Review of Littlejohn’s “War on Jews”
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Yesterday evening, the well-known talk-show host and newspaper columnist Richard Littlejohn presented an hour-long documentary, as part of Channel 4’s Dispatches feature, entitled “The War On British Jews?”, purporting to demonstrate that “in Britain 2007, it’s open season on the Jews”. You can see it in a series of YouTube videos here. The programme made a number of familiar points, among them that the Left, despite its anti-racist reputation, was “pouring petrol on the flames”, and demonstrated a rather lackadaisical investigation.
His first interview is with a Rabbi who had, he said, “fallen victim to the new wave of anti-Semitism”:
Rabbi: It happened on a Friday night; I was invited to a friend to eat, and about 10:30, it was time to go home. As I crossed the road, fifteen youths came round the corner, I didn’t think much of it because I’ve never been attacked before, but as they came nearer and nearer, I got more and more concerned, they came at me suddenly with their legs and arms flying. They then surrounded me like hyaenas, simply kicking me for the fun of it.
RL: The beating became more frenzied, even more vicious, the noise attracting the attention of neighbours.
Rabbi: Full force, fifteen youths pushed me over, and I went flying onto my arm, onto the ground and something snapped.
RL: By the time the neighbours had frightened off the gang, the rabbi’s arm and collarbone were broken. The police were in no doubt as to why he was attacked.
Rabbi: Simply because I was a Jewish man, they attacked me, and in the back of your mind, you’re thinking to yourself, “what does it mean, an anti-Semitic attack? It means that simply because you’re perceived as something different to them, they have put you in agony for two and a half months”.
RL: Is it your sense that anti-Semitism in Britain is on the rise again?
Rabbi: Yes. I was hoping that the Jewish people would be so integrated that this thing wouldn’t happen again, but unfortunately it has turned its ugly head.
Curiously missing from this interview is any evidence that this attack was racially motivated other than that the victim was Jewish. There is no reference to the ethnicity or apparent religion of the attackers, or even whether they made any anti-Semitic remarks. Surely, if either factor was present, it would have been noted, but no evidence is presented that this was anything other than a mindless bit of violence by a gang of senseless yobs. Such attacks do happen (the “South Bank happy slappings”, in which a man died, spring to mind) and not all of the victims were Jewish. And while the daubing of Jewish graves with swastikas and SS symbols give no doubt as to who is responsible, people who attack Jews in the streets may be motivated by the same thing as those who attack Goths or anyone else who looks different: a hatred of anyone different from them, particularly if they look weak or intellectual.
Much of the rest of the programme was flippant and without any fresh insight. He pokes fun at Muslim boycotts of Israeli supporting businesses, remarking that the list of companies to boycott takes in most of the British high street, and presents a map of the Middle East, making the usual remark that Israel is a tiny strip of land, while the Arabs have the whole of the rest of the Middle East and nowhere else in the region is a functioning democracy - an irrelevance, since the rest of the Arab world belongs to the Arabs who live there (and whose ancestors lived there before they became Arabs), not to the Palestinian Arabs - and he did not bother to mention that many of the undemocratic régimes which exist in the Arab and Muslim world are western clients.
And the biggest laugh of the whole programme was when Littlejohn told us we shouldn’t hold Jews in this country accountable for what Israel does because we don’t hold Muslims responsible for what Muslim countries (he named a couple, but I can’t remember) do. Really, he must not have got out much (and remember, this guy lives in Florida). It’s routinely demanded of Muslims, with a threatening overtone, that we condemn the terrorists, and I have seen the policies of various Muslim countries used as a weapon against Muslims in general more than a few times (including in objections to mosque building applications). I can’t remember the last time I heard it said that Jews have to condemn this action or that by Israel with an “or else” subtext (admittedly the Israelis have not bombed the UK, although their agents are known to have operated here, for such purposes as luring a former state employee to Italy to be kidnapped, and they bombed civilian areas in Lebanon last year when there were British tourists in the country). In fact, Jewish leaders in the UK have rallied support for Israel, including during last year’s Lebanon war.
I don’t have the time or energy to go through the programme with a fine-tooth comb, but it certainly did not even come close to proving that it was “open season” on Jews in the UK. Richard Littlejohn is not known as an investigative reporter at all; he is known as a loud-mouthed talk show host. If there really has been a rise in genuine anti-Semitism, rather than just of stupid yobs attacking Jews in the street because they are different coinciding with a rise in anger against Israel, this would have been a legitimate subject for a documentary, hosted by a serious journalist, which this man is not. He should not be allowed to investigate a leaky roof in his house - leave it to the professionals, Richard.
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