretched Likud in a governing coalition. Otzma Yehudit’s name means ‘Jewish Power’ in Hebrew, and they are Jewish Nazi party. It’s led by Michael Ben Ari, who takes his ideology from Meir Kahane’s wretched Kach, which was outlawed as a terrorist group. Kahane and his followers demanded the following

– Revocation of non-Jewish citizenship.
– Expulsion of non-Jews from Jerusalem and eventually Israel.
– The eventual imposition of slavery on Arabs and other non-Jews.
– Prohibition of contact between Jews and Arabs, including sexual relations.
– Segregated beaches.
– Prohibition of non-Jews living in Jewish neighborhoods.
– Forced dissolution of all intermarriages.
In 1988 Kach was banned by the Israeli Supreme Court when it looked like gaining four to eight seats in the Knesset.
Greenstein notes that not only did this come straight out of the Nazis’ vile Nuremberg Laws, but it also did little more than codify existing Israeli legislation.
See: http://azvsas.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2019-02-24T12:39:00Z&max-results=7
Since 1948 successive Israeli governments have tried to forbid intermarriage between Arabs and Israelis. Mixed marriages are not recognised by Orthodox Judaism, the religion of the Israeli state. Which is one of the factors contributing to the outrage a little while ago when a couple of Israeli celebrities, who were respectively Jewish and Palestinian, got married, with the Jewish partner converting to Islam. Greenstein has also revealed on his blog that a number of municipalities in Israel are so keen to stop relationships between Jews and Arabs, that they are running courses in conjunction with the local police and religious organisations to discourage Jewish women from going out with Palestinian men.
The Nazis were also concerned to prevent intermarriage between Germans and those of what they considered to be inferior races, such as Poles and other Slavs. They were most fervently against gentile and Jewish Germans intermarrying. And the Jews also weren’t alone in being forced to wear identifying marks, in their case the Star of David. The Nazis developed a system of badges for the prisoners in the concentration camp, which identified the offence for which they were incarcerated. Gay men notoriously wore a pink triangle. The Gypsies, I think, were forced to wear a brown one. Red triangles were worn by socialists, Communists, Anarchists, other political dissidents and Freemasons.
See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_concentration_camp_badge
There were also identification badges for ‘Jewish race defilers’. Men had to wear this
While women were identified by this badge
Clearly this represents the Nazis’ criminalisation of racial intermixing and the shaming of those, whose only crime was that they were Jewish married or in a relationship with a non-Jewish German. I also wonder if it was also foisted on non-Germans, who were incarcerated because of their marriage to a Jew.
But the Israelis are also attempting to discourage intermarriage between Jewish and non-Jewish citizens, and if Otzma Yehudit get their way, such liaisons will be criminalised. In which case I wonder if those convicted of such crimes will also have to wear similar vile symbols. 

Antony Gormley Presents Programme on Stone Age Art

January 25, 2019

According to the Radio Times for 26th January to 1st February 2019, tomorrow, Saturday, 26th January, Antony Gormley will be presenting a programme on the origins of art way back in the Stone Age. As well as trotting round the world looking at various Paleolithic sites, he also meets and talks to the modern practitioners of this ancient art, Aboriginal Australians. The programme’s entitled ‘Antony Gormley: How Art Began’, and the blurb for it on page 52 of the Radio Times runs

One of Britain’s most celebrate sculptors travels back in time and journeys across the globe to piece together how art began. Once we believed that it all started with the cave paintings of Ice Age Europe, but new discoveries are overturning that idea. Deep inside the caves of France, Spain and Indonesia, Gormley finds beautiful, haunting and surprising works of art. The creator of the Angel of the North asks what these images from millennia ago tell us about who we are.

There’s rather more information about the programme by David Butcher on page 50, which says

Yes, it’s a documentary about prehistoric cave art. How often over the years have we seen an arts presenter in torchlight, sighing about the ineffable power of cave painting?

