Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Greens versus Israel, BBC versus UKIP

Norm Geras has been running a series of posts about how Greens are instinctively anti-Israel. There's further evidence today that anti-Semitism is now a left-wing thing as the Scottish Green Party launches its manifesto and, on page 25, announces that it will seek to boycott Israel but mentions no other countries as being problematic.

Greens are fanatics unable to think clearly and are therefore dangerous. They're also London. UKIP (who are ridiculous but less so than the Greens) are Not-London. This is why the BBC - being London - thinks that UKIP is a small bad party in the same bad, Not-London category as the BNP, but the Greens are in a different, essentially good, London category.

As Daniel Hannan observes, you will frequently hear BBC reporters make throwaway remarks that are variations on: "...minority parties like UKIP and the BNP", but never "...like the Greens and BNP".

This is odd considering that the Greens and the BNP have similar support in most opinion polls (4%) whereas UKIP is at 8%; and at the 2009 European elections, UKIP came second behind the Tories with 16.5%, whereas the BNP (6.2%) and Greens(8.6%) got two seats each, making them very comparable 'minority parties', in that respect at least.


worm said...

I've got relatives who work at the BBC and they are amazingly good at trotting out all sorts of aphorisms about all sorts of london stuff, but if you ask them to elucidate they just go blank and have nothing to back up their statements at all - in a playground kind of way they just learn what is 'nice' and what is 'nasty' and stick to what's 'nice' as much as possible.

lurker #76 said...

I curdle at the Greens as much as the next man. But you have to be careful not to confuse the two terms, anti-Israel and anti-Semitism. And a further distinction needs to be made between opposition to Israeli policy and opposition to the very existence of Israel. 'Anti-Israel' is a fiendishly slippery term.

Having made that distinction, it's unremarkable for opposition to Israeli policy to be found more commonly on the left than the right. Most peace organisations tend to emerge from the left, anti-war marches seldom feature representatives from the right. It's perhaps because conscience plays a bigger role in left-wing idealogies. Which isn't as innocent a thing as it sounds - particularly when that conscience is warped or simplistic as it so often is on the left - as shown by the tone of the climate debate, or any of the despicable things fundamentalist religious people inflict on their fellow man on the basis of conscience.

Opposing Israeli policy is much more straightforward where conscience is concerned. It's so thoroughly awful and depressing - degradation and humilation as established political tools, collective punishment, pouring of white phosphorous over civilians, illegal land grabs etc. Behaviour as bad as this makes clear, single-minded thought very easy, and any rich complexity an idle spectator.

[disclaimer: I'm a British Jewish Tory]

Recusant said...


That is all fine, but the trouble is, if it's not anti-Semitism, what is it?

If they had added Israel to a group of countries that might, inter alia, include Zimbabwe, Syria, North Korea, Burma, Turkmenistan, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, etc., etc., etc., but they don't, do they? So you have to ask yourself: what distinguishes Israel from all the equally, or vastly more, awful states in the world and the only answer is that they are Jews and the others are not.

lurker #76 said...

There's a double fallacy there, recusant.

Firstly, the suggestion that because the critics are not critical of all those countries, they shouldn't be critical of any. Secondly, the suggestion that since they do single out one, it must instead be for racist/hate reasons. If I ask you whether you feel outrage at white phosphorous being dumped on civilians, and you happened to nod, there would be a more obvious prompt for that outrage than irrational bigotry.

I suspect the reason Israel gets more attention, is that it's in our view continuously. We have an intimate acquaintance with the fruits of its policy thanks to thorough media coverage and deep commentary. This isn't the case with the other nations you mention. This might be an indictment of the media, or our own willingness to research. But irrespective of the cause, neither add up to anti-semitism.

Brit said...

Your reasoning is sound, lurker #76, but you make the mistake of assuming people generally think rationally. Recusant is also right.

The left (and therefore Greens) traditionally oppose Israel for lots of reasons (see Martin Morgan’s post on Normblog) - some reasonable; others not - but my feeling is that the anti-Israel bias on the left has now become so disproportionate and irrational that it has created a new breed of anti-Semitism.

Nick Cohen writes about his experience of suddenly becoming ‘Jewish’ when failing to toe the left line on Israel here.

Joey Joe Joe Jr. said...

Don't get me started on those tree-hugging, deep fried haggis-eating nazis.

Peter said...

But you have to be careful not to confuse the two terms, anti-Israel and anti-Semitism.

Anybody up for joining me in resolving to take out our guns whenever we hear that trope from the left? I've had the dubious honour of watching this issue debated in several hundred-comment threads on some serious leftist sites. The indignation with which hot denials of anti-Semitism are combined with hopes for Israel's destruction and assumptions of behind-the-scenes Jewish influence is perhaps the most disturbing blogging experience I've had. It appears that "I don't agree with what Hitler did" is considered some kind of exculpating innoculation.

Greens are, of course, proud and unabashed totalitarians.

Joey Joe Joe Jr. said...

...with their swastika emblazoned all-natural hand-woven hemp kilts, playing Wagner on the bag-pipes in their sandles at all hours.

Joey Joe Joe Jr. said...

Blooming Scottish Greens, with their fondness for locally sourced produce, spiteful rhetoric, and the poetry of Robert Burns. Driving about in their uber-efficient hybrid cars, which run on a mixture of Tennants Super and hate.

Joey Joe Joe Jr. said...


David said...

Of course, the charge that Israel dumped white phosphorous on civilians is a lie.