But this is different. This is Antony Gormley, one of our great artists, who by lucky chance is also a better talker about art than most presenters, making a pilgrimage not just through the French caves that he first visited on his honeymoon (we see a holiday snap) but also venturing further afield to Indonesia and Australia, looking for the first stirrings of human creativity.

“This is a cathedral of joy in living things,” he says in a cave called Les Combarelles. “I think we’ve found a Palaeolithic Picasso,” he jokes in Niaux. And in an extraordinary scene at Pech Merle, with its 28,000-year-old paintings of horses, a local expert demonstrates how they were made, by chewing up charcoal and delicately blow-spitting on the rock.

The ancient cave paintings of northern Spain and southern France are superb, extremely naturalistic depictions of the creatures roaming that part of the Mediterranean during the Old Stone Age 28,000 years ago. Some of them seem to have been deliberately painted on distinctly shaped pieces of rock, so that if you come into the part of the caves where they are they appear to move. When Picasso saw them over a century ago, he was so utterly astonished at their superb quality that he declared ‘We have invented nothing!’

At the turn of the Millennium 18 years ago, Hugh Quarshie, one of the actors in Casualty, presented a programme on the art and artefacts of the Stone Age on New Year’s Eve. One of the speakers he interviewed about them was a director of Horror flicks – I’ve forgotten whom. But he made some very interesting points about the parallels between Palaelithic art and his type of movie. They were both initiatory experiences which you viewed in darkness.

There seems to have been a definite religious/ritual purpose to their production. Most of them are found in chambers deep in the cave systems, which are extremely difficult to reach. To get to one of them you literally have to squeeze through on your stomach. There was very probably an aural component to their painting as well. Quite often the rocks near them have musical properties. Their lithophones which produce musical tones when struck. It therefore seems that some of them were being played while the artists worked producing these amazing pieces of work.

No-one quite knows why these wonderful paintings were made. It’s been suggested that they may have been made to secure success in hunting, or for fertility. Others have suggested that they were produced as part of shamanic rituals, in which the painters attempted to pass through the membrane between this world and that of the spirits. Whatever the reason they were created, they’re superb. I’m not a fan of Gormley’s work, but this looks well worth watching.

Anthropologist, TV presenter and former member of Time Team Alice Roberts also talked about the ancient cave paintings of Europe this week in the last edition of her The Incredible Human Journey, the series in which she traced humanity’s emergence and spread out of Africa tens of thousands of years. This week she talked about some of the very earliest human remains found in Europe, including those of modern Homo Sapiens from around 30-40,000 years ago from a cave in Romania. A forensic artist then reconstructed what one of them may have looked like from one of the skulls found. Roberts and the artist remarked on the person’s absence of any distinct racial characteristics. It was a definite human face, but it was neither Black, White or Asian, although they pointed out that we believe the people at this time had dark, Black skin. But it comes from a time before the development of modern racial characteristics.

They also reconstructed the face of a Neanderthal from about this time. They were stocky, powerfully built people with big noses and strong brow ridges. Although they died out, some of them interbreed with the invading modern humans, so that the DNA of modern people outside Africa contains about 3%-9% Neanderthal genes. The reconstruction didn’t have any hair. Contemplating it Roberts said that although Neanderthal women probably found modern human men very handsome, and that human women obviously found something in Neanderthal males, she wouldn’t have fancied mating with them. Well, each to his or her own taste. Looking at the reconstructed Neanderthal head, it reminded me of nothing so much as that of Beeb TV presenter and former felon, Dom Littlewood.

She also covered the ancient cave paintings, talking to a French artist who worked using the same techniques. He was shown blowing charcoal on to the rock behind his hand trying to create a stenciled handprint, just like those left by the ancient artists. Like the article in the Radio Times, Roberts said that it had to be made using a distinct technique. You couldn’t take it all into your mouth and just spit it out. Instead the artist blew it out in a constant stream of spitting, leaving his hand black with charcoal. It’s quite a time consuming process, and Roberts and the artist said that some works could take as long as week.

The art of the palaeolithic is fascinating and enigmatic. We’re learning more about it and the people who produced it, but so much still remains lost in the mysteries of time.